Sunday, December 12, 2010

Resolution for the New Year...

I never really make a resolution, but maybe this year I will...

I love to write and love having the chance to work on baking, photographing and other things cupcake, but never seem to take the time to put it all together... I have so many pictures and thoughts rolling around my head and I never seem to get it all together; so for 2011 I hope hope hope to make the time to do this once a week!

My resolution is for 52 blog updates for 2011!

That's all, thanks for listening.

Urban Cowgirls & the Cosmos Cupcake

One of my biggest cupcake supporters just had her birthday and since I couldn't be with her to celebrate, I baked her cupcakes for the party. Mandy is a city girl through and through and was having a western theme party to celebrate. So what to make...

Urban Cowgirl cupcakes of course! These are just for her and are a cosmos flavored cupcake toped with pearls and marzipan cowboy hats (I had some hot cowboy picks too but they didn't arrive in time for me to shape their pictures).

So city folks, here's the recipe and some scrumptious pictures to go with...

For the cuppies:

3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbl. baking powder
1 Tbl. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 cup milk, divided
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Premade Cosmopolitan Cocktails (I used Dailys Ready to Drink)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer using the whisk attachment. Add the butter and 1/2 the milk and mix on medium until smooth and creamy, about just short of 5 minutes. Stop and scrap the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a different bowl, combine the eggs, wholes and whites, remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, and the vanilla until it's creamy. Add slowly to the flour mixture, mixing completely with each addition. Once throughly mixed I added 4 Tbl. of the cosmopolitan mixed drink directly to the batter. Add more to taste.

Scooping the thick mixture into the cupcake tins and bake 16-20 minutes, most of mine were right at 18 minutes. Transfer immediately to wire racks and brush tops heavily with cosmopolitan drink.

For the icing I went with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbl sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbl. cosmo drink mix

Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.)

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom side of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate up to 3 days for freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One spoiled baker!

Are these fantastic! Today is my birthday and low and behold the FedEx man just delivered these beauties to my door:

They are a gift from my longest (and one of the most wonderful) friend, Mikey! Thank you Mikey and Melanie! I can't wait to use them today and I have just the recipe in mind...

to be continued...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

UPDATE!! On the Cupcake Cup!!

"To do so well is the icing on the cupcake!"- Amanda Morgan

I have been waiting for hours since the posting went up on Facebook saying that they were going to release the standings of the competition. I keep checking dying to find out just how I placed....

Then yesterday about 2 pm I saw a message from the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup announcing good news for me! It seems that the winner in the amateur division wasn't an amateur after all... So Erica emailed me to say that she was being disqualified and that moved the second place cupcake into first and

drum roll please!!!!

ta- ta- ta dum dum ta-dum!!!

I was the next one in line, making me the new runner up of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup Amateur Division!!!

Check it out! Thank you Erica and everyone else with the Harrisburg CupCake Cup!!!!

I was so excited when I read the email that I had to go into the hallway and jump up and down! (I was in class. I'm glad my instructor, Andy Link, is a cuppy supporter because I had to talk about it when I came back in!)

My sister said she knew they were the best cupcakes ever (and she ate about a dozen of them over the weekend) and even my cupcake-grinch husband liked them and said it was wonderful news! I am so excited! My love of all things cupcake is somehow validated with this!

Now I might just be inspired enough to actually make these skeleton cupcakes for my A&P class tomorrow, it is test day and a tasty cupcake helps you focus right??

These are in this month's Woman's Day mag, here's their link:

Harrisburg Cupcake Cup 2010

"...because Wonka would!"
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes by Teri Jakob
A moist dark chocolate cake with a hint of ancho chile, with a swiss meringue cinnamon buttercream frosting and topped with a homemade marshmallow chile pepper and a Hershey chocolate square

Last year I heard about the first ever Harrisburg Cupcake Cup and wanted to enter, but I was already committed elsewhere on the date. So when I heard about it this year I made sure I was free!

Sunday October 3rd..

I was a little overwhelmed going into this past weekend. I knew what cupcake I was going to make, but I was trying to polish my idea and tweak anything I needed to. Since the scoring was 1/2 taste and 1/2 presentation I wanted to work on the presentation. What could I do that was fun, different and would work on my cupcake? Usually I just top it with a red hot candy and a marshmallow, but I wanted something more polished for this.... I got it!!
Candied Pink Peppercorns! How perfect! It took some searching but I found them in the organic section at Wegmans. I whipped up a batch on Tuesday night, they looked great! I even made a batch of cupcakes incorporating them! Perfect, right?

NO!!! Disgusting! My son wouldn't even eat it, and he's my biggest fan! I threw it all away!

Wednesday was devoted to school and studying so no time to work on cupcake ideas...

Thursday I had a my first test in A&P lab on identifying the parts of the skeleton, plus it was an oral test. Who knew there were sooooooo many names and parts of the bones to learn!! I was a bit worried about this test.

Thursday morning not long before the test, I got a wonderful phone call! I was offered a part time position at Pinnacle Health!! I was so excited! Then on to my test! I didn't to as well as I'd hoped, but a B is not toooooo bad. That night I spent getting some things together since my son was leaving for a weekend camp with Boy Scouts, his first big boy scout trip.

Friday our house's electric was being updated. This was a great thing for us, but was putting my baking schedule behind. Scratch Friday...

Saturday was it! My day to bake and get prepared for the competition. I was so excited because my sister was also going to come into town on Sunday and she was going to try to make it in time for the competition! Well, then my Saturday became consumed with helping my husband put in a ceiling in our basement. He's been wanting to do this for almost two years now and was finally ready to do it. (The ceiling collapsed a few days after we moved into the house.) Since Tina and her husband were coming he really wanted to have it done before they arrived, since that's the room where they sleep. So most of Saturday was scratched...

10 pm Sunday night and the kitchen is all mine! So here goes! I was going to make my favorite, my Hot Chocolate cupcake! My husband isn't a fan of cupcakes and didn't really agree on which one I picked to bake, but it's my personal favorite. While running errands on Friday the idea came to me and I finally knew what to do for the top! This is a dark chocolate cupcake with a hit of spiciness so I decided I would make a homemade marshmallow fondant shaped like a chile pepper! Hot chocolate isn't complete without a marshmallow, right??

I couldn't decided between two ideas for this recipe so I Saturday night I made them both. One was ok but the other was wonderful! My last minute tweaks paid off, I loved it! Now while I was waiting for them to bake I got to thinking about the apron I had been wanting to make. I've been pouring over patterns trying to find one that appealed to me. Recently my son got me hooked on Cupcake Wars, and when I saw Wendy from Whodidily I was in love! With her, her husband, her store and HER APRON!!! So much so that I even emailed her and asked her where she got it, but a friend had made it for her... So to the drawing board I went, to design my own. So after my cupcakes finished baking, at 1 am I headed to my basement and amidst the mess of putting up a new ceiling I laid out and made myself a wonderful apron that I am just in love with! It's pink and white poka dots, with a tulle petticoat underneath and pockets on the front! I love it! My husband thought I'd bought it. Yay me!

Back to the kitchen, about 3:30 am and now I am up to my elbows in marshmallow goo trying to get it the right consistency to make my pink peppers for the top. They looked so cute, I was pretty pleased when I finished them. The wrappers for my cupcakes were dark brown with pink and green poka dots, so I decided to go with pink peppers and green icing. When asked why the green icing my answer ... "because Wonka would!"

I crawled into bed at 5:30 Sunday morning to nap until about 8:30 am and then get up and finish up. I was so excited, I don't know which I was more excited about the cupcakes, the contest or my awesome apron!

I got them all ready to go and waited for my son to get home from camp to
come along. We arrived just after 1 to check in. The bookstore was already crowded.
After checking in we headed to a pizza place a few blocks down to get something other than cake into my stomach. My sister who lives in New York and Arizona text me to say she was a few minutes away. I told her she didn't have to come, that these cupcakes were crazy awesome and I felt more than a bit out of my league, but she insisted on being there. What a great sister! We walked back to meet her. The line was out the door to get into the place!!! It was crazy!

We wandered about and looked at the cupcakes, watched the judges, perused the books... It seemed forever before the announcement was made for the winners. I waited anxiously, hoping to hear my name called. Joey managed to work his way up to the sample table and spent the afternoon volunteering and helping out. Tina even waited in line to pay her $2 to get a cupcake from the sample table, it only took her about 45 minutes to get it! And that was after she waited for the line to go down!

The big moment finally came and Erica Streisfeld, Founder of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup stepped up to the microphone to announce the winners, she even made them little trophies! My name wasn't called, :( but I wasn't too disappointed because I loved how everything came out and wouldn't have changed anything about what I did! Though, I must say a trophy would have been nice. I had a great time and loved my cakes.

We came home and everyone tried the cupcakes I had at home... because when I woke up at 8:30 I decided that they didn't look full enough in the cups so I re-baked the whole thing before leaving for the competition.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Thank you, thank you, thank you to Cupcakes Take the Cake for mentioning me!

I was so shocked when Asian Persuasion emailed me to say she saw my cupcakes on their website! My heart is racing! Thank you to all my new followers too! I'm new at the blog thing, but thanks for looking in on me!

Thanks for the mention, you guys are my idols!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Salty Carmel Cupcakes

I was in the mood to bake today and have been wanting to try these, so today was the day!

They are a delicious carmel cake filled with homemade buttery salted caramel and topped with a salted buttercream frosting. Salty sweet!

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake tins paper cups. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of heavy cream, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbl. salted butter
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts, until it becomes an amber color. I love the smell of melting sugar! Have the butter already opened and set aside to add when necessary. Add the butter and stir it in until melted. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.

Cut a small round cone-like shapes out of each cupcake and add about 1 teaspoon of carmel. Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside.

Salted Carmel Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. water
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. salted butter
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

In a saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns an amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Let carmel cool, about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.

In mixer, beat butter and salt together. Reduce speed and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). Mixture should be ready to use without refrigeration. If your carmel was too warm when added, it will cause icing to be too thin; refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.

Top caramel-filled cupcakes with frosting. I added a sprinkle of coarse sugar crystals to the tops of mine for a fun look.


I did it! I am entering the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup on October 3rd! I wanted to enter this last year, but I had another commitment on the day of the competition so I couldn't, but this year, this year I am in!! The proceeds from the competition go to benefit the Central PA Food Bank. Details are available on the website,

I am so excited and will be trying out my recipe this week before school starts again for me on Aug 23rd!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To Wear or Not to Wear

Since I feel too lazy to bake today, I've turned my attention towards another part of being in the kitchen - aprons!
I'm not sure if it's the designs or the fun fotos but I love these by Cupcake Provocateur.

Cupcake shooters

What will they think of next! I love these, now I wonder where I can get the goods to make them myself! Thank you All Things Cupcake for sharing.

Or these delicious little ones from A Modern Event:


Thursday, July 22, 2010

5 Layer Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

What to bake for my hubby (who does not like cake) for his birthday?

Last year I made large sugar cookie cut outs shaped like a tiered cake for him.

This year.... a 5 layer giant chocolate chip cookie with cheese cake filling!

It's perfect!
I started with a huge batch of cookies and made 5 giant 8 inch round cookies. I found that baking these on parchment paper was the easiest way to do this, so I could gage the size and remove them from the baking stone to cool without cracking.

While they cooled I made the cream cheese filling. Unfortunately my husband made it home from work before I had assembled it and was in awe of the giant cookies. I almost had to wrestle the cookie loving man to get my layers back, intact!

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

For the cookie dough

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 cup regular granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 cup heavy cream

3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

For the frosting

40 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup regular granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cookies

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar - mix until combined. This will most likely look dry and not creamy as you would expect. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined after each. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in the chocolate chips.

You need to make 5 cookie layers for this cake. Drop about 1 cup worth of batter on a piece of parchment paper - use an off-set spatula to spread the mixture into an evenly round 8" circle. I recommend baking them one at a time.

Bake until the edges are a rich golden brown and the center looks lightly golden on top, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough until you have 5 rounds.

To make the frosting

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugars and vanilla until fluffy and smooth. Spread a thick layer of mixture onto 4 of the cookies, I used a pastry bag with large star tip to give the edges a finished look. Stack the cookies on top of each other and place the final unfrosted piece on top. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set the cream cheese, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When it's cold outside, make it hot and spicy in the kitchen!


I just love it! It's a good thing since we got two and a half feet of it this weekend and are expecting a little more this week. I think this is just the way winter should be! If it's going to be cold the ground should be covered with the powdery white stuff! I just love it!It doesn't need to fall everyday but a good coating not just a dusting but a thick frosting like coating that's enough to last. Beautiful!! And what goes with snow but hot chocolate!

So I used this snowed in weekend to finally try out my recipe for Mexican Hot Cocoa Cupcakes with Marshmallow Filling and Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting!

Mexican Hot Cocoa Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Marshmallow cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard cupcake pans with liners, or coat with non-stick cooking spray. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, until blended.

2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper and gradually add to the sugar mixture, until the mixture begins to come together.

3. Very slowly, add the boiling water, and blend until the mixture is smooth.

4. Ladle or scoop the batter into the cupcake tins, filling ¾ full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.

5. Cool the cupcakes in their pans on wire racks until cooled.

6. Cut cone shape holes in the centers of the tops of each cupcake, save them to replace the tops before frosting.

7. Fill in each hole with marshmallow cream.

8. Replace the tops.

(Do-Ahead: At this point the cupcakes can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for 6 weeks. Defrost and ice with the cinnamon butter cream frosting.)

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough to frost two 9-inch layers or 24 cupcakes

You Will Need

  • 4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Mini Marshmallows and Red Hot Candies for deco

What to Do

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the sugar, to aerate it. Add the butter, vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon milk, and beat on high speed until the frosting is spreading consistency. If the frosting is stiff, add a few more drops of milk, beating after each addition. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with the marshmallows and the red hots.