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*

Happy National Pomegranate Month!

November 12, 2009 at 7:49 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 16 Comments
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According to POM Wonderful, November is Pomegranate month. Did you know that? I DIDN’T! And the only reason I know about it is purely a cowinky dink!

One of my Sunday vices is going to Costco for family size portions of peanut butter, diet coke, toilet paper and bottled water. I always make a list b/c if I don’t I’ll leave the store with whatever the demo ladies are handing out. To be honest, the list does nothing. I still spend $200 and leave with 10x the things on my list. *smacks head* But I can’t resist a deal! I think that’s how they get ya. You see that toilet paper is like $5 for 20 rolls and if you quickly do the math in your head… Well that’s just a lot of clean bums ya know? I can just imagine Costco’s CEO probably sitting in his pimped out penthouse office somewhere laughing at me.

Right now Costco is decked out for the holidays. There are Christmas lights, wrapping paper, ribbons and toys lining the aisles. Last Sunday I restrained myself and quickly walk passed all the holiday deals but then I saw this >>

… and before I realized what happened. I watched myself buy it. It was like an out of body experience. There was something about those pomegranate arils. They were calling out to me. “Buy us. You know you want to buy us. Pomegranate cupcakes…” I know! I know! I’m such a sucker! But like I said above. It’s pomegranate month. You call it impulse buy. I call it fate.

Yeah that’s my story.


POM Velvet Cupcakes w POM Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from POM Wonderful

Makes about 30 cupcakes (I got 45 cupcakes!)

For POM Velvet Cupcakes
2-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
16 oz (2 cups) granulated sugar
14 oz (1-1/2 cups + 4 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
15 oz (3 cups+5 tbsp) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz (5 tbsp) cocoa powder
3/4 oz (1 tbsp+1 tsp) baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

For POM Cream Cheese Frosting
1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
14oz (3-1/2 cups) powdered sugar (I used about 4 cups)

1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates, garnish

NOTES: Original recipe was given in metric system and I tried to convert into US system (in parenthesis) as close as possible. If you have a kitchen scale, I recommend going that route to be more true to the recipe though.

INSTRUCTIONS

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

In a small saucepan, reduce the pomegranate juice, over medium-low heat, down to 3 oz (about 1/3 cup).

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream sugar and soft butter on medium-high speed, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, reduce speed to low and add the eggs in one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pomegranate juice reduction, white vinegar and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients in 2 additions, ending with the dry ingredients. Finish off with the heavy cream, beat just until combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

To make frosting—
Reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to about 1/2 cup. Let cool.

In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, cream butter on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined.

Using a Wilton 1M star tip (or your favorite star tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Garnish with pomegranate arils.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He liked the red velvet inspired favor with a hint of pomegranate. But he says that he can’t replace the original red velvet cupcake.

Wifey rating: A (for taste) / B (for recipe)
Taste: I love pomegranate so the chocolate and pomegranate flavor was awesome together.
Recipe: I wasn’t impressed with the cream cheese frosting recipe. I’m not talking about the taste. The frosting was GOOOOOOD. But the first time I made it (following the recipe), it was runny and soft. I hate when that happens esp with frosting! The second time I made it I cut the pomegranate reduction and increased the powder sugar to thicken it up. When I make it again I might cut the pom reduction even more or up the cream cheese. I’d rather not add more powder sugar b/c it was a little too sweet and I only added 1/2 cup more.

WWYB: cupdate!

January 12, 2008 at 10:18 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 14 Comments
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Last week I posted about T and I visiting one of our friends for a chimichanga dinner along with any suggestions of what dessert would fare well with a mexican inspired dish. (Thanks Nina, Cupcakeproject and Ashley for your suggestions!) Since her husband got sick (and I was feeling a little under the weather too), we rescheduled for tonight. I decided, after an extra week of pondering, to bake… MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES!  I am really not sure what makes them “mexican” but maybe someone who has more cupcake knowledge than me can enlighten the rest of us via comments ;)

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes


(Recipe from 4Obsessions | photos from me!)

Makes 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 C Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 C water
2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C well-shaken buttermilk
2 T vanilla
2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350. Put cupcake papers in your muffin tins.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa. (I sifted cocoa into the butter to avoid lumps) Add water and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Then sift again into the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (it will be a little bit lumpy).

Fill cupcake papers to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. It’s a moist cake, so don’t worry if a few crumbs stick to your tester. Allow cupcakes to cook and then dust with powdered sugar. (I made cinnamon cream cheese frosting instead. See recipe below.)

———————————————–

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


(Recipe from recipezaar.com | photos from me!)

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 3/4-6 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened, not margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla

[NOTES: I used less than 4 cups of powdered sugar, taste-testing between each cup, b/c 5-6 cups seems like ALOT of powdered sugar to me! But maybe I don't have that strong of a sweet tooth?  That might also be why the frosting wasn't as thick and harder to pipe though. *shrugs]

INSTRUCTIONS

Beat together cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add about half the powdered sugar and beat until mixed well. Then gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until you reach a spreading consistency. (I topped with either chocolate jimmies or dusted with cinnamon)

ENJOY! :)


Husband rating: A+
He said the chocolate and cinnamon were great together and he LOVES cream cheese frosting.

Wifey rating: A+
I am not a huge chocolate fan but… OMG, these cupcakes were so moist and yummy. I could have eaten all of them by myself!


Other rating: A+
Our friends raved about them and there were no cupcakes leftover because everyone had more than one.

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