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Creative cupcake recipes and baking tips

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Baking tips for Crazy Cupcakes

All cupcakes are not created equal. Sure, simple and traditional chocolate or vanilla cupcakes will do, but when you want something a little more exciting, adding unique flavors with herbs and spices can really rev up your cupcake nibbling experience. Read on for tips on how to create new and interesting cupcake flavors - and then get to baking!

Creative cupcake recipes


Citrus Glazed Rosemary Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon, orange, or grapefruit extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
5 teaspoons lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, rosemary, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined, then beat in citrus extract and vanilla.

3. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk alternating in three additions. Stir in citrus juice and zest. Evenly spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.

5. To make glaze, stir together sugar, citrus juice and zest. Drizzle over cupcakes. Let set for 20 minutes before serving.

Variation: Use any flavored tea in place of rosemary. Thyme also works well.

Cayenne Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1-3/4 cups lowfat milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups warm water

Frosting:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
6 tablespoons boiling water
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a bowl. Beat eggs, yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and water into flour mixture until fully combined.

3. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

4. To make frosting, heat chocolate over a double boiler until fully melted. Set aside to let cool slightly. Meanwhile, stir together cocoa powder, baking soda, cayenne, and boiling water.

5. In a separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and salt until fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate and cocoa mixture until fully combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Lavender Frosted Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

Frosting:
1 cup cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup honey
Any color food coloring (if desired)
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat eggs in one at a time then beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in flour.

3. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let fully cool on a wire rack.

4. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, sugar and honey together until fully combined. Stir in a few drops of food coloring, if using. Stir in half of the lavender. Spread frosting on cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining lavender.

More creative cupcakes


Peach muffins, cupcakes and tarts
Cupcake-themed baby shower ideas
Avocado Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Easter Cupcakes
Banana Cupcakes
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