cupcakes

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Baking can be a pain sometimes. The measurements have to be exact, technique should be on point and timing is everything. But sometimes all you wanna do is throw some stuff together and expect it to be magical -- no tireless measuring, no worries about over or under baking, just a straightforward recipe with no tricks and gimmicks. Enter: Ice Cream Cupcakes. 
My discovery of Rose Water happened while visiting a Lebanese bakery right down the street from our home called Fadia’s (who also have the best Baklava in town HANDS DOWN) -- and have been adding it to everything ever since. A few droplets in tea, a couple sprinkles on a fruit salad, and now used as the perfect compliment for this dreamy cupcake.
I made them miniature because they make me feel dainty and because it’s easier to reason with yourself about eating 4 miniature cupcakes instead of 4 regular cupcakes. But by all means, feel free to make them standard size -- simply just double the ice cream and number of vanilla wafers to 2 per cupcake and add a capful of rosewater to each cupcake until the wafers are almost thoroughly soaked.
-----------serving size: 24 miniature raspberry ice cream cupcakes or 12 standard sized cupcakes

  • 24 1 1/2 inch diameter foil lined cupcake liners
  • 24 vanilla wafers (round)
  • 1 bottle rose water (10 oz)
  • 2 pints vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (set aside 12 for garnish)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

The recipe is easy: line each mini cupcake liner with a vanilla wafer and add half a capful of rose water or until the wafer is thoroughly soaked. Place a couple of fresh raspberries in each liner then using a 1-TB scooper or a small spoon, fill each liner with a scoop of vanilla ice cream -- about ¾ full. Smooth out the surface using the back of a spoon and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Meanwhile, make the frosting. When ready to serve, simply frost using either a ziplock bag or icing bag and garnish with cookie crumbs and fresh raspberries.

For the frosting: In a small bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. You can use an electric beater or by hand using a whisk. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth and gradually mix with the whipped cream by gently folding a little at a time until mixed thoroughly. Place into either a ziplock bag or a regular pastry bag -- you can be creative with your designs by using different tips. I was lazy and didn't use one at all :)

**I recommend using double lined cupcake cups as they can get a little messy when eating :) Here are the ones that I used.

**It's easier to let your ice cream slightly soften before placing into cupcake liners. That way it's easier to add the raspberries and flatten out the surface.

Ice Cream Cupcakes
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 75 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 10
Ice Cream Cupcakes with fresh Raspberries, vanilla bean ice cream, a rose water crust and whipped cream cheese frosting.
Ingredients
  • 24 1.5 -inch diameter foil lined cupcake liners
  • 24 vanilla wafers (round)
  • 1 bottle rose water (10 oz)
  • 2 pints vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (set aside 12 for garnish)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. The recipe is easy: line each mini cupcake liner with a vanilla wafer and add half a capful of rose water or until the wafer is thoroughly soaked. Place a couple of fresh raspberries in each liner then using a 1-TB scooper or a small spoon, fill each liner with a scoop of vanilla ice cream -- about ¾ full. Smooth out the surface using the back of a spoon and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Meanwhile, make the frosting. When ready to serve, simply frost using either a ziplock bag or icing bag and garnish with cookie crumbs and fresh raspberries.
  2. For the frosting: In a small bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. You can use an electric beater or by hand using a whisk. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth and gradually mix with the whipped cream by gently folding a little at a time until mixed thoroughly. Place into either a ziplock bag or a regular pastry bag -- you can be creative with your designs by using different tips. I was lazy and didn't use one at all :)
  3. **I recommend using double lined cupcake cups as they can get a little messy when eating :) Here are the ones that I used.

Rum N’ Raspberry Custard Cupcakes

17 days in Europe. 45 miles hiked with 60 lb backpacks. 1 (bad bad) case of food poisoning. 7 pounds lost, each. Endless laughter with friends on first week.  Beautiful sunsets and snuggles with my love for the rest.  Exploring small towns, big cities, and eating all the pasta and pizza to our hearts' desire -- may we always take these wonderful adventures together.

It's good to be home.  We came back to our sweet Layla, a flourishing blooming garden and of course the warmth and comfort of family and friends.  Even better, Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets agreed to prepare a guest post for my birthday today.  Imagine the happiness I felt when I found this in my inbox this morning :)  I met Xiaolu through the lovely world of food blogging and we instantly connected.  With her inspiring photography, elegant recipes, and most importantly her genuine personality we clicked immediately. Thank you Xiaolu for making my birthday special this year, it was one of the best surprises I've ever gotten.  Turning 26 will be extra sweet this year, Feast your eyes on these bad boys!

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When Joy emailed me some time ago to introduce herself and ask me to prepare aguest post for her birthday, I was beyond honored to accept her invitation. First, because she's an incredibly talented food photographer who's made her passion into a living -- now that's something to admire! Second, because I had just discovered and fallen in love with her blog! Joy posts the type of food that I crave...recipes as fresh and healthy for you as they are delicious and pleasing to the eye. Now months later, I'm proud to know Joy as a genuine sweetheart and dear friend. Thank you all for having me here today, and please join me in celebrating our birthday girl and gorgeous new bride with something sweet =D! Although Joy was generous in giving me free reign over her birthday treat, I begged her for a few hints for finding the keys to her tastebuds. What she revealed was this: she adores pastry cream (could "eat it for days") and you'd rarely find her turning down a good rum-soaked cake. With these promising leads, I set out to tailor-fit a special cupcake to suit her tastes. Luckily it appeared Joy and I share not only a Chinese heritage, American upbringing, and passion for food, but also similar taste in sweets. But despite my love of both pastry cream and rum cake, I could tell something was missing. Something fresh, light, and juicy. Something like a berry? Once raspberry was identified as the missing piece, the rest of the recipe came together quickly: my favorite egg-less vanilla cupcake with an egg yolk added back in for richness (yes, I'm crazy like that ;p), a sweet n' buttery rum glaze, pastry cream with mashed raspberries for a refreshing lift, and topping it all off...my favorite subtly sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. Considering the two big occasions being celebrated, I couldn't leave these cupcakes Plane Jane no matter how delicious they were inside! Joy let slip that she loved the color yellow, and I found it perfect that someone as vibrant and fun as her would be drawn to a color much the same. I couldn't resist baking these sweets in yellow wrappers and topping them with festive homemade flag and pompom toppers (tutorial to come on my blog). The only thing missing was the birthday girl herself! Dearest Joy, congratulations on the wonderful life you have already built and best of luck on all the exciting adventures that you and Mr. Joylicious are sure to embark on in the many years to come! Rum N’ Raspberry Custard Cupcakes [Printable Recipe] Adapted from VCTOTW, Always Order Dessert, and Gourmet Makes 12 cupcakes XIAOLU'S NOTES: I bought the printable images for these flag cupcake toppers from the Etsy store ReadyGo for $6 and added the text electronically in Photoshop. Then I simply printed them out on white card stock, cut out the shapes, and attached them to lollipop sticks using tape. The price for the printables is not bad at all considering you get up to 4 colors, but I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to draw your own designs in Photoshop or a similar program either. For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup MINUS 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark rum
  • For the rum syrup
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease tops of a 12-cup standard muffin pan, then line with baking liners. Whisk the milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to curdle. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the milk mixture, oil, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract, and rum, and mix together thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until no large lumps remain [small ones are okay]. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the rum syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water, and sugar. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let reduce slightly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum (it may bubble). Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut a cone out of the top of each cooled cupcake and set it to the side. Using a spoon or pastry brush, coat the sides and bottom of the opening with rum syrup, about 2 teaspoons per cupcake. Fill each opening with about 2 teaspoons of pastry cream, place the cut-out cone back on the cupcake, and press down slightly to secure. Finally spread or pipe cream cheese frosting onto each cupcake! Raspberry Pastry Cream Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 3/4 cup milk [not skim]
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh raspberries, coarsely mashed

Heat milk in a small saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not boiling. While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and comes to a boil, 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold and thickened, at least 3 hours. Stir in mashed raspberries just before use.

Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3/4 to 1 cup (1 1/2 to 2 sticks) trans fat-free margarine or butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 to 3 cups (6.5 to 13.25 oz.) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. (1 block) vegan or full-fat dairy cream cheese, cold and cut into large chunks

Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in until it’s smooth). Taste the frosting, adding and beating in more sugar as needed. Be careful to avoid overbeating or the cream cheese may start to break down and become gloppy. If not using immediately, chill until needed, then beat again until smooth just before using.

Fundraising Project #1 - "The Man Who Never Cried"

A few weeks back I wrote a post about The Importance of Giving where President Clinton discusses ways we can contribute our time and skills to help others.  Since then, my mind hasn't stopped thinking about ways I can help and the differences I am able to make with the resources that are readily available to me.

My friend Andrew Lee has been busily working on a short film titled "The Man Who Never Cried" and together with his team, they've been  hard to raise money for the project.  Thus far he has raised a whopping $12,000 for the film but still has another $9,000 to go before reaching the budget needed.  Unfortunately I'm not a millionaire, or I'd throw a fat check his way BUT I do like to bake and photograph the things I make so I came up with a fun idea -- organizing a fundraiser by selling cupcakes to my friends and family!

This week I've written an article at Appetite for Good, a website geared towards promoting philanthropic organizations and events through food.  Be sure to read more about my first fundraising event and most importantly, don't forget to support!

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Ingredients for Lemon Cake: (makes 30 cupcakes)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 (8-ounce) cartons dairy sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

Recipe from Diana's Desserts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 C). Line thirty 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (The batter will be thick.) Stir in lemon peel.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup *(See Tip Below). Bake in preheated oven about 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frsoting and topping cupcakes with lemon or orange zest (optional).

Ingredients for Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (Makes 24 cupcakes):
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 12 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c + 2 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled & coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tins.
Using a food processor or mortar, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter until it forms a coarse meal.  The crumbs should stick together when you pinch them.
Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin.  Bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, let cool and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until light & fluffy and then add the vanilla & beat on a low-speed.  Then add half the flour mixture until incorporated then mix in the sour cream or yogurt.  Add remaining flour & mix until just blended.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peak appear, about 2 minutes. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg and fold in the chopped strawberries.  Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 17- 20 minutes depending on your oven.   You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick through the center, if it comes out clean it is ready to take out ( I would recommend checking after 15 minutes)!

Ingredients for Carrot cupcakes (Makes 1 dozen):

  • 8 carrots (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded (4 cups)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots with the raisins and pecans. Onto a large sheet of wax paper, sift the flour with the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the canola oil with the sugar at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the carrot mixture.
Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them three-fourths full. Bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Ingredients for Moist Chocolate Cupcakes: (Makes 12-18 cupcakes)
  • 1 3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup coffee
For the chocolate cake, mix all of the dry ingredients together so they are evenly distributed.  Add the wet ingredients one at a time as listed, until fully incorporated.  This ensures the batter comes out nice and smooth. Line the muffin pans with cupcake liners and pour the batter about 3/4 of the way, leaving room for the cake to rise when baking.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes, you can check the doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean it is ready (Because oven temperatures differ, if the batter is still wet leave for 5 minutes longer, repeat until done.)  Set aside and cool.
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For the toppings of the cupcakes -- you can find the recipe for caramel here and the cream cheese frosting here and the candied carrots here.  The rest is pretty self explanatory and use your creativity to see what you can come up with!