Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Cookies 2009

As I've mentioned before, Halloween is my favourite time of year. I was never really a Christmas girl - I'd much rather watch "The Blob" or "Night of the Living Dead" than "Frosty the Snowman" or "Miracle on 34st Street". Plus, Halloween gives us a chance to make cookies like these:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lola Cupcake

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry-Cola
C-o-l-a Cola

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If there was only one band I could listen to for the rest of my life, The Kinks would be on the top of that list. Yes, the Beatles and Zeppelin would be on that list too, but for some reason Ray Davies and the gang always squirm into my heart.

But enough about the British Invasion. More about cupcakes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rock the Cupcake Hero Vote!

Cupcake Hero: October has just been brought to a close. This one is close to my heart - Halloween is my favourite time of year - so we tried to make entries that really fit with the season. We have complete confidence in the recipes, but there are so many amazing tasty (and spooky) cupcakes!

Here's where you can see all the entries and vote for the one you think looks and sounds the tastiest. We hope our Dias de los Muertos and Pumpkin S'more cupcakes do well - but competition is steep!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin S'more Cupcakes

I love marshmallow. Too bad it's a real pain in the tuckus to make.

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I really wanted to put in another entry into this month's Cupcake Hero and I also wanted an excuse to make a S'more cupcake. It was like it was destined to be.

I had a super recipe for Graham Cracker and Chocolate cake, but it was the Marshmallow that really got to me. At first, making it from scratch sounded like a wonderful idea. But I am an impatient person. Waiting over night for little marshmallows to set seemed like a waste of time - I wanted s'more cupcakes in my mouth as. soon. as. possible. So I tried my ol' stand by, 7 minute icing. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, my icing refused to form stiff peeks (I blame the corn syrup rather than my lack of patience). Frustrated and sticky, I went to plan C.

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Even after all the tears and destroyed egg whites, I produced something that I'm proud of. The cake has a lovely texture and is full of chocolatey goodness. The marshmallow on top complements the cake well and leaves you in a happy, pumpkiny mood. If my other half was with me during this journey, maybe I would have gone with the fresh marshmallow (C&C's creations always seem to go better with the second C is around) - but these cuppies hit the spot just the way they are.

I even made little mini cousins, just so Colin could share them with the office.

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The only thing better than a Pumpkin S'mores Cupcake is three dozen mini Pumpkin S'more cupcakes.

Pumpkin S'more Cupcakes
Graham Cracker and Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow on top

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer dark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, graham cracker, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until evenly distributed.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Next alternatively pour in the flour mixture with the milk/yogurt, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Fill your (preferably Halloween-oriented) cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes (or until your tester comes out clean.

Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting
Now, if you want to go the extra mile, I'd use this recipe for homemade pumpkin marshmallow. If you are in a time crunch (Like I was), you can use this super easy subsitute.
2 cups big marshmallows
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice

Put the marshmallows in a large glass bowl and add a TBSP of water. Make sure most of the marshmallows have soaked up some moisture and place them in the microwave. Nuke those bad boys 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time you take the bowl out to check, until the marshmallows are mostly melted (there still will be some lumps, but don't worry about that yet).

Mix all the spices together in a small cup. Put the pumpkin in the marshmallow bowl and about half of the spice mixture. Using a hand mixer, mix everything together until all the marshmallowy lumps are gone. Taste and adjust the spice if need be.

(Your marshmallow will seem watery at this point - don't panic. It will re-congeal when it cools.)

Using a knife, cut out a small hole in the middle of your cooled cupcakes (going just about a third of the way down). Spoon in the pumpkin marshmallow until it covers most of the top. Let the marshmallow cool.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Graham Cracker crumbs

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (preferably in a double boiler). Take off heat and dip each of the cupcakes in the ganache, making sure the pumpkin marshmallow is completely covered. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top.

Add candy/chocolate tombstone and/or zombie limbs as you see fit.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Llama Cake

I love it when cake takes on a personality. But why did this cake have to be so smug?

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Yes, it may look all cute and cuddly to you right now, but inside is dwelling something . . . well, something rainbow.

Velvet rainbow, actually.

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This little cake was for a friend of ours that's really into all things knit or all things that can be knit - this includes llama and alpaca fur (which apparently makes for some really cute mittens and sweaters). She runs a cute little store on Etsy - Drama Llama Knitting Company - and in celebration of this, we thought we'd turn her passion into cake.

The cake is a rainbow velvet with cream cheese icing. On top of that we've got some of our homemade marshmallow fondant with some chocolate swiss buttercream on top as fur. The scarf (which matches the insides . . . ew that sounds gross) is marzipan.

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When the cake was cut, much squealing pursued. Everyone loves cakes with a surprise inside. Half this sucker was consumed in 5 minutes flat - which left everyone on the ground, moaning over their buttercream-stuffed bellies.

But it was very very worth it.

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Why does he still look so damn smug?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cupcake Takes the Cake!

It seems like we've been spotted by the lovely girls over at Cupcake Takes the Cake! Thanks for the look see!

You can read the short blurb here - but make sure you look through the rest of the blog. It's one of my favourites!

C & C

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dias de los Muertos Cupcakes

The colours. The smells. The sights. The skulls.

Dias de los Muertos is a holiday I can really get into.

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The idea for these cupcakes came from a cute little skull mold I found digging around the local craft store. As soon as I picked it up, I new it was destined for greatness. I have always been in love with Calaveras art and thought perhaps I can incorporate it into cupcake form. The cake would, of course, have to be pumpkin - but with a little kick. This is how Dias de los Muertos Cupcakes were born.

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The cake is not your average pumpkin cake. It's light and moist (an effect which always shows up in any one of my yogurt-cake recipes) with a real kick at the end. The kick is the cayenne - something I'm really getting into. There's nothing I love better than a sweet cupcake with a spicy surprise at the end.

I thought this cupcake was special enough to enter in October's Cupcake Hero - I hope it does well and, above all, I hope you enjoy it!

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Dias de los Muertos Cupcakes
Cayenne-Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese buttercream

1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup yogurt with 1 tsp vanilla mixed in
1 1/3 cup pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift or wisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, and salt black pepper. Set aside.

Cream together butter and both sugars with a mixer until nice and fluffy (around 5 minutes). Add eggs and mix. Then mix in yogurt and dry ingredients, alternating between the two. Add in the pumpkin.

Spoon into cupcake papers and cook in oven for about 20 minutes (or when your cake tester comes out clean). Leave out to cool before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:
16 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups of icing sugar (plus more - just in case you want your icing thicker)
1/4 cup real maple syrup
4 tsp cinnamon (plus more, if you add more icing sugar)

Put all ingredients (room temperature) in a mixer and mix until thick and yummy. Tint to any colour you like (or just leave it the natural cinnamon colour) and add to the cupcakes. Decorate accordingly (I'd suggest marigolds, sugar skulls, and lots of lovely bright colour!)

Enjoy! I know we did!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spider Web Pumpkin Spice Cookies

It's only September and I've already got Halloween on the brain.

It is my favourite holiday (if you can could call it as a holiday). I love the spooky and the weird and the gross - if I can combine that with baked goods, then all the better right? I've been imagining up Halloween treats for a while now - most of which were pretty elaborate. After pondering for a while, I decided that maybe I should start off slowly -- like I said, it's only September.

These are simple pumpkin spice cookies - nice and thick. Super chewy in the middle. I thought I'd toss some lemony royal icing, with some extra web on top. Next time, I think I'll pipe the icing out instead of spreading so I can get a cleaner look.

Now where's the itsy bitsy spider?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yeti Cupcakes

I created these guys in almost 30 degree heat. Could you guess what was on my mind at the time?

I love it when cupcakes are inspired by candy. I found the little penguins after wandering around the grocery store, trying desperately to avoid the head wave going on outside. I had no idea what they tasted like - I just new I had to make Yeti cupcakes out of them. (Turns out they taste like those peachie fruit chew rings. Huh, who knew?)

Yeti cupcakes are one of my favourites just because the I can refine the process each time I make them. The cake is vanilla and marshmallow, with a 7 minute frosting on top. Oh yeah, and coconut. Lots of coconut. The result is something that resembles a snow ball and that tastes like a light, fluffy, vanilla/coconut cloud. Mmmm. After my last cake disaster (aka, the dreaded d20 cake), this was a nice refined change.

Frosty and Frosted

Sunday, September 20, 2009

d20 Cake

I'm a huge geek. I'm talking super huge. Like, so huge I'd make a dodecahedron out of cake. Crazy? A bit, yes. Especially when I had to finish it in a matter of hours. That meant no fondant, no fineness, just buttercream and tears. Oh sweet lord, so many tears. As you can see, it was a bit of a mess.

For those of you who aren't nerds, this is a d20 die -- usually used for RPG games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Basically, we sit around a table with our paper, pencils, dice, and mountain dew and pretend we're saving a village from some sort of evil doer. It's more fun than it sounds, I promise.

This cake was for our dungeon master - the person who runs said DnD games - and boy was she happy. The cake was vanilla bean with a lovely swiss buttercream frosting. Simple enough, yes. But, man oh man, what an ordeal.

Colin was in charge of the d20 (just simply because he is more into math than I am) - after two hours of scale models, swearing, and yelling, we finally got it. Just in time to slap some buttercream on it before our DM showed up. Next time I think we're going to make the d20 out of rice krispie treats - and leave plenty of time to construct it. Also, I think I'd fondant this sucker next time - just so it doesn't look so messy and rushed.

"Epic fail. Dragon eats your bee."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mini Burgers

I'm a vegetarian. But these are some burgers I wouldn't mind stinking my teeth into.

Based on Bakerella's creation, these little burgers are made out of vanilla cupcake, brownie, and multicoloured royal icing. Perfect for Father's Day, but you didn't have to be a father to enjoy these puppies.

These were sent to one of Burnaby's BC Hydro offices and disappeared in a matter of hours. I think all that was left was "'s Day" and a half of bun. Next time I'd love to make sugar cookie french fries to go along with these guys. Someone just has to give me an excuse to keep experimenting :)

Seriously cute. Seriously delicious.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Many Cupcakes, So Little Time

Sometimes, while baking, I get into "The Cupcake Zone".

There's a fine like between "The Zone" and a horrible, stressful place where I just want to slap buttercream on a plain vanilla cake and call it done. The Zone occurs when I've got to make, say, six dozen cupcakes in only a handful of hours. This could very easily turned into a nightmare. Instead, I put my blinders on and dive in head first. And love it.

Here's a small look at the seven dozen cupcakes I did for a graduation barbeque. This included three of my favourite flavours: Lime in the Coconut, Black Forest, and Red Velvet (with Cream Cheese Buttercream). I love experimenting with different flavours - these three, however, are my go-to varieties.

You can keep your plain ol' vanilla. I'll take a Lime in The Coconut any day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spring Break Rainbow Cake

Remember oh-so-long ago when I presented you with the rainbow cupcakes?

This is like that - only bigger.

Looks pretty radioactive, eh? Just how I like it! This was a spring break cake for the staff room of my practicum school. Boy, was everyone pretty taken-aback when they cut into this sucker. Nice white fondant (homemade), some chocolate work, strawberry buttercream, and BAM - rainbow!

mmmmm, taste the rainbow

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bacon Cookies

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Bacon. Cookies.

Unfortunately, these cookies do not taste like bacon. Alas, they're just some special sugar cookies that were manipulated into everyone's favourite fatty breakfast food.

There is no real reason why we made these -- I think we did it just because we could. Maybe next time I'll make them taste like bacon . . .

Or maybe a bacon cake. With a maple glaze. Mmmm . . .

Dessert Sushi

I never understood the appeal of sushi.

Maybe it's because I didn't grow up around here, but I can't even force myself to swallow anything wrapped in seaweed. I'd rather not have the taste of low tide in my mouth, thank you very much. I'm allergic to shellfish, so there goes anything with shrimp/prawn/crab/lobster on top. And raw fish . . . meh . . . maybe I'll build up the guts one day. I do live in Vancouver now - I can't hide from it forever.

Anyways, after being invited to a potluck, I wanted to bring in a form of sushi that didn't include seaweed. So dessert sushi was born.

Rice krispie treats dipped in white chocolate. Dried fruit as the fish. Fruit leather painted with food colouring served as the seaweed. Colin even painstakingly cut little candied mandarin orange slices into little shrimpies. How cute.

Now this is a bento box I could really get into.

Box O' Chocolates Cake

Sometimes, teachers need some love too.

A box of chocolates with mini-cupcake bon bons surrounding it - simple and cute. I brought this one into my practicum school on Valentine's Day. Staff ooh-ed and aww-ed and coo-ed, and then ate. Boy did they eat.

First, the little mini-cupcake bon bons started to disappear. Those were my favourite part of the cake - I cut marshmallows in half, dipped them in chocolate, and decorated it accordingly. Before I knew it, the cake was cut and demolished. I don't think I even got a piece. Teachers can be ravenous.

Ah, L'amour!

The Dam Cake

Sadly, only one picture of this one. It's a shame, really - the green fondant was wonderful, as was the cream cheese buttercream water (which was a hit with everyone).

This dam cake was made for Colin's birthday, celebrating his co-op with working with hydro dams up north. Jeez, that was ages ago! I feel so old!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rainbow Cupcakes

There's always something special about rainbow baked goods. They have the power to bring a smile to any face. This is one of my favorite techniques to use, so I thought I'd share my process with you!

First you make any lovely white cake mix. I always visit Martha for some hints - she never steers me wrong. I used the cake recipe from here (minus the ice cream bit), but there's tons out there.

Next, I divided out the batter into six different bowls and starting colouring. Now, if you don't want to be pooping black for a week, I would recommend using colour gel (you can find this stuff at any craft or cake store. I use the tried and true Wilton brand, but I'm sure there are others out there).

After everything has been fully coloured, you carefully pour each colour into your pan. No matter how uneven it looks, you've got to stop yourself from taking a spoon and mixing it together. Just plop each colour on top, one after another. Before you put your pan in the oven, make sure to lift it a couple of inches off the counter and let it fall a couple of times. This will make sure there will be no bubbles in your cake.

After coming out of the oven and cooling for a bit, I dipped my cupcakes with white and dark chocolate (just so the rainbow is hidden until the very end). Just picture yourself picking up a boring white cupcake - thinking that it's nothing special -- than BAM


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Darth Vader Cake

Doesn't look like much, does it? This is by no means a finished product -- what we have here is the skeleton of our Darth Vader Cake. Correction, our purple Darth Vader Cake. Why purple? That's what the birthday boy wanted. Also, that much black fondant would possibly have the party guests pooing green for a week. Ick.

This cake was not my recipe -- the girlfriend of the birthday boy requested that we use her grandmother's white cake recipe. It was lovely tasting, but man was it ever thick and heavy. And it took quite a while to assemble and mix, as well. I don't know if I'd ever use that recipe again - the reward is not big enough to make up for the work.

Here's Vader almost complete -- rolling out the dark purple fondant became quite the chore. I believe the batch I used was a little dry -- good thing I've perfected the recipe.

Finally, here's the complete cake -- as well as the happy birthday boy, who loves acting like a big Star Wars Geek. I think it came out lovely for such a heavy cake. I'd love to try out this one again one day.
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