Friday, September 30, 2011

Princess Cowgirl

The title says it all doesn't it?  I loved this birthday party theme for a little 2 year old who was described to me as "spunky."  She has a pair of pink cowgirl boots she wears all the time.  I would too, if I had a pair.   :)

The cake is The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe from the Cupcake Project's website.  I was SO excited the try it so I made extra batter into cupcakes for me.  :)  I've made so many different vanilla cake recipes, but this one really lives up to its name.  I'm so glad someone finally found IT!

The cupcakes are pink velvet with cream cheese frosting.  The tiaras and flowers on the cupcakes were made from candy melts and a squeeze bottle.  I like how they all have their own "personality." 

 The large tiara on the cake is fondant and the boots are fondant covered rice crispy treats with frosting and fondant decorations.  They were a challenge to make for me.  I don't consider myself any kind of sugar artist.  But if I were a 2 year old and saw those on my cake...and was told I could eat them too...well I'd be tickled pink!  (teehee)

If you haven't noticed, I made a "light box" for photographing the cakes at home.  I'm not really sure if I like it.  I'm kind of fond of the wood grain of my table (and even sometimes all the boy clutter) in the background.  I'd love to hear your feedback.  Thanks ya'll!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wedding M+A

I am excited to share some pictures from the wedding today!   You may recall the post from the tasting we did back in August...well here's the final product!

The cake is white almond with vanilla-almond butter cream and marshmallow fondant flowers.  I don't know why the pictures turned out so yellow here.  They were true to their natural color at home...scroll down...and I tried to fix it digitally, but obviously it didn't work.  So just know that the cake was actually white.  I still have so much to learn about photography!

 Chocolate and white almond cupcakes.  Most with butter cream, a few fancy fondant covered.

 They were displayed on a long candy buffet.  Fun!

 And a few more I took at home...

As takes an a few thank yous: Thank you Jules and Mel for helping with the boys; to Heidi for courageously entrusting your camera to me while I await the arrival of my new one; and last but not least, to the hubs, for being ever so patient with me this week. 

And of course, congratulations to M+A on your nuptials!  Thanks for letting me be a part of it!  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pumpkin-Cranberry-Orange Muffins

First of all, have I mentioned that I HAVE NO CAMERA???  Ugh!  I do not like this!  But while the new camera buying decision process is...processing, I just have to deal with more not-so-fancy pictures...this time via my not-so-fancy camera- (not smart-) phone.

With that said, these muffins, despite the sorry pictures, were really good! 

This week in our CSA box, we got a sweet pumpkin...the kind for baking, not carving.  I couldn't wait to make...and SMELL...fresh pumpkin in my house.  Mmmmm....fall is here!  While I dread the approach of the never ending winter, I really do love fall.  In all it's colors, smells of cinnamon and firewood, worn jeans and sweatshirts, and excuses for baking, fall would trump summer...if not for what follows. 

Anyway, I baked my pumpkin...cut it in half, seeded it, turned it face down in a glass baking dish, covered it with foil, baked at 375 for 45 mins, then turned off the oven and left it there to go to the park for an hour...mashed the innards and used it in the following recipe...which was modified by your generic pumpkin bread recipe. 

Pumpkin-Cranberry-Orange Muffins

2-1/4 cups AP flour (actually, I used 1-1/4 cups white and 1 cup white wheat flours)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
zest of one orange
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 an orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries goes...
Mix the dry ingredients and orange zest together in a bowl.
In a large measuring cup, mix together the wet ingredients.
Add the wet to dry and combine. 
Stir in the dried cranberries. 
Fill lined muffin tin (makes about 21) 2/3 full and bake at 350 for about 18 mins.

The dried cranberries added a lot of sweetness to them.  You don't need frosting... but, if you must...try a dollop of orange cream cheese frosting.  Yummy!  Welcome Fall!  :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All in the Family

This weekend was a busy one...filled with family, lots of food, and even more cake...the best kind. 

First, my in-laws celebrated their 40th anniversary with a family gathering at an old fashioned pizza parlor.  My mother-in-law repeatedly asked that I not make a fuss over the cake but to do something "simple" instead.  And I really tried.  Really.  I even ditched my tips for the first batch of cupcakes and frosted them by hand (which takes a lot longer by the way!).  But then I had an idea which let to another which turned into a fondant covered scene on top of a decadent cream cheese frosted carrot cake.  Oh well.  They were very happy despite my failure at keeping it simple. 

Confession...I broke my camera by doing something stupid.  (FYI: Just because a charging device that didn't come with your camera may still FIT in all the right places, that does NOT meant it will charge your camera!  It may, in fact, fry it.  Just saying.)  So I took these pictures on a not-so-fancy camera and they turned out...not-so-fancy.  Soooo...I played around with saturation and tints for the rest of these.  It kind of goes with the whole theme though.  It works. 

Carrot cake and carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pecans, and the apple pie cupcakes recipe from Annie's Eats.

My husband's dad is a carpenter and will sometimes etch the year or a name onto his work.  He also loves trees.  And while he would never actually carve anything into a tree, I combined the two ideas into one (correction...the tree idea was my husband's) and came up with this.  Somehow in my mind it seemed a lot "simpler" than a swirly "Happy Anniversary" written on top.

Apple Pie Cupcakes
Everything made from scratch.  I followed the cupcakes and apple pie filling recipe exactly like Annie's Eats. The butter cream recipe is my own and made with real vanilla beans.  Oh so yummy!

Carrot Cupcakes

Secondly, we celebrated the baptisms of our niece and nephew this weekend.   I'm sure the church was happy to have all the crazy cousins join them in service.  (I think I said "No," "Shh," "Stop that," and "Sit still" at least a few hundred times to a particular two of the bunch).  But we made it to lunch without any major melt downs and after eating my weight's worth of pot luck, we had more cake.

White almond cake with almond vanilla butter cream.

Confession number 2: I've never made a sheet cake before.  This was my first.  And it was only a "half" sheet cake.  Other than the icing that cracked a bit after being moved around so much, I was pretty happy with it.  It's always fun to try something new.  But no worries. I'm still a cupcake girl.  

Happy Anniversary and Congratulations to my wonderful families-in-law.  Thanks for letting me help you celebrate!  :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ruffle Cake for Bridal Shower

 I love when my friends/clients say "Do whatever. I trust you." Those words are music to my ears!

I'd been wanting to make a ruffle cake... 

But not completely out of fondant.  And not that Martha Stewart design that every body's doing now.  Not because I don't think it's pretty.  I just...don't like Martha Stewart.'s my version of the ruffle cake for the bridal shower of my October bride, hosted by her lovely sister.   :)

I'd love to make one in all white some day.

The cake was a rich marble cake, the bottom tier covered in chocolate fudge butter cream and the top covered in vanilla butter cream.  This cake was heavy!

The flowers...carnations?...roses?...were made from homemade marshmallow fondant. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Elvis Presley (PBB) Minis

Elvis Presley is pretty awesome...he is after all "the King," but the true inspiration for these banana cupcake...peanut butter frosted minis was my Daddy.  He would eat peanut butter banana...with Miracle Whip...because that's how we roll in the south...sandwiches every day if he could.   So here's to Daddy.

Banana Cupcake
This recipe was adapted from Banana Muffins II from 

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe...the kind your kids go "eewww" to...bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the first four (dry) ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix the rest (wet) in a different bowl. Then add them together, fill the lined cups and bake for 10-15 mins.  You know the routine.

The yogurt makes the texture of these springy and moist all at the same time.  Add in some nuts, bake in a loaf pan, and you've got a fantastic banana nut loaf. 

Of course for this application I topped them with peanut butter frosting (that I actually thought was too sweet and not peanut butter-y enough so I'll get back to you on a recipe) then sprinkled some coarse sea salt on top.  Yummy!  If I'd had some bacon at the time you better believe I would've thrown  that on top too.  I digress...

If the peanut butter-banana combo is your thing, try these.  And if not, at least try the banana bread part.  It's a keeper!  Enjoy!  :)