Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm so excited, I could Jump! Jump!

Couple of confessions.
1. I made this cake back in August
2. I never intended to share it here.
3. I'm only here to show off the new blog design. Isn't it awesome?

I made this for a guy at work on his last day. His name was Chris Cross so this had to be done. I originally wanted to make a cake in the shape of a guy with his pants on backward, only I started at 9pm the day before so this is what I came up with. I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one who "got it" since I'm the oldest one on the team. It was a disappointment all around.
But, I'm sharing anyway because I'm just super excited about our blog makeover and HAD to post something so people could see it. I'm also pregnant, so my motivation levels to make cake are surprisingly low these days. Too impatient to wait for the next post. AND, this is a cake/cupcake blog and I couldn't just post without a cake...a rap themed cake at that. It just wouldn't be right. Enjoy my cake fail!


Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Recap

I'm going to pretend that this blog post is just a recap of the last few months in honor of the end of the year. But really it's not actually the end of the year (and there are more cupcakes that will be made in the coming weeks!) and it's not really a recap. I just want to show off all the cupcakes I neglected to blog about in the past few months because I was the first pregnant woman ever and the end of that pregnancy got rough and blogging seemed difficult.

Then I had the baby and that was even rougher and the weeks following were rough and now here we are still rough but blogging because I have cupcakes I am dying to show off!

First off were the cupcakes I made for the 4th of July. Red velvet cupcakes, strawberry cream cheese frosting base, cream cheese butter cream swirl & topped with blueberries. In addition around the outer edge was a layer of red pop rocks (flavor raspberry I assume) and topped with red, white & blue star sprinkles. These were so good and festive! I used red velvet from the box and as this was months and months ago I don't remember the frosting recipe but I am fairly certain I just threw ingredients in the mixer and called it good.

Next up (although technically they happened before Fourth of July but I forgot about them until I started this post) are cupcakes for my son Henry's 2nd birthday! Dark chocolate cupcakes, strawberry cream cheese & topped with his most favorite candy mini m&m's. He got very excited over blowing out the candles and eating a cupcake but in the end he ate all the m&m's off the cupcake and then ate ice cream. Toddlers have no appreciation! The cupcake was my go to recipe that I have posted before. The strawberry cream cheese frosting was just butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla & pureed strawberries. It was a fairly humid day and the frosting didn't get as stiff as I would have liked. Which is one of the reasons it wasn't piped on. The other reason was he's two and doesn't care!

Then came my children's combined birthday party. Henry was 2 on July 2nd and Arianna was 12 on July 14th. We did a combined party in our backyard (omgosh the weather was so amazing you never know what you are going to get weather wise in the summer in Seattle, last year my cousins outdoor wedding in July was rainy and cold!) and each kid got their own special cupcakes.

Henry got monkey cupcakes, I found a picture on pinterest no tutorial but it seemed easy enough to figure out on my own. They were Yellow funfetti (from scratch) cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese sour cream frosting. Monkey face made with nila wafers (mini and regular) and candy eyes. The candy eyes I purchased from Sweet! Baking Supply (I fully intend to put a click able link in here for them, I love them!) and the nila wafers just at the grocery store. The mini wafers cost more than the regular size, why?! Everyone seemed to enjoy the yellow cupcake but honestly I found the taste and texture to just be gross. No one complained so it may have just been me or else they just didn't want to be rude. I did not like the recipe and did not save it. The texture reminded me of a vegan gluten free cupcake I once ate and tasted like bananas despite no bananas in the recipe. The frosting I again just threw whatever I had in the fridge in the mixer and hoped for the best. It was quite delicious and quite decadent which is good because there was not a lot of frosting on the cupcakes so a little went a long way!

For Arianna I made panda bear cupcakes Bakerella  posted a blog on how to make mini panda cupcakes. I used her tutorial only making regular sized cupcakes and per the request of the birthday girl I added sugar mustaches courtesy of again Sweet! Baking Supply . The cupcakes were dark chocolate cupcakes, cream cheese butter cream. Face made out of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips, candy eyes & sugared mustaches. The Ghiradelli chips were preferable as they are larger than regular chocolate chips. The dark chocolate cupcake was once again my go-to recipe.

So that is my year end recap...only I am making myself birthday cupcakes/thanksgiving cupcakes in the next few days along with obviously cupcakes for the rest of the holiday season. Hopefully I will blog about them before 2013 arrives!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's a Bleedin' Armadilla!

OK, so it's really nothing that dramatic, but wouldn't that be fun? I feel like the last woman on earth to find out what a bleeding armadillo is. It came up recently in a conversation and when I had to ask what this bleedin' armadilla was, it was a shock to some friends that I had not seen "Steel Magnolias". Apparently, everyone has :)

Eventually, I was shamed into watching it. The first few minutes, I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into. The southern accents in that movie are awful. Within a few scenes though, I was trying to figure out who I would be if I were a Magnolia. M'Lynn was a little high strung for me. Shelby's sweet, but she dies in the end and that creeps me out. Hopefully I'm not spoiling the end for anyone who wanted to wait a bit longer than I to see this flick :)

In the end, I couldn't decide between Ouiser and Clairee. I'd like to think that when I am a mature woman, I will fall somewhere between one who says whatever I want without giving a crap and one who is honest like that but much nicer. Plus, one day I'd like to tell someone that I love them more than my luggage.

I did eventually see the bleedin' armadilla and it was definitely gross. Mine was much more low key.

I do have to confess that while red velvet seems to be a favorite of many people I know, it's really not my thing. Look at how dense it is! I prefer cake to be a little more light and airy. But it was a special request from my brother in law on his 25th birthday, so I was happy to oblige. 

I got the recipe from this book. It was a birthday gift from my mother in law and it's definitely one of my favs. It features tons of lovely cake recipes from simple to fancy and some really obscure flavors as well. I've made the red velvet a few times now and it's always a huge hit. If only it showed me how to shape it like an armadillo...

The batter is super thick and mousse-like. So pretty. Then comes time to put the red in the red velvet.

I like to use Wilton gel food colors in my baking. You really have to watch it though. A little color can do a lot. So a little of this turns it into...

a little bit of that. Now that is beautiful!

Because the post is so very random, I'll end with my favorite quote of the whole movie. 
"Oh! He's a real gentleman! I bet he takes the dishes out of the sink BEFORE he pees in it!" Gotta love that Ouiser :)


Friday, June 29, 2012

Laziest Blog Post Ever

I've got a backlog of stuff that I have made and meant to do super fantastical funny blog posts for each one. But...yeah I don't know if you know this but I am like the first pregnant person in the entire world and I just can't get it together to blog. I know there are pregnant bloggers all over the internetz they even have pregnancy blogs but I am just too lazy and too pregnant to get it together. Plus I have a 2 year old. He doesn't really prevent me from blogging but I figured I should spread some of the blame around.

So there are a few yummy treats to post about but given my current pregnant/lazy state I will just be posting links instead of actual recipes. Actual recipes is hard. So for starters my niece turned 13! She had a two-part party and the first part was a sleepover. I put together some yummy treats for this sleepover. I made her a popcorn cake and some funfetti rice krispie treats. I have a link for the popcorn cake the rice krispie treats I just followed the recipe on the back of the box and threw a bunch of rainbow sprinkles in...fancy.

I should really learn to take fancier pictures so when I make super fancy things like rice krispie treats with sprinkles thrown in I will have fancy pictures to show them off with. But I don't even have a fancy camera and I have no real interest to add fancy photographer to my short list of awesome skills.

Popcorn Cake

I never tried any of the popcorn cake but there were plenty of rave reviews. The blog post fails to mention how messy and difficult it is to make so let me throw that out there. I got marshmallow EVERYWHERE. I also had to use two bowls to mix it all up it was not as easy as I expected but pepole really seemed to enjoy it so totally worth it. Again no fancy pictures to capture the fanciness.

The next part of her party was a regular birthday party and I made cupcakes! No links or recipes because the cupcakes were made from a box, one frosting recipe I made up as I went along and the other the recipe was a disaster and I spent a lot of time trying to make it work. I made vanilla rainbow cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream (oh super yum) and chocolate cupcakes with Nutella buttercream. The Nutella buttercream was the disaster. It took a lot of work and tweaks to make it work and I can't even remember all that I did. I topped the cupcakes with disco dust glitter and jeweled shiny sprinkles which I purchased at a lovely internet store called Sweet Baking Supply I have purchased so many great items from them everyone should check them out! I even just purchased a bunch of sugar mustaches for an upcoming cupcake design for my 12 year old's birthday!

I actually didn't really eat these as I have a hard time now fitting cupcakes in on top of any meal (remember only pregnant person in the whole world)  but I did taste the frosting and it was quite delicious. One more picture to show them off and make sure this blog post is super long.

So sparkly! The chocolate with nutella buttercream also received rave reviews but I don't like Nutella so I only took a tiny taste of the frosting to make sure it was edible and it tasted like nutella so...yum I guess?

The next thing I made was for memorial day. I made grape soda cupcakes. I actually also did not try these at all except for the frosting which was a plain buttercream. I topped them with a "straw" made out of grape vines which were super delicious. I ate so many that I was totally unable to fit in a cupcake and I forgot to snag one for later so I never tried them. Everyone enjoyed them though! Recipe here: Grape Soda Pop Cupcakes

I also made a set with purple sugar instead of sprinkles. My plan was to use purple poprocks because it sounded like fun, but I never was unable to find purple poprocks. I have a large supply of poprocks that I once bought just in case but I did not have any purple. Next time I make these I will need to get some purple pop rocks. Also I will probably use a cheap can of grape soda instead of using the fancy organic grape soda the husband insisted we use.

Whew so there we go. A mammoth blog post that is actually three blog posts in one. I have a few more cake making events before I go into retirement for the rest of my pregnancy (only pregnant woman in the world) and hopefully I will manage to blog those!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Birthday Cake

It feels like it's been forever since I've made a cake. I've totally been going through withdrawl lately. I used to make cakes for occasions such as Tuesdays. In April I found out that I am one of the lucky ones who entered the lottery for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Diego AND got chosen. Since marathon training really cuts into your "me time" and cake doesn't necessarily lend itself to losing the weight I need to in order to run this thing without dying, I had to cut back on the cake making and eating. I'm admittedly sad about it.  But lucky for me, my husband just had a birthday today (Happy Birthday Babe!) so I had to got to make a cake.

I wisely chose a Lemon Blueberry cake that I found on this blog. Two reasons for this. First, it's not even summer and it's freaking hot already. Nothing says summer like the fresh taste of lemon and blueberries. Second, I have this weird "thing" about the amount of effort I put into something. Despite being proven wrong on multiple occasions, I feel like the more effort you put into any one thing, the more it says to the recipient about how you feel. Oh, and the more people should like/appreciate it. Again, doesn't always work out that way for me, but I'm working through it.

This cake has several of pain in the a*$ (PITA) elements to it but they are all very much worth it. That being said, I cheated on several of them without a decrease in the appreciation for the cake, so maybe I've had a breakthrough on some of my issues.

Baking PITA #1 - Parchment paper lining

I groan every time I read this instruction. "Butter and flour pans and line with parchment paper". Despite my interest in doing lots of work on a cake, prep isn't my thing. It's like pinning before sewing or taping before painting. I really just want to get to the fun stuff. Normally I might skip this step and my cake would stick to the bottom, then I would be mad at myself later. But my mother in law was here (here comes cheat number 1) and offered to help and I passed off this task without hesitation. Thanks Cindy!

Baking PITA #2 - Zesting
I suck. I didn't take any pictures of this. You tell me how I'm supposed to zest a lemon and take a picture of it at the same time. Had to be done.

Baking PITA #3 - Separating Eggs

WHY do recipes need to require egg whites? And 7 of them at that. I did this SEVEN times! 

Except for this time, when the yolk fell through the separator and then broke into the whites when I tried to remove it. Woopsie!

Baking PITA #4 - Marbling

Maybe it's only a PITA for people like me, who can't seem to get such a simple task done well. I reserved a cup of the batter and mixed it with some blueberry jam (see Baking PITA #5) and dropped some blobs into each pan. I'm not sure why, but it's less swirled and more like blobs with a few swirls around them. Oh well, it still tastes the same, right?

Baking PITA #5 - Making your own jam/curd/etc

Lemon curd, cream filling, blueberry jam...Whatever it is, making it for cake layers is a bigger PITA than just filling them with buttercream. This one's worth it though. Cheat number 2 comes in here. I made the blueberry jam for something else a few weeks ago and saved the leftovers. It was still a PITA to make, just not today :)

Baking PITA #6 - Clean up

Worst part of baking ever. Especially since I use a ton of dishes. I swear that empty beer bottle hanging out in the back is not mine!

By no means was that a comprehensive list of ALL Baking PITA's, just the ones that occurred in this instance :)

Here's a shot of the side. I can't show the top because I'd be super embarrassed that I didn't start the piping in the right place, so the word "birthday" is all jammed into the right side. Plus, my husband probably doesn't want his name out there since his age is out in the open. The lean comes from me not following directions. I used three 9 inch pans instead of 8 inch as the recipe called for. I don't have three 8 inch pans so the layers came out a little thin. And with a little lean.

Just because he's so damn cute. He was really happy to help out with the candles. So much so that he asked us to light them after he blew them out so he could blow them out again :)

Regardless of the fact that it was blobs instead of swirls, it was a huge hit. 

Note: I didn't use the lemon buttercream in the recipe. Ever since a disaster with some swiss meringue buttercream, the idea of making a frosting that calls for use of a candy thermometer is immediately dismissed. If you want to be lazy like me, here's the recipe for cheat number 3. I did have quite a bit extra so if you frost sparingly, you can probably get by with half of this.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

2 Cups room temperature butter
8 Cups powdered sugar 
Juice and Zest of 2 lemons
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Enchilada & Cupcake Anniversary

Saturday was my 5 year anniversary which I have dubbed the Enchilada & Cupcake anniversary. Mostly because I just really wanted enchiladas and had no interest in a fancy dinner or dressing nice or staring at each other over candlelight. I wanted mariachi music, enchiladas, guacamole and a never empty basket of tortilla chips. I didn't even want cupcakes. But I needed to make something so I could post about something so I forced the husband to pick some cupcakes he wanted. He picked peanut butter & chocolate cupcakes. Easy enough. I combed the Internet looking for the perfect recipe which I actually did not find. So instead I mixed a few recipes together.

Full disclosure about the making of these cupcakes. As the days went by I kept not making them. The husband had planned his entire day of meals and snacks around eating one of these cupcakes. Then each day there were no cupcakes. So I promised him Tuesday, Tuesday I will finally make them. To be fair I really genuinely planned to make them Monday but discovered he had purchased the wrong cocoa powder so my plans were thwarted. So Tuesday night, I was set, I was ready. Then I got tired...and whiny. Tired, whiny and pregnant which was really the crux of the problem. So some help was offered he at first offered to melt my chocolate so it could cool, an offer I accepted because it's not THAT big of a deal. Then he was whisking my flour and baking soda together and next thing you knew I was ushered into a kitchen where all the work was done except the actual throwing it into the Kitchenaid to mix all together.

Originally these were going to be chocolate with peanut butter frosting the end. Then I was like "eh slap some ganache on these bad boys" then top with frosting. Then maybe drizzle on some more ganache I mean I already had the ganache what was it going to hurt? Then I planned to top each one with a Reese's peanut butter cup. But I kept eating the cups and wasn't sure I'd have enough. So I ran what I had left through the food processor and just did a nice Reese's crumble on top. Oh and somewhere along the way I added some chocolate sprinkles to the first layer of ganache because why not? Technically these were for our five year anniversary and five years of marriage (11 years together total) totally deserve some ganache and sprinkles.

The recipe made 12 large cupcakes (probably more like 18 if you do not like a large giant cupcake like I do) and I ate one fresh from the oven. Then I had 11 and 1 didn't fit on the platter. Luckily the husband was dancing around impatiently waiting for one so I used a spoon to slap on some frosting and did a drizzle and shooed him away. He was in heaven and did not speak for at least ten minutes which BTW is a record. The frosting recipe I threw together made just enough for frosting 11 cupcakes but I piped the frosting and I put a lot on. If you are big on piping and are crazy about frosting like I am then I would suggest making a little extra frosting I found myself seriously scraping the bowl trying to get enough to cover the last one.

Things I did wrong:

  • Baking of the cupcakes nothing. Other then being super lazy and whiny which prompted the husband to do the prep work.
  • I messed up my first batch of ganache. The husband walked in while I was making it and just looked at me in shock because he had no understanding of what I was doing. I've had him make me ganache before when I was busy and I was in no way shape or form making it in any sort of rational fashion. Off to the store for more heavy cream. The fact that he only got me a small thing of heavy cream is something HE did wrong as we all know I mess up a lot of stuff.
  • I almost messed up the second batch of ganache because the toddler was being super cute and my cream boiled over almost scalded and the smell of burnt cream on the burner was awful and permeated the house. Yay!
  • Nothing else. I did not mess anything else up. I am proud. Well I did make the 11 year old unwrap all the Reese's but I'm pretty sure she stole like 8 in the process and child labor is never wrong.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:
(makes 12-18 cupcakes depending on how much you fill the liners)

1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate - chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed baking cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup sour cream

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with baking cup liners.
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside and cool until just warm to the touch.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix eggs; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add half of flour mixture to chocolate mixture and mix until combined; mix in sour cream until combined. Add remaining flour mixture to chocolate mixture and mix until batter is combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 cup confectioners' sugar (plus some more on stand-by I added almost another cup after I added the heavy cream to get the frosting stiff enough for piping)
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature (if using salted butter omit kosher salt)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

  1. Cream together peanut butter and butter.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed add vanilla and kosher salt.
  3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar mix thoroughly.
  4. Add heavy cream let mix for 3 minutes to help get it nice and light.
  5. If unhappy with consistency of frosting add additional powdered sugar until reaches preferred consistency.

Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate. I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips. If using a bar chop bar, you don't want any large pieces

  1. Slowly heat cream to a slow bowl in saucepan.
  2. Place chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.
  3. Pour cream over chocolate.
  4. Let sit for 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly stir together until all the chocolate is mixed together.
For help with ganache I would normally link to Martha Stewart's ganache 101 but her website is currently down.

Optional toppings:

Chocolate sprinkles
Reese's cups, chopped, halved, whole etc.

To put them all together take cooled cupcakes and dip into cooled ganache and roll sides in chocolate sprinkles. Pipe buttercream using Wilton1M tip. Drizzle with ganache and top with Reese's. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not Everything I Make is Awesome

This is what I try to tell my co-workers. They don't believe me. Ever since I joined the team, I've been bringing in baked goods quite often and they think I'm amazing. I guess I can let them keep thinking that. But I'll let you in on my secrets.
It was 9pm tonight when I remembered that one of my fellow associates has a birthday tomorrow and I had promised cake. Yikes! A quick scan of my refrigerator showed that I had no ingredients for awesome cake. You know, buttermilk, sour cream, any of that. I had to make it simple.

While I was lacking many key ingredients for awesome, I saw that I did have Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. That HAS to lead to amazing, right? I stuck with Hershey's and used a recipe I found online for Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake. I had all the stuff on hand and it didn't seem too labor intensive. It was go time.

Look at how perfectly dark and chocolately that looks. So far, so good...

Even Bailey is helping. I was trying to get done quickly and was a bit overzealous with my mixing. She soaked up all the flour that would have fallen to the ground. No sweeping, yay!

OK, so here's where I start confessing how not awesome I am. How can you call yourself a baker and not have Baker's Joy in the house? Seriously. I got lazy and did not butter and flour my pan (did I mention I was in a hurry?) but instead used Pam. I know, I know. You can't see me, but I'm hanging my head in shame.  Hopefully no one will miss those little chunks of cake.

So here's "I'm not awesome" part 2. I had no powdered sugar in my house either and don't realize this until 10pm. I can almost hear the gasps from people who bake on a regular basis. No powdered sugar. This is actually not going to be a surprise to people who know me, I pull stuff like this ALL the time. 
I honestly had no idea you COULD make frosting without it until I googled "chocolate frosting without powdered sugar". This is what I got. It's super runny, but I made do. I'm pretending it's a fancy pants cake and that mess you see above is ganache. What do you think?

So what did I learn today?

  1. Keep your kitchen stocked with the basics. Seriously Brandi. What is wrong with you?
  2. Never use Pam for your cakes. Stop being too lazy to butter and flour. 
  3. Use technology. I have a number of ways to remind myself to do things before it gets late. Time to join this decade, girl. 
Let's hope they like it!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Delicious Lemon Cupcakes for Easter

Jessica here, while Brandi was slaving over a peep cake and chick cupcakes AND egg cake balls(coughcoughshowoffcoughcough) I went simple with lemon cupcakes with strawberry lemon cream cheese frosting. For most occasions I try and stick with cupcakes. I used to go big and crazy and do elaborate cakes but...cupcakes are so much more simple and no one is ever afraid to eat them. Plus the husband (aka the man that cleans the kitchen) is not as annoyed about the mess as he was with the giant elaborate cakes.

You'll have to excuse my fancy cupcake carriers, as I lost my cupcake carrier in a tragic cat on the counter accident and decided to just keep buying plastic shells from grocery store bakeries so I no longer had to stress over getting my cupcake carriers back

I included the recipe for both the cupcakes and the frosting below (but please be warned my frosting recipe includes things like "dump sugar in until you think it's enough sugar"). The only tweaks I made to the cupcake recipe were instead of measuring out lemon zest and lemon juice I just juiced and zested three large lemons and called it a day. I like lemon. As I was zesting/complaining the husband reminded me that we have an old box of lemon cake mix in the cake pantry (yes an entire pantry full of cake supplies) and I could always just use that. Cha! As if! I am not above using a mix (especially for elaborate cakes!) but I'm blogging here, I can't just write a blog post that goes "open box, dump in bowl etc". So onward I trudged/zested. The results were fairly delicious and super lemony.

The frosting ended up with way more strawberry than necessary so it involved a lot of powdered sugar and it still never was as firm as I would have liked. I also went overboard and made....well enough for a second batch of cupcakes. Contemplating what to do with all the frosting (discarded ideas included eating with a spoon and using as a facial mask) I decided to break out the box of lemon cake mix (and discovered it was a month away from expiring) and make cupcakes for the husband to take to work with him. He's a diabetic and the two small children in this house do not need more cupcakes so they cannot stay in this house. Although I suppose as a pregnant woman I have the right to eat an entire batch of cupcakes with delicious frosting I think it’s better to just send them away.

The first batch of cupcakes I attempted a rose swirl, but my frosting was not sturdy enough. With the rose swirl you also do not get as much frosting. So with the next batch I did a boring swirl which still did not hold up as well because I did not use enough powdered sugar to really make the frosting sturdy. The last batch (not pictured) I just slathered on with a knife and was done with it. I made the frosting on Sunday and a few days later after hanging out in the fridge it was even more delicious and tasted like strawberry ice cream and had the consistency of ice cream. I'd lie and say I didn't eat it with a spoon, but let's be real I totally did. I topped each batch with a variety of sprinkles. I know when you go to a fancy cupcake shop they don't put sprinkles on their fancy cupcakes but I don't think a cupcake is a cupcake without sprinkles. Plus I kind of really like to buy sprinkles. I have a few places I buy them from but that is for a different post.

And just for fun here is an awesome list of all the things I did wrong while I made cupcakes:

  • The first batch I did nothing wrong. Except for maybe when I squirted frosting in my mouth from the frosting bag, which isn't wrong, but speaks volumes about the type of person I am.
  • The second batch (Betty Crocker mix) I overfilled the cupcake liners (I like a tall cupcake) and ended up only making 19.
  • I forgot to take the empty liners out of the muffin tin and baked them empty, they got weird so I had to throw them out, such a waste.
  • The toddler and I ate a few of the warm cupcakes because they were delicious
  • Which brings me to the third batch (Duncan Hines mix as they were out of Betty Crocker Lemon) that I had to make because there weren't enough cupcakes...
  • I dropped a piece of eggshell in the batter and lost it and told the husband to tell anyone who gets the shell that they win a prize...he wasn't actually as amused as I was.
  • I couldn't get the batter smooth and there were a lot of little tiny lumps. I'm sure it'll be fine...right?
  • For one batch I didn't set the timer and got engrossed in an episode of Parking Wars but I did manage to get them out in time.
  • I made a giant mess which the husband also was not amused by.

Lemon Cupcakes:

Recipe from Baked Perfection

Makes 24-30 Cupcakes

1 cup butter softened

2 Cups sugar

3 eggs

4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter (I use a ice cream scoop for this). Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Strawberry Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Recipe from Baby Got Cake

2 Sticks softened unsalted butter

2 sticks softened salted butter

1 brick softened cream cheese

1 pint strawberries, cleaned, chopped and pureed (if you dislike seeds feel free to run through strainer I generally do not bother)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 bag powdered sugar

Juice of 1 large lemon

In a stand-mixer with a paddle attachment cream butter and cream cheese until fully mixed and smooth. Add in strawberries, lemon juice & vanilla; mix thoroughly. Carefully pour in powdered sugar in 1 cup increments and mix thoroughly after each cup. Continue to add powdered sugar until frosting is the consistency you are looking for. Instead of pureed strawberries you could also use strawberry jam.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Peep Cake!

It's Easter! I decided to go nuts this year and make a Peep bunny cake. The idea came from a discussion I was having with my sister in law about leftover frosting. I baked a cake for a friend and totally bombed the frosting. The cake was supposed to be for her grandma and I went a little crazy with my coloring. I had 5 cups of hot pink mess. Probably OK for a Sweet Sixteen, not cool when Grandma is 94.
I do my best not to waste, so when I asked my sister in law what I should do with all of it, the Peep bunny idea came to be. I think she was joking, but I was intrigued. Tons of pink frosting on hand, as well as pink sugar...what else would I make? Plus, Peeps are one of my favorite things. Marshmallowy, sugary goodness. But this is about cake.

I'm quite embarrassed to admit that I used two of these ^^^. I can't even bring myself to say what it is. I totally think this is cheating, not to mention inferior to scratch cake. But as I said before, I don't like to waste. On this project, scratch cake would have meant wasted time. All that work, just to douse it in hot pink frosting and coat it with sugar? No, thank you. 

Unfortunately, I was this far before I remembered I was supposed to be taking pictures. With the two box mixes, I filled two 8 inch and two 6 inch pans. In retrospect, I might have put another 8 or 9 inch pan in there. I ended up filling the pans I had much too full. One 8 inch cake round was the body, the 6 inch round was the head and I cut his ears from the other 8 inch round.

There he is, all frosted and sugared. Not too shabby, eh?

Here's the finished Peep Cake! The eggs are cake balls that I made from the leftover cake. See? No waste! I made the cupcakes because I just had too. I saw them on Pinterest and they were too darling to pass up. Go here for a tutorial on those. Her execution is much better than mine. 

Things I learned today:
  • Measure your refrigerator before you go making a giant makeshift cake tray out of cardboard and aluminum foil.
  • Not all decorating tip kits come with a grass tip. No grass for this Easter bunny :( 

Happy Easter!