Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just in time for Halloween…Tim Burton Cupcakes

        Our god daughter, Olivia is very special to us.  We were there the night she was born and she’s been a wonderful part of our life ever since. She’s lovely to be with, so much fun and so full of personality.  When I see her with Uncle Andrew, I realize what a phenomenal father he would have been—patient, generous and interested in everything Olivia is doing.
When her birthday comes around, Uncle Andrew goes all out in the baking department every year. A couple of years ago, at Olivia’s request, he channeled her favorite movie director and invented Tim Burton-themed cupcakes.  There were two odes to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a delicious take on “James and the Giant Peach”.  As you can see from this shot, these cupcakes were the hit of Olivia’s 11th Birthday Party.  And we think they may be just the thing to bring Halloween to the next level.  Here are the recipes which are not only odes to Tim Burton, they’re phenomenally delicious treats that will appeal to everyone at your Halloween Party.

What was truly interesting to us, was that Olivia’s guests voted the Peach version as best…not that there’s anything wrong with the Charlie cupcakes but they loved the flavor of the fresh peaches.  The original recipe was for a Peach Cake and it appeared in the All Cakes Considered cookbook, Melissa Gray’s effort that grew out of her NPR radio show, “All Things Considered”.   Now Melissa uses canned peaches.   Andrew use fresh. But given the season, go with the canned variety and feel good about it.
 The chocolate cupcakes came straight from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot at Home” cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2006).  However Ina topped hers with Peanut Butter icing.  Andrew went straight for a chocolate icing that nicely picked up the chocolate sprinkles he topped the cupcakes with. 

Recipe for James and The Giant Peach Cupcakes:
Peach Cake Recipe by Melissa Gray
For the cake:
3 large eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sliced peaches, preferably canned
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

For the frosting

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

To make the cake

1. Center a rack and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, and oil. Mix on medium speed until just blended.

3. In a separate bowl, dry whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together. Add to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. The batter will be sticky.

4. With a spatula and/or wooden spoon, fold in the peaches and nuts.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake tests done.

6. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a cake rack. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting

7. With the mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.

8. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and ginger. Beat until smooth.

9. Apply the frosting to the cooled cake.

 Recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes from Ina Garten

12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup good cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
3.   Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1.   Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
2.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cupcakes.  Roll in chocolate sprinkles, top with gummy treats.


  1. What a gorgeous girl! That looks like such a fun party.

  2. Yes, what a delicious-looking cupcake!!
    (the baked-goods look so, as well :)

  3. Love!!!

    -Keith Whitmer