New Castle News

May 4, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Weeding out cupcake recipes

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — They’re everywhere. They’re everywhere.

I’m talking about cupcakes — those individual desserts in their frilly little papers. They don’t require a knife or fork and sometimes the frosting is as delectable as the cake itself.

Who would have ever known how cupcakes would take off in popularity during the past several years? They have become stands-ins for traditional wedding cakes, and served at birthday parties and other special occasions.

Just as I was planning to write about the frosting-topped phenomenon, what should arrive in the mail but a book on cupcakes? But they weren’t for your ordinary, garden-variety cupcakes. Well, they may be found in some gardens. The title was Cannabis Cupcakes — no kidding. After I almost fell over laughing, I skimmed through to see step-by-step directions accompanied by colorful drawings. There is a disclaimer that it is a criminal offense in many parts of the country to cultivate, possess or supply cannabis and the reader should understand the book is intended for private amusement and not to encourage anyone to break the law.

After, I had my chuckle, I tuned in to the Food Channel for Cupcake Wars. When I see professional bakers hustling about in the kitchen, piping on frosting, applying fondant decorations and building elaborate sets just to win a competition, I admit I do get caught up in the excitement. There’s even talk that a local bakery has submitted an application to be a part of the show. I wish them luck.

After watching, it makes me want to get out my Wilton cake decorating kit with all the various tips. Regrettably, it’s in the back of a kitchen cabinet and doesn’t see much use these days.

Meanwhile, Culinary Conversation wants to hear from you with your favorite recipes. We love the diversity cooks in this area offer.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well.

Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Batter will be thick.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 of batter.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter and sugar in small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel and milk; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add sour cream to the butter and sugar mixture. Continue to beat until incorporate. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed into the batter. Add vanilla and continue to mix; slowly add dry ingredients in increments and mix until combined.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners to fill about 3/4 of the way. Bake until cupcakes are a pale gold color and cake testers comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool in tins for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack completely before frosting and filling.

In a large bowl, add cream cheese and butter; beat until combined. Add vanilla and peanut butter, and beat until well mixed. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Fit a plain pastry tip to the bottom of a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag and fill with strawberry jelly.

Once the cupcakes are cool, insert the tip far into the cup cake and slowly squeeze in about 1 tbsp. of jelly. Be careful not to overfill the cupcakes or they will crumble or split.

Frost with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, using a pastry bag and star tip.

Fudge Cupcakes

Pour boiling water over 1 cup cut dates and the soda. Add sugar, shortening, egg (slightly beaten) and vanilla. Mix flour, cocoa, salt, nuts and chocolate chips into mixture. Fill cupcake tins or papers about 2/3 full.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 24 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Frost, as desired.