Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes With Brown Sugar Buttercream

Greeting, bloglings. I'm not sure how many of my personal friends this will even reach, seeing as I deactivated my Facebook a few days ago. I feel a little disconnected, but I honestly don't really miss it.

The holidays are in full swing here in my household! The Christmas tree went up two days before Thanksgiving & our Elf on the Shelf, aptly named Oatmeal, came to us Thanksgiving eve. It's already been so much fun & the kids are so excited for Christmas. We took the kids to see Santa last weekend. Gabe & Cailin had no problem strutting up there to tell him what they were wishing for.. But Lydia & Evelyn on the other hand, were not impressed. When Lydia was plopped down on his lap, she screamed. Screamed bloody murder. Evelyn wouldn't even get within 20ft of the guy. Ha! That's okay. I think she felt sad that she chickened ou5, so I had to be sure to reassure her that Santa would still know what she was hoping to get for Christmas (which, the by the way, she is hell-bent on a pink vacuum.... Only my child, I swear).

We also go to look at a ridiculous amount of holiday decor that same day-- decorated, lit up trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, vignettes... It was enough to make one overdose on that warm, fuzzy feeling. I'm somewhat of a Christmas snob.. Christmas diva.. The term Christmas nazi has been thrown out there a few times.. What can I say?! I just love Christmas.

& Of course, I get so excited around the holidays.. For the baking! OH THE BAKING. So many things to make & create!  I have way too many ideas swimming around in my head that I want to make this season. We'll see how many I actually get around to. ;)

My sister came over last night & wanted to bake-- as per usual. & We wanted to do a holiday themed treat. I was torn between gingerbread cupcakes & something with peppermint. Gingerbread ended up winning for the time being. I paired it with a brown sugar buttercream & dusted them with a little bit of cinnamon. Now, I'm not going to lie. I am actually NOT a gingerbread fan. But these cupcakes. These.. freaking.. cupcakes. Are so incredibly good. I couldn't believe how much I fell in love with the flavor! My mom actually told me it was one of the best cupcakes she has ever had. Now that is a good cupcake, folks. The gingerbread flavor isn't overpowering at all & the brown sugar buttercream is such a perfect match. I will say that I put them in the fridge for the honest sole purpose of sort of... hiding them from the kids. & I just ate one in the company of my glowing Christmas tree & I felt positively full of the Christmas-spirit. I think I like them chilled even better than room temperature!

I dare you to make these & not feel a little bit of Christmas magic. I triple dog dare you.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
(recipe adapted from Sugar Duchess)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup hot water

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar. Add the egg & molasses & beat well. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl & add to the creamed mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Add the hot water & beat on low speed until smooth.

3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full & bake for 20-25min or until toothpicks inserted in the centers come out clean.

Brown Sugar Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Cream together butter & brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add in vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar. Add heavy cream & beat until fluffy!


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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cinnamon Cupcakes With Cinnamon Maple Buttercream

Alright. It's almost 1:30am. I am awake & chugging one of my husband's disgusting cans of Mountain Dew Game Fuel... seriously, ew. Not digging it. But I was desperate.

I've been neglecting this blog for a few weeks. Things got a little... crazy.. for a while there. There were illnesses. Many illnesses. & Parent-teacher conferences. & Deep cleaning our apartment. I cannot BELIEVE how much CRAP was in this place. We donated like, seven garbage bags full of clothes & five giant 55 gallon garbage bags full of toys. & Guess what? The kids' dresses are still practically overflowing & their closets are still full of toys. It feels nice to have (most of) the clutter out of here, though. Ugh. What a nightmare, though. Honestly. I love having a clean apartment, but I sure do hate cleaning. 

OOH, OOH, OOH. In more exciting news, I finally got a KitchenAid Stand Mixer & oh. my. god. Guys. GUYS. How did I ever live without it!? It is everything I thought it would be. It is so magical.

Look at her. Look at her in all her glory. Siiiigh. I'm so in love. & It's my favorite color of all time! Cornflower blue! *Swoon* What color do you have? Or what color would you want?

Alright. Enough nonsense. It is now after 2am. I am very distracted by all of the things.

I've been wanting to do some type of maple flavor profile for a while, now. & What goes perfectly with maple? Cinnamon, of course! So I decided to do a cinnamon cake & pair it with a buttercream crafted from cinnamon & maple syrup. It simply had to do be done. The cake is fluffy & has a warm, cinnamon flavor. The maple cinnamon icing is absolutely divine. It's rich & creamy & absolutely luscious. I garnished them with a little homemade snickerdoodle that I whipped up on a whim while I was waiting for the cupcakes to cool (recipe for the snickerdoodles to follow in a future post). 

Cinnamon Cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt to small mixing bowl. Whisk together & set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs for 10-20 seconds. Add sugar & continue to beat for 30 seconds. Then add vanilla & oil. Beat until mixed well.
4. Reduce mixer speed to low & add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, then the remaining flour & finally the remaining buttermilk. Mix until just combined. 

5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full & bake for 12-14min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cinnamon Maple Buttercream
(adapted from Your Cup Of Cake)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8oz package of cream cheese
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Beat butter & cream cheese together for 4-5min.

2. Add maple syrup, sugar, vanilla & cinnamon. 

3. Beat until nice & fluffy!

Until next time! :)

- Kristina

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