Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! (Updated)

If you know me, you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I look forward to it all year. I always come up with more desert ideas for Halloween than anyone can possibly have time for and find all kinds of decorations that I don't have room for. You know how a lot of people set up elaborate Christmas villages in their homes? I have a Halloween village and it is awesome! I've been known to plan Halloween costumes over a year in advance.

This year has been a little different. I've been doing this crazy thing called working, and a lot of it. So while I've put in my time planning and online shopping for Halloween, there hasn't been a lot of time to actually DO Halloween. We do have our costumes ready to go and I can't wait to see how we all look. I'll update with pictures after trick-or-treating. And I managed to make these delicious caramel apple cupcakes with a little help from Miss Jaci.

She was a big help with the leaf sprinkles and putting the bats, pumpkins, and ghosts on just right. Each one that we decorates she assigned to a specific person. The one she is holding was the one she decorated just for her! I think she did a great job.

You must try these if you like apple, caramel, apple butter, or just cupcakes in general. They are delicious and pretty simple. You need the thick caramel dip for these and a jar of apple butter. I also used apple cider. I mixed up a cake mix with eggs, a little caramel, some apple butter, and some apple cider. I made the filling by combining caramel and apple butter. The frosting is a cream cheese buttercream with caramel and apple butter added. This is more of a spreadable frosting than a pipeable one. I made the trees by piping chocolate candy melts out into the shape of a tree. All the other decorations are store bought.

I hope you decide to give these a try. As always if you have any suggestions or recommendations please let me know.
-Happy Baking!

Here is our collage from our Halloween trick-or-treating. Aren't we such a cute Stone Age family? My little brother also joined us as a zombie cowboy :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Luke!

So there's this super cute little blue eyed boy I know who just turned 1. We've been friends with his parents for quite awhile and often spend our "date nights" at their house shooting nerf guns with big sister. His mommy had it all planned  for a paw patrol party and asked me for help on the cupcakes. Well, she had a great idea on those and didn't need my help at all!

Final product!
The smash cake on the other hand...I'm at work at the hospital the day before the party when I get a text saying she needed my help. Then I get a message with a video of the cake in the oven. It looks like it's about to explode out of the pan and is quite jiggly. I tell her to go ahead and keep baking it to try to firm it up. It works. Mission accomplished, right?

Not quite. I go over there when I get off work and the cake is still in the pan and no cupcakes have been frosted. We discuss the best way to get these cupcakes frosted nicely without my cupcake gun. There was a little misunderstanding and it didn't make it to their house. Based on how she had decided to decorate the cupcakes we went with the ziplock bag with a corner cut off. She did great with decorating them very neatly. Big sister helped too! We set those aside and take look at the cake.
See the little pawprint?
It's a pan with slightly sloped sides. The original plan was just to frost in in blue. Considering the sloped sides and super puffy top I suggested making it into a big cupcake. Then *lightbulb* lets do a dog bowl!! It is a paw patrol party after all the cake is the perfect shape. We were extra careful trying to get it out of the pan in one piece but there was still a little breakage.  I was able to fix it for the most part. I cut out a little bit of the center to make the bowl. Now for the hard part- the frosting. I can't frost cakes. That is why I always do cupcakes. No crumb coat to worry with. No dragging a spatula across to smooth the sides. I surprised myself with this one. It wasn't easy but I managed to get the sides and the lip of the bowl decently smooth.

It's at this point that I decide if this thing is going to look right I really need some tools from my house. So we head to my house to pick up my fondant tools, some fondant, and the cupcake gun for good measure. We run by Walmart to grab some food coloring and frosting and on the cake aisle we see the cutest little cookie cutters. There is a dog bone shape and a couple other shapes that would be perfect for this party. I joked "Don't you want to make some cookies too?"

We make it back to their house and I roll out my fondant to make the little nameplate for the bowl. Notice how it's a bone shape. Notice how I freehanded it? Yeah I really regretted not thinking quickly enough to grab those cookie cutters :( It honestly wasn't bad though. I got the bone cut out (there may or may not have been some off color jokes made by the guys during this process) then colored some more fondant to spell out LUKE. At this point I had some black fondant left so I decided to make paw prints to add to the bowl. While those were drying a bit I used the cupcake gun just to pipe a border along the bottom of the cake.

Mommy and sister helped him out a little
Then I used a little of the extra frosting to stick the fondant pieces to the sides. The name plate was a little heavy so I propped it up with toothpicks. We filled the bowl with cocoa pebbles and we have a dog bowl!
He had to test it with his toes first
-Happy birthday Luke, and happy baking!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Future is Bright

So it has definitely been a little while since I posted. Yes, I'm busy blah blah blah, but if you're still reading this you deserve a little honesty. I got to the point that I was baking with the sole purpose of making a post. I HAD to bake cupcakes. I NEEDED to get the pictures right. It was ESSENTIAL to write down my measurements. I was seriously treating this like a job I no longer enjoyed. And let's be clear, I don't make any money from this. I don't have sponsors or paid posts. This isn't my first, second, or really even third job! Not only was it no longer fun, but  I also noticed my cupcakes often just didn't turn out right. There is definitely something to be said for not measuring!

Although these measuring cups do
make measuring a little more fun!
So with that said, I decided to take the blog in a slightly different direction. I'll focus more on the pictures and descriptions of the cupcakes, along with a little background rather than the recipe. Honestly I use box mixes anyways so there isn't that much to tell you. Just remember I always use milk! And I'll be sure to tell you what I add to the box.

Now for this to work I need a little help from you guys! Share my posts, comment on them, make recommendations, give me flavor challenges. I want to make this a conversation between me & the readers. It will make it a lot more fun for both of us! And to sweeten the deal if you make a recommendation that I end up using, I'll do my best to make sure you get a cupcake, assuming of course that you live reasonably close (sorry long distance friends!)

For this post I'll go ahead and just include a couple of my recent cupcakes. Not much to them really but I feel like I have to share some kind of cupcake with you.

First up, mini rum cakes. Butter yellow cake mix, chopped nuts, and plenty of rum. My rum cake is always a pretty big hit so I decided to go for the cupcake version using a mini bundt pan. Wilton Cake Release was a must for these. It made clean-up so much easier.

Not the best picture but it is the only one I managed to take. Here we have a red velvet cake with white chocolate filling and cream cheese buttercream. The white chocolate filling is actually just Hershey Hugs stuck into the warm cupcake. This cream cheese frosting was amazing. I used 2 packages of cream cheese to one stick of butter. It held up very well for piping and it tasted great. Everybody at work wanted the recipe.

Last up we have a lemon poppy seed cupcake. I added fresh lemon juice to a yellow cake mix for this one. I used my small cupcake corer to make the hole for the filling. I added powdered sugar to the poppy seed filling to sweeten and thicken it a bit before filling the cupcakes. The frosting is a lemon buttercream topped with poppy seeds.

That's it for this time. I can't wait to hear what you guys have to say about my new focus! As always,
-Happy baking!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day! I don't love the concept Valentine's day, nor do I hate it. It is no worse than any other holiday as far as being over-commercialized or even the fact that not everyone has someone to celebrate with. February 14th is special to me however, because it is mine and K.C.'s anniversary. Today is 7 years since our very first date!
He tends to be pretty indifferent when it comes to desserts. This guy is lacking a sweet tooth! I decided to go with chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes. Not because either of us particularly like chocolate covered strawberries, but because I thought they would make a pretty cupcake.
These are pretty labor intensive, but totally worth it if you even remotely like strawberries and chocolate.

For the cake:
White cake mix
Bake according to box directions, sub milk for water.

For the filling:
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
approximately 1 cup heavy cream
Strawberries- cored

Technically you should use heavy cream for this. However, I had already been to the grocery store twice when I realized my cream was not good. I wasn't going back! So I used about 1 cup milk with 2 tbsp butter. Heat the cream (or milk + butter) in a saucepan until it begins to boil. Pour a small amount over the chocolate chips. Let it set for a minute to begin melting the chocolate then stir. If needed, add more of the hot cream to get a smooth pourable consistency. You don't want this too thin though!

Use a cupcake corer to core each cupcake. The larger size is perfect for this. Spoon a bit of the chocolate ganache into each cupcake. Fit a cored strawberry into each hole. I chose to dip the strawberries in the ganache before putting them in the cupcake. You can never have too much chocolate!

For the frosting:
8 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1 stick butter
frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
powdered sugar

Mix the cheese and butter. Add in a few spoonfuls of strawberry syrup with some strawberry matter. Add powdered sugar. This is a really subjective recipe. Use less strawberry for a thicker frosting or more for a stronger flavor. Pipe the frosting on however you would like. Remember, this is like a cream cheese frosting so it doesn't hold shape real well.

For the topping:
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
cooking oil

Begin melting the chocolate and add a bit of oil. Stir until completely smooth. Spoon slowly over the frosting. This will create a shell very similar to the chocolate shell for ice cream. Before the chocolate hardens add whatever decorations you choose. I just loved the colors of these candy pearls and sixlets.

I hope you'll give these a try! They are definitely worth it.

-Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Valentine Lollipop

I found blingy lollipop sticks at Hobby Lobby when I was shopping for Valentine themed cupcake supplies. I just had to use them with the lips and mustache candy molds! I love this look for a quick and easy Valentine.

Okay so it isn't a cupcake, but those are coming. These are also much easier than cupcakes and easier than most of the cupcake toppers I make with the candy molds. There is no painting of fine details like with some.  

What you need:
Blingy sticks (or regular lollipop sticks)
Candy molds
Candy melts

Melt your colored candy melts. I always use the microwave but there are purists who will only use a double boiler. I pour some in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute, then heat for 30 second intervals stirring each time until the chocolate is smooth. Be careful not to overheat. 

For the lips I bought red candy melts. This red is fairly dark, but it is red velvet flavor! How awesome is that? I spooned small amounts into the cavity to fully cover the surface. Place the mold in the freezer for a short time to quickly set the candy. Place the stick into the mold then fill fully with milk chocolate and refrigerate to set. Flip the mold over and gently tap the back to release the chocolate. I followed the same steps for the mustaches using black candy melts and filling with milk chocolate.

Technically you could fill the entire cavity with the color of your choice but the milk chocolate generally tastes much better than the colored melts. That may not be the case with the red velvet, but I try for some consistency in my life :)

Since I won't be able to take Valentine cupcakes for the wonderful people on this rotation I brought these chocolate lollipops to them instead. I think they were a hit. Here are two of the awesome doctors posing with their mustaches!

Happy Valentine's and as always,
-Happy baking!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I randomly found snickerdoodle milk in the grocery store and I just knew there was a cupcake to be made there. I picked it up and promptly forgot about it. I just noticed that it was reaching the end of its shelf-life so I used it to bake up a batch of cupcakes real quick. Then the frosting and the cookies, not so quick ;) Plus K.C. got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas so a batch of cupcakes + frosting + cookies was the perfect opportunity to break it in! Yes that means I've been burning up hand mixers making my cupcakes all this time :)

For the cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup Snickerdoodle milk (or regular milk and add cinnamon)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Mix it up and bake the cupcakes at 330.

Here is the milk I found.

For the frosting:
I used this recipe.

I was afraid it would be grainy (because of the granulated sugar), but once I got it mixed up real good it was fine. And it tastes pretty good too. A lot lighter than buttercream.

For the cookies:
I used this one.

No, mine are not super light and fluffy like they are supposed to be, but they still taste great. I'm sure it's because I used the wrong flour. I had self-rising so I left out the baking soda. Guess it doesn't work quite like that. But would you look at that tiny little cookie on top of the cupcake??

I've probably said this before, but I think this is my favorite cupcake ever. The flavors work really well together! In fact this cupcake was so good that halfway through it I thought "I need to put this on the blog NOW. People need these in their lives." And so I did, before I even cleaned up the mixing bowls.

-Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Eggnog Cupcakes

It's starting to feel a bit Christmas-y around here. We've got our trees up, the Christmas playlist is back on my ipod, and of course the stores have been acting like it's Christmas since June. But mostly it's just that I've finally started buying Christmas presents and baking Christmas-y cupcakes.

So we've got eggnog cupcakes with eggnog cream cheese frosting. I got rave reviews from everyone who tried these, and I also thought they were pretty yummy.

For the cake:
1 box white cake mix
1 1/4 cups eggnog
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Mix it all up and bake it. I may be late to the game on this but I've noticed they turn out a lot better if I bake them at like 325 or 330. Still don't keep track of time though :)

For the frosting:
1 stick butter
1/2 block cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup eggnog
powdered sugar

First blend the butter and cream cheese and then add the eggnog. Start adding powdered sugar until you get a good consistency. I wasn't doing anything too fancy with the decorations on these so I left it pretty soft. Frost all the cupcakes and then use the green decorating icing pipe on leaf like shapes and top with a couple red cinnamon candy "decors."

And if I haven't mentioned it before, I'm always open to suggestions. I like a challenge so if you have an idea, please let me know!!!

-Happy Baking!