Saturday, November 05, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

For my husband's bowling league, I was asked to make Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcakes. I have made these once before, however my husband asked that I don't do the glaze, but instead frost it with frosting. I decided to do a peanut butter and jelly swirl frosting. I was picturing the frosting being brighter and more vibrant, but I think they look great! My husband asks that next time I add more peanut butter to the batter, as he could barely taste it. Instead of adding the jelly to the unbaked batter, I cooked the peanut butter batter by itself. Then I cored the cupcakes and stuffed the hole with jelly, using 1/2-3/4 C strawberry jelly overall. I put the jelly in a pastry bag and squeezed the jelly into the holes. It was a lot less messy that way! Then I topped the cupcakes with the frosting. The original cupcake recipe can be found here. The two different frostings were easy, based off my original frosting recipe. Some of the guys at the bowling alley changed their favorite cupcake from Pumpkin Ginger to this one! I was very surprised!!

This is the cute box!
I met some new people over the weekend at a Halloween party. One of whom, Hilary, was so intrigued by my cupcakes that she said she would stop by the bowling alley on Thursday to try some of my cupcakes and get some business cards. Silly me, at the Halloween party, I didn't have any business cards! I packaged up some cupcakes in a cute box for Hilary and topped it with some business cards. At the party, she had said she knows people who would probably order from me!

Here you can see the jelly filled center.
These are the cored, unfilled cupcakes!
These are the cores from the Peanut Butter Cupcakes!
These are the cored and jelly filled cupcakes!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Black Russian Cupcakes with Kahlua Frosting

One of the bowlers from a different team in my husband's league asked if I could make a dozen cupcakes for his birthday. He said he would pay for them, of course. I asked what he would like, and he said to surprise him. He had given me a short list of some of his favorite flavors a week prior, so I set to work and find a recipe that would work with what he likes. I found a Black Russian cupcake recipe here, and changed just a few things. The recipe was rather easy, and depending on how it tastes, may become a fan favorite. Since this recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes, I cut everything in half. When I have an order from customers, I buy a cake box to put them in so that the customer can take the cupcakes home. I decided to get creative and cut four little slits in the top of the box to hold my business card! I think it looks great, and a great way of branding my cupcakes!

* I do not own a coffee pot or coffee grounds, so I use instant coffee for my baking recipes. For the frosting, I do not use 3 tbsp coffee, but instead mixed the Kahlua with 1 1/2-2 tsp instant coffee and disolve as much of the instant coffee as you can. This method will get the coffee flavor without making the frosting too liquid.

Deep Chocolate Cupcakes - Shipped!

I had a lot of Raspberry Frosting left over, so I decided to try to ship cupcakes to my family back in California. I made a dozen Deep Chocolate Cupcakes without wrappers. When the cupcakes were cooled, I cut them in half horizontally and layered the cupcake halves and frosting in a tall Mason Jar. I looked up shipping costs and UPS, FedEx, and DHL were all way too expensive. I went with USPS for $10.50: 2-3 day Priority Mail. I shipped the cupcakes on Saturday, my mom received them on Monday. The cupcakes needed to be refrigerated once received, just to solidify the frosting again. I sent a total of 6 jars to my mom, and she gave some to my sister and my mother-in-law. Everyone was really excited to get some of my cupcakes since they haven't had them in 4 months. The cupcakes were very moist, but the frosting was rather tart. I assume that the raspberries got sweeter and sweeter the longer they stayed in the frosting. The layers stayed together, no major shifting. I will definitely be doing this again in the future! I might even use smaller Mason Jars for individual cupcakes, since the tall jars hold 2 cupcakes each.

On Sunday, I had an order for a dozen Red Velvet cupcakes. Such a great recipe and a very photogenic cupcake!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Deep Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Frosting

I was debating what cupcakes to make for my husband's bowling team (properly named Cupcake Massacre) and was talking with some friends about recipes. I wanted to do something new. I haven't done a new recipe in a while, and the fall/winter season is a great time to add spices to cupcakes and work on different frosting flavors. My friend, PaTrice, suggested a cupcake recipe found here and the frosting recipe found here. After looking through my pantry and the recipes, I had to alter the recipes slightly. The cupcakes came out very complex, but rather tasty (or so I was told). I topped them with my own raspberry frosting and Halloween Peeps for the Halloween season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Butter!

Butter. It's one of those magical foods that's tastes so good you can forgive and forget the few extra calories it adds (okay, many - who's counting anyways?). There's nothing simpler, or more pleasing, than a slice of bread with butter spread across it - and let's not forget that cupcakes would be nowhere without butter!

If you can't tell I'm a fan of butter. A big fan. At my house we joke that bread is a "butter delivery system". So how could one possibly improve upon an already pleasing and versatile food like butter? Make it yourself.

While homemade butter might conjure images of bonnets, churns, and Little House on the Prairie, you have nothing to fear. Homemade butter is easier than you could ever imagine!

Butter is made from cream. Ever over whipped your cream for frosting and it turned grainy? Well you were on your way to making butter! You'll get about a 2:1 ratio when making butter. Meaning, 16oz of cream will make about 8oz of butter. (Also said, a pound of cream will make half a pound of butter.)

Now, it should be noted that butter can be whipped up in your food processor or stand mixer, but since I own neither of those, I made mine via shaking.

Things you'll need:
Elbow grease (or a partner or older child you can pawn the labor off on)
A jar with a secure lid (I used a mason jar)
Heavy cream (quantity up to you!)
A strainer or steady hand
A spatula or butter knife

Pour the cream into the jar and secure the lid tightly. This is where elbow grease comes in. You will need to shake the jar vigorously. For a while. Stick in there. This is a great chance to work out your biceps! (Or teach the value of hard work to the person you talked into shaking for you).

The amount of time you need to shake the jar depends on your strength; anywhere from 10-20 minutes. After a few minutes the jar will start to feel dense and heavy. You will no longer be able to feel the cream move from top to bottom. It will almost feel like shaking a solid object; very brick like. Keep shaking.

The next stage you'll reach is whipped cream. Yes, it is possible to stop here and top some strawberries with this deliciousness, but if you're hoping for butter it's important to (say it with me) keep shaking.

After a few more minutes the whipped cream will start to separate and look sort of grainy. The curds will start to separate from the whey (Little Miss Muffet anyone?) and that grainy looking mass will start becoming more identifiable clumps. At this point you should see liquid in the jar as well. This is buttermilk! I personally kept shaking a bit past this point, just to be sure, but it's not necessary.

Place your strainer in the sink (or if you'd like to save the buttermilk for pancakes or the like, place the strainer over a bowl). Open your jar and and pour the entire contents into the strainer. In my case, my handsome boyfriend, who also made butter with me, didn't feel like getting the strainer out and just carefully tilted the lid in a manner that allowed him to pour out the liquid without dumping the butter curds into the sink.

In either case, once the buttermilk is removed from the jar, rinse the butter curds with a small amount of water and drain the water as well. This is to ensure you've removed all liquid. Then using the spatula or butter knife, scoop the butter curds into a container of your choosing. Use the spatula to smooth and press the curds together to create a nice buttery texture.

Note: you can add salt to your butter, but I prefer to leave my butter unsalted. We did try our butter on a piece of bread with a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on top and it was very tasty too!

Tada! Pat yourself on the back and let out a solid "HECK YES!". You've just made butter. Use on or in any product you like!

<3 Tanya!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

My husband absolutely adores pumpkin treats. He can't get enough of the Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes. I was recently asked by one of the bowlers at the league if I would make a dozen Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes. I said yes, of course, and we agreed on a price! I do believe I have my first paying client in Minnesota! 

While shopping for ingredients, my husband eyed a "pre-made, ready-to-go mix" for Pumpkin Spice Cookies. I told him I would make some for him from scratch, and picked up another can of pumpkin. Unfortunately, pumpkin is the only ingredient I do not use fresh. I did a little searching and found the recipe here. I quickly got to work and came out with a beautiful batch of cookies!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 24 large sized cookies

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Mix butter, sugar, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract until completely mixed.
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.
5. Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto wax paper on a stone cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool on a baking rack until completely cool before frosting.

2 C powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.) Mix all ingredients together.
2.) Drizzle over cookies.
3.) Let frosting dry before moving.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Raspberry Swirl Frosting

This was a request from a friend of a friend at the bowling alley. I attempted to make my own jam and it turned out horribly. I ended up using the "jam" in the frosting. I wanted to fill the cupcakes with the homemade jam and also use the jam in the frosting. But everything about this recipe just went horribly wrong. I'm not going to even post the exact information for the jam because I can't quite remember what I did. All I know is I heated up sugar until it was a liquid, then put in the raspberries, wich shocked the sugar into cooling to be rock hard. I continued to heat the mixture and eventually tried to reduce it. When the substance cooled it was verrrrrrry sticky. I used a strainer to get rid of the seeds, and using the back of ladle, I squeezed the mixture through the strainer. What I ended up with was a.) a very messy strainer, and b.) very little jam. The jam was a little thicker than normal jam but tasted amazing. I decided I would just make lemon cupcakes and do a raspberry frosting and lemon frosting swirl. This came out rather well. 

Hamburger Cupcakes

Hamburger Cupcakes.... They are not as you'd expect. It is a vanilla cupcake with a chocolate cupcake in the center with some tastefully colore and arranged frostings.

I used my vanilla cupcake recipe that I've been falling back on recently. I added almond extract to make it taste a bit like a sugar cookie. I baked the cupcakes in a muffin tin WITHOUT wrappers and just use cooking spray on the tin to make sure there was no sticking.

I used my chocolate cupcake recipe found here. Such a great flavor and texture for the "meat" of the cupcake! I baked the cupcakes in a 9x13 pan like you would with brownies. For a dozen hamburger cupcakes, I used one batch of cupcakes.

I used store-bought frosting tubes in yellow, red, and green. I was short on time and did not feel like rushing such an art.

Vanilla Cupcakes:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 cupcakes

1 C plus 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 C milk
sesame seeds
12 decorated toothpicks

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. **** SKIP THIS STEP FOR HAMBURGER CUPCAKES
3. Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
4. Mix the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, butter, vegetable oil, and milk in a mixing bowl.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated. A higher speed may be required to make sure there are no clumps. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
6. Fill the cupcake liners with batter to about 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 10 minutes.
8. Open the oven and gently sprinkle the sesame seeds on the tops of the cupcakes.
9. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
10. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

I used a Pampered Chef Mini Measure-All to cut the chocolate cupcakes into "hamburger patties". It worked rather well! I cut the vanilla cupcakes horizontally in the middle to resemble hamburger buns. On the bottom half of the "bun" I squirted yellow, red, and green frosting around the top of the cut cupcake. I did 1/3 circles around, so the frostings touch end to end. If you cover the top of the cut cupcake with frosting, the cupcake will be extremely sweet. Use your instincts and best judgement. Place the "hamburger patty" on top of the frosting, and top it off with the top half of the "bun". Stick a decorated toothpick in the center to hold it all together and give the illusion of hamburger sliders!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

This recipe is one of my husband's favorites. I made 3 dozen total, so he took some to work and to bowling. Everyone loved them (as usual)! I even had someone say "I don't usually do pumpkin, but I couldn't resist the smell. It was great!" These would be the exact same cupcakes that my husband did a taste-test against the competition and mine came out on top! The recipe can be found here. Just a couple of pictures for you, along with a great photo of the fall colors! Fall with color-changing leaves is new to me. Growing up in Southern California, I had only ever seen fall leaves on TV or in a picture. I must say, the real deal is soooo much more beautiful in person! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Cupcakes

For her birthday, a friend of mine asked that I cater her Alice in Wonderland themed party. She showed me a few photos that used fondant, and I told her I couldn't do fondant. She asked for a mixture of flowers and cupcakes that said "Eat me". Simple enough. Until I dropped the first frosted cupcake in the sprinkles! What a disaster. I made it work, and made it look like it was supposed to be that way. I used my Sugar Cookie Cupcake recipe and vanilla frosting. I've attached a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure. :D

I used three different colors for frosting: Red, Yellow, and Green. I used the same colors for sprinkles. I frosted the edges of the cupcakes, then rolled them in frosting. 

I used cut marshmallows, laid them in sprinkles, then arranged them on the cupcakes in a flower pattern. I also used a different tip to draw flowers on some cupcakes. 

I used a thin writing tip to write Eat Me on cupcakes that were completely covered in sparkles. This picture doesn't do the cupcake justice. The cupcakes really sparkled!

Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I worked at my church as the high school youth group leader, and I was very close with my youth. A few of them graduated this past summer and are doing great with college and the military. One of the youth's parents asked if I would cater a graduation party for the youth, and I of course said yes. We went back and forth trying to decide on what flavors to do. The youth, David, kept asking what other people like. We told him it's his party, he gets to choose! He said "Nicole could make dirt flavored cupcakes and they would taste amazing!" What a compliment!! David finally decided on half Red Velvet, and the other half I would choose. I chose a lemon cupcake with raspberry frosting. I found the basic recipe here, and used my own recipe for the frosting. I made four dozen Red Velvet and four dozen Lemon Raspberry. I used store-bought raspberry jam because I hadn't started making home-made jams yet.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Every week my husband bowls with a league. I'm quickly making friends with the team members and I am now taking requests each week. This week I was asked to make Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. I did a little research and found what I wanted here. I did quite a bit of reworking to make it work for me, but I really like the vanilla cupcake part, and I may use it again. The recipe calls for strawberry jam, but I wanted to make my own, and it worked out alright. The jam didn't solidify quite enough, but that is most likely due to the fact that I don't have a cooking thermometer, so I didn't know if it was up to temperature or not. It worked fine, but I do suggest using a thermometer when making jam.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

For the longest time, some friends of mine have been asking for cupcakes. They live in Arizona so it was almost impossible to get them some fresh cupcakes. That didn't exactly stop them from asking. As soon as I found out my husband and I were moving, I mapped out a road-trip that would take us through their part of Arizona, then I contacted my friends and said "let's do dinner!" They promptly said "only if you bring cupcakes!" We talked it over and they decided they wanted something with chocolate and caramel. I asked if a turtle cupcake would be good. They said yes (of course). I found the recipe here and did a little reworking to make it work for me. When I first saw the picture of the cupcake, I thought it had two or three different colored frostings swirled into one. Later I found out it wasn't. That didn't stop me from wanting to try it! I researched a little and found out a neat trick to make it work just as I wanted. I used my own chocolate cupcake recipe, it hasn't failed me yet!
This is the filled cupcake.

A Quick Update

A lot has happened since my last post, and I apologize for the lack of updates. Let me give you a quick breakdown of each month since my last post.

May: My husband found out that his department was being shut down in California and a new team would be established in Minnesota and Virginia. He started training his replacements and looking for a new job inside and outside the company. He found a great position (a promotion and a raise), but it was in Minnesota. After careful consideration (and a lot of begging from both of our families) we decided to move to Minnesota and my husband would be able to have a job that he loves with a company that he loves and loves him. I advised my boss that I would be moving (six weeks in advance, mind you) and they laid me off once they found my replacement. While my husband was in another state training his replacements, one of my clients asked that I cater her birthday party which was Alice in Wonderland themed. I cannot and will not use fondant, it tends to look a little fake. But I did decorate them as per my client's request! Post can be found here.

June: Not much going on. A lot of goodbyes, a lot of packing. I started life as a housewife and found I have a passion for staying home and keeping house. One of the moms of a youth from my church asked if I would cater her son's high school graduation party. I was close with the youth, so I said yes. We tossed back and forth ideas for flavors and the graduate chose one flavor and asked me to pick a second. I made 4 dozen Red Velvet and 4 dozen Lemon Raspberry.

July: Moved to Minnesota. We took a week to get from California to Minnesota, stopping in Arizona for dinner with some friends (and Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes for dessert!), and Colorado to stay with my best friend (and co-blogger) Tanya. My husband and I quickly learned our neighborhoods and neighboring towns and started adjusting to a more humid climate. Christopher asked that I make some cupcakes for his work, so I made my mouthwatering Carrot Cupcakes (but no rum in the frosting).

August: Still more getting used to life in Minnesota and apart from both of our families. For my mom's birthday (the big 5-0!), she, my dad, and my niece made a road trip from California to Missouri and Kansas and back, visiting friends along the way. I talked with my mom and some friends in Kansas to figure out if I could go down for the weekend and spend time with my parents and niece and friends I hadn't seen for a while. As it turned out, my husband and I did go! We surprised my mother with cupcakes (Applesauce Chocolate Cupcakes) and a hug and she was so excited to see us! It was great to see my family and friends for the weekend.

September: This month is my husband's birthday month, so we have been celebrating for the last week or so. I bought him Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray and a very nice leather jacket. I made one of his favorite cupcakes: S'mores Cupcakes, and he gobbled them up as I expected him to! My husband joined a bowling league and I've become the baker/mascot for the team, which is properly named The Cupcake Massacre. Every week, I bring a new cupcake recipe (at least, new to them!). This gives me a chance to start blogging again as I do miss it! So far, I've made Banana ChocolateRed Velvet, and Banana & Pineapple Chocolate (surprisingly, the flavors went well together. I added about 3/4 C of pureed pineapple and used only 2 bananas). Also, my husband tried a cupcake from a local cupcakery (per my request) which was Pumpkin with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. I wanted an honest person with a great sense of taste to check out my competition. He said it was good, but not as good as my Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes. He said the cupcakes was "missing something" and the frosting didn't have any cream cheese in it. He said he would take one of my cupcakes over this other cupcake any day!

So, in short: I moved from California to Minnesota and the friendly people of Minnesota can't get enough of my cupcakes! There will be more recipes and pictures soon to come!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ice Cream Cone Chocolate Cupcakes

An oldie but a goodie with my new chocolate cupcake recipe and vanilla frosting. Came out great!! I also made some regular cupcakes, but just four. I had some friends over and whipped up this batch of cupcakes especially for them. I know my close friend, Leah, will miss me and the cupcakes when we move. Here's some photos and some reviews!

‎"I'm still in wonder..." 

"I'm not sure how to eat it."

"I don't want to eat it, I want to take it home and put it in a glass box and just look at it all day." 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Cupcakes

For Mother's Day this year I made cupcakes for my mom: Vanilla with Banana Frosting.

Pictures!! Happy Mother's Day Mommy!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is the exact same as the Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes, but instead I used banana instead of strawberry. The cupcakes came out amazing with a lot of compliments!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Since I've found my "indestructible" chocolate cupcake recipe, I've been wanting to play around with it and see what I can do. Strawberries are definitely in season and go well with chocolate, I decided to try a Chocolate Strawberry concoction! I had to add more flour and baking powder to make sure the cake rised correctly. The first batch, I didn't think to add flour and baking powder, so they came out deflated. The second batch, I did add the extra ingredients and it came out marvelously! The cupcake batter needs to be rather thick, not runny. If it's too runny, add some more flour and rising agent.

The frosting on the other hand.... I talked it over with my mom, and she said to use just the juice, not the whole fruit, because the fruit would continue to leak juices, making the frosting fall apart. This is a necessary part of the frosting!! Instead of the milk in the frosting, use the strawberry juice. If you want chocolate frosting, just add 1/4 - 1/2 C of Dutch Cocoa Powder, to taste. The frosting came out amazing!! Please see the note at the bottom of the recipe in regards to the frosting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Em's Birthday Cupcakes

My niece turned seven and wanted cupcakes for her birthday party, which was at the local city zoo. I asked her what she wanted, and she said she wanted Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. This was easy. I used my vanilla cupcake recipe and my chocolate frosting recipe. And she wanted sprinkles. Easy Peasy. One problem: It was extremely hot that day and the cupcakes would be sitting in the car while we were enjoying our time at the zoo. It was actually an easy fix! We filled the bottom layer of my cupcake carrier with ice and dry ice and left the carrier in the trunk of the car, in the shade. By the time cupcakes were served, the frosting wasn't melted, and the cupcakes were actually a bit cool, which was rather refreshing on the hot day! I won't paste the recipe, but here's a photo! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chocolate Chipotle Cinnamon Cupcakes

For a while now, I've been wanting to go out of my comfort zone when baking, to try new recipes, or crazy ideas. This is one of them. I have heard of some people who drink hot chocolate with chili powder. I searched and searched and found a recipe that could have chipotle in the cupcake. I eventually found it here. The recipe calls for boxed cake (a part of me died inside!!) and other ingredients. Since I absolutely DO NOT use boxed cakes, I decided to use my own chocolate cupcake recipe. I've always said that I like to add my own twist to a recipe! I wasn't gutsy enough to try the cupcake, but my husband, brother-in-law, and one of my best friends tried the cupcakes and liked them! I added a cinnamon cream cheese frosting to cool the palate after the spiciness. I've told several people about this recipe, and every single person wants to try one! I'll definitely be making this recipe again.