Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Cupcakes

My husband's office has a white elephant gift exchange for their holiday party every year.  This year he convinced me to make some festive cupcakes (along with some extra ginger snaps and sugar cookies we had lying around) as his gift.  Of course he brought all of the cupcakes (not just the ones for the gift) in to munch on during their pre-party meeting.  Which meant no left overs for me.  Sad day.  Guess I'll have to make more... Anyway, the flavors of choice were Peppermint Mocha and Spiked Egg Nog.  Here they are.

I was fully expecting the Peppermint Mocha to be my favorite.  I have become a big fan of the Starbucks version this year.  For the mocha part, this cupcake has espresso powder and coffee incorporated into the chocolate batter.  As for the peppermint, there is pure peppermint extract in the whipped cream cheese frosting and crushed peppermint sticks in the batter and garnished on top for an added crunch.  Mmmm...and they were a hit!
Surprisingly though, I rather enjoyed the Egg Nog cupcake.  For this reicpe I took the vanilla recipe I've been using lately added a sprinkle of nutmeg and replaced 3/4 of the milk with egg nog.  (Which was store bought, not home made.  Can you even make home made egg nog???  I don't know.)  There is a tiny bit of spiced rum in the batter as well as just a touch in the whipped cream cheese frosting, but barely enough to taste because I didn't want it to be over powering.  Finally it is garnished with ground cinnamon.  So pretty!

While making these I couldn't help but remember my first drink of spiked egg nog, quite by accident, when I was about 13.  Blech!  I think it had brandy in it, not rum, and a lot of it.  BUT, this egg nog cupcake was good.  Really.  Really.  Good.  I may or may not have hoarded "a couple three" (as they say in MN) that didn't fit in the cupcake containers.  ;)

Experimenting with these recipes was fun and very successful.  You should try it.  And have yourself a sweet and satisfying holiday season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

K+E Wedding

K+E were married this past weekend at the beautiful Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood, MN.  It was the perfect December day for a wedding; crisp and clear, but "warm" (for a MN December day at least).  Standing in the ballroom looking out over the frozen lake at sunset was serene.  The reception hall was decked out with ivory feathers, purple calla lilies, willow branches, and strings of white lights.  The cake and cupcakes echoed the modern, yet elegant feel with whimsical roses and a touch of iridescent purple pearls.  Hope you enjoy!
 The small two tiered vanilla-almond cake had roses on the top and sides to match the bridesmaids ivory rose bouquets, and black ribbon wrapped around each tier.
I kinda felt like I was standing on a boat.  Do you see it???

 The cake at sunset.
Cupcakes at sunset.

 The beautiful bride with her cake.
 The Lakeside Ballroom.

Top of the cake.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy 96th Birthday Commander Bob!

Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Earlier this week I had the pleasure of making a birthday cake for a man who was serving our country on that day.  Bob is a retired Navy Commander who celebrated his 96th birthday on Monday.  Although I've never met him, let me just say it was an honor be a part of his day.  Really.  An.  Honor.

 Chocolate sailor hat cake filled with vanilla-almond butter cream and covered in white fondant.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Fondant anchor and life saver toppers.

Happy Birthday Bob!