Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Cup of Coffee ... Cake

This morning I tried something new for the boys for breakfast ... coffee cake in a cup. I found the recipe on Pinterest, so I really need to thank Prudent Baby. According to her blog, this should only take 5 minutes. Maybe it was because I was taking pictures along the way, but it took me 20 minutes to prepare this little concoction. Maybe I'm not as organized as I think. Or maybe it's because I made 3 of them. Who really knows?

Anyway, here's how I made this ...

First, make the crumb topping. In a small bowl mix (with your clean fingers) 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1teaspoon of cinnamon.

Set the crumb topping aside and start in on the coffee cake.

Place a tablespoon of butter in a cup and soften it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Now it's time for the egg. This can be made without the egg, but it will be more crumbly. You only want to use half an egg per cup. Just crack it in a separate cup, mix it up, and poor half in. If you're making 2 cups of coffee cake, this works out well. I ended up throwing away the other half egg.

Next stir in 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a few drops of vanilla.

Stir in 1/4 cup of flour, 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder, and about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Try not to stir too much. The cake can get stretchy and a little chewy if you stir the flour too much.

Add the crumb topping mixture to the cup.

Here comes the fun part. Place the cup in the microwave for 1 minute. You'll see the cake rise up to the top. After a minute, heat it again in 10 second intervals until the cake is how you want it. I ran mine for 1 minute and 20 seconds. It raised up nicely in the heat and crumb topping spilled over in my microwave because I used a small cup. After the heat was off, the cake sank back down into the cup.

I kind of wish I would have wiped the cup off before I took the picture. Oh well ... it tasted good anyway.

A quick way to have a little something sweet for breakfast ... or any time of the day. You can vary the recipe as well. Try a little cocoa powder instead of cinnamon. Try some canned pumpkin or cream cheese instead of sour cream. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Since today is a holiday and I don't have to work, I decided that I needed to get rid of all the extra cupcake "stuff" I have sitting around. I'm going to try to use up some of the frostings I have sitting around by decorating the cupcakes in the freezer, then I'm going to send them to school with my son tomorrow. He can be Mr. Popular with the girls by handing out cupcakes.

I also had some extra cookie dough filling left over from my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes. So I decided to make some Cookie Dough Truffles.

The recipe for the cookie dough can be found here. I then melted some baking chocolate and dipped the cookie dough balls in it. Simple.

After the chocolate hardened, I melted some white chocolate chips and drizzled it over the top to make them look pretty. Even though I'm trying desperately to lose 1 more pound to reach my goal, I had to try one.


I made 20 truffles, but I don't think there will be any left over tomorrow. The boys thought they were pretty awesome.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

During last months cupcake-a-palooza I was looking for recipes that were rich and ooey and gooey. I was successful in this endeavor. One of the crowd favorites was was this ...
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake

I got the recipe for Annie's Eats. It was a bit time consuming, but well worth it. Here's what I did ...

     For the cupcakes:
     3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
     1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
     4 large eggs
     2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
     1 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp baking soda
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 cup milk
     2 tsp vanilla extract
     1 cup chocolate chips

     For the filling:
     4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
     6 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
     1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
     7 oz sweetened condensed milk
     1/2 tsp vanilla extract
     1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

     For the frosting:
     3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
     3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
     3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
     1 cup all-purpose flour
     1/4 tsp salt
     3 tbsp milk
     2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

     For the garnish:
     Tiny chocolate chip cookies
     Mini chocolate chips

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners (4 total). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture. I found that the filling was so thick that I just used my clean fingers to poke as much in the cupcake as I could.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired. I used a 1M tip to put a nice swirl on top. I then sprinkled with some mini chocolate chips a stuck a mini chocolate chip cookie on top.

These cupcakes are very dense, rich, and delicious. After I got all the parts made, assembly didn't take very long at all.

I found that both kids and adults really liked this cupcake.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cupcake Bouquet

Monday night was the Pops Concert / Dessert Auction at school. This is an annual fund raiser that the choir booster hold to raise money for camp scholarships. During this event, five different choirs (6th grade - 12 grade) sing, with desserts being auctioned off in between choirs. Both of my boys are in choir, so of course I wouldn't miss it. It's crazy and loud and a huge money maker for the choir.

This year I entered two items in the auction. My cupcakes have been gaining some attention over the past few months, so I wanted to make sure I brought my A-game. The item I worked the hardest on was my Cherry Coke Cupcakes. I had a dozen cupcakes arranged around four cans of coke and all in a clear plastic cake box that I bought at the local grocery store bakery. I really was not prepared for the attention these cupcakes got. They were one of the last items to be auctioned and they went for ... wait for it ... $200. My jaw was on the floor as I watched the bidding sore past $100. The last bid I heard was $125 before Erin, the junior high choir director yelled $200. She's one of my biggest cupcake fans. I was in shock. I found out later that those cupcakes went for the highest dollar amount of the night.

The other item I entered in the auction was this ...

... a rose bouquet made of cupcakes. I have been wanting to try one of these for a while now, so I seized this opportunity. With it being Valentine's week, I had made close to 100 cupcakes over the weekend. This is what I did with the extras. The white roses are red velvet cupcakes, the pink are vanilla cupcakes, and the red are chocolate cupcakes.

Even though the Cherry Coke Cupcakes went for more money, I got more compliments for these cupcakes. At the auction, this bouquet was auctioned early in the evening. My friend Sharon, who plays the piano for all of the choirs, and who I've given cupcakes to in the past just because I think she's cool, ended up winning them. I was amazed that these "extra" cupcakes went for $85.

All in all, it was a really exciting night.

Since so many people asked me how I made the bouquet, I thought I'd make a pictorial tutorial. So, here goes ...

The first thing I did was buy a pot and a styrofoam ball that fit in it nicely. I really had no idea how expensive styrofoam balls were. Who new?

To assemble, I inserted 2 toothpicks into the ball right next to each other and then slid a cupcake down onto the toothpicks. I continued around the bottom of the ball until I had made it all the way around the pot.

I tried really hard to not leave space in between the cupcakes. I also just randomly picked up cupcakes so that the flavors were all mixed up.

Then I started on the next row up and kept going until I had covered the whole ball.

I had to do a little squeezing at the top so as to not leave a huge gap on the top. I was able to get 29 cupcakes on this one. The math geek in me immediately began stressing over the fact that 29 is a prime number. Who has a bouquet with 29 flowers in it? Who gives someone 29 cupcakes? Oh well ... 29 it was.

Next up ... icing the cupcakes.

I started off by just making a batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream. I just left it white so that I could ice the red velvet cupcakes.

To make the roses, I use a 1M tip. Just start in the middle of the cupcake and swirl out to the edge. I tend to make counterclockwise swirls. There are many great tutorials on YouTube for learning this technique.

I then put some pink gel coloring in the buttercream to tint it all pink for the vanilla cupcakes.

Next up, red coloring was add to the pink to make a nice red rose color for the chocolate cupcakes.

I was a little unhappy with some of the gaps between the cupcakes ... so ... I got some green tissue paper to use as filler. I cut it into squares and used an ink pen to carefully poke it into the gaps.

And it made a lovely centerpiece for my table ... overnight ... until I had to take it to school for the auction.

This bouquet had a "wow" factor. At the end of the evening, I saw Sharon's daughter, Kimmi, walking out with a pot and styrofoam ball with empty toothpicks sticking out of it. There were a few cupcakes left, but there were plenty of them gone. I really hope Sharon got some for herself ... because like I said before, I think she's cool.

I hope to make one again with different kinds of flowers on it. With it being Valentine's Day, the roses just seemed appropriate.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Football season may be over, but it was alive and well in my kitchen last night.

I had the honor this week of making birthday cakes for a set of twins who turned 15 today. These two are my son's age and he's been friends with them for about four and a half years. As far as twins go, these two are so different. If one is involved in an activity, the other one will stay far away ... they crack me up. They even wanted very different cakes for their birthdays. Claire was very sure of what she wanted ... chocolate zebra cake. Grant wasn't as specific. He knew he wanted vanilla and definitely not zebra, but he wasn't sure of the design. He told me he liked music, football, and wrestling. Since I had used fondant on Claire's cake, I really wanted to use frosting on Grant's. So, I decided to make him a football cake. Here's how it turned out ...

I started out with a 9-inch round vanilla cake. To give it the football shape, I cut a 1-inch strip out of the middle and then pushed the two halves together. In hindsight, I probably should have cut out a little more ... I thought the football was a little fat. Anyway, I just stuck the two halves together with some frosting and then put a layer of vanilla buttercream over the entire cake. 

This is where the fun began. 

I scored the cake where I wanted to put all the stripes and the "G" and started piping. Footballs are textured, so I textured this football with a lot of little stars. First I piped in the seems with black and a #3 round tip. I also outlined the "G" with the black. Then I used a #16 star tip and starred in the "G". 

Next up ... white. 

I outlined the stripes first and then starred them in. At first I was only going to put the white  stripes on top, but then as I got going decided to go ahead and go down the sides of the cake as well. 

By this time my right hand and arm were really starting to hurt from squeezing the piping bag ... but I kept going. 

Starring in the brown seemed to take forever. It was nice that I could do it in sections. 

Finally, I used a basket weave tip and put in the laces. I think that there are actually eight cross stitches on a football, but I could only fit six. I was almost done, so now wasn't the time to get that picky.

I really liked how it turned out. I also really like that my hand feels a lot better today after all that piping last night.


Zebra stipe is so popular with the girls these days. I've seen zebra bags, zebra scarves, zebra pajamas, and even zebra duct tape. I don't understand why it's so popular ... but I'll go with it.

Last year, my friend Ginger asked me if I'd make her daughter's birthday cake. I've known Ginger for a lot of years ... we even had a baby shower together almost 15 years ago ... so of course I told her yes ... and of course Grace wanted zebra stripes on her cake. So I researched how to do it, and I tried it out at home, and it looked horrible. So I made some adjustments and was able to come up with a cake for Grace. It looked like this ...

The cake was a triple layer strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream filling and I covered it with marshmallow fondant. Grace seemed very happy with it.

Last week I was asked to make another zebra cake. One of my students, who also happens to be in the same class as Grace and of my son Collin, wanted me to make her a zebra cake. She liked the way I did Grace's cake, but she wanted a pink "C" for Claire. Claire, however, is a twin, and today is their birthday. Needless to say, Grant did NOT want a zebra cake. I'll write about his cake in the next post. Because they were having two cakes, I made Claire's zebra cake a little smaller. This is what Claire's cake looked like ...

This cake was a double layer chocolate cake with buttercream filling and covered in marshmallow fondant. Chocolate is my favorite, so I had to cheat on my diet a little and taste some of the cake that I leveled off the top. Mmmmmmm.....

This is how it's done ...

First, I covered the cake with white fondant. Then I cut a circle out of the black fondant (I used a small salsa bowl as an outline) and did my best to center it on the top. Next, I just randomly cut some curvy strips out of the black. I didn't really want to brush water on the back of each strip to "glue" them on the cake, so instead I brushed the whole cake with water and then quickly placed the stripes on the cake. I just kept going around the cake with the stripes until their were zebra stripes everywhere. Finally, I cut a "G" out of blue fondant for Grace's cake, and a "C" out of pink fondant for Claire's cake and did my best to center it in the black circle. I was a little disappointed with my pink "C" because it stretched a little when I moved it from the counter to the cake. I did my best to reshape it, but it probably should have been thicker to keep it's shape better.

I'm not sure how many more zebras I'm going to be making in the future, but I learn something new each time. For instance, I've learned to roll the black a little thinner and to cut the stripes a little narrower. Sometimes they tear when putting them on the cake, but that's okay. I'm also getting a little faster with them. I'm pretty sure that neither one of my boys, however, will ask me to make a zebra cake ... I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with guitars and Legos for them.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I had some extra yellow cupcakes, and I'd seen these sunflower cupcakes in several places, so I decided to give them a try.

They are SUPER EASY to make. This actually works with any cupcake. I found that the flat top cupcakes worked the best.

Here's what I did ...

I took some frosting and spread it on top of the cupcake with an off-set spatula. Then I placed an Oreo cookie on top, pressing it down a bit to make sure it was secure.

To make the petals, a leaf tip would have been nice. I sent my sweet husband to the store to buy me one ... but ... they were doing inventory and had all the decorating tips covered with a big plastic bag and refused to sell him anything. I was really questioning why the store was open. So I went to YouTube and found this video on how to use a Ziploc bag to make a modified leaf tip. Basically it involves securing a corner of the bag with scotch tape and then cutting a small triangle out of the corner. After a few practice petals, I finally got the hang of it. I just started at the base of the cookie and worked my way around until I was placing petals on top. I think I went around 3 times.

I've seen where others have added leaves and lady bugs to this style, but this was all I had the patience for.

This is definitely a kid-friendly cupcake. I've even been tossing around an idea in my head for a cupcake bouquet. This might have to be a part of that.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcake

I've been trying some new cupcakes recently. Last weekend I had another installment of cupcake-a-palooza, and this is one of the crowd favorites...It's a hot fudge sundae in cupcake clothing.

They were a little time consuming, but the response I got from them was well worth it. I say response because I didn't actually try one. I've been trying to take off the holiday poundage ... and doing quite well I might add. I've got a bit of a sweets addiction. Once I start eating sweets I just can't stop. When I was a kid with high metabolism this wasn't a problem ... not the case anymore, however. I told my husband the other day that this baking hobby of mine is like being an alcoholic and brewing beer as a hobby. Really not one of the more logical choices I've made.

As I was saying ... time consuming. I started out by just making a regular chocolate cupcake. But then I got a little crazy with it. I bought some hot fudge ice cream topping ... you know, the stuff that comes in a jar that you have to heat up in the microwave. I just used a regular spoon and dropped a dollop of of the hot fudge into each baking cup. My chocolate cake batter is pretty thick, so the fudge didn't sink to the bottom.

I then baked the cupcakes for 19 minutes at 350 degrees. The fudge mostly stayed on top, but some of it sunk down into the middle of the cupcake. Yum!

After cooling, I just used a spatula to spread some vanilla buttercream on each cupcake. I then melted 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a little shortening in the microwave, placed it in a Ziploc baggie, clipped the corner, and drizzled it on each cupcake. I then placed some more of the vanilla buttercream in a piping bag and, with a 1M tip, piped a bit of icing on top. Finally, to make it look like a sundae, I placed a well drained cherry on top.

I have a couple of the cupcakes still in the freezer. After I lose these last 3 pounds I might have to thaw one out to experience the amazingness for myself.