Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smores Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday. They were pretty darn easy and show stoppers! Tons of people kept coming up asking how to make these. Well, if your wondering - here's how:

Makes 24 cupcakes:
1 large package of mini marshmallows
1.5 c Graham Crackers
5 tbsp Butter (melted)
.25 c Granulated Sugar
Box Chocolate Cake Mix - plus req ingredients (oil, water, eggs)
Optional topping of Hershey bar pieces or additional graham crackers

First - preheat oven according to box mix. Prepare 1 package of about 10 crackers (my box came in 3 packages to a box) - crush them in a food mixer until crumbs, add 5 tbsp of melted butter and 1/4 cup of sugar. Place a heaping spoonful of mixture in each of the cupcake liners. Next take a small cup and squish the graham cracker mixture into a nice crust on the bottom of each liner (think making a cheesecake). Place in the oven and bake for 5 min.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate cake mix as directed on the box. Spoon the mixture into the liners to fill 3/4 full. Bake as directed on the box.

For the marshmallow topping, you need patience. Get everything out and ready to go before starting. A small sauce pan. A small bowl filled with mini marshmallows and your *cooled* cupcakes. Warning - only do small batches at a time. You want to use about 1/4-1/2 of the bag of marshmallows for melting and the others for sticking on top. Take a handful of marshmallows and put them in the sauce pan over medium heat and stir until melted. Next, icing a cupcake with melted marshmallow and then stick directly down into the bowl of marshmallows. The mini marshmallows will only stick when the melted marshmallow is really melted, gooey and hot. You can only do one at a time and about 4-5 before I recommend melting another handful. I reiterate -small batches are key. Once all cupcakes have been "topped", you can melt with a blow torch or the broiler. When using the broiler, watch your cupcakes like a hawk. They will only need 30 seconds to a minute!

I topped them with pieces of a Hershey bar or graham cracker. Optional. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

About two weeks before Memorial Day, I got a craving for pineapple upside down cake. I knew I was having a holiday BBQ, but cakes really aren’t ideal for grab and go. I decided to transform this into a cupcake. They went over really well, and are a relatively easy way to get fancy with your cupcakes.

I used Betty Crocker’s standard recipe, with a few modifications.

Gooey Yummy Topping (Tripled Betty Crocker Recipe)

1 cup butter or margarine (melted)
2 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
24 slices pineapple in juice (from 14-oz can), drained
12 maraschino cherries without stems, if desired

Batter: (doubled from Betty Crocker recipe to make 24 cupcakes)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup shortening
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

1. Heat Oven to 350.

2. Prep your pineapples slices. I used standard canned pineapple slices in pineapple juice. The ring is too big for a standard cupcake pan, so I used a cookie cutter to reduce the circle to fit. This is ubber messy, but for the overall look – worth it. I got frustrated for a little while and just cut up some of the slices and sprinkled around the cherry which also works and you can probably use 1/3 to ½ less pineapple slices (since there is no waste).

3. Prepare the melted butter, add brown sugar and stir until mixed. Do not use cupcake liners. Add a large spoonful to each cupcake mold (enough to cover the bottom generously). Next, add the pineapple and ½ cherry to each mold.

4. In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries. I filled the molds mostly to the top since this isn’t an incredible rising cake. You’ll notice the batter is almost a bit dense.

5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake a few minutes so brown sugar mixture can drizzle over cake; remove pan. I used baking sheets to do this and it worked pretty well. In a few cases, the pineapples stuck and I had to loosen and re-attach to the cupcake, but it all worked out. Turn each cupcake over so the pineapple is on top and place in a liner. Served best warm. Tip - Throw in the micro for 15 seconds each if prepped ahead of time.

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