“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!” ~Rabbit

April 14, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 20 Comments
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Ten days late to be exact.

Was Easter really 10 days ago? Wow. I’m losing track of time (not to mention my mind)!

This month has been extremely busy at the Cuppycakes household. I had/have multiple Easter cupcake orders, 2 birthdays, Cupcake Hero, Food Blogger Bake Sale and various school functions to bake for. Add all that and being sick on my days off (Arrrgghhh! The gods are against me!), well you can imagine, it’s been NUCKING FUTS over here! (It’s not cussing if I change the order of the letters right?)

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining about how busy my kitchen has been lately. I embrace all orders and I still feel so flattered that ppl actually wanna pay me to bake them cupcakes. Me? Little ol me. It’s kinda surreal when I think about just a few years ago I could barely fill the cupcake liner without it overflowing. Every. Friggin. Time. Remember those days, Nikki? Good times…

I just feel like I’m constantly saying SORRY READERS these days. It’s actually brought me to a point where I am contemplating giving up Cupcake Hero for lack of time and energy so I don’t have to say SORRY READERS quite as often every month. I haven’t made any firm decisions yet though. B/c I love Cupcake Hero. It was the first foodie event I ever participated in. I have a special place in my heart for it. I don’t want it to die. Any suggestions about how to keep the integrity of Cupcake Hero alive with lower maintenance would be welcome.

And if you are gonna ask me if I’d like some *whine* with my cupcake.

I’ll say… Yes Please. Make it Moscato. Thanks for asking.

And one more… SORRY READERS… for the road.


Alice in Wonderland Easter Rabbit Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from What’s New, Cupcake by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

Your favorite 12 vanilla cupcakes recipe, cooled to room temperature
canned vanilla frosting (I used 2 cans Duncan Hines classic vanilla)
white fondant (I used Satin brand)
bunny cookie cutter
24 mini chocolate chips
24 mini marshmallows
12 jumbo marshmallows
84 mini heart sprinkles
24 jumbo heart sprinkles
uncooked thin spaghetti noodle
coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

To make fondant bunny ears—
Roll out fondant to about 1/8″ thickness. Use the bunny cookie cutter to cut out the “ears” and let dry on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet overnight to become firm. I always make more than I need b/c it’s inevitable that more than 1 will crack and break.


To make bunny feet—
Cut each jumbo marshmallow in half. Arrange 3 mini heart sprinkles as toes at the top of each marshmallow half and 1 jumbo heart as the foot pad on the bottom. (If sprinkles don’t stick on their own to the fresh cut marshmallow, you can also use some corn syrup to make them stick.) Repeat for all jumbo marshmallows until you have 12 sets of feet.

To assemble cupcakes—
Dollop a good amount of frosting on the top of the cupcake. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting out around the edge and create a “mound”. Place a donut hole close to one edge of the frosted cupcake. Let chill in freezer for about 15-20 minutes until firm.

Cut a slit 2/3 way down in the donut hole. Spread more frosting around the donut hole being careful to keep the slit visible. Add frosting to both sides of the fondant ears as “glue” and insert in the slit in the donut hole. Don’t press down to hard or the donut hole (rabbit’s head) could break in half.

Cover the rabbit body and head with shredded coconut. Add frosting to the back of the rabbit feet and press gently into the cupcake. You might have to hold it for a little bit to get firm and stick. Push 2 mini marshmallows right under the donut hole off to the side for the hands. Add 2 mini chocolate chips (points into the frosting) for the eyes. Break off thin spaghetti noodle into 1/4″ increments and insert for whiskers. Add a mini heart for the nose. Repeat steps for additional rabbits.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
As soon as he saw them he proclaimed them “Alice in Wonderland” rabbits. I think it’s the red hearts.

Wifey rating: A+
Ever since he said that I’ve been thinking about how to make a Cheshire cat cupcake. I’ve been doodling frantically in my notebook. If you have What’s New Cupcake at home, don’t you think that the Tail Of 2 Critters on page 92 could be changed into the Cheshire Cat? I have a feeling I know what my next project will be!

Other rating: A+
I made these for our family’s Easter dessert and everyone loved them. My husband’s youngest cousin (13 years old) ate 2 rabbits and proclaimed that frosting and donut holes are “… da bomb!” HA HA

National Food Bloggers Bake Sale

April 6, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 2 Comments
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Eep!

I know I still have to post about who won Cupcake Hero::March *AND* post Easter bunny cupcake how-to instructions but… there’s something a little more pressing that I have on my mind first.

Two words.

Childhood hunger.

I know you’ve seen the sponsored commercials on TV or Sandra Lee on your 10lb C&H sugar bag right? I know I have. It always makes me stop and think of my own life. How lucky I am. I never wonder where my next meal is coming from. Can you even imagine if you had to? I ask myself “What can I do?”

My fellow blogger, Gaby of What’s Gaby Cooking didn’t just ask but took it one step further. She DID something! She decided to take Sandra Lee’s bake sale message and expand it nationwide to all the baking bloggers out there. How genius is that?!!

So there you have it. National Food Bloggers Bake Sale was born.

Please click (here) to find out if there’s a bake sale in your area. Contact your area’s bake sale organizer to see what YOU can do to help. Don’t be shy!

If you can’t participate in a bake sale, please think about donating (here). Every $1 helps!

I’ll be at the Los Angeles, CA bake sale with Gaby and many other AWESOME bloggers at Morel’s French Steakhouse and Bistro from 10:30am – 1:30pm. I’d love to have some of my local readers come out, buy a cupcake (or 5!) and support me in ending Childhood Hunger! I’ll be the one that looks like she actually eats her cupcakes. HA! Be there or be trapezoid. *readers groan*

Ok. Post about National Food Bloggers Bake sale. CHECK.

Next item on the post-it: figure out what cupcakes to bake!

Should I go classic vanilla, rainbow or cutesy decorated (think Hello, Cupcake inspired)?

Help me decide, readers!

Hippity Hoppity Easter 2010!

April 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 15 Comments
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HOPPY EASTER READERS!

I baked up some bunny cupcakes (my Hubs thinks they look like the Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland) and dirt+carrot cupcakes for our family’s Easter dinner. What are you baking?

I’ll share how I made my easter cupcakes if you share how you made yours…

Cupcake Hero [Caramel] Throw Down

March 26, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Posted in Cupcake Hero, cupcakes | 1 Comment

In this corner.

The champion.
Coming out on top with the help of Girl (Scout) Power.

Samoa Cupcake
by Paige of Starting All Over Again



The challenger.
The underdog with berry high expectations.

Caramel Strawberry Cupcakes
by Sophie of The Lazy Cook

Who will sing the winning duet with Caramel?

It comes down to chocolate or strawberry.

Kitchen stadium is now open for auditions.

(Can you tell I’ve been watching too much American Idol and Iron Chef America?)

It’s a dog eat dog world. Part II

March 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 9 Comments
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So what did I do with those vanilla cupcakes…?

You didn’t think I forgot didja??

Let me apologize. I know teasers are mean. I promise I’m not really a mean-spirited person. Maybe a smidgen jokester though. I even admit I’m not one for surprises unless I know what the surprise is beforehand. I guess that kinda defeats the purpose, eh?

But I hope it was worth the wait.

Last weekend I was invited to the Riverside Humane Society’s fundraiser. About 4 months ago Hubs and I adopted a Great Pyrenees dog that my husband fondly named Andorra. If anyone gets why he picked that name, major props to you! (Hint: Remember. He’s a history, geography, map nerd.) You can read more about Andorra (here) on her blog.

Her foster mom, Patty, from The Great Pyrenees Association emailed me asking if we’d be interested in coming down with Andorra to help raise funds for the humane society. She explained that Andorra’s rescue works closely with the Humane Society and helping each other is crucial to finding good homes for all the needy animals. I won’t lie. It tugged at my heart strings. And as soon as I heard “bake sale” I knew I’d have to go. You say I get to bake and raise money for needy dogs. Yes please!

Of course you all know I had to bake cupcakes. And It didn’t take me long to figure out what kind of cupcakes to bake.


Great Pyrenees Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Hello, Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

INGREDIENTS

12 vanilla cupcake recipe (here), cooled to room temperature
1 can vanilla frosting (I used Betty Crocker Vanilla)
1 can chocolate frosting* (I used Betty Crocker Chocolate)
6 junior mint candies
24 chocolate M&Ms
36 mini marshmallows
6 watermelon Starburst
white fondant (I used Satin brand)

* You won’t use the whole can.

INSTRUCTIONS

First make the ears. Roll out white fondant to about 1/4″ thick. Use a 1″ circle cookie cutter to cut out shape. It kind of reminds me of an aspirin. Use a rolling pin to gently roll circle out to a 1/8″ thick 2-1/2″ long oval.

Frost a cupcake with an offset spatula and place 3 mini marshmallows in a triangle shape in the middle of the cupcake. Add a thin layer of frosting around the marshmallows.

Cut a junior mint in half to make the nose (cut side down) at the top of the triangle snout. Tuck 1/2 of a watermelon Starburst shaped into a crescent for the mouth right under the marshmallow “snout”.

Add chocolate M&Ms at a 45 degree angle above the “snout” and using a piping bag+Wilton 2 round tip, pipe some frosting to make highlight on each eye.

Pipe more white frosting under the mouth to create a jaw. Gently fold the fondant ovals onto the cupcake to create the ears.

In another piping bag+Wilton 2 round tip, pipe chocolate frosting to form the whiskers right under the nose. Finally stand back and admire how cute your doggy cupcake turned out!

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
My Hubs was tickled how much it looked like our dog, Andorra. I love when I can surprise my husband.

Wifey rating: A+
These were so much fun to make. Karen and Alan use slightly different candies but if their book has taught me anything, with a little imagination and creative ingredients, you can make anything!

Other rating: A+
Everyone at the fundraiser raved about them. I should have made more b/c we sold out so fast!

Not just another vanilla cupcake recipe. Part I

March 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 51 Comments
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I’m always on the look out for new vanilla cupcake recipes. I think it’s become somewhat of a quest for me now. I feel like I should be racking up life points and meeting elf size warriors along the way. I know I’ve mentioned 3 or 4 go-to vanilla recipes on my blog over the years but I feel like if I’m still searching, maybe I really haven’t found THE ONE yet.

I remember sitting in the doctor’s office about a year ago, flipping through an old copy of People magazine, reading about Jon&Kate+8 being no more (boo-friggin-hoo). I think it only took me about 5 minutes to get opinionated on the subject before I turned the page in disgust. And there it was. Like my salvation from camera crews, Jon’s infidelities, Kate’s bad hair and reality tv that exploits kids. A vanilla cupcake recipe by Duff Goldman, Head Baker of my favorite cake-ing show (But he doesn’t like cupcakes so I’m conflicted?!?!), Ace of Cakes, on Food Network.

All the sudden I had a decision to make. Take the whole magazine, put it in my purse and plead ignorance when the receptionist asked me if anyone has seen the latest copy of People that was “… just sitting on the table next to you” or tear the page out.

So I did what any cupcake baker would do under diress.

I TORE THE PAGE OUT! Riiiipppppp…

But immediately I felt intense guilt (my asian mother trained me well) of defacing the written word and promptly stuffed the whole magazine in my purse. I felt so guilty that the next time I went back to the doctor’s office I donated a whole stack of magazines from my MIL’s personal People subscription. Even though I fessed up to the receptionist about why I was donating so many magazines I think that guilt kinda lingered for a while and the recipe never got baked. Until now.

… and now you’re probably wondering what I did with the vanilla cupcakes, eh?

Maybe I ate them unfrosted? But if you believe that, you clearly don’t read my blog enough.

Part II coming soon.

PS- Only 12 hours left to vote for Cupcake Hero. Don’t let your vote go uncounted! (Poll on the side menu bar)


Duff Goldman’s Vanilla Cake
Recipe from People Magazine, November 2009

Makes 2-9inch round cakes (I got 36 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS

3-1/2 cups AP flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, unsalted
2 cups sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
3 tbsp canola oil
2/3 cup buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, sift to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light. Add vanilla. Then eggs, one at a time. (Don’t worry if the batter looks curdled.) Add oil and buttermilk. Slowly add flour mixture in 3 additions and mix until just combined. Try not to overmix!


Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
Moist, fluffy, vanilla. What more can you ask for?

Wifey rating: A
Ditto.

Cupcake Hero::March [Caramel] Roundup+Poll

March 18, 2010 at 6:48 AM | Posted in Cupcake Hero, cupcakes | 9 Comments
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Caramel.

Just the word makes my tongue tingle. Forget chocolate *gasp* I’m a caramel girl. I love caramel on ice cream, on cookies, on a piece of toast (Who needs Nutella?), in frosting, in cake, even straight from the squeezy bottle. Heck! I should try it on cooked carrots (blech!) and I bet I’d be sold. Ok maybe that’s going too far b/c cooked carrots are just NARSTY with a capital N.

At first I was a little worried. By March 13th I only had 3 entries. Count it. 1-2-3!

Maybe other cupcake-ers aren’t as much of a caramel freak as me? The thought made me question the state of my mental capacity. Is it possible that ppl don’t like caramel? Naaahhhh… Thankfully you all are just procrastinators (this blogger included) and got your entries in by the seat of your pants!

Sheesh. Don’t scare me like that again!

Without further ado. LET’S ROCK THE VOTE! — > Poll on the side menu bar. Voting ends March 21st @ 11:59pm EST.

Good luck to all cup-testants!


Twix Cupcakes by flickr@BJ Momma


Snickers Cupcakes by Kimberly of Creative Opportunities


Caramel Cupcakes by Stephanie of Cupcakes and Sundry


Coconut Caramel Cupcakes by Suzy of Cuptin Creations


Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes by Kate of Grin And Bake It


Pot of Gold Cupcakes by Dorothy of Kitchen Koala


Caramel Strawberry Cupcakes by Sophie of The Lazy Cook


Delighted Caramel Cupcakes by Nancy of flickr@Nancy005


Devil’s Caramel Cupcakes by Emily of One Busy Girl


Samoa Cupcake by Paige of Starting All Over Again


Salted Caramel Cupcakes by Shannyn of Sugary Flower


Caramel Apple Cupcakes by Tequila Cupcake (Entry #1)


Mocha Caramel Cupcakes by Tequila Cupcake (Entry #2)


Salted Caramel Cashew Cupcakes by Lindsay of TuTu Cupcakes

But you won’t win on votes alone. That will be decided in my kitchen. May the best cupcakes throw down!

Happy St Patrick’s Day Twenty Ten

March 17, 2010 at 12:06 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 9 Comments
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Oh boy. My mom said this would happen. I know what’s going on. I’m getting old. And time is flying! But I’m only thirty… *trailing off into incoherent mumbling*. This is TOO soon!

I’ve been blogging cupcakes for *looks over at sidebar copyright* 2 years and who knows how many months and I can’t remember other months being this cupcake inspired. Or maybe this year is just more busy so I feel like March holidays worthy of baking cupcakes are coming fast and furious.

There was the Giant Cup-Pie for Pi Day, my Hubs’ birthday cupcake, Cupcake Hero entries, various client cupcakes and now…

Truthfully I had to wiki St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know that… ?

It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Christian holiday and became an official feast day in the early 1600s. However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland’s culture. (Source)

And…

Originally the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. (Source)

Blue?? For serious??

However, over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. (Source)

Whew! That’s a lot more than I remember. Most of my St. Patrick’s Day memories are green in every shade, shamrocks, chocolate gold coins, rainbows, leprechauns and pots o gold. I’m smitten with shamrocks. But I couldn’t find my super cute mini shamrock cookie cutter (did I ever have one?) so you all will have to use your imagination caps and pretend that my spade is a shamrock. Do it for me. Don’t call a spade a spade. It would mean a lot.

Oh… I can’t forget the pinching. Lemme just tell ya. I’ve gotten my fair share of pinching. Now I make sure I have green every March 17th. Even if it’s just a bit of green frosting on my upper lip. Got milk cream cheese frosting?

And one more thing. I am fighting the urge to say “Top o the morning to ya!” but my resistance is futile.

Shamrock Cocoa Mint Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Hershey’s and Confetti Cakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cocoa mint cupcake
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tbsp Hershey’s Cocoa powder (I used Trader Joe’s Chocolate Mint cocoa)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, room temperature (I used 1/4 cup lowfat milk+1/4 half-and-half)
1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For cream cheese frosting*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
green food coloring gel, to desired shade of green

* You’ll probably have some frosting leftover depending on how much you frost each cupcake. I didn’t. HA HA!

INSTRUCTIONS

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

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Then add melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Beat for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add boiling water. (Be careful of splashing!) Don’t worry if batter looks thin.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the butter and cream cheese. Add 1 cup of powder sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and milk. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar until everything is well combined and you get a smooth stiff consistency. (Note: You may not use all the powdered sugar.) Add green food coloring a couple drops at at time until you get your desired shade.

To assemble cupcakes—
Use a serrated knife to cut of the “dome” part of the cupcake. Cut the dome to desired shape with your mini cookie cutter. Discard (or eat) the cutout. Fill a piping bag+large round tip (I used a Magic Tip 9ST) with cream cheese frosting and pipe a mound of frosting on the base of the cupcake. Try to keep border b/c when you put the dome back on top it will spread the frosting towards the outer perimeter. Repeat with each cupcake.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He likes chocolate but doesn’t reach for mint flavored anything first. He liked the hint of mint in the chocolate cake and of course the cream cheese frosting was his favorite part. But you knew I was gonna say that right?

Wifey rating: A/A+
I tend more towards flavors then decorating but this was pretty simple to do and I love the frosting that peeps out from between the cake layers. It reminds me of my preferred method of eating cupcakes: tearing it in half and turning the top upside to make a cupcake sandwich. This way I don’t have to mutilate the cupcake and shamrock shape is really cute. But I could be biased. *wink*

Other rating: (Will update rating later)

What’s New Cupcake? **GIVEAWAY** (Bye Bye Cupcake!)

March 15, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Posted in cupcakes, giveaway | 175 Comments
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Most “normal” people have count downs to their birthdays or anniversaries or other special occasions. Me? I’m far from normal. I hate bananas. I write haikus. I’m allergic to lobster. I like acronyms. I have a count down for What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Also check out their blog (here).

T minus 16 days and counting! No foolin’!

Get it? Because it comes out on April 1st. I crack myself up. Har har har….

Since I’m in a generous mood, what about a **GIVEAWAY** to make the time go by faster?

So… here’s the 411. I’m planning to interview Karen and Alan about their new book, their old book, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and I figured why not ask my readers to help me come up with questions.

Reader: Wait, CB. You left out some important information. What do *I* win if I help you with said interview questions?
CB: How does a copy of Hello Cupcake sound?
Reader: I guess that’s kinda cool.
CB: Not too impressed, eh? Ok ok. How about I make the deal even sweeter with… a SIGNED COPY of What’s New Cupcake??
Reader: Now you’re talking!

Here are a couple questions to help get your inner Katie Couric going.

(1) What were you both doing before collaborating on Hello, Cupcake series?
(2) How did you both meet?
(3) How long did it take from initial concept to publishing your first book, Hello Cupcake?
(4) What is your favorite cupcake flavor?
(5) What is your favorite project from Hello, Cupcake?

Since I’m running on 1 hour less sleep than I’m use to, I’ll let you all take over now.

Ready… set… GO!

Don’t forget to read the fine print.

Rules:
(1) Everyone is eligible for this one!
(2) Please make sure you have a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.

To enter leave a comment:
Ask Karen and Alan a question. Anything! (But they reserve their right to plead the 5th! HA!) (Bye Bye Cupcake! Time’s up!)

Enter as many times as you want but please ask each question as a separate entry.
Multiple questions in one comment will only be counted once.

Want another entry?
– 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)

Deadline: Monday, March 22nd @ 11:59pm EST

Winners will be chosen by Mr. Random Generator.

PS- Less than 12 hours left to enter Cupcake Hero:: March [Caramel]. The clock is ticking…

Happy PI Day 2010

March 14, 2010 at 12:49 PM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 18 Comments
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I think it’s pretty obvious that I like cupcakes. And I feel that if you’re reading my blog I can say with complete confidence that you’re kinda into cupcakes too right? I can’t say that I’m much of a pie person though. What’s the point? Pie doesn’t have frosting. I’ve already established my love of cupcakes as a vehicle for frosting. That’s already 1 strike against pie for me. And I’m not a fruity dessert person. Strike 2. I like vanilla, chocolate, caramel, sprinkles, cake…

But being a third generation nerd. I have to celebrate Pi Day. I think it’s in the Nerd Charter along with the secret handshake. All Nerds must celebrate Pi Day. Because who else besides us nerds would appreciate the sheer joy of March 14th? 3.14. Pi Day. I’m literally giddy.

And since I’m a nerd, I found a way to have my Pi day and eat cupcakes too.

Happy Pi Day, readers! Have a slice of pie today. On me.

Graham Cracker Key Lime Cup-Pie
Recipe adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop and King Arthur Flour

Print this recipe

Makes 1 Giant Wilton Cupcake

INGREDIENTS

For the graham cracker crust*
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

* You may not use all the graham cracker crust depending on how thick you make it.

For graham cracker cupcake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk (I used half-and-half instead)
1 teaspoon vanilla

For key lime filling**
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel instead)
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup key lime juice (I used Stirrings 100% Key Lime Juice)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream

** You can probably half the key lime filling but I found it easier to make the full recipe at the time.

For the meringue
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

To make filling—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add condensed milk and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add key lime juice. Then add sour cream and mix until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. While you’re waiting, bake up the cupcakes!


To make giant cupcake—
Preheat oven to 350F. Create a foil liner (I recommend Reynolds non-stick foil) for the cupcake “bottom” and lightly spray with PAM.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cup of graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Spoon into the giant cupcake “bottom”, pressing with a class cup to cover the bottom and sides into a smooth tight fit. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, beat butter on high speed until soft, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Combine milk and vanilla together. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.



Fill cupcake bottom with the cake batter. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before fill and frost.

To make meringue—
In a stand mixer with a clean dry mixer bowl and whisk attachment, whip the egg whites at medium speed until opaque. With the mixer still running, add the vanilla extract and sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks.


To assemble giant cup-pie—
Remove center of the cupcake using the cone method. (I like to use cookie cutter for a guide line.) If you aren’t familiar with the cone method, check out Nicole of Baking Bites step-by-step pictorial instructions (here). Fill cupcake with key lime filling using a spoon.


Reserve some meringue in a piping bag + Wilton 1M tip (or your favorite star tip). Spread the meringue on top of the cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and then pipe rosettes around the edge of the cupcake. Use a creme brulee torch to brown the meringue. Garnish with a few lime slices and graham cracker crumbs.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He really enjoyed the crunchy graham cracker crust with the graham cracker “cake” and key lime filling. Even though he’s not a huge fan of meringue (he prefers whipped cream) he said the whole combination was delicious.

Wifey rating: A/A+
I had a great time putting together this cup-pie. The graham cracker crust is really yummy with the “cake” and filling but I think the next time I make the filling I might up the key lime juice. It wasn’t enough “lime” for me. I”m definitely a meringue girl. So sticky sweet like a melted marshmallow. So good.

Other rating: A+
Hubs brought the cup-pie to share with some colleagues and students and he said it was gone within an hour. He said he didn’t have enough forks and ppl were eating it with their fingers. Awesome!

Guest blogging, Pi and more.

March 11, 2010 at 6:49 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 2 Comments
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How does a cupcake freak like me celebrate March 14th aka Pi Day when a fellow blogger asks me to guest post on her blog?

With a Graham Cracker Key Lime Giant Cup-Pie… of course!

Please check out Susan of DoughMESStic’s blog (dontcha just love her blog name?) for the recipe and instructions (here) or check back on Sunday for more Cup-Pie 411.

One more thing. Go read Susan’s blog. It’s my first time guest posting so I’d really appreciate some comment love over there so Susan doesn’t think she picked the wrong person for the job. Mkay? Please and thanks.

Oh last thing. I promise.

Four more days until the Cupcake Hero deadline and I’m not feeling the caramel love.

What’s the haps buttslap?

Cupcake Hero [Olive Oil] **WINNER**

March 8, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Posted in Cupcake Hero, cupcakes | 6 Comments

It’s no secret that I’m of the age where many friends and family members are popping out kids. I think I’ve mention a couple times on my cupcake blog and my other blog (here) that I’ve been to Baby’s R Us more times than Target this month. It’s true! That’s a lot of baby clothes shopping. And I don’t even have kids! The chick at the cash register even knows me by first name. No lying!

I realize that you’re sitting there scratching your head trying to figure out what this has to do with Cupcake Hero::February’s winner right? Sorry about that. My English composition teacher use to always get on my case about introduction paragraphs. It’s really not my forte. But give me a rubix cube and I can… ok I can’t do that either. But basically what this throw down amounted to was the pure and simple fact that the majority of my taste testers were recent preggos that just had kids. You know what that means?

They were dying for a taste of alcohol.

And Cointreau is like Grand Marnier on steroids. Add that with cream cheese frosting. Well… let’s just say I had to cut off some ppl and take away their keys.

Yes, they are breastfeeding. Don’t look so shocked. It’s called pump and dump.


Congratulations Stephanie!
You are the Cupcake Hero::February winner!

Please email me with your address. Along with all the usual fabulous monthly prizes, you’ll also get a choice between lemon or citrus olive oil donated by Temecula Olive Oil, our special February guest sponsor. *golf clap*

This throw down was a close one. And to be honest my voting card came out with both cupcakes dead even. I mean. Come on!! How do you really choose between a chocolate cake vs liqueur? Good thing I have other judges besides me b/c there’s no way I could have picked a favorite. With that said I’ll also be sending Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil either the lemon or citrus olive oil that Stephanie doesn’t pick as her runner up prize. Don’t you love it when everyone comes out a winner?

Thanks to all cup-testants!

Looking forward to the Cupcake Hero::March [Caramel] entries!

Cupcake on soldiers.

Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake

March 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 75 Comments
Tags: , ,

Yesterday was my Hubs birthday.

He’s now the ripe ol age of thirty one. (He says when I spell it out it doesn’t seem so bad.)

(Shout out to my friend, Stephanie‘s boy toy, John, who shares the same birthday too!)

I can’t believe I’ve known him for the last 12 birthdays. And I bake him a cake every year. I wish I had kept pictures of all those cakes. I’m certain I’d be LAUGHING MY A$$ OFF over them.

Let’s just say… I wasn’t a cake baker back then. There were a lot of box mix in a 9×13 pan with sprinkles and cheap $0.99 candle days. But since Hubs wanted to get in my pants make me happy, he ate every one.

He’s a good man. I think I’ll keep him around a little longer.

But I’ve been spoiling him. My cakes are getting progressively better (I hope?) but all he wants is Red Velvet. I offered him chocolate variations, Funfetti, Rainbow, Coffee flavored but he turned his nose up at all of them. His MO (modus operandi) is always the same. It’s Red Velvet or nothing. Ok fine. FINE. I’ll give you your Red Velvet but I’m doing it MY way.

In a GIANT cupcake pan.

It had to be a GIANT cupcake b/c I’ve been playing around with the idea of making a chocolate “liner” for it. And this was the perfect opportunity to try it! Can you believe my horror when I realized that my chocolate liner idea wasn’t as original as I thought?? Wilton had the idea first. I guess my idea was so 2008. I hate when that happens. It makes me feel old. Like when people tell me that side ponytails and leg warmers with heels are out. Say it aint so!

But but but… I can redeem myself. I have ideas on how to expand the original idea. Different color candy melts. Combining 2 colors to make a design… Polkadots, swirls, stripes. I just have to find someone who needs a GIANT cupcake first. Hmmm… My godsons’ birthday is 2 months away. That’s not too early to make his birthday cake right?

Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake
Recipe adapted from Confetti Cakes

Print this recipe

Makes 1-Giant Wilton Cupcake + 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For chocolate cupcake “liner”
3 cups candy melts* (I used 2 cups Merckens Cocoa Dark & 1 cup Cocoa Lite)

* You’ll probably have some chocolate leftover but I’d rather start off with more than less

For red velvet cupcakes
3-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
2-1/4 cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup (3 oz) of red food coloring (I used 2 oz)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 tsp white vinegar

For cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

To make chocolate liner—
Place candy melts in a heatproof bowl and melt in intervals of 30 secs in the microwave. Stir between intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Dollop some chocolate into the bottom of the Giant Wilton Cupcake Pan and using a food dedicated paintbrush pulled the chocolate up the sides.


Coat the sides liberally and let set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or overnight. Feel free to add a second coat if you desire for good coverage. (Just remember, the thicker the layer of chocolate the more you’ll have to trim down your “cake” to make it fit inside.) Unmold the chocolate by using your hand and wiggling slightly until it slips out.

To make cupcake—
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray the inside of the Giant Wilton Cupcake pan with PAM and lightly dust with flour. (I forgot to oil+flour my pan and it still came out with a little jiggling.)

In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the oil and sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly dd the food coloring and vanilla extract. (Be careful of splashing!)


Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three additions, ending with the flour mixture. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda and vinegar and add to the mixer. Beat for about 10 seconds so everything is thoroughly combined.

(1) Fill “bottom of cupcake” about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes. Fill “top of cupcake” and bake the whole thing for an additional 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (This is the method that works for me b/c the “top” tends to come out overbaked if you do both at the same time.)

(2) Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the butter and cream cheese. Add 1 cup of powder sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and milk. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar until everything is well combined and you get a smooth stiff consistency. (Note: You may not use all the powdered sugar.)

To assemble giant cupcake—
Carefully hold the “bottom” above the chocolate liner to estimate how much you will need to carve off to fit inside the liner. Using a serrated knife, carve around the circumference as needed. Then level out the tops of the “bottom” cake and “top” cake. To make a layered cake, cut the “bottom” in half and then each half in half again. (Don’t worry! No leftovers were trashed in the making of this cake. *burp*)


Frost the top of each layer but do not assemble “bottom” yet. Frost the “top” with a crumb coat and put in the refrigerator to set for about 15 minutes. Gently assemble the “bottom” layers inside the chocolate liner one layer at at time.

NOTE: Trust me. I tried to assemble the cupcake bottom layers first and then put the whole thing inside and it DID NOT work out very well. The weight of the bottom was so heavy from the frosting that when I “dropped” it inside, the whole chocolate liner cracked and broke. I think I remember screaming.

Place the “top” on the “bottom” and frost the top with a 2nd layer of frosting in any method you like. I decided to go with the simple uncomplicated spatula “spackled” look rather than dirty up my piping bag+ tips.

Add some sprinkles and sparkler candles and it’s just what a 31 year old needs to feel 1 year older but still young at heart.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He is a self proclaimed Red Velvet connoisseur so he KNOWS red velvet. And he had nothing but raves for this one esp with the chocolate liner. I think he said something like “… I don’t mind getting older if I get cake like this every year. This might have to be the go-to recipe, Honey.” What? Oh you have no idea how HUGE this moment is.

Wifey rating: A+
This “cake” recipe was moist+fluffy just the way I like cake. It was great with the cream cheese frosting but I J’DORE the chocolate liner. I have a feeling you’re gonna see many GIANT cupcake liners in my future.

Other rating: A+
Our family and friends were smitten with the chocolate liner. There were many raves for the red velvet and all that was left at the end of the celebration were crumbs. That’s always a good sign!

Happy Birthday Dear Hubsy

February 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 14 Comments
Tags:

♪♫Happy Birthday to You
You live in a zoo
You look like a monkey
And you smell like one too♪♫

I’m so glad you are legal now so we can stop hiding our love. xoxo Wifey.

Kidding kidding!!

But you shoulda saw the looks I got at the restaurant when I said that out loud as our waiter brought my Hubs “birthday” dessert last night. Priceless.

I’ll post the recipe and assembly instructions for Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake in a Chocolate Liner tomorrow. (If anyone is interested?)

But for now me and Hubs are off to a wonderful day of birthday pampering.

Ciao Bellas (and Guidos)!

Cupcake Hero [Olive Oil] Throw Down

February 25, 2010 at 2:06 PM | Posted in Cupcake Hero, cupcakes | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,

In this corner.
Destroying the competition with 41% of the total votes…

Chocolate Olive Oil and Blood Orange Cupcakes
by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil



The challenger.
Luring my taste testers in with the sweet hint of moonshine…

Blood Orange & Olive Oil Cupcakes
by Stephanie of Cupcakes and Sundry

Better keep your distance Crypts.

It’s the battle of the Bloods… Blood oranges that is!

Who will defend their territory?

Only time in the kitchen will tell.

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