Oreo Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I’m a big fan of Oreo’s, though we only get them occasionally since we end up eating a whole package in one weekend. I decided to make these Oreo Cupcakes for my brother’s birthday since they looked fun and he likes Oreo’s as well.

This isn’t a difficult recipe, but it does require whipping egg whites into the cake mix. This isn’t super difficult, but if you’ve read some of my posts before you’ll know this isn’t something I’ve fully mastered. I honestly think this time was my best attempt as the cupcakes were normal size and didn’t deflate (which would mean I stirred too much). Besides this step, the rest of the cupcake base isn’t difficult; though I’d recommend using normal Oreo’s since you’re crushing them up.

The cream cheese frosting recipe is also easy. Normally I don’t make cream cheese frostings just because buttercream is my go-to, but this is what the recipe called for and since I don’t make it very often I figured it would be a nice change. I think I used 8 Oreo cookies rather than 6 because I wanted more Oreo. The only thing about this recipe is it’s super thick, so I struggled to pipe it using a tip. I ended up cutting off the end and “piping” it out that way because of it’s thickness. I gave myself a lower visual ranking for this reason but I would definitely add a little milk next time so I could pipe it and have it look a little nicer.

I chose to top with another Oreo as a final touch. All in all these were very good but also quite rich! A little more time consuming than just a basic cupcake recipe, but if you want to add a little extra (a.k.a Oreo’s) then it’ll take a little more time and I think it was worth it.

Baking Ease9
Time Spent9
Taste10
Visual8

Recipe Used: Sugar Spun Run

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I’m not normally a fan of german chocolate cake, merely because I don’t love coconut. It’s more of a texture thing rather than taste because I made this Speckled Malted Coconut Cake last year and liked it, but I don’t love strands of coconut in most baked goods. German chocolate fit the theme of a little party we threw though so I thought I’d test out this recipe.

The base for these cupcakes are from the Black Forest Cupcakes I made and they’re honestly my go-to for homemade chocolate cupcakes. They’re easy to make and taste amazing! Since this isn’t the first time I’ve made the cupcakes I’ll move on to talking about the icing. The coconut frosting is pretty easy to throw together and smelled really good while it was cooking. I tasted a bite once it was cooled a little and was surprised at how good it tasted. The chocolate frosting wasn’t difficult either but it will be a little thicker than you might use for a full cake. I piped a circle around the top of my cupcakes and found it held up really well and then took a heaping scoop of the coconut frosting and dropped it in the middle.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these cupcakes. There wasn’t as much coconut as you might find on a full coconut cake so while german chocolate cake/cupcakes wouldn’t be my first choice to have, I’d definitely make these again and would eat one! It wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take a ton of time either so would be pretty easy to make a batch when needed.

Baking Ease10
Time Spent9
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: Cupcakes The Kitchn Icing: Tastes Better From Scratch

Salted Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I follow Pies & Tacos on Instagram and it’s always fun to see the different macaroons and cupcakes showcased. I’ve been wanting to play around with Dulce de Leche but was still a little nervous about cooking it on the stove so I used the Oven Dulce de Leche recipe for this particular cupcake recipe.

As mentioned in the Dulce de Leche guide, the oven version yields a more runny Dulce de Leche but I actually felt like it was fairly thick compared to what I expected. I probably could have left it in there a little longer but it had already been almost 4 hours so I wasn’t willing to stay up any longer! I made the Dulce de Leche the evening before since it needs to cool before using.

The notes in this recipe mentioned it could get a bit lumpy, likely because of how it might naturally build up on the sides and stirring can loosen those chunks. I stirred the mixture every 30-45 minutes but found it was very smooth so thankfully that wasn’t an issue I encountered.

Once you’ve got the Dulce de Leche done the rest is pretty easy. The recipe mentions you can use hot water instead of brewed coffee, but I wanted the added coffee flavor. I did let the cupcakes cool before filling, however because my Dulce de Leche was more soupy rather than thick I found that it seeped into the cupcake so it didn’t look as pretty as those on the website.

The frosting was very simple and it wasn’t a big deal the Dulce de Leche wasn’t as thick here since you’ll use powdered sugar to help stabilize it. I pipped my frosting on without using a decorating tip and then topped it with a drizzle of Dulce de Leche and some Maldon Sea Salt since we didn’t have coarse salt.

These. were. delicious.

If you make your own Dulce de Leche, then this recipe does take a lot of time; however it’s very worth it. I’ve ranked this recipe with the assumption you’ll make your own, but if you don’t know the recipe is very simple and quick. I would highly recommend doing everything from scratch though because it’s more fun and I always feel like you can taste the difference!

Baking Ease9
Time Spent6
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: Pies & Tacos

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I think I’ve mentioned this before but I really struggle with gluten free baking. Maybe some of it has been the recipes I’ve used, but trying to determine when something is done can be difficult in my opinion. It’s definitely gotten a little easier over the last few years but I’ve also been lucky to find some really good recipes as well. For a while anytime I made gluten free cupcakes for someone I just used a mix since it was easier but now that I’ve found this recipe it might be my new go-to.

I actually ran across this recipe on Instagram and the timing was perfect because a few days later I actually needed a gluten free cupcake recipe. I’ve gotten used to measuring ingredients and actually a lot of times prefer it over cup measurements since you might accidentally pack the flour in when scooping; whereas, measuring is the same every single time.

This recipe is pretty easy and doesn’t require anything fancy: just mix the dry ingredients together, then the wet ingredients, then combine. I actually doubled the recipe since I needed 24 cupcakes and found it doubled pretty easily. Once thoroughly mixed I used my big scoop (I think it’s the same size used in this recipe but I’m not 100% sure) and then popped them in the oven. Mine were perfectly done in 22 minutes and I was excited to see they rose a little since the last time I made my own chocolate gluten free cupcakes they were super flat and sad looking.

Note: I used King Arthur’s Gluten Free flour and just had Hershey’s Cocoa on hand, but I’d love to try this with the cocoa powder this author recommends. I know they used grapeseed oil, but I made mine with vegetable oil.

I always try to use any recommended frosting so I tried the Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Buttercream. I have seen several recipes using sour cream in the frosting but have never tried it before so I was kind of excited. These probably weren’t quite as dark chocolate as the recipe calls for since we only had Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips on hand, but I will definitely try this again using a higher cocoa percentage. I normally prefer a standard chocolate buttercream using cocoa rather than melted chocolate because it’s not quite as rich but the sour cream added a nice tanginess so I thought this was really good.

The cake itself was a little denser than you’d find in a non gluten free recipe but it had a great flavor. Sometimes gluten free flour can also taste a little different as well but I didn’t seem to notice it as much with this recipe. I’m sure someone that never eats gluten free items might notice it’s a little different but it was a great cupcake and the frosting paired nicely with it.

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: Gluten Free Austrian

Irish Cream Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

Double posting today in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! For some crazy reason I thought it would be a good idea to try and do two things in one day…. I would not recommend that; especially if one or both items are things you’ve never tried before. Check out the Bailey’s Truffles I made here, but I decided it would also be nice to make Irish Cream Cupcakes to take into work.

The cupcake portion of of this recipe was super easy and that’s actually how I’ve rated the recipe below; only for the cupcakes. The reason for that is I totally screwed up the italian buttercream frosting. I’m honestly not even sure how I misread it so much other than I was trying to make the truffles and have a conversation with a friend while making this. I want you guys to still have some level of respect for me so I won’t even try to explain how I messed that recipe up (twice!) but the moral of this story is that you should always stay focused on one thing at a time while baking.

All in all I ended up making an irish cream buttercream which paired nicely with these coffee/irish cream cupcakes. While the picture doesn’t reflect it I ultimately decided to top these with green sanding sugar for St. Patrick’s Day to make it a little more fun. They were a big hit at the office and I’m determined to try italian buttercream again as I’m sure it’s amazing when done correctly!

Baking Ease9
Time Spent9
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: King Arthur

Black Forest Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

My husband and I enjoy hosting dinners and parties and we’ll often create some kind of these to help tie things together. We wanted to host a sort of Octoberfest celebration with a few friends so I started the search for a German themed dessert. Apple strudel would have been the obvious choice, but I wanted to try something different and ran across a recipe for Black Forest Cupcakes so decided to try it.

Spoiler alert: these cupcakes are amazing and while I will definitely make them again, the actual chocolate cupcake part of this recipe is perfect. I found my favorite vanilla cupcake base a few months ago while making Tiramisu cupcakes and this will now be my go to chocolate cupcake recipe. My biggest problem with most chocolate cake or cupcakes recipes is how dry the cake gets and ultimately I’d rather use a box cake mix than make it from scratch for that reason. Not so anymore!

The cherry pie filling I bought wasn’t as red as what’s in the picture on the Kitchn’s website and I was worried about the taste since it felt a little flat. In order to spice things up a little we decided to add a little brandy in with the cherries and cooked for those a few minutes.

The icing is a breeze and is basically the same type of icing as the Tiramisu cupcakes mentioned earlier. I’m normally a classic chocolate buttercream frosting kind of girl, but these whipped cream icings are really growing on me. They’re simple to make and for rich cupcakes with a lot of different elements it really adds a lot. My husband shaved some dark chocolate for me to use on top of the cupcakes and then I topped it with a Bada Bing Cherry since cherries are now out of season. I chose the Bada Bing Cherries because they were darker than maraschino cherries and that felt more appropriate for this cupcake than a bright red.

This was absolustely a great recipe overall, but even if I just made the chocolate cupcakes by themselves it would be amazing . If you’re looking for a chocolate cupcake recipe to replace a box cake mix this is it!

Baking Ease8
Time Spent8
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: Kitchn

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I wasn’t kidding when I said a few weeks ago that I love making cupcakes! I love tiramisu, but it can be a little time consuming and makes a ton so I thought I’d see if tiramisu cupcakes were a good alternative. We’ve used several King Arthur recipes in the past with good results so that’s the recipe I decided to use.

The actual cupcake recipe is very straightforward and is basically just a basic yellow cake mix. I honestly loved these cupcakes and might come back to this recipe as my go-to for normal cupcakes. They had a great vanilla taste, but I’m also using homemade vanilla so that might have helped.

I waited to make the soak until I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven because it only takes a few minutes. It smelled amazing and smelled like real tiramisu! I let the cupcakes cool for a bit and then per the direction, used a form to gently poke holes in the top of the cupcakes so the mixture would soak into the cupcakes. I chose to use a pastry brush and brushed each cupcake with the mixture, repeating this about 2 times (for a total of 3 rounds).

I was a little worried about the icing because I couldn’t find Instant ClearJel but I decided to just try it anyway. I also didn’t have amaretto liqueur but used coffee liqueur and then threw about a tablespoon of creme de cacao. This is probably some of the best and easiest icing I’ve ever made. I could have just eaten it without the cake, but when combined with the cupcakes with the espresso soak it made for an amazing combination.

This is hands down one of my favorite recipes now and certainly easy to throw together! If you’ve got extra icing (which we did since I iced some of the cupcakes with chocolate icing) you can pipe it onto a chocolate sheet cake and then cover that with chocolate ganache.

Baking Ease10
Time Spent9
Taste10
Visual10

Recipe Used: King Arthur

Lemon Cupcakes & Strawberry Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I love baking cupcakes because they’re easy and the perfect size to eat! Plus, if you want to make a few different versions it’s easy to create a variety pack of sorts to pass out to family members or friends. Since my cookbooks were still packed I took to the internet to try and find a recipe for lemon cupcakes and then one for strawberry cupcakes. I wouldn’t normally do a post with two different items, but since I didn’t take a picture of each type of cupcakes separately it’ll have to do.

For the lemon cupcakes I found a great recipe from Real Simple that looked pretty easy and didn’t make a ton of cupcakes. These smelled wonderfully the entire time I was making them and were super easy to make. They did bake a little weird (kind of cone shaped), but I’m not totally convinced that wasn’t our oven since it appears to be on it’s last leg. Thankfully the icing covered that up so no one else could tell! The icing tasted great, but it was a little runnier than I would have liked, but I’ve gotten bad about eyeing icing so that’s my fault. Plus it’s getting warm around here so humidity might have been a factor there too. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until after I had piped the first one, but I just decided to stick with it anyway.

My mom loves strawberry cupcakes and has a specific recipe she uses but I always manage to forget about that when I go to make them. I’ll just go ahead and note that while I love strawberries, I am not the biggest fan of strawberry cupcakes. I’ll eat one if that’s all there is, but if given a choice I’m more likely to go for something else first. The cupcakes also come out weird and while I still think our oven played a factor, the moisture in the strawberries also probably affected the outcome. My husband used to bake for a cupcake shop and said they usually microwaved the strawberries and then strained them to help drain off the moisture (side note: you could use the juice to help thin out the icing rather than milk to give it a more strawberry flavor). I’ve tried a couple of different versions of strawberry cake/cupcakes and this fell in the middle for overall strawberry taste. I think the icing tasted most like strawberry, but like the lemon cupcakes it was a little runny as well, but like I mentioned with the lemon icing it’s probably because I’m eyeing things and was too lazy to thicken it up a little and/or the humidity.

Overall, both recipes were easy, made about a dozen each, and according to those that helped taste test they were a hit!

Lemon CupcakesStrawberry Cupcakes
Baking Ease109
Time Spent99
Taste108
Visual88

Recipe Used: Lemon Cupcakes (from Real Simple) & Strawberry Cupcakes (from Life, Love, and Sugar)