Recipe: Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream via @poorandpretty feature

As I was preparing to write this post, I realized the only photo you’ve ever seen of my “little” brother Chris is this one from when he was about 4. So here’s a more recent one – from his graduation from the Pre-Pharmacy program at UConn earlier this year!

Chris Graduation

Not so “little” anymore, right?!

Anyway, Chris loves Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but his birthday (October 26) tends to be a little on the chilly side. So I made him Mint Chocolate Cupcakes to celebrate his 23rd.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream recipe via @poorandpretty

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream Frosting – makes 12 regular cupcakes or about 60 minis.

For the cupcakes, I used the same recipe I did for my Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes because it’s perfect and the cupcakes come out so most!

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used dark chocolate melting wafers)
  • ¾ cup black tea or coffee, hot
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

And the frosting is my standard buttercream with peppermint essential oil and green food coloring mixed in:

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp peppermint essential oil – make sure it’s food grade! Most peppermint essential oil should be, but definitely check. If you don’t have peppermint EO handy, you can use a flavoring or extract, but you may need to use more
  • 6 drops green food coloring (I used neon green)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream 3 via @poorandpretty

Cupcake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line your cupcake tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners.

2. Add the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee or tea over it. Whisk together until the chocolate has melted and your mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Dirt Cupcakes - finely chopped bittersweet chocolate - poorandpretty

(Here’s a reference photo for how small the chocolate should be chopped.)

3. In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

4. Once your chocolate mixture has cooled, mix in the eggs, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

5. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in two parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl and whisking until smooth each time.

6. Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way, then bake for 16-20 minutes. While they’re cooking, make your pudding.

7. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack or in their tin for about an hour.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream via @poorandpretty

Frosting Directions:

1. Cream butter with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) in a medium bowl, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to get any devious clumps of butter.

2. Pour in one cup of confectioner’s sugar and mix well — again, scraping the sides of the bowl for clumps. Then, repeat with the other cup of confectioner’s sugar.

3. Mix in your vanilla extract, peppermint essential oil, and green food coloring.

4. Mix in your milk, one tablespoon at a time.

5. Add more confectioner’s sugar if necessary.

6. Frost your cupcakes and enjoy!

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Recipe: Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes

Chocolate Dirt Cupcake Recipe via poorandpretty

Happy Earth Day! Stan’s favorite dessert is dirt pudding, so I made a cupcake version for him over the weekend. I gotta tell you: these chocolate cupcakes are the most delicious ones I’ve ever made. Mine tend to come out a little on the dry side, but these are perfect. Moist, but not super dense. They’re great for Earth Day, or kids’ birthday parties!

Chocolate Dirt Cupcakes with Pudding and Crumbled Oreo Topping — makes 12 regular cupcakes. Because you have to scoop out the center, I don’t recommend making these as minis, unless you’re baking chocolate cupcakes with a different frosting. In that case, this recipe will make about 60 minis.

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Recipe: Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Guinness & Bailey’s

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes for St Paddy's Day via poorandpretty

My favorite cupcake from NoRa Cupcake Co. is the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. Based on the beer cocktail with a highly controversial name, it’s a chocolate Guinness cake with Jameson dark chocolate ganache and Bailey’s cream cheese frosting topped with a malt ball. Seriously amazing. Oh and fun fact: the drink was invented in Norwich, CT! I made my own version of the cupcakes without the Jameson ganache and went with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting instead. I brought them into work yesterday, and they were gobbled down pretty quickly! So if you’re bringing dessert to a St. Paddy’s Day party, these are sure to be a hit!

Chocolate Guinness Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting — makes 12 regular cupcakes (about 60 minis)

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Guinness Extra Stout

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Guinness Stout and Bailey's via poorandpretty

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your cupcake tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In your stand mixer’s bowl (or a larger bowl, if you are using electric beaters), cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and combine.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and Guinness into the butter mixture, starting with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl in between additions and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once the batter is mixed well, add in the egg and mix it up some more.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners until they are  ⅔ full and bake for 8-10 minutes for minis or 18-22 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes. Check with a toothpick to be sure they are cooked all the way through.
  8. Once baked, place on a cooling rack to cool.

Frosting Directions: 

  1. Cream softened butter until smooth, making sure you scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  2. Add 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, mixing it in two parts (start with half a cup, mix it well, then add the other half cup).
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, milk, Bailey’s and green food coloring.
  4. Add more confectioner’s sugar — ¼ cup at a time — until you’ve reached your desired consistency and taste.
  5. Frost the cupcakes when cooled.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes Recipe via poorandpretty

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Recipe: Pink Sugar Cupcakes

Pink Sugar Valentine Cupcakes Recipe via poorandpretty

Suzi and I had so much fun making these, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, too! ♥ It’s a pretty simple vanilla cake with buttercream frosting, with a few unique twists. We had a few topping ideas — candy hearts, handmade flags (we used washi tape and heart confetti), pink cotton candy (we couldn’t find any!!) … but our absolute favorite is the candy apple “sculptures” Suzi made.

Pink Sugar Cupcake Soap via poorandpretty

These are of course inspired by my Pink Sugar Cupcake Soap — get it for 25% off until the end of February!*

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Juniper cupcake fail: We’re bound to make terrible cupcakes sometimes

juniper-cupcake-fail-poorandpretty

Despite my and Suzi’s good intentions, we discovered that not everything makes a delicious cupcake. This month’s cupcake recipe was supposed to be inspired by my Aloe, Juniper! Cupcake Soap, and we definitely made cupcakes. But they were awful.

juniper-berries-poorandpretty

Turns out juniper berries taste a lot like eating a Christmas tree (I imagine). In searching for inspiration, Suzi and I grew skeptical when we saw that juniper is used mainly to add flavor to meats, but we were slightly encouraged by this recipe for Chocolate Juniper Cake from bon appétit. We opted for a juniper-infused buttercream frosting instead of the milk jam crème fraîche, which was the only thing that was remotely edible. We really wanted to eat them — they were chocolate! — but we just couldn’t. We gave as many as we could to Jon’s bandmates, but even they weren’t in the mood for evergreen cakes. (Sounds like something Hagrid would bake.)

Well, I suppose we’re bound to make terrible cupcakes sometimes. Take it from us: don’t bake with juniper berries!

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