Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bringin' Back the Cupcakes...

... to work, that is. There has been a very noticeable drought in the appearance of home-baked goodies at work--primarily due to my declaration, "I'm not bringing anything in during Lent." Since Lent is over and the glorious Easter season is upon us, I spent yesterday (and some of today) working on something really special to bring in tomorrow. As always, one batch of cupcakes is never enough. Whether that's due to the number of employees we have or to greediness ("well I didn't try that flavor, so I gotta try both"), is unknown. In any case, I am glad to oblige because it presents the perfect opportunity to try out ideas I find on the Interweb.

Red velvet is always a hit around these parts, but I decided to step it up a notch by making a vanilla bean cream cheese icing to top it all off. Did I mention before that I've been working on a bottle of home-brewed vanilla extract? No? Well it's no surprise, because it's taken ONE YEAR to reach perfection. I've seen various sources that call for anywhere from 3 months to a full year. I decided to go whole hog. That's right--I've been keeping a bottle filled with vodka and chopped vanilla beans in my cupboard for that long, taking it out every few days to give it a gentle shake. My patience was definitely worth it. Wanna make your own? Click here. It's where I was inspired!

Now I realize that the background choice probably wasn't the best pick since it's so close to the cupcake color. BUT...this was all about the frosting! Which was deliciously speckled with vanilla bean seeds. That didn't photograph well. *sigh*

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 box (18.25 oz) Betty Crocker® Milk Chocolate Cake Mix
1.25 cups buttermilk (I used 1 Tbl. vinegar added to half-and-half for richness and extra YUM.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 oz. liquid red food coloring
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients and beat on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl, then increase mixer speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes. Portion into 24 paper-lined muffin pans and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing Adapted from

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/2 cup salted butter, softened but still cool
4 cups (about 1 lb.) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla bean (save empty pods to add to homemade extract or make vanilla sugar!)
8 oz. cream cheese, COLD--and not fat-free/low-fat either!

Beat butters on medium speed until blended. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low after each addition, until incorporated. Blend in extract and seeds. Cut cream cheese into 8 pieces and add to butter mixture. Mix on medium speed until smooth and combined. This shouldn't take very long. Don't over beat or the icing will be too soft. Which is fine if you don't plan on piping it.

In addition to the red velvet cupcakes, I decided to try out the popular chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake. Google it, and you'll find many interesting variations. Most recipes call for freezing a ball of cookie dough and plopping into a yellow or vanilla cupcake right before baking. The frozen dough doesn't really cook and stays pleasantly gooey and "cookie dough-y" Since I wasn't sure how well a cookie dough cupcake would go over at my work place, I decided not to freeze the cookie dough so it would bake through. And it worked! The perfect frosting complement? A brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream using How to Eat a Cupcake's recipe. Absolute heaven!

I won't post a recipe here since I've already taken up too much space (and your time--thank you, loyal readers!). Use your favorite yellow or vanilla cake recipe along with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Don't tell, but I used a vanilla cake mix for the cupcake part. The cookie recipe came from the back of the yellow chocolate chip bag. You know which one ;) Roll dough into 1" balls and place in batter. I substituted mini chips because I wanted to make mini cookie toppers and regular chips would've been ugly. And we all know there's no room for ugly here at the Fuzzykoala Cake Company.


  1. You waited a whole year? WOW! That's some kind of patience. I think I waited 2-1/2 months b/c I couldn't even wait the full 3 months! HAHA. Love the speckles in the cream cheese frosting. Yum!
    Clara @ iheartcuppycakes!

  2. Oh my holy cow the cookie dough cupcake blows my mind!

  3. Mmm!!!! I'm drooling! 2 of my favorite cuppies in 1 post!

  4. I am in the process of making my own vanilla too! Patience, patience!

    The chocolate chip cookie dough ones look extra fab!

    { Lindsey }