Rose Tea Cupcakes

February 14: Valentine’s Day

“Everything’s coming up roses” on Valentine’s Day! Make something sweet for someone sweet by baking some rose-flavored cupcakes. The ingredients include rose tea and rosewater and the cupcakes are topped with rose-shaped candies.

Roses have long been a symbol of love. Among roses lining the aisle, we were married at the Mystical Rose Oratory at Islander’s alma mater in Hawaii. The name of this chapel with a glorious view of iconic Diamond Head is named after the Blessed Mother Mary. Devotionals to her, the Mystical Rose, are done with a rosary.

Although there are different colors and varieties of roses, red is associated with romantic love. So on this day when love is celebrated, we chose vibrant red candy roses to decorate our lovely cupcakes.

Happy Valentine’s Day! May all our blog readers be blessed with lots of love!

Recipe

For the rose tea cupcakes

  • 2-3 teabags of rose-flavored tea (we used a jasmine-rose tea blend)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Directions

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water and allow to cool at room temperature. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg. Stir in the rose water.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Gradually add this flour mixture to the above wet ingredients. Pour in the rose tea. Fold in the yogurt and mix until the batter is smooth. Scoop into 12 cupcake papers in a regular size muffin tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.

For the rosewater buttercream

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon rosewater
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • green food coloring

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and rosewater.

Add a pinch of salt. Thin to a desired frosting consistency with the heavy whipping cream. Frost the tops of the cupcake or pipe swirls (Wilton star tip 1M). Reserve a little frosting for the leaves. Tint with green food coloring. Set aside.

For the candy rose decorations

  • Red candy melts (Wilton brand)
  • Vegetable shortening (to thin, optional)

Directions

Melt the candy melts according to the package. Thin with a tiny bit of vegetable shortening, if necessary. Stir well and fill the rose mold. Refrigerate until firm. Unmold the candy roses.

Place in the center of the cupcakes. Use the remaining green frosting to pipe leaves (Wilton leaf tip #352) on the sides of each candy rose. Chill in the refrigerator to set. Bring to room temperature before serving the rose cupcakes.

Notes

  • Instead of rose-flavored tea in a cupcake, try rosé wine in a cake.
  • Rose water is a milder flavoring than rose extract. Be careful not to add too much to the recipe or it will be too fragrant and bitter.
  • Pretty in pink: Feel free to add a few drops of red food coloring to the cupcake batter and frosting to make a rose pink hue. Substitute red candy melts for pink ones as the rose topper. Use pink cupcake paper liners.
  • Try the apple roses recipe for another pretty presentation of puff pastry.
  • Search our blog for other Valentine’s Day recipes.

Calamansi Cupcakes

calamansicupcakes

December 15: National Cupcake Day

Highlander’s co-worker, Luchie A., has invited us to her house in the Gulf Coast of Texas to pick calamansi from the tree in her backyard. We have gathered grocery bags full of the fruit for ourselves and for friends. We typically squeeze all the little Philippine limes to make delicious fresh squeezed fruit juice. We also reserve a bit of the liquid to make calamansi cupcakes for Luchie and the other co-workers. The cupcakes are always a big hit with everyone in Highlander’s office.

National Cupcake Day occurs during the holiday season when cookies are frequently exchanged. But cupcakes are a sweet choice to share, too. If calamansi juice is available, use it to make this terrific and tart treat.

Recipe

For the calamansi cupcakes

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup calamansi juice, fresh squeezed or bottled/boxed/canned
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the vanilla.

calamansicupcakessteps1

Pour in the calamansi juice. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add this mixture gradually to the other ingredients. Blend until the batter is smooth (it will be thick).

calamansicupcakessteps2

Scoop into cupcake papers and place in muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting the calamansi cupcakes.

calamansicupcakessteps3

For the calamansi buttercream frosting

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2+ tablespoons calamansi juice

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Thin to a spreadable consistency with the calamansi juice. Use Wilton tip 1M in a piping bag and decorate the top of each cupcake with swirls.

calamansicupcakessteps4

Notes

  • Squeeze more juice from many calamansi fruits for a refreshingly tart drink. See our easy recipe for calamansi juice for National Fresh Squeezed Juice Day on January 15.
  • Maraming salamat (thank you very much in Pilipino/Tagalog) to Luchie A. for the calamansi!

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

November 11: Remembrance Day/ Jour du Souvenir (Canada)

Canada, Highlander’s birthplace, and other Commonwealth countries observe Remembrance Day/ Jour du Souvenir on November 11, the same day the U.S.A. honors its war veterans and military personnel. Remembrance Day is their version of America’s Memorial Day. The Remembrance Day symbol is a poppy flower, as mentioned in John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Field”. The lieutenant colonel from Canada was moved to write it for a friend’s funeral during World War I.

For a Remembrance Day prayer gathering, we were inspired to use the iconic flower for a delicious dessert—lemon poppy seed cupcakes topped with fondant poppies. It was an appropriate tasty treat to remember the brave ones who sacrificed their lives to protect their countries. God bless their souls!

Recipe

For the fondant poppy flowers

  • Powdered sugar (for dusting the work surface)
  • Red fondant
  • Black tube frosting
  • Poppy seeds

Directions

On a surface that has been dusted with powdered sugar, roll out red fondant to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out poppies using a 5-petal flower cutter. Use the impression/veining tool and press to give texture on each petal. Place the cut fondant poppy on a foam pad and lightly press down the center with the ball tool.

Lemon Poppy See Cupcakes

Place fondant poppies on flower formers and let dry for about 3 hours or overnight. Dot the centers of each poppy with black icing. Sprinkle poppy seeds on the middle, brushing away the excess from the center. Set aside to dry.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

For the cupcakes and frosting

Directions

Prepare the batter for the lemon buttermilk poppy seed cake. Scoop into red cupcake papers. Bake and cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Make the lemon buttercream icing (do not tint it yellow). Frost the cupcakes (we used Wilton tip 1M to make the swirls).

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Position a fondant poppy seed flower on the top center. Serve at room temperature.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Notes

  • Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served and are serving in the military, including Islander’s Daddy (retired U.S. Navy chief). Thank you!

Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes 
February 22: National Margarita Day 

When we go out to eat with our Tex-Mex neighbors, Glenn and Ana Maria B., who like to take advantage of happy hour prices at their favorite authentic Mexican restaurants in San Antonio, Texas, Highlander would order a cerveza (beer) while Islander tries a margarita. She personally finds the alcohol too strong for her tastes. But she likes margarita cupcakes over the cocktail and often bakes this boozy dessert for fiestas and get-togethers. Make margarita cupcakes for National Margarita Day. Son muy deliciosos.

Recipe

(Adapted from Diana’s Desserts)

For the margarita cupcakes

  • 1 box white cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 (10 ounces) can of non-alcoholic lime margarita mix, thawed (we used Bacardi brand), divided use (3/4 cup for the cupcakes, remainder for the frosting)
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (we used Triple Sec)
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 4-5 drops of green food coloring

Directions

Zest the lime and set aside. Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks for another recipe.

Margarita Cupcakes

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and egg whites. Add the lime margarita mix, orange liqueur, tequila and vegetable oil. Mix in the lime zest.

Margarita Cupcakes

Tint the batter with green food coloring. Blend until smooth. Scoop batter into cupcakes papers lining a muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until done. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: 2 dozen. 

Margarita Cupcakes

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Wilton brand clear vanilla)
  • 2-3 tablespoons non-alcoholic lime margarita mix, thawed (from the cupcake ingredients above)
  • lime wedges/half slices or curly peel (optional garnish)
  • green sugar sprinkles (optional decorations)

Directions

Cream the butter. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. Thin with 2-3 tablespoons of lime margarita mix until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Margarita Cupcakes

Frost the cupcakes (or fill a pastry bag with frosting and decorate with a swirl on top; we used Wilton tip 1M). Garnish with a lime wedge/slice. Sprinkle green sugar on top. Refrigerate to set. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Margarita Cupcakes 

Notes

  • Also try our Texas Margarita Pie recipe for National Margarita Day. 
  • Search our blog for other Mexican-inspired recipes.

Black Russian Cupcakes

Black Russian Cupcakes

December 15: National Cupcake Day

When our Ukrainian friend Olga W. got married in 2004, we gifted her groom with a cake. The flavor requested was a Black Russian chocolate cake because 1) they are chocoholics and 2) the flavor gives tribute to Olga’s culture.

The Black Russian cocktail is made with vodka and coffee liqueur (which gives the drink a dark color) and served over ice. The cake also contains both spirits for a doubly delightful dessert.

Instead of a groom’s cake, we made them into mini-sizes for our blog post for National Cupcake Day. Bake Black Russian cupcakes and enjoy! Na zdorovie!

Recipe

(Adapted from “Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor” by Anne Byrn)

For the cupcakes

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (we recommend Duncan Hines brand)
  • 1 package (5.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup coffee liqueur (Kahlúa)
  • ¼ cup vodka

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the yellow cake mix and chocolate instant pudding mix. Stir in the oil and water.

Black Russian Cupcakes

Add the sugar, eggs, coffee liqueur and vodka.

Black Russian Cupcakes

Blend well. Scoop the batter into cupcake papers lining muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 2 ½ dozen cupcakes.

Black Russian Cupcakes

For the glaze and topping

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup coffee liqueur (Kahlúa)
  • white/vanilla frosting or whipped cream
  • chocolate-covered coffee beans

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the coffee liqueur. Mix until smooth. Generously brush the tops of the cooled cupcakes with the glaze. Pipe white/vanilla frosting or whipped cream in the middle of the cupcakes. Top with a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Serve at room temperature.

Black Russian Cupcakes

Notes

  • We used brown “tulip” cupcake papers for this blog recipe post. Check local craft stores and bakery supply shops for an assortment of choices of cupcake paper styles (regular, mini, jumbo, “tulip”, scalloped, ruffled, foil, colored, patterned, etc.).
  • Search our blog post for more cupcake recipes.

Chocolate Crème de Menthe

Wreath Cupcakes

Wreath Cupcakes

December: Advent

December may be the last month in the Western calendar year, but it is the first month in the Christian liturgical year. During this time, the faithful observe Advent traditions in preparation for the coming of Christ on His birthday, December 25. The word Advent is derived from Latin, meaning “the coming”.

The most popular symbol of Advent is a wreath. So we decorated chocolate crème de menthe cupcakes as wreaths. Prepare these desserts during Advent and prepare to welcome into your heart Baby Jesus on Christmas day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Busy Cooks via About.com)

For the chocolate crème de menthe cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand devil’s food flavor)
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons crème de menthe liqueur
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 cup crème de menthe chips (we used Andes mint candies)

 Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, crème de menthe liqueur and melted butter.

Wreath Cupcakes

Beat in the eggs. Stir in the mint extract. Chop up the crème de menthe chips (if not using the baking chips) and fold into the batter.

Wreath Cupcakes

Scoop into a muffin tin lined with cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: Approximately 2 ½ dozen cupcakes.

Wreath Cupcakes

For the chocolate crème de menthe ganache frosting

  • 8 ounces (2 bars) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon crème de menthe liqueur
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon mint extract

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the melted chocolate with the hot cream. Stir until smooth. Add the crème de menthe liqueur and mint extract. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to thicken slightly. Frost the top of the cupcakes and let set.

Wreath Cupcakes

For the mint green buttercream frosting and wreath decorations

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons crème de menthe
  • green food coloring
  • red round candies (Cinnamon Red Hots, M&Ms, etc.)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well blended. Thin with crème de menthe liqueur to a piping consistency. Tint the frosting with green food coloring.

Wreath Cupcakes

Fill a decorator’s bag outfitted with a star or leaf tip (we used Wilton tip 2D) with green frosting. Pipe around the edges of the cupcake to form a circle of “leaves”. Press red candies onto the green frosting to complete the wreath cupcakes.

Wreath Cupcakes

Notes

  • The original recipe calls for mint chocolate chips instead of the crème de menthe Andes mint candies (the latter tends to sink toward the bottom of the cupcake). But we wanted to use them to reinforce the crème de menthe flavor. The candies may be chopped but they can also be purchased ready-made as baking chips to save preparation time in the kitchen.
  • Optional: Use red frosting from a tube with a small round tip to pipe a bow on the wreath cupcakes
  • Replace the red candies with three purple candles and one pink candle for an Advent-looking wreath.
  • Learn more about Advent from the About Christianity website.
  • For an easier edible wreath, make one with corn flakes. See the recipe on our blog here.

Back-to-School Cupcakes

Back to School Cupcakes

August: Back-to-School Season

Students and teachers alike are preparing for the new academic year this month and it seems that summer has gone by too fast (it always does!). Brighten up their back-to-school blues with colorful cupcakes!

Here are some school-themed sweet treats that we decorated and donated to the students and staff at Islander’s brother’s school. We looked at different Google images, studied how others decorated their cupcakes and made an educated guess on how to create our own. We got an A+ from the appreciative recipients.

Learn how to make back-to-school cupcakes by following the photo tutorial below. Decorating them is fun and as easy as ABC and 123!!!

Recipe

  • Cupcakes
  • Frosting
  • Miniature chocolate bars
  • Chocolate fudge frosting (we used Hershey’s S’mores dessert icing)
  • White tube frosting
  • Red round candy
  • Green tube frosting
  • Colorful sprinkles (optional)

Directions

Prepare the batter and bake the cupcakes in colorful paper liners. Cool completely.

Back to School Cupcakes

Generously ice the tops of the cooled cupcakes with brightly colored frosting. Unwrap the mini chocolate bars. Outline the back edges with chocolate fudge frosting. Write letters and numbers using the white tube frosting.

Back to School Cupcakes

Position the “chocolate chalkboards” slightly off-center on top of the cupcakes. Place a red round candy by the chalkboard. Pipe a small leaf using the green tube frosting to complete the “apple.” Sprinkle colorful nonpareils on top (optional).

Back to School Cupcakes

Notes

  • These cupcakes are perfect for parties with an education theme.
  • Search our blog for other cupcake decorating ideas.