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Category Archives: Cupcakes

Harry Potter Cupcakes

I’m a total Fangirl and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

Well ok, maybe I keep some of my fandoms well hidden.  But overall I would say I’m still a perfectly normal adult woman who just happens to have a slight obsessive nature when it comes to popular culture.

Let me explain further.

According to Urban Dictionary, there are two definitions for Fangirl:

  1. (derogatory) a female fan, obsessed with something (or someone) to a frightening or sickening degree.
  2. (playful, good-natured) less extreme, a female fan who can laugh at their own passion for their particular interest (or even obsession).

I am most assuredly the second definition.

I mainly place myself into four fandoms:

  1. Whedonites: Fans of all the work of Joss Whedon – although my personal favorites are Firefly and Buffy.
  2. Whovians: Fans of the greatest show ever to be on television in the history of the world, Doctor Who.  I think I would even leave my husband for David Tennant if he ever showed up in a blue police box.  For our anniversary, my husband even got me a plush Dalek who says “EXTERMINATE” and “you would make a good Dalek”.
  3. Bronies: I know I should call myself a “pegasister”, but I thing Brony sounds a bazillion times cooler.  You have all seen my Brony Birthday Cake, so you know me and my husband are both huge fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
  4. Potterheads: Harry Potter…I don’t think further explanation is necessary.

Since I’m a very nostalgic person I often find myself drifting back to previously read books despite stacks of unread books lining my bookshelves.  Which is how I ended up re-reading the entire Harry Potter series for the eleventy millionth time.  I also forced my husband to re-watch all of the movies.

Harry Potter was my first fandom and it will always be special to me.  I’m part of the generation that grew up alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione and waited anxiously for the books to be released.  I went to midnight book releases and movie premiers (yeah, I even dressed up a few times because I am THAT committed).

Which brings me to these:

I made these cupcakes to bring to the midnight viewing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.   Since moving to California in 2004, I’ve attended every midnight release with Alex Roque and an assortment of friends we picked up along the way.  We were the crazy people sitting on blankets along the sidewalk for hours and hours drinking coffee and playing Apples to Apples.  And this was the last movie, so I thought it needed something special.  And nothing says special like cupcakes.

The recipe was nothing special (chocolate cupcakes spiked with a copious amount of espresso and vanilla frosting).  The decorations were all made with fondant I tinted with gel food coloring.  Piping was done with chocolate melting candy.  On the scarves I used edible writing pens.  For the shield I made edible paint my mixing gel food coloring with corn syrup.

 

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A small note on the Ravenclaw scarf: I chose to stick with the movie colors of grey and blue even though the book shows their colors as bronze and blue.

Whimsical Birthday Cupcakes

Fact: Being an adult can really suck!

There are definite perks of course (yes, I can eat ice cream and pizza WHENEVER I WANT); but overall you have all kinds of responsibilities like bills, laundry and grocery shopping.

Adult activities are TERRIBLE!  Like buying a house!  What should be an exciting endeavor is in fact a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

I might have enjoyed my childhood a bit more had I realized how precious those carefree years really were.  Peter Pan really had the right idea…why grow up?  Of course, until we discover the location of Neverland, I will continue to age and spend money on things like mortgage payments and health insurance.

My good friend Alex Roque recently celebrated her birthday and I am convinced that deep down inside, she will never grow up (one of the many things I love about her).  She did, after all, celebrate her birthday chasing Peter Pan around Disneyland.

For her birthday party, she had a very adult sit down dinner at an Italian restaurant but with a touch of whimsy!  Centerpieces included tiny lace crowns, favors were little jars of fairy dust (sugar), and I made her some shimmery flower cupcakes.

What would have been a fancy and sophisticated dinner with a normal group of adults turned into something much more exciting for us.  It included a dirty mad-libs card and an exciting rendition of “Happy Birthday” where I somehow flung the birthday girl’s glass of red wine across the table.

It’s ok though, because the birthday girl’s sister also knocked over a glass of wine that night so I wasn’t the only clumsy one the wait staff wanted to toss out.

But I made cupcakes, so that totally makes up for any party foul, right?

Fact: Mismatched blue cake stands make cupcakes automatically more interesting.

The flowers were made out of gum paste and decorated with petal dust, luster dust, and black pearl sprinkles.  I used white melting candy to attach the pearl sprinkles and flowers

The cupcakes themselves are two different recipes, which I did not change much.

I made White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes from Love & Olive Oil.  The only change I made was to replace the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour (since the birthday girl is gluten-intolerant).  I have to admit being a little worried and confused when I read the recipe and it didn’t include eggs…but these cupcakes turned out amazing and super moist!  I have some leftover frosting so I will probably be making them again very soon.

The second cupcakes were Tiramisu from Brown Eyed Baker.  I added a simple filling to these ones – I made chocolate pudding using about half as much milk as called for and adding a few tablespoons of strong brewed coffee and then folded it into some whipped cream.   I also used the gluten-free flour for this one.  Now, I know I am my own worst critic, but I didn’t think these turned out quite as well.  The cake portion of the recipe requires whipping the eggs and then folding in the flour mixture.  I have had this problem before when I made a gluten-free angel food cake – the gluten free flour just doesn’t incorporate into the eggs the way it should.  I may need to look into different gluten free flour mixtures in the future to fix this one that is a bit lighter.

How can you not feel young when nibbling on these sugary toppings and yummy cupcakes?

Insert Witty Vegas Wedding Title Here

I love weddings.

After studiously reading through wedding magazines, the knot, and Martha Stewart (not to mention time spent on Pinterest staying up to date with all the latest in wedding trends) I like to consider myself something of an expert on wedding planning.  Are you getting married?  If so, I could totally plan the shit out of your wedding.  And I can make your wedding cake (I’ve made one wedding cake before, so I’m kind of a pro –  it’s no big deal).

Despite having someone like me with such amazing skills and knowledge, my sister decided not to let me plan her wedding.  You would think she wanted it to be all about HER or something – sheesh!

Instead, my sister had a Las Vegas wedding!  She was married on July 4th in front of the fountains of the Bellagio.

The water show began right after the ceremony!

Despite having a small and intimate wedding (eight guests total), I took my role as Matron of Honor very seriously!  I know when I got married it was the littlest details that made the day extra special.

First on my list was wedding flowers.  My sister LOVES daisies!  She wanted gerbera daisies in bright pink and orange.  Real flowers would not be an option due to two problems: 1) excessive heat and 2) transportation.  Since temperatures in Las Vegas average about 105 degrees in July (and the wedding would be outdoors) it was likely the heat would wilt the flowers.  Flowers would also need to last quite a few days since everyone was driving to Las Vegas at least a few days before the wedding (and I do NOT have knack for keeping plants of any kind alive).

So, I purchased some brightly colored silk flowers and matching ribbon from Michael’s.  I made a small pink bouquet for the bride, wrapped in pink ribbon.  For myself and our younger sister, I used two orange blooms wrapped in orange ribbon.  For each I tied the stems together with some twine and wrapped the ribbon around to cover it, tying it off with a bow.  The stems were wired, so I was able to move them around afterwards to get the desired look.  I wanted to keep them small, but elegant.

Sweet and simple!

The groom had a single pink bloom while his best-man and our father had orange ones; I simply hot-glued the single blooms to a pin.

The grooms boutonniere and the rings

Using leftover flowers and ribbon (and a little puff paint, because doesn’t everyone have a huge stash of puff paint somewhere in their house?) I created some fun wine glasses for all the ladies to toast with while we got ready.

The Bride’s Chalice

A toast!

So after enjoying a glorious massage and facial at the hotel spa, my sister sipped champagne from her custom bride glass while I did her hair and makeup.

And finally, the cake!  And by cake, I of course mean cupcakes.

Brownie Batter Cupcakes

My sister’s only request was chocolate…so I kind of took that and ran with it!  One of my favorite food bloggers, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, had posted a recipe for Brownie Batter Cupcakes [add links] shortly before the wedding and I knew it would be perfect!  Mine were slightly different as I wanted them all chocolate (her recipe shows a vanilla cupcake) and I used a shortcut for the frosting.  I also had to make alterations to account for travel, which I describe below.

Decorations were made using store-bought fondant (I still haven’t managed to make my own yet) and melting chocolate.

Tim and Gail ❤

Love ❤

Brownie Batter Cupcakes

Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Ingredients
Cupcake batter (any flavor, I used a simple chocolate recipe)
Box of brownie mix (standard size – not family size)
Water (¾ amount needed for brownie mix)
Melted butter (equal to ¾ amount of oil needed for brownie mix)
Vanilla frosting (can use any recipe or store-bought)

  1. Reserve ¼ of the brownie mix.  Mix the remaining with the water and melted butter (batter should be thick).  Roll batter into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Freeze for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.  Line cupcake tin with liners.
  3. Fill liners less than halfway with cupcake batter.  Place a brownie ball in the center, then cover with a spoonful of cupcake batter.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched (note: a toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean as with other cupcakes since the brownie batter will not be cooked through).  Place cupcakes on a rack to cool.
  4. Prepare frosting by mixing the reserved brownie mix with the vanilla frosting of your choice (if you use your own recipe, make sure it is not more than 2 cups or you won’t have a very strong chocolate taste).
  5. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost!

Notes for Travel:
Since I was preparing these for a small party of ten and would have to worry about them keeping for a couple days without access to a fridge, I had to do the following to ensure quality cupcakes:

  1. I halved my cupcake recipe to make only a dozen – I still made the brownie balls as the recipe calls for and just left the remaining balls in the freezer to use in the future.
  2. I stored my unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container.  I stored the frosting in a separate container, which I kept on ice in our hotel room.  The decorations were stored in a baggie, separated with mini cupcake liners.
  3. I brought along one disposable decorating bag.  To avoid having to clean out a decorating tip in a hotel room, I opted to not use one.  Instead, I used only the decorating bag and snipped the tip to an appropriate size and piped onto the cupcake.  The pre-made decorations were them placed on top!

Couldn’t resist sneaking in a photo of me and my hubby 🙂

A Very Brony Birthday

So, I have a tendency to make lofty plans for myself that include a complete disregard for how much time is actually in each day.  I forget that I can’t get 8 hours of sleep, work 8 hours, and still have time to complete 293 hours of baking, DIY crafts and social activities all in one day.  As a result, my brilliant plans to blog twice a week have gone completely out the window.

I am re-thinking my aims for this blog.  I have changed the tagline from “The sweetest blog around” to “real stories of a modern housewife”.  Basically, I don’t want to feel pressured to create some marvelous baked treat every week to share, but I still want to be able to blog on a regular basis.  This was my brilliant solution.

This time, however, I do have a marvelous baked treat to share:

Photograph by Moxie Blue Photography
http://moxiebluephotography.com/

Has anyone else fallen in love with My Little Ponies: Friendship Is Magic?  If not, proceed directly to Netflix and watch it.  NOW!  Do not continue reading this post as you will not properly appreciate this masterful creation.  I hear you neigh-sayers (pony pun intended) who think you are too good for MLP.  I have anticipated your resistance and have compiled a short list as to why this show is amazing:

  1. MLP’s creator, Lauren Faust, was a story artist for The Powerpuff Girls and head writer for Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.
  2. Two words: SONIC RAINBOOM!  You know you want to find out the awesomeness the name suggests.
  3. Star Trek fans?  John de Lancie (who played Q in Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager) appropriately does the voice for the mischievous Discord in season 2 of MLP.
  4. Derpy Hooves.
  5. Nobody throws a party like Pinkie Pie.

Obviously when I saw a request on facebook from Moxie Blue Photography to create a cake for a Brony-themed birthday party, I jumped at the chance!  The party was for her son’s 4th birthday.

Since the birthday boy’s favorite pony is Applejack, I focused on her for the cake.  Since she runs Sweet Apple Orchard, I made Sweet Apple Cinnamon Cake and Apple-Barrel Cupcakes.  In addition, I made Cutie Mark Cupcakes to represent the Mane Six!

(all photographs by Moxie Blue Photography)

The Applejack figure on the cake was purchased from Amazon.com.  She is also a spoon!  However, she didn’t come with her trademark cowboy hat, so I fashioned one out of polymer clay.

I used a compilation of recipes to create each magical confection.

The Sweet Apple Cinnamon Cake and Apple-Barrel Cupcakes consisted of cinnamon cake and apple filling from Craving Chronicles, Hershey’s caramel drizzle, and Swiss buttercream from Sprinkle Bakes.  I baked the cake in a 6-inch circle and 8-inch square pan (with enough batter left to make 6 cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes).  I cut out a second 6-inch circle layer from the square layer and used the salvage to create the hay bale.  I also cut out the centers of the cupcakes so I could fill them with the apple filling.

The Cute Mark Cupcakes were a vanilla cake and vanilla frosting from a Better Homes and Garden magazine I purchased a long time ago at the super market:

I dyed the cupcakes to match the bodies of each of the Mane 6 and the frosting to match their mane’s.  The cutie marks were made from fondant.  They were filled with a simple recipe I use for Chocolate Mousse: take instant chocolate pudding and mix with 1.25 cups milk, fold into about 2 cups of fresh whipped cream.  I suggest making the whipped cream from scratch – cool whip with not work well for this.

And there you have it!  This is without a doubt my favorite cake I have ever made!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day.  Give me beer, corned beef, and an excessive amount of potatoes any day and I am one happy gal!  I have already consumed shepherd’s pie, stuffed cabbage, and Guinness corned beef along with a few bottles of my favorite Irish ale, Smithwick’s (and that was all in one day).  On St. Patrick’s Day itself, you will find me knocking back a few pints with some good friends at a local Irish pub.  I also decided to make a batch of Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, after drooling over them on Pinterest one too many times.

For me, this cupcake is exactly what someone like me needs.  I get all the fun of taking a shot but with an added bonus of sugary delight and none of the hangover (although it did give one person a migraine after ingesting so much sugar).  Let’s just be honest – I am not hard core enough to pound a shot that has the potential to actually curdle if it’s not downed in one gulp.  Just pass me a beer and I’ll stick with my cupcake.

The recipe I used is from Brown Eyed Baker (and I followed it exactly).  It includes a Guinness chocolate cupcake, whiskey ganach filling, and a Baily’s frosting.  You cannot taste the Guinness in the cupcake, but I must say it made an incredibly moist chocolate cake and I will probably use it in the future.

I have been working with alcohol in a few recipes over the last year (champagne, chianti, Baily’s, and beer).  This got me thinking…and hopefully I’m not about to give away a million dollar idea…but there should be a bar that serves cupcakes.  Just close your eyes and picture it for a moment.  You are sitting a bar enjoying a nice glass of your favorite pinot noir.  It has a rich flavor but is so light.  You feel like you want something else…but what is it?  That’s when the bartender hands you a chianti chocolate cupcake.  The chocolate is sweet and the chianti frosting is almost tangy.  You sip your wine and then take another bite of your cupcake…and you realize that you just found heaven.  Do you know what it would be called?  The Boozy Cupcake