Monday, April 27, 2009

S'more Birthday Cupcakes, Please

Fired Up
Originally uploaded by Cup O'Cake Designs
My husband's birthday was this weekend. I'd been bugging him for quite some time about what he thought he might like to have. He suggested possibly the Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcakes I made for the wedding tasting, but I wanted to try something different.

I was going through my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and calling out ideas to him when I came upon their recipe for S'mores cupcakes. Perfect! He's been a vegetarian for almost a year and hasn't eaten any marshmallows in that time (since they contain gelatin which is an animal product).

Taking a closer look at the recipe I discovered that they called for their Vegan Vanilla Buttercream. I love that frosting (in fact, it's my new go-to for Vanilla Buttercream), but my Husband does not. Not to mention the fact that I wanted something that was at least vaguely marshmallow-y. Otherwise? How is this like a s'more at all?

I had originally planned to make Vegan marshmallows, but got completely overwhelmed by a number of other things in life (though I do plan to make them at a later date). So I had to search for something else. Marshmallow fluff!

Believe it or not Marshmallow fluff does not have any animal products in it. I used the same recipe for 7 minute marshmallow fluff frosting that I used a while back for the Orange Creamsicle cupcakes. Now, please take note: this is not vegan frosting, it contains two egg whites. My husband does eat eggs, so it wasn't an issue for us.

The cupcakes turned out great. They weren't exactly what popped in my mind when I thought about them, because I'd expected a chocolate cake. These were a molasses cake, which made them extremely moist.

The frosting was super messy. But, what good s'more isn't?

We had a cast party for the play my husband is currently in on the evening of his birthday. The woman who is playing his wife in the show had her birthday the following day. What better way for the two of them to celebrate with their own special cupcakes.

You can see pictures of the whole group of cupcakes on my flickr.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cupcake Tasting

Cupcake Tasting
Originally uploaded by Cup O'Cake Designs
This weekend I had my very first Cupcake Tasting. A friend of ours is getting married in May and asked me if I would make the cupcakes for her wedding. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Anyone whose been involved in planning a wedding knows that one of the best parts of the planning is the cake tasting! I couldn't deprive the Bride and Groom of this experience, so after getting an idea of their favorite flavors I brought over seven kinds of cupcakes for them to try (along with some family members).

I made them mostly in half batches and left many of them behind for the Bride & Groom to share with friends and co-workers. The few that were left came with me.

I made: Mint Chocolate Chip (chocolate cupcakes with mini chocolate chips, topped with mint swiss meringue buttercream and mini chocolate chips- top left), Vanilla Vanilla (vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream- top right), Vanilla Chocolate Chip (vanilla cupcakes with mini chocolate chips topped with vanilla buttercream and mini chocolate chips- below the Mint and Vanilla cupcakes), Peanut Butter Chocolate (chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter chips, topped with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and Reece's pieces- fourth from the top on the left), Margarita (margarita cupcakes with margarita frosting- bottom right), Banana Toffee Caramel (banana toffee caramel cupcakes topped with caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with caramel- bottom left), and Cookies & Cream (not pictured).

It was a lot of work, but I viewed it as a test run for the actual wedding. I am pleased that spending that much time on the cupcakes didn't wear me out or frustrate me- in fact I think it was one of the more relaxing weekends I have had lately.

The Bride & Groom chose their favorite four flavors (Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Margarita) for their big day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reece's Cupcakes

Reece's Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by Cup O'Cake Designs
A few weekends ago my husband and I had a small birthday gathering to go to out of state. One of the birthday people (there were multiple persons celebrating) has been seeing photographs of my baked goods from afar for quite some time. I thought it would be a nice birthday surprise (for all birthday persons) to bring along cupcakes.

I decided to try out a Reece's cupcake as I knew that peanut butter and chocolate were a favorite flavor combination of at least one of the birthday celebrants.

I started by freezing mini Reece's cups for four days. My goal was to have the Reece's cups so frozen that they wouldn't melt completely while the cupcakes were baking.

I used Martha's one-bowl chocolate cake recipe as the base for the cupcake. While making this batch, I figured out what went wrong with the Cookie Monster cupcakes. I'd forgotten to add the baking soda. Duh- but let this be a lesson that even people who have baked for quite some time make mistakes. At any rate, this batch of chocolate cupcakes came out perfectly. I topped them off with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream- not wanting the frosting to overwhelm the hidden Reece's cup.

My only comments are that I did not care for the way the Reece's cups cooked inside the cupcakes. I'm not sure if it is because I used mini Reece's or not, but while they did not burn they kind of crystalized or something (the peanut butter). Everyone else who had one thought they tasted great, but something about it didn't come together for me. I'm going to try again, and fiddle with the recipe a bit and see how they come out.

Visit my flickr to see a picture of the cupcake's innards.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Red Sox Purse

Red Sox Purse
Originally uploaded by Cup O'Cake Designs
I thought today I would post one of the sewing projects I worked on for a client this past holiday season.

I know that lately the blog has become pretty focused on cupcakes (and baking in general), but I am still doing some other craft projects and this was a great one.

I was contacted and asked to help create a special holiday gift for a client's grandmother. As you may have guessed from the photograph, grandma loves the Red Sox*. However, poor grandma's t-shirt was no longer wearable as the player (Coco Crisp) was traded.

I used the t-shirt along with coordinating colored fabric to create a one of a kind hobo bag for grandma. The back of the bag featured the numbers from the t-shirt, cut in such a way that you cannot tell they belong to an ex-Red Sox player.

The bag has an inside pocket (handy for a cell phone or other small items) and a snap closure (as requested by the client).

I think that sewing projects like this are my favorites. I know I have at least five t-shirts laying around that I don't want to toss or give away, but that I don't (or can't) really wear any more. What better way to keep them in your rotation then by up-cycling them into a cute bag.

Have a shirt you'd like up-cycled? Email me!

*Full disclosure: I am a Cleveland Indians fan, so please spare me the Yankees/Red Sox debate.