Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes (Recipe)

You've got to love the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and cake. If I could eat this with Reese Peanut-Butter ice creme... well, I'd be fat. So, today I'm going to share one of my favorite recipes: The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcake.

The PB in the icing is light, not overpowering. It is not like you're biting it a spoonful of PB. I know many of my friends use PB as a supplement to their diets, loving to have a late-night spoonful. Me, on the other hand, I like it subtle.

As for the chocolate part of the cake. DIES! This is my go-to cake (not just for cuppies). It is moist, soft and best of all, VERY RICH! Wanna make em'?

Dark Chocolate Cake:

2c boiling water
1 c cocoa powder (dutch - get the good stuff)
1 tbsp instant coffee (STARBUCKS KIND!... or not)
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter
2 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


1. In a medium bowl, mix boiled water, cocoa and coffee. Whisk until dissolved. Let cool to room temp.


2. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, blend sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and eggs one at a time.

4. Slowly alternate cooled chocolate and flour mix until fully incorporated. Blend on medium for 2 minutes.

5. Place batter in divided cuppie tins or in greased cake pan.

Cuppies: bake about 15-20 minutes.
Cake: bake 30-40 min or until toothpick comes out generally clean.


Peanut-Butter Frosting:

1/2 cup shortening
1 c Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tsp vanilla (good stuff)
1c powdered sugar
2 oz (or so) of heavy creme.

Directions: Whip shortening and peanut butter. Add in vanilla. Slowly add in the Powdered sugar and heavy creme (alternating is best). If you need to add more creme, do, watch the constancy - it will depend on the brand of PB you use. When it is whipped, smooth, and soft, you know you've done a good job. You can eat it with a spoon or place it on cuppies. :: dies ::

TOTAL: you can add the frosting to the cuppies when they are cooled, then crush some chocolate (I used an Aero bar) then drizzled some caramel ice-creme topping on the top. SO GOOD!

I hope you like them!

post signature

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Messages of Love

Still playing with the hearts. This time, I decided to make little messages of love. I figured, why not, hubbie needs some reminding every now and then!

I think what I like most about these hearts is that they fit together nicely, and they flow together. Where one word ends, another beings. Okay, maybe I'm being the English teacher I knew I was, but it is a symbolic cookie.... Yeah, That's Right!

Now, to get ready for a new cookie design. Super excited about this design, I hope it works out!

Until then!

post signature

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Disney's "Tangled" Cake

Gosh, I am so happy! This cake turned out more or less the way I wanted it to, I should have made it a little taller, but then again, I'm overly critical on my work. I made this cake for a friend's daughter. I love making sugar-paste people. I love the little smirk she's giving!

I watched Tangled twice now. I love that movie, and totally recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Disney. Now... it is true that Disney movies have been a little touch and go over the last decade (yes, decade). They've had some great hits like Finding Nemo and, Enchanted, but there have been a lot of flops as well. I'll leave it up to you which you like and do not. But it is nice to see that there are still some good cartoons (or CGs) coming out of this.

So, which are my favorite Disney movies?

ENCHANTED! I have to have watched it about a million times! I love the characters and the plot. Super funny!

Tangled: I believe out of all the Disney movies out there, Rapunzel captures my personality the best. Hubbie was like: Wow wife, that's you! I agree! Clueless, Dorky, and very excitable!

UP: so sad. I don't think I've not cried at the beginning. Too sad. I love the whole thing!

And, just to be clear, I do NOT have kids... I love cartoons!

My mom used to comment that I never grew up. I think that's true for the most part. But then again, I think that was one of the best things about me. I never saw Talk Shows like all the kids my age, I enjoyed the cartoons more!

I love Pascal. Too bad I have no use for stuffed animals, or I would buy his!

Now, the cake was a rainbow vanilla butter cake. I didn't make it to the party to get a picture of the cut cake, but maybe I will be able to get pictures to post.

I would love to know what Disney movies you liked the best. Which Disney character best represents your personality?

post signature

Monday, January 17, 2011

Car Crash Cupcakes + Car Tutorial

Today's post is a bit of a double-whammy. Not only am I going to share a great story, but this post also comes with a little tutorial on how to (or not) make banked Cars in the snow - Car Cupcake toppers. Totally simple, super fun, very yummy!

The Story!

These cupcakes were inspired by my hubbie, who always seems to get into trouble. For example, this weekend past, I drove us into the country to visit a lovely couple who had just built a home similar to the one we are going to build. There had just been a recent dumping of snow, but nothing uncommon for North-Western Ontario, so I chugged along the small back roads slowly and cautiously.

After the day was through, and we had visited enough (LOVELY HOME, MAY I JUST SAY!), I asked my hubbie to drive home; I was feeling a little under the weather and did not want to drive. So, with the keys in hand, he drives 30 feet when, WHAM, we hit the side of the road and banked in the snow. Now, remember, I drove us there from town down the same road (which is about 5 mi, and did not get us stuck. He drives 30 feet and we are done. :: sigh ::

Now, in the country, there is a lot of snow, and most is not packed, so the stuff we were stuck in was very soft, very deep, and we caught an angle that was impossible to get out of without help. Dig and dig we did, placed boards and revved engines, but to no avail! Our poor hostess was forced to come and help us, and I felt terrible~ Even she could not get us out after 2 hours of trying! (and us Northerners are quite good at getting unstuck from snow)!

Finally, we called in for help. A friend with a 4X4 came and pulled our car out of the bank. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!

Now, here's where the cars come in. Notice they are not square on the cupcake as I would normally place them, but rather, they are tilted. Well, much like those cupcakes, our car was stuck at an odd angle. These cupcakes are 'thank you' gifts to the wonderful hostess and her friend who came and saved our Canadian Bacon!

To clarify, I ended up driving home anyway, and did NOT get us stuck!

So, Now you too can learn to make cars for your cupcakes (and place them nicely so as not to be stuck like mine!) Here are the steps:

You will need three balls of fondant or gumpaste (I recommend gumpaste for these). You will need Black, White and another colour (any will do).

Step two: Roll our the dough and with a Wilton 199 tip (or any small round tip), cut out circles. You can use another tip to add in the center circle for the hub-cap too. Let these dry while you do the next parts.

Step Three: While those wheels dry, take a small ball of your dough and roll it out into a circle.

Step Four: Shape the circle into a nice rectangle. Do your best to get each side flat.

Step five: Using a pencil, pen or a fondant tool, shape the front end of the car by pressing down on the front of the rectangle.

Front and back! Remember: For the back, you do not want to push it as low as the front. It should be slightly higher than the front end.

Now, to get a nice car shape, you will want to pull the front lowered part (engine part) in a little, not quite a triangle. And to get the back nice and shapely, push it flat with your finger. Even if this part is not perfect, the car will look great!

Now that you have the shape all done, add the wheels. They should be dry enough to handle. Simply dab on some gel or some water and press them lightly into the car.

Finally, add in the windows with the white dough. Simple shape long thin slices of the dough, then round slices. Apply with water again and let set.

To add in the car's detail, simply dilute a little gel-colour (like Americolor) and paint on with a thin-tipped brush. I like the racing stripes!

Hope this helps you! And maybe next time, I'll make sure I drive home and avoid the snowbanks!

post signature

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strawberry Incognito..

It's almost Valentine's day. You want to know I how I know? Because those crafty hearts have made their way into my kitchen again.

It is amazing what they will try to do to be included. Well, since I felt that it was too early for Valentine's day, the heart decided it would be a great idea to be sneaky, and disguise itself as something else... like say....

A strawberry!

Look at it, so cute, sweet, and completely disguised. It is wonderful that strawberries made their way into my kitchen, since it has been a while since I've seen one. Well, I was quite pleased to see my strawberries!


(Joke adapted from Fruity Cuties)

Okay, so maybe hearts should stick to what they know best!
But you have to admit, they are quite adorable!

Here's to Holiday Baking, far, far, far in advance!

post signature

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Elmo Themed Cake, Cookies and more

So, after the Little Mermaid Cake I made for one of my friends, a co-worker asked me to make an ELMO cake for her child's birthday. I was like, 'great, that's going to be a blast, I'll get creative, do all kinds of cool things, make and ELMO topper..." NO. They had an ELMO pan that they wanted me to pipe. They also asked me to pipe the pan, make some ELMO cookies and then some letters for the place settings on the table.
SIMPLE! It is not like that would not be fun. In fact, it would be SO EASY that I could get it done in a day and still be able to hang out with Hubbie, who was neglected from my previous caking.

Anyway, I started with the cookies, since that would take the longest. I did not pipe them as I usually do. I spread thick Royal Icing all over the cookies (so it would be furry right?), then I piped on the black smile and the orange nose. Finally, instead of trying to pipe perfect circles for the eyes, I decided to use some MMF to make the eyes. I cut little MMF circles using the backside of a piping tip, then used my food doodlers to poke in the eyes.

I like Marshmallow Fondant! It is yummy!

Moving on to the letters. I cut out a letter for each child, then decided, 'HEY, this is a Sesame Street themed party.... I need to put some instructional love into this." My inner English teacher came out as I lovingly placed each letter onto a place-card, whereby I wrote --- is for ------. Like G. G is for Gavin. It's like a spelling lesson right? Each letter was held down on the card by a little royal icing. I love that stuff. I put each in a cellophane bag and tied each with a ribbon. So cute~


Now, the cake! So, while the cookies were taking most of my day, I made the piped shaped-pan-cake. I decided to make it a rainbow cake (YAY), covered in Cream-Cheese buttercream (YUM). I then put MMF on the eyes, nose and mouth. I piped around each, and VoilĂ !
C'est parfait!

It may not have been a super complicated cake, but I think the final product is really cute! I was very pleased! It was a funny contrast from the previous endeavor, but that's what it's like.

I'm glad that they let me make their cakes!

post signature

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh my goodness, IT'S DONE!

I am so happy to have my table back! This cake has taken over my house, with each piece needing to dry for a few days before they are used. My goodness. Yet, this Little Mermaid Cake is truly one of my best cakes.

This particular cake is for a very special, very adorable young lady named Noelle, who is turning 2 today! :: HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOELLE ::. When asked what kind of cake she wanted, she simply said 'DISNEY PRINCESS.' Choosing her favorite princess, Ariel, her mom went online and found this cake as the basis for the design. She was super excited, how could I say no. Shout out to DragonFlyDoces for the design.

As stated previously, each piece is made of gumpaste. The cake is chocolate, filled with cream cheese buttercream icing, and covered by Marshmallow Fondant tinted Dark blue, Light blue and white. You can not make it out well in these photos due to the glare.

I have always wanted to cover a cake board with brown sugar sand, now I can say I have. It hardens overnight, so it's perfect!

This weekend I have to make ELMO cookies and a shaped Elmo cake. I've not done a shaped pan in a long time, this should be interesting! Until then!

post signature

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Preview of what is to come

Just a little teaser of a cake I'm making. Here's your clue:

Pieces are drying right now. Made of gumpaste, all edible.

post signature

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Slice of Cake Cake, Polar Plunge.. AND MY BIRTHDAY!

Okay, so my hubbie says it is shameful to make your own birthday cake... as if it were a benchmark to have someone do it for you. Am I pathetic? I didn't think so, I was simply excited about this great cake design I saw at Butter Hearts Sugar and wanted to play too! Either way, my birthday has never been a great spectacle. So, :: raspberry :: to him!

This cake is an double chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream icing. The strawberries, tag, candle and flowers are all made out of gumpaste. I bought this really nice set of tools for gumpaste and really wanted to play. Unfortunetly, I did not buy any cakeboards and had nothing that was the proper size to put the cake on. Being January 1st, you can tell that there would be little to do but substitute!

Shiny Strawberries

Cute candle and centrepiece. Brushing the gumpaste makes it so shiny!

And a little :( at my hubbie's request. I'm not acutally sad. I just thought it was ironic - an un-smily face. It came out quite well. Since my b-day is not until tomorrow, I'll have to get back to you on the cut and how it tastes! I am guessing yummie since I was pigging down the batter.



This was a great year. The team (those who could make it) had a blast cheering on the crowd and getting wet. The temperature this year was -15 C, and had some strong gusty winds (-20 C with the windchill).



Missing from the above photo is Kelly, sorry Kelly! Also, sorry to Liz for covering her small head with my big head. Serves you all right for giving me bunny ears in the other pictures :)

This being my third year with the Plunge, I wanted to do something unique and fun. Last year I went in the hole twice, and did a handstand underwater (lots of sand in my ears). This year, as a joke I daintily dipped my toe into the water, then daintily jumped in (above), then floated in the water for about 15 seconds before getting out.

I mean, IT WAS COLD! But I get a laugh out of performance. All in told, about 100 people are on a dock facing the hole watching jumpers (my hubbie is the one who snapped this photo). People come for a show! Some jumpers dress up, some call cheers or sing songs. It's a good time for everyone!

Happy New Year all! And thank you for reading my ramblings!

post signature