Snickerdoodle Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Snickerdoodles remind me of my mom. I’ve previously mentioned her epic holiday baking. Every surface of our house would be covered in cooling cookies. There would be boxes upon boxes of fudge stored away in the spare bedroom. It’s impossible to pick a favorite, but buttery, cinnamon-covered snickerdoodles were definitely high on the list. It’s the perfect Fall treat.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I made these Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for my sister-in-law right after we arrived here. Cupcakes aren’t nearly as ubiquitous in the UK as they are in the US, at least not the king with piles of buttercream. Frankly, I think the piles of buttercream are the whole point.

These cupcakes start out with a tender cinnamon cake and are topped off with completely appropriate piles of cinnamon cream cheese frosting. They also get sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for a bit of sparkle and a subtle crunch. Are they as good as my mom’s cookies? Is anything ever as good as mom’s cookies? I don’t know. These cupcakes are, without a doubt, awesome.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Certain scents and flavors can connect you with some of the most wonderful moments in your life. Snickerdoodles take me to my happy place. Snickerdoodle cupcakes are every kind of awesome!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Yields 12
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are loaded with cinnamon awesomeness and piled high with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  5. 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  6. 3/4 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 5 ounces milk
For the frosting
  1. 4 ounces butter, room temperature
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar for garnish
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line your cupcake pan with 12 papers.
  2. Sift flours, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon into a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Scrape down your bowl and beat until everything is well combined.
  5. With your mixer on its lowest setting, mix in the flour in three batches with half the milk in between each batch. It's gonna go flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. Mix until just combined.
  6. Divide your batter among your 12 waiting cupcake papers. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until blended. Beat in the powdered sugar. Add it about a half cup at a time if you don't want to clean powdered sugar off every surface of your kitchen. Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon and beat until it's light and fluffy.
  2. Spread or pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes

Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve been holding back on these cupcakes for a while now. I thought they were too bright and cheery to share in the middle of winter, and I didn’t want to rub it in that it’s been warm and sunny here the whole time. 

Believe it or not, there are some drawbacks to living in a place with near perfect weather. You can never wear boots, a scarf, and a hat all on the same day. You never ever ever get a snow day. And you feel terribly guilty every time you want to stay indoors and just veg out in front of the TV. There’s so much pressure to engage in outdoor adventures at all times. It’s like, “Shut up and leave me alone, sun. I don’t want to go to the beach. I just want to watch 8 straight hours of Downton Abbey.” Those dudes never get sun guilt.

Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

But no matter the weather on your part of the planet, now’s the time to make these slightly boozy, tangy, sweet Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes. There’s Triple Sec and coconut rum in the cake, and more Triple Sec in the custard filling and the frosting. There’s also plenty of fresh orange and lime zest. So sunny!

These cupcakes do have several “from scratch” elements. Each one is simple, but it can drag the process out, so make these when you’re not in a hurry. You deserve some time alone in your kitchen with some citrus. And if you want to make yourself an actual citrusy cocktail while this is all going on, you might be my new best friend.

Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Rain or shine, it’s time for Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes. So awesome.

Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes
Serves 12
Citrus Cocktail Cupcakes are bright and sunny and slightly boozy and perfect for an endless summer.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 7/8 cup sugar
  5. 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  6. 1 egg
  7. 5/8 cup milk
  8. 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut rum
  9. 1 tablespoon Triple Sec
For the filling
  1. 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/2 cup half and half
  5. 2 egg yolks
  6. Zest of half an orange
  7. 1-1/2 teaspoons Triple Sec
  8. 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
For the frosting
  1. 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. Zest of one lime
  4. Juice of one lime
  5. 1 tablespoon Triple Sec
  6. 3 cups powdered sugar
  7. Orange food coloring, optional
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with 12 liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar by mixing with an electric mixer on medium high speed for at least 3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and mix in the egg, milk, rum, and Triple Sec. Your mixture will look very curdled. Relax, it'll be fine.
  4. With your mixer on its lowest setting, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Fill your cups about two thirds full with cake batter and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack after about 5 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
For the filling
  1. Combine all ingredients except for almond extract in a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until it becomes thick like custard.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
  3. Pour the filling into a small bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Press it right down onto the top of the filling. Store this in the fridge until the filling and the cupcakes are cool.
  4. Make a big hole in the middle of your cupcake with chopstick or cut out the core if you like more filling. Transfer your cooled filling to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Insert the tip right into the hole and squeeze in as much filling as you can.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the lime zest and juice and the Triple Sec.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar a half cup at a time until smooth. Turn your mixer up to high for about a minute to make sure everything's light and fluffy. You can also mix in some orange food coloring if you like a bit of color.
  3. Frost your cupcakes in your favorite way. I used a Wilton 1M tip.
  4. Store your leftover cupcakes in the fridge, if you have such a thing.
Notes
  1. It's probably obvious that I halved this recipe, so if you want more cupcakes, this recipe can be easily doubled.
Adapted from Gourmet with Me
Adapted from Gourmet with Me
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Here’s what I feel like the world wants from me: perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect body, perfect clothes with high heel shoes, a wildly successful career from which I make a ton of money so I can buy a fancy car and live in a giant house, perfect children who have perfect grades and also perfect hair, must make three meals from scratch every day with all locally sourced organic ingredients; must do yoga three times a week and run a 5K once a month; must do it all while looking great and never showing a shred of stress, must smile all the time. I blame Beyonce.

Here’s what I really want: sweatpants, chili from a can, daily Harry Potter, a really good wifi connection, and for my husband and kid not to think I’m smelly and gross. That’s about it.

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Everything doesn’t always have to be from scratch. Just buy the dang cake mix and the canned frosting. It’ll be fine. Your friends will still like you. If you make them these cupcakes, they’ll probably love you. If anybody judges you for using store bought, just tell them to shut up and go home and put your sweatpants on.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are nearly effortless because we’re taking a little help from a big scary factory, and we’re not giving a damn because these taste freakin’ great. A cup of peanut butter mixed into some vanilla frosting yields a thick, creamy, dreamy cloud of frosting heaven. On top of a tender chocolate cupcake, it’s pretty much the best.

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The next time you get tasked with bringing dessert to a week night gig or an office party, or anywhere, bring these semi-homemade chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Everyone will think you truly have it all. And don’t feel guilty. Beyonce has a personal chef.

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Yields 24
The deliciousness of Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes far outweighs the effort it takes to make them.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box chocolate cake mix plus whatever ingredients are called for on the box
  2. 1 container vanilla frosting
  3. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  4. 12 mini peanut butter cups, optional
Instructions
  1. Prepare your cupcakes according to package instructions and cool completely.
  2. In a large mixing bowl,combine frosting and peanut butter. It goes more quickly if you use an electric mixer.
  3. From here you can easily just spread the frosting on the cupcakes, but I find that since I took the easy way out with baking the cupcakes, I have time to put in a bit of extra effort in decorating.
  4. I used an open star tip to pipe the frosting on in large swirls. Just be aware that this frosting is quite stiff because of the peanut butter, so you'll have to squeeze harder than usual.
  5. You can also top each cupcake with half a mini peanut butter cup. Be sure to refrigerate them before cutting them in half. They'll also cut easier if you start from the bottom. Press the cut half into the center of your swirl of frosting.
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m staring at this screen, trying to make words, but they elude me. My brain is so exhausted, all I can think about is how much ice cream I want to eat and how I wish it was acceptable to go to bed at 5:30. Learning a new job without any training is tough. But really, just being alive can be tough. It really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, chances are, you feel completely worn out every now and then. Obviously, you need a cupcake.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Baking is one of my very favorite things, and when I don’t have time for it, it’s a bit depressing. Luckily, I made excuses to stay in last weekend and bake Cookies and Cream Cupcakes filled with marshmallow filling and topped with a cloud of cookie studded frosting that will make you want to dance with joy. There are several steps to these cupcakes, but none of them are complicated.

Take refuge in your kitchen. Don’t let anybody make any demands of you. Don’t answer any emails, don’t take any calls until you’ve created something so lovely, so delicious, that everybody will wonder why they asked you to do anything else.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When was the last time you made your own cupcakes, shared them with your friends, and ate one without any feelings of guilt? Make it now. 

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Yields 24
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes are filled with marshmallow cream and topped of with cookie crumb frosting. You won't be able to stop yourself.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 24 Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies
  2. 1 box white cake mix
  3. 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 3 eggs
For the filling
  1. 4 ounces marshmallow cream
  2. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  3. Splash of vanilla extract
  4. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  5. 3/8 cup powdered sugar
For the frosting
  1. 2 sticks (8 ounces) butter, softened
  2. 1/8 cup heavy cream
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  4. 4 cups powdered sugar
  5. 8 Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and place your favorite cupcake papers in your cupcake pans. Add a whole cookie to the bottom of each cup.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cake mix, butter, water, and eggs with an electric mixer on low for about a minute. Turn up the speed to medium high for another minute to make sure everything is smooth.
  3. Scoop your batter evenly into your cups, filling them about two thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about five minutes then remove them to a rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
For the filling
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together marshmallow cream, butter, vanilla and heavy cream until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, then beat on medium high for about a minute until everything is smooth. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a small round tip.
  2. Use a chopstick or something similar to "drill" a hole in the center of each cupcake. Poke the piping tip down into the hole of each cupcake and squeeze in some of your filling.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Crank up the speed for a minute or two to make everything smooth and fluffy.
  2. Fold in your cookie crumbs, and frost your cupcakes in your favorite way.
Notes
  1. Be patient if you're piping your frosting. Even using a wide tip, it can sometimes get clogged with larger cookie crumbs.
Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Completely Caramel Cupcakes

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do you ever get cook’s guilt? It happens to me all the time. Cooking is basically my favorite hobby, and I’m especially weird in that I like to cook things that I don’t necessarily want to eat. That’s not the case with these cupcakes, but I have been known to spend hours testing recipes for vegetable curry or big hunks of pork. That vegetarian shepherd’s pie I shared last week? I didn’t eat a single bite. I feel guilty for wasting time, and sometimes money, on making something that’s not practical, but I just love it so much, I do it anyway.

I really wanted to make these cupcakes for you, but I felt bad. They’re completely from scratch and a little bit on the fancy side. I had to cook sugar twice. I have to special occasions no celebrate, no excuse for making something so indulgent. I just wanted to make them. I’m supposed to be watching what I eat. I shouldn’t even be thinking about cupcakes, especially brown sugar caramel cupcakes with cream caramel filling and salted caramel frosting. But I couldn’t help myself. I did it anyway.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You should make them, too. This recipe comes from the brilliant Heather of Sprinkle Bakes, so you know it’s completely beautiful. These cupcakes do take a bit of patience since there are several components, but nothing is terribly complicated or fussy. If you’ve never made your own caramel sauce before, it can sound intimidating. You do want to be extra careful not to get any of the cooked sugar on you because it will burn like crazy. But once you do it one time, you’ll realize how simple it is and wonder why you ever paid for caramel sauce.

The cupcakes themselves are made with brown sugar to give them a deeper flavor. The cake is sort of sticky on the top, but we’re going to cover it in a cloud of salted caramel frosting, so it doesn’t really matter. Your friends will love finding a surprise of caramel sauce inside, and they’ll never notice you had to completely mangle your cupcakes to get it in there because they’ll be too busy making yummy noises and dancing with joy.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I think we all need to spend more time doing what we love. That’s what makes life awesome. I’m just going to go ahead and continue making you crazy, wonderful things. Thanks for giving me an excuse.

 

Completely Caramel Cupcakes
Yields 15
A brown sugar caramel cupcake filled with salted caramel sauce and topped with a cloud of salted caramel frosting. It's caramel on caramel on caramel forever.
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Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
35 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the caramel sauce
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the frosting
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons water
  3. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter, softened
  6. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 and line your cupcake pan with papers.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a small mixing bowl, then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium high for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until combined. Add vanilla and beat until everything is smooth.
  5. Turn your mixer to it'slowest setting and mix in a third of the dry ingredients. Add half of the buttermilk, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last of the dry ingredients. Turn your mixer off as soon as everything comes together.Scrape the bowl with a spatula and give everything one last fold.
  6. Scoop your batter into your cupcake pan, filling each cup half to two thirds full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the caramel sauce
  1. Add the sugar to a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk until it's melted and has turned a dark amber color. It will start to smell like caramel. Add in the butter and salt and whisk until the butter is melted. Finally add in the cream. It will bubble up and get stiff at first, but keep whisking and it will smooth out. Remove from heat. I like to pour the sauce into a cereal bowl to help it cool more quickly. Give it a good ten to fifteen minutes to cool off. Boiling sugar is dangerous, so be careful.
  2. Use a sharp knife insert at an angle into the top of your cupcake to cut a cone out of the center of the cake. Lift this out, pour a teaspoon or so of the caramel sauce into the cavity, then replace the cone bit back into the hole. The tops of your cupcakes will look a bit mangled. Don't worry about it. We'll cover it up later.
For the frosting
  1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat but do not stir. Let this cook until it turns amber and starts to smell like caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in cream and vanilla. Set this aside to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the two butters and salt until light. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Carefully pour your cooled caramel into your frosting and beat until combined. You may need to put your frosting into the fridge for a while before decorating your cupcakes, especially if you have a very warm kitchen.
  4. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake, then sprinkled them with some sugar sparkles. Frost and decorate to your heart's content.
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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