Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MSC: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes and Bridal Showers

It's the 15th of the month! You know what that means?

That's right! It's Martha Stewart Cupcakes time!

Let me just start out with a little disclaimer. These are not pretty. In fact, I only snapped maybe four pictures (two of which are out of focus. sweet.) because I wasn't feeling creative enough to somehow make the beige-ish cupcakes into works of art.

That being said, they are delicious! Really. Very autumn and definitely leaning toward a hint of Christmas. In fact, most years September tends to bring a feeling of dread since sweet summer is ending. BUT these little guys actually made me look forward to the flavors of fall and winter for once. I'm already getting excited about all the pumpkin treats to come! (Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone?)

I was pretty excited to hear that Tracey from Tracey's Culinary Adventures had selected Martha's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes for September's recipe. I've wanted to try baking with zucchini for quite awhile, but never really got around to it. To make the recipe even more ideal, my bi-weekly fruit and veg delivery just happened to have a zucchini in it. Fate.

Since my kitchen seems to be pumping out cupcakes like crazy lately, I decided to try and make these bad boys as healthy and breakfast-y as possible. With that in mind I made the following tweaks:

- No walnuts. This was due to the fact that there were none in the cupboard and I was far too lazy to go buy some.
- No lemon zest. See above.
- Substituted the oil for unsweetened applesauce. goodbye fat!
- My zucchini was yellow. At first I thought "It simply MUST be green." Then I realized that zucchinis come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and who was I to discriminate? :)
- No frosting! Keepin it healthy. Although, I have tried the suggested cream cheese frosting and it is definitely a good one.

Simply put. Give these a try! They disappeared within a day...probably because I kept shoving them toward people loudly boasting of their "low fat, veggie-full, goodness." I do what I can.

This weekend was also spent putting together two bridal shower orders for Sunday. They were pretty straightforward, but it was the first time I was able to work with fondant and I really enjoyed it! Expect to see more fondant decorations in the future...

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment (and to redeem myself from the above snapshot):

Two dozen chocolate-vanilla cupcakes

The bride's name is Molly and her colors are burgundy, eggplant, and ivory!

Little fondant flowers

Bows in one of her colors!

The other order: 3 dozen minis in vanilla-vanilla and chocolate salted caramel


With more fondant flowers!

Hope you had a wonderful Tuesday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wedding Season

I'm giving myself a pat on the back. Seriously.

Not only did I take pictures of the cupcakes I made for the wedding today, but here I am writing about it just a matter of hours after completion! In fact, the guests at the wedding are probably just starting to dig into the little guys.

Side view of the cupcake display

The bride and groom were SUPER laid back, which was fantastic for me. I basically had creative reign over the display and decorations and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

The flavor menu is as follows:

- Vanilla Cake with Lavender Frosting and Lavender Garnish

- Coffee Cake with Mocha Frosting and Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean

- Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Cinnamon Dusting

The lavender cupcake is the bride's favorite from one of the local cupcake shops so I tried to replicate that for her. Of course, this meant I had to buy a few for research purposes. :)

The groom's favorite type of cake is spice cake. For this one, I hit up my trusty Martha Stewart's Cupcake recipe book. She hasn't let me down thus far! The recipe is called "Mrs. Kostyra's Spice Cupcakes" and would be a fabulous choice for the quickly approaching autumn.

Speaking of which...I'm not impressed. Dear Summer, could you please stop abandoning me for nine months? Thank you so much. P.S. I love you. (by the way, a great vacation read if you're looking for one)

But I digress...

My roommate came home from a baseball game toward the end of my baking marathon last night and said the house smelled like Christmas. I take that as a compliment...everyone loves Christmas right?

The coffee cupcakes. Well, those were a different matter all together.

I don't drink coffee very often and when I do I prefer to mask the actual coffee flavor with mass amounts of sugar, milk, and whatever other fancy additives Starbucks has to offer. With that in mind, I had trouble figuring out what roast to use for the cupcakes. I'm pretty sure I ended up selecting a mild one, which resulted in the cupcakes tasting more like pancakes than coffee.


Literally. Pancakes. The kitchen smelled like pancakes. They tasted like pancakes. The batter looked like pancake batter.

"Hi, excuse me Mr. Groom and Miss Bride, instead of coffee cupcakes I decided to shake things up a little bit and make PANCAKE flavored cupcakes!"

Luckily after frosting the little guys with a generous helping of mocha frosting they ended up tasting like coffee. Thank goodness. The actually ended up being my favorite! But shhhh...don't tell the other cupcakes...

See? Aren't they adorable?

The Spice Cupcakes!

I didn't take any close up shots of the lavender cupcakes. They were sort of like the red headed step child of the group. Also, the lighting in the venue was at an awkward point so I didn't manage to get a really solid photo of the whole setup. Here's one to give you an idea:

Alright. I officially need a nap. I've been up since six making and sampling frosting and my sugar high is long gone.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Old School

It's officially been 11 days since my birthday.

I guess that means it's coming to the point where it's no longer acceptable to drag out my celebrations. However, I will proudly say that this year I managed to make my birthday into a week-long present fest.

I am now the proud owner of this bad boy:

My precious

E really pulled through with this one. Isn't it beautiful?? I've already used it a few times and I can't understand how I ever baked without it! Please don't be too jealous.

In other news...

As usual I'm pretty terrible at taking pictures when I bake and so most of the projects I work on are not documented. Oops...

But, for your enjoyment/amusement, I've decided to share one of my early cupcake decorating attempts. I'd say it's not too bad for using a zip lock bag to pipe the designs! These babies were for the Superbowl.

Shabby chic. Or something...

I'm baking cupcakes for a wedding this weekend and have made it a resolution to take pictures this time. This may or may not pan out. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MSC: Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

Guess who's back???

Just guess. Seriously. Do it.

Ok, fine...

It's me!

I thought maybe I should write in my little blog again since it is a special occasion. Well two actually. The first being the very first Martha Stewart Cupcake Club entry! That's right. I finally joined a blog community and an awesome one at that (naturally). Basically the sitch is we'll be baking a recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes on the 15th of each month. Betty from Eat My Cupcake is the genius behind this fabulous group so make sure to pay her blog a visit!

The second special occasion is my birthday! August 15th. My birthday. The day of my birth. Birth-Day. Feliz Cumpleanos. Ok you get the idea.

You can imagine my joy when Martha's Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes were chosen for MSC this month since the due date happened to fall on my birthday. Thus, these little babies are doubling as my birthday cake this year!

And what do ya know? I happen to have a little crush on salted caramel at the moment.

P.S. Please don't be too jealous of the super high quality pictures...*cough cough*

Martha has done it again. Another genius creation. These cupcakes are delicious! The original recipe actually called for making minis but I opted for the big boys. It's my birthday. Go big or go home.

I halved the recipe and ended up with exactly 12 regular sized cupcakes. I also halved the frosting and caramel filling and had the perfect amount! I love the combination of salty and sweet. I will say that these are pretty rich so it's best to embark on this eating adventure with the buddy system in full effect.

What's that you say? You'd like to see some more photos? Okay, okay...

Mmmm.....look at that shine.

Check out the stylish zebra cupcake liners. Trendy cupcakes.

Like ducks in a row

Now that we have all that cupcake biz-nass out of the way, I'd like to address something very important. Piping frosting. How on earth does Martha stay so clean while doing so? She's out of this world. Unreal. I mean, just look at her:

It's unnerving. Look how clean her work area is. If I were Martha, this is how my book cover photo would look:

Yes. Those brown spots are representative of frosting. And yes, I do manage to get frosting everywhere. I like to pretend I'm saving some for later...

And with that said. It's time for me to go to bed! Happy Birthday to me and happy baking to you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I have such a love/hate relationship with cookie dough.

Before your eyes pop out of your head at the sight of the word "hate" in the same sentence as the phrase "cookie dough," let me explain. I have a nasty habit of taste testing cookie dough to an extreme. We're talking serious quality control that results in major stomach aches. In fact, I had some left over cookie dough hiding in my freezer that I just dipped (more like cannon-balled) into and am now reaping the benefits.

I guess you could say my moments of hate are self induced, but for some reason I've never quite learned my lesson. Weird how that happens...

This weekend it was one of E's nephew's third birthday. I've been dying to make Cookie Dough Cupcakes and I thought this sounded like the perfect opportunity!

Feast your eyes on this:

Hmmm...I'm beginning to see a trend with my cupcake decorating!

These cupcakes were actually really easy to dream up and create! I grabbed a basic vanilla cupcake recipe from How To Eat A Cupcake and some cookie dough from the grocery store. I know, I know...I could have made the cookie dough myself, but I guess I got a little lazy. :)

I rolled the cookie dough into quarter size balls and put them in the freezer overnight to make sure they were completely frozen. This ensured that the cookie dough would really stay doughy during the cupcake baking process!

The next morning I got up bright and early to whip together the cupcake batter...

Isn't it just gorgeous? I never thought batter could be so attractive.

I filled each cupcake liner about half full and then dropped a ball of frozen cookie dough in the center. In my oven, each batch took about 20 minutes to bake and here's how they turned out:

The kitchen smelled like heaven. E and I didn't even wait for the cupcakes to cool before we dove into one. The vanilla cupcake was perfectly sweet and the cookie dough was still a little gooey.

I decided to top the cupcakes with a basic chocolate buttercream and a little cookie, but I think vanilla buttercream would also work well!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oreo Cupcakes!

Let's get one thing straight.

I love cupcakes. I really do. I think they are fantastic. Adorable even. A joy to bake and something that brings a smile to any sane human being. Which is why a few Fridays ago I settled down for a quiet evening baking some homemade Oreos to turn into Oreo Cupcakes (adapted from Cupcake Project's incredible Oreo Cupcakes with a built-in cup of milk!).

Homemade Oreos have changed my world. I always hate to eat anything packed with preservatives and possessing an ingredient list that looks more like the periodic table than food. So these "Oreos" are a perfect solution. Plus, the dough is phenomenal. I swear I ended up eating a good third of it. I mean...purely for quality control purposes, right?

I decided to use my Oreos in cupcakes. Of course. What else would I do with them?? :)

Now, once in awhile I have a little kitchen disaster. And by once in awhile, I mean pretty often. I have a tendency to multitask and forget about things. I'm not quite sure what happened this time, but when I went to check on the cupcakes halfway through the baking time, they were rising and they were rising FAST. I mean, these babies were on a mission to the top and there was no way they were going to slow down.

Pretty, right?

After a minor stress/freaking out/tantrum fit, I perservered and I'm happy to say the little cakes turned out beautifully. Now, please erase the image of the above cupcakes from your mind and feast your eyes on the following:

Please note Buddha in the background :)

My new cupcake boxes!

In other news, I was hired to bake cupcakes for one of my co-worker's wedding on June 6th! Thus, I've been making cupcakes like crazy ever since. Check back for cookie dough cupcakes in a few days :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Precious Chicks

Remember Easter? That holiday that took place a few weeks ago? Well, I made these little friends that weekend...

Having discovered the incredible cake truffles on Bakerella, I definitely had to try them out for myself. Of course, my skills definitely need some fine-tuning. I can't believe how smooth her coating is! That woman is full of pure talent. You can check out her chicks and the recipe here to see what I was going for!

Meanwhile...let me introduce you to The Funky Bunch.

This is the pride and joy. You know, THAT guy...the golden child...always picked first...all the girls love him. You hate to love him.

This little chick has a tendency to be a little too intense. That guy that gets stressed out over everything. "Ohmygosh, is there SALT in this??? Don't you know sodium is bad for you?!" Oh my...

Maybe this little guy spent a little too much time with Mr. Intense and CRACKED under the pressure. Get it? Get it? I'll be here all night.

E spent a good amount of time peering over my shoulder asking questions so I decided to let him join in. Here's his special creation. We're so proud of him. :)

Cold season? I think he might need a tissue...

And finally...this is what happens when you've made about 40 cake truffles.

This was my first experience with cake truffles and I must say, they are amazingly delicious. Even though it can be a little difficult to make the cake pops look perfect, they are well worth the effort. Perfect for special occasions and gifts!

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