Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Week: A Taste Test and an Open House

I met with a lovely new couple this week so they could taste a couple of cupcakes for their upcoming nuptials.  I made carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting which they loved (who doesn't?)

and Kahlua cupcakes which didn't make the final cut.  Their colors will be gold and brown, (perfect for a fall wedding) so I bought some pearlized gold sugar and went crazy.  Although none of these designs will be used at their reception, I had fun experimenting.

Later in the week I baked for an open house for a couple whose wedding I did in June.  They chose a combination of minis and standard size cupcakes, a brilliant idea if you have multiple flavors so guests can try one of each if they'd  like, or for events with kids.  They did the carrot cake again with cream cheese frosting and crystallized ginger on top.  White chocolate cake with raspberry frosting was the second flavor.
 More carrot cupcakes.  Yum yum!

More minis, half with fresh raspberries and the other half with white chocolate morsels.

I tried for the first time filling the white chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling before I baked them.  (You know, a Tbs of cake batter + a tsp of the good stuff + another Tbs of the batter.)  But when I bit into a test cake I found that all the jam had fallen to the bottom.  Bummer.  It was tasty but I wasn't happy with how it looked so I redid them without the filling for the clients. Of course we don't let anything go to waste around here so I frosted the rejects with some left over cream cheese frosting and when I had it later that evening, I got this....

My little cupcake monster was smiling at me!  :)  And boy was it ever good with that cream cheese frosting!  I think I found a new favorite combo!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pretty in Pink Fancy 5th Birthday Cupcakes

For a very special little girl in our lives.  She requested "vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and a flower and a strawberry on top."  Well Mom nixed the strawberry idea but we got everything else and then some (although you can't tell it from these pictures, the fondant flowers were brushed with gold luster dust, of course!) for her fancy birthday tea party. 

I've read stories before of how exact and particular children can be when asked what kind of cake they want, but this was the first time I experienced it first hand.  I hope she was happy! 

The big flower was for the birthday girl.  Half of the others had small fondant flowers and the other half were frosted with a dusty pink rose and white sanding sugar.

Although it's not cake, I have to share this too.  I don't remember where now, but I saw on another blog where the crafter took a paint can, decorated it with scrapbooking supplies and filled it with goodies as a gift.  I had to try it!  I used a baby formula can I had laying around (still???), cut the scrapbooking paper and stuck it on with double sided tape, then decorated it with a few adorably shabby chic stickers.  It took all of about 10 mins and it turned out so cute!  She can even reuse it as a pencil holder or desktop trash bin or whatever her imagination allows! 


Obviously, the hearts are digital "stickers" to protect the privacy of our little ones.  :)

Some little hands got to the gift before I had my camera ready but they were so patient and stuck the tissue paper back in so I could take this picture and share it here! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Green and White Wedding Shower

These were for a good friend of mine who recently took the plunge and tied the knot.  I was so happy for her as well as thrilled for the chance to dust of those design skills of mine and decorate for the shower.  Everything was green and white down to the zebra print napkins and green depression glass plates.  White hydrangeas and cylindrical vases filled with limes and green apples just made me smile, and hopefully the bride too!  And of course the cupcakes...

 Chocolate and dark cherry cupcakes decorated with non perils, white almond sour cream cupcakes made to look like roses with a little green leaf, and white almond minis with the large green round sprinkles on top.   All frosted with almond vanilla butter cream.

Congratulations to K+N!  So happy for you both!  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Genuine Key Lime Pie

I'm not sure if it was all the peas I picked (and shelled and blanched and froze and ate) or the pukey kid.  But I was feeling kind of GREEN today.  So instead of napping or showering (or napping) at nap time this afternoon, I decided to put those key limes I bought on sale earlier in the week to good use.  Really I just needed to zone out a little. 

I mostly followed The Pioneer Woman's recipe that you can find here, except that the snob that I am had actual key limes!  Lucky me! 

Until I realized how many of these thumb sized babies I would have to juice to get the required half cup of citrisy goodness.  Is it just me or do key limes smell like Trix cereal???

Here's my not so perfect graham cracker crust.  I crushed the crackers the old fashioned way...with a plastic bag...some agression.  Ah....  After 5 mins or so in the oven and some time to cool, I filled it...

 adding in plenty of zest...

and baked it for exactly 17 mins. at 325. 

I probably could have eaten it then without any cooling or topping but I wanted it to look a little fancier than this.  So I took some clues from Emeril Lagasse and did a sour cream and powdered sugar concoction to top it with (but with more powder and less sour).  Sprinkle on some more zest and add a mint sprig and you have yourself a pretty (and pretty easy - well except for that juicing part) Genuine Key Lime Pie! 

I was going to take this to a bbq this afternoon but then the kid started yacking again so we stayed home and now have to eat the whole thing by ourselves.  That's unfortunate...

Isn't that lace runner darling?  Another antique mall find... for $3!  :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mickey Mouse Cake

A Mickey Mouse Cake for a lucky little boy turning 2!  Made up of  8" and 6" stacked vanilla cake rounds and blue vanilla-almond buttercream frosting with fondant decorations designed to look like Mickey's Clubhouse.
(I wish all my pictures would turn out as cute as this one.)

 I couldn't decide between the trees or the clouds as my favorite part.

When my little one saw the finished cake he said "I want taste Mickey Mouse Mooooom!"  Wonder if he'll ask for one for his birthday...?  :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Shandy Lemon Cupcakes

After a very crazy week, for the 4th of July weekend I finally had the time to experiment with the Summer Shandy Lemon Cupcakes I've been dreaming about.  In case you aren't familiar with Summer Shandy, let me introduce you...

It is a beer.  By Leinenkugel's.  And it's popular here in the upper Midewest.  Made with lemonade.  Perfect for hot summer days.  That is all. 

Instead of adding sour cream from the original lemon recipe, I added...

...about this much beer (6 oz maybe?), and got...

...these beauties!

Taste wise they weren't much different from the other cupcakes.  But I did notice they kept their moisture much better with the beer in the batter. 


What a tasty way to celebrate this country of ours. 

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th! :)
Summer Shandy Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 36 - 42 cupcakes
Note: This recipe was originally adapted from one I found on called "Lemon Cream Cupcakes." But for the life of me I can't find it on that site anymore. I made a few modifications so the recipe below is the one I use. Here goes...
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Juice of 1 whole lemon
6 oz. ish of Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy beer
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of two lemons
Preheat oven to 350 (My oven runs a little hot so I do 345.  In a convection oven it's aroun 320.)
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, at least 5 mins.
Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
Add vanilla extract, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Summer shandy beer.
In the meantime whisk together dry ingredients and lemon zest.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches.  The batter should be thick but not dry. 
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 way and bake for 18-22 mins.  Don't let them get too brown on top. 
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter
(2) 8 oz. packages of full fat cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
juice of half a lemon
Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. 
Squeeze in fresh lemon juice and incorporate.
Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.