Sunday, November 15, 2009

MSC Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Yeah, you read that right.  I put sweet potatoes in a cupcake!  We are feeling festive now!  I have been very excited for these ever since it was posted as the November Martha Stewart Cupcake Club choice.  I am one of "those people".  You know, those that absolutely love "candied yams" or "sweet potatoes" on Thanksgiving.  You are either a lover or a hater and I am definately a lover.  Hence, just the sight of these made me giddy with excitement.  Today's cupcake was chosen by Karen from Karen's Cookies, Cakes, & More.  Check out her interpretation of today's cupcake and click here to check out other club member's blogs too.

I started early this morning by baking 2 pounds of sweet potatoes in the oven. Once cooled they were peeled and mashed into this beautiful orange mush. It was a thick batter, but the cupcake turned out very very moist and has just the right amount of spice.

These baked up with a flat surface and a light orange color. These are topped with toasted marshmallows and candied pecans. This is some serious yum here.  Now the whole marshmallow fiasco turned out to be much more work than it was worth.  They did end up looking gorgeous though.

The directions instruct to place 24 mounds of mini marshmallows on a non stick surface.  Then toast, then transfer to the cupcake, then sprinkle with the pecans. 

The mounds were simple (aren't they cute), the toasting was okay, the transfer was a bit of a problem, and the sprinkling of nuts was impossible.  There you have it in a nutshell. Ha! I used my new little kitchen torch (thanks Dave and Em!) to toast 3/4 of them and I broiled about a fourth in the oven.  They both have their advantages and disadvantages though I seemed to have more fires with the torch! :) Transferring was a problem because my little mounds were falling apart on their way to the cupcake.  I got that mostly worked out.  The sprinkling of nuts was impossible because they just wouldn't stick to the mound and kept rolling right off.  I somewhat got that worked out.  I still wasn't satisfied by the end.

All in all I really enjoyed these. Great flavors and such a fun little presentation with the toasted marshmallows.

These marshmallow were toasted in the oven. Oh, so pretty. :)

This is not a great picture but here is a comparison of my toasting methods.  The one on the left was done in the oven under the broiler and the one on the right was done with my kitchen torch.

You can find this recipe on page 243 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.

I never got back with you about my MSC Creeper Cakes.  I do have a few things to add.  Sorry I was in such a rush last time.

1. My club was having a contest for these Halloween cupcakes.  I happened to win! It was a very pleasant surprise.  I'm flattered. :)

2. You can find the One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes on page 152 and the Swiss Meringue Buttercream on page 304.

3.  These turned out great! I had heard another blogger saying she didn't really like this recipe but I thought it was great and they were a big hit at our Halloween party.

If you love to bake and havn't had the chance to pick this book up yet, you need too! I used to be so afraid of scratch cakes but am learning with each cupcake how wonderfully delicious they are. My beautiful sister received this book as a gift and you may be seeing her guest on this blog.  Can't wait!  She is my hero and is a fabulous cook and homemaker.  Till next time!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

MSC Halloween Creeper Cupcakes

Spooky Creeper Cakes

This one is going to be a quickie because I have a BatGirl and a G.I. Joe Ninja that are itching to get trick or treating.  I had a blast making these fun little cupcakes for our Halloween party.  I did the Martha Stewart One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and the Swiss Buttercream Frosting.  I forgot what pages they were on and will update later with those.  We havn't even tried these yet!  I will let you know how they taste later.

My cute litte hubby helped me with some of these.  He is pretty creative and we were in a rush to get them done.  I hope everyone had a very Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Please tell me how adorable these little pumpkins are.  I mean really!  Look at them!  They are so stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it.  I was so looking forward to this cupcake.  Nothing says fall to me than pumpkin whatever baking in the oven.  Oh man, I wish I could somehow send the smell through your screen because my mouth waters just thinking of it.  Soooo yummy. 

So if you can't tell these are a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting and little marzipan pumpkins just hanging out on top looking all cute.  As far as the cupcake goes these were very easy to prepare.  They came out very moist with a fluffy crumb.  I have made this cream cheese frosting before.  I still love it.  It is really so yummy you must try it.  You can find it here.

The batter was very thick.  I folded in the pumpkin by hand.  It gave the batter a beautiful orange color.  I scooped the batter in my cupcake wrappers with this.  Is anyone out there still spooning your cupcake batter in?  I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I don't like any batter dripped on my pan.  That is why I use the scoop.  I got mine from Pampered Chef.  I love it.

These baked up beautifully.  You can't tell in this picture but they had a beautiful orange tint.  Oh I couldn't wait to try one!  The cake by itself is very tasty.  It definately needed to be topped though.

Mmmmmmmm.  Yum.

My finished product.  I did enjoy making the little pumpkins once I got the color mixed in.  I hate that part.  Speaking of marzipan, does anyone have a good source for marzipan?  I got mine at the grocery store and it was okay.  I've had better.  I'm not sure how many people actually eat these anyway.  I'm thinking they are more for decoration?

I got this adorable little pedestal from my in-laws for my birthday.  I'm in love with it.  Thank you Bob and Marilyln!  You two are always so thoughtful!  Don't they look pretty?

I thought my little pumpkins needed a friennd.  Mr. Jack-o-lantern designed by my little boy.  I really do love this time of year!  :)  Overall I would say this cupcake is a 4.5.  It was so yummy.  Hopefully it holds up for tomorrow.  We'll see.  You can find this recipe on page 236 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.  Stay tuned!  Two more cupcakes this month!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MSC Banana Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

This is the bonus cupcake for the month.  These happen to be my birthday cupcakes too.  My sister-in-law thought it was silly that I was making my own cupcakes, but it really is something I enjoy so I thought it was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  Especially since the hubby was at class anyway. 

This is going to be a short post with only a few pictures.  For one, I'm tired.  And for two it was stormy today so I was in a hurry to get the cupcakes done before all my beautiful window lighting was gone.

As far as the cupcakes go, these little babies were so easy to make.  I actually like the other banana cupcake better.  This one tasted very light but I thought that might be because of the rich frosting.  Overall, the cake and frosting together were delicious.  Speaking of frosting, this recipe was a doozy.  Holy, time consuming.  Although it tastes yummy, I'm not sure it is worth all the time.  It is a knock off of a Swiss Buttercream Frosting so it is made with egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and lots of butter.  The caramel had to be made separately and from scratch.  I have only been successful one time in making homemade caramel.  That would be on the Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes.  That caramel turned out fabulous!  I'm not sure what the problem was today.  Oh well.  I didn't end up with a lot of caramel because I had to strain out some chunkies.  The frosting ended up with a light caramel taste.

First Impression- 4.5

That is all you are getting today.  I will let you know more next time.  You can find this recipe on pg. 41 of Martha Stewart Cupcakes.

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Syrup Frosting from my previous post.  You can find this recipe on pg. 330 of Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor.

1 stick of butter
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. chocolate syrup
3 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 Tbl. Milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract

1. Place the butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate syrup in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds.  Stop the machine and add the sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.

Makes 3 1/2 cups

Frosts 24 cupcakes

I hope everyone is doing well.  We are full force heading into the colder part of fall.  It is supposed to snow up in the mountains tomorrow.  As much as I hate winter, that kind of excited me.  I do love to see snow up there from a distance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

I think I would call this a bad luck cupcake day.  I'll be the first to say that sometimes my baking does not work out like I pictured in my mind.  I mean, does yours?  Let me tell you about this little experience and maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

First attempt, when you take some beautifully baked cupcakes out of the oven, please make sure your husband turns off the hot plates on the stove top after dinner before placing the cupcakes on it to cool.  (That was a long sentence, sorry!)  Yes he did leave it on and yes I did burn a whole pan of cupcakes on the hot plate.  Doh!  I was able to save one pan.

Second attempt.  When you put cupcakes in the oven to bake, DO NOT forget to set the timer then get busy cleaning and doing other household chores.  Because when you remember them, you will scream, run to the oven, and swear.  I promise.  They all had a party in the garbage.  *sniffle*

Third attempt at 11:00 p.m.  A lovely Betty Crocker boxed mix.  Don't judge!  I was tired.  They do look pretty though, don't you think?

During all this chaos, I did a couple of color flow pieces.  Mario for my little buddy (who is now 6 years old!) and Ariel for my sweet little niece.  She turned 2.  These are a little rough, but I think they turned out well.  It was a fun little party with lots of family.

The smores cupcake recipe is from "Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor".  It was okay.  I would give it a 2.5.  The marshmallow frosting recipe didn't turn out at all.  More bad luck I guess.  I followed the recipe to a "T".  It came out runny and I was expecting fluffy.  So I wasn't impressed.  The chocolate frosting was really really good.  It is from the same cookbook.  It is called Chocolate Syrup Frosting.  Loved it.  I most definately will use it again.  I will post the recipe soon.

Anyway, next week I have the bonus cupcake for the Martha Stewart Club.  This whole birthday cupcake fiasco can be put behind me now.  Phew.  Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes! :)

Oh!  To answer all your questions.  I bought the little cupcake wrappers from my previous post at Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City.  I couldn't find a link but I did find them here on the web.

Monday, September 14, 2009

MSC Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes

If you are like me then you have zucchini and tomatoes coming out of your ears!  The garden is over flowing with produce and I'm always looking for ways to use it all up.  I was looking forward to this months Martha Stewart Cupcake Club entry to use up some zucchini.  Tracey's Culinary Adventures chose this months cupcake and it was perfect.  For a reminder of what I'm talking about, I joined a cupcake club and you can read more details about it here.  Please check out the blogroll here to see all other blogger's/baker's entries.  You will be able to see all the interpretations to the same recipe!  Fun, fun!
This cupcake was fairly easy and fun to make.  I will tell you now that this recipe really made me excited for fall.  There is something nostalgic and heartwarming about the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from the oven.  Oh, I love it!  It reminds of being in my grandma's kitchen on a chilly fall day.  *sigh*  Anyway, this recipe calls for roasted walnuts, which I roasted myself!  Sounds fancy and time consuming, but really you just stick the walnuts in the oven for about 8 min.  It pulls out the aroma and makes them taste yummy.  Most of the people in my life don't really like nuts in their baked goods, but I had to add it and be true to the recipe.  I'm glad I did.  I think they really added to the cake.  I'm sure my poppy would agree.  He's the one that gets mad when I leave them out.  :)
These little cakes were topped with Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Frosting.  I was very excited about this recipe.  I've tried many Cream Cheese Frostings and have never loved them.  I think I have found my "go to" Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.  I loved this!  It was light and wasn't too cheesy or too sweet.  It was just right and went with this cake beautifully!
You can find this cupcake on page 44 and the frosting recipe on page 303 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes recipe book.  I honestly don't think I've ever picked up and flipped through a recipe book so much.  I'm seriously in love with this thing.  You really need to check it out.  Just curious, is there a must have cookbook in your life?  I would love to know.
The batter was nice and thick and smelled soooo good!
I used these pretty scalloped cupcake wrappers.  I think one could go crazy just in the wrapper department.

My Ratings
First Impression- 5 stars
Cake- 4.5 stars
Frosting- 5 stars
Aaron's Rating- 4.5 stars
Next Day- 4 stars
Stay tuned!  This week is my little B's 6th birthday!  We are combining his birthday party with my nieces.  I'll be making the cupcakes!  Also, there is a bonus challenge for the club due Sept. 30th!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Okay, Let's Be Honest.

As I've made these little desserts, I have been learning a lot.  As I have been writing my posts I have been giving you my honest opinion.  I'm giving you my first impression.  The fresh right out of the oven, just barely frosted impression.  Fresh, they really have all been wonderful.  Not that I want to give out old cupcakes, but because I work full time, I bake when I get home.  I give them away that night or the next day and some of them have been less than I would like them to be the next day. 

So here is my honest opinion after the fact.  Just in case you were planning on baking any of these.  For now on I will have a rating system so I feel like I'm giving you my opinion on a few aspects and not just on my first impression.  It will go as follows:

First Impression- This will be as said above, right out of the oven, freshly frosted.
Cake- Overall rating of the level of difficulty of preparation for the cake, the texture, and taste.
Frosting- Overall rating of the level of difficulty of preparation and taste
Aaron's rating-  My husband feels like his opinion is very important and he will be giving his rating.
Keepability- This will be the next day's overall rating of cake and frosting.

The reason for this post was because of the Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.  I really did give you my honest first impression.  I did have about 8 left over and I decided to give them to the secretaries at the school I teach at.  They were grateful.  Later on in the day, I went in and one of them told me, "they were good, but they were a little dry".  Hmmmm.  Okay.  I'm not too offended, because she was right.  They were a little dry.

The second reason, was because of the last cupcakes.  My husband didn't like my pictures, he said the chocolate mousse looked like refried beans.  Again, hmmmmm, okay.  And again, he was right.  I guess they do.  The first impression on these also were really great.  They were yummy.  Because the frosing was made from heavy whipping cream, I felt like they needed to go in the fridge.  These, also ended up being too dry the next day. *Sigh*  Good thing I'm patient.  To all my recipients of my experiments, I'm sorry if they are too dry, or if they look like they are topped with refried beans.  I'm learning.  That is my disclaimer. :)

September 15th is the due date for my monthly entry for the club, stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Heaven

These were specifically for my sister and my sister-in-law.  For my sister because she loves Reece's.  The only problem is she lives far away.  So you will have to live vicariously through me.  They were good, really good.  I don't think you can really go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.  For my sister-in-law because she is always so giving.  She does so much for us and I don't think I could ever repay her.  Maybe someday.  I asked her on Sunday what kind of cupcakes I should make this week and and she said chocolate/peanut butter.  I hope you liked them, Jame.  Thanks for all you do.

This is a Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Frosting.  You can find this Martha Stewart recipe here.  The Vanilla cupcakes on their own were okay.  With the frosting, they were awesome.  I really enjoyed this little cuppy.  As far as preparation, I had no problems with the cake or the peanut butter mousse.  The chocolate mousse on the other hand was not doing very well.  I'm not sure what went wrong, but I think I should try it again sometime.  After letting the cream and chocolate mixture cool, I stuck it on the trusty Kitchen Aid to whip up.  For some reason it wasn't getting thicker.  I added some more heavy whipping cream and that seemed to help, but it still was a little soft.  You can tell in the picture that the cream separated a bit.  Bummer.  Each one of these cupcakes is a learning experience for me, but I purely enjoy the whole process.  It makes me happy.
Good stuff, eh?
I just had to take a bite.  Worth every little calorie!  REally!
Coming next is my monthly entry for the Martha Stewart Club.  Again, you can find the link to the right to our club blog.  There is a blog roll there of all the participating bloggers.  Everyone is supposed to have their entry up by Sept. 15th, so check some of them out!  Thanks for all those who have supported me so far.  This really is so fun. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MS Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

So I had a ton of Dark Chocolate Frosting from the previous cupcake left over. It was sitting in the fridge just waiting to be used up. It's hard for me to let such yumminess (is that a word?) go to waste. I noticed in the Martha cookbook that the Chocolate Chip Cupcakes use the same frosting and that they were much less time consuming than Salted Caramel Cupcakes. This cupcake was so much different than the last one. The batter was very thick and was not as sweet. The last cupcake was a chocolate rush and this one is just enough to make you smile. They were simple and quick enough to make in a couple of hours for a family gathering or party.
You can find this recipe on page 22 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.

I've seen these cute little cupcake wrappers a lot recently. Although they are adorable, they really weren't functional. It was kinda hard to get the cupcake out without making a mess of it.

They did turn out pretty.
And really tasty.

I honestly wasn't so sure about these at first. I always like to try the cupcake before frosting (b.f.) to taste the cake as is and was not very excited about it. After I piped the frosting on (a.f.) and cut one for pictures I was very happy with the frosting/cake mix. It was pleasant and tasty. It got me thinking about frosting. We have all had that frosting on a store bought cupcake that was over the top sweet. You know the one where everyone scrapes it off and leaves it on the side of their plate. Since becoming a baker, I am much more observant of my cakes and cupcakes. I usually watch my recipients from the corner of my eye to see if the frosting gets tossed aside. I always feel a touch bad when it does. Almost like I failed in giving the person an enjoyable experience. Any dessert should be an amazing experience and really isn't worth your or my time when it's mediocre. You know?

So I was curious, do you like the frosting on your cake/cupcake or are you a scraper? If you are a scraper, is it because you just have never had a good quality, amazing made frosting? You tell me. I would love to hear.

Just a quick thanks to all the comments from my last post. They totally made my day. :) Hopefully you will pass my link around. The lucky recipients of these are a few different people. The computer guy at my work deserves some kudos, along with my neighbor, and a friend. Again, if you live around me I would love to share! Just let me know!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MS Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

Oh my, oh my! I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it. Let's just say I spent most of my day baking these babies and they turned out beautifully! This is a chocolate cake filled with caramel, sprinkled with sea salt, and topped with a dark chocolate frosting. A little bit of chocolate heaven. They are rich, moist, and delicious. I have tried making chocolate cake from scratch before and failed miserably. Since then I have mostly used doctored cake mixes and have gotten good responses from those. I was a little nervous to try a scratch recipe again, but was very pleased with the results. I will definately use this cake recipe again. The original recipe is supposed to make 56 mini cupcakes, but I went for the standard size and got nineteen. You can find this recipe on page 148 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. Enjoy the photos, they really were as good as they look. The lucky recipients of these babies are my lovely in-laws.

The batter was runnier than I am used to.

This is the first time I have ever made my own caramel. I was nervous the whole time because it was taking forever to hit 360 degrees. No worries, I think I could have taken it off the heat a little quicker, but I like the dark caramel. It was yummy.

After the caramel is spooned in, I sprinkled a little sea salt on. I was excited for this because I love how sweet and salty mix.

Whala! The finished cupcake! They are so beautiful.

This cupcake stand was my sweet grandmother's. I lost her this summer. She would be so happy to see such lovely treats on it.

Don't you just want to take a bite of this! I know you do.

And here is the caramel filled center. Yummy goodness surrounded by cake, my idea of a little heaven.

Stay tuned! More yummy cuppies to come! If you are from my area, I would love to share my creations with you. Seriously, let me know if you're interested and I will let you know next time I'm baking.

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