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.

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Salted Caramel Mocha Fudge

Christmas baking is in full swing around here and I don’t know about you, but I can’t let the season pass without making some fudge! In the past I’ve made plain chocolate and peanut butter fudges for our annual family goodie gifts, but I wanted something a little fancier this year. Enter this little beauty of a recipe. I’m a big fan of the salty/sweet combination lately and I looooove the Starbucks drink of similar flavors. This fudge was no disappointment! Super rich chocolate, a sweet drizzle of caramel and a little sprinkle of sea salt. Are you drooling yet? Bonus- this recipe makes a HUGE batch, so you’ll have plenty to share… If you really want to share. 😉

Ingredients:

Makes (1) 15 in x 10 in x 1 in pan, or ~ 5 pounds

  • 4 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate 
  • 25 (almost 1 bag) marshmallows 
  • 1 bag (2 cups) soft caramels
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

First, line your pan with wax paper- enough that some hangs over the sides. In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and espresso powder over medium-high heat.

 Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat slightly and keep at a rolling boil for about 2 minutes (keep stirring!).  

 
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of the chocolate and the marshmallows. 

  Pour the boiling hot mixture over the top… 

 Then beat with the whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes. You’ll have to stop and scrape the bowl a couple of times- it’s pretty sticky!  

 While your fudge is mixing, combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until completed melted and smooth.  

 Now, the fun stuff. 😜 Pour that big ol’ bowl of chocolate into the pan, spreading evenly. Then take the caramel and drizzle over the top…  

 And swirl into the chocolate with the top of a knife.  

 Then sprinkle with sea salt. Oooooh, mama.  

 Resist the urge to eat spoonfuls of this piping hot tray of deliciousness and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, then slice into squares. I got between 60-70ish per pan and could have gotten more… The squares honestly don’t need to be huge; this fudge is RICH. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

  

 

 Recipe from Shugary Sweets.

THE BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

I will preface this recipe by saying I can take zero credit for any of it. Not its creation, not purchasing the cookbook it came from… I’m not even entirely sure I found the recipe in the book. My mother in law gifted us the Better Homes & Garden’s Prizewinning Recipe book at our wedding shower over six years ago, and I’ll be honest- it didn’t get much use early on. As I’ve grown into cooking more at home (and obviously baking), I’ve found several excellent recipes in its pages. I suppose that’s why “prizewinning” is in the title, eh? 😜

Anyway, these cookies are about as perfect and classic as they come. Crunchy edges, soft and chewy center, with juuuuust the right amount of chocolate. Friends and coworkers love when I show up with these, and it’s definitely a favorite in our house when we’re craving something sweet. Plus it makes a good amount of cookies, so you’ll have dough leftover to freeze for your next chocolate chip cookie fix. Winning indeed! 

Ingredients (makes about 4 dozen cookies):

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (1 package) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 medium cookie sheets with parchment. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and shortening on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add sugars, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined, then beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, add flour until no dry streaks remain. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. *Adorable, pants-less, chocolate chip stealing helper optional.  

 Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

 
Recipe from Better Homes & Garden’s Prizewinning Recipes, pg. 244. 

PB & J Cupcakes

PB&J. Was there ever a more classic combination? My weird, picky childhood self was never fond of the flavor of jelly and I’ve yet to grow into it. However, these were a big hit with the mister and my coworkers! A fluffy, crumbly peanut butter cake gets a jelly filling, then topped with airy whipped peanut butter frosting and another dollop of jelly in the middle. Are you drooling yet? These bad boys are RICH so make sure you’ve got a tall, cold glass of milk to go with one of these treats. 😊

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

For the filling and topping:

  • Grape and/or strawberry jam

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

Directions:

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lining cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In the bowl of your stand  mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the peanut butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition, then add the sour cream or yogurt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until no dry streaks remain.  

 Divide the batter between the prepared liners filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

 
While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a clean stand mixer bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and salt. Reduce speed and add vanilla  and heavy cream just until combined, then whip on high speed for 3-4 minutes.  

 To fill the cupcakes, use a cupcake corer or small paring knife to cut a small cone from each cupcake. Reserve a disc from each core to cover the filling. Fill each cupcake with a small glob of grape or strawberry jam (I found it easier to use a pastry bag with a small, round tip to fill mine, but do what suits you). Replace the cake discs over the filling.  

 Finally, let’s finish these beauties! Transfer frosting to a pastry bag with a large open top. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Use the tip of a small offset spatula or a small spoon to scoop an indentation out of the center of the frosting (I used a small measuring teaspoon).  

 Fill the indentation with a small scoop of jam. Voila!  
 
Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Toasted Marshmallow Cookie Bars

Warming: if you AT ALL dislike getting messy while cooking/baking, this is not the recipe for you. Marshmallows get toasted and chopped up and while the process is a sticky mess, the outcome is oh-so-amazing. Finger lickin good, you might say. 😉 Try these for your next summer/fall get together, or just because it’s Tuesday. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz regular or jumbo marshmallows 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla 

Directions:

Toast your marshmallows on all sides however you choose. I was pretty fancy- slid them on a skewer, then used my stovetop burner.  

 

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment, and cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.   

Once your marshmallows have set, prepare the rest of the cookie dough! Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lining an 8×8 baking pan with parchment, leaving enough to hang over the sides. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugars, and seeds from the vanilla bean on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Turn mixer to low speed and add dry ingredients until just combined. 

Next, chop up your marshmallows as best you can. I quartered mine and that was more than enough chopping with something so sticky!  I did find dampening my knife every few chops did help. 

 
Add your chopped marshmallows to the cookie dough and mix until no large globs remain.  

 
Transfer the dough to your prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer.  

 
If you look closely, you can see the toasty bits and vanilla seeds. Mmmmm! 😋  

 
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Slice into bars and devour! 

Makes 16-20 bars

Recipe 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.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Growing up, I never would have even tried a lemon dessert. If it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t dessert. Recently though, I can’t seem to get enough of the flavor combined with fruit! These strawberry lemonade cupcakes are my most recent flavor foray and and they were a big hit with the girls at work! These are great for summer time, and would be super cute incorporated into a lemonade stand-themed party. 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • Lemon juice for brushing (optional)

For the frosting: 

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 18 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Begin by preheating oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and lining cupcake tins with liners, about 21-22 for this recipe. Chop your strawberries and zest your lemon, then stop and admire your handwork while taking biiiiig whiffs of the delicious scent wafting from the bowls…  

 

Mm mm, yes.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at time. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add in the milk and mix until smooth. Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula. 

 
Fill each liner about 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating tins halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
 

While your cupcakes are cooling, poke a few holes in the tops and drizzle with lemon juice if you want a nice kick of lemon flavor.  

 
Otherwise, move on to your frosting! Purée your strawberries and strain to remove seeds; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat again until smooth. Drizzle in the lemon juice and vanilla until incorporated. Finally, add the strawberry purée until you reach your desired texture and flavor (I added 6 or 7 tablespoons).  

 

Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy! 😎

Recipe adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.