Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Turtle Cupcake

My newest creation: dark chocolate cupcake with brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, topped with homemade caramel sauce, candied pecans and chocolate chunks.....VERY YUMMY....will definitely stay on my menu!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Strawberry Mojito Buttercream to the Max...

I know that I have posted a recipe for straw mojito buttercream, but this is revised, this is better. Of course it's more complicated, because that seems to be the way I roll....but no matter, it's worth the extra effort.

The reason I've been playing around with this recipe is that I wanted to be able to infuse more strawberry puree into the buttercream. A single recipe of American buttercream won't hold more than 3/4 cup of the puree without deflating, or curdling. Also, I couldn't get more than that into Swiss meringue buttercream....BUT....if you make a half recipe of both, and then combine them in the can put an entire batch of strawberry puree into the mix and still have a good thick buttercream that won't deflate....
So here's what I did....
Macerated Strawberry Mojito mix
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and coarsely chopped
pinch salt
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 lime zest
1/2 lemon zest
1/4 lime juice
1/4 lemon juice
1 Tbsp rum
Mix and let sit for at least an hour in the fridge. puree when ready to use (I like to keep some chunks in there).

American Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter softened
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
pinch flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup strawberry puree
Cream sugar, add powdered sugar, salt and flour and beat until incorporated, slowly add it...don't add too can add more later....beat until incorporated.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into Tbsp chunks
In heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water, whisk egg whites, sugar and CofT until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl (OR, you can heat your egg mixture in the same bowl, just wiping the bottom of the bowl off after heating).

With whisk attachment, beat mixture on high speed for approx 8-10 minutes, until mixture has soft peaks and is cool (I know it's ready when I take the whisk off and the meringue on the beater when I remove it looks like and eagles beak). Put on blade attachment and on med speed slowly add butter. when all the butter is in, turn mixer up to med high and beat until you start hearing a change in the consistency (like a slap slap on the side of the bowl). now on low speed add approx 1 cup of the puree (OH....MAKE SURE THIS PUREE IS AT ROOM TEMP, OR YOU'LL HAVE A CURDLED MESS ON YOUR HANDS) turn up mix and beat until incorporated.

NOW.....mix the two buttercreams together, beat until incorporated, then add the rest of your puree (if you want to)....enjoy!

note...I made this the night before I needed it, when I wanted to use it the next day, I put it in the KA, and it looked curdled....I beat it with the whisk attachment on high for a few minutes...and presto, it was beautiful again.

Hannah Montana and reindeers...

Cupcakes for and stars I made out of a mix of candy clay and fondant. The reindeer were a last minute order....made also out of a mix of candy clay and fondant.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Congratulations Lindsay!

Lindsay graduated from nursing school, she want a dozen cupcakes decorated for her nursing graduation, and the other 2 dz for her birthday this weekend.

I made Brown Sugar Praline with brown sugar cream cheese frosting, red velvet with white chocolate cream cheese frosting and mojito with strawberry mojito buttercream...mmmmm.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Daniel!

My baby turned 5...this is his cake.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Again with the Red Velvet?

yes, again. The Martha Stewart cupcakes got real greasy after the first, onward I go to find something better. In between that post and this post I had made 4 other red velvet recipes, and was not really happy with any of them.
But on the following day (so 24 hours after making it) I ate one at was so good. wierd I thought, that it would taste better than the day before....but it did...and not only did it taste good, but I wanted another one. Mind you, I make so many cupcakes, that I don't ever really feel that way. Soooooo.....
Yesterday I made another 2 batches. The one that was good on day 2, was a recipe I had found on the American Profile magazine site...It is dense, moist, tight crumb...more of a "not southern" red velvet...but, um, I'm not southern...and I loved it.
The other that I made was from The Pink Cake Box blog site, she has a recipe for a red velvet, that is real similar to Martha's, but she uses whole milk and curdles it with more vinegar, and adds more cocoa.
Results: I was pleased with both. The Pink Cake Box recipe, is more of a traditional red velvet, and is holding up quite well...not too greasy. (I did omit some oil tho), and of course I really like the more non traditional red velvet American Profile cuppie....even on day 1.
The cuppies on the left, the redder ones are the American Profile, and of course on the right is the Pink Cake Box.
AMERICAN PROFILE, Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
(adapted from Rebecca Rather, the Pastry Queen)
1/4 cup red food coloring
3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1
teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
I also folded in about 1/2 of chopped dark chocolate chips at the end
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin cups with butter or cooking spray and lightly flour, knocking out excess, or line with paper baking cups.
2. To prepare cupcakes, stir food coloring and cocoa powder together to make a paste.
3. Combine butter and sugar and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in cocoa paste. Reduce speed to medium and beat batter 4 minutes.
4. Sift together flours, salt and baking soda. Stir vanilla into buttermilk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on medium speed just until combined. Beat in sour cream and vinegar until combined.
5. Fill muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake jumbo cupcakes 25 to 35 minutes or regular-size cupcakes 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans 5 minutes. Unmold onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Pink Cake Box Red Velvet Cupcakes
Ingredients & Supplies Needed:Muffin Tins and Cupcake Papers
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I only used 1 1/4 cup)
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons liquid red food coloring (Add more for desired darkness)
2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
again, I added 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate chips at end
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. .
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, mix milk and vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes – curdling will occur. Then add the oil, eggs, food coloring and vanilla to the milk mixture, whisking until mixed.
Using a stand mixer, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with the paddle until just combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly into the tins – about 3/4 full. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Friday, December 11, 2009

Purse cake

My first, looks more like a lunch box....But I have to say, I'm pleased with this cake. I used Fondariffic fondant, and it rolled and worked beautifully.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Worst cake day of my life...

Well, I wrote the other two posts prior to attempting this cake. I was already fustrated and tired from all the things that had gone wrong on the other two....But this, this, thing....this cake just put me right over the edge.

I think my problem started when I tried to frost a verrrryyyy cold cake with Swiss meringue wait, my problem started when I tried to add very cold strawberries to the icing....then tried to spread that on the cold cake.....well, instead of smooth and shiny, you get chunky and stucco looking....I can only hope the cake layers don't try and slide off the filling.

I put cake in the car in the garage to take to work in the morning. It's in the single digits outside.....Oooohhhh, now that should help. not.



My second of 3 cakes this weekend, this one is for a coworkers daughter. I made a small cake and cupcakes to match.

Cookie Monster!

My, oh my, did I have problems with this guy. I made his head, shoulders and hands out of peanut butter rice krispy treats, and covered it with milk chocolate ganache. The cake is a 3 layer chocolate cake with a peanut butter filling I found on Smitten Kitchen (oh yeah, you know it's good if it's from her), then frosted it in a milk chocolate ganache buttercream ----then covered the whole thing with homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Problem 1: I made him the day before, which made my frosting dry as a bone, so every time I moved him, some bit of frosting would fall off.

Problem 2: For whatever reason, my chocolate buttercream deflated. It usually crusts, but not this time, soft, and I had difficulties attaching the cookies to it (tasted good tho)

Problem 3: I didn't put dowels in, thought candy sticks would suffice, ended up fretting over that decision to the point of a stomach ache (next time, put the damn dowels in Sandi)

Problem 4: Put his arm on, arm fell off taking big piece of side of cake....which is ....
Problem 5: The cake was wayyyyyyy to soft for this endeavor.

Anyways, here are the before and after his arm fell off pics...(BTW, lots more problems, just don't want to bore you)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cute Pic

My baby looking all angelic. My how looks are deceiving.....

Holiday Cupcakes

What I did today....
Top picture from upper left to right:
- dark chocolate mocha cake with mocha frosting and Green and Black's Expresso Chocolate shavings,
-gingerbread with fresh pear and crystallized ginger topped with a limoncello cream cheese buttercream and homemade gingerbread man,
-red velvet with peppermint white chocolate cream cheese frosting and chopped peppermint bark, and finally
-dark chocolate cake with nutella filling, dipped in ganache and topped with a Frangelico Swiss Meringue buttercream, hazelnut/chocolate shavings and a hazelnut/chocolate cookie.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Velvet

I'm making some special holiday cupcakes for of them being a Red Velvet with peppermint white chocolate cream cheese frosting. This is one of my holiday staples, however my usual red velvet is a jazzed up box mix, so this year I wanted to produce a from scratch cupcake that's as good as the mix.
I looked on the Cake Central Forum and saw a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum that members were swearing by - so decided to give it a try. It's an unusual red velvet recipe, as it doesn't have soda and vinegar like most recipes do. I didn't use all of the recommended red food coloring, which apparently I didn't need. Verdict on this cake -- like all of the other Beranbaum recipes I've tried, it's gotta great soft, delicate crumb, nice subtle flavor....but too dry for me. I don't know, some people may love it....but if I'm gonna eat cake, I want it to be moist and flavorful and vibrant. This was not it.

So in a panic, I tried another recipe. It was a toss between Cake Man Raven's recipe, or Martha Stewart's recipe (which also is very similar to Paula Deen's recipe)... Ultimately I decided to do Martha's which is all oil and contains soda and vinegar. Verdict - WOWSA!!!! yummy. yummy all on it's own without frosting. Moist, zingy, flavorful. Yeah. don't need a cake mix anymore. The only thing is that it's not as red. But I used gelpaste (1/4 tsp for half recipe, versus 1 1/2 Tbsp of the McCormick red food coloring in the other recipe) - but whatever, I'm sure I can add the other red food coloring if I have to have it that red.

Martha's cupcake is on the left, Rose's is on the right. I'll post recipes later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thomas The Tank.

Whew...last cake of the weekend. Hope it travels well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Barbie and Flowers...

Working on 3 cakes this weekend...Here are two of them. They are both vanilla with strawberry filling. The Barbie cake is covered in strawberry flavored "Fondariffic" fondant, and the flower cake is buttercream with homemade marshmallow fondant and candy clay decorations.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Cake Slice Bakers Present....Burnt Sugar Cake.

OH, how I love the Cake Slice Bakers...I love making things that I would normally never try....The cake this month was a Burnt Sugar cake. Cooking sugar on my ceramic top makes me nervous, as I've already cracked it once...but I braved it, and I was glad I did. The cake had a very subtle caramel flavor. It has alot of future in my repertoire....I did ditch the frosting....didn't even sound appealing to me, instead I used the burnt sugar syrup and made Swiss Meringue Buttercream (idea from How to eat a cupcake, see link on the side) and that also will be used again.
I do recommend cooking at 325 degrees instead, or cooking with a pan of water in the oven....I think that would help keep these cakes moister. Cooked as below, they were right on the border of being dry.....

Burnt Sugar Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1¾ cups sugar
4 eggs
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (below)

For the Burnt Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

For the Burnt Sugar Frosting
3¾ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (above)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 – 3 tbsp evaporated milk or normal milk

Method – Burnt Sugar Syrup
Heat the sugar in a cast iron skillet or another heavy bottomed pan with high sides. Heat over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into a clear brown caramel syrup. It should be the colour of tea. Gradually add the boiling water, pouring it down the sides of the pan so that if the syrup foams and bubbles up, you should be protected.

Continue cooking, stirring often, until the water combines with the syrup and turns a handsome brown syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Store the cooled syrup in a sealed jar if not using straight away.

Method - Cake
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes, until they are well combined. Stop now and then to scrape the bowl down. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well each time. Pour in half a cup of the burnt sugar syrup and beat well. Add a third of the flour mixture and about half of the milk, beating at a low speed, until just incorporated. Mix in another third of the flour and the rest of the milk. Finally, add the remaining flour.

Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched gently in the centre and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for15 minutes. Turn out the cakes into the wire rack to cool completely.

Method – Burnt Sugar Frosting
In a large bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, the burnt sugar syrup, butter and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then to bring the ingredients together. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk and continue beating until the frosting is thick, soft, smooth and easy to spread. Add a little more sugar if it is thin, and a little more milk if it is too thick.

To Assemble
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving plate. Scoop about ¾ cup of the frosting onto the cake. Spread to the edges and place the second cake layer over it, top side down. Frost the sides of the cake, and then the top until it is evenly covered.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

10 dozen cupcakes and a cake....

It's 10:30 am. I'm done. started yesterday with frosting, and this morning starting baking at 4:45 am. have to deliver the cupcakes by 2 pm and the cake by 5 pm....Then I get to stay up all night and work a 12 hour Saturday night in the county Emergency Department....oh, sorry, venting....

All that to say it's been a busy week, will be a busy weekend, and next week is looking 'bout the same....and except for the overnight shifts at work, I'm loving every minute of it.

The cupcakes I made today are for a birthday/housewarming for the local "brown bag" lady (if you don't know what that is, I'm NOT explaining it)...they are Mai Tai, Mudslide, Monkey LaLa and strawberry Mojito.

The cake is for a coworkers daughter who is having a birthday sleepover. I'm not excited about my frost job....I'm going to need to learn to do better. It's a vanilla confetti cake with vanilla buttercream and the decorations are homemade marshmallow fondant.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mai Tai, Monkey LaLa and Mudslides...

I've been experimenting with Mai Tai's...been through 3 different trials, and I think I like these....They are "rum runner" cupcakes from Warren Brown, topped with a 50-50 mix of Swiss Meringue and American Buttercream thats flavored with an actual Mai Tai drink, topped with a drizzle of grenadine.

The mudslides are a chocolate, coffee, Kahlua and "Green and Blacks" expresso chocolate chunk cupcake, dipped in a Kahlua/Baileys ganache and frosted with a chocolate Bailey's buttercream....OMG, died and gone to chocolate heaven.
The monkey La La's are my usual...some I dipped in the above ganache, some left plain.

If your interested in any recipes, let me know, and I'll post it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cupcake Hero, Peanut Butter

The theme of this months Cupcake Hero is Peanut Butter. I, being of dysfunctional mind and body, don't think things like peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and banana, peanut butter cookie....NO, I think Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.....

Soooo, I decided to do my Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ganache on top of some chocolate cupcakes, of course I had to mix in some PB cups in the batter and sprinkle them on top too....actually put some snack size ones on the bottom of a few too, as you can see from the pic, tho I don't recommend that.....doesn't cook up nice...

I asked my you think it's too much PB cup, to which they replied (in unison, I kid you not)..."There's no such thing as too much Reese's PB cup". sigh. I love those kids.

I used my go to chocolate cupcake recipe, listed numerous times throughout this blog, with about 10 chopped up mini PB cups folded in at the end.

I've posted this recipe before too, but here it is again...

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Ganache Buttercream
24 oz chopped up mini PB cups
1 1/2 cups cream
2 sticks room temp unsalted butter
1 - 2 cups powdered sugar sifted.

Night before, or earlier in day, put chopped up candy in heatproof bowl. Heat cream to simmer, pour over candy. let sit for a few minutes, then stir until chocolate is incoroporated. You will have peanut butter lumps...that is a desirable trait! Put in fridge and let firm up (it won't get as thick as regular ganache)
Cream butter and 2 cups ganache in mixer until well blended, add 1 cup of sugar and blend well. If frosting is too soft, add some more sugar...remember it's sweet tho. careful not to overbeat or it will get grainy...but hey, it still tastes good tho.
This frosting is soft and silky....
If you don't want to add the butter and sugar, you can actually just whip up the ganache really careful not to overbeat! This stuff is good too...a bit grainier than the buttercream version, but delicious...I use this alot for fillings inside of cakes.
Check out Cupcake hero here.