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2013 Cupcakes

29 Jan

I totally forgot to tell you about my recipes for my New Year’s brunch. 

I wanted to make sure that the cupcakes I made were very moist since they were going to be served unfrosted. Even though some of my cupcake eaters are under five and would eat almost anything covered in frosting and toppings, I still wanted these to be delicious.

Since I was so concerned with the awesomeness of these cupcakes, I went to the cupcake queen for my big event. Martha Stewart.

There was some leftover buttermilk in the fridge from christmas cookie baking and luckily Martha had two perfect recipes for buttermilk cupcakes, one chocolate and one vanilla.. Thanks to google I found them in a few clicks and they were as perfect as I wanted. I even had guests take them home unfrosted. Cupcake success. Please bake these anytime you feel the urge for a baby cake!

It also turns out I completely forgot to write about Christmas cookies. Embarrassing, I’m adding that to my to-do list.

 

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Bear down with Brownies! And cupcakes and cookies!

13 Dec

December means a whole lot of fun for most people, celebrating holidays, enjoying peppermint mochas at Starbucks and of course devouring desserts. But if you know my brother, it also means the annual BEARS TAILGATE.

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This year was the Ninth Annual Bears Tailgate and it didn’t disappoint, well the Bears disappointed us, because they lost. But the event was still {almost} flawless. I will leave the disastrous defense, misplaced Michelle items, and the unforgettable yet difficult to remember details, out of this post, and instead tell you about the desserts I brought along. Since that is how I get my $10 discount.

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I decided to bring three different items since we were a bus of about 25 people, plus I’m always worried people won’t like things, so I bring multiples.

First up, my new favorite recipe – Bailey’s Brownies. These are pretty simple and ridiculously amazing. All you do is buy your favorite brownie mix and swap the water for Bailey’s. Don’t worry, kids can enjoy them, there’s only a shot or two in the entire box and the alcohol cooks out, but the flavor stays in and is such a complement to the chewy chocolate bites! I also added in chocolate chips to max out on the fun.

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Next, oatberries. Amanda Lee requested my signature cookie that she’d never tasted. She loved them – success.

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Finally I made some graham cracker cupcakes with green vanilla buttercream frosting topped with chocolate marshmallows that were supposed to look like footballs. These weren’t the best things I ever made because some of the bottoms burnt. Embarrassing I know, though I can probably say it was because I used foil cups – whoops, forgot I don’t like to use those.

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Also, the marshmallows were gross and no one knew they were footballs. And you know, there isn’t a 60, 70, 80 or 90 yard line on the football field. Fortunately I realized that one myself the night before the game, so at least I could laugh about my dumbness instead of having someone point it out to me!

As aforementioned, things were lost both physically and mentally, so I don’t know how many cupcakes were actually eaten, though I do know that a certain Termini dropped giardiniera on one of those 40 yardline-rs, so I made him eat that one, and the brownies were gone before kick-off!

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Cupcake Wars

22 Jul

After the adorable cupcakes I made for Elizabeth’s shower, my dad put his request in for his birthday. “Can I have cupcakes?” Sure dad, as long as I can be creative.

What’s the best way to be creative with cupcakes? Multiple flavors and frosting.

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My dad’s first request was a classic birthday cupcake – yellow cake and chocolate frosting. I’m still searching for a great classic yellow cake recipe, but this one is definitely a contender. I found this Glorious Treats recipe after searching the phrase “perfect vanilla cupcakes.” Verdict – delicious, I love anything with buttermilk in the recipe, but I think there may be something more perfect out there. Also, the batter was runny, they baked fine, but it was hard to portion out evenly.

For the frosting, I thought I’d venture from the recipe I always make and search “best chocolate buttercream for cupcakes” I know I was real creative with my search phrases this week. Verdict: it wasn’t anything special, but I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate buttercream.

I topped these little birthday cakes with assorted sprinkles, because that’s what a classic birthday calls for!

Next up  – chocolate cupcakes.

I’m not a huge chocolate cake fan, I mean I LOVE chocolate frostings and fillings, but sometimes chocolate cake ia just too dry. My dad asked for a chocolate cuppie to be included and I decided this is where I’d get most adventurous with Better Homes & Gardens’ Salted Caramel-Chocolate-Bourbon Cupcakes. Sounds intense, and they were – and SO delicious!

One negative on these guys, they didn’t stay circular after I took them out of the pan, they started un-peeling from the liners, but I got creative and just double liner-ed them. The cake part of these were amazing. Absolutely the best tasting chocolate cupcake out there. I used Crown Royal as the liquor, but I really couldn’t taste it. The cake didn’t even need frosting, that’s how yummy is it! I didn’t make the exact frosting that the recipe called for here, first of all I forgot to buy sour cream, second of all I was running out of powdered sugar, and most importantly, I had a bunch of the previous chocolate frosting leftover and hate wasting it, so I mixed the leftover first frosting with extra melted dark chocolate, about 3 1/2 ounces of honey flavored Chobani Greek yogurt and additional powdered sugar. Would I write that down to repeat? No, but it was still chocolate frosting. No complaints. I made the salted caramel as the directions said to, subbing half and half for the whipping cream, which may have made it lighter in color. I’ve made salted caramel before without the easy use of wrapped caramels. It tasted fine and was quick so that’s good, but it wasn’t authentic.

The final cupcakes for my wars were snickerdoodle flavored. I think I got this recipe from Pinterest. The actual recipe  is for a 3 layer cake, but I just halved it and cupcaked it. This cake is very dense, but it was pretty yummy. A great third cupcake and just as delicious for breakfast this morning.

Now for the buttercream frosting. The flavor was great, I added a few drops of cinnamon extract to heighten the flavor – plus I have cinnamon extract and never use it so I thought this was a good place to sneak it in. My problem was my frosting was grainy. Is it possible that I wasn’t very careful on my seventh recipe of the night? Absolutely. But the other culprit is my mixer. Even though I have a KitchenAid, I have the lowest version of it and sometimes it takes a few extra scrapes of the bowl to cream the sugars. Since this recipe had brown sugar in, I’m thinking I didn’t get all of it mixed in well before I continued to add ingredients. I will probably try this recipe again so I’ll be sure to check that next time.

After 4 hours of cupcaking, cleaning and decorating, I ended up with my trio of baby birthday cakes for my dad, exactly what he asked for, and perfect for party favors to take home. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Carrots

8 Jul

I’ve always meant to try making cupcakes in ice cream cones. I can’t say that any longer, and I also can’t say it was successful. But from my pictures you’d never be able to tell. Photography is the best!

My mom is an avid quilter and decided to hold a quilt show in her garden last week. Technically it’s the second year for her garden showcase, but the only guest last year was Sonny, so I’m gonna go ahead and call this her inaugural Quilt Show in the Garden.

She can tell you the highs and lows of the show, and I can tell you the highs and lows of the dessert. No surprise here, I found these cupcakes on Pinterest and made note to make them for her show. They looked like the perfect addition to an outdoor garden party.

As I mentioned above, I was interested in making ice cream cone cakes, but had only really seen them in cake cones, I think we should all stick with that, making cupcakes in sugar cones was a huge mess and almost a disaster. I’m pretty sure 98% of the cones fell over in the oven and lost some insides. Thankfully I mad a boxed mix carrot cake for these, so it wasn’t a whole lot of time, money or good ingredients wasted, but we were still not happy.

We recovered the cones mid way and kind of let them bake sideways. Good thing frosting makes most things much, much better. My fave buttercream did the honors of topping (or filling up) the sugar cones and then I popped them in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile it was time to melt orange candy melts. Melting the chocolate was fine, but finding a container to use so that the cone would be covered was trial and error, and error and a little more error, then finally just sucked it up and used a spoon.

Thankfully the sprinkle part was easy and fun, I think that if you covered everything in life with sprinkles (or glitter) you’d never notice the flaws. Life lesson.

Anyway, despite the earlier issues, the carrots actually looked like they were supposed to, and tasted fine. It was like a game to find a cupcake with more cake that frosting inside! We set the carrots atop crushed cookies that were attached to the plate with peanut butter, so the carrots were sitting in ground and dirt.

Would I do this again? Probably not, but then again they were so cute!

Swirly Shower

6 Jul

One of my bestest friends, Elizabeth, is getting married in September and showered her with showers in June. Her sister and Maid of Honor, asked me to make the cake for her Illinois shower and I, of course, said yes. I love anytime I get a chance to really decorate something, and wedding showers are a GREAT opportunity!

Elizabeth is not a fan of traditional wedding cake, so we decided to maker her number one choice of dessert – FunFetti cake. Yes, most of the time I like to make cake from scratch, but I was happy to please the bride and it was actually pretty delicious. I realized that it’s more canned frosting that I dislike than cake mixes, though I still prefer scratch baking.

I decided to make a smaller cake and a batch of cupcakes for the shower because it’s easier to transport and then guests actually taking leftovers with them is much more of a possibility. I topped the Funfettis with my favorite buttercream frosting, mixed with cocoa powder and melted chocolate – to match the wedding colors, brown and pink!

My grandma actually suggested decorating the cake with fake flowers, which ended up being the perfect addition to the creamy frosting. I took some more Pinterest inspiration from this cake, with a wedding cake my sister-in-law to be loves.

I took the fake flowers and swirled them around the cake and topped the cupcakes. Probably the quickest decorated cake ever and absolutely fit the occasion!

Cupcake ATM!

15 Apr

It should come as no surprise that for my birthday I wanted to spend the morning running around dripping sweat on the beach and spend the afternoon standing in line to buy a cupcake out of a machine in the wall. It was great.

The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is quite an interesting invention and takes the gourmet cupcake shop trend to a whole other level… because it’s open 24-hours. I mean, how many times have you wanted a ganache filled cupcake in the middle of the night but just couldn’t get your hands on one. Apparently a lot for some people! I read that the ATM served an average of 1,000 a day during opening week, so good going Sprinkles!

It was pretty fun though Cynthia was let down that the cupcakes were pre-made, she was pretty excited about the idea of choosing the cake and then the frosting, but it was still worth the trip for me and my birthday craving.

Here’s the step by step process!

Check out the choices of the day

Pick your flavor

Scan your credit card

Voila! Your cupcake appears all cute and in its little box.

Then dive in! Happy cupcaking!

Sweet-less

7 Mar

Have I made anything lately? No.

Yes, I generally bake for others. Birthday, holidays, Sundays, I’m usually feeding others my sweet and treats. But let’s get real, I do it for me too.

So since I’m dessert free until Easter, I need a week or two during lent before I can bake and not eat it. So you can look forward to reading about something St. Patrick’s style for my roomies next week! Probably peanut buttery!

I did want to bring this little gem to you though,

If you haven’t heard of this amazingly ridiculous but necessary invention. It is the Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM. Yes, 24-hour automatic cupcake machine. I will be visiting this in about 32 days. Yum.

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