Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro & The Chocolate Expo!

Yesterday, I was happier than a bird with a french fry! I met Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss. I’m a HUGE fan. I live not to far from him bakery in Hoboken and I have been there a few times. I would go more often except with his new found fame the lines are exceedingly long. The normal wait time just to get into Carlo’s is around 4-5 hours. As much as I love, food waiting on that line is painful.

I went to the Chocolate World Expo  and it was FABULOUS! Everything a girl could want and more. There was tons of chocolate samples, as well as ice creams, cookies, brownies, fondue, cheeses, and of course wine!

My top favorite’s included (in no particular order):

  1. Breezie Maples: Best organic maple syrup products I’ve ever had. The most awesome part about them was their Maple Syrup Cotton Candy…yes you heard right: Maple Syrup Cotton Candy. It was like eating a syrup filled cloud. The taste of syrup was over powering or anything. It was phenomenal. I bought two bags hehe
  2. Pie Lady and Son: I’m not normally a pie kinda girl, but their pies were out of this world. They had debuted their Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Pie and it was amazing. I went back for seconds during our sampling.
  3. Picklelicious: Need I say more. I LOVE pickles. Delish.
  4. Screme Gelato Bar: Ah, it was like heaven in a spoon. I tasted Mint Chip which was based off of the York Peppermint Patties and Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Brownie Batter ice cream. Now, the first ice cream was good: tasted just like … well, mint chip. I don’t drink so having a liquor flavored ice cream seemed weird of me to try, but I did and surprisingly I liked it. It was actually really good. You could most certainly taste the Jack Daniel’s, but the chucks of chocolate and brownies was awesome.

Overall, the chocolate expo went well especially around the waist. I ate so much junk food, but learned so much about my taste buds. All the different flavors..ah! It was so much fun.

Xo

Nicole

Jack Daniels Cupcakes

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Courtesy of Cafe Mom‘s site I found this (almost) easy recipe. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Chocolate J.D. Cupcakes
2 Cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) coco powder
2 cups (14.5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup super strong coffee
1/2 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In separate bowl (I use a 4 or 8 cup measuring vessel) combine the eggs, coffee, whiskey, buttermilk and oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into prepared cupcake cups…(I use 4 ounce souffle cups also known as nut and portion cups) I only fill half full and they come right up to the top.
Bake in preheated oven about 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache
16 ounces good quality dark chocolate 65-72 %, chopped into small pieces 1/4 inch or less.
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey

Instructions:
place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
heat heavy cream until just boiling.  Pour over chocolate.
Cover chocolate and cream for 2 minutes to allow chocolate to soften.  Uncover and stir with whisk until smooth and silky.
stir in butter until fully incorporated.
stir in whiskey until fully incorporated, cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Buttercream
1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1- 3 ounce package white chocolate, vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding mix
2 cups Dark Chocolate Whiskey ganache
1/2 cup sifted dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
more whiskey to taste

Instructions:
In stand mixer beat the butter and pudding mix together on medium high speed for 5 minutes or so.
Turn off, add the ganache, cocoa powder and heavy cream.  Beat for another 5 minutes.
Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time, tasting as you go until it is sweet enough for you then beat on medium high for at least 5 more minutes.
If it isn’t a strong enough whiskey taste for you add Tablespoon by Tablespoon of whiskey until it is to your liking.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Enjoy! xo

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Courtesy of the Brown Eyed Baker‘s blog found this lovely cupcake ;p. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Bake Time: 17 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

Enjoy! xo

Guinness & Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

On Une-Deuxsenses‘s blog you can find the step by step recipe to make these delish cupcakes. Check out their site as well as the creicpe below:

Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Original recipe can be found here.
For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout beer/ Guinness
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsn. butter, room temperature
2 tsp. Irish whiskey OR Bailey’s Irish cream
For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
8 tbsn. unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 – 8 tbsn. Bailey’s Irish cream
(I also used some half&half to thin the frosting out w/o adding more alcohol)
Directions:

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside. Combine stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add stout mixture and beat to combine. Mix in dry ingredients on low until incorporated. Divide batter among cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

To make the ganache, place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Heat cream in saucepan until simmering, then pour over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Add butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined. Set aside until cool and thick enough to be piped (you can use the refrigerator to speed the process but stir every 10 minutes to ensure even cooling). Meanwhile, cut a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method and once the ganache is of the right consistency, pipe the ganache into the centers.
To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium high until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until incorporated. Mix in Bailey’s until smooth. Add more if necessary until frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired and enjoy!
Enjoy! xo

Mojito Cupcakes

On 6Bittersweets‘ and Sharin the Ninja‘s sites they show step by step of how to make these Mojito Cupcakes. Check out their sites as well as the recipe below:

Mojito Cupcake:

1 cup milk or soymilk
1/2 C fresh mint, roughly chopped and bruised
Zest and juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp juice)
2 tsp dark rum
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
3/4 cup sugar
Lime Rum Frosting (Recipe below)
2 more limes sliced OR fresh mint leaves, to garnish

Combine milk and mint leaves in a small pot over medium heat until hot but NOT BOILING. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Pass the milk through a strainer to remove mint leaves, but press on the leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Whisk the mint-infused milk and lime juice in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.

In large bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest and rub thoroughly to infuse the sugar with lime flavor. Add the milk mixture, oil, and rum, if using, and beat thoroughly. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain [small ones are okay].

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Pipe or spread frosting on cupcakes and garnish with lime slices.

Lime Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 6 chunks
Pinch of salt
2 tsp dark rum
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 drops green food coloring, optional

Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together just until fully combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the cold cream cheese a chunk at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the rum and lime juice and mix just until incorporated. Taste the frosting, adding more sugar if needed. Add the food coloring, if using, one drop at a time and combining thoroughly after each, until you have the color you want.

Enjoy! xo

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

I’ve actually had these before and although I’m not a big fan of Mountain Dew they are pretty tasty. This recipe comes from All Things Cupcakes. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Mountain Dew Cupcakes
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup Mountain Dew
1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice (juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime)
zest from 1 lemon and 2 limes (separate into 2 piles, one for buttercream)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter on medium for 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar and lemon, lime zest. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, Scrape sides of bowl in between additions
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Turn on low for 5 seconds.
5. Add the Mountain Dew, lemon/lime juice, and lemon extract . Mix to combine.
5. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Mountain Dew Buttercream
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Mountain Dew
Juices from half of 1 lemon and half of 1 lime.
Lemon and lime zest (rest of zest from cupcake recipe. Or zest from half of 1 lemon and 1 whole lime)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
neon green food coloring (yellow and blue if you dont have green)

1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
2. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy
3. Add half of the sugar, turn mixer on low for 5 seconds.
4. Add the Mountain Dew, zest, and lemon extract . Beat until combined.
5. Add food coloring to the desired color.
6. Gradually add remaining sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Enjoy! xo

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

I’ve never had these, but they are on my list of cupcakes to try. This recipe comes from Cocobean and Me. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes
adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’
makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes
1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 Cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 Cup Coca-Cola
1/4 cup marachino cherry syrup
24 marachino cherries

Cola Icing
1 cup Icing sugar
2 tbsp cola

Preheat the oven to 350 F.In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla in a second bowl. In a saucepan, boil the Coca-Cola, and cherry syrup gently for five minutes. Melt in the butter and cocoa powder. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients, beating until everything is blended.
Pour into the cupcake pans and push a cherry into the center of each cupcake. Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
When cool drizzle over the Cola Icing and let dry. Top with cherry buttercream and a cherry.

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

Enjoy! xo

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

Yes, you read right: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes. I’m part of this fabulous website Pinterest. It’s a virtue pinboard where you can pretty much find any kind of recipe, how to, craft, party idea, even invitation ideas. I L-O-V-E it. All of my recipes have come from here along with various cook books. Recently I found this recipe.

Your Cup of Cake is by far one of the best cupcake websites out there. I found this Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcake recipe along with many others, but this is one that I’m most likely going to try. Check out the recipe below.

Cinnamon Cake:
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
Vanilla Cake Mix (not white cake mix)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch, lightly crushed

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Buttercream:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder (Crush the cereal in a bag then sift out 2/3)

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with 20-22 cupcake liners.
2.    In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
3.    Mix in sour cream.
4.    Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth.
5.    Stir in lightly crushed cereal.
6.   Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7.    Buttercream: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar.  Adjust the consistency using milk if it is too thick.
8.   Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares.
Enjoy!
By the way if you’re on Pinterest too: click here to follow me 🙂

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Courtesy of Amy Bites, I found this fantastic and oh so delicious Harry Potter inspired Butterbeer Cupcakes. I grew up in the Harry Potter era. I remember when Harry Potter first came out. So, these cupcakes were a must in my book. Everyone I know who has gone The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL says it very much resembles their famous Butterbeer. Below Check out Amy Bites‘s site as well as the recipe below!

Makes 18

For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

For the ganache:
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

Instructions:

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.

Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.

For butterscotch filling: In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.

For buttercream frosting: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.

Enjoy!