Fireball Cupcakes

Fireball Cupcake

Like Fireball whiskey? Atomic Fireball candy? Dungeons and Dragons? Mario? An excuse to make cupcakes? Then these are for you.

Warning: They’re potent. They’re boozy and they’ve got a spicy cinnamon kick. You’re gonna love them.

Fireball Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • Ingredients needs for box spice cake mix, minus the water (mine needed 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs)
  • 1 cup + 1 TBS Fireball (or another spicy cinnamon flavored whiskey)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • red and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • cinnamon candies (optional)

Directions:

Prepare the spice cake mix as is directed on the back of the box, but instead of water, use Fireball. (My cake mix called for 1 cup of water, so I put in 1 cup of Fireball instead.) Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 of the way with the batter, and bake as directed on the back of the box.

Remove cupcakes from the oven once a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Mix the butter in a mixer until fully smooth, then slowly add the powdered sugar in, one cup at a time, until it is all mixed. Add a TBS of Fireball, and the vanilla and salt. Mix for about 5 minutes or until the frosting has a beautiful, whipped consistency.

Fireball Cupcake Frosting
Want to make the fire frosting you see above? Divide the frosting up in 3 bowls. Set aside one. In one bowl, place yellow food coloring, and in the other, red food coloring. (I use AmeriColor gel food coloring.) Mix the frostings with the food coloring until the color you’d like is reached. Place each color side by side in a pastry bag. (It’s ok if they end up getting a bit mixed up, it makes a more realistic fire color!) Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and top with a cinnamon candy. Enjoy!

 

What Type of Cupcake Pan Should You Use?

 

KitchenAid Muffin Pans

I have a growing collection of cupcakes pans, and while I often will grab the first one I see, sometimes I want to be more specific with the pans I use. If I’m baking cupcakes for others (and especially if it’s for a special event), I want to make sure the cupcakes are all evenly baked and the best they can possibly be. I’ve wanted to test the differences in my pans for a while, and I was recently given the opportunity to test the KitchenAid Professional grade muffin pans. It was the perfect chance! I could finally tell what was best: dark non-stick pans, shiny pans, or a more designer brand, like the KitchenAid Pro.

Now, I tried to be as scientific as possible, but there are a LOT of variables when cooking cupcakes. I used a basic vanilla cupcake mix I’ve made before, I used white cupcake liners so I could see the results more easily, and I tried to fill all of the cups as evenly as I could. However, one of the cake pans got a bit warmer than the others based on where they were sitting on the stove, and their location in the oven could have also affected the results (although my oven heats pretty evenly). I would have to repeat this test a couple more times to make sure things were truly accurate. Now that that’s all out of the way: on to the results!

Cupcake Comparison

Straight out of the oven and onto the cooling rack. I placed a few cupcakes from each pan here. On the left, we have the KitchenAid Pro. In the middle, we have the light colored shiny pan. And on the right is the darker nonstick pan. (The KitchenAid Pro is also a dark nonstick model.) You can see that overall, they look very similar. The cupcakes all turned out the same color, and all rose relatively the same. But when you look closer, you can see some minor differences. The shiny pan cupcakes (in the middle) did not rise as evenly as the nonstick pans on either side of them. They also have more browning/discoloration around the sides and bottoms. The nonstick pan cupcakes (particularly the KitchenAid Pro ones on the left) are more even. The cupcakes are all around the same size and same color.

Cupcake Comparison 2

Again, we’ve got KitchenAid on the left, shiny in the middle, and nonstick on the right. You can see that the cupcakes from the shiny pan were a tiny bit lighter on the top/sides…

Cupcake Comparison 3

…Yet, the bottom was not the lightest. The KitchenAid cupcakes had the most even coloring, with only a bit of browning on the bottom. The other two pans were significantly darker.

Overall, there wasn’t a huge difference. Once these are frosted and put into a box, no one’s going to be able to tell which ones were from which pans. They all tasted the same. (I tasted all three for you, dear readers. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.) The real difference is in the subtleties. If you’re a professional baker or making cupcakes for someone with a refined cupcake palette, you may want to get the KitchenAid Pro pans. (Plus, overall, they feel and perform very well. They’re easy to clean, and they look and feel very nice. And I feel fancy using something from their professional-grade line!) If you don’t bake cupcakes often and would rather get something a bit cheaper, I’d still make sure you get a dark, nonstick pan. The cupcakes looked a bit better than the shiny pans, and the pans overall hold up better and look nicer than the shiny ones.

Do you have a cupcake pan preference? Have you tried the KitchenAid professional-grade pans? Any great cupcake baking tips? Let me know in the comments!

Burger Cupcakes in Honor of Bob’s Burgers

Cupcake Hero

I wanted to make a burger-themed cupcake in honor of the new Bob’s Burgers season premiere, and I’ve always wanted to try this version I’ve seen around. I thought it would be difficult to make it look convincing, but it was surprisingly easy. I had multiple people asking if they were sliders.

Cupcake Overhead

Bonus? These cupcakes are fantastic if you plan on dressing up as Gene at a con or for Halloween. The cupcakes are the perfect size for his sample tray, and they’ll last a lot longer than real burgers!

Cupcake Close Up

The recipe is adapted from Duncan Hines. Check it out below!

Hamburger Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix, plus ingredients listed in the instructions on the back
  • 1 Box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix, plus ingredients listed in the instructions on the back
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (or more, to taste) shredded coconut
  • Red, Yellow, and Green gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

 Directions:

  1. Bake yellow cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes in greased cupcake pans WITHOUT cupcake wrappers. Follow the instructions on the back of the cake mix boxes.
  2. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for around 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a rack to completely cool.
  3. Make buttercream frosting by putting the unsalted butter into a mixer and mixing on medium-high until butter is completely smooth and against the bowl.
  4. Slowly add in the powdered sugar to the butter until it is fully mixed.
  5. Add in the vanilla extract and salt and mix until you have a whipped buttercream frosting texture.
  6. Split the buttercream frosting into 3 separate bowls. Add red coloring to one until it looks like ketchup, add yellow coloring to one until it looks like mustard, and keep one white.
  7. Mix the shredded coconut and a small amount of the green food coloring in a bowl until it looks like shredded lettuce.
  8. Slice the yellow cupcakes in half horizontally.
  9. Slice the chocolate cupcakes in thirds horizontally. (You should be able to cut the bottom in half, and then slice a small portion of the rounded bit off the top to create three “meat patties”.)
  10. Spread a small amount of the white frosting in the center of the bottom half of the yellow cupcake. Place a brown cupcake “patty” on top.
  11. Using a pastry bag and a small round tip, pipe the frosting around the edges of the brown cupcake “patty”. Allowing the frosting to fall over onto the sides will help it show up even more once it’s all pieced together!
  12. Sprinkle the coconut “lettuce” on top of the frosting.
  13. Place the top of the yellow cupcake on top of your mini cupcake burger.
  14. Lightly brush the top of the cupcake with water and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  15. Marvel at the adorable hamburger cupcake you’ve just created! Repeat until all cupcakes have been made.

Recipe: Nerd Cupcakes

Nerd Cupcake 1

If you are what you eat, I should have made these a long time ago.

Nerd Cupcake 2

These tart lemon cupcakes have bursts of Nerd flavor as you bite into them. The frosting is a buttercream flavored with a bit of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid liquid. It’s fruity and delicious, whether or not you consider yourself a nerd. Best of all? They’re pretty ridiculously easy to make.

Nerd Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Box of Lemon Cake Mix
  • Ingredients listed on the cake mix box (usually oil, water, and eggs)
  • A box of Rainbow Nerds (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Preheat the oven per the cake box instructions. Line 24 cupcake cups with wrappers.

Mix together the cake mix and the ingredients listed on the back of the box.

Once it’s fully mixed, fold the Nerds into the cake batter.

Fill the cupcake wrappers 2/3 full with the cupcake batter.

Bake according to instructions on the back of the box, or until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool on a baking rack while you prepare the frosting.

Tropical Punch Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (6 sticks) of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 TBS Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Liquid (comes in a tiny squeezable container)

Directions:

Place the butter in a mixer and mix until light, smooth, and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between each cup.

Using a spatula, scrape the sides and the mixer and mix again until butter and sugar are fully mixed.

Add the Kool-Aid liquid and mix on low until incorporated.

Mix at a higher speed for a couple minutes until frosting has an even consistency and appears light and fluffy.

Add more Kool-Aid to taste, mix thoroughly.

Using a large pastry tip, frost the cooled cupcakes. Top with more Rainbow Nerds.

Enjoy!

 

Espionage and Fantasium Cupcakes

Espionage Cupcake Collage

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to bring my Mountain Dew cupcakes to the first ever Ladies Night at Fantasium Comics. This Ladies Night was extra special, because it was also the launch of the Espionage Cosmetics nail wraps! I was honored to be requested for the event, and I decided to make the cupcakes extra special by putting the store logos on top with my Canon PIXMA ip7220 edible ink printer. I love using these edible images because I don’t have to be an artist to make the cupcakes look good! (Plus, it looks impressive and is great for keeping a cohesive brand identity. Can you tell I do marketing?)

Want to make your own branded cupcakes? Start with my Mountain Dew Cupcake recipe, but don’t add any food coloring to the frosting. Then, follow the instructions in this video of Trophy Cupcake Founder Jennifer Shea to find out how to decorate the tops! I chose a mix of green, light green, white, and silver sprinkles to complement the logos and the Mountain Dew flavor.

I’m looking forward to finding more ways to use my edible cupcake printer. If you have ideas of cool cupcakes I should make, let me know below!

Weekly Links: February 9

doctor who valentine

This is one of the Valentines created by Kyle Reardon for backers of my Geeky Sprinkles Kickstarter campaign! You can see them all here

I’m sitting at home, looking at snow outside my window, and holding a hot cup of tea. It’s pretty much the dream environment for a blogger. As I get started on posts and recipes for the week, I wanted to take a quick peek at some of my favorite links from this past week.

Van Gogh Infinity Scarf: Her Universe has done it again and has me desperately wanting another piece of their clothing. This time it’s a Doctor Who/Van Gogh infinity scarf that would go with pretty much any outfit. How cute is it?

Cupcake Syrup: Speaking of things I want to buy, have you heard of Cupcake syrup? It makes coffee a thing that I actually want to drink. I keep brainstorming what other things I could make taste like a cupcake! The options are endless. ENDLESS.

Free Goodies from OneUpMakeup: OneUpMakeup, the geeky makeup channel I do with a group of lovely girls, is hosting a contest for a grab bag of tons of awesome makeup! Check it out!

Geeky Sprinkles: My Kickstarter is over 75% funded with 9 days to go. It’s close, but it needs an extra push to get it there. Can you help spread the word?

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Blue Moon 1

Another day, another cupcake. Am I right? It’s sure felt like that lately. Between birthdays and all of the hullabaloo (wow, what am I, 70?) surrounding the Seahawks these past couple weeks, I’ve been making a lot of cupcakes! For the big game, I made two different types: Beast Mode cupcakes with a fantastic recipe from Trophy Cupcakes, and Blue Moon Cupcakes.

Blue Moon 2

I thought beer and the Super Bowl went nicely together, and since our city has been celebrating “Blue Fridays” to show their spirit for the Seahawks, it seemed fitting to make a “Blue” cake. I started with a basic recipe from Brittany, Herself and altered it to make what you see here.

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Box of yellow cake mix
  • Oil (amount requested on the back of the cake mix box)
  • Eggs (amount requested on the back of the cake mix box)
  • 1 bottle of Blue Moon
  • 1 tsp orange extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven per the cake box instructions. Line 24 cupcake cups with wrappers.

Place the cake mix, oil, eggs into a mixer. Look at the instructions on the cake box for water, but instead of water, use Blue Moon. (My recipe called for one cup.) Add the Blue Moon and orange extract to the mixer. Mix thoroughly.

Fill the cupcake wrappers 2/3 full with the cupcake batter.

Bake according to instructions on the back of the box, or until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool on a baking rack while you prepare the frosting.

Blue Moon Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 TBS Blue Moon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

Place the butter in a mixer and mix until light, smooth, and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between each cup.

Using a spatula, scrape the sides and the mixer and mix again until butter and sugar are fully mixed.

Add the Blue Moon, vanilla extract, orange extract, and a pinch of salt and slowly mix until incorporated.

Mix at a higher speed for a couple minutes until frosting has an even consistency and appears light and fluffy.

Add more Blue Moon or orange extract to taste, mix thoroughly.

Using a large pastry tip, frost the cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles or the decoration of your choice.

(I dyed the frosting a light blue. If you’d like to add color, place a few drops of food coloring in at the same time as the other liquids. Mix thoroughly.)

Enjoy!

 

My Kickstarter: Geeky Sprinkles!

Geeky-Sprinkles-Thumbnail

I’m here today with exciting, scary, nervous-making news: I’ve launched a Kickstarter! The Kickstarter is for a Geeky Sprinkle line. I’m starting with steampunk shapes, lightning bolt shapes, and blue police box shapes. So all you steampunk, comic, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who fans, rejoice: You will finally have pretty sprinkles to put on your cupcakes or ice cream sundaes.

Basically, I’ve been wanting more fun, geeky sprinkles for a while and about a year ago I started researching options of having them made. I found the best of the best of the best people to make it happen, and I’m so excited to start making these sprinkles a reality. I hope to bring a bit more fun into kitchens and bakeries around the world in a different way than my blog already does.

If you’re as excited about the sprinkles as I am, please pledge to the Kickstarter! If you know someone else who would like these sprinkles, please share the project with them! I need your help to make this a reality.

And if nothing else, just check out the video on the Kickstarter page. The folks at Cinesaurus did a fantastic job making a ridiculous, fun video for me and I’m excited to share it.

Yay! Go! Kickstart!

Banana-na-na-na-na-na-na Cupcakes (Batman-Inspired Banana Cupcakes)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smart Balance.

Batman Cupcake

I’ve been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while. Like, almost a year. I love bananas and I love cheesy names, so I naturally had to make a “Banana-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman” cupcake. So when Smart Balance wanted me to try their new blended butter sticks in the place of recipes that normally use butter, I thought “this is my chance!”

I threw on the Bat Signal and got to work.

See, I’m lactose intolerant (as are many of my family and friends) and yet I still use butter when baking and make buttercream frosting by the boatloads. I just assumed there wasn’t a tasty option. I swapped my butter for Smart Balance sticks in the cupcake and the buttercream frosting, and was pleasantly surprised! The cupcakes turned out fluffy and delicious, and doesn’t taste any different than butter would make it. The buttercream frosting turned out as well! The only caveat is that Smart Balance sticks have salt in them, so if you use it for frosting, it’ll turn out a bit more salty than usual. But it would be perfect for a salted caramel buttercream!

Banana Cupcake

If you’re looking for a less fattening, less lactose-y alternative to butter, I’d definitely recommend the Smart Balance sticks. It’s a 1-1 substitution for butter in your recipe, and I doubt you’ll notice a difference in taste/usability. The sticks are a butter/canola oil blend with no trans fats, and a blend of other fats that helps absorb good cholesterol and block the bad kinds. Kinda like your own personal Batman. If trans fats and bad cholesterol were villains and Smart Balance was really rich and had cool weapons and spent a lot of time brooding… ok, maybe it’s not like Batman. Maybe I really just want to make this analogy work because I like the name of these cupcakes more than I probably should.

On to the recipe!

Banana(nananananana) Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick Smart Balance Blended Butter Stick (or 1 stick of salted butter)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 ripe bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place 12 cupcake wrappers into a cupcake tin.

Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until well mixed and fluffy. Add mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla to the butter and sugar. Mix together.

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until combined (be careful not to overmix!).

Spoon batter into the 12 cupcake cups evenly. (The batter will be thick–that’s fine!)

Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick goes in and out of a cupcake cleanly.

Let cool and enjoy!

These cupcakes are delicious on their own (like a banana bread-muffin-cupcake hybrid), but if you’re a frosting lover and/or want to make them more “Batman”-y, read on!

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks Smart Balance Blended Butter Sticks (or 2 sticks unsalted butter)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • yellow food coloring (optional)

Directions:

Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in vanilla and milk, mix until fluffy with an even consistency. If it’s too dry, add more milk 1 TBS at a time. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Once it’s to your desired consistency, add in cinnamon and mix. Then add the yellow food coloring, a few drops at a time, until it’s the desired color. I used about 15 drops to get the bright yellow for my cupcakes. 

Frost your cupcakes!

Chocolate Batman Toppers

Finish your cupcakes off with these fun (and delicious) toppers!

Chocolate BatmanDirections:

Find a Batman symbol online and paste it multiple times to create a template sheet. Print the sheet out. 

Place the sheet on a baking sheet and place waxed paper over it.

Melt some chocolate chips in a bowl by microwaving for 30 seconds, mix. Microwave for 10 more seconds, mix.

Place melted chocolate into a frosting sleeve, and using a thin tip, trace the shapes on the wax paper. Fill in the shape.

Place tray of finished chocolate outlines into the fridge to cool and harden.

Carefully peel off the chocolate symbols and place (flat side up) onto the top of the cupcake.

Voila! a delicious banana cupcake ala Batman.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve substituted butter while baking, and how it worked out for you. Have you tried Smart Balance before? 

Smart Balance

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smart Balance.
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Cupcake Inspiration From the Trophy Book Launch

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I attended the Trophy Cupcakes Book Launch Party over the weekend, and was in awe of how many ways they displayed cupcakes throughout the event. They were all beautiful and a lot of them were pretty unique! Here are some of my favorite bits of cupcake inspiration taken from the event. Keep them in mind for your next party:

Display Your Cupcakes Proudly

IMG_9707
A giant cupcake display looks even prettier when you mix flavors, colors, and sizes of your cupcakes.

DIY Cupcake Station

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This “Decorate Your Own Cupcake” station was a super cute idea, and was clearly being used. Keep in mind: If your party has a lot of kids (or childlike adults), this station will get super messy and most people will focus on quantity of sprinkles over quality.

Gold Frosted Fruit

IMG_9715
A piece of fruit sprayed gold with edible spray paint is an elegant way to top a cupcake. This would be fantastic for a wedding or fancier event!

Cotton Candy/Cupcake Collaboration

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Spun skewered a mini cupcake on a fork and used that to spin the cotton candy onto. It was a super fun and creative element. A bit messy to eat, but still fun!

Decorate with Cupcakes

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Cupcakes don’t just need to be used to feed the masses–they can also be used to decorate the party! Just find a fun container to put them in. (Tip: If it can hold a candle or an air plant, it can hold a mini cupcake!)

Have you done any creative cupcakeing at parties in the past? Let me know in the comments!