Friday, October 22, 2010

Spiderweb Pumpkin Ginger with Cream Cheese Frosting (10-18-10)


I had been wanting to do some Halloween-inspired cupcakes for this month and finally got around to doing it. I decided on Elinor Klivan’s Spiderweb Pumpkin Ginger cupcakes.

I did something new this time in baking; laid out my ingredients “miz en place:”



1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut into 1/8 – 1/4 inch pieces (I just used a dash of ground ginger because I didn’t have crystallized.)

I did this to cool the butter quicker:


1/2 cup butter, room temperature
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 – 2 tsp. whole milk

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and pumpkin until smooth. Mix in eggs and crystallized ginger, and then slowly mix in the dry ingredients until everything is incorporated. Spoon batter into your muffin tin. If you are using a silicone one, you can fill the cups all the way to the top. If not, place cupcake papers into a metal tin and fill halfway. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes or so. Cool on rack.


Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar until frosting is smooth and light.

Set aside 1/4 cup of frosting, and mix cinnamon into this until it turns a light brown color. Add a touch of milk, so frosting is thick but pourable. Place in a sealable freezer bag with all air pressed out, and cut a tiny hole in one of the bag’s corners. This is now a makeshift pastry bag.

Frost cooled cupcakes with white frosting then, using the brown frosting, pipe a dot in the center of the cupcake, and two concentric circles around the dot. Drag a toothpick from the cupcake center to the edge to create the spiderweb pattern.

The spiderweb pattern was difficult only because my extra frosting for the design wasn’t firm enough. I kept trying to get the balance of milk and cinnamon right. I added too much milk and tried to harden the thing by putting it in the fridge… but I just didn’t get the right consistency. I was able to do the design, but it dripped down the sides a bit. I also would have liked the color of the webs to be darker. But overall, I was pleased with my attempt.




My entire family was pleased with the results and thought the cupcakes were very good.
David’s mom said they were delicious and David liked them too.
I thought they tasted very good as well, but I would have liked there to be a stronger pumpkin taste. David thought there was a nice balance of flavors. But I would add more pumpkin next time I make these

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting (10-15-10)


My boyfriend and I visited a Sprinkles cupcake bakery. I ordered the Red Velvet and it was just delicious. I was then inspired to make my own red velvet cupcakes. My sisters were dubious about this endeavor, since the last time that I attempted red velvet; they did not turn out well at all. I carried through with the plan anyway.

I did some research about red velvet, reading reviews on various recipes online. It seemed that reviewers were not happy about red velvet cakes that called for too much cocoa powder. Apparently anything over 1/4c cocoa powder is “too much.” This makes the cake too chocolate-y, when the chocolate taste is only supposed to be subtle. I decided to use a recipe that I found on from The recipe is as follows:

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yield: about 24 cupcakes


For the cake:

2½ cups cake flour

1½ cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. cocoa powder (I used a little more, trying to find a happy-medium between too much and too little)

1 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk (we didn’t have buttermilk, so I made my own by mixing milk and vinegar together)

2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring (Apparently the little tubes you get at the grocery store are less than 1 oz. So I didn’t use quite that much red.)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

I used Elinor Klivan’s cream cheese frosting recipe that I usually use (found on my past posts).


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.






I had a love/hate relationship with these cupcakes. There was an undeniable bitterness to the cake, tasting like vinegar. This is either because the recipe calls for too much vinegar, or because the vinegar I used for the buttermilk made it too overpowering. My mom was doubtful that my buttermilk creation would be the cause, but I’m suspecting that was it. The taste of the frosting balanced out the bitterness, but not enough for some of my tasters.

As far as the texture goes, I would have probably benefited from removing the cakes from the pan earlier so as to prevent over-baking. They were fluffy, but not as moist as I would have liked.

My mom thought they were good, but was a bit reluctant in concluding that.

My dad said they were delicious.

Aubrey didn’t like them at all.

My boyfriend, David, tried to be nice and felt bad telling me the truth; he didn’t care for them either.

Kim said she could definitely taste the vinegar but it wasn’t bad. But I’m not sure if she actually liked it :p

I got used to the taste of the cupcakes, and when cold from refrigeration, I actually thought they were quite good. But about three days later, after having quite a few, they lost their appeal for me.

I want to try red velvet again but use less vinegar, or maybe even flavored vinegar.