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I know that Valentine’s day calls for chocolate but I could not help sharing these cute red velvet cupcakes from The Recipe Critic. With a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting, they match perfectly with the red coloured theme of the day. While its popularity is gaining momentum in our chic and ridiculously expensive coffee shops, the red velvet cupcake is an easy 2-bowl recipe to make and enjoy at home. Its beautiful red colour comes from the reaction between the small amount of cocoa powder, buttermilk and vinegar, though it is now being enhanced with natural dyes or synthetic food colouring.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes

3 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/4 cups white caster sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons. liquid red food coloring

3 tablespoons. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.

  • In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Whisk coloring, cocoa and vanilla together.

  • Add to butter-sugar mixture and mix well. Stir salt into buttermilk and add to batter in 3 parts.

  • Alternate with the flour, starting and ending with flour. In a bowl, stir vinegar and baking soda.

  • Add to batter and mix well. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake in preheated oven.

  • Bake for 17 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean.

  • For the cream cheese frosting, mix together butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla until smooth.

  • Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.

  • Cool the cupcakes completely and top with cream cheese frosting. Makes 3 1 /2 dozen cupcakes.

Happy Valentine’s!

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After my first foray into gluten free baking with these coconut flour blueberry muffins, I have been curious to try more recipes with coconut flour, ground maize and nut flours. Being partial to almonds, I thought it was a good chance to test Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate financiers with my last bag of poudre d’amandes. While you can always go through the tedious process of blanching and grinding raw almonds, I find it easier to stock on 200g bags of Maitre Prunille’s powdered almonds though they might not be 100% gluten free. I have a good mind to swap some of the almond for hazelnuts next time I bake these along with a bit of Nutella in the centre to make them taste like Ferrero Rochers.

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup almond flour or meal

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kitchen salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup or 2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease and flour 15 financier molds or mini-muffin tins.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and set aside till it reaches room temperature.

  • Mix the almond flour with the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir the egg whites.
  • Then stir in the almond extract, and gradually stir in the melted butter until incorporated.

  • Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • They should be slightly puffed and springy to the touch when done. Remove from the oven.

  • Cool completely before removing the financiers from molds. Makes 15 one-inch financiers.
  • The financiers can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Gluten Free Chocolate Financiers

Though I usually like pecan nuts in my banana muffins, I had unfortunately run out of my favorite nuts and found myself having to compromise with a bag of macadamia nuts lost in the depths of my kitchen cupboard. A quick Google search for Banana Macadamia muffins landed me on Turntable Kitchen’s blog and it was their quirky punch line rather than the muffin recipe that caught my eye. “We are young people who are both grown up and completely immature.” Since my crazy self could, wholeheartedly, relate to this largely accurate picture, I simply took the plunge and baked their super comforting banana nut muffins. One should not take life too seriously.

BANANA & MACADAMIA NUT MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3 large, ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup whole fresh milk

1 large egg, room temperature

3/4 cup unsalted macadamia nuts

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners or papers.

  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg into a large bowl.

  • Combine the mashed bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg into another mixing bowl.

  • Carefully fold in wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in half of macadamia nuts.

  • Divide batter among the prepared cups and sprinkle the tops with the remaining nuts.

  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely. Makes one dozen muffins.

Banana & Macadamia Nuts

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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