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 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!

Martha Stewart One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Twice a month, I get together with my scrapbooking buddies from my Meetup group. We call our group "Scrap Happy Ones Together" or SHOT. You can see our page here. I look forward to our "crops" (as we scrapbookers call them) so much every month. We meet on the second Saturday and the third Friday of every month. For July's Friday night crop, I made the Martha Stewart One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This was my first time making Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but had heard good things about it.

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't real impressed with this cupcake. I think it looks fabulous, but the taste wasn't anything fantastic. The frosting didn't really taste all that great, which I think had something to do with the pink gel dye used to get such a pretty color. The cake was nice and dense, which I like. But I won't be changing my 'go-to' chocolate cake recipe to this one. BUT, I was thoroughly pleased with the way they looked!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
Makes about 5 cups
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

(Optional) To tint buttercream (or royal icing), reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

I couldn't find the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes online, but if you would like it, email me and I will type it up for you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Concert and Chocolate Cupcakes

In June, Jordan and I went to see one of my favorite bands, Gomez. Jordan didn't really know much about the band, but went with me anyway because that's what best friends do. :)

We stopped at Boston Market before the show and ate dinner. I had never been there, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially when we got to the register and saw these beauties:

Obviously we had to try them! They were yummy, moist, chocolatey! We knew from then on the night would only get better! Or so we thought!

It was a stormy night in Dallas, and the tornado sirens were going off as we left the restaurant. The storm was following us all the way from Plano to downtown Dallas. Right when we were pulling in the lot to park, it started to rain and the wind was blowing crazy-like. We had made it just in time.

Here we are at the show

And here is a great shot of the band.

Gomez is a band that I had been wanting to see since I first discovered them working at Sam Goody back in 1999. I would always miss them every time they came through Dallas. But not this time! It was well worth the ten year wait. They were fabulous, and I can't wait for the opportunity to see them again!

Pampered Chef Party Cupcakes

My awesome mother-in-law Lori hosted a Pampered Chef Party in her home a little while ago. She asked me to make cupcakes, and of course I accepted! The color theme of the party was pink, in support of breast cancer awareness. I decided to keep the pink subtle, and made a golden cupcake (or yellow cake) with chocolate buttercream frosting, with pink dot sprinkles.

The cupcakes went over very well, and I even sent some home with the Pampered Chef lady! I even got some sweet things from Pampered Chef, like this...

Bamboo serving bowl...Alex likes all things wooden in the kitchen....bowls, serving, etc.

And these adorable polka dot bowls, we have used them so much already. They are perfect for pasta, or rice dishes with lots of liquid.

This little mini-serving spatula is awesome for lifting cookies off of baking sheets, and I used it this morning for some help with fresh cinnamon rolls I made.

The BEST ice cream scoop EVER!

This garlic infused canola oil is amazing! Even though it's probably not the healthiest thing on the planet....all things in moderation, right?

Okay, okay, so I may have gone a little overboard with the Pampered Chef stuff, but this is good stuff! And I spend so much time in the kitchen, these items will certainly get lots of use. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I have been a bad, bad, blogger. I haven't updated my blog since May! Things have been busy around our house. My husband Alex and I recently purchased a business in our hometown of Denton, Texas. The store that we purchased is called the "All Pure Water" store. They specialized in selling purified water, along with plastic bottles. Alex and I are beginning to add more items to the store, with the intent of making the store a full service aquarium shop. Anywho....

Recently Alex's family and my family got together for a little cookout. My father-in-law Randy had been asking me for Peanut Butter cupcakes for quite some time. And his birthday last year was right before our wedding, so I was unable to make them for the occasion. Here they are:

The cake was fairly simple to make. The frosting, however, was a little bit of a nightmare. I don't usually have good luck with frostings that require preparation on the stove top. I'm more of a "buttercream frosting in the stand mixer" kind of girl. But I went with it anyway, because the other recipe I found called for shortening, and I really don't like using shortening in my baking. Something about it kind of grosses me out....weird, I know.

It seemed like the cupcakes were a little bit of peanut butter overload, so I injected some of them with strawberry jam. I don't know if it really helped all that much. I was disappointed in these cupcakes, but this is how I learn what works and what doesn't. At least they look pretty! :)