Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Speculoos Frosting

This weekend I wanted to see how to make a filling or frosting out of speculoos that was less intense than the spread itself. The only way to do this more or less was with cupcakes…challenge accepted. Chocolate seemed most appropriate, and I had some chocolate chips from a photo shoot at work to use up (pics to come). I discovered that your typical frosting additions do not particularly help the spec-situation, and ended up with acceptably tasting, yet strangely textured speculoos “frosting”. I feel a civic duty as a self-proclaimed food blogger to share my culinary efforts, both successful and otherwise, to illustrate precisely what and what not to do in abnormal baking practices. So learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself 😀

DSC_3041  First up: get your jar of speculoos into the bowl. This was almost the whole jar, but I used 1 cup. You’ll need an electric mixer or kitchen stand to get the spread whipped.


See the color change? Good! I should have stopped there and forgotten the rest but….NAH

 Check out this gif! Gonna try to make this a thing, hopefully better. Not bad for a last-minute decision, though.


Cue heavy cream. Except don’t, because this will happen. As they say, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke! I think with just some powdered sugar and more mixing it would have been 👌. So don’t add heavy cream. Maybe don’t add sugar either because it’s all so sweet to begin with.


K moving right along…the cupcakes themselves were really great so we’ll get right to it. There was no cocoa powder in this recipe and just a half cup of chocolate chips. Melt with butter and you’re good to go.


Time for whisking! With a fancy pointy whisk that is much easier to wash than the normal round ones.


More whisking with the cute should-have-sifted-these-together-but-didn’t mini whisk


Mix it up


Add crushed raspberries

carmen-ladipo-rubber-scraper-movement-cupcakes carmen-ladipo-rubber-scraper-movement-cupcakes

Check it out – before rubber scraper, after rubber scraper!


How cute. So moist and dark.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Speculoos Frosting
This is what I would recommend you to do. Everything described is how it went down, except for the frosting. If you have better luck with yours, leave a comment below and tell me about it!Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (~1/2 cup chips)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 handful raspberries

1 cup speculoos, or cookie butter from TJ’s

Melt the butter and chocolate together with a double boiler. You can also microwave them. Make sure you mix well if you do this. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Add these dry ingredients in increments to the egg mixture. Add the chocolate and butter in two rounds, still using a whisk. Mash up the raspberries; you can use a potato masher, a fork, or your hands. Just make sure to get all the juice.
Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper, two thirds to three quarters of the way up. Place in the oven at 350° for 18 minutes.

For the frosting, put the speculoos in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or large bowl, using an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until the color has gotten much lighter and the speculoos is less dense. Add some powdered sugar if you dare. Once the cupcakes have cooled down, spread the frosting on the cupcakes and enjoy!


Grab some milk. You’ll need it.

Ithaca Farmer’s Market

      It may not be at a large ferry plaza, but Ithaca’s weekly farmer’s market at the steamboat landing (always water vessels) has everything you need and most things you don’t, but want to put in your house anyway. I have vivid memories of this farmer’s market from when I was wee Laddette visiting my grandma. She, my parents, uncle and I would walk around and look at the photographs and paintings from the local artists. I’m sure we looked at the food too, but somehow I really remember the artists. Maybe it’s because there was a stand with and old man who did Chinese calligraphy and painting. At the time, I was enrolled in martial arts etc. classes, the “etc.” including Japanese calligraphy, and I couldn’t have been older than seven. My dad was showing some interest in one of his scrolls with a painting of a cliff with a plum tree, and a poem in Japanese. He read us the text from a different scroll and seven year-old me applauded when he was finished. He told my dad that if he bought the plum tree-cliff scroll, he’d add my new favorite artwork for free. And we did walk away with both scrolls.
     Needless to say, this farmer’s market is no new development. In fact, I’ve seen the same man with the scrolls since starting at Ithaca College. But now, my eyes are just as focused on apple cider doughnuts, crêpes, and Cambodian food. For what’s seeming to be the last nice weekend of the year, I went to the farmer’s market, grabbed lunch, and had a good gander.

Much to feast on for breakfast/lunch/both.
Pretty cupcakes
Carriage House Wood Crafters

Always the heirloom tomatoes

     These apple cider doughnuts are the best doughnuts I’ve ever had, easily. Better than Krispy Kreme. That may be partially because I know they’re so much…less…unhealthy. These are so popular at the Apple Harvest Festival every year, and at certain points throughout that weekend, there will be hour long lines for these doughnuts. These doughnuts, which you can purchase at the same price of 75 cents at the farmer’s market on any given weekend around Apple Fest, or at the orchard. If you go to the orchard early enough, you can get them right out of the oil, too hot to eat for a minute or two.

     My French friend Ben who studies at IC told me that the crêpes at the farmer’s market are truly excellent, so I had to try one for lunch. I tried the “strawberry sweet cheese vanilla” crêpe with some cream cheesey substance on top, and the same of the strawberry variety on the inside. It was almost too sweet for me (which is VERY sweet), but I was satisfied with my choice. I took a picture of Shyla’s Cambodian lunch, which sounds really good. If I defeat my sweet tooth, I’ll try for that next time.

     A recent development at the farmer’s market is this popsicle stand, which is quite reminiscent of San Francisco in that the flavors of popsicle are unconventional and awesome.

Xine got a spicy Mexican chocolate popsicle
Shyla got a strawberry lemonade popsicle
And Liz got a blueberry lavender popsicle.
I heard they were all good.
We met someone who bought these cool looking artichoke flowers. She
wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them (cook or decorate).

     The farmer’s market is a lovely place to go on a weekend morning before you start further work procrastination, to listen to live music, grab a bite to eat, run into friends, and pick up some kale.

Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes

     Way back when I was in San Francisco, I made some cute coconut cupcakes and made a semi-real shoot out of it. I had apparently started an entry for them a week after I made them, so I guess I’ll humor you with the original post…here ya go! In the meantime I will be buying groceries and re-acquainting myself with this apartment’s cozy kitchen. Yes, I’m back in Ithaca for the home stretch!

     This could be considered another rendition/episode of “What’s in the Pantry?”, because for the last month we’ve had so much coconut in the house, and I wanted to do something about it. While searching for vegetable recipes in the Barefoot Contessa cookbook, I stumbled across the recipe for Ina’s famous coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. If you’re also wondering “cream cheese frosting? With coconut?”, we were on the same wavelength. Until it actually happened.

Stand mixers are still very exciting. Coconutty awesomeness.

Making frosting is so fun, and so dangerous. I’m hoping cream cheese frosting
is healthier than buttermilk frosting. The one issue that never seems to be resolved is the overwhelming amount of frosting that is left once you have frosted the cupcakes.
I think Jake and I halved the ratio of cupcake:frosting for the chocolate chip cookie dough
, and only three cupcakes were left unfrosted. Note to self: halve frosting recipe

Look at that pretty cupcake! It’s all about using the knife tip to make those cool-lookin
layery lines.
Just like this!
Have I mentioned how much I love rubber scrapers? I’ve gotten whole cookies and cupcakes
from using rubber scrapers. Just. Saying.
Enjoy the following photos from the miniature shoot proceeding the baking.
Carmen’s recipe notes: first off, you can always squeeze more cupcakes out of these recipes than they say. Second, I used yogurt and twoish teaspoons of lemon juice instead of buttermilk (not in the pantry) and they came out fine – dense, but not dry. Lastly, do what you will with the frosting recipe. However, I do recommend halving it if you don’t need a sweetener for your next 15 bowls of oatmeal.
Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes
(3/4 of this recipe) Makes 24 cupcakes
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Recipe can be found here

Chocolate Chip. Cookie Dough. CUPCAKES.

     What happens when you bring a cookie chef and a cupcake pro together? Something like this. Two months in the planning, Jake and I finally made our chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes yesterday. Far from healthy, the combination of cookie dough balls (egg-less, y’all), chocolate cake batter and cookie dough frosting (ohh yeah) is something I wish we’d thought up first. But apparently this already existed, with different versions and varying degrees of doughy-ness and cupcake presence. Clearly, the correct combination includes cookie dough, in the center of a chocolate cupcake, topped with cookie dough frosting. Take it from the real pros, and the may-as-well-be-pros when we say you must experience this.

If you want the dough to stay dough in the cupcake,
leave them in the freezer while you run to the store to get
baking soda…and make the cupcake batter.
If you think they might be too big when you round them, they are.

    So first you make the cookie dough, which is egg free, so fret not about your salmonella poisoning odds. Though you probably weren’t…sigh. Then you stick the bowl in the fridge, take it out after 15 minutes and roll the dough into little balls. While you’re waiting you can make the cupcake batter. The whole half cup (or 1 if you’re doubling) is not necessary, as we discovered.

We do not condone eating this raw, as it does have egg in it.

But sometimes you just have to test it, right?

     The best part was probably dropping the cookie dough into the batter-filled cupcake liners. If you’re only skimming the recipe you may not notice what Jake saw about keeping the dough afloat – if the dough sticks out of the batter and it’s touching the bottom of the liner, cover the dough anyway, even if it sticks out a bit. We tried rolling/turning/flipping the dough balls with toothpicks. This way, they won’t cook as much.

Leave some space for the dough balls when you’re filling the liners;
a full 1/4 cup worked well.
Like so, previous to awkward rolling

      While these are baking, you can make the frosting – don’t skip it if you want the full experience! Use of an electric mixer/stand mixer is necessary so you can whip the butter properly for a true frosting texture.

We don’t exactly not condone eating this one out of the bowl…

     The hardest part of it all may be waiting for the cupcakes to cool before you put the frosting on. But you know what happens if you don’t – melted mess everywhere.

Technically they’re fine without the frosting…

     And you’re done! Depending on what you were expecting, you may be surprised once one hits your mouth. I think it takes some practice/diligence to perceive the distinct flavor of each part, but maybe that’s not the point.

     I’m glad we stuck to the raw dough, and that it mostly worked, apart from the occasional cooked crust at the bottom. Play around with different versions and recipes; they’re definitely out there for consumption. Happy baking!

You should probably hire us for your next party.
Quick note: we doubled the filling & cupcake recipe, and not the frosting: ended up with three or four cupcakes that weren’t frosted. Also, we added the chocolate chips into the frosting as you can see…thought it looked more like cookie dough.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 45 min + freeze time
Cook Time: 25 min

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (not necessary, so we found)
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (a little more necessary)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (<–makes all the difference in the cookie taste!)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
additional mini chocolate chips
12 mini Chips Ahoy cookies (lol nahh)


1. Prepare the cookie dough filling (see *Tips below): In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to stir together the butter, sugars, milk and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie dough is firm. Scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon scoops and place it on a cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a blender. Blend to combine. Add the water, oil, egg and vanilla. Blend to combine, scraping down the sides as needed a couple of times until all is well mixed. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Drop a ball of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough into the center of each cupcake. If you would like the cookie dough to bake up slightly, keep the top visible as pictured in the post. If you’d like to keep the cookie dough somewhat raw, push it to the bottom of the cupcake wrapper, making sure that the batter comes up and over the dough.
3. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake portion of the cupcake (not tested through the center where the dough is), comes out fairly clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before adding the frosting.
4. Prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour, milk and vanilla and continue to mix until all is well combined.
5. Assemble: Frost cupcakes with a knife or scoop the frosting into a piping bag and pipe it on decoratively. Sprinkle mini chips on top and garnish with a small chocolate chip cookie.

TIPS:*You don’t necessarily have to melt the butter and refrigerate the dough before scooping. The melted butter just helps the sugar dissolve a bit more so you don’t have that grainy texture in the cookie dough. It is necessary to freeze it though.
Recipe from Recipe Girl 

Check out a first ever homemade cupcake attempt hither!

Once Upon a Time…

…I made lemon cupcakes with my mom. Couldn’t miss this one, I took out the big guns for pictures. Enjoy the gallery and enjoy the combination of recipes used.

Really dense batter from a Cupcake Wars recipe
Could easily have put half the batter in there
Nah…looks good to me
Significantly larger than it looks
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (without the blueberries)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 24 paper liners.

Mix the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix thoroughly. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix to combine. Add the dry mixture in 3 parts alternating with the sour cream, ending with dry mixture. Stir in the blueberries. Fill the prepared tins two-thirds full and bake 16 to 20 minutes. Cool.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case)
1/4 cup half & half cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Slowly begin adding the sugar, and beat until well combined. Beat in the cream, vanilla, and salt. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for about 3 minutes straight. Turn the mixer down to low and add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat for another 3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. [Note: If the frosting looks too thin, add that extra 1/2 cup of sugar. If it’s too thick, add a splash of cream, and beat to combine.]  
Recipes found here and here
Alright time to get profesh with the frosting
Photo tip du jour: tilting is winning (if not overused)
Pretty > practical