Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

 Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

January: National Tea Month

Host a happy new year’s day tea party with a platter of decadent desserts, such as Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes. These royal treats are rich, aromatic, fluffy and moist. The cupcakes are also crowned with a luxurious chocolate glaze with flecks of tea leaves for a unique texture and taste. Serve Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes for a sweet start to the new year and for a celebration of National Tea Month!

Recipe

(Adapted from Real Simple)

For the Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

  • 3 Earl Grey tea bags
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 egg, large or jumbo
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Directions

Steep the Earl Grey tea bags in water for five minutes. Discard the tea bags. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg. Melt the chocolate and cool slightly.

Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

Add the melted chocolate into the creamed butter mixture. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into the batter until smooth. Pour in the tea.

Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

Mix in the yogurt. Scoop the batter into a muffin tin lined with a dozen cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

For the Chocolate Earl Grey Glaze

  • 1 2.47-ounce Earl Grey chocolate bar (we used Dolfin brand) or 2 ½ squares (2 ½ ounces) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup

Directions

In a glass bowl, place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup. Microwave for 1 – 1 ½ minutes. Stir until melted and smooth. Dip the tops of the cupcake into the frosting, swirling around for even coating. Let the frosting set on the cupcakes at room temperature.

Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

We decorated our Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes with leftover fondant flowers. Arrange the flowers on top of the cupcakes. Dab a dot of white icing gel (we used Wilton brand) on the flower center. Drop a silver dragée (we used India Tree brand) on top of the gel, positioning it with a toothpick if necessary. For fondant flower photo tutorials, refer to our posts on Chocolate Cupcakes and Cherry Blossom Cake.

Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcakes

Notes

  • The final food photo of the Chocolate Earl Grey Cupcake features our fine china from our wedding registry, albeit a discontinued pattern (Noritake Sterling Cove).
  • Search our blog for other tea time treats.

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

October 31: Halloween

Sink your fangs into a fruit-filled dessert for Halloween. Vampire Bite Cupcakes are easy to make and have an impressive visual impact on a party platter. It looks as if Count Dracula got the first bite and sampled the sweet treats himself! They are just basic white cupcakes with a blood clot-like cherry filling and iced with vanilla frosting from which red gel oozes out. For a bloody-good Halloween dessert, make Vampire Bite Cupcakes.

Recipe

(Based on Google Images)

For the cherry-filled cupcakes

  • 1 box white cake mix (we used Duncan  Hines brand Classic White flavor)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ can cherry pie filling, slightly drained

Directions

Bake the cake mix according to the directions on the box, using egg whites, oil and water.  Use paper cupcake liners (we used red foil) to make the cupcakes.

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

Remove from the oven and cool completely. Core the center of the cupcake, reserving the top. Or use a sharp knife to cut off a little bit of the center of the cupcake, reserving the top. Insert some of the cherry pie filling into the cupcake center. Replace with the reserved cupcake piece that was cored/cut out.

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

For the vanilla frosting and bloody decoration

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2+ tablespoons milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring (we used Wilton brand)
  • red tube gel icing

Directions

In a mixer or mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar while still mixing. Stir in the milk/water and clear vanilla and mix until a spreadable consistency is achieved.

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

Frost the top of the cupcake, being careful not to remove the covered filling center (we used tip 1M in a swirling motion to decorate our cupcakes but it can be smoothly covered with a spatula). Use a toothpick or skewer to pierce two holes in the cupcake. Squirt red gel icing from the tube to look like dripping blood. Chill the cupcakes in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Vampire Bite Cupcakes

Notes 

  • Complement this Dracula-themed dessert  with Vampire Bite Cookies.
  • Cupcakes may be filled with strawberry or raspberry jam instead of cherry pie filling.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Cappuccino Cupcakes

November 8: National Cappuccino Day

On our Italian vacation, we began each day with a breakfast of brioches and biscottis. Highlander would also have his morning coffee as the caffeine would give him a boost of energy as we prepared to go sightseeing all over Rome, Florence and Venice. Instead of his usual “tall, no-whip mocha” that he orders in American coffee shops, Highlander would drink a cappuccino from the Italian cafés.

In Europe, traditionally cappuccino is consumed in the mornings (but now it is starting to get popular to drink it during the day). Cappuccino is made with steamed espresso and hot milk and has a foamy top texture. Some baristas even make artistic designs on top of the foam.

Instead of making the beverage, we baked cappuccino cupcakes. We created them to look like mugs and flavored them with Hawaiian ingredients (Kona coffee).  They are a cute coffee confection to commemorate National Cappuccino Day.

Recipe

For the cupcakes

(Adapted from 125 Best Cupcakes Cookbook by Julie Hasson)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee (we used Kona coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar (we used C&H brand, granulated white)
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (we used Mulvadi brand) mixed with 1 teaspoon warm water
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand mini morsels)

Directions

In a bowl, mix the flour, ground coffee, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg with the sugar and oil. Mix in the vanilla.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Stir in the coffee mixture. Gradually pour in the flour mixture and alternate with the sour cream. Mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Scoop into brown cupcake liners, Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Yield: A baker’s dozen.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

For the chocolate glaze

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

  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate squares (we used Baker’s brand) or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Directions

In a bowl, combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup. Microwave for a minute until all ingredients are melted. Stir until smooth and well blended. Dip the top of a cupcake in the glaze, twisting and tapping off the excess. Let set.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

For the cappuccino mug decorations

  • Chocolate frosting, cold
  • Chocolate-covered circle mini pretzels (we used Nabisco brand)
  • Whipped cream or Cool Whip
  • Chocolate-covered coffee bean (we used Island Princess brand)

Directions

Spread a little cold chocolate frosting on the side of a cappuccino cupcake liner. Attach a circle pretzel. Continue assembling the other cupcakes. Refrigerate to set the “mug handles” in place.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Pipe a little whipped cream or Cool Whip on top of the glazed cupcake. Top with a chocolate-covered coffee bean.

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Notes

Chocolate Cupcakes

with Fondant Flowers

Chocolate Cupcakes

October 18: National Chocolate Cupcake Day

As part of the marriage preparation ministry at our church, we attend the weddings of the couples we sponsor. At some of the receptions, we have noticed the cupcake trend, mostly as an alternative to the traditional chocolate groom’s cake.  Depending on the elaborateness of the decorations, cupcakes can cost as much as a store-bought or bakery cake. But with a little time, patience and creativity, one can inexpensively make chocolate cupcakes from semi-scratch with fondant flowers in the couple’s wedding colors. The recipe for the chocolate cupcakes featured in our blog post is adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor’s recipes for “The Perfect Chocolate Cake” and “Chocolate Dream Glaze.” This decadent dessert can be made for special occasions, such as weddings, and National Chocolate Cupcake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Chocolate from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn)

For the cupcakes

  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) devil’s food cake mix with pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until thick and smooth. Scoop into muffin pans lined with cupcake papers.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Cupcakes

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions

In a glass bowl,  place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup. Microwave for 1 – 1 ½ minutes. Stir until melted and smooth. Dip the tops of the cupcake into the frosting, swirling around for even coating. Let the frosting set on the cupcakes at room temperature.

Chocolate Cupcakes

For the fondant flowers

  • Fondant tinted red (we used Wilton brand pre-made primary color pack)
  • Small tube of red icing gel (we used Wilton brand)
  • Silver dragées (we used India Tree brand)

Directions

Flatten a two-inch ball of fondant with a rolling pin to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out flower shapes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Place the flowers on a foam bed. Use the small ball tool to press lightly in the center. Refrigerate overnight or until the flowers are firm. Arrange the flowers on top of the cupcake.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Dab a dot of the icing gel on the flower center. Drop a dragée on top of the gel, positioning it with a toothpick if necessary.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Notes

  • Cupcakes are like a blank slate for the culinary artist. Follow the recipe from our blog as a guide and add your own decorations to express your unique personal and creative cooking style.
  • Search our blog for more cupcake recipes and easy decoration ideas.