Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Autumn Themed Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 2.0 turned into my first real baking failure.  Well, half failure.  Half the batch turned into a hot mess.  The other half were fine.  Luckily i was doing mini cupcakes though, so half a batch made 48 mini cupcakes, lol.  Exactly what i needed!  So this post wont be too heavy with the pictures on baking.  And  ill omit the actual recipe to the pumpkin spice cupcakes i made  (just use last years for now, and add more puree and sour cream).  I added too much butter, and while the first batch was cooking, the rest of the batter sat out on the cold counter and the butter started to congeal back together... so when it baked it was like broken butter bubbles.  Not pretty.

I WAS trying to add moisture to the recipe. So i added more butter, pumpkin puree, buttermilk and sour cream. But the butter was too much in the end... haha.

Instead we will talk about how ridiculously easy it is to make cuppycakes look fancy pants.  I found this tutorial online last year and book marked it.  When i found the same sprinkles later on i bought them so that i could use them one day. (Side note:  these were all the rage a few years ago in the cupcake world.  But since im just starting, its okay that i am behind on the times.) Then, last weekend, with two Thanksgiving dinners (omg so much food in two days) and limited time it became the perfect opportunity.  

So i made myself some quick directions that doubled as a template for the trees.  All you need is melted chocolate chips, Leaf sprinkles from Wilton, some parchment paper and a ziplock bag.

Melt some chips in the ziplock, make a small snip at the end of the bag (no tip needed) and make a thick tree trunk.  Then draw 4-5 branches.  Before the chocolate starts to harden, throw some leaves onto the branches.

 Don't forget that it's fall!  Not that many leaves left, therefore not that many needed on your tree.  I just made 4 and start to finish including clean up was 15 minutes.  Super easy.  Could have busted out more, but i had things to do that day.

Then i just carefully placed one little leaf on each of the mini cupcakes.  

And then i stuck the big trees in a cupcake and put them with the rest.  Super easy, super looks like it was hard work.  It wasn't.  Don't tell anyone.  :)

photo credit: pandipoo

photo credit: pandipoo

They were all eaten happily, with no one knowing how close to disaster the actual baking process was.  Sure more butter was consumed than was needed...  but that's Thanksgiving for you.  Your loved ones slowly killing you with fatty food.


P.S.  Happy Thanksgiving!  :)  I'm off to Costa Rica for 9 days, but i will be back the second week of December with an uber cute cupcake  >.< .  And then maybe something for New Years?  We'll see.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Special Delivery

So I have this awesome friend named Christine.  She's a busy bee and we seem to be on opposite schedules, but every now and then i get messages on my gchat of her raving about how she loves her cricut machine and wants to marry it and have its babies.  (Paraphrasing, of course.)

Last week she told me to look out in the mail for an early birthday/xmas present.

And so on Saturday morning it arrived.  And i of course ripped into it, not even taking care to open it like a lady.

And i found something awesome inside.  It was a very special delivery.

Do you know what these are?  These are hand made cupcake sleeves.  They go on the outside of the cupcake liner.  

There are so many cute ones it's ridiculous.  You just hook the back of it to itself and it fits around a cupcake all snuggly. 

I have no idea when I am going to use them yet.  Not because i don't like them, i do.   But i can't think of anyone that deserves these awesome little things. >.<  Not just anyone can get a pirate ship...

Then to top it off was when I unrolled this.

I literally got all ridiculously giddy.  No like really i did.  Notice how it is on my list of things i really wanted?  I'll have to take that off soon. <3  Luckily its contact paper and i can stick it more than once.  I'll need to move stuff around so i can stick it up somewhere in my room.  And (one day soon i hope) when I have a kitchen of my own, i can use it there too.

Summary and Conclusion of this post:  Christine is so awesome. <3<3<3


P.S.  And her bf San helped.  ;)  So he's awesome too.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blackberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

So remember that crazy i talked about?  It makes me have internal monologues with myself like this:

Me: Look! Blackberries are on sale for87 CENTS A CONTAINER.  
Self: Oh Em Gee, that's hellah cheap!  Get one!
Me: Already on it...
Self: Would go great on your greek yogurt you know.
Me: I'm buying THREE.
Self: What, why? They're all ripe.  You can't eat that much yogurt.
Me: Yogurt? I'm going to bake all the things with it.
Self: For WHAT? You'd have to bake tomorrow. And tomorrow, you're sitting at home by yourself all day. You'd have to eat 12 cupcakes! Don't do it!
Me:  -.-
Cashier: Paper or plastic?

So in short, blackberries went on crazy sale and i decided to bake for no reason at all.  And guess what?  They were crazy good.  =x  I wish i could have given these to more people.  Because i actually thought they'd turn out bad, but they were nommies.  

I used the blackberries in four ways; 1) to flavor the cake 2) to make a filling  3) drizzle on top of the frosting 4) garnish.  Then i used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips to make a white choco butter cream frosting.  The result of it all was a pretty gosh darn good cupcake with all sorts of flavors playing off each other.  And as my dear Pam  said, the prettiest looking cupcake she has seen me produce yet! Haha. 

I ended up taking 100 pictures.  Makes sense since i spent the ENTIRE day in the kitchen.  So needless to say, prepare for a picture heavy post. 

I made 12 cupcakes.  Double this recipe if you'd like a full batch.

First step is to make the blackberries useful.  I did that by making them into a blackberry sauce.

Blackberry Sauce
2 containers of blackberries 
1.5 table spoons  of sugar

Wash and drain blackberries in a bowl.  Pour sugar on top and set aside for 15 minutes.  
Put berries into a saucepan and heat on low, stir frequently.  
Crush them with a potato masher.  
Turn off when they start to boil.
Throw into blender on puree setting. You will see lots and lots of seeds.

Pour into strainer.  This takes forever. >.<  You will have to (with clean hands) press down on the puree to make sure its going through the strainer.  You'll also have to stop at least once to scrape out all the little seeds and toss them.  Let it cool a little before doing this though, or you will burn your fingers.

You will end up with a very rich red sauce.  We will use it on it own as well as add it to other things.

The first thing we will do with it is use it to make the filling.

Blackberry Filling
1/3 cup blackberry sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine sugar and cornstarch.  
In a saucepan on low heat, combine sauce, water and lemon juice.
Add in sugar/cornstarch mixture a little at time and stir constantly.
It's ready when its thick and gelatinous 

Sift cornstarch first to avoid lumps.

You can set this aside to cool so it's ready for the baked cupcakes.

But first the cupcake!

Blackberry Cupcakes 
1 stick room temp butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 room temp eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup room temp milk
1/4 cup room temp sour cream
1/2 cup blackberry sauce

In one bowl whisk together the sauce, sour cream and milk and set aside.

This actually looks pretty good and i had to fight the urge to try some.  I don't think it would have TASTED yummy. 

In a second bowl combine salt, flour and baking powder and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar, adding in the eggs and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and wet ingredients into the butter mixture in five sections; flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. 

This process looks pretty, as you make the batter more and more purple!

Line your muffin pan with 12 liners, and add a ice cream scoop size amount of prety purple batter.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 325*.

Once they are done and cool comes the really fun part.


It's like my new favorite thing, I swear.  I bought this fun little guy at Target for like five bucks.  (When you buy yours, it wont have purple cupcake crumbs on it, don't worry.

How it works is that you stick the big part into the cupcake all the way to the base.

Then you twist it in a  circular motion and pull up.  You end up pulling up a core of the cupcake, making a hole in it and keeping the middle inside the corer itself.  Use the little part of the corer to take out the innards.

 You can toss the inside. Or eat it.  Or use it for cakepops.

This is what it looks like on the left.  I took a knife and cut the top off so that i could use it later to cover up the hole I made.

 Now you get to use the blackberry filling that we made to fill the holes! Pipe in the filling. And by pipe i mean shove as much filling as possible up in there.  Cuz you best believe this filling is yummy.

Cover with the tops!  See how they pop out?  Yeah, that's filling heavy for you.  

What's left to do?  The frosting.  This is probably the first time in a year that i tried making a frosting that wasn't cheese cream based.  And i am glad i did.  It was a little difficult to get the hang of, but i will try it again.  I was totally eating more of it than i should have.

White Chocolate Frosting
(taken from here)
5 oz. melted white chocolate chips
1 stick room temp butter
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of room temp milk

Melt chocolate chips in microwave, set microwave on high and melt in 30 second increments, stirring often.  Should take 2-3 minutes.
Beat butter in mixer until fluffy, add vanilla.
Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
Add melted chocolate.
Pour in milk as needed.

 MAKE SURE NOT TO OVER COOK THE CHOCOLATE.  For reals.  Don't over melt  Watch it like a hawk.  Also, keep stirring once its out until you add it to the mixer because you dont want it to harden.  Scrape down the sides of the mixer as needed.

The end result is a thick thick frosting. That tastes just as yummy as it looks.

Pipe it onto all your cupcakes.  Work as fast as you can, because if it hardens inside the tips it's a pain to frost.

If you actually look closely, all the cupcakes look piped differntly.  That's because i used the wrong tip (2D instead of 1M) for half of them before i noticed.  Oops. They still look pretty though.

Next we get to re-create a murder scene.  At least that's what it looks like because i don't have a fancy squeeze bottle, and just took a spoon and splashed and dripped and threw the left over strawberry sauce over the cupcakes.

Once they allhave that drizzle, just add the finishing touch -- a blackberry on top.

Don't they look so pretty all together???

The best part of course, is the mixture of all the flavors.  At least for most.  When you slice it in half you can see that better.

My boss told me that she took a bite out of it and then decided to eat the inside filling with her finger. lol!

These might be my favorite ones I have made so far.  :)   Yes they took ALL day, but they were kinda worth it!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Real Evolution of a Cupcake

I was wrong that one time I blogged about what the evolution of a cupcake was.  In actuality, it is more like this.

1. Stare.
2. Peel.
3. Chomp.
4. Gone

Nom.  I had CupKates again.   WHEN THEY PARK ACROSS THE STREET FROM ME I JUST CAN'T HELP IT OKAY?  =x  Tiramisu cupcake.  (Description from their site: A ladyfinger crust, espresso soaked cake, topped with mascarpone frosting and chocolate shavings)   I'm not sure how i felt about the lady finger crust part.  It made it so that the espresso didn't completely make a soggy mess... which is good. But it made it a little hard/crunchy too which I didn't enjoy.  The cake was light and the frosting was yummy.  The espresso was kinda strong.  I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5.  (Last week's salted caramel would be a 5).

Does anyone know why i can't stop eating sweets?