Monday, July 30, 2012

Key Lime Cupcakes

Oh hello!!

Things have been super hectic with the end of school, but now that summer is here I will be blogging lots of delish treats for you! Today I have a recipe for a very summery cupcake that is a family fave! During the summer, I get many requests for Key Lime Pie. It is super easy to make (I will post my recipe soon!) and tastes like summer! Last summer, I thought of translating the flavor into a cupcake for the farmers market I was selling at. I found this recipe over at the very cute "elly says opa!" and made a few tweaks. They were a big hit, so I thought they would be perfect to bring to the cookout with a few teacher friends we attended this weekend!

In my opinion, the best part of these cupcakes is the filling. I could eat it by the spoonful! You will want to make the filling first because it has to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I prefer to use fresh key lime juice, but key limes can be hard to find. I have used "Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice" and I love the flavor! The recipe calls for lime zest in the batter. I found that the zest took away from the key lime flavor, so I decided to omit it.

Key Lime Filling   
8 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup key lime juice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds with a hand mixer.  Increase the speed to medium and blend for 2 minutes.

Refrigerate {uncovered} for at least 2 hours.

Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

2 1/4  cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg whites
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add egg whites, beating well after each addition.  Add eggs, beating well after each addition.

Combine milk, vanilla, and sour cream in a bowl, whisking until incorporated.

With electric mixer at low speed, add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter. This batter will be a little on the thicker side, so an ice cream scoop will come in handy!

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely and the filling has chilled for at least two hours, you can fill the cupcakes! Remove the centers with an apple corer. Put the filling in a pastry bag and fill the cupcakes. I prefer using a round tip, but if you don't have one, you can just cut the bottom off of the bag and fill that way. Be generous because you are going to have extra filling. 

Key Lime Buttercream
Makes enough to frost two dozen cupcakes

1 1/4  cups  unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
6 TBSP key lime juice
splash of vanilla

Cream together the butter, 4 cups of the sugar, key lime juice, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. I added a few extra squirts of key lime juice because it was looking a little thick and I piped my frosting. I also wanted a nice tart flavor to the buttercream, so this extra juice gave it that kick!

You could garnish with some graham cracker crumbs if you'd like!
{Recipe slightly adapted from elly says opa!}

I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer! I will be back soon with some blueberry recipes for you!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blackberry Mint Julep Cupcakes

Oh hello!

I am back again with another cupcake recipe for you! This boozy little gem cam to fruition on Friday night as Seth and I were perusing the latest Food and Wine magazine. We spotted a recipe for a Blackberry Mint Julep and my first thought, of course, was how delish that would be in cupcake form. Now I know we are a week past the Derby, but in my mind, it is always a good time for bourbon and blackberries. Most of the existing mint julep cupcake recipes I found used mint extract, but I didn't want to use extract in the cupcakes or the frosting. So I sort of improvised with fresh mint and I think the balance was perfect!

Blackberry Mint Julep Cupcakes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped very fine
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the bourbon, vanilla and mint; mix well. 
Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. The batter will be fairly thick. 
Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. I used an ice cream scoop and one full scoop was the perfect amount of batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

For the filling, I used my Raspberry Filling Recipe, but I just substituted frozen blackberries. When the cupcakes are cool, remove the centers with an apple corer and fill them with the filling. You can spoon the filling in since it is thick, or use a pastry bag and tip.

Fresh Mint Julep Frosting 
2 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
4 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped very fine
5 tablespoons bourbon
2 - 3 tablespoons milk

Beat butter, bourbon, mint, and salt until smooth.  The constancy might look a little grainy, but don't worry, it doesn't stay that way for very long.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Frost as desired and garnish with a fresh blackberry!
{cupcakes and frosting source: adapted from Baked Perfection}

I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

let's start at the very beginning...

Oh hello!!!

Welcome to afters & such! I am so very excited to have a place to share my recipes and all of the other little fun ideas that swirl around in my head all day long. So for my first post, I thought I would share a Springy cupcake recipe that may just have the very best frosting I have ever tasted in my life!

I came up with this combo for our Easter brunch and then baked them again this week for a friend who needed some treats for work. I had made all of the elements before separately and thought putting them together might be a delicious idea. And it was. I started with one of my fave recipes, a lemon-limcello cupcake that is super moist and flavorful. I wanted to incorporate raspberries, so I whipped up a raspberry filling and topped it off with a white chocolate buttercream recipe that I found on Pinterest. These cupcake are perfect for a Spring party. Or just because. Sometimes that is the best reason to bake!

Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice, minus a tablespoon*
Zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. 

On low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest (I used organic lemons from Trader Joes for the zest) and mix on low speed just until incorporated. 

Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. I fill the cupcake liners a little more than usual as these cupcakes do not rise all that much.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. I baked mine for 18 minutes and they were perfect. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack. 

*I added an extra tablespoon of limoncello, so I offset this addition by adding less lemon juice.

{source: slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker}

Raspberry Filling
Makes enough to fill a dozen cupcakes (there will be extra)
2 cups of frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed with 1/4 cup of sugar
1 and 1/4 cups of water
1/3 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, sugar, corn starch, and lemon juice. Mix well (I used a fork to kind of break up the corn starch and help it blend better). Heat and stir until the mixture becomes thick and starts to boil. Let this mixture cool completely and then stir in the thawed raspberries.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer to remove the centers of the cupcakes. Put the filling in a pastry bag to fill (I used a Wilton round 1A tip). The raspberries are big, but they will slide right through the tip.

White Chocolate Buttercream
Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
6 ounces of white chocolate, chopped very fine
1/3 cup plus a tablespoon of whipping cream
1 1/2 to 2 cups of powered sugar, sifted

Place white baking chocolate in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

In a small saucepan heat whipping cream just until simmering. Pour over white baking chocolate; let stand, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth; let stand for 15 minutes. 

Gradually beat butter into melted white chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beating until combined. Beat in powdered sugar (I add 1/2 cup at a time) until frosting reaches piping or spreading consistency. Frost as desired!

*Tip: the smaller the pieces of white chocolate, the easier they are to melt and then piping will be easier.

{source: slightly adapted from BHG}

Here is what my finished product looked like:

I apologize for not having more pictures! I promise next post will be more visual!

I have to thank the lovely ladies at Hello Monday Design for creating my new logo as well as this elegant blog. They are amazing!!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!