Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Happy Tuesday everyone. Sorry for the momentary disappearance from my blogging recently but I have just acquired a new job and have been dedicated to learning my training. Let me tell you it took too much out of me and whenever I would come home it was way too much to even think about looking at a computer screen, let alone writing all night. So on my day off, my gift to you is a post on Pumpkin Spice cupcakes. My mood was feeling simplistic and this is the result. It probably would have been better to post this around Halloween or Thanksgiving perhaps…well at least the fall season, but of course me the procrastinator waited until almost Spring! Oh well, as the saying goes better late then never.

¬†So to start these simple Pumpkin inspired cupcakes, you can do one of two things based upon your skill level or your alotted time needed. You can either make the cupcake batter from scratch or you can buy a boxed spice cake mix and build on it from there. I suggest for the best results to make the batter from scratch but as always sometimes we have short notices and we all have lives and it is often hard to spare enough time for kitchen matters. Completely understandable. Regardless they will turn out delicious, impressive, and best of all… simple. If you choose to make the spice cake batter from scratch you will need a handful of spices on hand. For the most important spice, Cinnamon, I chose to use a certain variety for in this formula.

Although it is not required that you use China Cassia or Ceylon Cinnamon as I did, I do recommend using either as it does add an exoticism to the flavor of the cupcake. Some of the other spices you will need is Allspice, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mace, and Cloves. This combination of spices provides a perfect compliment to the Pumpkin and gives rich flavor to the cupcakes without overpowering the pumpkin flavor, only enhancing. Keeping in mind not to overpower the pumpkin or spice flavoring of the cake itself, I chose a Simple Buttercream formula for the frosting, flavored only with a hint of vanilla as not to detract from the cake but rather enhance it with a smooth creaminess up top. With the theme of pumpkin in mind, the frosting is tinted orange. For this I used Wilton’s Orange dye to achieve a light pastel orange that remains soft and elegant on the eye. You don’t want it to be the actual color of the pumpkin which is much darker and brighter as it will take away from the sheer elegance and look more like a store bought kid’s party cupcake, which is fine for your child’s birthday but for this particular formula we want adult, classy cupcakes here ūüôā One the pastel orange color is mixed, grab your decorator’s bag and a star tip (I used #843). You can choose to decorate the tops in any way that you wish however. I have provided you two simple examples. The first and perhaps easiest is simply piping the typical swirl topping around the entire surface of the cupcake. I did two sweeps around to give height to the cupcake then topped it with some prepared nut topping anyone can find in your local supermarket near the packaged nuts of your baking aisle or near the ice cream toppings. The other option is to use a small star tip and gently press down and lift to create mini stars across the entire surface of the cupcake. These look fancy but are extremely simple to create. I suggest you do some of both to add contrast to your presentation. Now for those who do not like pumpkin, you can also leave out the pumpkin puree and solely have a spice cake. Both are delicious!!!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

*Cake*

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix or the following…
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ginger
  • ¬ľ tsp. Allspice
  • ¬ľ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. Mace
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened/room temperature
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350¬į. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with paper liners. Grease lightly with cooking spray. In a bowl, either prepare the spice cake mix according to package directions, stopping before proceeding to the step asking you to fill the cupcake tin with batter…or sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and mace together.¬†
  2. In another bowl, mix together the sugars, butter, and eggs. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. If using the homemade version or the box mix, be sure to add the pumpkin puree now. If making a spice cake without pumpkin, proceed to step 3. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until combined and smooth.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each no more than halfway. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, being sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Prepare the buttercream frosting.

*Buttercream Frosting*

Ingredients:

  • ¬Ĺ cup¬†Vegetable Shortening
  • ¬Ĺ cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. Milk

Formula:

  1. In a bowl, cream the shortening and butter together until smooth. Add vanilla. Gradually add the sifted Confectioners’ sugar until all sugar is added and combined. The mixture will appear dry. Add milk and whisk well until smooth and creamy. Add a few drops of orange food color until desired pastel color is achieved.
  2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large or small star tip. Pipe along the top of the cooled pumpkin spice cupcakes in a circular motion, building up a round height or gently press down and gently pull up and away creating mini stars all across the surface. If not piping the mini stars, sprinkle some nut topping or your favorite chopped nuts on top. Serve.

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros ‚Äď Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012

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Pink Azalea Mini Cakes

dsc04544Although I am a day late…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!! What can I say I had an epic time with my amazing boyfriend Peter. It was a relaxing day in the house. I baked, he helped me take these photographs for the blog, we exchanged chocolates, we ate New York style pizza with mushrooms and extra cheesy goodness, played video games together… it was simplistic but fun. We will certainly be going out this weekend for a more formal dinner but to me I was happy nonetheless. I hope all of your Valentine’s day wishes were granted and this quick and easy formula for Pink Azalea Mini Cakes may just make your day that much brighter. Although I made them with Valentine’s Day in mind, they can be made for any occasion…Anniversaries, Wedding Favors, Birthdays, or just when you feel like cake but don’t have the energy or time to spend on a large one.

dsc04567Although the images you see first are the cupcake version, they still taste as decadent as if they were a mini personal cake. I did prepare a traditional version of the mini personal cakes but for some reason I was most proud of the cupcakes. They are so simplistic yet elegant and especially for a holiday, you want something that is easy to travel with and something small to share with your loved one after you have already more than likely consumed a large formal dinner. To begin this formula, whether you elect to make all mini cakes or one mini cake and use the remaining batter for cupcakes (as I did), you must first prepare a white cake batter. Depending on your time or skill level, you can either prepare the white cake batter from scratch or use a boxed caked mix. Once the batter is prepared you must divide it, as one batter will be pink and have added ingredients while the other will remain white without external flavor additions. To prepare a mini cake and cupcakes as I did, first fill your mini cake pan with the plain white cake batter. Then mix in chopped strawberries, chopped pecans, and red food color into the remaining batter and fill another mini cake pan of the same size. With the remaining batter, fill cupcake tin lined with 12 wraps. If you elect to make only mini cakes, then you can fill two mini cake pans with plain white batter and two with the pink batter.

likeAs the cake layers bake, prepare your favorite frosting. My favorite for this particular cake is Chantily Cream as it is light and airy much like the cake is and you don’t want something overly sweet like a traditional buttercream frosting as it is too heavy and will distract from the flavors. Of course if buttercream is your favorite don’t hesitate to prepare it but be sure not to add any external flavors. Keep the only additional flavoring to vanilla, just like I did with the Chantily Cream. Once you prepare your favorite frosting, add a few drops of red food color until it takes on a light pink hue. For added decor, fan some strawberries or slice them and arrange them in the shape of a heart or a simple slice to add height, flavor, and interesting texture. What’s not to love about strawberries on Valentine’s Day!!!

Once the cake layers have had ample time to cool, fill a pastry bag fitted with a mid-sized star tip (#842) with your choice of frosting and set aside. Trim the cake layers and cut each in half. Place one white cake layer on a turntable cover with frosting. Place the pink cake layer on top and layer again with frosting.

dsc04581Place the final white cake layer on top and cover  the top and sides with frosting, making sure the cake layers do not show through and the frosting is smooth. Gently press chopped pecans along the base and pipe shells along the top edge. Pipe a rosette on the top of the cake in the center and place a fanned strawberry on the rosette to complete the mini cake look. For the cupcakes, pipe your frosting in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire surface of the cupcake. Build up the frosting a bit in the center. Place your choice of adornment, whether a fanned strawberry, single strawberry slice, or strawberry slices shaped into a heart, in the center of the cupcake.

dsc04549-1Whichever method you choose, whether mini cakes are you fancy, cupcakes, or both, you are sure to please your Valentine and have great memories to share for a lifetime. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours… from Honeybee’s Patisserie!!!

Pink Azalea Mini Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Formula for White Cake Batter (or 1 Box White Cake Mix)
  • Red Food Coloring
  • 1 cup Strawberries, chopped
  • ¬Ĺ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 1 formula for Chantily Cream (Formula Below)
  • Whole Strawberries, fanned or sliced (Decor)

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350¬į. Prepare batter for a white cake or follow box directions for a white cake mix (be sure not to bake the batter according to box directions). Grease and flour two mini cake pans and line a 12 slot cupcake pan with paper cups if making 1 mini cake and cupcakes. If preparing only mini cakes, grease and flour 4 mini cake pans. If making only cupcakes, line two 12 slot cupcake pans with paper cups.
  2. Fill one mini cake pan with plain white cake batter if making only one mini cake. If making two mini cakes, be sure to fill two pans with plain white cake batter before proceeding (VERY IMPORTANT). With the remaining white cake batter, mix in a few drops of red food coloring until the batter turns a pink hue. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and pecans. If making one mini cake, fill one mini cake pan with pink batter. With the remaining pink batter, fill the cupcake pan, making sure each tin is filled¬†¬ĺ full (12 cupcakes in all). If making only mini cakes (no cupcakes), fill two mini cake pans with the pink batter. If preparing only cupcakes, mix the red food color, pecans,¬†and strawberries into all of the prepared white cake batter. Do not reserve any plain batter. Pour the pink batter¬†into the prepared cupcake pan and bake for about 18 minutes. For the mini cakes, bake for about 20 minutes.
  3. Allow the cake layers and cupcakes to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the cakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. As the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Once cooled completely, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with your desired frosting tinted pink with red food color (Chantily Cream was used here). If making only cupcakes, pipe around the surface of the cupcake with your choice of pink frosting and top with a fanned strawberry or strawberry slices. If also preparing a mini cake or only mini cakes, set aside the piping bag. Trim the tops of the mini cakes level and cut each in half. You should have two layers of white and two layers of pink. 
  4. Lay the white layer down first and cover with an even layer of pink frosting. Lay the pink layer next and cover with an even layer of pink frosting. Lastly, top with another white cake layer and cover the entire top of the cake and sides with pink frosting. Be sure to smooth the frosting before proceeding to the next step. Once smoothed, gently press chopped pecans along the bottom of the cake to create a nut border. With the reserved piping bag, pipe shells along the top, outer border of the cake. On the top of the cake in the center, pipe a single rosette and place a fanned strawberry on the center of the rosette. If desired, sprinkle some chopped pecans around the fanned strawberry.

Chantily Cream 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. Combine cream and sugar in a large bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla. 

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros – Photography

All Remaining Content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012

Brown-Eyed Susan Cake

Happy Holidays everyone. I hope¬†you all¬†had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc.,¬†and I wish you all a Happy New Year from Honeybee’s Patisserie. Let me tell you, it was a busy Christmas for me, but I still managed to crank out a few sweets and capture some photos for the blog. This particular sweet on topic for¬†today¬†is the Brown-Eyed Susan Cake. I particularly like this cake, not only for its wonderful flavor combinations of orange and chocolate, but because of the flower it represents. As a child, I used to go picking¬†the brown centered, yellow petal¬†flowers¬†with my grandfather, although¬†it was illegal in the location we were picking them. I still remember him telling me as I held¬†bunches of¬†brown-eyes susans¬†in my little hands, to watch for any cars with bright, flashy lights coming our way and to notify him immediately if there were.¬†It makes me smile to this day¬†knowing I was doing misdemeanor activity at the age of seven and that the flowers my relatives received were always¬†attained via trespassing on private property.

¬†Thankfully,¬†achieving this cake doesn’t require¬†illegal activity, therefore I shall share it with all of you. First, start off with your favorite formula for a basic yellow cake batter. Once you prepare the yellow cake batter, you¬†divide it equally between two bowls. One bowl will be your chocolate batter, one will be your orange which you will marble into your cake pans.¬†Once the cake¬†layers are baking,¬†choose your favorite type of frosting formula. I chose a simple buttercream¬†because¬†during the holidays I desired something…well simple.¬†As with the¬†yellow cake batter,¬†be sure to separate¬†your frosting into two separate¬†bowls, one for orange flavor and one for chocolate. All in all the cake¬†is rather¬†effortless to prepare. The¬†layering and decorating is¬†likely the most troublesome for the average home baker. Good news is, the way you decorate it¬†depends on your personal preference so no rules. I started with¬†chocolate rosettes on top,¬†a chocolate chip border for the crown, and a shell border along the bottom.¬†However, you could easily take some candied orange peels to resemble petals¬†and place them¬†around a¬†chocolate chip center¬†to¬†resemble the¬†wildflower itself. Place multiple replica flowers¬†on the top of the cake and it would look superb with less piping fuss!

Brown-Eyed Susan Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 formula Yellow Cake Batter, enough for two 9 in. cake pans
  • 5 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 1 tbsp. Orange Juice
  • 4 cups Vanilla Frosting, preferably Buttercream
  • Yellow Food Color
  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips, optional
  • Candied Orange Peel, optional

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350¬į. Divide prepared yellow cake batter into two bowls.¬†Add 2 ounces of melted chocolate into one bowl and orange extract into the other¬†bowl.¬†Drop cake batter by spoonfuls into two prepared 9 in. cake pans. Be sure to alternate between the chocolate¬†and orange batters to create¬†the desired marble look. Bake cake layers for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in cake pans¬†before turning out onto racks to cool completely.
  2. While the cake layers cool, prepare the frosting. Equally divide the prepared frosting, preferably buttercream, into two bowls. Stir in the remaining 3 ounces of melted chocolate into one bowl and the orange juice into the other bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring to the bowl with the orange flavored frosting.
  3. Place one cooled and leveled cake layer on a cake board. Spread a generous amount of chocolate frosting evenly over the top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top. Cover the sides with chocolate frosting and smooth. Spread the top of the cake with a generous amount of orange frosting. If replicating the piping shown here, pipe shells around the base with orange frosting, then pipe rosettes on top of the cake with chocolate frosting. Where the orange and chocolate frosting meet, place semisweet chocolate chips to form a crown border. If piping is not your particular forte, keep it simple by arranging candied orange peels around a chocolate chip to create a brown-eyed susan flower. Place the flowers around the top of the cake to complete the look.

 

 

 

All content ¬© Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011