Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

These babies are a labor of love, I tell ya. The end result is so fun looking and delicious, but these are definitely not in the “throw something together quickly” camp. A standard white cake with 3(!) icing flavors to mimic a scoop of Neopolitan ice cream, and of course, the fixin’s… sprinkles, hot fudge drizzle, and a cherry on top. I brought these to work and was told this flavor quickly propelled to the top of several coworkers’ fave flavor list! I think they would be adorable for an ice cream themed party 😊🍦 I might try making them in ice cream cones next time! 

Ingredients (makes 2 dozen cupcakes):

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 2¾ cups (11 oz.) flour
  • 1½ cups (10.5 oz) sugar
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. (¾ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the frostings

  • 1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (3 sticks plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup finely diced strawberries 

For garnish

  • Sprinkles
  • Hot fudge sauce
  • Maraschino cherries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degreees Fahrenheit and line muffin tins with liners. In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of milk, the egg whites, and extracts. Whisk to combine, then set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix gently for 30 seconds, then add butter. Mix until reaches the texture of wet sand. Add the other 3/4 cup of milk and mix just until combined. Finally, add the egg white mixture in 3 parts, mixing for about 20 seconds between additions. Divide batter equally among wells. Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning halfway through baking. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 


While your cupcakes are cooling, start on your icings. Place butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium with the whisk attachment until smooth, ~1 minute. Turn mixer down to slow speed and slowly add confectioner’s sugar. Gradually increase speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Slow speed again and add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until lift and fluffy, ~4-5 minutes. Take half of the icing out and place either in a small bowl or directly into pastry bag. Divide what’s left in the bowl into two, leaving one portion in the bowl. Melt chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between. Once melted, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then add on low speed to vanilla icing already in mixing bowl. Beat until fully combined. In a new, clean bowl, place the second smaller portion of vanilla icing and your strawberries. Again, beat until fully combined. 

Begin by piping vanilla icing onto the top of each cupcake, then smoothing down flat across top and sides. 

Pour some sprinkles on a plate, then slowly roll the edges of the cupcakes in the sprinkles until you have a sprinkle border all the way around. 

Next, squeeze a dollop of vanilla icing on top of each cupcake. If you have a small scoop, like a melon baller or small dough scoop, that would be perfect too! Repeat with the chocolate and strawberry icings. *Note: this batch my colors did not turn out as vibrant in the past because I’d subbed cocoa powder for the chocolate in a pinch and leftover strawberry cream cheese icing. Normally the chocolate and strawberry are much more vibrant; I’ve just not photographed the good ones. 😂* 

Next, drizzle a small amount of hot fudge sauce in the center of each cupcake. 

And last but not least, the cherry! 

There you have it! Like I said, SUPER cute and fun, just a few more steps than my average cupcake. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! 

Original idea, cake and vanilla icing recipe adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.

Mocha Brownie Cupcakes

Let me preface this by saying these are not your average cupcake. The first time I made these, I had just started out in my baking adventures and thought I’d massively screwed these up. The cupcake’s texture itself is not what you’d expect from a cupcake; it’s more like it’s namesake… denser, richer… In short, more like a brownie. The rich chocolate gets a boost from some espresso powder and even more of a coffee punch from some coffee liqueur, then the delightful cake gets topped with a fluffy, coffee-infused buttercream. Definitely not for those who don’t like that coffee-chocolate flavor combo, but I wouldn’t bother spending time with someone like that. 😜 

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup coffee liqueur

For the frosting:

  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 tsp hot coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth, stirring between.  

 Set aside and allow to cool slightly. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until light. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the coffee liqueur until well combined.  

  

Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until combined and no dry streaks remain. Fill each liner about 2/3 full with batter. . Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs. Allow to cool in the pans about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

 To make the frosting, beat the butter in your stand mixer bowl on medium-high speed until smooth.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar on low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and light. Mix in the coffee granules, hot coffee and vanilla extract until completely incorporated.  

  Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and enjoy! 

  
*The only place I’ve found espresso powder locally has been Sur La Table. This is what it looks like in case you’re out hunting for it!  It adds a nice richness to chocolate desserts without necessarily making it taste like coffee. Happy baking! 😀

 

Recipe adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.

French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

Confession time (again): I don’t like French toast. I’m not sure what it is about it, but I’ve never been a huge fan. Same goes for maple syrup- 1 well-intentioned, syrup covered waffle from an aunt following a sleepover when I was about 7 or 8 years old ruined me for the sticky sweet condiment. When I found this recipe, however, I knew I’d have to give it a try. It’s one of those classic flavor combinations folks just seem to love. Let me tell you, the cupcake version did not disappoint! Vanilla cake full of fall spices topped with buttery brown sugar streusel, finished off with an air maple buttercream? Sure to please the French toast lover in your life. This cake is pretty sweet so you can leave off the dusting of confectioners’ sugar- I just liked the way it looked. 😊 Happy baking! 

Ingredients:

For the streusel:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling if desired
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tbsps heavy cream

Directions:

Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lining cupcake tins with liners, about 24. First, make the streusel. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squeezing the pieces in to mix it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and mix well on medium-low speed, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.

Place three tablespoons of batter In each liner, then sprinkle with streusel. Bake for 20 minutes, turning your tin(s) halfway through baking. Transfer to cooling rack.  

 

(Wow, I was slacking on the photo taking for this recipe! 😁)

While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a clean stand mixer bowl, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Slowly add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, until combined. Add the vanilla, salt, and syrup.  

 

Finally, add the heavy cream and beat on high until smooth and fluffy, or about 4 minutes. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar, if desired. 

  

Recipe adapted slightly from Bakingdom.

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

When it comes to my prework caffination choices, I have 2 standbys: skinny caramel macchiato with soy milk, and chai tea lattes. So when I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I’d have to try my hand at it. It got buried in my cupcake board, but I recently rediscovered it and made them right away. Oh, am I glad to have made these! A light, spongy vanilla cake gets a kick from a lovely mix of chai spices and topped with a creamy cinnamon frosting. I was a little worried that a cinnamon buttercream would be too spicy and overwhelming, but it was just perfect. If you love a good chai, you’ll love these cupcakes!

Ingredients:

For the chai spice mix:

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp chai spice mix
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • Remainder of chai spice mix 
  • 1 tbsp cold mix, if needed to thin frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a cupcake pan with liners, about 16 per batch. In a small bowl, combine the chai spice mix ingredients. Set aside.  

Next, beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer on medium-high speed. Lower speed and add the vanilla. Beat in one egg at a time, then stir in the chai spice mix. Add the flour and buttermilk alternately and mix until combined. Finally, add the baking soda and vinegar until completely combined. 

 
Scoop batter into prepared pans, filling liners about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
 

Mmmm, spicy goodness.

While your cupcakes are cooling, let’s whip up the frosting.  In a the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla extract and the rest of the chai spice mix. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, and gradually increase speed. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with a piece of cinnamon stick.   

 

Recipe adapted from The Culinary Enthusiast.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

I don’t know about you, but something about an Oreo makes me want to devour an entire row of them after eating a single one. Incorporating them into a cupcake? Seems downright sinful. Chopped up Oreos get folded into a fluffy white cake and topped with a gooey frosting reminiscent of the creamy, classic filling and sprinkled with cookie crumbs. What a treat indeed! 😄 I made these for a friend’s baby’s 1st birthday party and I think they went over well… I know Jack enjoyed his, so much so that he tried to swipe another 😁 Happy baking!

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes: 
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached 
2 1/4 cups flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp salt 
8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 2/3 cup sugar 
3 large egg whites, room temperature 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup milk 
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

For the frosting: 
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature 
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 tbsp vanilla extract 
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream

For garnish: 
1/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs 
12 Oreo cookies, halved (optional) 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cupcake tins with liners (about 24). Place an Oreo half with cream attached in each well, cream side up.

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Coursely chop up those 20 Oreos…trying not to snack on the ensuing mountain of yum…set them aside!

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 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Do the same with then milk, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

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Divide batter evenly into liners…

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And bake for about 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While those babies are cooling, let’s make some frosting! Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Blend in the vanilla extract. Slow the speed down and beat in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for a few more minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired.

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Sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top, and if using, add on Oreo half (as pictured at the beginning of the post). Perfection!

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Recipe from Master Cook via Annie’s Eats (her recipe is no longer posted on her site for some reason, but this is the version I have printed).

Salted Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

When thinking about flavor profiles that go well together, I don’t know any I don’t automatically go to sweet + salty, . Sweet, yes. Salty, yes. Together? Oh yes. Throw some buttery smooth caramel sauce into the mix and you have one decadent little cupcake. I’ve found several salted chocolate caramel cupcake recipes and they almost always use a caramel buttercream. While I’m sure it’s delicious, I wanted to stick with a chocolate-caramel ganache (inspired by the Flying Cupcake, of course). Have a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee on hand because ooooo-whee are they rich!

Ingredients:
For the caramel sauce:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
For the ganache:
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsps vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:
Start by making the caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, cooking until it foams and turns an amber color.
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Off the heat, stir in the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Set aside to cool. Now the ganache! I know, I know, this all seems backwards. But you have to give the caramel time to cool and the ganache time to set up… Trust me, I’m doing you a solid here. 😉 Add your chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring between. When completely melted and smooth, add your warmed heavy cream and blend well.
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Add some of the caramel sauce (I’d guesstimate about 1/4 cup, more if you’d like more caramel flavor) and blend. Set aside until thick and spreadable. *Note: this can take up to 4 hours…do NOT put in the fridge to speed this up. You’ll end up with lumpy ganache!*
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Now that those are done, let’s make some cuppy cakes! Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare cupcake pans with 24 liners. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add the water, oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Fill 2/3 full of batter and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. Once cool, put some of your caramel sauce into a pastry bag with a small round tip or a squirt bottle and inject a fair amount into each cupcake. This can get messy!
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Once you’ve got your cupcakes injected with caramel, pipe thickened ganache onto cupcakes. Sprinkle each with sea salt and serve!
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Caramel sauce recipe from Annie’s Eats, ganache recipe from Real Simple, cake recipe from Rachael Ray magazine.

Banana Cupcakes with Cookie Butter Frosting

So I don’t think I’ve made it any secret that I loooooove Trader Joe’s. My obsession, to some, could be deemed unhealthy. Every time I go, I feel like I find something new to add to our ever-growing list of standards/must-haves. One day, I happened upon something near the peanut/almond/cashew/whatever you can think of butters… Cookie butter. Cookie butter? Yes, my friends. A thousand times YES.
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I tried the original creamy style and a new love was born. The cocoa and cookie swirl, just… Stop it. Smear some of that goodness on graham crackers and I’d live off of it. It’s basic flavor profile is like a Bischoff cookie, notes of cinnamon and ginger with just the right amount of sweetness. So it got me thinking… Something this delicious would be A-MAH-ZING as frosting. Right? Right. I’ve made this now with both banana and mocha cupcakes, the banana being the majority winner. I’m far too lazy to rewrite the whole banana cupcake recipe 😜, so click here for my go-to.

Ingredients:
1 cup original cookie butter (I’ve used crunchy and creamy, use whichever texture you like better!)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsps milk

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cookie butter on medium speed until completely smooth.
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With mixer on low speed, add the confectioner’s sugar til well combined. It gets pretty thick, don’t worry! Now add the milk and increase speed. Mix until smooth and dreamy. Mmmm.
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Pipe onto cupcakes of your choosing and ENJOY! Make sure you make enough to share. 😉
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Recipe by yours truly!