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Posts Tagged ‘Scoopalicious’

I’m gonna go out on a limb here but maybe, just maybe, we should do the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest in like December. I get the whole “it’s summertime and it’s hot and we all want ice cream” thing but seriously, photographing these puppies in 85 degree weather is a wee bit difficult. Not to mention messy. And sticky. There’s still icing and ice cream all over my camera. I’m just saying… 🙂

As you know (or maybe you don’t) every year Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious host an ice cream cupcake competition. You make a cupcake, throw some ice cream on it and hope nobody else was as creative as you were (which, obviously, never happens because there are a lot of super creative people out there). Last year was my first year competing, and I made it to the finals with my Take 6 cupcake but a certain S’mores cupcake and ultimately a very yummy looking honey hazelnut and chocolate ganache cupcake took the cake (no pun intended). Stephanie, the maker of the S’mores cake, is judging this year so at least I don’t have to worry about her this time around. 😉

Lately I’ve been on this white chocolate kick. I made a white chocolate dobos opera fusion cake at work a week or so ago and the idea carried over into my home life. I thought about making the cupcake 7 layers (like the dobos) but my better judgement took hold and smacked some sense into me. I wasn’t sure exactly how my cupcake was going to come together but then one night around 2am I randomly woke up and thought “cheesecake cupcake.” But not in actual cheesecake form. And I wanted the cupcake to be the graham cracker crust. So without further ado, my cupcake:

There’s cupcake underneath all that frosting, you just can’t see it here. My aim with the frosting was a whip cream consistency, so I decided to once again try to whip coconut cream. People tell me this works; I think they’re all lying. Maybe I’m just expecting it to do what actual cream does, or honestly just anything at all, but the only thing I ever see is the pretty design my whisk makes as the stand mixer spins its little heart out to no avail. So I morphed it into a coconut cream buttercream. The texture is much softer than typical buttercream, so that’s good. It’s still super sweet though as I had to use lots of powdered sugar to give it some volume, but that’s ok – it is a cupcake after all and cupcakes are supposed to be sweet.

Being that the frosting is super soft, it doesn’t hold up to the heat well. Especially if you just mixed it and are impatient and your kitchen looks like a war zone and all you really want to do is take the damn photo so you can finally eat dinner. I initially just put a dollop of frosting on top of the cupcakes and added my caramel sugar garnish, but two the of three dollops slid off before I could even turn my camera on. I got some photos of one of them at least.

The caramel sugar garnish here and in the first photo are the same thing. You just put some sugar in a pan and add enough water to make it look like wet sand. Then you crank the heat up full blast and wait. Absolutely no stirring. Stirring the sugar will likely cause it to crystalize, which will make it look like rock candy. Sure it’s pretty but once I crystalized a pot of like 16 cups of sugar at work… Luckily nobody was around to yell/ laugh/ bill me for it.

At some point the sugar will start to caramelize. You can swirl the pan a bit to even out the caramelizing. Depending on what you want to do with it, you take it off the heat when it reaches the caramel color you want, briefly place the pan in an ice bath to stop the cooking. You can “pipe” it out with a paper cornet, or use a ball whisk to make a nest of strands, or use cutters to make shapes (molds), etc, etc. But a word of caution: caramel is HOT! So have some gloves on if you can, and a towel and an ice bath in case you get some on your finger as shaking it off just won’t happen.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 9 oz vegan white chocolate
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract

A word on the vegan white chocolate, it’s weird. It tastes fine but it has a different texture than normal white chocolate. It doesn’t melt like normal chocolate either. It melts down to a batter-like consistency but it doesn’t get liquidy (so just keep that in mind).

Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or bowl on top of a pan with water) and heat it gently until it’s uniformly melted. Place the cream cheese, tofu and melted chocolate in a blender and puree until smooth. Add enough coconut milk to help it along but let it get completely smooth before adding the rest. Once smooth, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth again.

You can let the mixture cool down in the fridge for awhile at this point. When you’re ready to freeze, depending on what kind of ice cream maker you have, you may have to freeze it in two batches. My maker is just small enough where all of this wouldn’t fit in at once. After the ice cream is spun it honestly needs about a day to setup properly, so make the ice cream well ahead of when you need it.

In my opinion, this is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. I always use low fat coconut milk because I’m health conscious but I threw calories to the wind for this project. Cheesecake isn’t supposed to be healthy anyway. This ice cream is rich and creamy and full of flavor. Definitely a keeper! I think omnivores would even be impressed.

Graham “Cracker” Cupcakes (mostly vegan)

These are mostly vegan because I put honey in them. I know honey isn’t technically vegan but I don’t have a problem with using it. Bees are going to make the stuff whether we’re eating it or not so… If you don’t want to use honey feel free to sub in agave or some more sugar.

  • 3/4 C graham flour (or whole wheat if you can’t find it)
  • 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C soy mik
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C non-gmo canola oil
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T applesauce, optional (for moisture)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan if you wish or just spray it with PAM. I did both because I wanted to be able to see the cake and didn’t want cupcake liner indentions on it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get them out of the pan so I lined a few – they came out just fine.

Pour the milk and vinegar in your mixing bowl and set it aside to curdle.

In another bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.

Once your milk is curdled add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 increments, partially incorporating between additions. I did this because graham flour is high in protein and I didn’t want to risk working the gluten too much and end up with tough cupcakes.

Portion the batter into the cupcake pan. I used a 1/4 cup scoop and got 12 cupcakes out of it. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean, mine only took 18 minutes which is pretty quick. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 Coconut Cream Buttercream (vegan)

  • Cream from 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar

To get the coconut cream out of the can without getting all the water you have to cool the can in the fridge overnight; the cream will rise to the top as the water sinks to the bottom. Don’t shake the can before opening it. Scoop the cream off the top and stop when you hit water.

Cream the butter with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. Once it’s super creamy (wet) add the coconut cream, vanilla extract and salt. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I ended up using between 4 and 5 cups of powdered sugar. It’s fairly goopy right after you mix it but if you let it sit in the fridge for awhile it will firm up to a pipeable consistency.

Assembly

I made my ice cream a few days before I made the cupcakes (yes, my husband waited DAYS before he could have one of these cupcakes, he’s so patient). Once I spun the ice cream I lined my cupcake pan with plastic wrap and portioned out 1/4 cup scoops of ice cream into each cavity. After those were frozen solid I removed them from the pan so I could use it to make the cupcakes.

After the cupcakes were baked I sawed off the tops of them to make them flat and plopped a molded ice cream on each one. You can smooth the ice cream out with an offset spatula or your hands if you have to.

Let these setup again before frosting them. You can use an 802 or 804 tip to pipe the dots/ petals. I tried using a leaf tip but the icing is too soft to hold (it looked like a wilted flower). You can pipe the icing straight out of the fridge; it doesn’t need to be tempered like normal buttercream.

Since the ice cream is pretty much incased by the frosting you have a few minutes before any major melting will occur. But it definitely will melt, and when it does the frosting will slide off in sheets like ice slipping down the side of a glacier.

These are some yummy cupcakes though. It’s the first time I’ve had the graham cracker flavor in something other than a cracker, but it’s a nice change from the typical cupcake flavors. The cake isn’t overly sweet either, so it creates a nice balance with the decadent ice cream and sugary frosting. If I were to serve these at a party I think I’d leave them unassembled and then scoop the ice cream right before serving and do a simple piping job.

Well, keep your fingers crossed for me. There are a lot of creative entries so it’s going to be tough to judge! If you make these cupcakes let me know what you think of the graham flavor without the cracker crunch.

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So there are a lot of pluses to husbands. They open car doors for you, take out the trash, make excellent margaritas and even do the laundry (at least mine does).  Some husbands even provide inspiration for cupcakes, albeit in the form of a cavity-causing sugar addiction. My husband happens to be quite fond of the Take 5 candy bar. He’s a big fan of chocolate and peanut butter, so things just get even better when you add more peanuts, caramel and pretzels.

So, as is usual for my baking endeavors, one night at like 2am or something I got the idea to turn the Take 5 into a cupcake. My first attempt… one big cluster. Overfilled the cupcake liners, caramel was oozing out everywhere, they looked like some sort of crappy abstract impressionist painting, only I’m guessing they tasted better.

But one cannot be defeated by her oven. When I saw that Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious were holding their annual ice cream cupcake contest, I thought it was time for round two. And round two turned out to be quite yummy. Maybe even yummier since there’s ice cream involved. And it’s vegan, which makes it better in my book. So here’s my version of the Take 5 candy bar, reinvented in cupcake form, with ice cream:

Take 6 Cupcake (vegan)

So there’s a few shortcuts you can take on this if you want, like buying pre-made ice cream, frosting, caramel and chocolate sauce, but I like to make things myself. So while it looks like a forever list of ingredients and steps, it’s really not that bad and I promise you it’s worth your time.

For the Ice Cream

  • 1 & 3/4 C coconut milk (canned, I used light)
  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1/4 C agave nectar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) rum, brandy or vodka

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree. You can leave the liquor out of course, but I find it keeps the ice cream from turning into a solid block of inedible hardness in the freezer. Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions. Mine takes about 25+ minutes, plus additional freezer time. Pop it into the freezer while you’re doing everything else. In fact, it’s probably best if you make the ice cream a day in advance so it doesn’t melt all over your pretty cupcakes while your patience is getting the best of you.

 For the Caramel

I borrowed Cookies and Candids’ caramel recipe from this post.

  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C vegan butter
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk

Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium/ medium+ heat, stirring constantly. Let it cook for about 10 minutes; it will start to thicken, reduce and resemble caramel. Set it aside for now.

For the Cupcake

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Chop or crush about 1/2 C of peanuts and set aside. Do the same to 1 cup of pretzels, and also set them aside.

  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 C cocoa
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • pinch of nutmeg

Sift together the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.

  • 1 C ice cream (from above)
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/4 C organic sugar
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract

In a large mixing bowl, or your stand mixer, combine a cup of the ice cream and all the other wet ingredients. If you were proactive and made your ice cream the day before, it’s probably best if you took it out of the freezer a few minutes before you started making the cupcakes. You can, of course, just use milk instead of ice cream, but I thought it would be fun to incorporate the ice cream inside the cupcake instead of just on top. If you do forgo the ice cream in the batter, be sure to up the ante on the other sugars.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until few, if any, lumps remain. Place a couple tablespoons of batter in each cupcake well, then pour in a bit of the caramel (1 – 2 T). You should have about half of the caramel left over after this (you’ll need it later). If you don’t have any caramel left, just make some more.

Fill the liners about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with the rest of the batter. Stir the batter with a toothpick to distribute the caramel around (or just forget like I did and nobody will know the difference). Divide the chopped peanuts amongst the 12 soon-to-be cupcakes, and if you’re feeling chocolately add some chocolate chips too. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Icing

I know, I know. You’re thinking this recipe is NEVER going to end, but I promise we’re getting close.

  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 2 & 1/2 T almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • ~ 2 & 1/2 C powdered sugar

So these measurements are typically what I’d make for a half batch of cupcakes, but you aren’t using a whole lot of icing on these since you’re also putting ice cream on them. If you feel like getting all crazy with the icing go ahead and double it, but you probably won’t need it.

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the vanilla and milk. Add the sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If your cupcakes haven’t cooled yet you can place the icing in the fridge. If they are cool go ahead place a large star tip in your pastry bag and fill it up with the frosting. Pipe it onto the cupcakes.

Alrighty, this is where I almost screwed everything up. I get kind of excited when I bake things and I never want to wait for anything to cool completely. My ice cream cupcakes about turned into ice cream floats, but I managed to get the little guys back into the freezer before too much harm was done.

Take an ice cream scoop and put a scoop of ice cream on top of each cupcake, then sprint across the kitchen and put them straight into the freezer.

There’s probably a better way to get the pretzels on the ice cream, like putting them in while it was freezing, but I tend to do things the hard way first time around. Grab the crushed up pretzels and do your damnedest to get them on the ice cream without spewing them everywhere.

Stick the cupcakes back in the freezer once they are all pretzelified. The ice cream really needs to be frozen before the next step so wait several hours or overnight.

Once it is totally frozen, warm the caramel back up until it’s liquid again, but don’t boil it. It needs to be thin enough to drizzle but still be thick enough to not slide all over your cupcakes. You also need to get the chocolate shell together.

Chocolate Shell

I used a half batch of the chocolate shell recipe from Bakerella’s Hi Hat cupcakes, and you’ll probably still have some left over, depending how covered you decide your cupcakes should be.

  • Roughly 5oz chocolate chips
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or the microwave if you must. Add the oil and stir it in. Let the chocolate cool a bit before applying it to the cupcakes. Now, go grab your nicely frozen cupcakes out of the freezer. Get the bowl of caramel and the bowl of melted chocolate. Drizzle the caramel on each cupcake with a spoon. Do the same with the chocolate, starting with the first cupcake you put the caramel on as it should have hardened by now. Place the cupcakes back in the freezer, again.

You know, I knew this was a lot of work but it seems MUCH worse now that I’m typing it all out… Oh well. Honestly, if you get all the parts made first, which will really only take about an hour or so, it’s just a matter of waiting and walking to the freezer; really not that bad.

Anyway, you can call it quits at this point but I wanted a finishing touch. You should still have some icing left over so grab your pastry bag and pipe a small dab of icing on each of the cupcakes (yes this means you have to get them out of the freezer, again). Be sure to let the chocolate set before this step or you’ll make a mess out of of the top of Mount St. Cupcake. Then take 12 pretzels and dip them in the melted chocolate (not at the same time of course). Let some of the excess chocolate drip off before placing it into the dab of icing.

There. You’re done. Finally.

I’m not just saying this because I made these and I really want to win this contest, but these things taste freaking spectacular.The first time I mentioned the idea of a Take 5 cupcake to my friends they thought it would be way too sweet, but they surprisingly aren’t. The small amount of frosting combined with the extra salt in the batter and salt from the peanuts and pretzels really balances everything out. My husband and I have been eating these for about a week and neither of us are tired of them yet.

And, as an added bonus, they’re flexible. One day at school my chef instructor planted this idea in my head that my stacked version wasn’t quite what an ice cream cupcake should be. There is more than one way to stack a cupcake of course, so I tried doing a condensed version to see which one I liked better. Here’s version 2 of the Take 6 cupcake (same ingredients).

This one is good in a gooey-ice cream sundae-I got a sweet tooth that must be fixed right now-and I don’t mind getting caramel and chocolate all over my hands sort of way. Even though it’s all the same stuff, it’s just not the same. The lessened amount of cake and increased quantity of sweet ingredients throws the balance off. But it’s still an ice cream cupcake so who the hell cares. =) I think if I were selling them I’d perhaps go with the condensed version to ease transport, but my bakery has a few years before it’s gonna open (like probably 7).

Same as the previous version, just reversed the chocolate and buttercream.

I’m honestly not very competitive, so I don’t typically jump into contests or challenges, but I like baking and winning a whole bunch of dessert cook books sounds like a fantastic reason to make some cupcakes (not that I really ever need a reason). Aside from Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious, there are three food bloggers judging the contest. If you’re curious what makes them so special, hop on over to their blogs and take a look-see for yourself.

What’s your favorite cake and ice cream combination? I think it’s possible that the only time most of us see this decadent duo is during birthday celebrations, but honestly it’s far too awesome of a dessert to only have once a year. If you decide to hop into your kitchen and put your ice cream cupcake fingers to work, let me know how it goes!

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