Sunday, July 19, 2009

IronCupcake:Earth - Herb Cupcakes

Surprise! I’m now officially an IronCupcake:Earth Challenger, so in addition to the monthly installments of Daring Bakers, I get to indulge in my cupcake-love once a month too. I like to call it my “Cupcake of the Month Club.” You might not know this, but it’s also sort of a Miss International Cupcake popularity contest, complete with prizes (click read more to see how super cute they are) – isn’t this fun already? So if you happen to wander past here and say golly, that cupcake looks like a purebred winner to me, then feel free to gleefully click your way to IronCupcake:Earth and vote for me in the right hand column. Yay!

But enough about flashy prizes and winning stuff and voting. What I really want to talk about is my hybrid cupcake creation that I whipped up the other night on a dazed whim – the awkwardly named “Chocolate Orange Rosemary Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream” (CORCCB for short?). When presented with the challenge to include herbs in my cupcakes I thought about the daring bakers spinach monstrosity and cried a little on the inside I was a little wary. As much as I like spice and pizazz in my lunches and dinners, cupcakes are my little sugar fix that I could always count on as being deliciously different than whatever main course I just ate. In some ways this still is the case. In other ways… Not so much.

I initially thought lavender because I liked the idea of purple in a cupcake – very cute. But then again lavender is a bit reminiscent of pepper and of the lavender recipes I saw, they either didn’t really interest me or they used some lavender-infused sugar. I wasn’t interested in that sort of time commitment. While googling as many herb combinations as I could find, I stumbled on to a few sites that mentioned that rosemary just plain jives with citrus. Well I jive with citrus too. Like oranges, for example. Do you know what else jives with citrus? Chocolate. Oh yes.

My theme was decided. When you look at the cupcake pictures, think orange-chocolate truffles. Only with little bits of rosemary chopped in. That is the essence of my cupcake creation. The rosemary, I found, didn’t add a different flavor like I was expecting – it was more of an added “tonal quality” to the little symphony of cupcake batter I was whipping up. It didn’t compete with the orange but rather added a bit of mellow, natural texture to it and enhanced the orange in a lovely way. So far so good.

The only issue was that after I got the cupcakes baked I A) oops - dropped a pan of them on the floor and b) they were super-orangey. Almost out of control in their orange flavor. My original plan for this recipe included an orange chocolate frosting to really make the flavor combinations pop, but the orange flavor was already exploding from every pore of the cupcake so I decided to go with a simple chocolate buttercream to temper the orange flavor just a tad. It worked, but I wish I had more frosting because the orange flavor can still be a bit overpowering when you don’t get enough frosting in a bite. I would have liked to cut down on the orange zest and extract just a tad to let the chocolate and rosemary shine through more, but I really think that these cupcakes would make excellent miniature cupcakes. That way the orange flavor would be controlled by small portions and a heftier dollop of frosting.
All in all not my favorite cupcake concoction but not one that I’d scrap entirely. I think it just needs a bit more finagling to get it just right. My family is certainly eating them without a problem. Maybe you will too 

Chocolate Orange Rosemary Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Buttercream
Print Me!
**Note: My first printable recipe! More to follow, so get excited!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Modified from Cupcake Bakeshop
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup of 61% cocao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tsp finely chopped rosemary
2 tbsp orange zest (I suggest reducing this to 1 tbsp)
½ tsp orange extract (I suggest reducing this to ¼ tsp)

1.chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2.add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3.remove from heat and stir in sugar. let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4.beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5.add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
6.sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
7.scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


enough to lightly frost 24 cupcakes

1 stick butter
1/2 cup cocoa
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
~1/4 cup milk (The original recipe called for ¼ c., I used probably close to ½ c. to get the taste/texture I wanted – Play around on this one)
2 tsp vanilla

1.Beat butter on high for about 30 seconds until soft.
2.Add cocoa and 1 cup of sugar and beat until incorporated
3.Add half of the milk, vanilla, and the remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4.Continue to add milk until you get to the consistency you want.

Our ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery

Our corporate prize providers include:
- HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
- Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers

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Heather July 23, 2009 at 5:31 PM  

These look super tasty :) I love orange and rosemary. and have also been tempting to join the "cupcake club" but just havent yet.

Cute blog :)

Lisa July 24, 2009 at 4:58 AM  

Wow..I haven't entered an ICC in ages. Seeing your gorgeous rosemary cupcakes makes me want to take part in the next one! I love the orange paired with the rosemary, and I must say, your piping of the frosting is unique and beautiful!

Melissa Peterman August 6, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

Hi Brie

Sorry to leave this message on your comments section. I couldn't find your email on your blog. We've selected you as our Foodista Food Blog of the Day for this Friday, August 14th! Your blog for IronCupcake:Earth - Herb Cupcakes will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours. This is a new feature that we recently launched and are thrilled to post your blog.

We are really enjoying your blog and look forward to seeing more of you on Foodista!


Melissa Peterman
Editor and Community Developer
Foodista- The Cooking Encyclopedia everyone can edit!

Melissa Peterman August 13, 2009 at 6:39 PM  


We're thrilled to have you part of our exclusive Food Blog of the Day community! We've created a special badge for you to display proudly on your blog sidebar. I couldn't find your email on your blog to send you the access code for the special badge, unique only to Featured Foodista Blogs of the Day, but I want to make sure you get it if you are interested. Please send me an email and I'll send it right away.


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