Friday, July 30, 2010

Linzy's 20th Birthday has arrived!

Tyler's girlfriend Linzy has been dropping hints for the last several weeks about her birthday cupcakes. She has a very definite wish. Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry filling and raspberry cream cheese frosting. So that is what I did. She is a good cupcake display girl, don't you think! Happy Birthday Linzy!

Cupcakes after they are filled and frosted. Now we need some decorations!

For the frosting I used 1 stick of butter, 8 oz of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of raspberry puree and 1 pound of powdered sugar.
To make the puree, I cooked down a pound of raspberries with 1/2 cup of sugar. After they had cooked down, I pressed them through a sieve getting all of the juice and none of the seeds. I tried to get as much of the pulp as possible. I set aside 1/2 cup of the liquid for the frosting. I put the rest back in the pan. I mixed some water with 2T of cornstarch and poured that in with the liquid. I cooked this mixture until it thickened and this was my raspberry filling. It was very easy to pipe inside of the cooled cupcakes.
I piped these whimsical little flowers with melted candy. I had never done this before, so I tried a lot of different methods. I ended up only liking the little purple flowers that I hadn't filled in. I also used this method to pipe Happy Bday Linzy. Only the Linzy didn't break before it made it to the cupcake. I am going to be working on this method more because I think it is cute and fun and tastes a little better than fondant decorations. I need a lot more practice but I really like this look.

Chili Cook Off, Kona and Snicker Cupcakes!

This is Kona. He is our dog (I know that you know that he is a dog, but did you know he was our dog? you gotta give me that) Okay, so back to Kona. He wants my cupcakes. Really, really wants them. He, however, can not have one. Why you ask? I mean look at him, he is so cute and he practically smiles at you. BUT, here's the deal. He is on a big time diet. We are moving. I thought he weighed 97 pounds. That what I told the leasing agent. 97 pounds. Today we weighed him. Quite a task but that's for another blog. Anyway, you can imagine our horror when he weighed in at 102 pounds. He has to be under 100. NO cupcakes for Kona. By the way, he's very embarrassed so please don't mention his weight to him.

Okay on to the Chili CookOff. I had great plans for this day. A Chili Cook Off. I make great chili. But this has been quite a week and as the day wore on, I knew chili was not in the forecast. I decided that all chili competitions need, what else - cupcakes! Cupcakes are much faster than chili and I had recently seen the most wonderful Snickers Cupcakes on My Baking Addiction.

I decided to use my go to chocolate cake recipe from Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy. I have mentioned before that her cakes do really well at our altitude and they are yummy. Right before baking, I pulled my frozen snicker minis out of the freezer and pushed them into the middle of each cupcake. After baking and cooling, I frosted them with a caramel cream cheese frosting, drizzled with caramel and garnished with a snicker mini. Yum. Sorry Kona.

Daredevil's Food Cake (adapted)
Preheat Oven to 375

2 and 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sifted cocoa
8T (one stick) unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons Buttermilk

Position the rack and preheat the oven. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until very well blended. Scrape down the bowl and beater. Beat in the vanilla and eggs and scrape down the bowl and beater again. With the mixer on the lowest speed alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Once the ingredients are blended together, increase the speed and whip for about 30 seconds (no longer, because at high altitudes you don't want to incorporate excess air) Divide the batter into the lined cupcake pans. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese (right out of the fridge)
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/4 cup of caramel
1 pound of powdered sugar

Cream the butter, cream cheese and caramel. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the consistency you are looking for....

A cupcake a day.... Linzy birthday cupcakes, Chili Cook Off cupcakes (includes a Sweet Corn Cupcake with a Salted Caramel frosting, which is a long cupcake story that may have involved some "what the heck is this" faces)

This is Tucker. He does not like cupcakes and therefore does not have to lose weight to move with us.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A new life to celebrate!

I love to cook for people. Love it. And here, in the form of this beautiful family, I had the chance to share a little. Kristen, Ayden and Andrew welcomed little Eli on July 19. He is a sweet bundle of perfection! Thank you Andrew and Kristen for sharing your family with me!
Just in case anyone thinks that I only cook cupcakes, I thought I would show that I can in fact occasionally add some of the other food groups to a meal.... (cupcakes are a food group now, aren't they? It's a big pyramid, they must be on there somewhere) Although this looks like a pie, which would probably fall in the same part of the food pyramid as cupcakes, it is actually a chicken pot pie with vegies and everything :)
Now back to the cupcakes. These are lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling and a lemon cream frosting. The tang of the lemon against the raspberry was delish! I used a basic vanilla cake recipe with added lemon extract. To make the raspberry filling, I boiled down 2 cups of raspberries with 1/8 cup of sugar. I then pressed it through a sieve to remove the seeds. I put the juice back on the burner with 2 T of cornstarch and cooked it until thick. The raspberry filling is becoming one of my favorite cupcake fillers! Once the cupcakes were cool, I piped the filling in and frosted with cream cheese frosting that I added lemon extract to. A raspberry on top and it's ready to share.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ryan's Chocolate Overload......

Tyler's roommate Ryan has been asking me to make him "chocolate cupcakes with chocolate filling with chocolate frosting and an Oreo on top" Hmm, honestly sounded a little much to me hence the name. I ended up making a chocolate cupcake and filling it with some homemade chocolate pudding (my favorite filling). The frosting is an Oreo cream cheese frosting with an Oreo on top. I have been wanting to try doing some chocolate piping and that is why I am posting the picture with the butterfly on it. My first attempt at chocolate piping. NO, I didn't put cute little butterflies on Ryan's cupcakes :) but I am hoping to spend more time perfecting the technique. In the mean time, enjoy Chocolate overload Ryan!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The best cupcake smile.....

See why I make cupcakes! Smiles like that :) Ross is leaving our company and headed to medical school where he will learn to operate on the arteries that I am currently clogging. He will be missed as he is my best cupcake eater!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

So finally, another batch of cupcakes. I have to admit, I kind of miss the colorful, fun cupcakes I was making for graduations, birthdays and parties. But I am trying to expand my flavors and today I went with an old favorite, Banana Pudding! Kevin loves banana pudding and he is actually the one who usually makes it. He had the patience to stir and stir and stir.... Me, not so much. But I was determined to turn this family favorite into a cupcake. I made a plain vanilla cupcake but added a bit of banana extract (against my better judgment) and two mashed bananas. The cupcakes turned out good but even with the addition of the bananas and the extract it still didn't taste very much like banana. On to the pudding. I made some vanilla pudding. I love homemade banana pudding! It takes a while but is so worth it! After the pudding chilled and the cupcakes cooled, I hollowed out a hole in the middle of the cupcakes and filled them with the pudding. Yummy! Then a slice of banana and a little buttercream frosting topped with a vanilla wafer. Cute and tasty. Okay, I must admit, banana pudding in a bowl with lots of bananas and lots of vanilla wafers and delicious creamy pudding is hard to beat but these came close!

From "Pie in the Sky," by Susan Purdy. The book includes instructions for five different elevations. This 5,000-foot recipe works well at 5,280 feet.

3 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk


In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Scrape down the bowl and beater. Beat in the eggs 2 or 3 at a time, along with the vanilla, beating well to blend, then scrape down bowl and beater again. Don't worry if the batter looks curdled — the flour will bring it together.

With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Once the batter is blended together, increase the speed and beat for about a minute until smooth and creamy.

At this point I added the 2 mashed bananas and 1 teaspoon of banana extract.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I wasn't going to bake this week but....

So I wasn't going to bake this week, really I wasn't. I needed a break, I needed to get my other work done before midnight, I need to eat vegetables. But then I saw it, the beautiful cookies on How to Eat A Cupcakes blog. She watched the Bobby Flay throw down with Levain Bakery for their chocolate chip cookies. I watched it too :) And there it was, right on her blog, a knock off recipe that came straight from the Levain Bakery website. Check it out cause they were yummy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

Well it's 5:30 in the morning and the strawberry cream cheese frosting is swirled on every star laden cupcake. I am off to L2 to see the bright faces of 50 kiddos and the wonderful adults who have come to serve them today. Today we celebrate freedom....REAL freedom!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back to the 4th of July cupcakes!

I am trying to perfect a recipe for strawberry cupcakes. Last time I made them they were a little flat. This time I am using the "Classic 1-2-3-4 Cake" recipe in Susan Purdy's Pie in the Sky. Her recipes really seem to work here in Denver. I added chopped strawberries which hopefully won't mess with the rise to much. We'll see :) The cookies are ready, cupcakes are cooling. Assembly tomorrow. Night! more thing

What could be more fun than the 4th of July and the awesome fact that it's a 3 day weekend ~ planning a wedding. Last night sweet Emily got engaged. We had so much fun planning Amanda's wedding and I know this is going to be a whirlwind year planning Em's. Should involve lots of parties and lots of FOOD!