“Chocolate Malt” Cupcakes

"Chocolate Malt" Cupcakes

 

Growing up I used to love going to Thrifty’s Drugstore (now known as Rite Aid in California) to get ice cream. At 35 cents a scoop you couldn’t beat the price and it was darn good! I usually rotated between two flavors, either Mint Chocolate Chip or their infamous Chocolate Malted Crunch. And yes, to this day I have been known to pick up a 1/2 gallon of it or so. You really can’t blame me—chocolate flecks with little malt balls enrobed in malt ice cream…..Who can resist??? My sibs also love Chocolate Malted Milk Shakes–YUM!

Thus was my inspiration to give these “Chocolate Malt” cuppies a try. I turned to Martha Stewart’s recipe and was happy to find that my sister had a jar of Horlicks Malt Powder on hand. I did make two minor tweaks to her recipe as I read that folks found that the cake didn’t have enough malt flavor. As a result, I increased the malt powder amount by an additional 1/4 cup and folded in a 1/2 cup of chocolate covered malt balls into the batter. As for the recipe, it was quite easy to follow–pretty much a one bowl situation. And when I pulled the cuppies out of the oven, I was pleased to see beautiful even domes on the tops.

The Chocolate Malt Buttercream was a great pairing for the cuppies, too–giving it that extra oompf of malt flavor. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I topped them each with chocolate covered malt balls. Hey, I never said this was low-calorie :)

 

"Chocolate Malt" Cupcakes


Chocolate Malt Cupcakes…..same great flavors as a Chocolate Malted Milk Shake without the potential brain freezes :)

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“Chocolate Malt” Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Buttercream adapted from Oh My! Sugar High
Makes approximately 28 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
2¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Milk
1½ Cups Malted Milk Powder
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 Cup Sour Cream, at room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Chocolate Covered Malt Balls, chopped

Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening, at room temperature
½ Cup Malted Milk Powder
2-4 Tablespoons Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Instant Espresso Powder
3 Tablespoons Milk
4 Cups Confectioner Sugar, sifted
*Chocolate Covered Malt Balls and Straws to garnish (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, both sugars, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and malted milk powder until powder is dissolved.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat flour mixture, milk mixture and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and vanilla, and beat just until combined. Fold in crushed chocolate covered malt balls.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter and shorting for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Sprinkle in malted milk powder, espresso powder and cocoa powder. Whip for 1 minute. Slowly add the powdered sugar a few spoonful at a time, letting it incorporate until the frosting becomes thicker and stiff. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time and whip until combined.

Fill bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of cupcakes. Top with candies and straw garnish.

Enjoy!

**Note: I was able to make these cuppies extra special by using the wonderfully decadent Valrhona Cocoa Powder for both the cake and the buttercream. Valrhona is quite arguably one of the best chocolates/cocoa to bake with and adds a lovely intense/pure flavor. With that said, I was able to get away with only using 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in the buttercream where I may have needed more had I used another brand.**

"Chocolate Malt" Cupcakes

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Beets and Chevre

I love cooking with my sister. Times with her in the kitchen are always so fun and innovative—daring and challenging. Therefore, when she invited us over one day to experiment with new dishes, I was ALL IN!

As a San Francisco resident, my sister has access to a wealth of beautiful products at her disposal and she definitely takes advantage of it. SF is a Foodie Paradise filled with delicious produce, sumptuous bakeries, savory proteins, and of course, amazing wines. So it was no surprise that one of the dishes she wanted to give a spin at was a French Lentil and Beet salad.

Beets. I know– I had made the same face at first. To that day, I hadn’t had good experiences with them as I mostly sampled them from a can or a salad bar. BLEH! But the sister assured me that by roasting the gorgeous golden and red beets it would bring out a decadent sugary component.

As for the French Lentils—wow. Picked up at a local grocery cooperation (Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco), they were absolutely beautiful. Nutty in flavor and deeply earthy. Sorry, I know my description didn’t do it nearly the justice it deserves.

My sister decided to take a spin on Martha Stewart’s Lentil Salad and Beets with many variations to the recipe. I don’t know how she did it, but every alteration she did boosted the flavor immensely. I guess big sisters do know some things :)

The end product was absolutely amazing—a perfect dish for the upcoming summer months. The sugary beets complimented the rich textures of the lentils while the goat cheese (Chevre from Cowgirl Creamery) added phenomenal creaminess. The vinaigrette was light but had a great amount of acidity while the baby arugula rounded out the dish with a peppery punch.

Would I suggest it? DEFINITELY! Use Martha’s version as a starting point and add or take away any items you’d like.

ENJOY!

Lovely beets prior to roasting

 

Leftovers are just as yummy, too!

Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

My dear co-worker’s birthday was coming up and as her assigned “birthday buddy”, I was in charge of bringing in a cake to our staff meeting to celebrate her fabulousness. Since I knew she had a chocolate cake for her festivities at home, I was sure that I wanted to bake her something sans-chocolate. Lucky for me, our Meyer Lemon tree was filled with ripe lemons for the picking so I opted for a fruit-citrus cake.

I turned to my gal, Martha Stewart, for some inspiration. Since our staff meetings are in the morning, I opted for a bundt cake that makes you feel better about eating sweets in the morning since it “looks” more “breakfast-like”. I know…not really–but work with me here :)

I settled on Martha’s Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake, with of course, a few tweaks. For the batter, I added fresh meyer lemon juice to kick up the bright citrus flavor. I also thought the cake was a bit “naked” and created a light glaze to cover the tops. Incidentally, I hadn’t greased the pan thoroughly so the glaze acted as the perfect “cover up” to my imperfections. Also, if you don’t have fresh blueberries, use frozen ones like I did. Just be sure not to defrost them before use—just toss the frozen ones directly with the zest and flour before folding into the batter. :)

A few quick suggestions to a successful cake:

  1. Generously and THOROUGHLY cover your bundt pan with cooking spray. I thought I had but clearly I hadn’t done enough when I inverted the cake later. Yikes!
  2. It’s really important to cool the cake in the pan for some time. Trying to flip it too early could cause tears and sticking since the cake hasn’t fully set yet.
  3. I used Meyer Lemons in my recipe which may vary if you use regular lemons. Meyer lemons tend to be juicier and less tart than the more commonly found ones, so adjust accordingly to your preference.
  4. If you glaze the bundt cake, be sure to wait until the cake has fully cooled or the glaze will soak into the cake versus “glazing” it.

Overall, I think the birthday gal and my co-workers enjoyed the cake. The citrus gave a light flavor which was further accented by the berries. The sour cream also assisted in the moist texture. Next time you’re looking for an alternative to a chocolate cake, give this Lemon Bundt Cake a try :)

After creaming the butter and sugars.

Tossing the blueberries with zest and flour.

Inverting the bundt cake. EEKS! Clearly, not enough cooking spray!

No problem–that’s where glazes act as a tasty cover up to any imperfections!

 

 

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Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

For Cake:
2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup packed Light-Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Meyer Lemon Juice
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Grated Meyer Lemon Zest
Nonstick cooking spray, for pan

For Glaze:
¼ Cup Meyer Lemon Juice
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar (*add more for thicker glaze)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.

In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.

While cake is cooling, whisk lemon juice and confectioner sugar to create glaze. Mix until all the sugar has dissolved and there are no longer lumps. When the cake has completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the cake.

Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

 

I’ve been on a serious coconut kick lately…..I don’t know. Maybe it’s my inner-self willing for the warm weather of the tropics during this chilly winter. :)

I decided to give Martha Stewart’s recipe for Coconut Cupcakes a spin. She actually has two posted on her website but I opted for this particular one since it didn’t require egg white/meringue. I’m lazy sometimes….guilty as charged :)  I did slightly tweak her recipe a bit to add more coconut flavor and ended up frosting it with my Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

After I had pulled them out of the oven and set them on racks to cool, I became somewhat alarmed as a few of the sides of the cakes began pulling from their liners. Eh…oh well. That’s what frosting is for, right? But after one bite–I was SOLD! I LOVED this cupcake. Somewhat dense in texture (perhaps from the coconut milk?) and infused with wonderful coconut flavor! Since I opted for a simple frost versus piping the frosting, it was not the least bit over sweet. YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!

This one will definitely be kept in my favorites folder. I hope you enjoy it, too! :)

 

The Coconut Milk that I used

Light layer of frosting after the cupcakes have thoroughly cooled. No fancy piping this time :)

Dipping the cupcakes in the Shredded Coconut

Make sure to thoroughly cover the cupcakes

And VOILA! Delicious Coconut Cupcakes :)

 

 

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Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 20 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes
1¾ Cups all-purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
½ Cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
6 Ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 Cups sugar
2 Large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
¾  Cup unsweetened coconut milk
1½ Teaspoons vanilla extra
1½ Teaspoons coconut extract (Martha uses vanilla extract only)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
16 Ounces of Cream Cheese at room temperature
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature
5 -6 Cups Confectioner Sugar (varies due to preferred frosting consistency)
1 Tablespoon Coconut Extract
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Coconut Milk
*2 Cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut to top cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add shredded coconut to flour mixture. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add coconut extract, coconut milk and then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. (I used only 5 cups this time since I didn’t need the frosting to be as firm as when I pipe it). Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before use.

Frost cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting. Liberally cover each cake with the shredded sweetened coconut.

ENJOY!

They are JUST as tasty in Mini Cupcakes form, too :)