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    Tagalong Cupcakes

    This recipe for Tagalong Cupcakes is inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie. Chocolate cake is topped with creamy peanut butter frosting with a Tagalong cookie as an edible topper.

    It’s Girl Scout cookie time! Do you have a favorite? I’m a Tagalongs and Samoas girl, through-and-through.
    Last week when I was leaving my local home improvement store, I was suddenly surrounded by some uniformed, and very official-looking cookie sellers.
    “Do you want to buy some cookies?” Never one to pass up Girl Scout cookies, of course I did! When I said, “YES!” the girls did fist bumps and an end zone-style dance in the parking lot that kind of made my whole week. I smile just thinking about it.
    So, I left with two boxes each of Tagalongs and Samoas, with the idea that one of them would inspire another sweet treat. The new giant jar of peanut butter in my cupboard sealed the deal for Tagalongs-inspired cupcakes.

    Creaming the mixture
    Begin the cake portion by creaming the butter with brown sugar. Then adding the eggs one at a time. The batter is easy enough to manage using a hand mixer. (Although I wish I had used a deeper bowl – I had a few splatters!)

    Add dark unsweetened cocoa powder, and be sure to sift it first! It tends to clump. Pour in a splash of vanilla extract, also, then mix it all up.

    Alternate mixing the flour and sour cream into the butter mixture. Begin and end with the flour. Mix each in until just combined.

    Beat the batter until light and fluffy, then pour in the brewed coffee. Mix until well combined.

    These cakes won’t crown much either, so don’t get worried if they look flat on top. This is normal. The cakes are ultra soft and tender, so it’s important to let them cool completely before unwrapping them. Otherwise they’ll stick to the liners. However, they peel away from the liners perfectly when cool.
    You may recognize the cake part of this recipe. It’s from these Triple Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Cupcakes I made back in 2017. They are equally delicious topped with peanut butter buttercream!

    Creamy peanut butter buttercream.
    Pipe the peanut butter frosting on top of each cake. Essentially you’ll need just three ingredients: creamy peanut butter, salted butter, and confectioners’ sugar. I recommend frosting these cake with just 2-3 tablespoons of frosting. This is rich stuff!

    Unbox the Tagalongs while resisting the urge to eat 1 or 6, and top each frosted cupcake with a cookie.

    Chocolate sprinkles are optional (or are they?). But I think they look even more delicious with them. Use real chocolate sprinkles such as DeRuijter brand and you won’t be sorry.

    Tagalong cookies make a perfectly delicious little hat for these cupcakes. This is a must-make for chocolate-peanut butter lovers!

    Talk about rich and decadent! These, without a doubt, will satisfy any chocolate-peanut butter craving. Be sure to check out the video I made if you have questions about the batter mixing technique. It’s easy and creates the most velvety textured chocolate cake.

    Tagalong Cupcakes (Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes)

    Heather Baird

    This recipe for Tagalong Cupcakes is inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie. Chocolate cake is topped with creamy peanut butter frosting with a Tagalong cookie as an edible topper.These cakes won’t crown much, so don’t worry if they look flat on top. This is normal. The cakes are ultra-soft and tender, so it’s important to let them cool completely before unwrapping them (otherwise they’ll stick to the liners). However, they peel away from the liners perfectly when cool.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }5 from 1 vote

    Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 22 mins1 hour cooling time 1 hrTotal Time 1 hr 37 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 24

    EquipmentCupcake pans (2)disposable pastry bagLarge 1” round open piping tip, optional
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Chocolate cupcakes1 cup unsalted butter softened1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed2 eggs at room temperature6 tablespoons unsweet dark cocoa powder sifted1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/4 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2/3 cup sour cream room temperature3/4 cup hot coffeePeanut butter buttercream1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter at room temperature1 1/2 cups salted butter (or unsalted, see notes) at room temperature2 cups confectioners’ sugar24 Tagalongs Girl Scouts cookies1/3 cup chocolate sprinkles such as DeRuijeter real dark chocolate sprinkles
    Instructions Chocolate cupcakesPreheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the sugar; mix well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix until lightened in color. Add the cocoa, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt; beat well to combine.Beat in the flour in 3 additions alternately with the sour cream, begin and end with flour.Add the hot coffee at the end and mix until a smooth batter forms. Using a trigger ice cream scoop, portion the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cupcakes for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean, or with a few damp crumbs clinging to it. These cupcakes do not bake with a crown; they should be flat on top. These cakes are very tender when warm, so let them cool in the pans 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.Peanut butter frostingIn the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and butter. Beat until creamy and well incorporated. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thick and slightly lightened in color. If your frosting seems thick, you can add milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time until it loosens. (I did not have to do this, but powdered sugar brands vary in cornstarch content, which can make a difference.)Transfer the frosting to a large disposable piping bag fitted with a 1” round piping tip (alternatively just snip 1” hole in the end of a pastry bag). Pipe about 2 tablespoons worth of frosting in a mound on top of each cupcake. Top each cake with a Tagalong cookie. Pour chocolate sprinkles into a shallow dish and gently roll the edges of the cupcake in the sprinkles. You could also just sprinkle them over the cakes, if you prefer.Enjoy one right away, then make people happy by sharing!
    NotesNo salted butter on hand? You can use unsalted in the frosting along with 1/4 teaspoon of fine grain salt.
    It’s important to make every effort to support the Girl Scouts, But if you don’t have a Girl Scouts cookie seller in your area, or if it’s off-season, you can find a close approximation of Tagalongs at Aldi stores. They are simply packaged as Benton’s “Peanut Butter Filled Cookies”.  

    Keyword chocolate sprinkles, devil’s food cake, peanut butter buttercream, Tagalongs cookies

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Baking School In-Depth: Sourdough Boule

    There’s more than just wild yeast in sourdough—there’s wild spirit. Unsurprisingly, this particular loaf has been intrinsic to the American pioneer identity. California gold prospectors carried their starters in their backpacks, traveling from camp to camp with their magical “sponge,” as they called it, the base for biscuits, flapjacks, and, yes, bread. Distinguished by a […] LEGGI TUTTO

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    Lemon Lavender Layer Cake

    This Lemon Lavender Layer Cake is a sweet teatime treat. It’s easy to make, yet pretty enough to serve for a special occasion.

    Happy Spring! It seems that the season has finally settled in to stay for a while here in East Tennessee. Winter’s chill is gone and the venerable camellia bush tree in our yard is heavy with pink blooms. However, spring has always been unpredictable here. We may yet have a Dogwood Winter (snow in April!). But for now the warm weather and colors of spring have inspired my mood and appetite.

    Lemon Lavender Layer Cake is – yes – inspired by spring’s new blooms, but also by a set of thrifted china my mother gifted to me. I’m so grateful for her generosity, and happy to add new (old!) china to my collection. But I wasn’t sure about the colors. Pink and purple together is something my 10 year old self would have adored. And I’m pretty sure this china is from the big ’80s. Maybe I felt I’d outgrown those hues a little? Ultimately (as you can see) I decided to embrace them, and to create a cake to match the sweetness and color palette. Now, I just love those dishes! The pattern is retired, but has a few pieces if you’re looking to add to your granny-chic collection.

    A light touch of lavender.
    The lavender flavor in this cake is so lovely and mild. It’s quick-steeped in the wet ingredients, and some buds are added to the dry mixture. Combined with the lemony-citrus notes, the end result leans more toward Earl Grey tea flavor than anything. When using lavender, the last thing you want is for your baked goods to taste like granny’s soap. I think even those with some lavender ambivalence, may find this a delicious flavor combination.

    3 abundant layers.
    The batter bakes up in three 8-inch cake pans. I developed the batter to make three hearty rounds that don’t puff up much in the oven. No leveling means less cake waste (and I’m all for that!). If your cakes puff a little in their centers, lay a paper towel on top of them while they are still warm in the pans. Press the puffed center down gently before turning the cakes out to cool completely.

    Billowy, light, buttercream.
    Swiss meringue buttercream also lends lightness, as it is less sweet than American buttercream. If you’ve never made it before, it can seem intimidating. Just know, before you start, that during mixing the frosting goes through several ugly stages before it becomes beautiful, billowy buttercream. (See my how-to video in this post.)

    Lavender flavors and hues.
    Flavor the buttercream with a little lemon extract and a touch of lavender extract. This creates an extra layer of flavor that matches the cake’s interior. Fill and coat the cake with a crumb coat of the frosting. I almost liked this as a ‘naked cake’ (sidebar: here’s an article I wrote for Food Network on the subject). I love the cake layers peeking through, but ultimately decided for a more substantial coat.
    Tint the remaining frosting a rosy color. Because of the inherent pale yellow that lives in buttercream, mixing colors can be a challenge! So add a little gel color at a time as you go. I managed to create this color using red, purple, and fuchsia gel food colors. See the recipe notes to simplify mixing hues.

    I used gum paste flowers that were already made up, and leftover, from a wedding cake I made last year. I don’t have a tutorial for them today (maybe soon!) but you could simplify things by using organic rose petals as a garnish. Or, consider supporting a wonderful Etsy maker and purchase some ready-made.
    To one side, pipe leftover frosting mounds in a half-moon shape. Add some berries, flowers, petals – whatever inspires you! I added a sprinkle of culinary lavender buds on top.

    I’m already planning to make this cake a second time, perhaps for Mother’s Day. It fits so many occasions! It would even make an appropriate Easter cake. The flavors are spot-on to convey the lightness of spring.

    If you’re like me, and have the opinion that no tea party is complete with out madeleines, you can whip up a batch using this batter recipe. Omit the orange peel and add a little lemon extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of lavender buds to the batter. They are so lovely alongside this cake.

    Lemon Lavender Layer Cake

    Heather Baird

    This Lemon Lavender Layer Cake is a sweet teatime treat. It’s easy to make, yet pretty enough to serve for a special occasion.The flavors of this cake are light and delicious, not tart and overpowering. Using lavender in baking takes a judicious hand, so don’t be tempted to add more. The cake’s lavender and citrus flavors together bring to mind Earl Grey tea. It’s not soapy, it’s more floral and fruity.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 25 minsCook Time 40 minsTotal Time 1 hr 5 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    EquipmentFine mesh sievemicroplane or citrus zester8 inch cake pans, 3disposable piping bag
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Lemon lavender cake layers1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons dried culinary lavender buds divided3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt1 1/4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature2 1/2 cups granulated sugar5 large eggs at room temperature1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juiceZest of 1 lemon fine, use a microplane1 teaspoon lemon extractSwiss meringue buttercream8 large egg whites about 1 cup or 8 oz.2 cups granulated sugar3 cups unsalted butter at room temperature1 teaspoon lemon extract1/2 teaspoon lavender extract1/4 teaspoon fine grain saltGel food colors in red purple, and fuchsia (see recipe notes)DecorsGum paste flowers optional, see blog post for sourcesOrganic purple rose petals washed and patted dry1 teaspoon lavender buds2/3 cup fresh whole raspberries
    Instructions Lemon lavender cake layersPreheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three 8-inch cake pans with flour-based baking spray.In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk for 1 minute on 100% power. Add in 1 tablespoon of the lavender buds and let steep about 10 minutes. Sieve the milk mixture over a large glass measuring cup with a pour spout (4 cup or larger) so that you have 1 cup of lavender milk. (The buds will soak up some of the milk.) Discard the lavender buds. Allow the milk to cool slightly before using.In a large mixing bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine grain sea salt. Stir in the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons dried culinary lavender buds.In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beat again until consistent.To the cooled lavender milk, add the lemon juice. Stir to combine. The mixture will curdle; this is normal and supposed to happen. Add the zest and lemon extract. Mix well.Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the wet ingredients; begin and end with flour.Divide the batter between the prepared pans. This will be about 2 3/4 cup of batter per pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. The cakes shouldn’t crown (puff up) much, but if they do, lay a paper towel on top of the cakes in the pans and press gently while they are still warm. This will knock down the puff slightly and you won’t have to level the cakes with a serrated knife or cake leveler. Turn the cakes out to cool completely on a wire rack.Swiss meringue buttercreamPlace a saucepan filled 1/3 full of water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over the simmering water and cook while whisking intermittently. Cook until the mixture is hot (110°F) and you can no longer feel sugar granules when the mixture is rubbed between your finger and thumb. Transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 10 minutes or until a thick, shiny meringue forms that holds stiff peaks. The bowl should feel cool to the touch. If it doesn’t, refrigerate the meringue in the bowl for 10 minutes. Return the bowl to the mixer and swap the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.Beat the room temperature butter into the meringue one cube at a time on medium-low speed, waiting to add the next cube when the previous cube disappears. The batter will deflate with the butter addition, and may even look curdled (if the butter was the slightest bit cold this happens), but this is normal. When all of the butter is added, beat the mixture on high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the lemon and lavender extracts and salt.AssemblyPlace a cake layer on a cake plate or cake board. Top with 1 cup of the buttercream; spread evenly. Top with a second cake layer. Add another cup of buttercream and spread evenly. Top with the remaining cake layer. Cover the entire cake with a crumb coat of frosting, and chill until firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.Meanwhile, tint the remaining frosting with the food colors, adding a little of each at a time until a purplish rosy-mauve color is achieved. Spread a thick layer of buttercream over the chilled cake and smooth the top and edges using a cake smoother or bench scraper.Place the remaining buttercream in a disposable piping bag and pipe mounds of frosting over one side of the cake in a half moon shape. Pipe mounds on top of mounds in the center of the half moon to give that area some height. Add gum paste flowers, if using, rose petals, raspberries and sprinkle on lavender buds.
    NotesFreshly squeezed: The juice from 2 1/2 large lemons should give you about 1/2 cup of juice. So, add 3 lemons to your shopping list for this cake.
    Buttercream: You may have a little buttercream left over. It is my preference to always have more than needed in case accidents happen, or if inspiration strikes and I decide to pipe big swirls of frosting on top of the cake. If you’re more conservative with your ingredients, you could reduce the buttercream recipe by 1/4. Or, if you make the madeleines pictured, you could split them and sandwich with the leftover buttercream.
    Mixing hues: To simplify getting the right color for the cake’s exterior, there are many ready-made rosy-lavender colors that will give you the result without having to be a buttercream mixologist. Shop the colors at your local craft store in the baking aisle. Ready-made mauve by Wilton is close to the finished color of this cake. Or you could simply use lavender or violet gel food color and opt for a more purple icing to match the lavender flavor. 
    For convenience: The gum paste flowers I used were already made up from a wedding cake I made last year. They were a last minute addition to this cake, so I don’t have a tutorial for them. If you’re not experienced with gum paste, don’t have the time or the equipment to make them, consider purchasing some flowers ready-made. I’ve linked an Etsy seller in the blog post, or you can search ‘gum paste flowers’ on Etsy and find a wide variety of beautiful gum paste flowers. 

    Keyword dried culinary lavender, lemon zest, swiss meringue buttercream

    You may also enjoy: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Chocolate Babka

    We take on the traditional Chocolate Babka, brushed with Simple Syrup for sweet shine. When your nostalgic heart calls for , this is the recipe to turn to. 2½ cups (313 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour, divided 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) instant yeast 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 […] LEGGI TUTTO

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    Giant Strawberry Pop Tart

    What’s better than a Pop Tart? A Giant Strawberry Pop Tart made completely from scratch! Two all-butter crusts hold homemade strawberry jam inside.

    As a Pop Tart eater and enthusiast, I have to say this was a fun little baking project. I think most people are familiar with Pop Tarts, but for the uninitiated, here’s the gist. Pop Tarts are rectangular pastries with biscuit-like crust, sweet filling, and a thin coat of icing on top. Kellogg’s released them all the way back in 1963 and changed the pace of breakfast from leisurely, to grab-and-go.
    This scratch-made version is super-sized! It’s made of an all-butter pie crust, homemade strawberry jam, and sweet confectioners’ glaze. Add some sprinkles and you’ve got a homemade version of an American classic!

    First, make the all-butter pie crusts. I usually make my pie crusts in a food processor because it’s super quick and easy. All of the ingredients for a double crust will easily fit in a medium-sized food processor bowl.
    Roll out each crust with a rolling pin and trim to 13×9 inches. If you have a 13×9-inch sheet pan you can lay it on top of a crust and use it as a cutting guide. I used a 13×9 inch pre-cut parchment sheet. I keep these on hand because I use this size sheet pan constantly. And having those parchment sheets ready to hand is a real time-saver. Layer the crusts between parchment and place on a baking sheet. Transfer them to the refrigerator to chill while you work on the homemade strawberry jam.

    Simple is best.
    This strawberry jam recipe is little more than quartered strawberries, sugar, a touch of corn starch to thicken, and a squeeze of lemon. Cook all this down to a jam-like consistency, which may take up to 10-15 minutes, depending on how juicy your berries are.

    Look for a thickened, syrupy consistency with some larger pieces of berries that have cooked down and lost their shape. When you see this, you’ll know the jam is properly cooked.

    Transfer the jam to a shallow dish to speed cooling. The jam will be screaming hot just off the stove top, so let it cool about 10 minutes in the saucepan. Then transfer it to the dish, spread evenly and refrigerate until completely cooled. When the jam is cooled, you should be thick enough to hold in a spoon.

    Spread the jam all over one of the chilled pie crusts to about 1.5″ inches from the crust’s edge.

    Seal it up!
    Apply egg wash to the 1.5 inch border and top with a second crust. This is like adhesive to keep your Pop Tart together as it bakes. Now, you can crimp the edges with a fork to seal in all that lovely jammy goodness.

    Here is another important step. Dock the top crust with a fork, all over. This helps steam escape during baking. The tart will puff up in the center while baking, and if there’s no outlet for the steam to escape, then it will burst open.

    Finishing touches.
    The crust will form little fault lines during baking – this is normal. The pop tart puffs up like a pillow, and naturally stretches a little. When you take it out of the oven, it will deflate to a more flattened, pop tart shape.
    A simple confectioners’ glaze adds that extra bit of sweetness, and the finishing touch – the most important garnish of all…

    Sprinkles! This Giant Strawberry Pop Tart definitely puts child-like happiness in my heart and a big smile on my face. And boy, is it ever tasty! It didn’t even last a day. The slices are like hand pies. Because they are easy to pick up, you can easily snag a slice on a paper towel and eat it on the go.

    Even though I will always hold a deep love for store-bought, ready-made Pop Tarts, I must say this is an improvement. I would describe the original Pop Tart crust as – a little tough. (But of course it is! It has to hold up to worldwide shipping and handling!)
    This homemade is sturdy enough to hold in your hand, yet tender and so buttery. The homemade strawberry jam tastes of summer to me. The glaze is creamy and soft, not at all like the original’s hard royal icing coating. One Giant Strawberry Pop Tart will feed a crowd, or you can simply have breakfast made ahead for the week.

    Giant Strawberry Pop Tart

    Heather Baird

    What’s better than a Pop Tart? A Giant Strawberry Pop Tart made completely from scratch! Two all-butter crusts hold homemade strawberry jam inside. It’s a slab pie that you can share with a crowd!The pie crusts are rolled out and trimmed to 13×9 inches. If you have a 13×9 baking pan, you can use it as a template. Lay it on top of the pie crusts and trim around it.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 25 minsCook Time 40 mins1 hour cooling time 1 hrTotal Time 2 hrs 5 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    EquipmentPastry brushparchment paper
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Pie crusts2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 cup unsalted butter cold6-8 tablespoons ice cold waterStrawberry filling2 cups quartered fresh strawberries or frozen berries, thawed1/2 cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon lemon juice squeezed from fresh lemon quarter2 teaspoons cornstarch1 tablespoon cold water1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractPinch of fine grain sea saltEgg wash1 large egg1 tablespoon waterGlaze and garnish1 cup confectioners’ sugar1 tablespoon milk plus more to thin if needed1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
    Instructions Pie crustsIn the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into tablespoon pieces and add half on top of the flour mixture. Pulse 5-6 times and add the remaining butter. Pulse in short bursts until pea-sized pieces are scattered throughout the flour. Add ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time through the feed tube while processing in short bursts. Keep pulsing until a shaggy ball is formed to one side of the bowl.Turn out the dough and shape into a ball. Cut in half. Roll each piece of dough on a piece of floured parchment paper to about 14×10 inches. Trim each piece to 13×9 inches using a large chef’s knife. Stack the dough between parchment paper and transfer on a baking sheet to the refrigerator. Chill while you make the strawberry filling.Strawberry fillingPlace the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until the berries give off their juices and start to lose their shape. Keep stirring until some of the liquid is cooked off and the mixture is slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes (the time depends on how juicy your berries are). The berries should be almost translucent.In a small cup, stir the cornstarch into the water. Immediately add the mixture to the berries while whisking constantly. Cook an addition 1-2 minutes, or until mixture further thickness. Stir in the salt. Remove from the stove top and let cool 10 minutes. Pour into a shallow dish and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 30 minutes.Egg washBeat the egg and the water together in a small bowl.AssemblyPreheat the oven to 375F.Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator. Place one on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the crust with the cooled strawberry jam within 1 1/2 inches of the edge. Brush the edge of the pastry with the egg wash. Top with the second pie crust, lining up the edges evenly.Use a fork to crimp the edges of the pastry. Use the fork tines to poke holes all over the top crust. Lightly brush the entire surface of the pastry with the egg wash.Bake the pastry for 20 minutes. The pop tart will puff up like a pillow as it bakes. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow it to deflate. Preheat the broiler. Place the pop tart under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown. The pastry may puff up a little while under the broiler.Allow the pastry to cool on the pan 5 minutes, then slide it onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you’re serving the pop tart on the pan you can let it cool completely on the pan.Glaze and garnishWhisk together the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Add additional milk, if needed thin the mixture. It should be thick and opaque yet still pourable. Pour the mixture on top of the cooled pop tart. Top with rainbow sprinkles. Allow the glaze to crust, about 5 minutes.To serve, cut into 12 squares (more or less to suit your appetite!).
    NotesIf you’re short on time you can substitute your favorite ready-made strawberry jam. I like Bonne Maman strawberry preserves.

    Keyword all butter pie crust, confectioners’ glaze, rainbow sprinkles, strawberry filling

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    Coffee Cupcakes

    Coffee Cupcakes are sure to please any coffee enthusiast! Coffee-infused cupcakes are topped with rich salted coffee buttercream and topped with coffee-glazed chocolate doughnuts.

    I’ll take coffee just about any way I can get it, but I’m especially excited about these Coffee Cupcakes. My favorite Tiramisu Cupcakes definitely have some new competition for an afternoon pick-me-up. Loaded with coffee flavor, they’re not too sweet. The salted coffee buttercream? It’s so good! The salt tempers any bitterness for a smooth flavor. And if that weren’t enough, I baked up a batch of mini chocolate doughnuts and covered them with coffee glaze. It’s a coffee-lover’s sweet dream come true!

    Coffee flavor in an instant.
    Instant espresso powder is my preferred ingredient for making any baked good have obvious coffee flavor. It’s easy to use and widely available. I can’t recommend it enough! I use it in all of the components of this cupcake. Instant coffee will work also, if you have a favorite brand. Starbucks VIA comes to mind, because it’s high quality, has big coffee flavor, and there are several varieties to choose from (such as Pike Place and Italian Roast).

    Bake the batter in paper liners for about 20 minutes. The coffee cupcakes come out of the oven so beautifully caramel-colored, and have a sponge that bounces back when you press it.

    MVP coffee buttercream.
    This buttercream. Crème au beurre au café (French coffee buttercream). It’s so dreamy. I have tried many different coffee buttercream recipes, and I prefer this one above all. You may recognize it from the Mocha Yule Log Cakes I made last December. It’s also an important layer in Classic Opera Cake. You just can’t get any better coffee bang for your buck. None of the alternatives came close to its silky texture and flavor. This recipe requires the use of a candy thermometer. However, it’s worth the little extra effort for the end result.

    This recipe makes 20 cupcakes. I’ve scaled the frosting recipe to fit the yield accordingly. Pipe a nice big swirl on each cupcake that’s not too tall, and you’ll have the perfect ratio of frosting to cake.

    Bite-size doughnuts.
    That mini doughnut pan that I bought 11-ish years ago? I still have it. At the time, I wondered if I was just clogging up my cabinet space. But it’s turned out to be such a useful tool. I whipped up some chocolate cake doughnuts for cute cupcake toppers- because who doesn’t love a little chocolate with their coffee?

    The doughnut recipe will make more than you’ll need to top the cupcakes, but I don’t really see that as a problem. They’re tiny, delicious, two-bite treats that will be eaten up before you know it.

    Coffee glaze seemed just the thing to make these the ultimate triple threat coffee cupcakes. The sponge, frosting, and donut toppers all have a coffee element.

    Just after glazing, sprinkle on some tiny white nonpareils if you have them. They are just the right size to garnish the doughnuts. They’re not too heavy so they won’t slide off. Let them stand until the glaze firms.

    Top each cupcake with a coffee-glazed chocolate doughnut. Yum! These look so cute all lined up on a serving tray. I think they’re perfect for an office party, or a book club meeting, or just as a gift for your favorite coffee connoisseur.

    These cupcakes are intense yet well balanced. The frosting flavor is like salty-sweet coffee with cream. (Salted coffee is a thing for a reason!) The little chocolate doughnut on top is a wonderful accent with the coffee flavors.

    Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Coffee Buttercream

    Heather Baird

    These cupcakes have a triple dose of coffee flavor in the cake, frosting and the doughnut glaze!The frosting has obvious salty-sweet flavor in the same way salted caramel tastes. If you’re not a fan of salty sweets, then reduce the amount of salt in the buttercream from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Use fine grain sea salt, which is less salty than table salt. Sea salt retains minerals and flavor that is removed from ordinary table salt.Espresso powder can be found in the coffee aisle at the grocery store, and sometimes in the baking aisle. I use DeLallo brand and Medaglia D’oro brands most often. High quality freeze-dried instant coffee can be used in place of espresso powder. For example, Starbucks VIA instant coffee has bold coffee flavor, is micro-ground, and dissolves easily. Don’t skip sifting the flour. It creates a light, airy texture in these cakes.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 40 minsCook Time 54 minsTotal Time 1 hr 34 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 20

    Equipment2 Cupcake pan20 cupcake liners1 mini donut pan see blog post for link1 disposable pastry bag
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Coffee cupcakes1/4 cup hot water2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 10.14 oz. sifted1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup brown sugar packed1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extract3 large eggs at room temperature1 cup buttermilk at room temperatureSalted coffee buttercream1 1/2 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup water3 large eggs at room temperature2 1/4 cups unsalted butter softened4 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoon hot water1/2 teaspoon fine grain saltDoughnut batter2/3 cup all-purpose flour sifted1/3 cup dark cocoa powder6 tablespoons granulated sugar1 tsp. baking powder1/4 tsp. salt6 tablespoons buttermilk at room temperature1 tsp. vanilla extract1 egg lightly beaten, room temperature1 tbsp. butter meltedCoffee doughnut glaze1 tablespoon hot milk plus more to thin if needed1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee1 cup powdered sugarWhite nonpareils
    Instructions Coffee cupcakesPreheat oven to 350°F. Line 20 cupcake cavities with paper liners.Combine 1/4 cup hot water and 2 tablespoons espresso powder (or instant coffee) in a small bowl; stir to dissolve.Sift together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter. Beat well on medium speed until well combined, 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl as needed and mix again.Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat until just combined. Beat in half of the buttermilk. Alternate the remaining flour and buttermilk, ending with the flour. Mix the last flour in until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and fold to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.Use a trigger ice cream scoop (1/4 cup) or a 1/4 cup measure to portion batter into each cupcake liner, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the cakes bounce back when pressed in their centers, or when a toothpick tester comes out completely clean.Transfer the baked cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.Salted coffee buttercreamIn a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until it registers 240°F on a candy thermometer.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the eggs until they are thick and pale, about 5 minutes on medium high speed. While mixer is running, add the sugar syrup in a thin stream, carefully tempering the syrup into the eggs without cooking them. Beat until the mixing bowl is cool.Change to the paddle attachment and add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture will deflate and look runny, then curdled. Keep adding butter and mixing. This buttercream goes through several ugly stages before it reaches fluffy consistency. When all the butter is added, add the espresso mixture and salt. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.Doughnut batterPreheat oven to 425°F. Spray a mini donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.In large mixing bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat until just combined. Transfer the batter to a disposable piping bag and fill each donut cavity approximately 1/2 full. Don’t be tempted to overfill the cavities, too much batter will make these doughnuts too tall and they won’t have a hole.Bake 5-8 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes before removing.Doughnut glazeIn small bowl, mix together the hot milk and instant espresso powder until dissolved.Stir together sugar and espresso mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. The glaze should be thick and almost opaque. Add more milk drops at a time to thin, if needed. Dip the rounded sides of the doughnuts into the glaze, about five doughnuts at a time. Wait 10 seconds then sprinkle on the nonpareils. Keep working in batches of 5 donuts until they’re all glazed and sprinkled.Allow the doughnuts to stand until the glaze sets, about 15 minutes. Top each frosted cupcake with a single mini doughnut.Store airtight at room temperature for 3-4 days, or they’ll keep for up to a week if refrigerated. Bring chilled cupcakes to room temperature before serving.
    NotesFlour: Use the spoon and sweep method for measuring flour if you don’t have a scale. Spoon the flour into the measuring cups then sweep it level with the back of a butter knife. Don’t forget to sift! Sifting is important to create a light texture. 
    Optimal temp for ingredients: Bring the ingredients to room temperature before mixing them together. In my workshop room temperature ranges from 68-70F. 
    Doughnut toppers: If you don’t have a mini doughnut pan, and don’t want to buy one, you could bake the chocolate doughnut batter in a mini cupcake tin instead. Spray the cavities with flour-based baking spray and bake until done, about 6 minutes. Cover the tops with the doughnut glaze and add nonpareils. 

    Keyword coffee cake, instant espresso powder, mini chocolate doughnuts, salted coffee buttercream

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    Green Velvet Cake

    This Green Velvet Cake recipe gives classic red velvet a new hue! Covered in tangy cream cheese frosting, it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

    My southern family loves red velvet cake. I think it’s in our DNA. I’ve given the scarlet-hued confection a lot of attention over the years, as evidenced in the pages of this blog (see here and here, for starters). But really, red velvet cake doesn’t have to be red at all. Since most food coloring is practically flavorless, it could be any color you’d like! Green velvet cake might break with tradition, but it tastes just the same as red velvet with a velvety sponge and rich cream cheese frosting. I’ve dressed it in sugar shamrocks to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style.

    Making this cake put me in the spirit for celebrating the holiday. But honestly, I’m always ready to eat good food. This cake will be on our St. Patrick’s Day menu alongside corned beef and cabbage. Although, I may bake it into cupcakes instead of a layer cake. (Still undecided!) This recipe will give you about 2 dozen cupcakes, if you choose to do the same. Directions for making cupcakes are in the recipe notes.

    Bake the cake batter in four 6-inch pans to create some height. Or, you can use two 8-inch pans for a shorter cake. I didn’t even have to level these cakes, so there’s practically no waste. Fill the cake with cream cheese frosting, and give it a crumb coat. Chill it well in the fridge before adding the next layer of frosting.

    Make the shamrocks.
    Make the four leaf clover and shamrock decors using green gum paste and flower fondant cutters. It seems like I’m always buying another $10 cake decorating item monthly, and I’m trying to break that habit. So, I used what I had on hand – a hydrangea plunger cutter, and a five-leaf flower cutter. I altered the cut-outs with an X-acto knife and a tiny heart-shaped fondant cutter. The pointed end of the heart cutter perfectly nips the tips of the leaves to create the clover leaf shape.
    If you have these cutters on hand, you could do the same. But specialty shamrock cutters are available for purchase here, if you’re looking to add to your collection.

    See the video just before the recipe card for the shamrock-shaping tutorial. It’s so easy to give them dimension, using the round bottom of a measuring spoon (really!). After the sugar shamrocks dry, attach them to the cake using dots of cream cheese frosting.

    The decors are really simple, but altogether have a nice effect. The shamrocks were mottled with green and gold luster dust to give them some color variation.

    The inside of the cake is practically glowing green! Cut the cake into pieces while it’s chilled for the neatest slices, but make sure to serve them at room temperature. That’s when the cake’s ‘velvet’ texture really stands out.

    I really enjoyed making this cake. It has all the flavor of red velvet – that hint of cocoa powder with buttermilk tang – except this time it’s green. The cream cheese frosting is classic. This cake will shine on your dessert buffet, even if you opt out of making the shamrocks and instead, shake on some green shamrock sprinkles.

    Green Velvet Cake

    Heather Baird

    This green velvet cake is a new spin on classic red velvet. It tastes just the same – it’s just a different color! Make these for St. Patrick’s Day, or for Game Day, if your team’s color is green. Most of the special equipment called for in this recipe is for the shamrock decors. If you don’t have time to make them, you can always opt for some festive green and gold sprinkles.

    #wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }No ratings yet

    Prep Time 45 minsCook Time 30 minsTotal Time 1 hr 15 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American, Southern United States

    Servings 10

    Equipment6 inch cake pans, 4Small fondant rolling pinSmall hydrangea fondant cutterSmall 5-leaf flower fondant cutterMini cupcake liners (for shaping shamrocks)X-acto knife
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Green velvet cake2 cups sugar1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature2 large eggs1 tablespoon cocoa powder1 tablespoon leaf green gel food color1-2 teaspoons warm water2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 cup buttermilk at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon baking soda1 tablespoon white vinegarCream cheese frosting16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature7 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 boxes 1 lb. each2 teaspoons vanilla extractShamrock decors3 oz. green gum pasteGold luster dustOlive green luster dust
    Instructions Green velvet cake layersPreheat oven to 350F. Generously coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour pans).In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each addition. Mix cocoa, food coloring, and 1 teaspoon of water together to form a paste (add additional water if the mixture still seems dry). Add the food color/cocoa paste to the sugar mixture; beat on medium-high to disperse the color throughout the batter.Sift together flour and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Beat in the vanilla extract.In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and immediately add to the batter; beat on medium speed to combine.Divide the batter between the four pans and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean when inserted in the center. These cakes won’t crown much, if at all. But if they puff slightly in the centers, use a clean paper towel and your palm to press the cakes flat while they are still warm in the pans. Be careful! Try to avoid the edges of the hot pans.Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.Cream cheese frostingCream together the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar in two additions. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again until combined. Cover frosting with a damp towel to keep it from drying out while you work.Place a cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a layer of frosting; stack another layer and frost. Repeat and end with the fourth layer on top. Apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Smooth top and sides using a cake smoother or bench scraper. Save the leftover frosting to adhere the shamrocks onto the cake. (Or alternatively, you can transfer the remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe swirls on top of the cake.)Make the shamrocksKnead the gum paste well and roll out onto a piece of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness (you could also roll it out on a work surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, but the parchment works for me!). Use the hydrangea cutter and five leaf flower cutter to stamp pieces out of the paste. You’ll need about 25 pieces to get the effect shown on the cake in the picture. Knead, re-roll, and cut as needed. Use the X-acto knife to trim notches out of the leaves to make them heart-shaped. Trim one leaf of each flower shape into a stem shape (see video or image in blog post).Fold a large paper towel sheet into quarters. Place a shamrock on the paper towel. Give the shamrock dimension by pressing and swirling the rounded end of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon in the center of the shamrock. The leaves and stem will fold inward slightly. Place the shaped shamrock to one side of a mini cupcake liner to keep its shape until it dries. Repeat until all the shamrocks are shaped. Let dry until the gum paste hardens, about 2 hours.Using a dry brush, apply the luster dust onto the set shamrocks using the kitchen-dedicated art brush. To adhere them to the cake, pipe or spread a small amount of leftover frosting onto the backs of the shamrocks and press onto the edge of the cake. I did this asymmetrically, in a vaguely waterfall pattern over the top and one side of the cake. ButServe the cake at room temperature for best texture and flavor.
    NotesMake a paste? Yes!  Mixing the cocoa powder and food color into a paste may seem like a strange step, but it works so well to disperse the color evenly throughout the butter mixture. The water in food color can be resistant to mixing with the fat in the butter, but the cocoa paste disperses evenly. 
    Green food color: There are many different shades of green that would work, but the one I like best for this cake is Leaf Green from Chefmaster. It is absolutely flavorless.
    Make it red: If you’re looking for a classic red velvet cake, then all you have to do is swap the green food color for red food color in equal amounts. 
    Cupcakes: The batter can easily be portioned into cupcake liners. You’ll get slightly more than 2 dozen cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

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    Pina Colada Cupcakes

    These tropical Pina Colada Cupcakes have crushed pineapple, coconut, and rum in the batter. The coconut icing is sweet and creamy – like a vacation in cupcake form!

    We’ve been enjoying the first few sunny, spring-like days here. I’ve been aching for days like these while growing tired of winter’s landscape. I know pina colada flavors are more popular in summer months, but I just couldn’t help myself. March started off with my dad having heart surgery. Which, as you can imagine, was scary and anxiety-inducing. (He’s going to be just fine!) But after all the grey days, and the hospital ambiance, I felt like needed a vacation – even if it’s in cupcake form.
    Chock-full of pineapple and coconut, and topped with light coconut buttercream, these Pina Colada Cupcakes are just the little respite I needed.

    Batter mixing.
    Start by creaming sugar and butter together, then adding eggs one at a time. This is a predictable beginning for cake making, and the quantity of batter is easy enough to manage using a hand mixer.

    Next, add in all of the batter’s liquid ingredients. This includes a big dose of rum. Coconut rum will give you the best flavor, but if you just have regular rum on hand that’s fine too. The alcohol content will cook out during baking and leave behind the concentrated rum flavors. If you’d rather not use alcohol, you can substitute an equal amount of canned coconut milk with a half teaspoon of rum extract.

    Fold in the flavor!
    Mix in the flour until a fluffy cake batter is formed. Then, fold in flake coconut and crushed pineapple. For this recipe, I prefer unsweet flaked coconut, but most home bakers will have sweetened flaked coconut on hand. That will work too, the end result will just be slightly sweeter. I recommend giving the sweetened coconut an extra chop before adding it to the batter. It can be rather stringy otherwise, and shortening the strands makes for a nicer texture in the cakes.

    Fill the muffin cups with the batter. A trigger ice cream scoop does the job just right, about 2/3 full.

    Simple piping.
    After the cupcakes are baked and cooled, frost them using a simple coconut buttercream made with butter, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and coconut extract. I used a piping bag fitted with 1/2 inch round decorator tip to pipe a circle of frosting around the outer edge of each cake. You can do this too, or simply smear on a little frosting around the edge with an offset spatula. Either way, dip this first layer of frosting in toasted coconut flakes.

    Then, use a bag of frosting fitted with a closed star piping tip to make a tall swirl inside the toasted coconut circle.

    Add a maraschino cherry on top, and if you’re feeling fancy, decorate them cocktail-style with a mini paper umbrella (found here).

    I sat each cake inside pretty gingham paper cups for a pretty presentation. You can find them here. You can bake the cupcakes directly in these liners, but they are bigger than standard liners. Since most people use regular paper liners, I wanted my recipe testing to reflect that. You’ll get about 16 cupcakes in standard liners.

    The ingredients for these Piña Colada Cupcakes are simple and widely available year-round, so that’s when you should make them. Meaning, whenever you have the craving for them (or need a mini vacay!).
    If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, but still sweet and tropical tasting, check out my Tropical Ambrosia Salad!

    Pina Colada Cupcakes

    Heather Baird

    It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy these tropical cupcakes! They’re great year-round. So refreshing and full of pina colada flavor.
    See the recipe notes for tips on how to serve these with no alcohol added, and for my favorite alternate whipped cream topping. It’s chilly and creamy – perfect for the warm days ahead.

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    Prep Time 20 minsCook Time 22 minsTotal Time 42 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 16

    EquipmentCupcake tins (2)Cupcake liners (16)Trigger ice cream scoop, optionalDisposable piping bags (2)Large 1/2-inch round decorator tipLarge closed star decorator tipPaper cocktail umbrellas, optional
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Cupcakes1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature1 1/4 cups granulated sugar3 large eggs at room temperature1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract3 tablespoons whole milk at room temperature1/4 cup coconut rum or plain rum mixed with 1 teaspoon coconut extract1/4 cup unsweet flake coconut or sweetened flake coconut chopped finer1/2 cup crushed pineapple drainedCoconut Buttercream1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1/3 cup heavy whipping cream plus more to thin if needed2 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract1/3 cup toasted coconut for garnish (see notes)16 maraschino cherries drained and patted dry with paper towels
    Instructions CupcakesPreheat the oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners.Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; whisk to combine.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, milk, and rum, and mix on low speed. Beat for 3-5 minutes until the consistency is smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.Add the flaked coconut and pineapple; fold in by hand.Divide the batter between the prepared pans, filling each cavity about 2/3 full (a trigger ice cream scoop is perfect for portioning!).Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.Coconut buttercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on low speed. When the mixture is just combined, add the salt and mix again. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the heavy cream and coconut extract. When just combined, raise the speed to high and beat for 5-7 minutes. Add more heavy cream to reach smooth piping consistency, if needed. Beat until the frosting is lightened to almost white color and fluffy.Transfer 1/2 of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with the 1/2-inch round tip. Transfer the other half to a piping bag fitted with the large closed star tip.Place the toasted coconut on a shallow dish.Pipe a circle of frosting around the top edge of a cupcake using the 1/2-inch round tip frosting bag. Immediately dip the edges of the frosting into the toasted coconut (see video for technique).Pipe a swirl of frosting in the center of the cupcake using the large closed star tip frosting bag. Top with a maraschino cherry and a cocktail umbrella.Repeat the process with the remaining cupcakes until they are all frosted and decorated.
    NotesFlake coconut: I use unsweet flake coconut for this recipe, which is finer and drier than sweetened flake coconut. You can use sweetened flake coconut instead. It tends to be damp and stringy, so chop it finer before adding it to this recipe. The end result will be slightly sweeter.
    To toast coconut, sprinkle it on a 13×9 baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before using on the cupcakes.
    Whipped cream frosting alternative: To make these chilly for summertime, replace the coconut buttercream recipe with homemade whipped cream. Beat 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of fine granulated sugar while beating. Beat in 2 teaspoons coconut extract. Divide whipped cream between the designated piping bags with decorator tips and pipe as directed.
    No alcohol version: Replace the 1/4 cup of rum with 1/4 cup canned coconut milk; add 1/2 teaspoon rum extract to the recipe. You can also use 1/4 cup of pineapple juice in place of the rum. It may curdle the batter a little due to the pineapple enzymes, but will become more consistent when the flour mixture is added.

    Keyword coconut rum, crushed pineapple, flake coconut, heavy cream, maraschino cherries

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