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May 2003 Issue
Cupcakes!
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Cupcakes are a great answer to the question of what's for dessert. This is especially true if you're serving a small group. If you're eating solo or with one or two other people, it's not always particularly practical to serve a large -- or even a small -- cake. But who can deny an individual-sized cake? After all, isn't that exactly what a cupcake is?

Whether it's from a mix or from scratch, nearly any recipe for a cake can be tweaked for cupcakes. The key is understanding that these little gems need less time in the oven than their big brothers, the sheet and layer cakes. Then it's just a matter of decorating with glaze, frosting, whipped cream or any other delightful concoction you can think of on short notice. Of course, some cupcakes are perfect without a topping as well. It's really up to you. And what's grand is that you don't need to top them all the same way. Imagine using simple vanilla-flavored cupcakes as fun treats topped with fluffy frosting and mini chips and also dolloped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

So, with such fun thoughts in mind, let's take a look at a few great cupcake recipes.

 

Easy Maple Cupcakes

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 5 T. margarine -- softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. imitation maple flavoring
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the sugar, margarine, vanilla extract and maple flavoring until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup; level. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine the skim milk and maple syrup. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with the Easy Maple Glaze.

  • Yields: 1 dozen
  • Preparation Time: About 30 minutes
 

 

Easy Maple Glaze

  • 3 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. margarine -- softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. imitation maple flavoring
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
Beat the maple syrup with the margarine, vanilla extract, maple flavoring and salt. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating JUST until blended. Spread the frosting over cupcakes.
  • Yields: About 1 cup
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
 

 

Sunshine Cupcakes

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. margarine -- softened
  • 3 eggs -- separated
  • 3 c. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. orange rind -- finely grated
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and margarine until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. To the sugar mixture, add the flour mixture alternating with the orange juice. In a large glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch salt and cream of tartar until they are stiff but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the sugar mixture along with the orange rind.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite frosting.

  • Yields: 1 dozen
  • Preparation Time: About 30 minutes
 

 

Mocha Cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. coffee powder
  • 1/2 c. hot water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. margarine -- softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Place the coffee powder and water in a small bowl and mix until the coffee has dissolved. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix until well combined. Beat the margarine and sugar until light, fluffy, and light lemon colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and half of the flour mixture, and beat well. Add the coffee mixture and then the remaining flour mixture.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fill 18 muffin cups lined with paper liners two-thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite frosting.

  • Yields: 18 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 30 minutes
 

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!



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