Savory Cupcakes

September has arrived… the end of summer, the kids are back at school and fall is just around the corner.  I think fall is actually coming a little early this year.  The Canadian Geese have already started heading south for the winter.  With that in mind, and the fact that I don’t like sweets, Savory is the perfect choice this month.

As I started pulling recipes I realized that this will be perfect for me.  Cooking for one is always difficult, especially if you love meat with your meals as I do.  Throwing a salad together for every meal just doesn’t cut it.  *Light bulb over my head*  My cupcakes will double as my meals.  I guess that means the neighbors won’t be seeing me for several weeks.

Having mulled this over for a few days, a new thought came to mind.  These cupcakes could also work as a quick snack, packed in a lunch, for parties, maybe in mini form as appetizers, or to take to a pot luck or BBQ.  And the best part, they’re already in individual servings.

I hope you enjoy our Savory journey this month.  Meatloaf, Lasagna, and Mac&Cheese.  Oh my!!!

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Banana Split Cupcakes

Banana Split.  Who doesn’t love the indulgence of a good banana split… a boat-shaped bowl lined with two halves of a banana filled with three scoops of ice cream topped with chocolate, strawberry and pineapple sauces and all covered with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry on top.  Do I have your attention?  Lucky for us this cupcake is the perfect size banana split and doesn’t take us into a sugar coma or extra inches on the hips.

Banana Split Cupcakes from www.bakersroyale.com/cupcakes/banana-split-cupcakes/

This banana cupcake is adapted from Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake recipe. 

This recipe has you first cream the butter until its smooth, then you gradually add the sugar.  This is the first time I’ve seen or done this and was pleasantly surprised to see it made a beautifully light and fluffy butter/sugar mixture. 

It doesn’t say in the recipe but you MUST rotate your pans half way through baking.  My first batch of cupcakes were browned in the back of the pan and slightly undercooked in the front.  The next batch came out perfect.

This cupcake is light, fluffy and moist.  It is full of banana flavor ~ I did use perfectly ripened bananas.  The cupcake stands great on its own and the extras I had are great with a cup of tea in the morning.

I didn’t make the Banana Cream Custard filling.  One, I didn’t have enough bananas, but more importantly, the little ones in the neighborhood have a difficult time eating cupcakes with a soft filling ~ it ends up everywhere.

I continued on with the swiss meringue Vanilla Buttercream frosting.  I like this frosting because it is NOT a sweet frosting.

Then on to the Chocolate Dipping Sauce.  The recipe doesn’t specify the type of dark chocolate to use, and I’m guessing I bought the wrong kind.  My sauce was way too runny.  I had the hardest time coating the frosting layer.  It wasn’t always sticking which left white spots showing through the chocolate.  It also didn’t give enough chocolate coverage that I was looking for.

Give yourself plenty of time to make these cupcakes, as there is freezer time after the first layer of frosting and then again after the chocolate layer.  The recipe does give you helpful tips in preparing parts of the recipe in advance.  Always a good thing!

Overall, this cupcake is very delicious.  And I’m quite surprised to say that.  You would think with two layers of frosting and a dip in the chocolate sauce that it would be too sweet for me.  But it’s not!  It’s a light and yummy cupcake.  A definite for the cupcake stash.

cupcakelab rating:  the good

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Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers are my second favorite candy bar, especially if put in the refrig or better yet… frozen. 

Snickers Cupcakes from http://annies-eats.com/2010/11/12

Be sure read through the directions before you begin.  There are a lot of pots, whisking and bowls used before you get to the mixer. 

You make a beautiful chocolate cake, and the chocolate aroma wafting throughout the house is just heavenly.  This is a light and fluffy, and just a tad dry cupcake.  But I’ll hold out on final judgement until I put the entire cupcake together.

I didn’t make the caramel sauce because I had some left over from another recipe.  Waste not, want not.

Just when I thought you couldn’t get any better than a Snickers bar, then came along chopped Snickers covered in caramel.  YUM!!!  I filled all the cupcakes and had some left. 

You know what’s coming now… DESSERT.  All for me.  Just kidding.  Instead I decided to use the balance as the garnish for the cupcakes. 

Next you make the caramel buttercream frosting, frost the cupcakes, drizzle with more caramel and garnish with more chopped Snickers bars.  I skipped a few steps.  No caramel drizzle or chopped Snickers bar because I used the balance of the caramel coated chopped Snickers. 

Overall, the cupcake is still a tad dry and the frosting is sickeningly sweet.  Thank goodness I didn’t drizzle more caramel on top.  The highlight was the chopped Snickers.

cupcakelab rating:  the ugly

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Butterbeer Cupcakes

Butterbeer is the drink of choice for Harry Potter and the other young wizards at Hogwarts.  Butterbeer has a butterscotch base and is most closely identified as a good quality cream soda.

Butterbeer Cupcakes from www.thepastryaffair.com/2011/7/14/ 

The cupcake is a cream soda cake.  Be sure to buy a good quality cream soda.  It makes a difference.

The recipe includes both vanilla and butter flavorings, and uses dark brown sugar instead of granulated sugar (just to pump up the sweetness factor). 

When it comes to adding the flour mixture, buttermilk and cream soda she has you fold them into the batter rather than use the mixer.  Don’t miss this in the directions.  I did.  Oops!

The cupcake is light and fluffy, and has a great texture.  The cream soda cake is so Delicious!!!  I’m loving this cupcake.

In order to include the Butterscotch I’ve had to continue on with the Butterscotch Ganache and Butterscotch Buttercream frosting.

I had issues with the ganache.  Mine was VERY runny.  It absolutely needs more substance.  It does taste great!  So that’s a bonus.

Filling the cupcake with the butterscotch ganache didn’t go well.  Since the ganache was so runny, when I filled the cupcake it just seeped its way throughout the cupcake, changing the overall flavor of the cupcake.  Bummer!

After making the Butterscotch Ganache you make the Butterscotch Buttercream, which includes the ganache along with vanilla and butter flavorings.  The frosting was rather good.  I was surprised.  I thought it would be too sweet but found it to be just right.

Then you drizzle the ganache over the frosting.  Can you say extreme difficulty?  The runny ganache ran all over the cupcakes.  And I used very little ganache.

These cupcakes were a big hit in the neighborhood, with the adults not the kids.  The little ones didn’t like the butterscotch flavor.  Lesson learned.

The recipe needs some tweaking and for that reason…

cupcakelab rating:  the bad

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Butterfinger Cupcakes

The candy industry is lucky they don’t have to depend on the money I spend on candy.  They’d be hurting big time in sales.  If I do buy a candy bar, which is very, very rare, it’s a Butterfinger bar.  So you can see… I’m so excited for this cupcake.  And no matter how it turns out, I’ll still have a little Butterfinger bar to enjoy.

Butterfinger Cupcakes from http://annies-eats.com/2010/10/22

A Butterfinger bar is a caramel-y peanut butter center covered in chocolate.  So you would think those ingredients would be in this recipe.  But no!  We have banana (banana?) in the cupcake batter and peanut butter in the frosting.  Chocolate is nowhere to be found!

You use the “fun size” bar.  That’s the little bars that come in a bag and weighs 16 grams.  The outside of the bag says Fun Size.  I only tell you this because if you’re like me and don’t buy candy you may not know what the Fun Size is.  I didn’t.

This cupcake is light and moist, and is a beautifully delicious banana cake.  No vanilla, no spices ~ just the flavor of banana.  YUM!  It’s just out of this world!!!

Since we haven’t included the Butterfinger yet I’ll have to continue on with the frosting and candy bar.

The frosting is a cream cheese, peanut butter frosting which includes frozen whipped topping.  You would think this would be a sweet frosting but it isn’t.  It’s quite delicious and a hit with the neighbors!  My only issue is it’s a little on the thin side making it just a bit too soft.

Now the recipe calls for placing the Butterfinger bar half on the cupcake, then frost and then sprinkle with chopped Butterfinger bits.  Since so many of my neighbors are little ones I opted to put the candy bar on top of the frosting; don’t want any choking accidents.

This is an overall good recipe for the individual parts, but together they are not what I imagined for a Butterfinger cupcake.  I think the banana cake needs to be chocolate cake, the Butterfinger bits added to the frosting and then topped with the candy bar.  But that’s just me *smile*

cupcakelab rating:  the good

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Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie.  I ate them as a child as they were the go-to cookie for my Mom’s generation.  It was the one cookie my Mom baked.  I wonder which of my sister’s has her recipe?  Then these fabulous cookies disappeared from favor for a few decades.  Well, Snickerdoodle cookies have made a comeback!  I’m so excited.  So for Mom…

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes from http://annies-eats.com/2010/11/12

This recipe says it yields 28 cupcake.  But, boy oh boy, its one of the larger batters I’ve made to date.  And yep, it makes 28 cupcakes

The recipe says to fill the liner 2/3 full.  I used one level scoop and the cupcake came out perfect.

It’s a grey day here today with thunderstorms rolling through later this afternoon.  A perfect day for baking.  The cupcakes are baking and the delicious scent of sugar cinnamon baking in the kitchen has my stomach talking to me.  Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Snickerdoodle Cupcakes…

This is a pretty cupcake, speckled with cinnamon.  It is light and fluffy, just on the borderline for a nice weight for a cupcake.  It was just a tad dry. 

The frosting is a made-from-scratch Fluffy Marshmallow frosting.  I’ve never made marshmallow before and it really is quite easy.  After you’ve piped your frosting you sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar.

The cupcakes sat in an airtight cupcake carrier as I walked the neighborhood passing out cupcakes.  When I arrived home I tried a complete cupcake.  To my surprise the cake was not as dry as when I tried one from the cooling rack.  The frosting was good.  But overall I didn’t think the cake and frosting went well together.  A different frosting will make all the difference and maybe make this cupcake taste more like a Snickerdoodle.

cupcakelab rating:  the bad

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Caramel Pretzels Cupcakes

Ok… time for Part 2.  The good stuff.

Sweet and Salty Cupcakes from http://www.farrahskitchen.com/2011/08

You need to know that there isn’t much in the way of a recipe.  It’s just 5 steps.

The first is to bake your favorite chocolate cupcake.  Refer to yesterday’s post (Part 1) for this.  Second, put some pretzels in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Third, make your favorite frosting and frost your cupcakes.  She used a basic vanilla frosting.  I was in the mood for vanilla bean so I made vanilla bean buttercream.  Fourth, tip the frosted cupcake into the bowl of chopped pretzels and push down to stick.  And, fifth, use a squeeze bottle of Smucker’s caramel topping and drizzle over cupcake.

Well, now we’ve come to the part where I had some difficulty.  The opening of the Smucker’s caramel is too large to drizzle.  It just coated the cupcake and dripped down the sides making a complete and sticky mess.  Thank goodness my friend Patti had sent for my birthday a couple of small squeeze bottles that had very small-holed tips (and I mean tiny!).  I filled the bottles and drizzled the caramel.  Success!!!

I loved these cupcakes!  Outside of the difficulty with the super light cupcake, these are amazing.  The salty-sweet taste is just perfect and was a favorite of the neighborhood.

A definite for the recipe stash.

cupcaklab rating: the good

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