Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Cow

Birthday Cow
Originally uploaded by Cup O'Cake Designs
Waay back in November (I told you I'd try to catch you up on all I did while I took a haitus from blogging), a good friend of mine hired me to make her 24 cards (a mixture of Birthday, Thank You, and blank cards). I was beyond excited, and also a little overwhelmed.

When I make cards, I tend to either make them one at a time, or end up with a series of cards that all look similiar. I was a little nervous about being able to offer my client (I love that word, by the way!) a broad range of cards that she would be able to use. I wanted to make sure that there was a card in there for everyone on her list.

This card was one of the Birthday cards that I created. I have loved this cow stamp (part of an older Stampin' Up set) as long as I have had it, but I definitely have not used it enough in the past 8 years.

Even though the card includes flowers on the patterned paper (though, they could be sunbursts) and a ribbon, I still believe it is neutral enough to serve as a birthday card for men.

You can see some of the other 23 cards at my flickr.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vegan Cookies N Cream Cupcakes

For Christmas I got Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I was dying to try a recipe out from the book and when my husband and I were invited to dinner at a friends house, it seemed like the perfect occasion.

The cupcakes themselves are chocolate with cookie pieces baked inside. They are a little denser than I would like, but taste awesome. If you gave these to someone without telling them that they were vegan, they would never know.

I used the vanilla buttercream recipe, and instead of using crushed cookies in the frosting, I placed a cookie half on top as a garnish.

This is my new favorite frosting recipe. It is so darned good, and I think a little less toothache inducing than some other buttercreams.

All in all, they were delicious and I can't wait to try another recipe from the book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Cookie Monster

For my first weekend post-play, I wanted to make a more complicated cupcake. I had been thinking about cookie dough and chocolate chip cookies for a while, so it seemed like a good idea at the right time.

Originally, I was going to make the cupcakes look like Cookie Monster (if you read a lot about cupcakes on the internet, you've probably seen these already). However, I ran out of time so I went with something more Cookie Monster inspired.

I started with Martha's one bowl chocolate recipe as the base for the cupcakes. Each cupcake got a bit of semi-frozen cookie dough added in, pre-baking.

Unfortunately, something went wrong somewhere with this recipe. I think that I either overmixed the batter or the cookie dough wasn't frozen thoroughly. The cookie dough ended up baking pretty much into a little cookie and the chocolate cake did not rise nearly enough- so it ended up being dense instead of light and fluffy.

The frosting is a simple vanilla buttercream, tinted blue. I topped the cupcakes off with chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies pieces.

Regardless of the issue with the cupcake batter, they still tasted quite good. I think I will try this again, with frozen cookie dough and a more watchful eye on the batter mixing.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Faux-stess Cupcakes

(click image to enlarge)

Annnnd....after a brief (hah) 3 month hiatus, we're back! Life kind of got in the way lately (new job, play, the holidays, etc), but I can assure you that I have been baking and crafting over the past three months. I'm going to try to play catch up and post about some things I did in Nov-Feb, but for now how about something current?

My husband and I have been in a play for the past five weeks (closing is this weekend), and last weekend one of our castmates had a party. She decided to have a pot luck, so obviously I chose to bring dessert. Originally I was going to decorate the cupcakes using details from my character, but I ran out of time.

I've been wanting to try my hand at a Faux-stess cupcake (faux Hostess cupcake) for some time now. I love Hostess Cupcakes. I don't think there was ever a time when I didn't like them, but when my husband and I started going on road trips together they were the perfect treat. Two to a pack, so we could split them, and not something we ate on an every day basis.

My husband asked me to make extras (for a coworkers) birthday, so I decided to make the cupcakes in both chocolate and orange flavors (I know the Hostess site says "golden" but I swear those suckers taste orange to me).

I used a Martha Stewart 1 Bowl chocolate cake recipe for the chocolate cupcakes. I was a little iffy on the cupcakes when I put them into the oven- but holy cats were they awesome after baking! This is probably the best chocolate cupcake I have made. They were light, fluffy, and really flavorful.

For the orange cupcakes, I modified a recipe from Wilton for Golden Yellow cupcakes by using 1/2 orange extract and 1/2 vanilla extract (instead of only vanilla). They came out pretty well- light, fluffy, flavorful- but I might cut back a tiny bit on the orange if I make them again.

After baking the cupcakes (each recipe yielded 24 cupcakes), and allowing them to cool, I used the cone method to fill the cupcakes. I definitely need a little more practice with this method but it wasn't hard.

I used a recipe from Baking Bites for the filling, and while it tasted just fine, I'm not sure I would use it again. It called for thickening milk with flour over a medium burner (on the stove) and I hated that method. Just hated it. I would much rather just make a whipped cream frosting for the centers.

The cupcakes were all topped with white whipped cream frosting- because I felt they were already rich enough. Using buttercream would have pushed them over the edge to sickeningly sweet.

Everyone at the party (and my husband's work) loved them. I will definitely be making these again.

I will post a photo of the orange verson as soon as I upload it from my camera.