Apple Cider Cupcakes/Salted Caramel Buttercream

This is going to be another one of those fall favorites that I will incorporate annually. Yum!

Here’s the thing about these cupcakes…They’re awesome. However, I had some seriouussss issues with the frosting. I mean serious. I had to go to the store and make a whole new batch…my way. It was chunky and the butter was turning into a melted mess. I should have taken a photo, it was just yuck. It may be the case that I don’t know how to melt caramels or that I used an extra stick of butter instead of shortening, but either way, the frosting turned out horrendous. The frosting on here is therefore the modified version that I came up with. You can find the link to the original recipe below.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c. AP flour
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened (I use unsalted)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon-(a heaping tsp., I like spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 (approximately) of a 14 oz. jar of caramel topping. Honestly, I would add this to taste.

Directions

Cupcakes

  1. Make sure all refrigerated items are at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until a tooth pick can be removed cleanly from the center.
  2. Combine sugar and butter in a bowl and mix for 5 minutes until well combined and fluffy
  3. Combine rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (apple cider & vanilla) in another. Do not add eggs until end.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, mix well. Add 1/3 of the wet ingredients, mix well. Repeat steps until all ingredients are added.
  5. Add eggs, one egg and a time.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake.

Frosting

  • Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix until well combined and fluffy.
  • Add salt. I try to cook with salt very little, so I’m extremely sensitive to the salt taste. If you like salt, use 1 tsp. However, I will probably half that the next time I make this frosting.
  • Add the caramel. I was unsure of the amount, so I kept gradually adding caramel until I liked the flavor.

Decorating: I was short on time, but quickly made stems and leaves for my cupcakes out of melted chocolate. I used the same procedure for the stem and leaf as I did for my butterfly cupcakes.

Original Recipe from Something Swanky

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I am not sure what copyright laws are when it comes to posting photo’s, but that is a Starbucks cup next to my cupcake. However, my cupcake is in no way affiliated with starbucks. The cupcake is just posing with the cup 😉

One of my favorite cupcakes for the fall is Pumpkin Spice LattĂ©. I’ve made these several times and they’ve been a hit every time. I’ve previously posted this particular recipe on my blog, so you can find the recipe and details HERE.

I’ve been playing around with frosting recipes to go with this cupcake and I FINALLY found the perfect match. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Uh yum.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add sugar, one cup at a time.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Mix until combined.

I recommend adding a drizzle of caramel to the top of the cupcakes. I ran out of caramel and didn’t want to make yet another run to the store, so I omitted it. Although, I think it would really solidify the whole Pumpkin Spice LattĂ© kind of theme.

Original recipe found on Baked to Perfection.

Mushroom, Onion, and Spinach Pasta

This recipe has lots of healthy ingredients….But, they’re masked by not so healthy ingredients. It’s delicious and simple though! Most time consuming part is the prep work.

Ingredients

Pasta

  • Cook however much pasta you like. I personally cook two servings so I have leftovers!
  • Packaged and precut baby bella mushrooms
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Half an onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • Marsala wine

Asparagus

  • Packaged and precut asparagus
  • Salt and pepper-to taste
  • EVOO
  • Parmesan cheese

Bread

  • I cheated and bought frozen premade garlic/5 cheese bread (a.k.a texas toast).

Directions

Pasta

  1. Cook pasta according to cooking directions on box. I used angel hair pasta for this dish.
  2. In a sauté pan, coat pan with EVOO and add mushrooms, sliced onions, garlic, and spinach.
  3. Once the mushrooms have darkened and the onions have softened, add the Marsala wine. I don’t have a specific amount I use. Typically I add enough to be a nice base for a sauce. I won’t add too much where the marsala covers the ingredients in the pan.
  4. I turn the heat just above medium and let the wine begin to boil and add 1-2 tbsp of butter. This thickens the wine.
  5. When pasta is done, pour pasta into sauté pan, add parmesan cheese, and mix.

Asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place asparagus in a baking dish. Coat with EVOO and any desired spices.
  3. Roast for approximately 10 minutes.

Suggestions: I usually use a garlic herb finishing butter on the asparagus and mix the asparagus with sauteed mushrooms and onions. Since the pasta already had mushrooms and onions in it, I didn’t include them in the asparagus. You can also add lemon to the asparagus.

…and the worst part about cooking goes to CLEAN UP.

Yuck.

Not looking forward to the loads of pots and pans!

Naan Pizza

Have you ever heard of Naan? If not, don’t worry…I didn’t either. My cousin was the one who introduced Naan bread to the family, my mom fell in love, and I followed suit. Since I’m in grad school and extremely busy, I appreciate quick meals. It’s super easy to make, quick, and really good!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Naan (I bought the garlic flavored naan)
  • fresh tomatoes (I didn’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, so I used a jarred tomato and onion bruschetta toping that I had)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning-to taste
  • Pepper grinder-to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone in oven to heat.
  2. While oven is preheating. Brush EVOO lightly on bread. I wouldn’t use too much, considering lots of oil is produced once the cheese melts.
  3. Add fresh tomatoes (or sauce) and layer with fresh basil leaves.
  4. Thinly slice mozzarella and cover the pizza. If you would like the cheese to blend better together (it will make for a prettier presentation after melting) then you can use shredded mozzarella.
  5. Add seasoning and bake for 5-10 minutes. I typically will broil anything that has cheese on it, for about 2 minutes, so the cheese can brown.

“Wedding Cake” Cupcakes

Wedding Cake Cupcakes

I have a million cupcake recipes that I want to try, so I will be gradually finding excuses to make these delectable sweets! What’s my excuse for today? A neurobiology lab presentation! It was a stretch to make it work and totally geeky, but I did it 🙂 I’ll spare you and not explain the theory behind my cupcakes and neurobiology and instead I’ll just give you the recipe!

Cake:

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites

I ended up using a box of french vanilla cake, because the store did not have any white cake mixes that were 18.25 oz.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you’ll need approx. 36).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
  3. Use any scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Frosting:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.
  3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes as desired.