Thursday, April 28, 2011

mimosa cupcakes

i've been wanting to make these mimosa cupcakes for a couple of months now and i finally have a reason to. my good friend sarah is coming to town from LA and i gave her a list of recipes i've been wanting to try and she picked mimosa. i don't blame her. after reading the comments on the recipe, though, i decided that i needed to spruce these up a lot so that i (and everyone else) wouldn't be disappointed. i used blood orange juice instead of regular orange juice and right after taking the cupcakes out of the oven i poked holes in each one and brushed champagne on. the reason for the blood orange juice is that it is a more subtle flavor than regular orange juice. i didn't want these to just taste like orange cupcakes. the brushed champagne was to add another layer of champagne flavor in case what was in the batter baked out. 

i completely scratched the frosting recipe they have and made a raspberry blood orange buttercream. i used the wilton buttercream recipe as a base but added a lot more powdered sugar, omitted the vanilla and milk, and put in blood orange juice and fresh raspberry sauce (purchased at central market because i'm too lazy/busy to make my own) to taste. the extra powdered sugar was to make it taste less buttery and also stiffen it up because i put a lot more liquid in it than was called for. the decision to use raspberry was based on the fact that it's tart and after the complaints about this being too sweet, i wanted something to cut that sweetness. 

anyway, on with the pictures, right?

cheap champagne and not so cheap blood orange juice

did i mention these were minis? they're minis!

the finished product, complete with gold dust on top

i had enough batter left over to make this mini cake, or giant cupcake, for my dad. the decorating is a bit sloppy but luckily papi doesn't care :) 

stored in the fridge, waiting for happy hour tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

fashionable baking?

"fashionable" is not a word i would ever use to describe myself, and certainly not in the kitchen. i normally bake in my pjs. pretty classy, eh? i've been wanting a cute apron and a couple of my friends gave me gift cards to paper source and i finally found time to swing by there on friday afternoon. check out my beautiful purchases!

now i just need a kitten to carry around in the huge pockets in that apron. they're seriously so big, it's incredible! 

next i think i need this roll-up tote bag to carry around my kitten when it becomes a cat. haha!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

weekend followup

a couple of notes about the tie-dyed cupcakes and soft sugar cookie sandwiches...
  • you should probably think about storing your tie-dyed cupcakes in the fridge because that store bought icing is just too thin. mine became super runny and messy over night which was kind of a bummer but they still looked cool, just not nicely decorated. i wish i had taken pictures of what they looked like when i got them to the crawfish boil, what a mess!
  • the soft sugar cookie sandwiches were insanely popular. i got so many compliments on them. one person said, "stefanie...those sugar cookie sandwiches...i, i can't explain them." she was literally in awe. i told her i could explain them but that she didn't want to know! 
  • my friend josh is not a sweets person but he has always liked the sugar cookies from the great american cookie company. he tried one of the plain blue sugar cookies and declared it the best sugar cookie ever. 
so even though my carrot cake was a gigantic visual failure i did have other successes this weekend. i need to keep that in mind!

the best/worst carrot cake ever

i used this recipe for the best carrot cake ever. i decided to make it a bundt cake with a cream cheese glaze. i baked it at 325 for about 90 minutes. i substituted 1/2 c of oil (it calls for 1 c) with 1/2 c of cinnamon applesauce. i also added some allspice and nutmeg, and used golden raisins that had soaked in the pineapple juice for an hour. other than that i followed the recipe exactly. i greased the holy hell out of my bundt pan and my cake still stuck to it so there won't be a picture of that cake today. what a disappointment. there was enough batter for 5 "personal" sized cakes which i also used the cream cheese glaze on so here's a picture of those.

the mini cakes baked for about 45 minutes.

flavor wise this cake is pretty good. i think it could use more cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg though. i may make this cake again but i will not make it in a bundt pan. luckily this cake is just for easter dinner with my family so i won't be too embarrassed by how it looks. this is my first major failure in the kitchen and i'm trying not to take it too hard. 

recipe for the cream cheese glaze:
4 oz of cream cheese
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 tablespoons of milk

mix it all up in a stand mixer until it's a spreadable consistency. drizzle over warm cake. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

soft sugar cookie sandwiches

next up for the weekend of baking was to make some soft sugar cookies to make sandwiches out of using some rainbow chip frosting. the recipe said it makes 4.5 dozen but i only got 3.5 dozen out of it. my cookies aren't huge, by any means, but maybe they're bigger than they're supposed to be? i over-baked the first batch by just a smidge. they're not burnt, or really even brown, but i wanted these to be soft and a little gooey. the rest of them turned out just how i wanted them to. this recipe is very easy to make and pretty tasty but i wouldn't say it's the best sugar cookie i've ever had. one of the comments on said that they taste like lofthouse cookies. that is false. anyway, on with the show...

i decided to roll a dozen in blue sanding sugar and not make sandwiches out of them in case anyone wants just a sugar cookie.

i just realized that this picture is nearly identical to the one above, just with plain cookies instead of blue ones. i probably couldn't do that again if i tried! 

i scooped a small spoon full of frosting onto a cookie, then smashed another cookie on top. pretty simple, obviously. and here they are in a white basket lined with green and white gingham fabric. i'm so festive!  

come see this post and many others at sweets for a saturday

tie-dyed cupcakes!

my first adventure in the kitchen this weekend was to make tie-dyed cupcakes. i used a betty crocker french vanilla cake mix because i think it tastes much yummier than plain ol' white cake. it was time consuming but very easy. mix the cake according to the box, then split it up evenly and dye as many different colors as you want using gel paste food coloring. i used 6 colors. 

then spoon one color at a time into each cupcake well. don't mix them, just layer them!

then bake per the instructions on the cake mix. 

next is the frosting! i used 2 containers of betty crocker vanilla frosting and made 3 different colors.

the directions for icing the cupcakes said to put a spoon of each color next to each other in an icing bag and continue stacking up that way until the bag is full. i didn't exactly do that because, uhh, i don't know how it's possible, but i'm still happy with how it turned out.

my only "issue" is just that the store bought frosting is a little too thin for this decorating method. i don't know how else to describe it but i guess it's a bit runny? anyway, it tastes great!

next i'll tell you how the sugar cookie sandwiches turned out.

come see this post and many others at sweets for a saturday

Thursday, April 21, 2011

big weekend coming up!

i know i should wait to post about this until after it's done but i'm just so excited i want to write about it. saturday is the crawfish boil and i'm baking a couple different things to take. the crawfish boil is something that my friends' parents host every year on holy saturday and it is one of the best days of the year. i am finally going to make the tie-dyed cupcakes from a little betty crocker booklet i got at the grocery store a while back. i thought they looked spring-y and therefore easter-y. i am also going to make soft sugar cookies for my rainbow chip frosting sandwiches. at first i thought i might end up with a huge amount of leftovers but upon looking at the rsvp list and seeing that there are an estimated 100 people attending, i think it will all get eaten.

a couple nights ago my mom asked me what i was baking for this weekend so i told her about the above plans. then she said, "what about easter?" i forgot about easter dinner. i quickly decided on a carrot cake (carrots, bunnies, get it) and upon perusing the internet i decided to do a carrot bundt cake with a cream cheese glaze. i am very excited to make my first carrot cake and even more excited to load it up with plump golden raisins. all of my life i have found golden raisins to be far superior to regular raisins a i simply do not understand why more people don't bake with them.

i can't wait to share my experience with this 3 projects with you!

Friday, April 15, 2011

a delightful discovery

when i was a kid i absolutely loved betty crocker's rainbow chip frosting. there is nothing else like it in the world! then, suddenly, i couldn't find it at the grocery store anymore. pillsbury's stupid "funfetti" was everywhere but no rainbow chip :( i remember a couple of my friends telling me that they randomly found some at this store or that store but they never had more than a couple on the shelf. eventually i forgot about it because i was tired of getting my hopes up and never finding any. a week or so ago i did some googling and found out that they do indeed still make it, just not as much as they used to and not very many stores carry it. i decided that i would look for it at every store i went to just in case someone in my area happened to carry it.

tonight my nephew came to spend the night with no pajamas so we had to run to walmart to get some. we were going to go to target but i said i wanted to go to walmart to check to see if they had any rainbow chip frosting there and look what i found!

i found four on the shelf and you better believe i bought all of them. i may use cake mixes now and again but i always make my own frosting but i am beyond excited at the prospect of using this! i sent this picture to my sister and our friend kate and kate responded that she would buy one from me if i was willing to sell it. i told her that i was obviously planning on giving one to her, i wouldn't taunt her by just sending a picture. i asked my sister if she wanted one or if she just wanted me to share whenever i use it and she opted for latter. obviously i'm going to do plain white cupcakes for one can and i'm thinking of doing some sort of sugar cookie whoopie pie with this frosting in the middle, and then i'll probably save the last one for a rainy day. 

chocolate kahlua cupcakes

my mom recently requested that i make some kahlua cupcakes for her. i googled for a recipe and, what do know, annie's eats had one! she's the genius behind the margarita cupcakes i made a few weeks ago, too. i followed the recipe exactly until the frosting, where i used about 4 teaspoons of coffee extract instead of the kahlua that she called for. i think brushing the cakes with kahlua is enough for me and we just so happen to already have coffee extract. the recipe also calls for instant espresso powder which, according to the comments on that recipe, isn't usually found in a regular grocery store but may be found at some specialty shops. well good news for texas residents, they have it at HEB! it really is the best grocery store in the world. anyway, here are some pictures!

key ingredients, kahlua and instant espresso powder

fresh out of the oven with holes poked and brushed with kahlua

coco is going to help me get rid of the rest of the kahlua

and the final product

i'm not even the biggest fan of coffee but these are unbelievable! and, look, i finally used my fancy camera in the kitchen!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

time to dust off those decorating skills

when i was in high school i worked at one of those stores in the mall that sells giant cookie cakes. during my time there i was either the best, or second best, decorator of said giant cookie cakes. i haven't done much decorating other than cupcakes in many, many years but i am fairly certain i still have what it takes. i will put myself to the test by making this cake for nels' curious george themed birthday party.

it's very helpful that they dissect each step for you and give you an idea of what shapes you need to draw for each part of the face. i could probably do it freehand with no instructions but i'm glad i don't have to! i'll be using peanut butter frosting for the "caramel frosting" because it's delicious and oh so easy to make. i'm going to bake it in a 9" round pan, i'm not sure why they say to bake it in a bowl but that isn't going to happen. if george's face is flat, i'm sure it won't be the end of the world.

since it's just a small cake i'm also going to make my banana pudding cupcakes because monkeys love bananas, right? i'm actually getting really into planning this whole party. i love to plan things so my sister gladly handed me the reigns. i'm also making "tail" mix (get it?!) with dehydrated banana chips (you know, because monkeys love bananas), chocolate chips (nels loves chocolate chips), golden raisins (because i love golden raisins) and goldfish (who doesn't love goldfish?!). i also had my friend travis send me the recipe he uses for monkey bread, it's amazing!

on sunday night i was reading the curious george entry on wikipedia and i discovered that the very first story published in 1939 was called cecily g. and the nine monkeys. my sister's name is cecily! how weird. and another strange coincidence is that in norway, instead of calling him curious george they call him nysgierrige nils. nils...nels? weird, huh?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

banana pancakes

i know that this isn't "baking" but they're cakes...sort of? anyway, a couple of weeks ago i made banana pancakes for me, my parents, and my oldest nephew, nels. they were delicious! this warmish humid weather is causing our bananas to ripen like crazy so, once again, i found myself with 3 large over-ripe bananas. time for more pancakes! this time i made some caramelized bananas to go on top of the pancakes. i also made a honey-cinnamon-vanilla whipped cream cheese. holy deliciousness, y'all!

recipes, because i know you're dying for them. the pancake recipe can be found here. i substituted buttermilk for the milk because, duh, buttermilk is incredible in pancakes! here's the recipe for the easy caramelized bananas. and the honey-cinnamon-vanilla whipped cream cheese goes as follows:

8 oz of whipped cream cheese (you can whip a block of cream cheese or just buy the tub of it already whipped)
2-5 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. some recipes i found said to use 2 tablespoons of honey but i found that that wasn't nearly enough to actually have the honey flavor come across. basically, all of these are "to taste" because you might want more cinnamon or vanilla or whatever.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

cupcake carriers

i posted about this on my other blog sunday but whatever, this is where it belongs!

i currently have that cupcake carrier. i've used it many times and it has never failed me. and yet i find my eyes wandering to a replacement even though i don't need one. 

isn't it adorable? knowing me, i'm sure i'll end up getting it soonish because once i put the idea in my head i will drive myself crazy until it's mine. it comes in pink, red, and brown. decisions, decisions! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

cupcake sandwich

last year jorge garcia (hurley) blogged about a new way to eat a cupcake and it has truly changed everything for me. my sister is the one who tipped me off to jorge's tip that he learned from someone who learned it from someone and so forth. thank god my sister is a giant geek who reads hurley's blog! here's the text from his blog with some helpful pictures too.

And a week ago at Java Holloway's first birthday I learned a new and more awesome way to eat a cupcake. I learned it from Don our prop guy, who learned it from Joyce our 2nd AD.
So here it is:
You start with the cup cake.

First you peel away the paper. (Trust me it gets better.)

Then tear off the bottom portion of the cupcake.

Place the torn-off portion on top where the frosting is.

Give it a little squeeze.

And there you have it. Eat it like a cream-filled cake sandwich.

Well now that you all have this knowledge, I hope you'll be able to find a kid's birthday party to go to.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

i have a problem and that problem is cupcake liners

sooo in the last couple of months i have managed to procure quite the collection of cupcake liners. i just can't resist when i see some on sale or i see some reallllly cute patterns that i want. other than the easter ones, i don't really have a specific time in mind to use any of these but i guess i just want to have variety at my fingertips. 

this is my caddy where i store all of my liners, sprinkles, jimmies, icing tips/bags, food coloring and other random things that i have found along the way. 

and now here is my collection of liners. like i said, it has become a bit of a problem.

giant cupcake liners that my friend alicia gave me for my birthday

houndstooth from the all in one bake shop

gingham from michaels

pretty design from michaels

pretty floral from michaels

polka dots from michaels

more dots from heb

stripes from the all in one bake shop

gold minis from the all in one bake shop

white minis from the all in one bake shop

jewel tone minis from the all in one bake shop

stripes from heb

primary colors from...? i don't know.

gingham minis from the all in one bake shop

cupcake liners (haha) from heb

leftover from last easter

more easter leftovers

star silicone molds that alicia also gave me for my birthday

sanding sugar, crystals, and sprikles

christmas sprinkles, brown jimmies, and easter sprinkles

do you think i have too much stuff?! haha oh well!