Archive | August, 2013

Pina Colada Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Frosting

28 Aug

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In just a few days, Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, will be upon us and I have no idea where the summer has gone. I’m still trying to plan a weekend at the beach….so what are all these yellow school buses doing on the road?

I had such wonderful plans for this summer….I was going to landscape the yard, get to the beach every other weekend, learn how to split my bee hive, read at least one book a week, set aside some “me” time, and of course, bake oodles of delicious, summery, light boozy cupcakes. But here it is, the end of August and my garden is a shriveled wasteland, I have yet to bury my toes in the sand, I’ve read exactly 1.5 books and I still have only one hive, and its full of honey that should have been harvested weeks ago. Yes, I was able to concoct some pretty yummy cupcakes (those Blue Moon cupcakes went viral…well, relatively speaking), but there were so many other summer cocktail inspired cupcakes I wanted to try. Alas, they will have to wait until next year…..except for these: Pina Colada cupcakes!

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I actually made these dreamy cupcakes weeks ago, but never had the chance to post them – until now. I realized this weekend, the last hurrah for Summer 2013, was the perfect time to share these cupcakes inspired by one of the creamiest, coolest, tastiest tropical cocktails this side of Puerto Rico. Something about the way the coconut, pineapple and rum all blend together into a delicious little cake, covered with the lightest frosting reminiscent of whipped cream, and topped with a bright red cherry – these tropical treats will take you right back to basking on the beach, waves lapping at your toes….at least until the next school bus goes by.

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PINA COLADA CUPCAKES

These cupcakes were adapted from recipes posted by Blahnik Baker and Smitten Kitchen

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon rum (I used Malibu rum for a little extra depth of flavor)

2 eggs

1/4 cup cream of coconut

3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

3/4 cup crushed pineapple, strained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners

In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream of coconut, milk, vanilla and coconut extracts.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the rum and mix until combined.

Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl at low-speed, until just combined. Add the liquid mixture, and then the remaining dry ingredients until combined.

Fold in the pineapple.

Fill cupcake pans about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

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MALIBU RUM FROSTING

8 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 – 4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Malibu rum

1 tablespoon cream of coconut

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

24 maraschino cherries

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, rum, cream of coconut and extract and beat until combined, adding up to 1 more cup of sugar, until desired consistency is reached. Beat for several minutes at high speed, until light and fluffy.  Frost as desired and top each with a maraschino cherry.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fenway Park Cupcakes with Sam Adams Boston Lager

2 Aug

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I’m sitting in the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park, ice cold Sam Adams in hand, watching my beloved Red Sox trounce the evil Yankees.  Everyone has a vision of what heaven will be, this is mine. Yes, I’ve been to Fenway more times than I can count, I was even there for the big 100th anniversary celebration, but I have yet to score Green Monster seats. Someday….someday…

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I’ve been ruminating all summer over what kind of cupcake I could make as an homage to the best (and oldest) ballpark in all of America.  My favorite cupcake bakery, Kickass Cupcakes in Boston, has a Green Monster cupcake that is to die for. But I wanted something a little more ballpark-ish. Classic ballpark fare like beer, peanuts and caramel-ly Cracker Jacks all came to mind, but would they make a great cupcake? Sure they would.

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I kind of assumed Sam Adams would be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, but I was wrong. Turns out, Narragansett Beer out of Rhode Island used to be the official beer until about 1975. But when I tried to research the current official beer, I hit a dead end.  As far as I’m concerned, Sam Adams ought to be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox. I mean, when you think “Boston” and “beer”, Sam Adams is what springs to mind. So that’s what I went with, in the form of the classic Boston Lager.

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A visit to the Sam Adams website, http://www.samueladams.com offered up some wicked awesome recipes under the Food & Beer tab. I attempted to make the chocolate cupcake recipe, but it totally flopped. (I suspect there may be a typo in the flour measurement.) But no matter, that’s what mixes are for, right? And besides, their recipe for Boston Lager Caramel Sauce more than makes up for it. It is pure perfection. Truly. The website’s recipe for frosting also inspired what I decided to go with for my Fenway Park cupcakes. And so I was ready – Sam Adams Boston Lager cupcakes, a caramel sauce evocative of Cracker Jacks and a sprinkling of that ballpark staple, freshly roasted peanuts – this is one cupcake that knocks it out of the ballpark.

FENWAY PARK CUPCAKES

Like my other beer-infused cupcakes, I find a box mix works really well. And because the caramel sauce does take a little time, it makes the over-all recipe a little easier.  I recommend following the directions on the box, but substituting the amount of water called for with Sam Adams Boston Lager. I used a Betty Crocker mix for these cupcakes and so I’ve listed those ingredients here. Other brands may differ slightly. Makes approx. 18 cupcakes.

1 box chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager

Combine all ingredients in the large bowl of a stand mixer, Mix on low for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill paper-lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Cool completely.

SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER CARAMEL SAUCE

From the recipe found at http://www.samueladams.com

2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager

4 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups heavy cream

In a heavy pan, dissolve the first five ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to  boil and cook without stirring, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly stir in heavy cream until smooth and glossy. Store in the refrigerator.

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BOSTON LAGER FROSTING

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 – 5 cups confectioners sugar

2 – 4 tablespoons Sam Adams Boston Lager

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 to 4 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons lager and vanilla, mixing at low speed until combined and then at high speed until light and fluffy. Add more lager and/or sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle cupcakes with chopped peanuts, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

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