French Toast and Maple Bacon Cupcakes

February 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 22 Comments
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I know I said this post would be available on my blog today. It’s currently 10:45pm PST. I’m 1.25 hours away from breaking my promise. I’ve literally been sitting at my computer all day trying to write this post. But nothing seems to come out quite right.

This post is truly bittersweet for me. *tearing up*

Since I can’t seem to find the words, I’ll just SAY it.

I’ve decided to stop blogging on I Heart Cuppycakes. *let it sink in*

I still love cupcakes. I still love blogging. I still have my Facebook page and email if my readers wanna keep in touch. I’m sure I’ll still be posting cupcake related thoughts, products, reviews etc on Facebook. I’m leaving my cupcake blog up and will continue to pay for my domain every month b/c I think it would break my heart to give up my little space on the blogosphere. Also maybe it’s my way of saying, it’s not good bye… It’s until we meet again.

Thank you for all your love, support, comments, suggestions, stories these 4 years. I miss you all already.

Have one last cupcake on me.

French Toast and Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Life With Cake

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt (I used table salt)
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature (I used half-and-half instead)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp instead)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

For maple syrup buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon maple extract (I used 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup)

bacon, cooked* and crumbled, garnish
extra maple syrup, garnish

* I baked my thick cut bacon in a 375F oven for 10 minutes, then flip the bacon with tongs. Bake for another 7-10 minutes longer or until golden brown.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes–
Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, (I used a pyrex measuring cup) whisk together the milk and vanilla and set aside.

In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully combined before adding the next.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Continue mixing until batter is smooth. Set aside.

In a different bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed. Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the cupcake batter, until just combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make buttercream–
In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Continuing mixing until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the heavy cream and maple extract. Raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Using a Wilton 1M piping tip (or your favorite star tip) pipe frosting on cupcake. Garnish with crumpled bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
At first he was very skeptical about the bacon but he said he was pleasantly surprised that the “salt” from bacon was a really nice balance to the “sweet” from the frosting.

Wifey rating: A
These definitely reminded me of a delicious breakfast. The maple syrup buttercream is AH-MAY-ZING! I could eat it by the spoonful. Next time I bake these I might even add some bacon crumbles to the cupcake batter before I bake it to get some bacon in every bite!

Other rating: A+
I made these for my client for Valentine’s Day. All he said was “my girlfriend loves bacon” so I just went for it! He sent me a text later to let me know that his girlfriend LOVED the cupcakes and has requested them again for her birthday. What a great compliment!

5 Days of Love **Giveaway** (Day 5)

February 17, 2012 at 4:38 AM | Posted in giveaway | 35 Comments

Save the best for last.

DAY 5: I’m all about saving time. Baking is no exception.

So I’m giving away a SunBeam Cupcake Maker. REALLY?!? Yes. Really. Special THANK YOU to my anonymous hook up at Target.com. It’s fun to have hook ups. Esp at the red bullseye store. You know you’re jealous right now.

HOW TO WIN: What is something you do in your daily life to “save time”? Winner has been announced on my FB page!

FINE PRINT: Only USA and Canada shipping address eligible to win prize. Sorry international readers. :/

DEADLINE: Friday Feb 17th @ 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen at 12 midnight and announced on my FB page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet then you might wanna do that. lol

T-t-t-t-that’s all folks. Congrats to all the winners!

Hope you enjoyed my 5 days of love. ♥♥♥

Come back tomorrow for a bittersweet post and recipe. (That’s the only hint you get!)

5 Days of Love **Giveaway** (Day 4)

February 16, 2012 at 5:21 AM | Posted in giveaway | 7 Comments

Can you believe it’s Day 4 already??

(You can read Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 by clicking the links.)

I loved reading everyone’s comments about who they would bake a Giant Cupcake for and I hope you will all bake one for your special person (people) someday soon. It really is a lot of fun! My husband’s birthday is in 2 weeks and I’m thinking all this Giant Cupcake talk is inspiring me to bust out my Giant Cupcake pan soon too.

Okie dokie. Who’s ready for Day 4?

DAY 4: I’m not a big hat person but I LOVE beanies!

So I’m giving away a vanilla cupcake beanie (!!!) Did you know that vanilla is the MOST popular cupcake flavor in polls? Simple and classic. Special THANK YOU to Jessica of Crocheted Crafts for sponsoring this giveaway. You have no idea how many compliments I got on my chocolate cupcake beanie at the LA Cupcake Challenge. And it kept my head very warm and cozy. Bi-winning!

HOW TO WIN: I am not a fashionista by any measure of the word so my usual outfit is jeans, flip flops and my husband’s comfy hoodie. I’ll even wear flip flops in the rain. What is your favorite go-to outfit? Winner has been announced on my FB page!

FINE PRINT: Only USA and Canada shipping address eligible to win prize. Sorry international readers. :/

DEADLINE: Thursday Feb 16th @ 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen at 12 midnight and announced on my FB page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet then you might wanna do that. lol

Easy does it!

Come back tomorrow for the last day… Day Five. ♥♥♥

Trust me. It’s a doozy.

5 Days of Love **Giveaway** (Day 3)

February 15, 2012 at 5:26 AM | Posted in giveaway | 44 Comments

Thank you everyone for sharing your favorite birthstone with me. I knew I wasn’t the only chick out there that loves a little bling. You’ve given me quite a few ideas for future jewelry requests from my husband. haha

You can read a recap of Day 1 and Day 2 by clicking their links.

The fun’s not over yet! Ready for another giveaway??

DAY 3: I love cupcakes (duh!) especially when they are bigger than my head!

So I’m giving away a Wilton Giant Cupcake pan. I’ve made a few giant cupcakes and they are always a hit with the receiver. Check out this post for a few tips, hints and tricks to baking a giant cupcake!

HOW TO WIN: I’ve made a giant cupcake for my husband and my godson’s birthday. Who would you make a giant cupcake for and why? Winner has been announced on my FB page!

FINE PRINT: Only USA and Canada shipping address eligible to win prize. Sorry international readers. :/

DEADLINE: Wednesday Feb 15th @ 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen at 12 midnight and announced on my FB page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet then you might wanna do that. lol

How easy is that??

Come back tomorrow for Day Four. ♥♥♥

5 Days of Love **Giveaway** (Day 2)

February 14, 2012 at 5:14 AM | Posted in giveaway | 32 Comments

♥♥♥ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MINIONS! ♥♥♥

Thank you everyone for all your book recommendations! Looks like the Hunger Games is topping the must-read list right now. And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with reading cookbooks! It always has a happy ending *wink*

DAY 2: I love bling! Read (here) to see what you missed on Day 1.

So I’m giving away a cupcake necklace. The “frosting” is a pink glitter acrylic and the “cake” is etched wood on an 18″ chain. It’s pretty darn sweet. (No pun intended!)

HOW TO WIN: Even though my birthstone is Ruby, diamonds are THIS girl’s best friend. Which precious stone is your best friend? Winner has been announced on my FB page!

FINE PRINT: Only USA and Canada shipping address eligible to win prize. Sorry international readers.

DEADLINE: Tuesday Feb 14 @ 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen at 12 midnight and announced on my FB page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet then you might wanna do that. lol

Easy peasy.

Come back tomorrow for Day Three. ♥♥♥

5 Days of LOVE **Giveaway** (Day 1)

February 13, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Posted in giveaway | 37 Comments

I believe Valentines Day isn’t just about celebrating your spouse or significant other. It’s about celebrating everyone you love. And I LOVE my readers! So today starts my WEEK OF LOVE giveaways. I will be giving away something I love for the next 5 days.

Each day’s giveaway will only last less than 24 hours. If you blink, you might miss it.

DAY 1: I love to read!

So I’m giving away not 1 but 2 copies of Cupcakes, Cookies, Pies Oh My! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Special THANK YOU to my cupcake mentor, Alan Richardson and his publishers for sending me 2 copies.

HOW TO WIN: I just finished The Help and need a new book. Tell me about your favorite book or a current book you are reading. Would you recommend it? Should I put it in my Amazon cart right now?? Winner(s) has been announced on my FB page!

DEADLINE: Monday Feb 13 @ 11:59pm EST. Two winners will be chosen at 12 midnight and announced on my FB page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet then you might wanna do that. lol

It’s that easy.

Come back tomorrow for Day Two. ♥♥♥

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012

February 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Posted in blog event, cupcakes | 4 Comments
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This might be my favorite day of the year.

It’s the one place I can wear all my crazy cupcake gear and people think it’s cute instead of wanting to have me committed. Every where I turned people wanted to take my picture. It’s fun being a celebrity for the day. Although, the morning after, I’m seeing white streaks b/c of all the camera flashes now. lol

Yup, it’s that time again! I’m talking about the LA Cupcake Challenge 2012 in Hollywood. I am fortunate enough to be invited by Drink:Eat:Play (the event’s sponsor) and Dan Silberstein every year as Judge. Yes, he’s really that tall and I’m really that short.

Unfortunately last year I couldn’t make it so I was even MORE excited to go this year.

I brought my friend with me since my Husband declined my guest invitation b/c “… one year is enough for me…” HA HA! Wuss. Even though I prepared her I don’t think she REALLY understood the enormity of the event until she saw it with her own eyes. It might be one of the few times she’s been speechless and maybe a little scared.

I love this event because it’s very casual. My friend that came with me describe it almost like a wine tasting. There are various booths set up around the Renaissance hotel ballroom. After you check in at the front table you can go up to any booth, meet the bakers, sample their cupcakes, talk with other cupcake lovers and just enjoy the atmosphere. We met a couple at our table that even brought their own jug of milk! Hilarious.

(Top row: Friandise, Cake Mama’s, Cake Mama’s mini helpers, [Desi]gn Cupcakes, Sheree’s Sweets, Frosted Heaven)


(Bottom row: Bake U Happy (?), Dulcitas, Polkatots, Sugar Babies, Sugar Jones, My Delight)

I hope I didn’t make a mistake on any of the bakers above. Note to bakers: If you wear a shirt that has your cupcakery name on it it’s easier to remember you! Everyone was very sweet to take the time out of the line chaos to take a picture with me. Well… most everyone. But I’m a good girl and won’t mention names. All I’ll say is that name dropping does not a tasty cupcake make.

One of the highlights of the night was FINALLY meeting Elise of Cupcake Activist. Check out her blog in a few days. She does a MUCH BETTER recap of the cupcakes than I do. I was too busy eating!

Yikes! I have total cupcake beanie hair. I’m bummed I left my cupcake beanie in the car by the time we took a picture. It was actually on a whim that I had already left the hotel but then came back that we ran into each other. We’re cupcake friends in the blogsphere but we always seemed to miss each other every year in person. Can you believe she just had a baby?? She’s as beautiful inside as she is outside. Love her. ♥

Results will be posted on Eat:Drink:Play’s website on Tuesday. I will update with winners!

Everything was delicious! But you know how I know it was a success? My friend walked out with frosting on her arm. It had been there so long that it had crusted over. LOL

Wanna see who I voted for? I think I only gave out one or two 5/5 rating. –> CLICK HERE

A special shout out and THANK YOU to Rolling Stones Restaurant and Bar for letting us sneak in for Happy Hour at the last minute. After that 40 cupcake sugar rush, my belly needed the salt!

The double slider was to-die-for! (Not pictured b/c I ate it TOO fast!) And I could eat those garlic and parsley fries with spicy ketchup everyday!

[Insider spoiler: Dan mentioned to me that he's not sure if there will be an LA Cupcake Challenge 2013. Super sad face. I suggest that all my IHC minions bombard his facebook page with sad faces. Ssshhhhh. You didn't hear it from me.]

I could really go for a few more of those buffalo chicken wing cupcakes by [Desi]gn Cakes. How perfect would that cupcake be for today? I might have to see if I can recreate their recipe from memory. Until then… Here’s a recipe from Stephanie of Cupcake Project for Buffalo Chicken Wing Cupcakes for your Superbowl party.

Happy Superbowl to all my cupcake minions.

We’re a house divided. But that makes it more fun.

GOOOOOOO PATS!!

Who wants a battery powered sifter?

November 22, 2011 at 9:00 PM | Posted in giveaway | 2 Comments

I’ve got 2 lucky people that are getting one… right… now!

CONGRATULATIONS! to both winners.

Please email me with your shipping address within 48 hours or I will keep your prize for myself draw another winner. Nah. I’m feeling generous today since it’s Thanksgiving and all. I’ll give both winners 7 days.

Thank you everyone that entered. You’ve all given me some great ideas for my next crunkcake. Please don’t be sad if you didn’t win. My blogiversary is 23 days away (according to my nifty side bar count down). But that’s all the hint you get. *wink*

Ciao for now cupcakes.

Happy Birthday Scott **GIVEAWAY**

November 14, 2011 at 8:26 AM | Posted in giveaway | 56 Comments
Tags:

Hey so glad you came back!

Yesterday I mentioned in my post about my white thingamabob battery powered sifter. (Yes, that IS the technical term.)

And a promise is a promise!

Norpro 4 cup battery powered sifter (via Amazon.com)

Product description: The perfect sifter for those who have trouble turning a crank or squeezing a handle. This 4-cup capacity sifter is battery-operated; just push the button to run. Commercial flour is usually pre-sifted and compacted at the mill. Re-sifting make the flour fluffy again. Cakes, muffins, and breads are much lighter in texture when flour is sifted before being added to dough or batter. Stainless steel mesh screen is removeable to clean and will not rust or corrode. Plastic body and easy to clean. Great tool for Arthritis Sufferers. Requires C battery (Not Included)

Here’s how to win:

FINE PRINT:
(1) Only those who live within the US and Canada eligible to win prizes. (Sorry my international peeps!)
(2) Please make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.

To enter answer the question via comments:
1. What boozy drink do you think would make a yummy cupcake? Oh and somewhere in your comment you need to wish my friend, Scott, happy birthday. Any entries without “Happy Birthday Scott” will be ineligible!

Want an extra entry?*
A. Check out IHC’s Facebook page! Click the button and leave me a separate comment with your FB name so I can matchy matchy with the “People Like This” list. (+1 entry)
B. Twitter (@ihcuppycakes) about my giveaway and leave me a separate comment with the link. Click “x time ago” under your tweet for the direct link. (+1 entry)
C. Bake any IHC recipe and leave me a separate comment with your blog post link. Past recipes work too! Your post must mention my blog somewhere to be valid. (+1 entry)

* If I don’t see a separate entry, I will not count it. B/c I said so. :P

DEADLINE: November 20th @ 11:59pm EST

Winners will be chosen by Mr. Random Generator on November 22nd.

For 2 lucky winners, sifting will never be the same. Your wrists will thank you.

Good luck to all participants! (Ok, NOW I will start accepting bribes.)

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR PLAYING!

White Russian Cupcakes v.2

November 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Posted in crunkcakes, cupcakes | 12 Comments
Tags:

Me, Scott and Husband

Today is my friend’s birthday! (Well technically it’s on Tuesday but who’s counting?)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT!

My husband and Scott have been friends since high school. He’s the 6’3″ guy in the middle. Even though he’s actually bending down and I’m on my tippy toes, he’s still WAY taller than me! lol

His girlfriend, Laura, planned a fun filled day at the local park complete with Star Wars theme, bounce house, boce ball, nerf guns, kickball contest, pinata, pizza and ice cream cake. What every 32-turning-33-year-old needs to FORGET he’s turning 33 years old. HA HA!

Of course I was asked to bake cupcakes by special request of the birthday boy. When I asked Laura what flavor she replied with “BOOZE!” *fist pump* I have few different kinds of crunkcakes in my blog but I’ve been wanting to try a new version of my White Russian cupcakes. I knew this was the PERFECT time esp when I mentioned “kahlua?” and Laura said “You read my mind!”

Obviously Laura and I get along really well. Scott is a lucky man.

Pssst Scott. I’d love to bake some wedding cupcakes soooooon. No pressure. hehe

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Oh and before I get more than a few emails about the weird white thingamabob I’m using to sift the flour in the picture below… It’s a battery powered sifter!! My new favorite kitchen gadget. I LURVE it so much. No more carpel tunnel trying to get the last bit of flour or powdered sugar threw my sifter. And guess what? I’m giving 2 of them away! Courtesy of Amazon.com. More details tomorrow!


White Russian Cupcakes v.2
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 large egg + 2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream*
1/4 cup Vodka (I used Absolut vanilla vodka)
1/4 cup + 4 tbsp Kahlua, divided

* I’ve substituted whole milk with good results. You could probably substitute half-and-half too but I can’t guarantee results since I haven’t tried it in this recipe yet.

For Kahlua Swiss Meringue Buttercream**
5 large egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2-3 tsp Kahlua, to taste (I used 3 tsp)

** SMBC recipe makes a good amount. You could probably 1/2 the recipe if you use it sparingly for each cupcake but I’m a frosting whore so I like having more vs less.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating on low. Then add vanilla, Vodka and 1/4 cup Kahlua. (Be careful of splashing!) Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with heavy cream in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.


Fill each cupcake liner about 1/2 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While cupcakes are still warm, poke holes with a toothpick and brush cupcake tops with leftover 4 tbsp Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make Kahlua Swiss Meringue Buttercream–
Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8- 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add Kahlua and beat just until combined.


Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on the low to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.

-If using SMBC within a few hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature in a cool environment.
-If not, then store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring SMBC to room temperature. Beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes—
Using a Wilton 1M (or favorite star tip), pipe buttercream on each cupcake. I garnished mine with chocolate pearls and silver dragees for some extra bling!

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
He will always be a cream cheese frosting man but his second favorite is the swiss meringue buttercream. Crunkcakes aren’t really his favorite b/c of past bad booze memories but he really loved this one.

Wifey rating: A+
Holy yum! I’m so glad I decided to make these again with swiss meringue buttercream. I like my whipped cream version but the SMBC turns it up a notch and really punches the “white russian” flavor though.

Other rating: A+
Everyone raved about this cupcake and so many people asked me about the frosting. I’m telling ya! Once you go SMBC, you never go back!

Roses for Grandma

September 18, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Posted in non-cupcake | 5 Comments
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♪♫ Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Grandma Mary
Happy Birthday to you.
And many more… on channel 4…
♪♫

Oops! Sorry! I got a little carried away there.

Today Hubby and I are celebrating his grandmother’s 88th birthday with the rest of the family. I love Grandma Mary like my own Grandma. Actually she’s the only one I have left. Both sets of my grandparents have passed away. So every day that she is with us is a blessing.

Now Grandma Mary is still a vibrant lady who knows what she wants! Every year it’s the same thing. All she wants is the family to get together, eat dinner and spend quality time with her and each other. No gifts allowed! And she’s VERY serious about it. If you buy her a gift, she will return it and you’ll get a letter in the mail with the money back. So then we started buying her flowers. And she said “No Flowers! I don’t want my family to waste their hard earned money on something that will die in 3 days.” She’s a feisty one, I tell ya!

This year I’m not buying her a gift (per her wishes) but *I AM* giving her flowers. But I think she’ll be ok with these ones. *wink*

You can see how I made the Rose Cake on Amanda’s blog (here).

Her step-by-step pictures are way better than mine. The only differences are:
1. My frosting recipe. You CAN NOT have a red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting! Am I right?
2. I didn’t bother with covering the cake in frosting again over the crumb coat since I knew that the frosting roses would cover it.

Cream Cheese Buttercream
Recipe adapted from Wilton.com

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup of shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature (I used Neufchatel instead)
1 tbsp white vanilla extract
2 lbs (~8 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp milk, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large bowl, sift the powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream together shortening, butter and cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly add sugar mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add milk (if needed) to get your frosting to spreading consistency.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He’s always a fan of red velvet cake. Doesn’t matter if it’s not HIS birthday! HA HA!

Wifey rating: A+
I am in love with this buttercream. Even though I know this post isn’t about cupcakes, I think you need to fall in love with this buttercream too.

Other rating: A+
Grandma Mary and fam loved the cake. They asked me many times how I made the roses. If only they knew how easy it was! But that will be our little secret. *wink*

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats

September 5, 2011 at 2:58 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 6 Comments
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HAPPY LABOR DAY
… to ALL my dear cupcake freaks.

Labor Day always signals the end of summer for me. So the holiday is a little bittersweet. But it’s Husband’s 3rd most favorite holiday (besides #1 Thanksgiving and #2 Halloween). He loves any reason to get together with family, eat hamburgers from the grill and swim in Aunt Katie’s pool.

Aunt Katie is Todd’s aunt but even before we were married I was calling her Aunt Katie. When Aunt Katie told me that she loves chocolate+peanut butter (Who doesn’t??), I knew EXACTLY what I was making for her combination Labor Day-Birthday party.

I got the idea from my friend, Stef’s super delicious blog.

But you know me. I never follow directions. I always make changes. You can see Stef’s recipe (here). You know it’s bound to be delicious too.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats
Recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Martha Stewart and Cupcake Project

Makes 18 cupcakes

For one-bowl chocolate cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used E. Guittard unsweetened red dutch process cocoa)
1-1/2 sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water

For peanut butter cream cheese frosting
2-8oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used Neufchatel 1/3 less fat instead)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For chocolate coating
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate)
3 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking power and salt. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract and water.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the peanut butter, butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar 1/4 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency and taste. Add vanilla extract.

Using a Magic Tip 9ST round tip, pipe cream cheese frosting onto cupcake. Freeze to set frosting while making chocolate coating.

To make chocolate coating—
In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and oil and melt over a saucepan of simmering water.

Stir until chocolate melted and smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes—
Holding the cupcake upside down by the bottom, dip the cupcake into the chocolate until all the frosting is covered. (I think it’s easier to take the liners off.) Let excess chocolate drip off.

Then let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes so the chocolate firms up.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He’s a huge fan of chocolate+peanut butter like his aunt so I knew he’d love this one too.

Wifey rating: A
The chocolate and peanut butter combination is so classic and decadent esp in this cupcake. Yum!

Other rating: A+
All of my husband’s family raved between chocolate+peanut butter bites. The birthday girl loved them!

Cupcakes For Cousin Carrie

August 28, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 16 Comments
Tags: ,

My cousin Carrie is getting married on October 1, 2011 (Eek!) Actually she’s my husband’s cousin but we’re very close (she was a bridesmaid at my wedding!) so we always introduce each other as cousins. Not cousins-in-law. That sounds too forced. Just cousins. We’re use to the confused look. I can tell by peoples’ 15 second pause that they are debating if it’s rude to ask if one of us is adopted. lol

Carrie and me

So when her mom called me to ask if I’d bake cupcakes for her bridal shower, I said “OF COURSE!”

I got her bridal shower invitation and it had an understated bee theme. I remember talking to Carrie on the phone and loved when she said “I wanted a bee theme for my bridal shower b/c [fiance] is my honey!” She pretty much gave me creative license on the cupcakes. The only thing she requested was “cream cheese frosting”. So I took that idea and ran.

I immediately thought of my favorite cupcake cookbook, What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I consider Alan my cupcake mentor. I wish he lived closer so I could do more than just talk on the phone with him. (Hi Alan!!) So I knew their honeycomb cupcakes would be PERFECT for the bridal shower.

But you know me. I had to change it up a little.

Alan and Karen use canned frosting and cake mixes. Unlike other cupcake-ers, I have no beef with cake mixes and canned frosting but since I haven’t baked in a LONG time I decided to dig out my favorite vanilla cupcake, cream cheese frosting and sugar cookie recipes. But I don’t like black jelly beans. Blech! So I used chocolate covered almonds (bees) instead. Mmmmm!

Oh Ginger Spice, I’ve missed you…

Two days later. My kitchen is still a disaster zone.

No biggie. Oh honeyyyyyy! Your time to shine. ♥♥♥

Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson, Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski and Bake at 350

Makes 36 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For vanilla cupcakes
5 cups AP flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cup sugar
24 tbsp (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 large egg + 4 egg whites, room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I used half-and-half instead)

For honey cream cheese frosting*
2-8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted plus extra if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup honey** plus more for assembling honeycomb

* Depending on how much frosting you pipe on each cupcake, you may have some leftovers.
** Use the amount to desired honey taste.

For honey comb cookies***
3 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold (I used unsalted butter)
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp light corn syrup
yellow sprinkles (I used Cakemate from my grocery store baking aisle)

*** Cookies can be made up to 2 days advance and stored in a air tight container.

For “bees”
chocolate covered almonds
yellow gel food coloring
almond slivers

INSTRUCTIONS

To make honeycomb cookies—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl. Make sure you get everything that settles on the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly (That’s ok!). Knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl until it comes together.

Roll dough to 1/4″ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into hexagon shapes. If you don’t have a hexagon cookie cutter, you can print out the template I used (here). Place on baking sheet and let chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and lightly golden. Let cool completely.


Place yellow sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Microwave the corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl for about 10 seconds. Using a food dedicated brush, coat the cookie with corn syrup and dip in the yellow sprinkles to coat.

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low.

Then add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract and honey. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until you get desired consistency. Add yellow gel food coloring to desired shade. (I added about 5-6 drops)

NOTES: I reserved 2 cups of frosting for honeycomb cupcakes but in retrospect I really didn’t have to. Who cares if the center of the honeycomb is white frosting right? It gets filled in with honey anyways.

CUPCAKE 1: Honeycomb cupcakes
Spread the top of 13 cupcakes with frosting. Adhere 1 cookie on top of each cupcake. Arrange 5 cupcakes on a serving platter and 4 cupcakes on each side. Position the cookies to form a honeycomb.

Pipe frosting in random places along the honeycomb and attach a chocolate covered almond. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

Add 1 tbsp of honey in the middle of each cookie right before serving.

CUPCAKE 2: Beehive cupcakes
Using a Magic Tip 9ST (or your favorite round tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Add 1 chocolate covered almond on top of frosted cupcake. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with yellow frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: A+
Is there anything BETTER than a cupcake garnished with a sprinkled decorated cookie? I don’t think so! Since I’m a frosting girl, I loved the honey cream cheese frosting but I might up the honey quotient next time to really get the honey punch of flavor.

Other rating: A+
Cousin Carrie and all guests RAVED about the honeycomb cupcakes. But the BEST compliment came from my Niece Allison (age 18 months).

I told you. lol

Breakfast of Champions Cupcake

August 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 8 Comments

Good morning my dear cupcake freaks!

Now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve committed a cupcake sin. I’ve concocted a cupcake that has no actual cake in it. Lemme give you some background. While I was trolling around the internet last night for a meatloaf recipe (I just really wanted mealoaf last night!), I found the famous meatloaf cupcake and then I had an ephiphany! I want to create a breakfast cupcake. I mean if meatloaf and mashed potatoes gets it’s own cupcake then GOSH DARN IT, breakfast should too! So that’s what I did!

I found Julia’s Bacon and Egg Cups recipe and “cupcaked” it. You know me. It’s not a cupcake without some “frosting” and “sprinkles”. The frosting was inspired by my Husband’s mom, my Mother-in-Love. (Mother-in-law sounds so stuffy and formal to me. She’s so much more than that!)

Every Christmas morning, my husband and I open presents with his family and have breakfast. I love Christmas morning breakfast. Scrambled eggs, monkey bread, cinnamon rolls, french toast, fruit, omelets… The first year I ate breakfast with them there was this pink-ish dip and everyone was eating their scrambled eggs in it. I remember whispering to my Husband “Umm… what’s that?!” He replied, “You have to try it with your eggs! You’ll never go back to ketchup again.” Oh baby. He was right.

PS- Check out my nifty new SHARE buttons below. You can find the new print button there too!
PPS- I really appreciate all my fans’ support when I joined Weight Watchers. Since many of you have emailed me questions about Weight Watchers and asked about my progress… Please check out my weight loss+running blog –> http://seecupcakerun.com


Bacon and Egg Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Salsa “Frosting”
Recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body <– Don't we all wish we had THAT problem? lol

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
For “cupcakes”
12 slices bacon (I used thick cut maple bacon)
8 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and extra for garnish
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

For “frosting”
2-8oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel instead)
1/2-1 cup salsa (I used 1 cup Pace Picante chunky mild salsa)

1 slice of bread, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
To make “cupcakes”–
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat cupcake pan with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, whip the eggs, salt, pepper and cheese with a fork. Wrap 1 piece of bacon around the inside of each cupcake tin.

Fill each bacon lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the egg cups are golden brown and don’t jiggle. Use a knife to remove from each tins.

Let cool slightly while you make the frosting.

To make frosting–
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, add cream cheese and salsa. Mix until well combined.

Using a Magic Tip 9ST or your favorite round tip (just make sure that the tip opening is big enough for the salsa chunks to fit through), pipe frosting onto each cupcake.

Garnish with shredded cheese and piece of toast.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A+
He said they are good without the “frosting” but GRRRRREAT with the frosting.

Wifey rating: A+
I love breakfast foods and when you make it a cupcake, it’s EVEN better especially when this self-proclaimed cupcake liner addict is using bacon as an edible cupcake liner. Is there nothing bacon can’t do?? Yum!

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

August 12, 2011 at 8:59 PM | Posted in blog event, non-cupcake, random | Comments Off

As a blogger, the internet has made the world much smaller even though the miles span the globe. I have met so many amazing inspiring people that touch me in different ways. People that have introduced me to food, laughter, stories and their loved ones. People that have let me in their home albeit through my computer but I am flattered every time. I have no doubts we’ll be seeing webcams in 3D soon and I’ll be sporting those ugly glasses someday.

But I digress.

I did not know Jennifer that well. We’ve had a few twitter conversations (all relating to cupcakes. Go figure!) But when I heard that she had lost her soulmate my heart hurt for her. I immediately thought of my own husband. Just the thought made me tear up. I knew I had to do something. But what?

I didn’t have to look far. Her blog had the answer. Bake a peanut butter pie for Mikey. (You can find the recipe on her blog.) And “… share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

Jennifer’s words were wise. I did exactly what she said.

I kissed my husband.
I hugged my nieces.
I laughed with my parents. (My Father-in-Law tells the best stories!)
I shared pie with my brother, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

I thought I was doing something for Jennifer and Mikey but I realized that night, surrounded by all the people that I love, that she’s the one that gave me the gift. The gift of quality time.

Thank you Jennifer.
Rest in peace Mikey.

You are loved. —> There is no greatest gift in this world. ♥♥♥

Click (here) to see all the Peanut Butter Pies for Mikey. It’s inspiring.

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