Friday, April 30, 2010

Five Cupcakes for Marvelous Mom!

No one is quite as marvelous as our mothers! And guess what - Mother's day is fast approaching! Don't let mom down with a last minute trinket, instead show mom just how much you care with some creative cake. After all she always made baked goods for you!

Five Magnificently Marvelous Idea for Mom:

1) Make Mom a Message

These pictured cupcakes can be orderd and mailed, but you can easily spell out I love you Mom with a little fondant and buttercream. Of course if your mama lives far away you and always get these at the Teacake Bake Shop.

2) Cupcake Bouquets

Is flowers for Mother's Day a tradition in your house? Well nothing will smell sweeter than a bouquet of freshly baked cupcakes! Buttercream and fragrant. Mmmm Mmmm good! You can decorate the tops of your cupcakes with frosting or fondant. For ins
tructions and inspiration check out: Cupcake Ideas For You.

3) Lavender Lovelies

For the brownie lover in your family, make these lavender lovelies. Bake individually wrapped brownies and topped with lavender milk frosting and a pansy flowers are sure to make a splash! Make your own with the marvelous Martha Stewart.

4) Marshmallow Flower Fun

Sweeten up mom's day with some simple mini-marshmallow cupcakes. Cut your marshmallows in half and sprinkle with colorful sugar sprinkles. Simple and sweet and brought to you by Betty Crocker.

5) Whoo Whoo Adorable Owls

Is your mother a bird lover? She will be after you make these adorable bird and owl themed cupcakes from fondant and butter cream. Plus it will be a hoot to make them! Bird-up your day with the Hostess Blog.

Be sure to show your mother that you care! Have a cup-cake-a-riffic Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crazy Chicken Cupcakes!

Easter is a funny holiday. With chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, and jellybeans galore who knows what sweets are in store. Thus, I decided to skip the sweet and adorable and create cupcakes that were a little more wacky!

Look out, the chickens are loose! THE CRAZY CHICKENS!

These funny fowl are made from one large cupcake (for the body) and one mini cupcake (for the head). I piped feathers using cake decorating tip #16 and some yellow butter cream. The eyes and beaks are made from fondant, with the pupils painted in with gel food coloring.

Crazy chickens were caught on film by the daring photographer Russell Gearhart, of Russell Gearhart Photography. He's a brave man, these are crazy chickens, he could have been killed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Purple Brighton Cake

Psst - guess what? Librarians like cake! I know who would have thunk.

*Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh* The librarian hisses spooning mouth fulls of chocolate cake passed her pursed lips.

Actually librarians are very cool. They can find information that it would take you years to find. They are impervious to paper cuts. They can sneak up on you like a samurai, and give you the one book that will change your life. And hey, they look hot in horn-rimmed glasses. Plus they're great people.

So as it goes, my librarian friend requested a cake for a farewell fiesta meant to celebrate the work of a fellow librarian who is changing branches. And there's now way to say you-rock-damsel-of-the-dewy-decimal-system, quite like you can with cake!

This purple "Brighton" cake was inspired by the jewelry of the leaving librarians favorite retailer and was made with fondant and butter cream.

Inspirational jewelry by Brighton.

Special thanks to these creative images provided by Russell Gearhart Photography.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mousse not Moose!

I grew up in Maine, the land where wild moose roam. Contrary to popular belief, moose are quite rare. You don't see them on every street corner, or eating your grandmother's blackberries. When you do see a moose it is a moment of majestic delight. The giant animal peeks up at you through a grove of ferns or lifts it head from a bath in an icy lake. It is a quiet moment, often filled with silence and awe.

But this blog post is about mousse (not moose) - you know the culinary kind, made of cream and chocolate. But I have to say, diving into my first culinary mousse, the experience is quite similar. It's filled with a little bit of magic, and the hope that one might get to see another one soon.

Making mousse is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. In fact, it's really all a matter of mixing and folding followed by a good cool down in the chill chest. And the fun part is your mousse will hold its shape once refrigerated. So if you wanted, you could make moose shaped mousse! (Note to self: Self make moose shaped mousse! Because yes, I am that kind of dork.)

For my maiden mousse mission I decided to make a white chocolate coffee mousse with a cake base and a chocolate glaze. Perhaps not quite as stunning as a moose in the wild, but you can bet it's a whole lot tastier!

Chocolate Coffee Mousse Towers
(makes six)

Foundation: The Cake
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 oz. unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1)Preheat oven and prep 8-inch square pant with cooking spray.
2) Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.
3) In mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
4) Add eggs to creamed butter and sugar one at a time.
5) In a small bowl stir together buttermilk and vanilla.
6) In mixer, add to contents the dry goods (step 2) and the wet goods (step 5) in alternating additions.
7) Spread batter into pan and bake for 25 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Filling: The Mousse
9 oz. white chocolate
1/4 cup strong coffee
2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
1 and 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1) Melt the white chocolate, coffee, and espresso powder together in a medium bowl.
2) Whisk until smooth.
3) In a separate bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form.
4) Fold the white chocolate into the cream.
5) Divide the coffee cream between prepared tomato paste cans and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Note: To prep for step 5 - clean six tomato paste cans, cut off both the top and bottom, and line with parchment paper. These will help the mousse to hold its round tower shape.

Top: The Glaze
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tsp corn syrup
1 oz. unsalted butter (2 tbsp)
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1) Warm the cream, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges.
2) Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate.
3) Cool till glaze is thick but still pourable.
4) Now get ready to assemble your towers!

Tower Assembly:
1) Cut out six cake circles (use a clean tomato can to have the correct size)
2) Remove mousse from cans and place them on top of the cake circles.
3) Place on wire rack or display plate and pour glaze over the top of each tower letting it run down the sides.
4) Refrigerate towers for at least one hour.
5) Indulge!

Enjoy some mousse madness! Or...moose madness (whatever that might be...)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mint Brownie Madness

What's the first thing you think of when I say mint and brownies?

Girl Scouts? I know, me too! However, I wont even attempt to rival these young cookie-hocking ladies, and the divine joy that is a nicely chilled thin mint. But once the cookie monster has consumed all the mint-cookie goodness, I can offer a small alternative...

The dark-chocolate brownie cupcakes with a sinful peppermint patty center. I know life is hard.

So, if the girl scouts have closed up shop outside your local Walmart and you need to to fulfill that mint and chocolate craving, then why not give these bad boys a try:

Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes

(which are just brownies if not put in cupcake liners)

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12 chocolate covered peppermint patties

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Using a double boiler, or a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water, put chocolate and butter in top portion/bowl and melt. Stir occasionally until melted.
3. Remove top portion/bowl from heat.
4. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth.
5. Whisk in eggs to combine.
6. Whisk in flour and cocoa, just until smooth, don't over mix.
7. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each lined cup. Put a peppermint patty into each cup and then cover with a second tablespoon of batter.
8. Bake for about 30 -35 min or until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Remember, these are brownies so leaving them a bit under done is better, as they will still cook a bit in the tin after removal from the heat.
9. Let cool in tins.
10. Eat!

A minty thanks to Russell Gearhart Photography.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ten Easter Cupcake Ideas

What does Easter have to do with bunnies and colored eggs and baskets of sweets? You've got me stumped. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy hunting for some colorful cupcakes to make the day a wee bit tastier. Pick any of the following ideas to compliment your jellybeans and Cadbury Cremes:

1) Easter Egg Nests and Blue Birds
Cover the top of your cupcakes with some toasted coconut and add some chocolate malt eggs for a spring nest. Or rif on this idea and swap out the eggs for blue candies and make a trio of tweeting blue birds to sing you Happy Easter. Make nests with the Food Channel or blue birds with the Tip Nut Blog.

2) Nutty Spring Chicks
Roll your cakes in coconut and garnish with almond beaks and licorice candies to create these adorable spring chickens! Silly and fun! Make this with Martha Stewart.

3) Lovely with Lolli-pops
Turn a sweet sucker into a festive flower with a bouquet of lolli-pop cupcakes. Color with sprinkles and accent with fondant leaves and you have a lolli-pop gold! Also brought to you by Martha Stewart.

4) They're Multiplying Like Rabbits (or Bunnies
You can never have too many cupcake bunnies, particularly when they are oh, so adorable! Make the ears out of fondant and Japanese rice noodles for whiskers and you might find yourself hopping away with your own litter of bunny cakes. Make your own and see more photos with Bakerella.

5) Fluffy Little Bunny Butts

It's okay if bunnies are digging in your garden if they are made of cake! These adorable bunny behinds are made from Oreos and frosting. Bring a little humor into your holiday with these fluffy tails that were featured in the book Hello, Cupcake. Make your own with Whisk This.

6) Classic Easter Eggs

Sprinkle and decorate some egg shaped cookies and top your cupcakes for a fun egg-tastic effect! Again another fun idea from the cupcake-genius' at Hello, Cupcake.

7) Cadbury Creme Dream

No Easter is quite the same without the classic Cadbury Creme egg. Though a creme egg is a powerhouse dessert on its own you can spike your cakes with double-sugar-rama for a knockout creme delight! Make these creamy confections with Bakespace.

8) Easter Basket Bliss

Go hunting for eggs with mini-easter baskets made from licorice and M&M's, these simple treats are fun and festive. Build your own baskets with Cabaret Squidoo.

9) Sweet Center Strawberries

Go for a fresh spring surprise with these sweet strawberry cupcakes. Put a whole strawberry into the middle and leave the green on top to tease the tasters! Recipe comes from the Food Network.

10) Hatch Your Own Baby Birds

Make your own Easter chicks out of yellow fondant. Add a white egg shell for a dramatic effect! Spring has sprung! This baby bird comes from Baking Your Dreams Come True.