Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

It's not Christmas without a baking. I pulled a Sandra Dee today and made semi-homemade brownie cupcakes. I don't like to use mixes too much anymore, but I grew up on them and I have a weakness for box mix brownies! I made the cake-like recipe, chopped up some Hershey's candy cane kisses, put them in liners, then made homemade white chocolate peppermint swirled frosting. I'm quite impressed :-)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I'm finally feeling "Christmas Spirit" this year with only 3 more days til actual Christmas. County schools were canceled, so my friend (who's a teacher) and I finished up our shopping and baked cookies all day. We baked sugar cookies with royal icing and two kinds of drop cookies. I'm not a cookie connoisseur BUT I believe I am the queen of adding different things into batches (anything from different nuts, chocolates, whatever I can find) and calling it your own. We did a chocolate cookie with mint chocolate chips and then a peanut butter cookie with peanut butter chips and Christmas m&ms. I have NOT been able to stop eating them!! *Cookie tip: put a piece of plain bread in with your cookies to keep them soft :-)

If you're looking for some cookie recipes:

Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies
(good for more delicate sugar cookies but I definitely recommend adding either vanilla or almond extract. I also added some fresh vanilla bean to ours. Let them cool on the pan before removing them)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
(I modified it by adding the mint chocolate chips to half the batch. The other half I chopped up Hershey's candy cane kisses and topped those off with peppermint sugar)

Peanut Butter Cookies
(I modified these by using the Christmas color M&Ms instead of the chocolate chips)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Ashley!!

So we were supposed to celebrate last night but due to a snow storm here in the DC/MD/VA area we were all snowed :( Today's Ashley's official birthday and I want to dedicate today's post to her!!

Here is the cake I made her last year. It's a kitty litter cake!! LOL

Snowstorm Birthday Cupcakes!

(This is how much snow we have gotten in about 12 hrs...
its still snowing and is supposed to continue until tomorrow morning!)

That's right! I even deliver in snow storms!! lol... I was up all night baking these cupcakes for a birthday order that I forgot to take good pictures :( I made a about 65 minis and threw in 4 big cupcakes, one even said "Happy Bday." Flavors were: vanilla bean w/ chocolate ganache frosting, red velvet w/ vanilla been cream sheese frosting, Smores, and pumpkin. I wanted to try some new decorating techniques and made some royal icing flowers. Very basic ones - I'm still learning/teaching myself ;-) Here are some pics of my pretty packaging and some of the extras I had around.

I hope you enjoy them Marlene and family!! Send pics :)

Holiday Cupcakes

My dad ordered two dozen cupcakes for his work party. He said any flavor, so I decided on red velvet w/ vanilla bean cream cheese frosting and the Irish stout cupcakes (same ones I made last week). They turned out so cute when I topped them with the homemade fondant holiday decor I made.

Ready for delivery!!

Decorate your own Cupcake

Last weekend I was able to raise money for the Everybody Wins! program. I set up a "decorate your own cupcake" station at the restaurant I work at. I made all the fondant decor from scratch and it turned out so nicely. It tastes soooo much better than store bought - I flavor mine with almond extract. I had tons of sprinkles and candies and frosting. I think it was a success considering I had no time to advertise. The parents loved it for their kids and even the adults had fun. A lady even asked if i did birthdays :) I made $85 which is really good for working at a small restaurant. Not too shabby!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Irish Stout Cupcakes

...or the politically INcorrect term "Irish Car Bomb" cupcakes. I don't "do" Irish Car Bomb drinks, but I'll eat one of these cupcakes any day!! Guinness chocolate stout cake, Irish whiskey chocolate ganache in the middle (I know - it's not Jameson's), topped with Bailey's Irish Cream frosting. Something about a good dark beer around the holidays... I'll make it again for St. Patty's :) Happy Holidays!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving! I celebrated with my cran-orange cupcakes and pumpkin cupcakes. Also make turkey cookies with my little cousins :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Georgetown Cupcake -Bethesda Grand Opening!

Finally!! I'm excited to have one of my favorite cupcakeries open up so close to my work.... this could be bad...very bad LOL.

The Line (this lasted ALL day)
.... 45 mins later ....Mmmmm... I gotta figure out how they make their peanut butter frosting!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Island Cake

So for my friend's birthday I wanted to make a big cake and practice my fondant skills (and to see if the homemade fondant I made a few days ago held up and would work). Marshmallow fondant - did not work so well, but the traditional rolled fondant worked pretty well. It was hard to roll out big enough to cover the cake, with out it getting too sticky, and it broke a few times, but i got it! Just need some more practice rolling it out. I'll use the marshmallow more for figures and cut outs. Overall I'm very happy with the result of my first fondant cake :) We accompanied the cake with island and shark fin cupcakes. Forgot to get a pic of the shark fin cupcakes :( Special thanks to my "sous chef" for the evening Ashley for helping me!

(Click image to see details)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

(Rocco and the cupcake.... gotta give credit to 52 Cupcakes for the photo idea - my dog is NOT as trained as her dog)

I felt inspired to do some baking last night. I saw that one of my favorite cupcakeries on the west coast - Cupcake Royale - made a cran-orange cupcake for the holidays. I LOVE cran-orange muffins, and to put that in a cupcake form sounds delightful! I looked around for a recipe on the Internet but couldn't find one I liked so I kinda came up with my own version :) I made two kinds of frosting a cream cheese butter cream and a Swiss meringue - both of them I incorporated cranberries that I reduced down w/ water, sugar and some Grand Mariner. I have never made any of the European butter cream before and I want to find the one I like. I was not a fan of the Swiss Meringue - I would use it more as a filling in a cake or something I think. So far everyone kinda agrees and likes the cream cheese frosting the best... Going to take some to work today and see what they all think :)

My Cranberry Orange Cupcake
~Orange flavored cake w/ a little bit of orange zest and fresh cranberries
~Cranberry cream cheese frosting (the cranberries were reduced down with a little Grand Marnier)
~Topped with a sugared cranberry and sugared orange rind

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade Fondant

So I made my own fondant today! Powdered sugar was everywhere, but I think it came out ok. It's setting up in the fridge and we will see the outcome in a few days when I actually get to use it :) I made two different kinds: marshmallow fondant and regular rolled fondant. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to make rather than buy AND tastes a lot better too. Will post pics when I make something with it later this week.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Engagement Party Cupcakes

Here are some cupcakes I made for my Aunt's engagement party.

Cake Techniques w/ Colette Peters

I took my very first cake decorating class today! Lots of fun :) It was a techniques class working with fondant. I've seen a lot of these techniques online and have practiced it a little bit on my own, but it was nice to have the work space and ability to work with fondant in a larger quantity. The class was also taught by Colette Peters of Colette's Cakes. She's been on the food network and stuff. I bought a copy of her newest book and she signed it :) Here is my "dummy cake" and the techniques we did...

Skills covered: marbling fondant, covering a cake, inlaying, basic roses, rope borders. We also learned some draping and quilting but I did not do that on my cake :)

The white "blob" is supposed to be a cloud lol... I was doing a flower/garden and sky theme

Practicing "inlaying" as well as applying cut out fondant flowers

Practicing basic roses w/ fondant

I also got her to sign her cook book :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm sticking to cupcakes!

So I attempted to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies tonight - my favorite!
Ummmm... let's just say I'm sticking to cupcakes! haha... They taste really good though :) The second half of the batch I added pecans and made cookie bars instead.

I also made a cute cupcake sweatshirt tonight w/ this iron on transfer my friends gave me for my bday. You can get the transfer from Michael's or AC Moore.

My first tiered cake!

I just realized I never posted pics of the superhero cake I made for my boss's son. It took me a lot longer than I had expected, but it was all a learning experience. In the end I was very happy with the result :) Hey - not bad for not ever taking a cake class yet!

Bottom: Batman; Yellow cake w/ vanilla filling and vanilla buttercream.
Middle: Hulk; Red velvet w/ cream cheese filling and white chocolate buttercream.
Top: Spiderman; Chocolate w/ oreo filling and vanilla buttercream.
*Figures are action figures I bought. Batman symbols cut out with fondant.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

Well belated Halloween.... here are some cupcakes I did for work! Coconut and Smores :) The coconut is a coconut flavored cake with a cream cheese frosting topped with tinted coconut. The Smores has a graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, marshmallow fluff filling, marshmallow buttercream topped with Halloween sprinkles, a Hershey's chocolate, and graham cracker.

And here are some mini vanilla bean cupcakes I made for my co-worker's daughter's Halloween party :) The icing is vanilla bean died with food coloring gel and topped with sugared gummy pumpkins and candy corn!

Last, here is our desert display for our crazy Halloween party! I made the cake on top and the cupcakes :)

What a crazy month it's been!

For the past month I have been baking cupcakes everyday for the restaurant I work at. It was tough at times - rearranging my schedule to find time to bake and decorate. But I did it! Because I just love making them :) The decorating is my favorite part! All proceeds went to . Not sure how much we raised yet since yesterday was the very last day. I got a lot of great comments about how good they were and "oh they much better then ____." Someone even said better than Georgetown! Now that's a compliment - because Gtown cupcake is my favorite cupcake place. Here are some of the cupcakes I made this month, all topped with pink ribbons :) <3