Got homemade cupcakes! Got fresh flowers! House and garden good to go! … And we are ready for our graduation guests to arrive. It is always such a happy occasion when graduation guests are with us! Congratulations K-State graduates. We know that you worked hard. Best wishes for success in your future endeavors!
These light-textured chocolate cupcakes, served with whipped cream and cherries, are really fun for guests. An added bonus is that you can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them until you have company. Just thaw, top with whipped cream, garnish and serve! Ready to start thinking about Valentine’s Day?
Black Forest Cake Cupcakes
Makes about 24
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (or sour cream for a denser cupcake)
3 lg. eggs
2 t. cherry liqueur
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated white sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. dried cherries, finely chopped
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
Sweetened whipped cream for topping
24 fresh dark sweet cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 12-muffin pans with muffin papers.**
- Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into medium size bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat together milk, eggs and cherry liqueur. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- On low speed, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape sides. On medium speed, beat in 1/2 of wet ingredients. Scrape sides. Repeat, beating in 1/3 of flour mixture, remaining 1/2 of wet ingredients, and then remaining 1/3 of flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl in between.
- Mix together chopped cherries and chocolate and then fold them into the cupcake batter.
- Divide batter equally between muffin cups. Cups should be about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until no wet spots appear on muffin tops and muffins are firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
- Place muffin pans on baking racks for 15 minutes, then remove muffins, and place them on racks to finish cooling.
- To serve, top with whipped cream, grated chocolate and a fresh cherry.
* If you need to, you can substitute natural cocoa, but Dutch-process has better flavor in this recipe.
** I use plain white papers for baking, then slip the muffins into decorative papers or foils for serving.
These festive, chocolatey-peppermint, cheesecake cupcakes are easy to make with a food processor and can be made ahead of time and frozen so that you have them on hand for holiday company or surprise visitors – that is, unless a certain someone in your house likes to sneak into the freezer and eat them as is. You might need to make extras! Enjoy!
North Pole Cupcakes
An easy to make, festive treat for the winter holiday season!
• 12 Mint Oreo cookies (or gluten-free sandwich-style cookies)
• 2/3 c. granulated white sugar
• 16 miniature peppermint candy canes, divided
• 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
• 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 c. sour cream
• 2 lg. eggs
• 1 T. chocolate liqueur
• 1/2 t. mint extract
• whipped cream for topping (canned is ok)
• shaved chocolate, chocolate sprinkles, sugar pearls, or sugar sprinkles for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. Place one cookie in the center of each muffin paper. (The cookies will be a little smaller than the bottom of the muffin cups, but the cookies puff out during baking.)
2. Unwrap 4 of the candy canes and break candy into small pieces (should be about 1 T.). Using a large food processor, process sugar and broken candy canes until they are crushed to a fine consistency. Add chocolate chips and process until the chips are finely crushed. Add cream cheese and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add sour cream and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add eggs, chocolate liqueur, and mint extract. Process or beat until well blended and perfectly smooth. Scrape down bowl.
3. Divide cheesecake batter between muffin cups, filling to the top, but not over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheesecake batter is puffy and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (The cupcakes will sink in the middle as they cool and don’t look very pretty until garnished.)
4. Once completely cool, cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. (Once cooled, muffins can be removed from the baking pan, placed in a plastic container, covered tightly, and frozen until shortly before serving. If no one sneaks into the freezer to eat them, cupcakes should keep for about 1 month.)
5. Serve cold. (If frozen, remove cupcakes from freezer shortly before serving – about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, remove muffin papers. Garnish each cupcake with whipped cream, shaved chocolate or other decorations, and an unwrapped candy cane. Enjoy! Happy Holidays!
Variation: Instead of whipped cream, top with chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream flavored with peppermint.
A few pictures from the bed and breakfast as we celebrate Kansas State University graduations this weekend with our guests …
Wishing the best to all of the new graduates out there!
(For the buttercream recipe, see my Wild Blueberry Cupcakes post.)
We can’t help ourselves – we just keep making cupcakes this summer. Yesterday’s were Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and chocolate sprinkles. The cake recipe came from the wonderful cookbook More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen. We improvised the frosting recipe and it was sooooo good. Chilled, the frosting is like peanut butter cheesecake. (Recipe below.)
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes enough for 24 cupcakes)
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
approximately 12 oz. peanut butter (I use The Bee’s Knees Peanut Butter by Peanut Butter & Co.)
approximately 1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
(1) Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter. Beat in sugar to taste.
(2) Decorate cupcakes (or other baked goods). Chill until serving.
I have very fond memories of the 4th of July from growing up. Every year the town – think very small town, here – would have a parade, followed by a variety show on the town beach, then fireworks over the lake. It was really something to look forward to. Even though I now live 1,800 miles from where I grew up, I still try to make the holiday special.
Wild Blueberry Cupcakes
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (stir before measuring)
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. granulated white sugar
4 lg. eggs
1 1/2 t. lemon extract
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. dried wild blueberries*
* If the blueberries seem hard, then place them in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over berries. Cover bowl with a plate. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain well. Liquid can be reserved for another use.
(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with muffin papers or foils.
(2) Place flour in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder and salt. Set aside.
(3) Beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and then lemon extract. Scrape down sides as needed.
(4) Gradually beat 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, then the remaining 1/3 of the flour into butter mixture. Fold in berries.
(5) Carefully scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Once done, place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups and allow to cool completely before frosting. Decorate with your favorite lemon, almond, vanilla or cream cheese frosting recipe or with Nicole’s 2-Step Buttercream.
Nicole’s 2-Step Buttercream
requires a large food processor and a stand mixer
1 lb. unsalted butter, completely softened
5 c. confectioner’s sugar
3 c. heavy whipping cream
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
(1) Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a large food processor. Start to combine. While food processor is running, add cream and extracts. Process until completely smooth. You may need to pause your food processor now and then.
(2) Once completely smooth, transfer to a large stand mixer and beat until fluffy and white.
Thanks, Nicole, for letting me share your recipe!
Manhattan, Kansas is a college town of about 50,000 residents. If anything can be said of Manhattanites it is that they believe in the adage “be true to your school.” Around The Little Apple this is demonstrated by wearing and displaying the colors of Kansas State University: royal purple and white. With a house full of graduation-goers this weekend, I’ve been finding ways to play on the purple and white theme. To all the graduates out there, we at The Morning Star congratulate you and wish you happiness and success!