Archive | September, 2013

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with RumChata Frosting

25 Sep


Finally! The days are getting just a little shorter and the temperatures are getting just a little cooler. The air conditioner is off, the windows have been thrown wide open, the sky is a crisp, clear blue. Autumn has arrived!

There are so many reasons this is one of my most favorite times of year –  yes the cooler temps, the beautiful colors, but also post-season baseball and the World Series – Let’s Go Red Sox! – the return of Patriots football (and football food!), pumpkin infused everything with cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger, comfy clothes, and most especially, getting back to baking.

Let’s face it, when it’s 95 degrees outside, the last thing you want to do is have your oven set at 350 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes or more. But now that there’s a little nip in the air, it’s perfect baking weather.


When I was little, fall meant the return to cookie baking with gusto. It seems we always had some type of homemade cookies waiting for us in the cookie jar – and oh, what a cookie jar that was! This was the 1970’s – nothing was too big or too loud.  So we had a big, bright, round ceramic orange (as in color) orange (as in fruit) shaped cookie jar sitting atop the fridge. Don’t laugh, it looked absolutely fab with the avocado appliances.

I’ve loved baking for my family for as long as I can remember, and they in turn have suffered through my endeavors at self-expression and creativity stoically….although they’re still talking about the mace-spiced chocolate brownies (epic fail). But I’ve learned a lot, including that sometimes simple is best. Like my snickerdoodle cookies –  a basic sugar/butter cookie with enough cinnamon thrown in to create a perfect little treat. The recipe is so easy and yet so good, who knows how many dozens I’ve pulled out of the oven over the years.


But why limit that deliciousness to just a cookie? Wouldn’t all that cinnamon- sugariness be awesome as a cupcake? I certainly thought so, and apparently so did Brown Eyed-Baker, who posted this fabulous recipe. Of course, I had to add my own special touch, so I topped it off Rumchata frosting – the perfect cinnamon-y compliment to what has to be the Best. Cupcake. Ever.


So crank up the oven, pull out those spices from the back of the cupboard and give these a try. I promise, they will become your favorite too.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes 

from a recipe posted by Brown Eyed Baker

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.

Sift together both flours , baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Turn the speed to low and add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool completely before frosting.

RumChata Frosting

from the RumChata website

1 cup unsalted butter

3 – 4 cups confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

up to 4 tablespoons RumChata

Cream butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix at low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons RumChata and mix at high speed for 3 minutes, adding more sugar and RumChata until desired consistency is reached.  Frost as desired.

I finished  my cupcakes by sprinkling with a little cinnamon sugar.




18 Sep


A few years back, when my daughter was still in high school, it seemed as though every week ushered in a new fad and the phrase, “We have to go shopping for……..” was heard with painfully expensive frequency. So when she announced after school one day that we had to go shopping for pirate stuff, my curiosity was only slightly piqued as I grabbed my keys and headed out for what was now the weekly trip to the mall.

Little did I know that this was for an international event: September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day! What a wonderfully whimsical reason to celebrate a day! After all, who doesn’t love a good pirate? You’ve got Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, of course, and also that rascally Captain Morgan guy, but don’t forget the Goonies One-Eyed Willie, The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, and if you want to go really old school, there’s always Errol Flynn as Captain Blood. (Apparently Captain is the highest rank to which any good pirate can aspire.)

And let’s be honest, talking like a pirate? Aye matey, who doesn’t like to do that? Arrrrggghh!


Speaking of Captain Morgan, it was just about this time last year that I started this blog, and my first post was Spiced Rum and Pumpkin cupcakes, featuring Captain Morgan’s. So I thought now was a good time to break out that bottle of Captain Morgan’s (ok, yeah, we finished off that bottle ages ago, so actually it’s a new bottle) and turn the classic rum and coke into a cupcake. But while I was doing my research, I came across something even better – The Dirty Pirate – basically a rum and coke with Kahlua! As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to have a pirate, it might as well be a dirty pirate. So here it is: a delicious chocolate Coke cupcake filled with a little spiced rum ganache and topped with Kahlua frosting… definitely give these cupcakes a try….they’ll shiver yer timbers, for sure!



I recommend making the ganache filling first so it can cool and thicken while you make the cupcakes. I put my ganache in the fridge while I mixed, baked and cooled the cupcakes and it was the perfect consistency for piping when I was ready to use it.

Ganache Filling

3  –  4.4 ounce bars milk chocolate or 13 ounces good quality milk chocolate chips

1 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

3 teaspoons Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum

Put whipping cream into medium sauce pan over medium heat. Heat to boiling.  Meanwhile, break chocolate bars into small pieces in a medium bowl.  Pour boiling whipping cream over chocolate and let it set for 2 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth. Add butter and spiced rum and stir until combined. Set in the refrigerator to thicken.

Chocolate-Coke Cupcakes

I took a chance and figured if it works for beer, it’ll work for Coke too. So, as I did for my Blue Moon Cupcakes, I followed the directions on the box but substituted the water with the Coke. I’ve noticed that when I used carbonated beverages with the mixes the cupcakes finish baking a little sooner, so check on them after about 15 minutes to avoid over baking. The cupcakes turned out perfectly – nice and moist and light. I used Pillsbury this time, so I included those directions here.

1 box Pillsbury Devils Food Cake mix

1/2 cup oil

1 cup Coke

3 eggs

Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake mix, Coke, oil and eggs in bowl of stand mixer at low speed until just combined and then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 350  degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.


Kahlua Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 sticks of butter

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

3 tablespoons of Kahlua

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

splash of milk, if needed

Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer. Add sugar, salt, Kahlua and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined and then at high speed for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, adding a little milk if needed.


Using a small melon baller, scoop out the center of each cupcake. Spoon thickened ganache into a quart size ziplock bag, close the top and snip off a small corner. Gently squeeze a small amount of ganache into each cupcake. Scoop frosting into piping bag and frost cupcakes as desired.



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