Italian Chocolate And Honey Cupcakes With Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

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Let’s celebrate the arrival of Spring with some lovely decadent cupcakes!

Yield:   2 dozen

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

For the frosting:

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup (about 6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 F and line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and honey until smooth but not fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well, then add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Once sifted whisk in the salt.

Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk into the butter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter in two additions making sure no streaks of white remain in the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

While the cupcakes cool prepare the frosting.

Spread the coconut and pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes, until the coconut and nuts are toasted. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir the mixture. If the mixture is not completely melted return to the microwave for 15 seconds bursts, stirring after each, until smooth. Allow to cool for five minutes.

Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk to combine, then add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick but not too stiff. The frosting will stiffen further as it sits. Reserve 1/3 cup of the toasted coconut and pecans for garnish. Stir the remaining coconut and pecans into the frosting.

Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle the tops with the reserved coconut and pecans.

Gertrude Jekyll’s Honey and Lavender Tea Cakes

tea cake

This isn’t really Miss Jekyll’s recipe, although I think she would like it. She adored lavender!

Yield:  6-18 tea cakes, depending upon size of the cake tin

Ingredients

For cakes

Two sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

Three large eggs at room temperature

Two cups minus one tablespoon all-purpose flour

One teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon dried food grade lavender, crushed/chopped up

1/3 cup buttermilk

For glaze

Juice of one lemon

Two teaspoons honey

1/2 cup confectioners’/powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  Grease choice of tin very well with melted butter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy and creamy. In a small bowl, beat the eggs until blended and pour them into the creamed honey, butter, and sugar, until just blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the crushed lavender.

Pour in a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. Stir through the bottom of bowl, repeat with the flour, remaining milk, stir, and then the final amount of flour. Continue folding butter and flour mixtures together until a batter is formed and no large clumps of flour remain.

Pour the batter into the buttered tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes for small cakes, or for 25-30 minutes for larger ones.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by juicing one lemon into a small bowl. Pour in two teaspoons honey and stir together with the powdered sugar until a fairly thick liquid is formed. Set aside.

Once the cakes are finished baking, let cool for a minute or so, then unmold the cakes onto a cooling rack or plate. Immediately drizzle over the glaze. Enjoy warm or completely cooled. Excellent with tea.

Black Tea Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Frosting

black tea cupcakes

Dr. Eva Crane was a proper Englishwoman, and would have liked these tea-flavored delicacies! Perfect to accompany a “cuppa”!

Yield:  18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup  milk

3 tablespoons black tea (or the contents of 3 tea bags)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins.

Warm the milk until near boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Cut open the tea bags and add the tea directly into the milk. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the tea brewed milk, mixing until batter is uniform and smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Honey Buttercream

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing until the frosting comes together. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more honey (or a splash of milk) to thin it out. If the frosting is too sweet, add a pinch more salt until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Spread or pipe the honey buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and serve.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Eggnog Cupcakes

eggnog cupcake

Yes, I knew I had an eggnog cupcake recipe!  These are sure to become a holiday favorite with friends and family.  They also make great gifts!

Yield:  16 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted flour (I use cake flour for best results)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup eggnog (try it with honey eggnog recipe from earlier today)

1/4 cup bourbon, whiskey, OR dark rum

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

Prepare pans by lining with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugar and honey until smooth and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the eggnog. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the vanilla and whiskey (or your spirits of choice!)

Pour batter into prepared pans, 3/4 full. Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Eggnog Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

6 ounces cream cheese

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey eggnog

4 – 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Fresh ginger

Cream butter and cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer or with handheld beaters. When the mixture is soft and fluffy begin to add sifted powdered sugar a little at a time. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of eggnog alternating with the powdered sugar until you reach the right consistency. Beat until creamy. Pipe onto cupcakes using a pastry bag or spread with a spatula. Sprinkle fresh ginger on top.

Cupcakes may be stored in an airtight container for up to four days.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

Cranberries were probably a part of the original Thanksgiving feast, although not in sauce form. The Native Americans used them for food, medicine, and even dye. Most importantly, cranberries were used as a preservative because they contain benzoic acid, so they added the fruit to meats and grains to extend their shelf life. General Ulysses S. Grant ordered cranberry sauce to be served to his troops in 1864, probably to prevent scurvy during the winter. It was first put into cans in 1912 by a company that eventually came to be known as Ocean Spray. 

Ingredients:

6 ounces of white chocolate chips

3/4 cup of softened butter

1 cup of honey

4 eggs

1/2 cup of cake flour

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of orange zest

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries

Cream  butter and honey until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in orange zest, juice and baking powder. Slowly add flours, scraping the sides after each addition. Lastly add cranberries and white chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-21 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Frosting and Cranberry Drizzle:

1/2 can of whole cranberry jelly

1/4 cup of cranberry juice

2 tablespoons of honey

8 ounces of white chocolate

1 cup of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of milk

3-4 cups of powdered sugar (or until desired consistency)

Melt white chocolate on a double broiler and set aside, cool completely before using.

In a clean pan add cranberry juice, honey and whole cranberry jelly and heat. Whisk and stir until smooth and blended. Set aside and let it cool completely before using as a drizzle.

In a mixing bowl cream butter until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Beat in white chocolate until smooth and blended. Add vanilla and milk and mix thoroughly. Lastly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time scraping the sides of your bowl. Add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency you like. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting.

Frost cool cupcakes and drizzle with cranberry syrup.

Cranberry Week

I voted this morning. Voting always makes me emotional. When I get emotional, I usually start thinking about cooking with honey. Today it was cooking with honey and cranberries.

Cranberries are quintessentially American. With the elections today and Thanksgiving coming up, it’s the perfect time to have a Cranberry Week on Romancing the Bee!

Native Americans used the cranberries as a staple as early as 1550. They ate cranberries fresh, ground, or mashed with cornmeal and baked it into bread. They also mixed berries with wild game and melted fat to form pemmican, a survival ration for the winter months. Honey was used to sweeten the berry’s tangy flavor.

By 1620 Pilgrims learned how to use cranberries from the Native Americans. There are several theories of how the berry was named. German and Dutch settlers named the berry “crane-berry” because it appeared to be the favorite food of cranes or the blossom resembles the head and neck of an English crane. Eventually craneberry was shortened to cranberry. By 1683 cranberry juice was made by the settlers.

The health benefits of cranberries rival those of honey. Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.

So let’s celebrate Cranberry Week by baking some Honey Cranberry Cosmo Cupcakes!  To your health!!

Makes 3 dozen
Ingredients

FOR THE CUPCAKES
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups honey
4 eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons  cranberry juice cocktail
2 tablespoons   lime juice
2 tablespoons triple sec
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Food coloring (optional)

FOR THE FROSTING
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter
1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cranberry juice cocktail
1 tablespoon vodka
2 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons  triple sec
2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and honey together until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a tim, then stir in the lime and orange zests. Add the cranberry juice, lime juice, triple sec and vanilla, and stir until combined.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter and beat until just combined. Stir in half of the sour cream, then another 1/3 of the flour, and mix again until just combined. Stir in the remaining sour cream until just combined, then add the remaining flour and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Don’t over mix.

Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add the cranberry, vodka, lime juice, and triple sec and whisk on high for at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add some of the milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Stir in food coloring, if using. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Green Tea And Honey Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Icing

Another opportunity to practice your cupcake technique!

Makes 12-14 cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 green tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest and juice (1/4 cup) of one lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour boiling water over tea bag and steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and allow tea to cool.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a liquid measure, combine green tea, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the lemon tea mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon  heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in half of the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and honey. Beat in the remaining sugar. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest, whisk on high for 6 minutes.