Thursday, June 30, 2011

Put a Bird on It

My friend Carrie came up this week from Flagstaff for a visit and since last week was her birthday, we had a little party.  I love to celebrate birthdays.  It is the only holiday that is just about one person and I just think that is special.  (I especially like MY birthday.)  It is such a good time to do something nice and make other feel good.

So for this birthday, I made a bird cake.  I'm liking birds these days, probably because they remind me of the peaceful outdoors.  The filling in this cake is a cream cheese frosting with fresh strawberries.  One cool thing about this cake is that I got to use my tylose powder for the first time.  I got it at a cake shop in Phoenix and it basically turns fondant into gum paste.  I just added a little to the blue fondant and kneaded it up.  It made the birds a lot easier to cut out and it made them stiffen up faster so they could stand up.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cupcake Week: Cookie Dough Cupcakes

This little cake is the crowning glory of CUPCAKE WEEK.  I was going to do 7 days of cupcakes, but I think I'm going to settle for 5 and believe me, I saved the best for last.  This is a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake.  There are a lot of wonderful "C" words in that title don't you think???

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

3 sticks butter, at room temperature (I used margarine because I'm poor)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 and line cupcake tins.  My recipe made about 30 cupcakes. 

Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Cream together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approx 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Mix milk and vanilla together.  

Alternating add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl with the milk/vanilla on low speed, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  I know this sounds annoying and hard, but I'm too scared to not do it and it always turns out great.


Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop into cupcake tins.  Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare your cookie dough filling.

4 T butter
6 T brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 T flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

FACT: sweetened condensed milk is the BOMB!!!!
Cream butter and brown sugar for about 2 minutes.  Add the flour and sweetened condensed milk.  Add the vanilla and fold in chocolate chips last.  This needs to sit for a while to set up.  It looks like this and gets pretty thick and a lot like cookie dough!

To put this in the cupcakes, I cut a little cone out of the top with a knife, put a little ball of dough in, smooshed it down, and put the cone lid thing back on.

3 sticks butter (I used margarine again, poverty...)
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. milk
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

I know it sounds weird to put flour and salt in frosting, but go with me here.

Pipe that stuff on, garnish with some chocolate chips and get ready to be happy!  These cupcakes weigh a ton, which means they are full of goodness.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cupcake Week: Caramel Apple Cupcakes

This is DAY 4 of cupcake week and I'd have to say that this is my favorite so far.  I love apples and especially apple cake.  It reminds me of my papa (please say this with a West Virginian accent) and listening to his very NOT politically correct stories about growing up in the Appalachian mountains.  These would be perfect for fall time, but they taste just fine in June too!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons pure vanilla
4 apples, peeled and shredded

1 1/2 cups caramel candies (about 25)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 F and line cupcake pan with paper liners. Peel, and shred your apples.  I quartered and peeled the apples and shredded them with a cheese grater.  I think my next kitchen investment will be a real food processor.  

Mix the batter by blending the brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs in the mixer.  Add the oil and vanilla and mix.  Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and flour.  Mix this up and don't worry.  It looks nothing like cake batter, but tastes amazing so feel free try it once or twice.

Add in the apples and just mix in with a spoon.  This will add in more moisture and make it look like real cake batter.  I advise taking a taste at this point too.  Scoop this in the cupcake tins and bake for about 15 - 17 minutes.  The blog I got this from said to bake for 25 minutes, but they were awesome at 15 so I think that is dumb.

I LOVE the look and texture of these cupcakes.  There is more to this recipe, but if you want to stop now feel free.  They are so tasty by themselves.  You could also make these "healthy" by substituting apple sauce for the oil and maybe some honey for the sugar.  I've never done the honey thing, but I think it works and these would probably still taste just as good or better.

Melt the caramel and cream together on the stove.  Just be patient and keep stirring.   

You have to let this cool down before you spread it on the cupcakes.  Be patient.  I went to the store to buy eggs and then waited ten minutes before I spread them.  This will ensure the caramel does not just drip off.  Use a spoon and spread it on the cupcakes.  I used 26 caramels and covered about 24 of the 30 cupcakes.  Now... get ready to live.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cupcake Week: Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes

SODA cupcake day #2!
Dr. Pepper is by FAR my favorite soda (the only other thing I enjoy drinking is Ocean Water from Sonic) so I had to make a Dr. Pepper cupcake.  This cupcake is good, but really only has a hint of Dr. Pepper flavor.  I'm not sure how to make it taste exactly like DP, but I will be working on it.  The good news is, these cupcakes as "healthy" as far as cupcakes go.  Instead of using oil and eggs, you just use the soda, so there is not as many calories and fat.  These are not things I often care about then eating or making cupcakes, but if you do, there it is.  These have about 80 calories per cupcake (without the frosting), as opposed to 115 per cupcake.

Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes


1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can (1 1/2 cups) cherry Dr. Pepper
Cherry Dr. Pepper for brushing on tops 


3 sticks unsalted butter
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
between 1/4 & 1/2 cup Dr Pepper
Maraschino cherries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 and put 24 cupcake liners in 2 cupcake pans.

Mix cake mix and soda on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 2 minutes.  Scoop immediately into the cupcake pans, or you will loose the fizz, and that is never good.

Bake for 15 minutes, NO MORE.  When they come out of the oven, poke with a toothpick and brush or spoon some Dr. Pepper on top.  Let them cool completely.  I took some great pictures of these steps in my Mt. Dew cupcakes for yesterday.  

For the frosting, cream the butter and vanilla.  Alternately add the powdered sugar and Dr. Pepper.  Work with it until you get a good consistency that you will be able to pipe onto cupcakes.  I used a large star tip (1M) and my awesome new 18" frosting bag.  Pipe the frosting on!

Cut about 12 cherries in half and soak in the fridge overnight in Dr. Pepper.  I baked my cupcakes last night and put the cherries on this morning before I brought them to school.  Dry the cherries off on some paper towels before pressing them into the frosting.  Once again, I wish these tasted more like DP, but they were still yummy!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cupcake Week: Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Today is DAY 2 of cupcake week and I decided to make some Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes.  It seems like I always make chocolate based cupcakes and it is hard for me to find things for those who don't like chocolate, so here is one of my tries.  

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1 stick of butter, melted

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tins with liners.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, water and butter and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for one minute.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Fill muffin tins about 1/4 of the way full.  I used my small scoop (for cookies) and did a little less than a scoop in each cup.  

Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon/brown sugar mixture over batter and cover with another spoonful of cake batter.  Cups should be about 2/3 full.

I only used about 1/2 of the small scoop for the batter on top.  I also read JUST NOW, that I was supposed to save some of the sugar mixture to put on top, but I didn't do that and it was still awesome.

Using a sharp knife, swirl the cinnamon sugar through the batter.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a cooling rack.

8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 - 5 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-low speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Pipe or frost on cupcakes and place in the refrigerator until ready to glaze
.  I piped some and frosted some with a knife, just to see the difference.  On the piped ones, I had to flatten out the peak at the end, but I still liked them better.

1/2 stick (4 TBS) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with brown sugar and cinnamon until combined and pourable but not boiling. I would let this cool down quite a bit if you want it thicker on the cupcakes.  Spoon over frosted and put back in refrigerator until set.  They will drip, but don’t worry too much.  They still taste amazing!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cupcake Week: Mt. Dew Cupcakes

This weekend I am taking a 3 day class.  It's from 8 - 5 and just hard to sit here and absorb that much so to make it a little more fun, I have also declared it CUPCAKE WEEK!!!!  It's a very big deal.  I will be trying 7 new cupcake recipes and bringing them to my class to make life a little better.

Today is SODA cupcake day #1.  We all love our caffeine so why not put it in cake?  After a little research, I came up with some ideas for Mt. Dew cupcakes and cherry Dr. Pepper cupcakes!

Mr. Dew Cupcakes


Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
12 oz Mountain Dew
1/4 - 1/2 cup Mountain Dew for brushing on tops 

2 sticks butter, softened
2/3 cup Mountain Dew
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
7 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin cups with liners.

Combine cake mix and Mountain Dew in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Put directly in pans.  The soda will make the batter foam up and if you lose all that, it will make the cake flatter.  Fill cups 2/3 full and bake about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.   

Remove pans from oven and poke holes in warm cupcakes with toothpicks. Brush lightly with Mountain Dew. Turns out I don't have a brush, so I used a tiny spoon.  Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on rack.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, the combine softened butter, Mountain Dew, and extracts.  (I just used about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and the vanilla.)  Beat on medium low speed until well blended. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium high and beat for about 2 minutes. If frosting is not thick enough, add powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.  I ended up using a 2 pound bag, which is 8 cups.

Using gel food coloring, color half the frosting yellow and half green. Place in a piping bag side by side and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  I should have taken picts of putting the frosting in, but just split it as best you can and squeeze until both colors come out.  Top with yellow sprinkles.

think these look adorable.  It doesn't really taste like you are eating Mt. Dew or anything, but it was very moist so that's good right???