Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baby Party Cupcakes

This weekend I attended a friend's baby party (not quite a shower!). It's like a party but with a baby theme and co-ed ;-) I promised to make some cupcakes for the event. How cute are the little baby topper on those cupcakes?! Kinda makes me LOL.

Ready for 'delivery'...

I made two flavors for the party. First, chocolate cupcakes with a
caramel swiss meringue buttercream and salted caramel drizzle. I used my go do chocolate cupcake recipe (Martha Stewart's devils food cake) and made a swiss meringue buttercream. To that I added homemade caramel, which took me 2 1/2 tries by the way! No bueno! After I finally made the caramel, I reserved a few table spoons to add to the buttercream and the rest I added kosher salt to make the salted caramel. Yummmmy...The other flavor I made the pumpkin cupcakes with maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting again. Just seemed fitting for the season (around Thanksgiving and all).

A few of us who used to work with the mama-to-be made a special gift for her baby present, that just seemed so fitting... a diaper cake! It was the first diaper cake I've ever made and it was so easy and fun. How cute is out monkey theme?!
Congrats to Tonya who is due in January!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was lucky enough to spend it with my boyfriend and his family. We also invited our friends from China for their very first Thanksgiving here in the US! I'm thankful we could share it with them :)

I decided I wanted to try something I have never made before (a dessert of course). I'm soooo tired of pumpkin pie :-/ Apple crisps and crumbles are so easy. So I choose an apple pie with pecans. I made the dough from scratch and everything. I had to ask for some help from my boyfriends mom a few times, but I managed. I used this pie crust recipe and inspiration for the apple filling from here.

Maybe I'll stick to cakes?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

50th Birthday Cake

Had an order for another friend. It was her father's 50th Birthday this weekend. She basically told me the color scheme and we worked from that. This is what I ended up with :) (Wish I got better pics but I assembled it at their house. They were kind enough to hold up a white cloth for me though ;-)

Flavors included: chocolate cake with vanilla swiss meringue and chocolate ganache as well as white chocolate cake with white chocolate swiss meringue and raspberry preserves.

I'm very happy with the result and hope the birthday party went well. Ya know, the more three tier cakes I do, the more I'm just amazed at how time consuming they can be. I need a sous chef!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

I've been super stressed with school work - less than a month until the end of the semester (thank god!). I had a craving for brownies last night. So between working on my project for class, I googled some recipes and I came across these Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies from I figured I would give them a shot.


1 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 Tbs all-purpose flour

5½ ounces best-quality semisweet- chocolate, finely chopped
1¼ sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar (I used only 1 cup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 13×9-inch baking dish.

2. Prepare pumpkin batter: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, scraping bowl occasionally. Bet in egg, then add pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in flour.

3. Prepare chocolate batter: Combine semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set bowl over saucepan with 1-inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine eggs with sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat at low speed until light and fluffy- about 4 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in melted chocolate. Sift flour over the batter and fold it in just until combined.

4. Spread chocolate batter evenly in prepared pan. Using a Tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter slightly into the chocolate.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (starting checking on brownies at 30 minutes to see if they’re done- a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean).

6. Let brownies cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 24 brownies

Outcome: Well, first let me state I mis-read the recipe and did not melt the butter into the chocolate. I creamed the butter with the sugar first by accident (habit I guess when baking cakes). Also, since the recipe said semi-sweet I figured it was ok to use chocolate chips. I think next time I will try a better chocolate (like the recipe says) and remember to melt the butter into the chocolate. These were good, but still needed something... and I had JUST the thing! Left over cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting. OMG. It adds just a little more sweetness and a bit of creaminess. Perfect for fall chocolate lovers :)

My Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
(This is a soft recipe and it is important not to over mix)

1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter unsalted

1 cup powdered sugar (or so)

1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Dash of cinnamon

Combine cream cheese and butter with mixer. Slowly add 1/2 the powdered sugar while mixer is on lowest speed. Add 1 table spoon of maple syrup and the cinnamon. Check the consistency, add more powdered sugar and or maple syrup. *I never measure my powdered sugar when I make cream cheese frosting, I add it until it is the consistency and taste that I like. I don't like it super sweet and I like to be able to taste the cream cheese.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beach Cake

This weekend I also had a cake order for an old high school friend. She was celebrating her anniversary with her boyfriend and wanted something special. I feel so honored she chose a cake from ME :) They love the beach so I came up with this design based on what she told me. It was a lot of fun to make. I love the beach myself so I love making these cakes. The flavors she wanted were pineapple and coconut. I've never done that combo before. I ended up making a coconut cake and filling it with a pineapple filling and coconut swiss meringue.

I really loved how my palm tree came out! First I had to figure out how to attach the leaves to the trunk - that was fun. Then I was nervous it was going to fall over. But it worked out fine :) I added a little heart on the tree, which I thought was SO cute... that was until I delivered it. I put the WRONG initial for her BF. I felt terrible and I still feel bad as I'm writing this. So remember: always get the facts straight before hand!! Sorry Terry!! I hope you had a wonderful anniversary besides my mistake :(

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Last night a friend of ours had us over for a little dinner party. And of course I can never show up empty handed. Besides alcoholic beverages I brought dessert too ;-) I was originally going to try and make a traditional tiramisu, but alot of the "authentic" recipes called for raw eggs. I don't mess with that! So I opted for Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes instead.

Got to use my new elegant liners :)

They were so light and yummy! The cake is like a lady finger cake, soaked in strong coffee/espresso which I mixed with amaretto. The frosting is a light whipped cream with mascarpone cheese. So good! But I am still looking for a good authentic recipe for tiramisu.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Party

One of my best friends hosted her 2nd annual Halloween party this year. Even though I hate scary movies - I LOVE Halloween! So of course I wanted to help with food (the dessert portion of course). On the menu were: whoopie pies, peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy treats and toasted coconut rice crispy treats, and cupcakes. I also put together some decor since I did win some Halloween printables from Love the Day. Here is the result.... Warning: scary picture of me at the end!

Mwahahaha... I was a zombie baker! I'm cooking up some brains in that pic (aka: cauliflower with fake blood from the party store). I hope I did not scare you too much! I did win scariest costume at the party though. Thank you Allie for letting us have the party at your house again this year and thank you Love the Day for my awesome Halloween banner and water bottle labels! Now that it's November, time to get ready for the holidays!