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#31 Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

26 Jun

This post is kind of a re-do of a previous one that was never really completed. I made these cupcakes a few months back for my friend’s birthday, but of course I read the recipe wrong and used normal sized cupcake tins when they were supposed to be in mini ones. So, instead of making about 40 of these cupcakes, I had about 12.

I ended up making a whole different batch of cupcakes because I was supposed to be bringing over at least 30 cupcakes. When I came home from that birthday dinner, the 12 cupcakes were all eaten by the family (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law). I didn’t even get to take a picture of them! Since they were so good, and I technically didn’t make them correctly, I decided I’d try them again.

The thing about these cupcakes is that you are supposed to flip them upside down and then put the ganache on it. Of course, in the recipe they make it seem like its just the easiest thing in the world to flip a cupcake pan over and all of the little cupcakes will just fall out perfectly. Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me. I attempted it that way, simply flipping it upside down. Yeah – dont do that. Even after making sure each tin was perfectly greased and dusted with cocoa powder, they still managed to get stuck in there. Trust me, take the extra 5 minutes and use a knife to scrape the sides of the cupcake, AND THEN, flip them over.

These really turned out amazing. I think they’re better in the smaller sizes, just cause you can pop them in your mouth and then scurry away out of the kitchen without anyone knowing you ate one…

Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

Recipe from Cupcakes edition of Better Homes and Garden


Cooking Spray

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (for dusting the pan)

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 ounces SemiSweet Chocolate, chopped

2 tbs Instant Espresso Powder

1 tbs Boiling Water

1/4 cup Kahlua (or rum/coffee liqueur)

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1 cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract


1. Preheat oven to 350.  Use cooking spray and generously spray each 1 3/4 inch muffin tin. (Mini Cupcake Tins). Then put a little cocoa powder in each tin and coat the bottom and sides of the cup. Shake out excess.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Place chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute; stir. Microwave another 20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

4. In a 1 cup measuring glass, dissolve coffee crystals in the boiling water. Add enough cold water to measure 3/4 cup total liquid. Then add the rum to this cup. Set aside.

5. In a large mixing bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beat to combine. Add egg, beat well. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture with rum/liquid mixture to chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating on low speed after each addition.

6. Spoon batter into each muffin cup, filling it about 3/4 full. Be careful not to put too much in!

7. Bake about 10-12 minutes. When they are done, the tops of the cupcake should spring back slightly when you lightly touch them. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes. Using a knife, gently scrape the sides of the cupcake on all of the tins. Then flip the pan over onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

8. Put a baking sheet under the wire rack with all of your cupcakes on it. Spoon the ganache on top of each one. Finish off with some sugar crystals or fluer de sel.




#28 Blue Velvet Dodger Cupcakes

3 Jun

Lovely Libby asked me to conjure up some magical Dodgers themed baked good to give to her friends. We ran through a few ideas and ended up with……Blue Velvet Cupcakes! It’s pretty much exactly what you think, Red Velvet cupcakes…but Blue. Although things got a little challenging so it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

I have a normal Red Velvet cake recipe that I use, or use to use now that I have this new one. I tried to just alter that recipe and replace the Red food dye with the Blue food dye. Sounds logical right? Wrong. So wrong. They turned out this hideous blue, the middle sunk in and the edges turned yellow. What the heck happened?! I dont even want to know. I just shoved them to the side, went to the store an started over. But not before I looked up some other recipes and see if anyone else had better luck than I did. Sure enough, there are REAL recipes for Blue Velvet Cake and it was a bit different than mine so I decided to give it a shot.

After just making the batter, I knew it was going to turn out MUCH differently than the other ones. The key difference with this recipe was using gel food coloring as opposed to liquid food coloring. I have gel food coloring for tinting frostings and such, but I never really thought to use it in my cupcakes, I always just used liquid.

They turned out a very bright blue, which is exactly what I wanted to match the Dodger color.

I used a cupcake that didn't turn out and crumbled up pieces of it into some make shift sprinkles


Here is the link to the recipe. I found it on this really adorable baking blog, the pictures are gorgeous. Totally makes me want to step up my game.



#25 Salted Caramel Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

19 May

The title pretty much says it all. The picture of this cupcake in the magazine I found it in was absolutely saliva inducing (that doesn’t sound as sexy as I thought it would). I was going to scan it and show you guys, but then mine didn’t turn out as amazing looking as theirs, so just work with me here.

I got the recipe out of this amazing cupcake magazine I found at a Bristol Farms near by. I flipped through a few pages and pretty much had to buy it. If you’re interested in it, it is put out by the Better Homes and Garden magazine and it’s called, shockingly, “Cupcakes”. It starts with the basics like a chocolate cupcake and the different frostings to go with it but then later into the issue you come across outrageous stuff, like this cupcake here. It’s an amazing issue, I’ll definitely be making more from here.

The Santa Cruz Fam is coming to town Memorial Day Weekend. Get Ready!

Back to cupcakes…

If you’ve been paying attention thus far, you may have noticed I forget ingredients while baking, or straight up forget to buy them. I didn’t forget to put anything in this time (thank goodness) but I didn’t realize I needed sour cream (weird) for the frosting around the edge. I changed the recipe and just made a ganache and heard no complaints, although maybe it would have been even more amazing with the sour cream. We’ll never know…unless you bake it the right way and send me a message letting me know how it is! 🙂

Also on top, I made use of my Fleur de Sel salt that I ordered for those damn Vanilla Bean Caramels that NEVER work out for me. I figured that I should use the salt on something that actually turns out. I also ended up using that Caramel sauce on some of the cupcakes because I ran out of the other caramel that I made to go with it. I didn’t so much as run out as Torey and Yael were over and they kept eating it…

"Hold up a cupcake, I'm going to take your picture!". Commence fake smiles.


I almost just sat here and typed up the whole recipe and then luckily found that they uploaded it to their website, phew! Check out the recipe HERE.

Make sure you don't go too overboard with the caramel...

I usually bring whatever I bake into the office, but I also brought some into the aquarium and they were devoured LITERALLY within 5 minutes.  I came in to grab a parking pass, dropped off the cupcakes, came back in from my car and they were all gone. I’d call that a success. Also, what a coincidence, they were filming Top Chef: Just Desserts upstairs on the pier. I thought that was pretty nifty! Although I was a bit disappointed to watch their PA’s plating their final desserts for the camera. Thats the chefs job not some awkward large bearded man? Sorry. Totally ruined it for me. Not to mention they left a huge pile of trash behind next to the aquaium. I’m all for my desserts people but I’m also all for the environment.

Hope the rain this week didn’t freak you out! Enjoy the weekend 🙂


#18 Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

20 Mar

Happy Late St. Patricks Day! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while but felt I should wait until St. Patty’s Day to test it out.

I had an amazing morning working at the aquarium. A group of 3rd graders from inner city LA came and were just absolutely hilarious. They got off the bus and had big eyes like “oh my god we’re at the beach!!!!” It was beyond precious. During a break after the class left, I was talking to one of the other interns who was asking what St. Patrick’s Day is for when I realized…I have no idea.

So I looked it up..and I still don’t really get it but it’s basically a holiday about St. Patrick from Ireland. More of an excuse to drink and pinch people for not wearing green if you ask me :). In my research I did find out that they dye the Chicago River green every year in honor of it. You’ve got to check out this video of it. They dump 40 lbs of green vegetable dye for it to stay this Nickelodean gack color for 4 hours. Seems extremely outrageous if you ask me.

Back to the baking.

I ended up making these Friday morning and let me say that opening up a beer at 10am just isn’t appealing, on any level. Felt like the morning after a party, but I got past it.

Guinness and Irish Butter (I felt it was appropriate)

I’ve always been intimidated by cupcakes that had filling in the center. It just seemed like a lot of work and cutting out the center didnt look so simple either, but I was wrong. It was easy and kinda fun too because when you cut a cone out of the cupcake you have to cut a little piece off so that it fits back in with the ganache, so you get to eat a bunch of little pieces of cake along the way :).

Use a pairing knife and cut a cone in the center of the cupcake

Pipe some ganache into the center and then put the cone you cut off back on top!

Ta-da! No one will know that you cut it open once you put the frosting on.


Half good

Highly suggest making these, any time of the year 🙂

For the cupcakes and the ganache, I used this recipe CLICK HERE

But for the frosting I used THIS recipe…CLICK HERE.

#15 – Valentine’s Day Special

20 Feb

Sadly, Valentine’s Day has long passed so I can not wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day properly. I hope you all had a nice day with your loved ones or just with some friends. I’ve decided that I’m a fan of the holiday for baking purposes only. Hearts and Lovey-Dovey things in baking are just absolutely adorable, but the holiday itself is a mess.

With my crazy schedule the past few weeks, I didn’t have the brain to think of something uber creative for Valentine’s Day. Especially since after a week of working in Vegas I flew straight to Santa Cruz for my niece’s first birthday and my brother’s birthday. My poor brother will never know what it is like to have a real birthday anymore because his daughter’s birthday is the following day.

Her first cupcake 🙂

Hilarious picture. Thats my Brother and my Sister-in-Law and the munchkin, minus the head.

We drove home the day before Valentine’s Day and after taking way too much Dramamine to be sure that I stayed passed out in the backseat on the drive home, I had no energy to make anything that evening. (I’m not complaining. I slept amazingly). Although I got up early the morning of Love Day, primarily because my body was accustomed to waking up at 7:30 all week, and made some classic Red Velvet Cupcakes for the boyfriend before heading to my first day back at school. You heard me. I’m finally back in school. Very weird feeling, but lets not ruin this loving baby filled post with school.

This is what they looked like moments after being finished.

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting. Classic

Candy Hearts have some really weird sayings on them these days...I dont know how I feel about "High Five" being on a heart. It sure sounds insulting to me.

And this is what they looked like after my drive to UCLA forgetting to put the carrier on the floor.


I went through a wave of emotions, which shows how weird my brain is. I turned around and saw them all turned upside down and smooshed and laughed, hysterically. The light turned green and I continued driving with a dead straight face, no emotions, no feelings. Then I turned onto his street and I cried. It was pathetic really. I blame the exhaustion from the prior week…and a little bit of my weird dessert focused brain.

In attempts to make myself feel better after this tragic incident, I made sugar cookies the following day. This was the best decision ever. Not only are these sugar cookies the best I’ve ever made or had for that matter, they were adorable too and were gone within 2 days I believe. Super addicting. I have Annie from Annie Eats to thank for that recipe. Truly amazing. I’ll never go to any other sugar recipe.

First, I outlined them and let them set.

Then, I took the frosting and watered it down so it was liquidy and poured it into the middle. I used a toothpick to move it into all of the corners, and then let it set.

They turn out beautiful.

I tried using Meringue Powder for my Royal Icing, after reading so many different recipes that used it. I personally like it a lot better than using egg whites, and it saves you the worrying in the back of your mind about using raw eggs. Here is the recipe for the Royal Icing I used.

Lots of pictures this post, I hope you enjoy them.

I promise my post about the Exec Pastry Chef at the Red Rock is coming soon!

#14 Tiramisu Cupcakes

14 Feb

Whenever I am out at a restaurant that serves Tiramisu, I have to get it. It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts that I don’t eat very often. A year or two ago I tried making a frozen version of Tiramisu, and that was…interesting. When I was soaking the ladyfingers in rum, I didn’t use a big enough pan so I did it in two batches, of course not realizing that I was using double the amount of alcohol. Lets just say, when I took a bite of the final dessert, it was like taking a shot.

When I made these, I was craving Tiramisu, but I didn’t have the mental capacity to make the real thing so I found Martha Stewarts Tiramisu Cupcake recipe. And if  I actually followed directions, they would have been amazing. But of course, my brain has been mush for the past two weeks, especially now. [I panicked at the airport because I thought I couldn’t find my bag, only to have the TSA guy tell me that it’s on my shoulder and the proceed to sing the Twilight theme song.]

I got everything ready, or so I thought, and then managed to leave out the egg yolks. Not all the eggs! Just the egg yolks…

But, despite my fail, all of them were eaten regardless. I shall be trying these again in the next few weeks, and I will do it right.

Not many pictures, because they weren’t done properly. Promise this will be made again with many pictures. The flavor is there, and I look forward to trying it again.

Be expecting a few more posts either tonight, or in the next few days. I have some making up to do 🙂



#11 Cookie Brownie Cheesecake

13 Jan

This is Libby.

This week on Wednesday was my her birthday.

The story with Libby is that she has been begging for these “Cookie Brownie” things since the day she found out that I liked baking. Everyone, including myself and my pastry chef sister-in-law, had no idea what these cookie brownies were.Every time I posted a new recipe, she would instantly respond with 2 words and a bunch of exclamation points “cookie brownies!!!!!!!!!” It makes enough sense that I could figure it out, but I had never had one and didn’t quite get what the rage was.

So I decided to do what any nice person would do, and make the girl the cookie brownies that she oh so desperately wanted, or needed. I looked around online for some recipes, but every one had a box mix required to make it. Box mix!? Nonsense. I figured that it couldn’t be that hard to do it from scratch, right? It sounded incredibly simple!

I took the brownie batter that I made and spread it in my pan evenly. I then took cookie dough and balled it up and dropped it in and smashed it down a little bit so it would bake in the brownies and not on top of the brownies. Lastly, I smeared the top a little bit so that it looked more brownie like.

I put it in the oven for 35 minutes like it said, and it still wasn’t done. I left it in for another 5 minutes and I couldn’t let it stay in there any longer, the top of it was starting to look like it was getting too hard.

So I take him out (brownies seem to be masculine in my mind I guess?) and he looked like this. Beautiful right?

10 minutes later….

He sunk…and the cookie dough spread out into the brownies so it was more of a brownie with a hint of cookie in it and it didn’t look done in the center. Cookie Brownie Fail.

I couldn’t serve that as her cookie brownies, because it was so clearly a fail, so I let it sit for a day so that I could think about what to do with it. After a few ideas of what to do with these brownies I decided to change up my cheesecake recipe a bit and add in these brownies.

Basically, I just crumbled up the brownies and added it into the cheesecake batter that I used in my Oreo Cheesecake Recipe.

Saved 🙂

Happy Birthday Miss Libby