Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

Hope everyone had a relaxing Easter filled with good food, a loving family, and of course delicious desserts. At my Grandmother's house there were eight different pies, homemade sticky buns, fresh banana bread, and of course cupcakes. It doesn't get much better than that.
I made two different types of cupcake for this holiday. One batch was a simple white wedding cake (white cake and yellow cake are very similar, most times the only difference being the addition of egg yolks for yellow cake) recipe, and the other was a German chocolate. Many people only think of German chocolate as a heavy rich cake with coconut, pecan icing while in reality the cake itself is quite light and has more of a milk chocolate flavor. I am not a big fan of chocolate myself so this is one of my favorites!
I then made a simple cream cheese icing, which I used for both flavors of cupcake. The trick to a really wonderful cream cheese icing is to not make it SO sweet. Let the cream cheese flavor be the star. Sickening sweet icing is a major turn off for me, as I feel the cake should be the main flavor.
The white cupcakes I used to create Easter flowers, using mini marsh mellows and colored sugar (which I dyed myself to save money. Simply use granulate white sugar and add food coloring gel. The gel works best because it does not moisten the sugar and will keep the granules from forming clumps).  I also used colored lickerish for the centers of the flowers.
To start, grab a pair of kitchen sheers (or clean scissors) and cut mini marsh mellows on the diagonal. Then dip sticky side into colored sugar. Begin around the outside of the cupcake, right above the paper liner, and make a complete row around the edge. Then continue the process this time staggering the next layer of halved mini marsh mellows. Continue in a circular pattern, once you reach the center cut a small slice of a contrasting colored lickerish stick and place it in the center. Ta Da....beautiful, fun, and unique Easter flowers (also great for Mother's Day coming up!)

Easter Cupcakes

The other batch of German chocolate cupcakes was decorated in a more traditional Easter fashion. I divided the cream cheese icing into three color (purple, yellow, and left some white). I used a round number 5 piping tip for the yellow spikes (looks kind of like peeps), and then the purple is simply spread using a knife and then sprinkled with multicolored sugar (basically the left-overs from my flowers). Finally the white icing was also spread with a knife and then green colored coconut was sprinkled on top to look like grass, and then topped off with a malted milk egg. These were very simple and less time consuming than the flowers.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cake Pops!

Most of the world has yet to discover the wonders of a "cake pop." Now being sold as large chains, such as Starbucks, I am sure the craze will catch on quickly. For those still unsure of what a cake pop is-it is cake baked, then crumbled with frosting added into the crumbs and then rolled into a ball. Some people choose to stop here and have "cake balls" while the more adventurous go on to freeze the balls of cake and later insert a lolly-pop stick. Once the stick is inserted dunk in white, milk, or dark chocolate and enjoy! Of course for those looking to "WOW" their guests, I might suggest buying a can (yes go BUY it) of icing. NOT whipped, trust me it does not work!! Then adding food coloring to the icing and melting it in the microwave for a few seconds until smooth. Watch the icing closely, if it gets too hot too quickly it will granulate! Once the icing is smooth dunk cake pops into icing and decorate with sprinkles or pipe a fancy design. DO NOT decorate with colored sugar! The sugar will melt when placed in fridge and become a runny, sticky mess! These treats are great for kids parties, picnics, or the elderly because there are no plates, knives, forks, or spoons needed. They are easily transported in florist foam, simply poke the sticks into the foam and place in a box or on a tray.  Go try making cake pops- they are a crowd pleaser! (Use box cake and icing from a can to make life a little more simple. One box and 3/4 of a can of icing make anywhere from 36-48 cake balls depending on size. I use a cookie scoop, which makes 36). <---Great video for beginners!

Milk Chocolate Covered Cake Pops with White Chocolate Drizzle

Sponge Bob Cake Pops (Piped Jellyfish and Funky Flower Detail)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Anything "they" can do, you can do cheaper!

Ever wander through a bakery or grocery store's baked goods and wonder can I make that? Of course you can, and cheaper too! The point behind this blog is to share recipes, tips, and tricks to making even the most average dessert extrordinary or at least unique.

I started making desserts three years ago. I made a simple white cake, with raspberry filling-then decided I NEEDED to try fondant. I simply Googled a recipe from FoodNetwork and went to town. It was easier than I anticipated and from there I was hooked on making anything different and unique in design or flavor.