Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

I am dedicating this weekend's post to my mom! It's her birthday Sunday October 23rd. I made her a simple little cake with fun sprinkles - it reminded me of my childhood. It was my mother who instilled my love of baking. Here I am with my little pink mixer... scrambling eggs was what I did best at 4 years old ;-)

Aside from baking, my mom has always been there for me. She is a strong woman I've always looked up to. She made sure my brother and I had all the opportunities we could growing up.
But lately my mom has been going through a tough time this year after losing her job. I never really thought much of the economy these past few years, but when it affects your family you then realize what many other Americans are going through right now. I just want to say I know it can be hard, but I hope you can enjoy your special day. And each day find something that brings you joy! Love you mom & Happy Birthday!! ~Cara

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes

This past weekend's wedding cupcakes included a s'mores cupcake with a toasted marshmallow frosting. I was so excited to use my new creme brulee torch from Bed, Bath and Beyond LOL. I liked them so much I made them for a football party Sunday and I'm going to make them again to bring in to school for my teacher friends this week lol. Here's the recipe I used, but of course you can modify it to your liking.

For the graham cracker crust, you can use pretty much any homemade recipe. I just mash up a pack or two of graham crackers in a food processor (aka my "magic bullet"). Add a few table spoons of butter and sugar til it's slightly moist. Press it in the bottom of each cupcake liner - I use a small glass to press it down evenly.

For the cake, and for my chocolate cake recipes I love to use Martha Stewart's Devil's Food Cake recipe. It makes at least 36 cupcakes and I usually cut the recipe in half. I do a little less than an ice cream scoop full. Pour into each cupcake liner and cook for about 15 minutes (depending on your oven).

After the cupcakes are cooled I top them with Trophy Cupcakes Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. It's basically a meringue frosting that I use the creme brulee torch to "toast". The recipe on the site says it makes enough for 2 dozen... when I think it makes enough for 20 dozen!!! I cut it down and this amount makes really makes a smaller amount good enough for 2 dozen or so.

Marshmallow Frosting
Modified from Trophy Cupcakes/Martha Stewart

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Dash of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. (I make sure they reach at least 140 degrees F)
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately (it cannot be saved for later use)
  3. Optional: use a creme brulee torch to toast the frosting like a marshmallow :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rona & Greg's Wedding

I had the pleasure of making the cake and cupcake tower for my friend's Rona and Greg's wedding this weekend. It was held at Glen Echo Park here in the DC area. What a fun location! It is so rich with history and has that vintage feel. Little fun fact: Glen Echo was built in 1891 and was the premier amusement parks in the DC area until the late 1960s. The wedding itself was held in the "Bumper Car Pavilion."

The entrance to the park with an old trolly from the 1900s

The Bumper Car Pavilion in the early 1900s
(I love seeing old pictures from past history)

The Bumper Car Pavilion today!

The cake and cupcakes were simple and fun. The cake was a basic yellow cake with amaretto ganache while the cupcakes included red velvet and a toasted s'mores cupcakes (a fun cupcake for the fall weather!).

The wonderful beautiful bride and groom

And last, I made a groom's cupcake with the old school Redskin's "R." I am not a skin's fan, but I'll do what I gotta do for my friends ;-) Congrats to Rona and Greg!! I had such a great time and thank you for letting me be apart of your special day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I'm so behind on my blog these days... grad school has consumed me! Hopefully will find time to post some of the things I have done recently as well as one more upcoming wedding for a friend next week. In the meantime, I found an hour of my morning to bake some tasty yet healthy muffins. I had some very brown bananas that needed to be used. I like banana bread but it takes forever to bake in the bread pan and I usually burn the sides and the middle is not cooked. So I used my large muffin tin to make big muffins instead. The BF couldn't even tell they were whole wheat ;-) This recipe is a keeper!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins w/ Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Adapted from the blog Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Makes 1 loaf (or 9 large muffins)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup AP flour

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk (can substitute regular milk which I did)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large or 4 small bananas -
I was short one banana and I subbed a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin in its place)
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup mini chocolate chips (I put extra of course)

1 cup Chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (I used a large muffin tin). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix sugars and oil with a whisk or fork until well blended (about 1 minute). Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add banana, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix with a whisk or fork just until moist. Fold in mini chocolate chips (and pecans if you want). Don’t over-mix. Spoon batter into prepared pan or two ice cream scoop fulls per muffin tin. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (or 30 minutes or so for the large muffin tin) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.