Italian Cupcakes

I was commissioned to make Italian cupcakes for GC’s family reunion.

I went with a green, white and red theme for the Italian flag. All recipes are from The Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes.

1. Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Icing – the problem with using green and red sprinkles and then placing these on a snowflake tray is they scream Christmas rather than Italian. The only get Italian if you say Buone Natale instead.

Makes: 24 cupcakes Prep Time: 20 minutes Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ baking powder
1 cup hot water
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
¾ cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside. In small bowl, mix hot water cocoa until dissolved; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beat well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and cocoa mixture, about ½ at a time, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks to cool. Frost with desired frosting.

Frosting – Betty’s Decorator Icing

Prep Time: 10 minutes Start to Finish: 10 minutes

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
½ teaspoon mint extract

  1. In large bowl, beat butter and shortening with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt.
  2. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar, I cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons milk; beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. Frosts 24 cupcakes.

I overloaded the mint extract. I used 2 teaspoons probably. It is more to taste but I think I overdid it. People apparently do not love Mint/Chocolate which I find shocking. Maybe people associate it with Christmas and hot chocolate so in the middle of August it just didn’t do anything for them? I will procede with caution next time I make anything with mint and chocolate.

These cupcakes also didn’t rise like I would have wanted them to. They didn’t really have tops to them so I just loaded on the icing…

2. Limoncello Cupcakes – inspired by the Italian liquor without containing it

Makes: 24 cupcakes Prep Time: 20 minutes Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-sized muffin cups or grease and flour muffin cups, or spray with baking spray with flour
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. On low speed alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk, about ½ at a time, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick interested in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks to cool. Frost with desired frosting.

Frosting – Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes Start to Finish: 10 minutes

6 cups powedered sugar
2/3 cups butter, softened
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

  1. In large bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining lemon juice to make frosting smooth and spreadable. Stir in grated lemon peel. If frosting is too thick, beat in more lemon juice, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small smount of powdered sugar. Generously frosts 24 cupcakes.

Small children hate lemon. GC’s cousin’s daught was given one of these cupcakes, her mother thinking it was lemon, took a bite and hated it. Fair enough – citrus (and I’m not going to lie, I kicked it up a notch. More juice, more zest and zest on top of the finished cupcakes). I fear when I eventually have children that I will stop baking because it will irrationally bother me when small children can’t finish baked good. BUT there is always mini cupcakes, mini muffins, cake balls, little cookies – the possibilities are endless!!!

3. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – always a classic, never my favourite, yet made frequently

Makes: 24 cupcakes Prep Time: 40 minutes Start to Finish: 1 hour 30 minutes

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 bottle (1 oz) red food colouring
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-sized muffin cups. In small bowl, mix flour, cocoa and salt; set aside
  2. In large bowl, beat ½ cup butter and the granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Add eggs; beat 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Stir in food colouring and vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, and buttermilk, ½ at a time, beating just until blended. Beat in baking soda and vinegar until well blended.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffins cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick interested in center comes out clean, remove from pans to cooling racks to cool.

Frosting: Cream Cheese Frosting – the original recipe called for a marshmallow fluff frosting…. why? Just, why?

Prep Time: 10 minutes Start to Finish: 10 minutes

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
4 cups powdered sugar

  1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

I wanted to use my whoopie pie red velvet recipe because it had this great, intense chocolate flavour but I didn’t know how well whoopie pie recipes translate into cupcake recipes and vice versa. People will always love Red Velvet and they will always love cream cheese frosting. This was the first time I used a buttermilk substitute (a little less than 1 cup of regular milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice – let it sit for a couple of minutes) and it worked out great. Once I move out, I think I will do this instead of buying buttermilk. At home my dad loves it (nostalgic thing, or something) so I always buy it – but this is so much better! Why can you not buy buttermilk in a quantity less than 1L?? And I finished them off by crumbling some extra cupcakes on top of these instead of using sprinkles.

Cute. Italian. Delicious.

 

3 thoughts on “Italian Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: Dark Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes | Taste Buddies

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