Raisin Spice Cupcakes (Birthday Cupcakes #2)

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In addition to the strawberry cupcakes I made for my niece’s birthday celebration, hubby made a request for some raisin spice cupcakes.  So we had some of each type on the birthday plate.  This is a kind of family heirloom recipe.  I have a handwritten copy of my grandmother’s, who got it from her sister, Julie, and my mom made it often when we were kids.  We know it as Aunty Julie’s Cake.  My sister and I usually have a bit of a laugh every time we make this cake, as it reminds us of the childhood memory we have of the time her and I decided to surprise our mom with some baking.  The recipe is written without any flour mentioned.  The adults knew you had to add flour, but the young teens didn’t know that yet 🙂  Needless to say, the first round was a complete flop!  I think we feed it to the chickens, hoping nobody would have to know about the fiasco.  We phoned Grandma to find out where we went wrong;  she was very kind to explain, but I’m sure she had a bit of chuckle too.  Besides including an amount for flour, I’ve also made a couple of other  minor adjustments over the years.

Aunty Julie’s Raisin Spice Cupcakes

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar  (may be reduced to 1 cup)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 2/3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg OR allspice

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup raisins

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and soda and spices. Alternate additions of flour and milk to creamed butter until all flour is incorporated. Gently fold in raisins. Pour into greased and floured 9”x 9” cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Makes about 24 cupcakes using medium size paper liners.

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

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We were invited to celebrate my niece’s 17th birthday last weekend.  I made cupcakes.  I like the recipe, it’s got good flavor, but next time, I’m skipping the icing and calling them muffins.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with large/jumbo cupcake liners.

4-5 large strawberries

1 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pulse strawberries in food processor until finely chopped (not pureed). Pulsed strawberries should measure about 1/3 cup. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When butter mixture has cooled slightly, stir in yogurt, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the butter/milk mixture into the flour. Gently stir to combine all ingredients. Fold in the strawberry puree. Batter will be quite thick. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes (375 degrees F) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

 

Carrot Cake disguised as Wedding Cupcakes

My son was recently married, so now we have a new daughter (in-law)!  I made the wedding cake.  The bride asked for cupcakes with a small cake to cut into for  pictures.  She’s a fan of carrot cake,  so that made it easy.  Carrot cake is a nice firm cake, very well suited to the extra handling that comes with wedding cakes.  This is my refined version, I’ve reduced the sugar, fat and eggs significantly from the original recipe, but it hasn’t lost anything, except some calories!

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup coconut (I use sweetened flaked)

3 cups grated carrot

3 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 – 1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   In a separate smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil and milk.    Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring (use a folding technique) just to combine.  Pour batter into greased and floured pans and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes till golden brown.  This recipe will make  two 8″ layers, OR about 18 large cupcakes OR a 6″ x 3″ round layer pan (which is what I used for the wedding cake).

The cupcakes were decorated with cream cheese icing, and the little cake with fondant.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened (low-fat does not make good icing)

1/3 cup margarine (I use heart smart Becel)

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

3-4 cups icing sugar, sift after measuring (amount depends on desired consistency)

For the wedding cupcakes, I added:

2-3 drops of almond extract (helps reduce the sweetness factor)

1/3 tsp glycerine (keeps the icing from getting hard and crusty)

Beat together cream cheese and margarine.  Add flavors and glycerine, if using.  Gradually add icing sugar, mixing well after each addition.  Icing may be thinned, if necessary, with a small addition of corn syrup.

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