Saturday, December 17, 2011

The cutest Candy Cane Cupcake (with striped buttercream) ever!

Ta- Daaaaaa!

Ta- Da!! Im so excited I had to say it twice! I finally put all the componets for this cupcake together. It took over 3 years, but here it is.

I posted a pic in 2008 on Cake Central of a cupcake like this. To this day, again over 3 years later, I still receive requests asking how to do the stripe and can I share the recipe.

Here is the buttercream stripe tutorial I posted previously. This will show you exactly how to make the stripe.

I honestly dont know exactly what I used at the time, but I assure you my skills have improved since then and the recipes I used this time are wayyyyyyyy better.

For the cupcake, I used a very easy, one bowl recipe:


3 cups AP flour

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins.

Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment mix dry ingredients until uniform in color. With the mixer still on low, add eggs, water, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Continue to mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.

I use a 2" ice cream/cookie scooper to get the batter into the cupcake liners. The batter will be loose at this point. No worries, its supposed to be.

Bake for about 14-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before removing.

Step one complete, you're doing great!

Step 2: White chocolate candy cane ganache

I used a 2:1 ratio. What does that mean right? Easy peasy

I had an 11oz bag of Ghirardelli classic white chips so I used 5 1/2 oz of heavy cream.

Get it? If 11oz represents the 2 in the 2:1 ratio, then I need the '1' in the 2:1 ratio to be half of 11oz of heavy cream, which is 5 1/2 oz. Get it? I hope so. If not, please ask and i'll happily help in any way that I can.

Ingredients for white chocolate ganache:

11oz bag of white chocolate chips

5 1/2 oz ( or 2/3 cup) heavy cream

candy canes- I used 4 crushed and it was just enough.

Put the chips in a heat proof bowl.

Heat heavy cream just to a boil ( you dont want a rolling boil because you dont want the chocolate to seize)

Immediately pour it over the chips.

Let it stand for 1-2 minutes so the heat of the cream can melt the chips.

Then stir until smooth.

Put it to the side and allow to cool.

Once cool, mix in chopped/crushed candy canes.

Moving on to the incredible peppermint marshmallow buttercream. Of you have no idea how amazing this smells while you're making it. If you make it you will ;o)

Ingredients for amazing marshmallow buttercream:

16 oz tub of Fluff - or marshmallow cream

16oz butter ( or 4 sticks or 2 cups)

1 lb of powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add Fluff and vanilla, mix until smooth.

** If you are specific about the consistency of your buttercream, you can mix the butter and the Fluff first and add powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency**

Line up your cupcakes and core each one. I used a small pairing knife, but you can easily use an apple corer or even a large pastry tip. Whatever works for you.

Fill the holes with the white chocolate ganache. I poured the ganache into a pastry bag and cut the end. I find I have better control and its less messy. You can use a spoon or even a small scoop.

If you think that was're gonna flip for the next part!

Strip the buttercream bag. You can see my other previous pictorial

After you've striped the bag and added the buttercream, make cute swirls on each cupcake.

I hope you make these cupcakes because I KNOW you will not be disappointed!

Do you have a favorite way to frost/ top a cupcake? I'd love to hear what it is.

Have fun!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tail waggin' treats!

I'm always baking treats for people. It makes sense, right? Well, maybe not from Coopers' point of view.

Cooper sits quietly as I mise en place then mix, he sniffs the air curiously as sweet smells eminate from the oven and truth be told, he even drools from time to time.

But his patience hasnt paid off for him.....until today that is.

Even though things are as hectic as hectic can be; doctors appointments, attorney meetings, scheduling plumbers and electricians, packing in general and did I mention I dont have a place to go nor have I decided where i'm moving ? Well, its all true and I wanted/needed a break today.

Granted, I could have just had a KitKat, but this was so much better :o)

So I decided to bake.....for Cooper. He deserves it just as much as the next dog, so why not? I know your doggy will love these too!
After all the ingredients are in the mixer, leave it on low until a ball forms.

Put it on half a piece of parchment paper. Fold the other half of the paper over the dough and roll it about 1/2" ( 12.7mm) thick.

It certainly doesnt have to be perfect, but please know that each time you re-roll the dough it gets tougher and tougher ( im talking really tough here people!)

You can cut it into any shape that appeals to you. Since this was for Cooper, I picked a dog bone and a fire hydrant cookie cutter.

As you can see Cooper is always keeping an eye on me from his cubby ( ill explain that in a minute)

Yes, im wearing gloves. First, because its a habit and second, theres garlic in the recipe and I didnt want my hands to smell like garlic for the rest of the night.

*My mother used to have a friend. I remember her very well, she was just the sweetest thing ( arent most 3rd grade teachers?) but......she ate soooooo much garlic she always smelled like it. I think it was coming out of her pores.

I guess I always have that in the back of my head when I add garlic to something**

Showing Cooper his treats before I put them in the oven. ( he's peeking out from his 'cubby')

This recipe yields ~2 dozen with these 2 cutters.

Really? Could they get any cuter? A fire hydrant for a dog 'cookie', c'mon now!

I wanted to share Coopers 'cubby' with you.Even though it's only half of my kitchen in this pic, im sure you guessed that that spot is for a dishwasher.

Yeah well, I never got around to it. What can I tell you, it wasnt a priority.

However, when I got Cooper he made it his own.

He used to stay in his crate most of the time and I wanted him to come out and socialize, so I closed his crate during the day.

He didnt mind so much, but when im in the kitchen I walk back and forth a lot and I tripped over him a few times. Im assuming this was the reason he ducked into the spot for the dishwasher more then once.

If he feels comfortable there, so what, let him stay there. Im only interested in building his confidence. Day by day....

Cooper being shown his freshly baked cookies/biscuits. I dont think he quite knows what to make of them.


I hand him one.

I hope you take the time ( very short amount of time) to make these yumsters for your pooches, they'll LOVE them and love you even more!!

Dog Cookies/Biscuits


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup powdered milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

6 Tbs fat ( margarine, shortening, meat drippings **being a vegetarian and never having this available, I cannot tell you how it affects the final biscuit. **)

1 egg, beaten first

1 tsp light brown sugar

1/2 cup cold water


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine first 4 ingredients. Add fat and mix until combined ( it will probably look like corn meal). Add egg. Add water and mix until a ball forms.

Put dough on parchment paper and roll to about 1/2" thick. Cut with cutters ( anything dog-themed is adorable;dog bone, fire hydrant, dog house, dog, etc).

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Store in the open. DO NOT store biscuits in an air tight container.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'd love to hear about your dog cookies and see pics too!

Happy baking!!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

My oh my, I love a good whoopie pie!!

I dont think I ever shared this, but I have a 'unique' way of eating a cupcake. I like to peel off the wrapper, cut the cupcake in half horozontially- right in the middle, and then put one half of the cake right on top of the frosting.

Sound familiar? Sounds like a whoopie-pie to me actually. I guess thats why im so fond of whoopie pies. They're pretty much just like cupcakes to me!

And these beauties are no exception! They're fabulous! The cake is so full of banana flavor, and the filling is silky smooth caramel flavor! What else can you ask for in a whoopie pie?
Theres only one reason you wont like these......and thats if you dont make them!! LOL

All lined up nicely after I used a 1 " cookie scoop to keep them relatively the same size.

See how pretty they are right out of the oven? Uniform little soilders, as my pastry instructor used to say all the time.

I put them next to each other, so you can see the difference in size from before and after they're baked.

All lined up nicely, waited to be topped off :o)

You can certainly use a pastry bag, I just find the scoop so even and easy.

Now how can you resist these beauties?


Caramel sauce:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Whoopie Pies:
2 cups AP flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup mashed banana

½ cup sour cream
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract

3 large egg whites
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp. pieces, at room temperature
½ cup caramel sauce (from recipe above)

For the caramel:

Pour the sugar into a meduim heavy bottom pot.

When the sugar starts to melt and bubble around the edges, stir it gently towards the center. Use a heat resistant spatula if you have one.

Continue stirring carefully until all of the sugar is melted. When the caramel reaches an amber color, remove it from the heat.

Once off the heat, whisk in half of the heavy cream. Be careful because it will bubble and spit up out of the pot. Stir until the cream is completely combined, then whisk in the rest of the cream.

Return the pot to medium-low heat and continue to whisk gently until everything is melted and smooth once again. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Remove from the heat and let cool.

For the whoopie 'cakes':

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the mashed banana and sour cream.

In the bowl of aKitchen Aid mixer ( or similiar), beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy,

about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla. On low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the banana mixture,

beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated.

I used a 1 inch cookie scoop to make each whoopie 'cake', but you can pipe them from a bag with a large tip if you choose as well.

Bake until the whoopie 'cakes' are just set and the bottom edges are starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Let cool about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. ( I used the bowl from my Kitchen Aid to cut down on too many pots)

Heat the mixture, whisking very frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved and reaches 160° F on an instant read thermometer.

**A little helpful tip: you can test the mixture with your finger instead of a thermometer. When you rub your pointer finger and thumb together and do not feel the sugar granules, the mixture is ready**

Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture holds stiff peaks. The bowl will be cool to the touch when its ready. Make sure you do not start to add the butter if the mixture is still warm.

Reduce the speed to medium low, add in the salt and begin adding the butter one piece at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in ½ cup of the cooled caramel and mix well.

Once the whoopie 'cakes' are completely cooled, match them up in pairs by size.

To fill the cakes, again I used the same 1inch cookie scoop, but you can use a pastry bag too here.

Store in an airtight container.


- these cakes are exception, the banana flavor comes through quite well.

- For my taste, theres too much butter in the SMBC filling and not enough caramel.

So, next time, I will decrease the butter and increase the caramel.

If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to ask. Id love to hear from you even if you just want to say hi!

Thanks for stoppin by!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Raspberry Puree- easy as 1,2,3 ingredients

I am moving soon. I'm feeling both happy and sad about the move. I'm happy to be moving to a different place, looking forward to meeting new people, experiencing a new town with new stores and restaurants- thats all very appealing to me.
However, I will miss the kitchen in this house more than I can put into words right now. I miss it already and I havent left yet. The kitchen is amazing and the next one .....well.....let's just
Anyway, im trying to use up some of the things I have already. It's working out well because I love a challenge and I keep telling myself this is like a very easy version of Chopped.
I started with something very easy because I had something in mind for a cake that used some of the other things I have already. ( Stay tuned for that delicious recipe!!)

Raspberry Puree. Its so versatile which makes it a great addition to your basic baking repertoire.

Let's get to it....

I already had a bag of raspberries in the freezer and also corn starch and granulated sugar in the cabinet. Lucky me. :o)

I combined 2 Tablespoons of water with 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch and added it to the raspberries in a pot. Then I added about 1/4 cup granulated sugar.

Let it cook over a med-high heat until there are no more lumps. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

Stir occasionally.

When the raspberries have all cooked down, strain it into a bowl to remove the seeds. I had to do it twice because I don't have a fine mesh sieve
When you're left with a sieve full of seeds, you're done. Easy, right?

Pour the contents of the bowl into whatever you wish to store it in. ( remember to let it cool completely before you put it in the fridge)

I filled a small squeeze bottle with some and put the rest in a plastic container.

** I almost forgot again- duh....A very nice addition to this would be Chambord.**

Raspberry Puree

1 12oz bag of whole raspberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 T water

2 T cornstarch

2-4 T Chambord

Add raspberries to a medium size pot. Combine water and corn starch. Mix well so there are no clumps. Add sugar and stir well.

Continue until the raspberries are cooked down ( ~5 minutes)

Add the Chambord and stir another minute.

Strain through a sieve ( fine mesh works best) into a bowl until all the liquid is in the bowl and you are left with just seeds.

Let the puree cool.

Thats it, its really that easy. Its also very verastile.

* you can adjust the sugar to your taste

* you can make it thicker by adding more corn starch

* you can add more, less or omit the alcohol

* you can substitute other fruit for the raspberries

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and see what's going on. Comments are always welcome, id love to hear from you!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive....

I was lucky to receive tons of positive feedback for these fondant figures. They were for a neurologist and they adorned a dozen cupcakes.

The above pic is just a close up of one of the toppers I was recently asked how to make. The whole dozen can be seen on my Flickr page.

Today, I made a tutorial showing how to make the caduceus ( the short staff entwined by two serpents, surmounted by wings, that is commonly associated with medicine. )

Before you begin, I suggest you have a fondant disc or an actual cupcake nearby to use a reference for size.

1. Roll a very small ball of fondant

2.Roll a short 'log' out of fondant and taper it at 1 end. Cut the other end and leave it for now.

3.I used a mold for the wings, it seemed the perfect size. If you dont have a mold, no worries, it'll just take an extra 2 minutes to make a pair of wings.

4. Shape a small piece of fondant into a wing . Then mark the fondant ( I used a fondant tool referred to as a veiner, but you can use anything - even a toothpick works well) to indicate feathers.

5. Start with semi circles toward the wider end and then draw a line out to the tip.

6. Continue to draw semi-circles, i made 4 rows until you're happy with how far they reach.

7. Draw lines out to the tip from the last row of semi-circles.

8. Continue to draw lines until the entire feather is filled.

It looks almost exactly the same and it doesnt take long at all!

Now to assemble:

1. Get the ball you rolled before.

2. Get the 'log' you rolled before.

3. Attach them using water ( or whatever you usually use thats handy).

4. Pick up a wing, and at the wider side, made an indentation so the 'log' will fit better. Repeat with the other wing.

5. Wet or glue the area that you just indented.

6. Attach the wings with water ( you're seeing the tip of my water brush in the pic, one of my all time favorite things to work with).

7. Roll 2 logs, thinner then the first, also tapered the ends. Make a little ball on the opposite end to represent a snakes head.

8. Using a picture for reference, curl the snake around the staff.

9. Repeat with the other. At this point, when you're happy with the placement, glue the snakes to the staff.

Wait until it dries a little and cover with silver if you want. I used luster dust mixed with a little vodka. I really like the way it came out.

You can start with grey fondant and just dust it at the end.

Whatever makes you happy. After all, thats what this should all be about, right?

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake Cake !

Can you say "Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake Cake" 3x fast?

I love tongue twisters. When I was younger I had to go to speech class. We used to have so much fun with tounge twisters.

Can you say ........

Toy Boat


Aluminum Linoleum


Unique New York

or ( a little harder....)

The sixth shieks sixth sheeps sick

Ha I have no idea how I remember those!

Anyway.....Ive had this idea for a cake in my head for quite sometime. I actually even made a sketch of it so I wouldnt forget.

Besides being adorable, its beyond delicious! Its like Reeses meets Fluff and fall madly in love.

The cake is chocolate fudge cake, filled with peanut butter buttercream and frosted with Marshmallow buttercream.

The recipes? Oh your mouth is watering and you're thinking about the next occasion coming up so you can make it and impress every single person there?

Well, I twisted your tounge and you twisted my arm.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
recipe adapted from Nigella

2 2/3 cups AP flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder ( I used Hersheys Dark)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups chilled water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk next 3 ingredients together. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid ( or another separate bowl if you're using a handheld mixer) with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and oil until blended. Then add in the water.
Once incorporated, add all the dry ingredients at once and mix on slow speed. Add the remaining wet ingredients until blended together.

Pour into pans that have been buttered and floured ( although if you're making a chocolate cake, its always a good idea to use cocoa powder instead of flour) or buttered and lined with parchment paper.

Cakes are done when toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cook in their pans for about 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Peanut Butter Buttercream/Filling

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp heavy cream

Cream butter & peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the vanilla, then heavy cream mix on high speed for about 2-3 minutes.

Try not to "taste" too much before you get it in the cake! Yes! Its really that yummy!

Marshmallow buttercream
16oz tub of Marshmallow Fluff
16oz unsalted butter, softened
1# powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Mix the Fluff and butter until well combined. Add powered sugar in 3 additions, making sure to scrape the bowl well between each addition. Add vanilla after last addition and mix about 1 minute more.

I hope it doesnt seem like a lot because its SOOOOOOOOOO worth it! This cake is AMAZING.

Whats also great is that you can mix up the filling and buttercream if you want.

You can either fill the fudge cake with peanut butter frosting and cover the cake with marshmallow buttercream or.....
you can switch it up and fill the fudge cake with marshmallow buttercream and cover the cake with peanut butter frosting! Oh yeah, thats what im talkin about! Versatility!

If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to ask.

As always, all comments are always welcome!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you again!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If at first you dont succeed......

So......where do I start? I knew I wanted to make red, white and blue cupcakes, but I couldnt decide if I wanted to put the color on the top or the bottom.

My previous post was a quick tutorial about layers of red, white and blue buttercream on top of a white cupcake in a silver wrapper.

Since I have an affinity for coloring my food I decided that wasnt enough and it would be fun to color the actual cake. ( Just like the rainbow cupcakes I've made in the past- and that I would add a link to a picture/tutorial of them if I knew how right now. It's the thought that counts, right? Im trying to learn as quickly as I can.....honest.)

Anyway.......I colored the cake red, white and blue and topped them with white buttercream.

So pretty, arent they?

So vibrant and fun! Makes you wanna rip off the paper and ......

cut it in half to enjoy all the color! it enough? It felt like something was color!! Yes! Yes! Thats the ticket! More color!

I made a striped candy cane cupcake ( again, if I knew how- and you have no idea how much I wish I did- i'd put a link to a pic of that cuppie right here) that to date, received, and is still receiving the most comments ever!

Here's a quick reminder of how to stripe your buttercream:

You need a disposable pastry bag, the tip of your choice ( the larger the better and either round or star tip will work well) gel color and a paint brush.

Cut the pastry bag to fit the tip.

Drop the tip in.

"Paint" stripes from the tip of the bag to about 3/4 of the way up.

Then fill the bag with buttercream. It might be helpful to drop it in, trying to avoid the sides with the gel color.

I used 2 stripes; one red and one blue. I put them on opposite sides.

This was the result. I liked them, but I didnt love them. If at first you dont succeed.......

clean up your stuff, start over, think of the Matrix when you get deja vu and try again!

This time I doubled the stripes- 2red, 2 blue.

Filled the bag again by dropping the buttercream in, twisted the top, pushed the buttercream to the tip and........

I was much happier with the colors!

But then....I it TOO much now? Oh boy.

I really do like it. Im so fond of the striped cuppie. I do it so often, people ask what happened if I bring cupcakes that arent striped! Figures, right? You dont want to do the same thing again and again, but then people miss it when you dont!

I hope you like these as much as I do and as always, all comments are more than welcome!

Thanks so much for stopping by!