Italian Chocolate And Honey Cupcakes With Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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.

Honey Malted Milk Ball Cupcakes With Chocolate Malted Frosting

Now that you have learned good honey cupcake technique, try it out on these babies!  I love Whoppers, and these cupcakes are almost as good.  🙂

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 cup malted milk balls, such as Whoppers, finely chopped
  • 12 whole malted milk balls

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place paper liners in 12 wells of one 12-cup cupcake tin.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, at least 2 minutes. Add honey gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. (You will have beaten the honey and butter for at least five minutes total!)

Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.

4. Thoroughly stir malt powder and 1/2 cup chopped malted milk balls into the cupcake batter. Divide batter evenly among paper liners. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.

For the frosting:

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup malted milk powder

10 tablespoons milk

For garnish:  Whopper candies

For the frosting:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat the butter, vanilla, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and malted milk powder.

2. In three separate turns and on low speed, alternate adding the powdered sugar mixture with the milk to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth and creamy, at least five minutes.  Pipe as desired onto the cupcakes.

How To Make The Perfect Honey Cupcake

Cupcakes made with honey are moist and delicious, but unless you use the proper technique they can be a bit more dense than a cupcake made with granulated sugar.

Proper cupcake technique is easy.  It just takes a little more time and attention.

Before you start, it’s really important to make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.   This will make it easier for all the ingredients to incorporate in the batter.

Take a little more time when you are creaming your butter with honey and/or other ingredients.  Cream it  on high speed on your mixer for at least five minutes. I don’t know what I would do without my loyal and ancient Kitchenaid!!

Mixing will create air pockets in the butter which will create air bubbles in your batter.  This is the first step in making your cupcakes light and fluffy.  Adding baking soda and/or baking powder will make these air bubbles expand — and this is what makes your cupcake batter rise in the oven.

When you add your eggs, always add them slowly and be sure to add them one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition so the egg is completely mixed in the batter.  When adding your dry ingredients and wet ingredients — first add 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of your wet ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of the wet ingredients, mix slowly, then the final 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, and the final 1/3 of your wet ingredients, with a final slow mix. This will ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  This process takes longer than just dumping everything in the mixer all together, but there will be a noticeable difference in your cupcakes when you take these extra steps.

When making your frosting, be sure to whip it up on your mixer’s highest speed for at least five minutes!  Five minutes can seem like an eternity when all you want to do is eat your cupcakes — but it’s well worth the wait when you do it right.  You’ll definitely taste the difference!

Honey Black Raspberry Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My favorite ice cream flavor of all time is Black Raspberry Chip by Graeter’s in Cincinnati. It may be the perfect ice cream!!

All Graeter’s ice cream flavors are divine…  And they have an online store!!

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up new honey cupcake recipes, and for a while now, I’ve been trying to think of a cupcake that captures the essence of this heavenly frozen treat. By George, I think I’ve got it!!

The purple of the cupcakes comes from the berries alone. No food coloring needed.

If you can’t find black raspberries, blackberries or raspberries will do nicely.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz black raspberries, frozen, and thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 TBS raspberry liqueur
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, large

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF and line one twelve cup cupcake pan with lines.
  2. In a small pot over low heat combine:
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 8 oz black raspberries, frozen , and thawed
  3. Heat mixture until honey is softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, purée black raspberries with the honey.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together:
    • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp salt
  6. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together until fluffy:
    • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted , softened
    • 2 TBS raspberry liqueur
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. Whip into the butter, one at a time:
    • 3 eggs, large
  8. Alternate adding in the flour mixture with the black raspberry mixture, until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl between mixes.
  9. Divide batter evenly into prepared cupcake pan. Bake until edges of the cupcakes are lightly golden, 17-20 minutes.
  10. Cool cupcakes completely prior to frosting.
  11. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Yields: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Honey Apple Cupcakes With Honey Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Makes two dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups peeled, shredded apples (about 5-6 medium apples)

For the buttercream:

1 stick softened butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus some for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour through salt (first 5 ingredients).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on med-high until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in the honey, eggs and vanilla. Add in the apples. Lastly, slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low to combine.
  3. Line two cupcake/muffin tins with cupcake liners and fill each cup about 1/2 way. Bake about 15 minutes, until slightly brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.  Let cool while making the buttercream.

For the buttercream:

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, slowly add about 1/2 the confectioners’ sugar, then the milk, then the rest of the sugar. Once all the sugar is mixed in, add the honey and cinnamon. Mix on medium-high for about 3 minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
  2. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost the tops and sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

Honey Banana Cupcakes With Honey Cinnamon Frosting

In the Fall, my fancy lightly turns to thoughts of cupcakes!!  🙂

Honey Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together honey, butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.

Honey Cinnamon Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.