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!