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Posts tagged ‘cupcakes’

The most honest cupcake you will ever eat.

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Something weird happened this week. I’m talking borderline supernatural…

I played with a baby, and it was a lot of fun.

Umm…okay…what’s your point…

If you know me but at all, you know that children, specifically babies, make me extremely uncomfortable. I never really knew why, but the idea of holding a baby made me shiver. Yes, they’re cute, but I think it’s because they’re so freaking honest. And small.

As an adult, it’s hard to tell sometimes if other adults like you or not. They’ll tell you how adorable your skirt is, laugh at your jokes, and then go talk to Suzie Gossipsalot about how that is the ugliest effing skirt she’s ever seen, and how that joke wasn’t even funny…and that you’re probably a racist. Great. You’ll never know. Unless Suzie Gossipsalot comes back to tell you what a witch Patty is for talking about you behind your back.

I did say “adult”…right? *sigh*

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But babies…babies don’t hold back. If they don’t like you, they won’t go near you, they’ll glare at you, they’ll avoid you at all costs. That is, until someone hands them over to you, in which case they scream bloody murder.

I’m pretty sure I’d get the point if I walked up to someone and they started screaming and crying. It doesn’t get much more blunt than that. Awkwaaard.

But that was my fear with babies. What if they don’t like me?! And, what if I break it? <– Although that’s a different issue.

This baby, my cousin’s beautiful, happy, silly baby, was such a joy. And I realized how incredibly obsessed I am with her when I woke up this morning. Instead of repinning crafts I’ll never make on Pinterest, I was looking at baby clothes to send to this adorable little muffin. What has happened to me?!

Oh shiznit. I think I’m growing up. Yikes.

I’m not ready to grow up. I still want to live in my own little Kate world, do my own little Kate thing, and be my own little selfish Kate person…for now. Crap! There I go again.

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These cupcakes have the honesty comparable to that of a baby: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes. What you see is what you get. There’s even a cookie on top, for cryin’ out loud! If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies, you will not like these cupcakes. If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies…I can respect that, but…what the heck, man?

In all seriousness, though, these are pretty darn good. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite, and I turned them into a miniature cake that tastes like you’re eating the dough right out of the bowl (without the risk of salmonella – score!). Tell me how that can be a bad thing.

They’re comfort food, they’re sweet, they totally hit the spot, and they won’t judge your adorable vintage skirt…

…because it’s a cupcake. Come on.

Be honest, you want these.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Beat butter and sugars together until creamy and pale.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.

5. Add vanilla.

6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat until combined.

7. Put about 1 tsp of flour in a ziplock bag with chocolate chips. Shake the bag around to ensure each piece is coated in flour. (This helps the chips from falling to the bottom of your cakes.) Fold chips into batter.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp milk
2 1/2 – 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1. Beat butter until creamy.

2. Add sugars and beat until smooth.

3. Add flour and beat until combined.

4. Add milk and vanilla.

5. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until desired consistency is reached.

6. Frost!

I used my cookie recipe to make the miniature cookies on top, but I baked them for about 10 minutes, let them cool, and placed them on my cupcakes for an added treat.

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And, incase you’ve forgotten, Event Blossom’s blog is kicking butt! It’s full of great craft ideas, as well as tons of products to put that finishing touch on your next party. Look how adorable those striped cupcake wrappers are from the Cupcake MOD Party Kit! The blog has been up for ONE YEAR! Happy anniversary, and congratulations, guys!!

Bon Appétit!

Dark-chocolate resolutions for a bright 2013

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Welcome to the time of year where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to pack your gut that you worked so hard to flatten for the summer, with butter, sugar, and booze. There’s a time-limit to this moment, though. It ends the moment you wake up on January 1st (for most people, anyway).

That’s right, I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. Dun dun DUNNNN!

I took the liberty of looking up the most popular “commitments” people make at the beginning of each year.

Of course, the most faddish resolution is to “get in shape” and lose those elusive 15 pounds that seemed to creep out of nowhere and attached themselves to your innocent thighs. I’ve tried this resolution, and if I remember correctly, I ended up gaining weight because all I could think about was food that brings those pounds out of their hidden cave. Then I stuffed my face. That, and the fact that I write a baking blog. Um, duh.

Another popular resolution? Eat healthier. See above.

A third? Drink less alcohol. I think I always say this on the 1st. I blame the 31st.

One of the lists I read included “learn something new.” What? That’s ridiculous. If you’re not learning at least ONE thing every single day, you’re not awake. You’re probably dead. And I think I speak for the rest of the world when I say that we’re not quite ready for the zombie apocalypse yet. So wake up, and learn something, you scary, scary robot.

Am I talking about robots or zombies? Wait…what?

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What I’m getting at, is that these resolutions are so impersonal. I’ve made a short list of things I will commit to for 2013. Want to see? If you don’t…boo on you. Because I want to hear about yours.

1. Take more pictures. I feel like a lot of people say this. This doesn’t mean pictures of me and my friends, although I love those. I mean taking pictures of things I find beautiful around me — meaningful things that catch my attention. Trees do that for me. Call me weird, I don’t mind. This might even mean investing in a camera! Ooh, hello, idea lightbulb.

2. Get a piece of art for my apartment. My walls are bare. It’s kind of sad.

3. Take a trip with my roommate. We decided we wanted to go on a cruise. I fully support this idea, and I have every intention of executing it.

4. Drink a little less coffee. I’m not going to cut it out, but maybe ration myself to two cups a day. Or leave one shot of espresso out of my Americano. I should probably be more decisive on this.

5. Be more decisive about the coffee situation.

6. Bake more. I bake a lot, obviously, but I have a zillion ideas in my head that I need to make reality, like, NOW.

7. Tell you about these chocolate cupcakes.

Okay, the 7th item on the list is happening in 2012, but hey, nothing wrong with being ahead of the game, right?

These cupcakes would make Count Chocula blush. It’s serious business. I took my chocolate cake recipe, tweaked it a little, made my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe, tweaked that a little, and the next thing I know I have these chocolate cupcakes that are so rich, they make Donald Trump look like an orphan.

What did I do differently? More of the onyx cocoa powder, and more sugar. I intentionally made the buttercream slightly salty. It cuts the sweetness a little. Maybe next time I’ll add caramel.

Wait, did I just accidentally make a potential salted-caramel cupcake (also known as one of my all-time favorites)?!?

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Ohhhh 2013 is going to be good.

Salty-Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp onyx cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Sift cocoa powders, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat eggs and vanilla until slightly fluffy, about 45 seconds.

4. Add dry mix, beat for 30 seconds.

5. Add oil and beat until combined.

6. Add cream in two portions, waiting until the first addition is blended in.

7. Add warm water and beat until smooth.

8. Fill liners 1/2 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Salted Chocolate Buttercream:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp onyx cocoa powder
1 packet instant hot chocolate powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat butter and cocoa powders, and hot chocolate mix on high until thick.

2. Add salt and vanilla. Beat until combined, and then beat on medium for an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream alternatively in 3 additions, starting with the heavy cream, beating well between each addition.

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Bon appétit!

 

Summertime on Cloud Nine

Let’s play a game.

It’s called “Where Is This Blog Post Being Written?”

Here are the rules:

Guess where this blog post is being written. Complicated.

Don’t cheat. (If you do, that just means you’re a creepy stalker. I don’t think you want to live with that.)

I think you’ll do fine.

So, here goes.

I have a (free) mimosa in my hand.

Tiny ear buds are humming Frank Sinatra’s voice into my head.

I’m in a pretty comfortable leather seat.

I’m looking at tiny blips of white surrounded by large areas of green and brown thousands of miles beneath me.

There’s also a layer of mashed potatoes underneath me.

Not too far behind me is a small child, who initially decided to scream its head off, but then (smartly) ceased.

Where am I?

In the air!

If you guessed anything but an airplane, I’d like to know your answer and then pick at your brain.

I’m well on my way to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my very best friends in the world. Yay!

I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now. The past week at work was not only tolerable, but I generally had a good time. What?! Cray. I know.

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-night after-work IHOP run with my darling boyfriend. I (shamelessly) scarfed down some blueberry pancakes. I was also told I have giant eyes. Whatever that means.

I woke up this morning, got dressed, put my face on, had a nice little conversation with a coworker, and headed to the airport. Did I mention I’m flying First Class?

Yeah, I’m flying First Class. I’ve never done it. The best part so far, aside from the complimentary mimosas the stewardess is throwing at me, is the line cutting! Mwahaha. I must have saved about an hour of waiting because of this “First Class” status.

When things like this excite me, does that mean I’m getting old? I mean, first I’m overly stoked about my new car having amazing gas mileage, and now I’m excited about short lines?

Stewardess! I need another mimosa. This is too much to handle. I’m not old…yet.

 

Speaking of getting old, my birthday is soon. Which, ehh, I’m not overly excited about. But it does make me think back to when I was a kid. Sleepovers, Back-to-School Nights, Poptarts for breakfast…ahh to be a child.

One thing I vividly remember as a child, is lemonade stands. My next-door neighbor and childhood BFF, Jessica, and I used to have one every year. I mean EVERY year. Tradition. It always seemed to be right after the gardeners overly trimmed the trees. I’m sure the majority of our sales came from our parents and other close neighbors, but it didn’t matter. It was fun. We were fun. We were cool kids.

Some smartypants friend of mine suggest Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to me a few weeks ago. GENIUS!

The cake has a slightly tart taste, and paired with the cream cheese frosting (infused with lemon-lime soda) and you’ve got yourself a lemonade stand in a cupcake wrapper. That can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Enjoy, my fellow childhood lemonade-standers. Reflect on the goofy memories. Smile.

In the meantime, I’ll be frolicking in Seattle, being fabulous as I take a huge bite of a much-anticipated Trophy Cupcake and laughing over God knows what with an amazing friend. “She’s good for your soul,” says my mom. I must agree.

MAKE THESE CUPCAKES!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour minus 6 tbsp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweetened instant pink lemonade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and instant lemonade in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter until fluffy and pale.

4. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

6. Add vanilla and strawberry cream cheese. Beat well.

7. Alternately add milk and flour mixture, beating well between each addition.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Lemon-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.

3. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until completely blended.

4. Add soda and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

5. Allow the frosting to set. It will initially be runny.

6. Frost them cupcakes! Then shamelessly shove it in your mouth.

For instructions on how to candy the lemons, see this recipe for Grapefruit Cupcakes and you’ll be all set. 🙂

Like what you see? Check out the Pink Cake Party Kit over at Event Blossom!

I think they complement these little beauties quite well. 😉

Bon appétit!

Quality time with me, myself, and I. And some chocolate mousse cupcakes.

Do you ever feel like you need some “me” time?

I don’t mean me time, as in, time with me specifically. Although I’d be delighted to get together sometime.

I mean you time. You have you time, I have me time. Our time. But not spent together…

This is getting mildly complicated.

I do my best thinking during “me time.” And since I hardly ever get any, I value these little dates I have with myself. Don’t forget, I’m an only child, and therefore I hold this precious solitude near and dear to my heart. I do love spending time with the people most important to me. Margaritas and sarcastic banter with my boyfriend definitely top the list. And of course gossip and soul-searching with my best friend make any day better. But occasionally, I absolutely, positively, no doubt about it, need some time to myself.

I don’t really plan this time. And I usually end up doing something random that I don’t think any one else would enjoy participating in.

The activities that occur during “me time” include (but are not limited to):

– Watching dumb TV
– Reading Fifty Shades of Grey (at least that’s the case lately…)
– Writing for funzies
– Browsing cooking stores like Sur la Table or Williams-Sonoma, and ultimately buying a hot pink spatula because it’s freaking adorable. (this happened last week…)
– Painting my nails
– Going for a run
– Busting out a Grammy-worthy a cappella solo of “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble’
– Playing fetch with Kitten
– Venturing on the ever-so-dangerous Amazon.com
– Driving down Pacific Coast Hwy
– Baking…duh.

These things seem a little mundane, but my “me time” isn’t about extremes. I’ll save the base jumping and fire-swallowing for another time. My inner diva wants to unwind, and if watching Friends reruns and throwing together a batch of chocolate chip cookies makes her happy, I can’t (and won’t!) contest.

I strongly urge you to pencil yourself in for some “me”..err…”you” time. Times are getting tough? Breathe. Take a moment to realize that no matter what, the sun is still coming up tomorrow.

My mom always tells me that. It’s smart.

Browse a magazine. Go for a hike. Be a trendy hipster and sit in a Starbucks and write your Nobel-Prize-winning novel while sipping a cappuccino. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it, and make sure that it is what you want to do, not necessarily what you need to do. There’s a difference.

As for myself, as the title of this blog implies, baking is my main source of “me” time. And this week, I reeeeally enjoyed myself. I made chocolate mousse filled cupcakes.

I made an angel food cake, filled it with chocolate mousse, and topped it with a white chocolate buttercream. It felt so wrong, yet so, so right.

Chocolate Mousse Filled Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Mousse
I had never made mousse before, so I got the recipe from the Joy of Baking and made a few minor tweaks.

8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
10 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz bittersweet chocolate

1. In a double-boiler or a saucepan with simmering water and a heatproof bowl on top, medium heat, melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally at first, then continually. Once the chocolate has completely melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.

3. Gradually add 5 tbsp of sugar, beating the egg mixture until soft peaks form and it look glossy. You don’t want it to get dry.

4. In another bowl, beat the whipping cream, remaining sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.

5. Add a few dollops of chocolate into the egg mixture to lighten, and then transfer the egg whites to the chocolate bowl. FOLD the two together. FOLD in the whipped cream.

Make sure to fold — not stir, not beat. Fold. This will keep the mousse airy.

6. When everything is completely combined, transfer the mousse to an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Angel Food Cake Cupcakes

10 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.

4. Gradually add sugar, and beat until fluffy. The mixture should look glossy.

5. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until combined.

6. Gradually add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Beat until just combined. Do not over mix.

7. Fill cupcake wrappers 1/2 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.

White Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
10 oz (1 bag) of white chocolate chips

1. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Set aside to cool.

2. In a separate bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy.

3. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to desired consistency.

4. Beat in vanilla.

5. Add melted chocolate and beat thoroughly.

Check out Kim’s blog for great ideas on how to use the Wedding Shower Party Kit!

I can’t imagine guests would be disappointed with cupcakes like these in these adorable wrappers…

Enjoy YOUR “me” time! We’ll get together soon.

Bon appétit!

Girls just wanna have…Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes!

I love wearing high heels. Something about them makes me feel more…womanly…and girly…all at the same time. If the opportunity presents itself, you can bet that I’ll be sliding on 4 1/2 inch heels in some obnoxious color. My favorites? A ridiculously gaudy pair — glittery pink, with a chrome-looking heel and base.

There’s also a big obnoxious glittery pink bow.

I. Love. These. Shoes.

Seriously. It might be an issue. (An..Ish-shoe..if you will…*badum tish*)

Allow me to inform you that I’m not the girliest girl out there. I’ll choose my favorite pair of black jeans before ever even glancing at a skirt. Eight times out of ten, you’ll see me in flip-flops and a tank top. Oh, and a cardigan. I can’t possibly talk about my wardrobe without at least one mention of a cardigan.

What am I getting at? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, regardless of what kind of girl you are — sporty, punk, all-American, indie, sexpot, trendy, goth, hobo, dirty, closet-blind — there is a little voice inside all of us that craves a spark of girly-ness.

It’s fun, and you know it. (I’m talking to you, hobo-dresser!) Embrace it.

Barbie was never my doll of choice. Some chick-flicks bore the crapola out of me. I can’t even fathom the thought of pulling a Paris Hilton and carrying a tiny dog in my purse. Pink? Yeah, not my favorite color. But there is no denying the inner diva that lurks somewhere between category “Converse All-Stars” and category “Prom Dress.” She loves high heels and dresses. And I love her for loving them.

It’s this diva that reminds me why I love being a girl. Cyndi Lauper was on the right track…yes, we do just wanna have fun. But don’t forget, Ms. Lauper, that we also want to kick butt at work, nab a prince charming, and invent a way to eat a chocolate cake without having to yank and squeeze our way into skinny jeans…all while looking fab.u.lous. *snaps*

Okay, so maybe I got a little too girls-rule-and-boys-drool there. But I mean it! (Maybe minus the snap…that was a little embarrassing.)

That same diva wants me to me introduce you to this very feminine Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake. She’s beautiful on the outside — an airy strawberry buttercream on top of a yellow butter cake. And of course, a dollop of whipped cream. When you bite into her, she surprises you with…what? Oh yeah, strawberry jam! BOOM BABY.

Girls rule. Boys don’t really drool. Well some of them might…and I highly suggest you stay away from them.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until smooth and pale.

4. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy.

5. Add brown sugar, beat until combined.

6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla.

7. Alternately, add the milk and the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined between each addition.

8. Add butter flavoring and beat until incorporated.

9. Fill cups 1/2 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Strawberry Buttercream

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups strawberries (measure strawberries before you puree)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Puree strawberries using a food processor or blender. Strain berries so there are no seeds.

2. Beat butter until pale.

3. Add one cup of sugar at a time, being sure to combine well between each addition.

4. Add vanilla and strawberries. Beat well.

If the consistency is not to your liking, add more sugar

5. Let set in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Filling the cupcakes

1. Using a cupcake corer or small knife, cut a hole into the center of each cupcake.

2. Place jam in a pastry bag (for more control, and also, it’s neater) and fill each cupcake until jam is just below the surface.

P.S. Be sure and check out Kim’s latest post about the Girl Baby Shower Party Kits which you may purchase by clicking HERE! Aww, so sweet! (pun intended)

Bon appétit!