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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How do I love thee Hostess let me count the ways...



My favorite, all-time cupcakes are Hostess.

My very first memory of eating a cupcake is eating a Hostess. I've even been eating them the same way since I was 6 years old (I am now, 31).

First I eat the little white swirl. Then I eat all the chocolate, the I break the cupcake in half and with my tongue scoop out the white cream. Then and only then do I eat the cake.

I even think that the new Hostess 100 calorie cupcake packs are the best thing since sliced bread. However, can't we just add another 25 calories and add the white swirl?

With that said two weeks ago I had to attend a Surprise 50th Birthday celebration for my aunt. I was asked to make cupcakes (of course!). With that said, I wanted to stay in a true 50th birthday fashion and decorate the cupcakes black and white.

On the day I was to make the cupcakes I came across this recipe in the Taste of Home Cupcake & Muffin issue and switched to it!

They were absolutely perfect! And so easy to do!
I know there is a recipe floating around the internet for "Faux-stess" cupcakes and these would be the equivalant. I am now calling them "Faux-stess".

They were a huge hit at the party and have quickly become my number one most requested cupcake now!
What follows is the recipe...ENJOY!

Cream Filled Cupcakes:

1 package Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jar Marshmallow Creme
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache Frosting:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Prepare and back cupcakes according to package directions, using paper-lined muffin cups. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in a small bowl, combine water and salt until salt is dissolved. Cool. In a small mixing bowl, beat the marshmallow creme, shortening, confectioners' sugar and vanilla on high until light and fluffy; add the salt mixture.

Insert a small round pastry tip (#230) into a pastry or plastic bag; fill with cream filling. Insert the tip halfway into the center of each cupcake and fill with a small amount.

In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with cream. Cool. Dip cupcake tops into frosting; chill for 20 minutes or until set. Store in the refrigerator.

Yields 2 dozen.

P.S. I used the remaining cream filling to pipe the swirl on the top. I have also used white fondant and put that on the top as well. For example, for the birthday party I had exactly 2 dozen cupcakes and there are exactly 24 letters in the phrase, "Happy 50th Birthday MaryAnn". So I cut small letters out of fondant and used them for the garnish. But by doing the swirl you get the true "faux-stess look!"


Think Pink!


In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month the first Saturday of October I made "Think Pink" cupcakes.

I've been meaning to post about them for quite awhile now but just have not gotten around to any blogs in the last 3 weeks I believe.

But I am back on track now.

So...Think Pink!

The recipe I found in the book 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly. I haven't used this book before but all the recipes in here are ones that I eventually want to try. A lot of different kinds but I am not sure how they would sell at the market.
But I digress.

The cupcakes themselves came out a little dry. But I think it was more problems on my part than anything else. The recipe calls for superfine sugar. Of course I didn't notice this before I was going to make them so thanks to the internet I found what to do if you don't have superfine sugar. Guess what....I also did not have self-rising flour. So because I had to use the substitute for two main ingredients that could be the reason for the dryness.

Next time I will make sure I have superfine sugar on hand (most of the recipes in the book call for it!)

But other than that....

Think PINK!

For the cupcakes:

1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all cupcake ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon the batter into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

For the frosting:

3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup sweet butter, softened
Pinch of salt
Pink Food Coloring

To make the frosting, cream the confectioners' sugar, butter, and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring, and mix well. Spread the frosting liberally onto the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Welcome Fall!


For the first weekend of Fall I found a recipe in the Taste of Home Cupcakes & Muffins issue. They looked relatively easy and delicious so I went ahead with my "Welcome Fall Cupcakes".

The recipe is below and all I can say about these is they were not delicious. They were scrumptious! Absolutely stunning presentation wise, I got so many compliments on these at the market and they were a wonderful seller.

I hope you get a chance and try them!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

1 package spice or carrot cake mix (I used carrot)
2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples
20 caramels
3 tablespoons of milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
12 popsicle sticks

Prepare cake batter according to package directions; fold in apples.
Fill cupcake pan 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
In a saucepan, cook the caramels and milk over low heat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted pecans. Insert popsicle sticks in the center of each cupcake to resemble caramel apples.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Snickerdoodles!


Remember when you were a kid and someone's mom used to make Snickerdoodle cookies?

Not my mom...
My mom only ever made Italian Cookies at Christmas. And the occasional Chocolate Chip Cookies. It wasn't until I got older and moved out of the house and my mother really began to make other cookies.

And still only around Christmas.

Any rate, remember those Snickerdoodle cookies?
They were those light little round cookies sprinkled with cinnamon on top.

They were always so yummy. I always wanted to make them, but still never have.

The closest I came is making Snickerdoodle cupcakes. The recipe (posted below) found on Cupcake Fun.com.

An easy enough cupcake, the butter cupcake batter making a deliciously light textured cupcake. The frosting was totally not what I was expecting. I expected a buttercream-esque. Not Meringue Pie -esque.

I guess I should have known when the frosting recipce called for 3 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder. I have used the Wilton Buttercream recipe which calls for Meringue Powder so was expecting that. I have never made actual Meringue anything but I guess now I can't say that anymore.

I can't stand Meringue. Frosting that is. I am probably the only person on the face of this earth that actually scrapes the Meringue Frosting off my Lemon Meringue Pie.

YUCK!

The funny thing is my husband loved these cupcakes. And he is a classic tastes sort of guy. He doesn't like buttercream but loved the meringue on these cupcakes.
This was also my first foray into filling a cupcake. I have the filling tip #230 and while I thought it was easy enough I realize that I did not fill these with enough of the Cinnamon Cream Cheese filling as it was lost in the cupcake. Lesson learned.
See for yourself...

But for now, I'll stick to the cookies!
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

For the Butter Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon No-Color Almond Extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour.
Pour into prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling:

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup milk


In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and milk. Beat with mixer until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Fluffy Boiled Icing:

3 Tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water

Beat meringue powder and 1/2 cup cold water until stiff, about 4 minutes. In microwave safe bowl stir sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. In microwave bring syrup mixture to a boil (approx. 5 minutes). Remove, let mixture cool slightly (1-2 minutes).
Slowly add syrup to meringue mixture. Beat on HIGH for 4 minutes.

For top of range: Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to boil; cool slightly and follow directions above.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the icing for a traditional flavor!


Betty Crocker Fall Baking


I am the type of person that a grocery store owner loves.

The impulse shopper!

The longer I stand around in the grocery store, the more I buy. It doesn't matter if I have a list or not, I always seem to buy something that I don't need.

The worst offense is those small little cookbooks at the checkout stand. It used to always be the Pillsbury one but I have since bought a subscription. Now I am working on the Betty Crocker one.

I picked out the latest one for Fall Baking a couple of weeks ago and ended up making the Toasted Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting for the market.

I have posted the recipe below and would love to know your thoughts and comments.

I loved, loved, loved the Caramel Frosting. So delicious, tasty and easy! I will definetly be making this again. I wasn't completely, hopelessly, madly in love with the cupcake though. They were good, they just didn't knock my socks off. The icing was what made the whole ensemble.

Perhaps it was my mistake.

The recipe as you can see calls for toasting a cup of the almonds and then grinding in the food processor to get a fine ground almond. I already had ground almonds in the cupboard so I decided to use this instead.

Now I know that 1 cup of whole almonds is way less when it's all ground down. I searched for a comparison but couldn't find one so I ended up using 1/2 cup of my ground almonds. I think in the long run it still ended up being too much. The cupcakes were a little dry, not because of the cake mix but because of the texture of the ground almonds. Not too much but just a little.

But still, they were a good seller and I would make these ones again! A really great Fall cupcake!

Toasted Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 box of Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspooon almond extract
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow pan, bake almonds 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Reserve 1 cup almonds for garnish. In food processor, process remaining almonds until finely ground.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, almond extract and eggs on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. (Batter will be lumpy). Fold in ground almonds. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

For the Caramel Frosting:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

In a 2 qt. saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into brown sugar mixture. Place saucepan of frosting in bowl of cold water. Beat with a spoon until smooth and spreadable. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Frost a few cupcakes at a time with 1 tablespoon of frosting each; press reserved almonds lightly into frosting. Store loosely covered at room temperature.



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Elvis Has Left The Building!


Last month I tried a cupcake recipe that I found on Bake & Destroy. Natalie that writes on B & D makes some of the most amazing recipes and I always love to just pop over and see what she has done now.

I saw her posting for the Elvis Comeback Special. A scrumptious banana chocolate shaving cupcake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting, Drizzled with Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Cashews and a Cherry.

A great selling point with these cupcakes is they are Vegan. Now I have never cooked Vegan but after reading the recipe there was nothing that overtly special or hard about cooking Vegan. I have wanted to try Vegan cupcakes at the market for the simple fact that I think they will sell great.

So I made the cupcakes. And of course I forgot the soy milk and ended up using regular milk so the Vegan label went out the window but they still came out good.

These are now my most requested cupcake beating out the Cookies & Cream Cupcakes from "Crazy About Cupcakes".

There is just no other word to describe these cupcakes but scrumptious. They are amazing. My only complaint is they do cook up small but they are still wonderful. When I was pregnant I couldn't even smell peanut butter without it making me nauseous. Not only did the peanut buttercream taste delicious but I ended up eating the remainder of the frosting with a spoon! I topped mine with the sour cherry balls that Wilton makes. They worked beautifully.

Try the recipe for yourself....you won't be sorry!

And in the words of Natalie from Bake & Destroy, "Now, if you really want to go nuts with the Elvis theme, bake these in a gold foil cupcake liner and sprinkle each frosted cupcake with pain killers and muscle relaxers."

Classic!

Elvis Has Left The Building!
Cupcakes:
1/2 cup mashed over ripe banana
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2/3 cup rice or soy milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your pan with paper liners.Throw your mashed banana in a blender or push it through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps in it.Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl, mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, soy or rice milk, vanilla, almond and mashed banana. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, don’t over mix or you’ll get tough cupcakes. Small lumps are fine.Fill liners 2/3 full, top the batter of each cupcake with 1 tsp of finely chopped chocolate and use a toothpick to gently stir them in.Bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:

1/2 cup margarine, softened
4 Tbs. shortening
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbs soy milk

With an electric mixer, cream together margarine and shortening until smooth.
Add peanut butter, molasses if using and vanilla, beat until very smooth.
Beat in sugar, mixture will be very stiff.
Dribble in soy milk a little at a time, beating continuously until frosting is pale and fluffy.
Chocolate Ganache:

3 Tbs soy milk
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat soy milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Set aside to cool about 10 minutes, then use a piping bag or a fork to shake chocolate all over frosted cupcakes. The ganache will set up when cool.

I topped this with chopped cashews, you could use any kind of nut or some sprinkles. A candied cherry on top and the king has left the building.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla


I jumped on the bandwagon and tried Billy's Vanilla Vanilla last month.

I was so excited to try them too because I have heard how some bloggers thought they were so much better than Magnolia's and these "take the cake", if you will.

I even went out and bought Pure Vanilla Extract too.

I baked them up.

Decorated them.

Tasted them.

And was let down.

Form your own opinion and try the recipe. I didn't care for the texture and I thought his Vanilla Vanilla frosting was way too sweet.

Leave me comments and tell me what you think!

Here's the recipe:

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla


1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.
Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake.
Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy.
If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Gone a whole month...

and not one post! How could I have let that happen. A whole month without posting not one of our weekly cupcakes.

So now of course I have to do a recap!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Coffee In Food?


I hate that combination. I don't know why but I just do. I always have.

However, I know other people LOVE some form of coffee baked in their favorite baked good.

So, this week I decided to do a Mocha Cappuccino Chip Cupcake to sell at the market.

I was very hesitant on tasting them but they are truly divine.

Incredibly moist and not a strong coffee flavor but just enough.
I am thinking these are going to be a tremendously fast seller!

All Good Things Must Come To An End!


That is how the saying goes....right?

At any rate, six months ago I began taking the Wilton Method Cake Decorating Course1. I just began that course thinking I want to be able to learn a few techniques so I can make the next birthday cake for my sons.

Not only did I finish that course but I went on to take the next 3 in the series. This week I finished the Fondant & Gum Paste course.

I can't believe where I am at now compared to where I was when I started.

What started out as something very simple and for me has led my life into a direction that I never saw coming.

When I was a child my aunt was the cake decorator in the family. I never showed any interest in doing what she could do. Now, I have started my own cake business and currently have booked an average of 3 cakes a week for various occasions.

And yes, I do all this and still have time for my 20 month old twins.

The truth of the matter is it is one of the few things that I really, truly enjoy doing. To me it's relaxing (until something goes wrong...), and I love to be able to turn nothing into something.

It's something that I am really good at too. I joke that I swear I am a little OCD but in Cake Decorating this is a good thing. When it comes to my cakes I am a perfectionist. It's a very good thing to be a perfectionist and it can also be my downfall.

But I love it. And right now I wouldn't be doing anything else.

(Pictured is my final cake from the Fondant & Gum Paste course).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Recipes from your family are the best kinds of recipes. Tried and true they have been around years sometimes decades and centuries and are your favorite recipes. Because they bring back memories of when your family all gathered around to eat whatever it was that was made.

I feel like this with my family recipes at least.
When I finished college and finally had my own apartment my mother made me a book with all our family recipes in it. Ones from my grandmother and great-grandmother, and even more Americanized recipes from my mother. Foods that I loved eating as a child and into my teen years and well into my adult years.
When I was at the Public Market Saturday I saw some of the vendors selling the first homegrown zucchini of the season. I bought some (5 for $1.00) and normally my first thought would be to marinate and grill it for dinner one night. However, on Saturday my first thought when buying it was to make my grandmother's Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

And boy, oh boy, am I glad that was my first thought. I haven't had it in years and I loved watching my sons face when I gave him a mini-muffin (made from the leftover batter).

Here is the recipe (as hand-written by my mother). Enjoy!




Bread Baker, Bread Baker, Make Me Some Bread!




So do you see this????

I have had this breadmachine for almost 4 years. I received it as a Christmas gift almost 4 years ago. I gift that I asked for. I bought all the ingredients and made bread for Christmas dinner.

When the timer beeped I went to get the bread out and it was hard as a rock. Disappointed (and pissed off), I threw the bread out and stuck the bread machine in the basement where it has sat since that time.

On the 4th of July my husband and I were unpacking some boxes in the basement when I came across the bread machine and the manual. Of course I went all like "OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH my bread machine!" Totally forgetting about my last debacle with making bread.

Then yesterday when I took the boys to Wegmans I ran down the baking aisle and saw on display this...

Of course, knowing I did not have the ingredients to make homemade bread I bought the box swearing at how I knew it was going to fail because the machine is stupid, and hates me and why can't I learn to make bread the normal way.

Okay, when I say the normal way I am thinking back to when I was in the 3rd grade and our teacher Mrs. Tantillo did a theme around some book where Mrs. Hen wants to make the bread and she asks who wants to help and no one does so she Cracks The Wheat, and Grinds the Flour and Kneads The Bread and etc etc. At the very end everyone wants to eat the bread though and Mrs. Hen won't let them because her chicken ass did all the work!

Well anyway, I remember after that book Mrs. Tantillo showed us how to make real, homemade bread that we kneaded with our own hands. Which now looking back kind of grosses me out because who wants 30 sets of 3rd grader hands in their bread?

But I digress...

Back to trying to make my bread again in my machine.

I followed the instructions, and 3 hours later when I came home from having the boys haircut my house smelled so wonderful! And I had a fresh, homemade, perfect loaf of bread!

I recommend it to anyone with a bread machine and no time. (The box was $2.49 compared to the cost of buying bread flour, yeast, dry milk etc.)






Thursday, July 12, 2007

Can I Have S'More Please?


When I started Cake Crazed at the Rochester Public Market my main thought was I wanted to theme my cupcakes around the seasons and holidays. So what better way to celebrate Summer than good old fashioned S'mores.

You know S'mores. I think everyone has a memory of being around a campfire with a pack of graham crackers, marshmallows and a hershey bar. Even restaurants now sell gourmet versions of s'mores. That chocolately, marshmallowy, sticky goodness.

Yummmm.

For this week I themed our Cupcake of the Week the S'more Cupcake. I used the recipe found in Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella (the best cupcake book!). You start with her recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (found here... http://crazyaboutcupcakes.com/recipes.htm). I only had on hand 1 cup of mini chocolate chips so instead of the 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips I used my SS mini ones instead. I made her Marshmallow Frosting recipe and began to assemble.

Wow!

What a sticky, gooey mess!

I had marshmallow frosting everywhere! She says in her recipe for the s'more cupcakes to assemble, frosting, graham cracker, chocolate fudge, marshmallow and another graham cracker on top. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I had to simplify it just a little bit. So I did frosting, graham cracker, dollop of frosting and then grated sem-sweet baking chocolate. And actually I did some just plain with a graham cracker on top.

I packed them up for the market and saved one to try. I was getting a little frustrated trying to peel off the wrapper...I mean literally there was dripping marshmallow frosting everywhere! The wrapper kept sticking to my fingers and finally comes the moment of truth. I bit into my s'mores cupcake.

The heavens opened, the angels sang, I think even at one point I heard harp music coming from somewhere in the Cupcake Heaven.

The cupcakes are delicious!
I was quite impressed with just how easy they were, sure I had a ton of dishes to do when it came to being done but they were worth the extra work. Not bad I think for my first "from scratch" cupcake. (I have always started with a cake mix as a base).

I know they are sticky, and gooey and messy, not what I think about wanting when it comes to a cupcake but it's exactly what I think about when I think about a s'more.

And if that doesn't say summer, I don't know what does!
On an afternote, today is my 31st Birthday! And I told my husband I would not make my own birthday cake...but I never said anything about Cupcakes!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Our Flag Was Still There!


Hmmmmmmmm 4th of July!

A time for family get togethers, barbecues and fireworks.

And rain, a full, heavy, non-stop rain!

At least in my neck of the woods. So that meant no get together, no barbecues and no fireworks.

So instead I made these, I am calling them (for lack of better idea), my Red White & Blue Layered Firecracker cupcakes.

Nothing special for a recipe, just plain old white box cake mix. After mixing ingredients I took 1 1/3 cup of batter, added 1/2 teaspoon of red to get the red. And then did the same for the blue. (Leaving the white alone). Then I layered them in the cupcake liner and baked.

The icing is standard vanilla buttercream, piped through Tip #233 (to resemble a firework)!

Easy enough!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Craving A Margarita


My husband has me hooked lately on Margarita's. It must be the sweet combined with that salt! Gotta love Margarita Salt.

At any rate, I decided to make Margarita Cupcakes. I have been meaning to try this recipe for a couple of weeks now and just now got around to doing them. It was easy enough (aside from extra steps with the grating of the key lime zest and fresh key lime juice). They tasted incredible.

My only complaint would be the fact that that Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting was overpowering to the actual Margarita Cupcake. I had to get a bite of just cake to really taste the flavor but they are still delicious no matter what.

My one tweak to the recipe is I did not put the sugar around the cupcake (like a Margarita glass) because I did not want to make them too incredibly sweet. So instead I grated some extra Key Lime Zest and sprinkled them.

I also refrigerated them due to the cream cheese frosting and they held up just fine!

Margarita Cupcakes with a Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
1 package (18.25 oz. white cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
1 can (10 oz.) frozen Margarita mix, thawed (undiluted)
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes.

Directions
In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer. Stir in lime zest; mix completely. Fill prepared pans 2/3 full. Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely. Frost cooled cupcakes with icing and garnish, if desired, with a strawberry and/or lime twist

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest or lemon zest
4-5 cups confectioners' sugar
Yield: Makes about 3 cups icing.

Directions
In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, juice and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time; continue beating until light and fluffy.
If icing is too thin add additional confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

3 Down...1 To Go!


Since February of this year, I have been taking the Wilton Method classes for Cake Decorating at a couple of my local craft stores.

I recently just finished Course 3 Fondant.

Can I just say how much I love working with Fondant?

It's like playdough. And as a mom, playdough is something I excel at!

So at any rate, on Wednesday I had my last class of this course.

We were supposed to do a lot of the prep work at home for our final cake and then acutally do the final decorating in class. The day before I followed my instructions to a tee. I made all my fondant flowers and colored my lollipop sticks. (I had to color them because the store only had white...and I needed green.) Total prep time: 1 hour

On Wednesday I got up, got the boys up and began making my cakes. Since I was doing a 10" and an 8" I figured it would be a breeze. Until I reread the directions. I needed 2 layers of each. The problem....only one pan of each. So it literally took me 3 hours to make the cakes. I just wasn't comfortable putting two different size pans in the oven at once, I wanted them to bake correctly.

After they were baked and cooled I made my filling (raspberry whipped cream). I must say the VERY first time I have ever made any kind of whipped cream and I can't believe just how simple it really is. I leveled my cakes, and filled them and was ready for the fondant.

In the second class I made a square cake, and these ones were round. So I was a little nervous in putting my fondant on, but realized I had no reason to be. Putting fondant on a round cake is so simple! I put my fondant and let me tell you it was gorgeous! It was absoulutely perfect. Not one rip or tear or bubble, just simply perfect.

Now, for the stacking, also the very first time I was going to do a stacked construction. After reading the instructions for what seems like 12 times I sailed through it without a hitch. Now after a total of 6 1/2 hours of work and labor my cake was finally ready for class.

I live a total of 6 minutes away from the store. That 6 minutes felt like 26. The very last corner that I needed to turn, I think I took it a little too fast and the cake slid across the seat and hit the FLOOR!

I just couldn't believe it. Only minor damage that I was able to repair somewhat but my gorgeous, perfect fondant was no more. Oh well, live and let learn right?

I did manage to get it to class and do my final decorations and I was happy with how it came out. All in all, I had a total of 8 1/2 hours of my time into this cake. Now I understand why cakes in a bakery are such high prices. You don't pay for the materials, you pay for their time!

So now I am on to the next course, and the very last course in the Wilton series. Fondant & Gum Paste. At least I have a week off before it starts!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Summer Birthday!

Today is my brother Matt's 26th Birthday!

To celebrate he told me he would like to come over our house for Thai food and cake! Thai Food is being delivered via take-out from The King & I and the cake...well of course I volunteered to make the cake!

After looking for ideas and debating over what to do for his cake, I went with his tried and true favorite.
Box cake and fresh strawberries.

Of course, I had to do my take on it.

I made a French Vanilla Flavored Cake with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Fresh Homegrown Strawberries chopped in for the filling. For the icing I went with plain old Vanilla Buttercream.

I planned on putting Fresh Homegrown Strawberries on top but did not plan on a very humid day.

At first I put all the washed strawberries on top with the leaves and stems attached. Wouldn't you know it I didn't like the way it looked so I took them all off, cut the leaves and stems off and reattached all the strawberries cut side down. It looked much better but now I had an even bigger problem.
Because it is so hot and humid today the strawberries keep juicing and dripping. So I have strawberry juice just dripping down the side of the cake. I put it in the fridge to hopefully combat that...

Oh yeah, and I also placed a band of sliced strawberries around the base instead of piping a border. Regardless, I am sure he will like it!

And at any rate....

Happy Birthday Matt! You always were and will be my favorite brother!

(Okay, okay...I know you are the only one but still my thoughts and sentiments have to count for something!)

***** Update: We just ate the cake and OH MY GOD!!! It tasted like Strawberry Shortcake but with Buttercream. I think next time I would make homemade whipped cream instead of the buttercream but it was to die for!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's The First Day of Summer!


And what better way to mark the occasion then by baking some Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.

Okay so that is two fold...my real purpose was to try out the new recipe as a sample at the Rochester Public Market this weekend.
I found the recipe over at http://www.cupcakefun.com/ and have been meaning to try it for quite some time. At any rate I finally had all the ingredients so I thought let's celebrate Summer! (And coincidentally my 4th Wedding Anniversary).

At any rate, I really love these cupcakes. So incredibly moist and so "lemony" without being overpowering and mouth-puckering. I have tweaked the recipe somewhat to make it easier and more accurate. My biggest complaint is I was expecting a more "pink" cupcake! But when you pour the pink colored sugar into the wrappers and then the batter over that, it bakes looking like a layer. You get a thin pink layer (of sugar crystals) then the yellow batter. Next time, I won't bother tinting the icing pink and just do all yellow (I like the way the yellow ones look better than the pink.)

I thought the frosting upon initially tasting it was a little too sweet so even though my icing was not dry I added about 2 teaspoons more of lemon juice and it came out MUCH better!

In the grocery store last night the only really cute candy center I could find were these Pink Grapefruit Sour Jelly Candies and they were PERFECT on top!

The only other bad thing I could say about these cupcakes is the icing was WAY too soft to pipe a Tip 1M Rosette. So I just scraped it off and frosted them normally. Then when I was cleaning out my tip I noticed a little lemon rind clogging, so that might have been another reason why my rosettes were not looking well. But typically a medium consistency should be used for rosettes and this was definetly thin!

The recipe calls to put 1 teaspoon of the pink sugar in the bottom of the pan sprayed with cooking spray...I had no idea what they were talking about. When I looked at the pictures these were defintely made in a wrapper, with nothing heart about the pan..so I just spritzed a little, and I do mean a little of the wrappers with PAM and then just lightly coated the wrapper with the sugar. I think 1 teaspoon in each wrapper would be way too much!



It also says it makes 18 cupcakes...I got 24 and probably could have gotten another 2 or 3 additional.

Other than that, look for these at the Rochester Public Market soon! Because they are definetly a HIT!

Enjoy!


Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes:

Ingredients
12 teaspoons pink colored sugar
1 package white cake mix
Water (amount based on cake mix instructions)
3/4 cup thawed frozen pink lemonade mix (undiluted)
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon peel

Yield: Makes about 18 standard cupcakes.
Directions
Preheat oven 350°F.
Spray pan with vegetable pan spray; sprinkle 1 teaspoon colored sugar into each heart shape in the pan.
Add water to pink lemonade mix to total amount of water called for on cake mix package directions.
Follow cake mix package directions to prepare cake, adding chopped lemon peel.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

Lemon Buttercream Icing

Ingredients
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
Additional lemon juice or milk
Yield: Makes about 3 cups icing.
Directions
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add Lemon juice and zest; beat well.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
When all sugar has been mixed in, if icing is dry, add additional juice or milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Re-whip before using.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Becoming Part Of A Community...

The world famous Leftover Queen has created a wonderful way for all us foodies to develop a "blogging community".

It's called the Blogroll and it is a connection to a ton of Foodie Blogs.

It's an awesome idea, and I am honored to be a part of all the listings.

Check out the sidebar for the link...if you have a Foodie Blog, contact The Leftover Queen to join and become a part of it!

And don't forget to check out some of the other wonderful food and baking blogs on the blogroll!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Dessert....oh my!


The Answer:


Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Pie!


The Question:


What are my husband's two favorite desserts?


So what better way to honor him with a special dessert on Father's Day than to find a recipe that includes both of those in one?


This Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie did just that!


I don't even know where to begin...should I start at the top and make my way down?


The crispy cold chocolate?


The delicious dense filling of peanut butter that wasn't saturated with peanut flavor.


Or the chewy chocolate chip cookie crust?


Or the fact that I made my husband take the remainder of the pie with him to work, because I don't need to eat another 9 points in just one slice and ruin my diet?


What a wonderful dessert and a wonderful combination (and this is saying a lot from me because during my pregnancy peanut butter was one food I couldn't even smell without being nauseous and since that time I haven't wanted any).


Apparently, it was featured at the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1998! The only gripe I had with it, is once the chocolate sets it makes it hard to cut without snapping the chocolate and squishing the slice.


But it was truly divine!


Maybe you will even see this as a "special" dessert at Cake Crazed (at the Rochester Public Market, of course!)


Enjoy!


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie


Prep Time: 15 min ; Start to Finish: 1 hr 50 min

Makes: 16 servings


Ingredients:

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create 'n Bake® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies with walnuts

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup water

1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

16 pecan halves, if desired


1 . Heat oven to 350°F. In bottom of ungreased 10- or 9-inch springform pan, break up cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.

2 . In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and water until well blended. (If necessary, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is smooth.) Drop spoonfuls of mixture over baked cookie crust; press evenly to cover crust.

3 . Spread melted chocolate chips over peanut butter mixture. If desired, carefully swirl chocolate with fork. Garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set.

Let's Start At The Very Beginning...


Welcome to Cake Crazed!


First off a little about me...


Cake Crazed is a venture that was started in June of this year. It began basically as a hobby and a whim. My husband and I currently own and operate a stand in the Indoor Shed at the Rochester Public Market. Every Saturday for 52 weeks a year we sell bagels, coffee and assorted items at Johnny Mig's Bagels.


Well in February I began taking the Wilton Cake Decorating Method Courses. And so my love affair with cake decorating began. I am currently in Course III of the series and don't plan on stopping until I finish all four courses.


And that brings us to our latest venture. Cake Crazed. Cake Crazed will exist at the Rochester Public Market as a weekly cupcake display and special order cake service. I was inspired by people like http://www.52cupcakes.blogspot.com/ and I thought what better way to not only get our product and ideas out there than by establishing ourselves also at the Rochester Public Market.


Which that said, please visit our website (currently under development) at http://www.cakecrazed.com/ and stop by the Rochester Public Market every Saturday to pick up the weekly cupcake!