Weekly Winner #48

30 Jul

So, yes.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  But only 48 weeks in My Year of Cupcakes.  That’s because I fit 4 weeks into every month.  No overlap.  Nonetheless, there are 365 amazing cupcakes that filled this year…or there will be tomorrow.  So, here are this final week’s competitive cupcakes.

Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers-Cupcake-halved

Ginger Ale Cupcakes

Ginger Ale Cupcake

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate-Caramel-Cupcake

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Banana-Cream-Cupcake

Funnel Cake Cupcakes

Funnel-Cake-Cupcake

Mudslide Cupcakes

Mudslide-Cupcake

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Strawberry-Lemon-Cupcake

And, with 19.5 points, the winner is…

Banana-Cream-Cupcake

The Banana Cream Cupcakes from Every Day Desserts Blog.  Check out that adorable day here.  And check back tomorrow for the final Monthly Competition, featuring these yummies:

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Root-Beer-Float-Cupcake

French Toast Cupcakes

French-Toast-Cupcake

Reese’s Cupcakes

Reeses-Cupcake

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Banana-Cream-Cupcake

Day 364 – Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

30 Jul

Today is the last competitive cupcake.  Wow.  That’s a lot of cupcakes.  It called for something sweet.  Maybe tart.  And, cause it’s still summer, something refreshing.  Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (recipe below from The Cake Blog).

Lemonade-Cupcake     Mini-Lemonade-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense. A very solid cupcake. Nicely moist, but not wet. They are extremely tart. Like, sour lemon candy tart. Wow! Literally pursed my lips with the first bite.

Strawberry-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy and soft. It has a nice pink color with pretty flecks of red. It has a strong buttercream flavor (as in butter and sugar) with a really light strawberry flavor. I want more strawberry to shine through in the end, but it’s nice and light and sweet.

Strawberry-Lemon-Cupcake     Mini-Strawberry-Lemonade

The cupcake is still very, very tart. A lot stronger than the frosting. The frosting does add a little creaminess, but you’d have to pile it on to cut through the tart lemon flavor of the cupcake!

Strawberry-Lemon-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 18

Mini-Strawberry-Lemon-top

RECIPE

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (recipe from The Cake Blog)

Lemonade Cupcakes:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemonade powder mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tbsp strawberry puree
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • lemonheads

For directions visit The Cake Blog.

*Tomorrow: Stuffed BBQ Cupcakes*

Day 363 – Mudslide Cupcakes

29 Jul

Well, only a few more days.  I thought a “toast” was in order.  To the closing of a year of cupcakes.  And to toast this occasion: Mudslide Cupcakes (recipe below from The Curvy Carrot).  (Cupcakes which were, of course, tasted and judged by my alcoholic-cupcake-surrogate taster, my hubby, Ken.)

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are slightly dense and very sticky. The bite of the Kahlua ends almost bitter.  Pretty pointed alone.

Mudslide-Frosting

The frostings are both soft and creamy. They look a little bit like pudding. Delicious intense chocolate-Kahlua and Bailey’s.  Together they get mixed like they should and blends well.  The overall flavor reminds me of gelato with that combo.  Bailey’s frosting is especially nice.

Mudslide-Cupcake     Mini-Mudslide-Cupcake

Works quite well together.  The cupcake requires a healthy amount of frosting to balance.  I would almost like to have a center with additional frosting or chocolate of some sort.  Maybe even a sweet mascarpone.  Put a lot of frosting on top.  To make it more like a mudslide, I’d like to see some chocolate sauce either on top or, even better, in the center.

Mudslide-Cupcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 3 (you wash the mixing bowl 4 times for one cupcake, not hard, but tedious)
  • TOTAL: 18

Mini-Mudslide-top

RECIPE

Mudslide Cupcakes (recipe from The Curvy Carrot)

Cupcakes:

  • 3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup strong cold coffee
  • 3/4 cup Kahlua

Kahlua Buttercream:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (or more, if needed) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 3 tablespoons hot coffee

Bailey’s Buttercream:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved in curls

For directions visit The Curvy Carrot.

*Tomorrow: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes*

Day 362 – Funnel Cake Cupcakes

28 Jul

It’s summer.  There’s no doubt about it now.  It’s hot.  And humid.  But it’s not all bad.  Summer means fairs and festivals and, of course, fried food.  Anything you want.  Fried.  And at the top of my list: funnel cakes.  So, no way I could finish this year without trying these Funnel Cake Cupcakes (recipe below from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen).

Cinnamon-Cupcake     Mini-Cinnamon-Cupcake

The cupcakes are moderately dense and kinda chewy. Not overly moist, so not sticky, but still chewy. It has a strong cinnamon flavor with a little sweetness. Not as sweet as I would have expected. More spice.

Cinnamon-frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy. Very, very creamy. It’s got a good balance of cinnamon and sugar. It’s sweet with a little spice, but very understated.

Funnel-Cake

The funnel cakes are surprisingly easy to make. I was hesitant, but it worked perfectly on the first attempt!

Funnel-Cake-Cupcake     Mini-Funnel-Cake

The cupcake feels moister once it’s frosted. The cupcake is still really dense compared to the light, creamy frosting, so frost heavily! The cinnamon is the star, no doubt about that. So again, frost heavily to bring out the sweetness too.

Funnel-Cake-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 3.5 (funnel cakes are surprisingly simple!)
  • TOTAL: 18.5

Mini-Funnel-Cake-top

RECIPE

Funnel Cake Cupcakes (recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk

Frosting:

  • 2 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Funnel Cakes:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • About a cup of powdered sugar

For directions visit Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

*Tomorrow: Mudslide Cupcakes*

 

Day 361 – Banana Cream Cupcakes

27 Jul

Now.  I’ve never been a fan of banana cream pie.  To be fair, I’m not sure I’ve ever ordered it.  Cause, when it comes to pie, I’d rather have something chocolate.  (Shocking, I know!)  But these Banana Cream Cupcakes (recipe below from Everyday Desserts) looked simple and yummy.  And I’m happy with any reason to have Nilla Wafers in the house!

Banana-Cupcake     Mini-Banana-Cupcake

The cupcakes are extremely squishy and quite chewy. They have a very sweet banana flavor. The banana is obviously real, not imitation flavoring. It could double as a muffin, but with no cinnamon or spice involved, it still tastes like a cupcake.

Vanilla-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and soft. It’s a simple vanilla buttercream. Sugary and simple.

Banana-Cream-Cupcake     Mini-Banana-Cream-Cupcake

This is definitely a cupcake. Not a frosted muffin. It’s so soft and chewy. And sweet. It’s not too sweet. But definitely sweet. The banana flavor really shines through and complements the frosting nicely.

Banana-Cream-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 19.5

Mini-BC-top

RECIPE

Banana Cream Cupcakes (recipe from Everyday Desserts)

Banana Cupcakes:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ripened bananas

Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Banana slices (sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning)

For directions visit Everyday Desserts.

*Tomorrow: Funnel Cake Cupcakes*

Day 360 – Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

26 Jul

As the end of this year of cupcakes gets closer, I find that I crave some more basic cupcakes.  Let’s face it.  There have been some crazy flavors and combinations in the last 359 days.  But these Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream (recipe below from See Brooke Cook) sounded simple and yummy.

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense with a nice moistness. They’re not sticky, but far from dry. They have a nice, darker chocolate flavor. Almost a little coffee-flavored, but not bitter.

Salted-Caramel-Buttercream

The buttercream is soft and smooth. It has a dark caramel taste, but with a little sweetness. It is pretty dark, like the cupcakes. Almost a little coffee-flavored too, like the cupcakes.

Chocolate-Caramel-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Caramel-Cupc

Together these cupcakes are very rich. And very dark. The chocolate cuts through the bitterness of the caramel. It’s definitely not an overly sweet cupcake. But it is rich and decadent.

Chocolate-Caramel-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 18.5

Mini-Chocolate-Caramel-top

RECIPE

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream (recipe from See Brooke Cook)

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea

For directions visit See Brooke Cook.

*Tomorrow: Banana Cream Cupcakes*

Day 359 – Ginger Ale Cupcakes

25 Jul

Ginger Ale Cupcakes (recipe below from Sprinkle Bakes).  That’s unique, isn’t it?  I’ve had Coke cupcakes.  But never a Ginger Ale cupcake.

Ginger-Cupcake     Mini-Ginger-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and sticky-moist. They have a sweet, strong ginger flavor. The sweetness cupcakes first. Then you get a slap of ginger! Not bitter or bitey, just strong.

Ginger-Ale-Frostin

The frosting is thin and smooth. Almost glaze-like. It also has a very strong ginger flavor, though not quite as sweet as the cupcakes.

Note: I added almost double the confectioners sugar to the frosting, and it was still too thin to really pipe on. It’s possible my ginger ale mixture didn’t cook down enough, but I’m not really sure.

Ginger Ale Cupcake     Mini-Ginger-Ale-Cupcake

Together, there is no doubt that these are ginger-filled cupcakes. If you’re not a ginger fan, don’t go anywhere near these. But if you are, it’s a totally different story! They are sweet, but surprisingly not too sweet. The cupcake tastes a little sweeter than the frosting, so they meet in the middle when you put them together.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 16.5

RECIPE

Ginger Ale Cupcakes (recipe from Sprinkle Bakes)

Ginger Ale Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ginger ale

Ginger Ale Buttercream:

  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 sticks of butter softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

For directions visit Sprinkle Bakes.

*Tomorrow: Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream*

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