Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Cheesecake Cupcakes

These are one of my most popular cupcakes. They disappear as soon as I open a box of them. You can make them in a variety of flavors and not change the recipe. I think my favorite are the Blueberry Cheesecake (pictured below). This is also one of the easiest "recipes" to make!

This has 4 layers to it: the crust, the cake, the icing, and the topping. The crust and icing can be made in no time and the topping is up to you - buy canned pie filling or prepare your own.

The Crust
1 1/4 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine ingredients in bowl and mix thoroughly. You can also add a dash of cinnamon for more flavor. Once it is ready, scoop a small amount (I use a cookie scoop) into your cupcake liners and press down. I've found that my kids little plastic cups is the perfect size to fit the cups but you could also use your fingers.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (courtesy of Annie's Eats)

3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.)  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

At this point, you can add in any options you'd like. If I make Blueberry Cheesecake, I add in dried blueberries or in a pinch, I'll use frozen. I am a Minnesota brat so the "fresh" blueberries at the store do not pass my high standards. I'd like to stick with the wild ones I'm used to.  If I want cherry cheesecakes, I'll dice up some Maraschino cherries but I am not a cherry fan and I don't know many who are so I really don't make the cherry version often. For a strawberry option, dice up fresh strawberries and toss in the batter.

Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.)  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Once they are cooled top with the Cheesecake Icing recipe. Then top with your favorite topping.  Super simple but they impress everybody. I haven ventured into making my own fruit compotes yet. I've experimented with melba sauce (raspberry) and strawberry but I'm usually pretty busy in the kitchen anyway and my experience is that you have to use your topping right away...well, within a week, and I would end up throwing half of it away (I'm not impressed with freezing it either).

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