Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

I’m not really sure where the idea for Banana Cream Pie cupcakes came from, since I don’t even like bananas. I hate the banana-flavored Runts, avoid banana nut bread like the Black Death, and let’s not even talk about regular old bananas. Tastes like old socks to me. But hey, I understand that people enjoy bananas. And the homemade banana pudding I made for these cupcakes was actually pretty amazing (yes, I tasted it, and it’s AWESOME). And that’s saying something.

For the cupcakes, I just used a standard vanilla cupcake recipe (courtesy of Magnolia Bakery, of course). I used a standard vanilla buttercream for the frosting, but I bet adding in some cinnamon would be great.

When I was looking up banana cream pie recipes to adapt into cupcakes, I was shocked at how many called for regular vanilla pudding over banana slices….really? No banana-flavored pudding? Sigh. I figured I had to do it the old-fashioned way: making banana pudding from scratch.

As for the filling, I will warn you: it’s a lot of work. I got the recipe from Salon, of all places, and it called for a banana caramel with a traditional pudding base. You could just buy a box of Jell-o vanilla pudding and add in a couple of pureed bananas. but honestly, the homemade banana pudding is worth it.

To fill the cupcakes, I used the cone method, just like I did for the apple pie cupcakes. I topped these off with a crushed vanilla wafer garnish.

I recommend making the pudding first, and have it cool while you’re baking the cupcakes.

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

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Apple Pie Cupcakes

Autumn is my favorite time to bake – second only to Christmas, of course. Fall baking is indulgent and sweet and almost always includes a heavy dose of cinnamon. Plus, they always seem to take advantage of some of the delicious things so prevalent during the season: apples and pumpkins. And we know how I feel about pumpkins.

These apple pie cupcakes are perfect if you want that apple pie fix without going through all the trouble of making a pie. Yes, the filling is a little labor-intensive, but whipping up a batch of cupcakes is nothing compared to a well-made pie crust.

Essentially, these are vanilla cupcakes with apple pie filling in the center. To fill the cupcakes, I used what’s known as the “cone method”. To do this, take a paring knife and place it about 1/4 inch from the edge of the cupcake and hold it at a 45 degree angle. Cut around the cupcake until you have a cone-shaped cupcake top which can then be removed. I’m sure you could do something yummy with those.

I drizzled a little caramel sauce on these before I frosted them, which was messy, but tasted great.

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I’ve started this blog! It’s been so much fun baking and updating every week. I hope I can do this for many more years! In honor of the beginning of September, this week I made pumpkin cupcakes (which, loyal readers, I hope you remember was the first recipe I ever posted on the blog). Hopefully these turned out a lot better.

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Upstate New York this week has been a scorcher, which is why I wasn’t sure if the world was ready for pumpkin quite yet. Yes, it’s September. Yes, pumpkin beer and pumpkin lattes have already been rolled out at most retail locations. It just seems a little weird eating pumpkin-and-cinnamon-flavored treats when it’s a hot and hazy 93 degrees outside. Nevertheless, pumpkin is just too good to put off any longer, so here they are!

I’ve posted the original pumpkin cupcake recipe again after the jump. You’ll also find my improved frosting recipe – this time, a cinnamon buttercream instead of that brown sugar monstrosity from last year. If it wasn’t my first post, I’d delete it. Why did you guys eat those things?!

These are much more adorable:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Despite last week’s creativity, this week I’m going with a classic: red velvet cake. I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize that red velvet is really just chocolate cake with red food dye :-/ But it’s delicious!

Red velvet cake always reminds me of the holidays when my great aunt would bring an aaaaaa-mazing red velvet cake to Christmas dinner. It’s such a comfort food! The rich texture, the treacly-sweet frosting…so good. Even though it’s summer (just barely anymore!), red velvet cake instantly brings me back.

This is my second attempt, and everyone has their own version of the red velvet cupcake. Although, I want to vent about something that I encountered a lot while looking for recipes: people bitching about the red food dye. They wanted something “natural” and “healthier”. Dude…you’re making cupcakes. They’re not exactly beacons of health.

Anyway, let’s ooh and ahh over cupcakes. I made these with cream cheese frosting, and I’ve found it absolutely necessary to mix in the cream cheese while it’s cold (not softened like many recipes call for). Warm cream cheese is runny and gross, so keep it cold!

This recipe is mildly adapted from Joy the Baker‘s website, who got it from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting

I was full of baking inspiration this week! After getting sick of making the same-old vanilla cupcakes, I wanted to do something exciting. Not a copycat recipe, not something shamelessly stolen from Magnolia Bakery…something somewhat original. And it is very hard to find something that no one else has baked before. There are a lot of creative bakers out there. Even though this recipe has been done, I think this recipe has an edge.

When I came up with this recipe, I tried to think about what makes French toast, French toast: cinnamon, egg, and maple syrup. I added an extra yolk to the cupcake batter, and maple extract to the super-decadent mascarpone frosting, since most stuffed French toast is filled with mascarpone or cream cheese. Okay, the mascarpone frosting didn’t work out, so I adapted the famous Magnolia buttercream to taste like maple syrup!

And these cupcakes taste exactly like French toast. It’s almost a little weird.

But, that means they count as breakfast, right?

French Toast Cupcakes

Recipe after the jump.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Baking in my house growing up was very traditional. We made all the classics, and we made them damn well. It wasn’t until moving out on my own that I really ventured out into more unique cookies. Not that white chocolate chips are some kind of rare treasure, but I had never really experimented with them. Before recently, my only experience with white chocolate had been stuffing my gullet with a white chocolate Easter bunny and subsequently getting very ill.

I’ve since learned that white chocolate can be a lot classier than that.

Most cookies that call for chocolate chips (white or otherwise) usually suggest adding 1 to 1 1/2 cups, but I always add the entire 12-ounce bag no matter what. Who like cookies with stingy add-ins? No one, that’s who. Maybe Quakers or something.

I could have sworn that Magnolia Bakery had a recipe that I used, but I couldn’t find it. Instead, I used the Magnolia Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan cookie base with a 12-ounce bag of white chocolate chips and 1 cup of macadamia nuts.

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

…so I lied in my last post. Meant to post these right after Independence Day but summer got in the way. Nevertheless, here they are: my patriotic Magnolia vanilla cupcakes with complementary vanilla buttercream!

Apologies for the distant photograph; was enjoying the Fourth of July party far too much to take pictures. Sparklers are from a local party store, and sugar lime cookies courtesy of my wonderful friend Ashley, who accompanied me on my baking and Fourth of July journeys this year. It was wonderful having her back in town, if only for a few days! No one (other than my mom) appreciates baking in the kitchen watching good movies more than her.

Embarrassingly enough, on my first attempt making these cupcakes that night, I dropped an entire egg into the batter, and my beloved KitchenAid mixer dutifully chopped the eggshell into bits within seconds. I tried picking out the bits of shell, but soon admitted defeat and started over again. Such is life.

I’ve posted the Magnolia vanilla cupcake recipe previously (when I made my Super Bowl cupcakes earlier this year), but I’m posting the recipe after the jump for convenience. Hopefully Ashley will do a guest post and provide the recipe for her awesome sugar lime cookies!

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Coming Soon…

They’ve been referred to as “crack cupcakes” due to their overwhelming deliciousness. They are perhaps even better than Reese’s cupcakes. They rarely make it to the end of any party, never mind a normal work day at the office. And I will be making the most epic version of this classic cupcake for Independence Day.

Stay tuned!

Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips

Sadly, it’s been a while since the last post. Like, 2 months. But I am back (!) and I solemnly swear I will post more regularly. No more vacations, no more reasons not to bake!

Since I’ve been short on time lately, I’ve opted for cookies. I adore baking cupcakes, but they are multi-step treats: bake cupcakes, make icing, wait for cupcakes to cool, rewhip icing because it went flat, pipe icing onto cupcakes, try again because it looks like crap, give up and use a frosting spreader.

Yea, cookies are easy.

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Magnolia’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

I’ve mentioned these before on the blog, and these are without a doubt the most fabulous, delicious, simple cookies. Ever. They combine the best ingredients (chocolate and peanut butter chips AND toasted pecans), and have a fantastic base that can be used with any number of other ingredients. They’re easy, they’re decadent, and they’re perfect.

When I first bought my Magnolia cookbook, this was the recipe I tried out right away and have been perfecting ever since. While they were always amazing, I recently discovered the key to making this cookie outrageous: heavy cream instead of milk. Never mind that the reason I had to use cream was because I didn’t have any milk in the house; this is the kind of serendipitous feat that doesn’t need an enlightening back story.

While the milk makes these cookies insanely smooth, the heavy cream makes them even more unbelievable.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

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