Friday, August 10, 2012

Utterly Overdo Blog Update...What Can I Say?

Nothing like the last day of summer vacation to finally update the blog! This past year had been a doosey....been thrown so many curve balls some times I wonder if there will ever be a "new normal." I know that God will never hand me anything I can't handle! It's times like this that I would have loved to turned to the kitchen; however, Michael had changed jobs and my sweet creations were too much for two manly men. And lets face it...a ball of stress left at home with 24 cupcakes= another sad part of the obesity epidemic. So instead I focused on distressing this summer. Some days I couldn't even tell you the day of the week. Well, that's not true. I could tell you based on my workout schedule. Kickboxing=Monday, Zumba= Tuesday or Thursday, Power20=Wednedsay, etc. I'm happy to say, it worked! Although the stress is still present I feel like I can actually cope with it now and stay focused on being positive. Ahhhhhhh!

So here it is the last week/day of break and I can actually take the time to update everyone on the little baking I actually did do during this ridiculously hot summer.  Here it goes.....

At the front of the line is a special treat I baked up for my class at the end of the school year! Oh, how I am going to miss them this year. In teaching you have those years where everything just clicks. Of course they are always too stinkin cute. But the class gets along, they love you, they love school, they love to learn, and teach you more than you teach them... these are the years that are cherished! I literally cried the whole last week of school. Last year will be a hard year to top! 

I had promised them all year long that I would bake for them. Well, celebrating the summer birthdays at the end of the year seemed like the best time to do it (ha, that and I put it off until then.) I found a very yummy summery recipe via Pinterest, duh! This mouth-watering recipe comes from Your Cup of Cake. The whole class loved it, only about 2 ended up in the trash can after the frosting had been consumed....

(from Your Cup of Cake)

Makes 24 Cupcakes

Lime Cake: 
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 egg whites
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
Zest of 4 limes
Strawberry Buttercream:
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons strawberry jello powder
4-5 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes and scrape down the bowl often.
3. With your mixer on slow, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until full incorporated, scrape down your bowl between each addition.
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and corn starch.
5. Alternate between adding your dry mixture and wet mixture to your sugar/butter mixture.
6. Add sour cream and lime zest and mix until combined.
7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-23 minutes, or until and inserted knife comes out clean.
8. Strawberry Buttercream: Beat butter for two minutes. Add vanilla extract and strawberry gelatin . Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
9. Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh lime slice.

I also was able to use these adorable cupcake liners that my Aunt Debbie picked up for me. (Thanks, Debbie!) My kiddos loved them more than the cakes I think...they loved that they resembled flowers once they peeled the wrapping down.  And, yes they used the word "resembled" (we did lots of vocab work over the year...they are unbelievable little sponges.) 

Having newly found free time, I suggested we host Father's Day! I really do love if I could just figured out how to host and be apart of the party I'd be all set. :)

Wanting to celebrate my incredible padre, I was in search of grub so that all his favorites were present and accounted for. An must was Butterfingers! And again, thank you Pinterest for allowing me to find Butterfinger Whoopie Pies. (WARNING: These are one of those inconceivably tempting goodies that you might want to make sure you have plenty of people to share with or your might eat them ALL!) Ha, ha you think I'm over exaggerating....I'M NOT!

Butterfinger Whoopie Pies 

For the Whoopie Pies 

1 white cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
10 snack size butterfinger, crushed

For the Butter Cream 

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. water
3 c. powdered sugar
6 snack size butterfingers, crushed


For the Whoopie Pies

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix ingredients in a mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Form into 1 inch balls and place on a non stick baking sheet. Bake 9 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then remove to your wax paper lined counter to cool completely. Fill with Peanut Butter Butterfinger Butter Cream.

 For the Buttercream

Cream butter, shortening, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add in honey, vanilla, and water and beat again. Slowly add powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Beat in the crushed butterfingers.

Continuing with the Peanut Butter theme, I found these unusual jems on and had to try them.....

Spicy Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings
-slightly modified
  • 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 5 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno pepper jelly
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (probably increased to 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 dash chili garlic sauce (such as Sriracha®), or to taste (I use a ton!)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Whisk mashed potato flakes, vegetable oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large shallow bowl. Add chicken wings and toss to coat.
  3. Whisk peanut butter, pepper jelly, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and chili garlic sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Place coated chicken wings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, turn wings over using tongs, and return to oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer chicken wings to the peanut pepper jelly mixture; toss to coat. Return chicken wings to baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

 Yes, they sound awkward but are in fact delicious! Some can say they taste the PB, others can't. I personally wish you could taste it more. I have already made them again this summer, and plan to make them during football season!

Also had to share a picture of my Chocolate-Cherry Brie Baguettes...

Pretty, huh!

Our glorious garden has had some up and down this year. It's been so hot that we've seen only a handful of tomatoes, 3 jalapenos, 6 wax peppers, 3 squash, and HUNDREDS of zucchini. So much so that I got tired of the brownies and loaves from last year and needed something new to use my bountiful zucchs in. I'll let you guess where I found it...*paused for effect,* Pinterest!!!!

This is my favorite loaf recipe yet! It is different and refreshing on those lazy summer mornings.

Lemon-Zucchini Loaf with Lemon Glaze

 (modified from NancyCreative)


 Makes one 9×5″ loaf
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat worked just fine)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t overmix.

Pour batter into prepared 9×5″ loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (if your oven tends to run hot, check the loaf after 40 minutes)
Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Spoon glaze over cooled loaf. Let glaze set, then serve.

 While we have had our share of struggles, we have also had many exciting things happen in the past couple of months. One of those being that Michael graduated with his BA in Project Management, and has since been hired on at a company that has taking him out of the laboring side of the business. :) And now I can bake again!!!! Wooohoo! To celebrate I made something I pinned months ago and have been eying ever since. Plus, I had to practice with them before I make them for Dad's birthday this month.

While mine did not look at perfect as Annie's, I was very happy with the outcome and look foward to making them again soon.

( From Annie's Eats) - Been a fan of her blog for a long time!

makes 26 cupcakes

1) To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the hot brewed coffee and cocoa powder until dissolved.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.

2) With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the coffee-cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix each addition just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.  Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3) When the cupcakes are cool, make the ganache by placing the chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate, and let stand about 2 minutes.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  If needed, let cool briefly at room temperature to thicken slightly before using.

4) To make the peanut butter cookie frosting, combine the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high for 1 minute.  Turn off the mixer, add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and use clean, dry hands to form it into a patty.  Use the tines of a fork to make the classic crisscross pattern on top of the “cookie”.  Repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture.

5) Use an offset spatula to spread a layer of ganache over the top of each cupcake.  Place a peanut butter “cookie” on top of each cupcake.

The batter for the cupcakes is delectable! I have to admit I licked the spatula when I was cleaning up.

Some of my baking summer playlist favorites:

Dirty Laundry (Skeewiff Remix)- Bitter:Sweet
Make It Bun Dem- Skrillex and Damian Marley
Promises (Mayon and Shane 54 Remix)- Andain
Here We Are- Silversun Pickups
Little Talks- Of Monsters and Men
Come On Closer- Jem
Some Nights- fun. 
Hit and Run- Breathe Carolina
Kate Nash- Nicest Thing

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Usually we use Chinese New Year as an excuse to order in our favorite Chinese items, but this year after receiving our first issue of Sunset Magazine (thanks Mom and Dad,) I was determined to make some of the enticing recipes they featured this month. I'm so glad I did because they were just as appetizing as they looked in the pictures!

Out of the many recipes to choose from I chose: Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Lo Mein and Chili Shrimp.
Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Lo Mein
(Slightly varied from Sunset Magazine)

Neither one of us had ever tried brussels sprouts, so I was a little nervous about how this dish would turn out. We were both pleasantly surprised! They basically just took the place of cabbage which is in many lo mein dishes. The hubby gave it a thumbs up and asked to have it again sometime soon.

1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
4 oz.  Udon noodles (used already cook, just needed to be heated)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
1 TB minced garlic
1/2 t. each white pepper (milder than black pepper,) sugar, and kosher salt
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. mung bean sprouts, rinsed
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
soy sauce

1. Put mushrooms in a heat proof bowl. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Ladle 2 cups water over mushrooms and let sit until very soft, 15-20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tsp. oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add brussels sprouts and onion and cook 3 minutes. Drain mushrooms and squeeze out any excess liquid, then add to wok. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften and brussels sprouts are bright green, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in seasonings and broth and cook until most liquid is gone, about 3 minutes.

3. Add remaining 2 TB. oil and the noodles, tossing to coat, and cook until hot, about 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts and cook until war,. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with green onions. Serve with soy sauce.

Chili Shrimp
(slightly varied from Sunset Magazine)

We love anything spicy and WARNING.....this is very spicy!!!!
I put ours in the middle of brown rice.

1/4 c. vegannaise (of course you could use regular mayo)
1 TB. Asian Garlic Chili Sauce with Chili Flakes
1 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 lb. peeled, deveined large shrimp (26-30 per lb.)
1 TB vegetable oil
3 TB mild honey
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 serrano chiles, sliced
1/4 c. puffed rice cereal
1/2 t. red chili flakes

1. Mix vegannaise, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl; set aside.

2. Preheat broiler with rack about 5 in. from heat. Coat shrimp and lay evenly on a broiler pan. Broil until pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 

3. Drizzle shrimp with honey and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Arrange shrimp evenly on a serving plate. Sprinkle with chile slices, puffed rice, and chile flakes. Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

Think we will be replacing our tradition of ordering from our local favorite with making new recipes at home instead. What are your traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I guess it is a good thing I didn't resolve to post more often for New Years because I would already have failed! I'm trying to take the time to bake, but life keeps getting in the way. Don't you hate when that happens?

One of my favorite traditions is to go to Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas and get all my calendars for 50% off! As my husband states, "I plan to make plans." So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that I have two calenders in our house, one on my computer, one on my phone, and one at school (on top of my plan book,) that are all synced. This year I chose a Martha Stewart Cupcakes calendar for the kitchen, in hopes that I will at least make the cupcake of the month each month. 

January's recipe was Spiced Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze! The original recipe says it will make 48 minis, but I decided to make regular ones instead since I was putting them in "birthday boxes." Two of my awesome teammates celebrated birthdays this week! I am so blessed to be able to work with them and they definitely deserved to have a special treat!

Spiced Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze
(slightly varied from Martha Stewart)
For the cupcakes

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. all-purpse flour
1 1/2 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 c. packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. whole milk

For the glaze

3 ish TB. orange juice
1 3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
food coloring (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tin. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour in three additions, alternating with two additions of milk.
3. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown at edges and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 20 mins. Let cakes cool in pan about 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make glaze by whisking together confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth. I added 1 TB at a time until desired thickness. Add 1 to 2 drops of food coloring if coloring glaze.

 I loved the idea of coloring glaze; however, I didn't realize how it effected the consistency until it was too late. It was pretty watery and either soaked into the cake or puddled on the plate:
Be sure to add a tad more sugar if you add food coloring!
Happy Birthday Jennie and Lisa!

Today's Playlist:
Blackout- Breathe Carolina
Lights (Bassnectar Remix)- Ellie Goulding
Good Feeling- Flo Rida
We Found Love- Rihanna

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joy to the World of Cookies!

As soon as I heard we were to be hit with snow I ran out to the store and stocked up on all my baking supplies so I could spend all day inside baking. Doesn't get much better than listening to Christmas music, lighting yummy holiday scents, and watching the snow fall while baking delicious goodies that in just a couple days my friends and family will be enjoying. :)

First up are Andes Mint Cookies. I got this recipe awhile back from one of my teammates (thanks Jennie!) and have heard nothing but rave reviews every time I make them. What I love about these cookies is that the Andes mints become the frosting! 

To dress them up for the holiday gift giving I thought it would be fun to use Peppermint Crunch Andes Mints instead of traditional ones. 

I must say, while they are nice and festive...I do like the traditional mint better, as it blends in so nicely with the chocolate cookie.

Andes Mint Cookies
3/4 c. butter or margarine
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. water
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
36-48 Andes mints

Melt butter, brown sugar and water in a saucepan over med. heat until melted. Then add chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted. Cool for 10 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in eggs. Add flour, soda, and salt. Mix together and chill for about 45 min. Roll into balls (1-1 1/2 in.) flatten slightly, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 min. Don't over bake. When cookies come out of the oven, place an Andes mint on top of each coolie and allow to melt for a few minutes. Swirl the melted chocolate with the back of a spoon like icing. Allow to cool.

Next mouth-watering treat is another new favorite....Cranberry Crunch Cookie Bars!
We are quite often surrounded by tempting snacks at school and have tried to use our best self-control technique of asking someone else who has already given in, "Is it worth it?" Well my friends, there is no need to even ask with these babies...THEY ARE SO WORTH IT....ever calorie! They remind me of a healthier blondie brownie.

Cranberry Crunch Cookie Bars

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 bag of white chocolate chips
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. craisins
3/4 c. chopped pecans (I made a batch with and without these)
4 c. Cascadian Farm Maple Brown Sugar Granola

1) Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with an electric mixer on low until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt until well mixed.

2) Stir in granola, craisins, pecans (if using), and white chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into a well greased 9x13 pan and spread out (about 1/2 in thick.)

3) Bake for 8-13 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Middle with still be gooey.

4) Let cool, cut into squares, and eat up!

Christmas Playlist-
Tennessee Christmas- Amy Grant
Carol of the Bells- Destiny's Child
Jingle Bells (Robbie Hardkiss Remix)- Duke Ellington
Mistletoe- Colbie Caillat
Hark the Herald Angels Sing- Hot Toddy
Man with the Bag- Kay Starr

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action! Here Come....Junior Mint Cupcakes!

WOAH! I don't know how long it has been since I have made a post. Life has been very busy these past couple months. Lots of weddings, holiday gatherings, and family events have taken over any spare time. All of which have been a blast, but wow...I'm starting to become quite exhausted. 

I have been promising my husband I would make these suckers for awhile as Junior Mints are his favorite movie time candy. I have already done a bunch of holiday baking (many of which I promise to post once I am on Winter Break) but these just could not wait! They were pretty much "smellicious," the lovely new phrase coined by one of my 1st graders. Oh, how I love them. :) 

I wanted to make my teammates a special treat to say "Merry Christmas!" and thought Junior Mint Cupcakes would be perfect. Classic holiday mint flavor without the repetitive red and white stripes.

Junior Mint Cupcakes
Chocolate cake:
2 2/3 cup flour
1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup of brewed coffee, cooled (I used Starbucks Christmas blend)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanila extract
2 eggs
Mint Buttercream:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp natural mint extract
Chocolate Sauce:
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
2/3 cup heavy cream
Garnish with Junior Mints if desired.

Preheat the oven to 350. in a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift to combined. in another bowl, add the buttermilk, coffee and oil. In a stand mixer, add the butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and while the mixer is on high, slowly add the sugar and cream until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time. With the mixer on medium speed, alternating between the wet and dry ingredients, add each a bit at a time until all three are well combined in the stand mixer. If you are using the cute brown floret baking cups, just place them on a baking sheet, they don’t need to go in a muffin tin. If you are using standard cupcake papers, just line them in the muffin tin as normal. Fill standard cupcake papers 2/3 of the way full and cute floret papers only 1/2 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20-25 minutes.

Mint Buttercream
In a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Your butter needs to be softened, cold butter won’t work. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar until all combined (you can add less if you prefer a less sweet frosting). Then add the milk and the extract and beat until well combined.

Chocolate sauce
Place the chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Heat the cream until hot and steam, but not boiling (microwave is fine but you can also heat on the stove) and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir for about 3 minutes or until well combined.

To present them I used white cupcake boxes with cute Christmas Bakery stickers that I purchased from Cupcake Social and my sister had gotten me some really cute boxes from The Cupboard in Fort Collins to gift single cupcakes with.

Today's Christmas Playlist:

All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey 
O Come Emanuel- Haste the Day
Someday At Christmas- Jack Johnson
Baby It's cold Outside- Willie Nelson ans Norah Jones
Oi To The World- No Doubt 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooktastic Cupcakes

We are not doing too much for Halloween this year....just planning on handing out candy to all the cute little trick or treaters. But of course I had to use the adorable cupcake wrappers and boxes I had purchased earlier this month. :)

Last year I made Red Velvet "Brain" cupcakes for Michael to take into work and I couldn't pass up the chance to make them again. I also wanted to attempt these "Bleeding Vampire Bite" cupcakes I have been seeing around. Both were a great success!!! And gone already...

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes I used a recipe from My Baking Addiction
The fabulous part about this recipe is that it only makes 12 cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake wells with paper liners or spray pan with 
    spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine oil and sugar 
    until well-blended. Add egg and mix until combined.
4. Turn your mixer down to the lowest speed add vanilla then slowly add in the food 
    coloring. Note:If you are using liquid food coloring, it will take about 2 tablespoons of 
    coloring to get a dark red shade. I used about 1 tablespoon of gel dye to achieve the 
    shade in the photographs. Add the dye slowly and color according to your preference.
5. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches; scrape down the side of 
    the bowl. Continue mixing until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
6. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine 
    running. Beat for about 10 seconds.
7. Using a medium scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter among between the 12 
    wells, filling each well about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a   
    toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ¾ cups), sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to maintain bright white color, I used pure vanilla extract since I was tinting them anyways)
Red and Blue food coloring

1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, 
    cream cheese, shortening, and butter until well combined.
2. With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly 
    incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
3. Use about 3 drops red food coloring and 1 drop blue food coloring to create grayish 
    brain matter color.

Next, I wanted to use a pale white cake for the vampire bite cupcakes and when I found this recipe for white chocolate cupcakes I knew it would be perfect. They received so many compliments I will definitely be making them again!

White Chocolate Cupcakes 
from Shauna Sever

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped bar or chips
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
5 large egg whites
1 can Cherry Pie Filling

For the frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped bar or chips
Up to 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, to taste

1. Position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. 
    Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners, 12 in one and 6 in the other.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until very 
    light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. When it’s just warm to the touch, stir it 
    into the butter mixture on low speed, just until combined–it may separate a bit, but it 
    will come back together. 
5. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the coconut milk in 
    three batches until well-blended. Transfer the batter to a medium bowl.
6. Clean and dry the bowl of the mixer. Whip the egg whites on medium high speed until  
    they reach soft peaks, about 4 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in 
    three additions.
7. Fill the muffin cups no more than 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Bake one tin at a 
    time until a toothpick just comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly 
    touched, about 20 minutes. 
8. Remove cupcakes from tin and place onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt together until light and smooth. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler and cool until it is just warm to the touch. Scrape the white chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine. Taste the icing and check the texture–if you like your icing sweeter and with a bit more body, add in some confectioners’ sugar. Set aside.

To make Vampire Bites:

1. Puree cherry pie filling in a blender. 
2. Use a knife to cut a small cone shape out of the center of the cupcake. 
3. Fill center with pureed filling.
4. Frost cupcake and spear two holes (I used a chopstick) into the top of the cake to 
    create bite marks.

 I hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Butter Butter-Cream Frosting

I love following Sunshine and Carousels blog and I have been waiting for Oct. 12th to roll around so that I could test out these babies. Today was my friend Sandy's birthday, and I thought they would be the perfect mid-week birthday treat to help her celebrate her special day. They were to die for! The frosting didn't turn out exactly how I would have liked it to. There was a lot of air pockets as I was piping it out, so it was not as pretty as I hoped for. Oh well, darn....looks like I will have to make them again! ;)

 Banana Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Butter Butter-Cream Frosting

2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup plus two tablespoons of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 a teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 a teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 a cup of milk
3 ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon of honey

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream your butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one a time. Add your milk and flour mixture to your mixture alternating each addition. Add your mashed bananas and mix well. Lastly fold in your honey. Bake at 350 degrees for 19-21 minutes. Makes around 24 cupcakes.


2 sticks of room temperature butter
4-5 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

Cream you butter, slowly add in powdered sugar (about 3 cups worth) until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix. Slowly add in honey and peanut butter and mix until creamy and smooth. Lastly add in a little more powdered sugar (maybe a cup or a cup and a half) until you find the consistency you desire. Should be thick and creamy. (Mine was a little too thick....)

You can drizzle honey over top right before serving if you wish.

I also tried out my cute bakery boxes to deliver the cupcakes in. They were fun! I hope I can find some for the holidays.

Today's Playlist:
(Loving Pandora Shuffle....some oldies but goodies made it on.)

The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson
Happy Nation- Ace of Base
Satellite- Dave Matthews Band
Only The Wine- David Gray
Merry Happy- Kate Nash
Victim of the Crime- Phoenix