Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MSC: Candied Sweet Potato

So last month, I accidentally made the wrong cupcakes for our Martha Stewart Cupcakes challenge. But alas, I am redeeming myself this month. While my fellow cupcake bakers are making the Gingerbread cupcakes that I made last month, I made the Candied Sweet Potato cupcakes.

I found these cupcakes to be fairly simply to make, although I must admit that I was a little bit intimidated by the toasted marshmallows and the candied pecans. Before this recipe, I had never even cooked a sweet potato before. It was fairly simply, I cooked it the night before so that it would be ready to go the next day when I was ready to bake.

The cupcakes were easy to mix and slide in the oven. The cake was moist and tasty, with a nice hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. I successfully toasted the marshmallows and candied the pecans, and I was so thrilled that I pulled it off.

I was glad that this recipe was chosen, it challenged me to try new techniques. And, I probably wouldn't have tried this recipe had it not been for our challenge.

I presented the cupcakes to my co-workers, and some of them hesitated, probably because of the sweet potato. But, one of my co-workers, Jenny, claimed it was the best cupcake she had ever had! Yay! It really made my day.

And special thanks to my husband Alex for photoshopping the picture of my cupcakes in poor lighting!

Monday, November 30, 2009

MSC Challenge Bonus: Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Every month, my Martha Stewart Cupcake Challenge Group selects a bonus challenge. This month's challenge was the Applesauce Spice Cupcakes. It worked out perfectly because I made these cupcakes while visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews a couple of weeks ago. Except this time while baking, I had a little helper!

Meet Ryan, my wonderful nephew.

He was the best helper an Aunt could ask for!

Here is the end result. I thought they were incredibly easy to make, and so tasty, too. I think these would be just fine without the frosting. I made the brown sugar frosting, but forgot that I had halved the recipe, so it had too much brown sugar in it! Despite my error, they still tasted great. I would definitely make these again, but probably as muffins! Forgive the lack of pretty decorating! I was out of town and away from my normal arsenal of equipment. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MSC: Oops, I made the wrong cupcakes!

Oops, I accidentally made the gingerbread cupcakes instead of the sweet potato! I went out of town on Tuesday, and didn't get back until this afternoon. So I had made the gingerbread last Monday, in anticipation of not wanting to bake after a day of travelling. I thought these turned out amazing and will definitely make them again. They would be perfect without the frosting, too. Sorry for the un-detailed post!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes for my Scrapbooking Friends

Last Friday night was my monthly get together with my scrapbooking buddies. After the huge success of this month's MSC: Challenge...Pumpkin Patch cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting...I decided that the cupcakes would be perfect for the occasion. I was right, all my friends loved the cupcakes.

(I am so proud of these pictures. When given the right light, I think my picture taking abilities have gotten better than they used to be!)

We had a few newbies to our group this month, four of them to be exact! One of the girls, Denise, was BRAND new to scrapbooking. She was starting with some paper, a few embellishments, and photos of her daughters. One of the layouts she was working on was of her two daughters eating cupcakes! I had just made a cupcake diecut using my Cricut machine, so I offered it up to her to use on her layout. I think she was so excited that I gave her the diecut! She did a great job on her first layout, and hopefully she will be back next month.

Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

Last week I read this incredible cookie recipe on Design Mom. Design Mom is one of the blogs that I read regularly via Google Reader. And although I'm not a Mom (yet!), I still enjoy her beautiful blog everytime I see a new post. So when I saw this recipe, I absolutely had to make it. And, lucky for me, I had everything on hand in my pantry.

Alex enjoyed them, and I he isn't a real big fan of pumpkin. Although, if I keep making my Pumpkin Patch cupcakes, I may be able to make him a fan! I took these to work the next day, and my crew seemed to really enjoy them. It makes me feel so good when my co-workers say that they enjoy my baking. :)

For the recipe and instruction, visit Design Mom's blog post here. If you make them, let me know how they turn out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC Challenge: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

October's Martha Stewart Cupcake Challenge, headed up by Betty at Eat My Cupcake, was the Pumpkin Patch cupcakes. This month's cupcake was selected by Kim at What The Whisk. Please pardon the crummy pictures...I took them at night in some bad kitchen lighting.

Okay, I've made plenty of cupcakes in my day. I've had this blog for about two years now. These cupcakes just might be best that I have ever made. The response by my co-workers was amazing. Well, except for the co-worker who is allergic to pumpkin.....good thing I told him what kind of cupcakes they were right when he was about to eat one!

I didn't have cake flour on hand, and I never have. Does that make me a bad baker? Anywho, I found the conversion on line and added corn starch to all purpose flour to make it the equivalent of cake flour. I thought these were fairly easy to make, and smelled fabulous while they were baking. I topped them off with the cream cheese recipe from the book, which is a great recipe, too.

I packed up the cupcakes in my favorite new accessory, my cupcake courier. I also packed a few extras in another box to take to my hair stylist (I had an appointment that day) and her staff. They loved them so much that I got an order to make them for the salon in November!

I will DEFINITELY be making these cupcakes again. For the order next month, of course. I'm also thinking about making them for Thanksgiving this year. Maybe I'll even make them into those adorable Turkey cupcakes on the following page of this recipe!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carrot cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for Alison's Birthday

My dear friend Alison had her birthday last week, and we all celebrated by going to Luna De Noche in downtown Dallas. I had never been there before, and I thought it was pretty good, but totally overpriced!! But that's is beside the point....

This year, Alison presented me with a few suggestions for cupcakes that she would enjoy. Last year I made here these Chocolate cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting, so this year I went with Carrot cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. What can I say, Alison loves Cream Cheese frosting!!

I used the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, and then the Cream Cheese Frosting from Crazy About Cupcakes. The cupcakes were incredibly moist, and were falling apart from their wrappers. But they were still really good. I enjoyed one the next day as a breakfast muffin (without the frosting, of course!).

Oh, and there is THIS! My new Cupcake Courier! And it is everything I had hoped for! It held all my cupcakes in place beautifully. Once it was loaded down with 2 dozen cupcakes, it was pretty heavy. It can hold up to 3 dozen cupcakes, so I imagine it could be even heavier!

Thanks Mom for supporting my cupcake habit!!!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the birthday girl with her cupcakes, but I know she enjoyed them. And, unfortunately for me, Alison lives in Austin now, so I don't get to see her very often. But, I do get to visit her in Austin every now and then!

Happy Birthday Alison....love ya!!!

Sprinkles....Is That You?

My brother and sister-in-law had given me a Sprinkles Red Velvet cupcake mix not too long ago, and I decided that my Friday night Scrapbooking Crop would be the perfect occasion to use the mix. Our group leader, Clare, absolutely loves Red Velvet.

Here is the end result:

I even tried to replicate the signature Sprinkles cupcakes frosting style...I think I better stick to my favorite open star icing tip. :) The kit also included Sprinkles signature fondant dots to decorate the cupcakes with.

I also used the Sprinkles Cream Cheese Frosting recipe listed on the can. I thought it was pretty good. Very easy to work with. But I still prefer my go to recipe in Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.

In the end, these turned out to be a beautiful red color, and I enjoyed presenting them to my Scrapbooking girls!

Monday, September 21, 2009

MS September Cucpake Challenge: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry my entry is late folks, but I just got over a nasty viral infection. I felt terrible for about a week...yuck. But, I'm all better now and I was able to complete the challenge this weekend.

For those of you who don't know, I am participating in a Martha Stewart Cupcake challenge. Myself and quite a few other bloggers are baking our way through the cupcake book one recipe at a time. I am thoroughly enjoying being a part of this challenge and seeing what everyone else comes with.

I have to admit, I went into this challenge a little skeptical. I had read my fellow bloggers posts about this cupcake and wasn't expecting much from it. I thought this was a fairly simple cupcake to make, but it was so weird not to have any BUTTER in a cupcake recipe!

The cake I thought was a little overly "spicey" if that makes any sense. The cloves and lemon zest were a little overwhelming. Maybe I added too much? I omitted the walnuts, mostly because I don't really care for them in baked goods. I also halved the recipe in anticipation of not liking them very much...here is the final result:

I took a half dozen to my best friend Jordan and her boyfriend Lance. Sunday Jordan and I went to see "Julie & Julia" and it was fabulous. We laughed and had a great time...I never knew Julia Child was so animated. I guess I've never seen any of her cooking shows! It was a great movie and I recommend it to everyone.

So, would I make these again? Probably not. Were they absolutely terrible? No. They were just OK. Good experience, though!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dimples Cupcakes - A Review

Last week I finally caught up with the Dimples Cupcake truck here in the DFW area. They made a stop at the Target in Frisco, close to my house. I made a special trip to try their cupcakes, I kept missing them in the previous weeks.

When I drove up to Target, I immediately spotted their cupcake truck.

I met the owners, two very nice guys. They said their retail location in Willow Bend Mall in Plano is scheduled to open at the end of this month. I decided to try the Red Velvet, Chocolate with Chocolate frosting, and the Vanilla cake with coconut frosting.

Their packaging was great, very easy to transport without the mess.

They even provide a fork and a napkin, and you're going to need it. These things are giant! They were $4 each, but worth it. I couldn't finish one in one sitting. Definitely good for sharing.

First up, Red Velvet:

This was a fabulous cupcake. The chocolate taste was more pronounced than I am used to in a Red Velvet, and I loved it. The cake was moist with just the right amount of food coloring. I mean, look at this...it is perfect.

I would definitely order this one again.

Next up, the Vanilla cake with coconut frosting.

This one was also amazing. The cake on this one was also incredibly moist.

Last but not least, is the Chocolate cake with Chocolate frosting.

Okay, so all the cake that I tried was wonderfully moist. The frosting on this one tasted a lot like the chocolate buttercream that I make at home.

The verdict: I would definitely visit the Dimples Cupcake truck again. They are friendly folks with wonderful cupcakes. Some may think the $4 price tag may be a little high, but these cupcakes are better than what you would get at Sprinkles, and a lot bigger, too. Check out their website, dimplescupcakes.com for more information!

A Challenge Revisited

Last month, for the Martha Stewart Challenge I am participating in, hosted by Sugar B at Eat My Cupcake, I made Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes with Dark Chocolate frosting....see them here. They were such a success that I got another request for them.

This time I made standard size cupcakes instead of the mini cupcakes. I liked these much better. Mostly because I didn't have to cut the centers out of 50+ mini cupcakes!

Like the last time I made these cupcakes, I had WAY too much frosting left over. I froze some of it in case I need to use it in the future. I've never frozen frosting and then re-used it at a later date, so we'll see how that turns out. Overall, I was very pleased at the way these turned out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Margarita Cupcakes with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting for my Sister-in-Law Shannon!

This week, my brother Jeff, his wife Shannon, and their son Ryan, came to visit Texas. They live far, far away in a land called Virginia. :)

Shannon's family and our family all met up for dinner at a Anamia's Mexican Restaurant. I thought Margarita cupcakes would be fitting for the cuisine.

No embellishments, I kept it simple this time.

Here is a great shot of my nephew chowing down on his cupcake. It is also a great shot of my sister-in-law, Shannon.

Unfortunately, the whole clan was feeling a bit under the weather on their visit, but we still had a good time taking it easy around my parent's house.

Espresso Dark Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Here is a shot of the Espresso Dark Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting. The frosting was so incredibly thick, I could barely spread it on the cupcake, hence the not so pretty presentation. I made these for a friend in Plano, so I didn't get to try them, but they smelled heavenly while baking!

Cupcakes for Charity

I made 165 cupcakes for my friend Giuseppe, who owns Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant in Denton, Texas. He and a local bank were sponsoring a fund raiser for the United Way. My Mom made all 150 of these tiny little flags! WOW! They read "Point Bank Supports United Way"

We made half Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and half Vanilla cake with Chocolate Buttercream. This is only one pan of the five pans it took to transport these to Denton. Many thanks to my Mom for delivering them, and for all of her help.

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Mini Golden Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

My friend and stylist Julie asked me to make these for her Phyto event at her salon. This was the first event I did for her.

Here is a shot of me setting up the cupcakes. It was about 7:45am when I delivered these. Mom met me at the salon and helped me set up.

Mini Golden Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (gotta love the morning sunrise for the best pictures!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (I think I make this type of cupcake most frequently!)

And the end result....very pretty.

If you look in the background of the last picture, you can see a picture frame sitting on the table. My wonderful husband Alex designed a graphic with my website on it for others to view my work. Then my fabulous Mom put them in a double frame. I couldn't do this without either one of them!

French Toast Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these French Toast cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for my friend Pam, who helped me out with Alison's bridal shower back in April.

You can't really see them from my pictures, but I used a dark brown cupcake liner, and they worked out perfectly with these cupcakes.

I made some cinnamon sugar as a topping, to keep things simple.

I didn't actually get to taste them! I made just enough for Pam, but from what I hear, they were tasty.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Martha Stewart Cupcakes August Challenge

One of the blogs that I enjoy reading regularly, Eat My Cupcake, decided to host a Martha Stewart cupcake challenge. Each month, a big 'ol group of foodie bloggers will each make a cupcake recipe selected from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I am such a cupcake nerd, I pre-ordered this book from Amazon.com so that it would be delivered to our house on the day it was released!

The first cupcake challenge was the Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes with Dark chocolate frosting. I read the recipe a few times over, and was a little intimidated at first. But, I love a challenge (especially a cupcake one!) so I went for it. Unfortunately, I had too much chocolate and butter on my hands constantly, so I didn't take many preparation pictures.

The cake was simple enough to make. I used regular Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder, mostly because I can never find the Dutch unsweetened cocoa that many recipes call for. The cakes were incredibly shiny and glossy. After they had cooled completely, I cut cone shaped holes in the cupcakes to make room for the salted caramel I was about to make. I managed to get six and a half dozen mini cupcakes from this recipe, even though the book said it would make 56 total minis.

Next up was making the salted caramel filling from scratch. This was a first for me. In the recipe, it stated that the mixture may splatter, and it sure did! It actually scared the crap out of me, but with stirring, it quickly calmed down and turned into a smooth caramel. And it was YUMMY!

Then came the dark chocolate frosting. It was very easy to make and incredibly chocolately! I'm not a real big fan of dark chocolate, but this frosting was good. Very rich, easy to work with, and it had a beautiful glossy sheen to it.

I had a event to cupcake cater at this morning, so I made these for the event. Here is the final results, along with the Red Velvet cupcakes I made. The pictures didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.

A close-up:

The event was a success for Jovie Salon, and the salon called me to let me know that a client of theirs wanted my contact info to place an order...yippee!!!!! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Alex's Birthday CAKE!

Alex wanted a cake this year for his birthday! I'm not very good with cakes, despite my training with Wilton. I never can get the consistency right for a cake, but no problem with cupcakes, of course.

Here is my adorable hubby with his cake:

He wanted his cake to be intentionally, sort of like the cakes featuring on one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks. So his cake reads, "Happy Birfday Alex"

Despite the fact that the cake ended up looking pretty ugly by the time we ate it, it tasted fabulous. It was a french vanilla cake with french vanilla buttercream. My Mom, Dad, Lori, Randy, and Alex's grandparents all met at Giuseppe's to celebrate. It was enjoyed by all....and we even had enough to share with our wonderful waitresses.

Jordan's 27th Birthday Cupcakes

This past weekend, my best friend Jordan had her 27th birthday. She has a cupcake named after her, appropriately titled, "The Jordan." This year, Jordan wanted a slight variation on "The Jordan." This year, I made chocolate buttercream frosting instead of vanilla buttercream frosting. And I dyed the cake purple, instead of its natural golden color.

This year, we all gathered at Dave and Buster's in Frisco to celebrate Jordan. I also made extras so that everyone at Jordan's get together could have some cupcakes to take home with them.

We all had dinner, then headed downstairs to play some games. I had a great time, and so did the birthday girl!