April 27, 2005 — -- Once upon a time, a family had only two recipes for cupcakes -- chocolate and vanilla. Not anymore. Anne Byrn brings endless cupcake variations to America's kitchens in her latest book, "Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor," which includes 135 amazing recipes for kids and grown-ups. A master baker, Bryn is the author of "The Cake Mix Doctor" and "Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor," which have a total of more than 1.8 million copies in print.
You can find four fabulous cupcake recipes below. For a printer-friendly version, go to the bottom of the page and click the "Print This Article" icon.
Red velvet cupcakes take a beloved traditional recipe and make it even more flavorful. The cupcakes are the de rigueur red, but they are filled with mini-chocolate chips to bring out the chocolate flavor. To complement the color and the flavor, I've paired them with a white chocolate frosting, delicately seasoned with peppermint.
• 24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 ½ -inch size)
• 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
• 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
• 1 cup sour cream (see "The Cupcake Doctor Says")
• ½ cup water
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
• 3 large eggs
• 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
• Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
• Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
• Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat two minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
• Spoon batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
• Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
• Meanwhile, prepare the White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting. When finished, place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely.
• Place these cupcakes, uncovered or in a cake server, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. The cupcakes are ready to serve.
Makes 3 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes (2 ½ inch size) generously
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
• 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 4 ounces (half an 8-ounce package) reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
• 2 to 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
• Place the white chocolate in a small glass bowl in the microwave oven on high power for one minute. Remove the bowl from the oven and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until it is smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.
• Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the melted white chocolate and blend on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds.
• Add the peppermint extract and two cups of the confectioners' sugar and blend on low until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds more. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, one minute more, adding up to ½ cup more sugar if needed to make a spreadable consistency.
• Feel free to fold in up to ½ cup crushed peppermint candy for a crunchy and creamy frosting!
Store the cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to six months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Part pie, part cake, these elegant cupcakes with tropical flavors have the best of both worlds. Once baked, they are filled with a traditional Key lime pie filling of sweetened condensed milk and real Key lime juice. Then the cupcakes are topped with a quick coconut-flavored meringue and placed in a hot oven to brown.
Variations abound on this elegant dessert. If you are in a hurry, frost them, unfilled, with a little whipped cream, or lighten up the filling mixture with a little whipped cream and use it as a frosting instead. Or just fill the cupcakes and dust them with confectioners' sugar instead of adding the meringue. But if you go all the way, serve them when they are still a little warm, and you will have one stupendous cupcake with a surprise inside.