Monday, April 23, 2012

Blue Zebra Print

Making these cupcakes was tedious and slightly time consuming, but I looove these type of projects, so no complaints from me.  One my best friends' daughter turned 10 this past Sunday and one of the requests she had for her spa (main & pedi) party was for her aunt Lamorea to make her some electric blue zebra print cupcakes!

The gift bags that were put out for the party (I did not supply) complimented the cupcakes and cupcake stand just perfect!

Fondant is no longer the enemy :-)

An array of 'Spring' Flavors

This past weekend, I had some cupcake orders to fill and it was my pleasure to whip up such an array of spring inspired flavors!  With so much variety around me, I even commended myself for only taste testing a quarter of each cupcake flavor; so in all, I had one and a half cupcakes! Not bad for a chic who's on a mission to drop 10 lbs by June 1!
'Brighten Your Day' - 'Naptown' - 'The Usual w/Vanilla Buttercream' -
'Mojito Special' - 'Simply Strawberry'

I scored these awesome cupcake liners off of Etsy from the shop TheKitchenPantry

'Brighten Your Day' - 'Naptown'

'Brighten Your Day'

'Simply Strawberry'

'Mojito Special' in the focus

'The Usual w/Vanilla Buttercream' - 'Mojito Special'

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe - Why are they such a challenge?

Why is it such a challenge to bake a
'near perfect' vanilla cupcake?

If you've never heard it before - and if you're a cupcake baker, it's highly likely you have - then let me tell you now that!!

I often come across people (usually non-bakers of course) who think they're simple to make, and I must divulge my disclaimer that I too, was convinced that baking vanilla cupcakes had to be the easiest flavor to whip up; Not the case! Starting out, my vanilla cupcakes were sometimes dry, too wet, not moist, and just plain not pretty.  I mean, who wants an unpretty vanilla cupcake?  I know I don't!

My reasoning was the simplicity of the ingredients, but I have come to find that while the ingredients are definitely not complex in terms of texture and such, it's the precision of the measurements (secret of baking), mixing technique, and patience (yes, I said patience) that makes for a 'near perfect' vanilla cupcake (I say near perfect, because I'm just not yet convinced there is such...if you know of one, please share where I can find and experience it and maybe I'll change my stance).

Right now I can proudly say with confidence that I have my 'near perfect' vanilla cupcake recipe. Read on for it.

Vanilla Cupcakes (yields 12 - 14 standard sized cupcakes)
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice (doesn't have to be fresh)
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
- 2/3 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line standard muffin/cupcake tin with liners.
2. Sift together in a seperate bowl cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.
3. Cream unsalted butter on medium for 3 to 4 minutes until creamy. Scrape sides/bottom of bowl.
4. Pour in sugar and lemon juice and continue to cream on medium until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape sides/bottom of bowl.
5. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time. Mix well after the addition of each egg.
6. Add vanilla and almond extracts and continue to mix.
7. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and 1/2 of buttermilk. Mix on medium for 4 seconds. Scrape sides/bottom of bowl. Add another 1/3 of flour mixture and remainder of buttermilk. Mix on medium for 3 to 4 more seconds. Scrape sides/bottom of bowl. Add remainder of flour mixture and mix on medium for approximately 7 seconds. Scrape sides/bottom of bowl lightly. Mix on medium-high for additional 7 seconds. DO NOT OVERMIX!
8. Using a spoon or ice cream scooper pour enough batter to fill half of the cupcake liner.
9. Bake approximately 18 to 21 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center.
Tips I'd like to share:
- Make sure the butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature. Don't let butter get too soft - 20-30 minutes outside of refridgerator is enough time.
- I read somewhere that the addition of lemon juice to the creaming of butter/sugar makes the cake moist and in my estimation, it works!
- Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl. All ingredients must be thoroughly mixed.
- DO NOT OVERMIX batter! Overmixing causes a tough/dry cupcake
- If you decide to use milk instead of buttermilk, omit the baking soda. It is used to react with the acidity of buttermilk. If you'd like to use buttermilk, but do not have any on hand, add 1/2 tbsp to whole milk and let sit for about 30 minutes.
* Lightly boil 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and pour over cupcakes immediately out of oven...this helps to keep them moist.

"Happy Baking"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More Pina Coladas!

"Pina Colada"

Ok, here are some better pics taken with my new Canon Digital SLR. 
However, I still need lessons!

Hello Kitty Birthday Party

It's 'Hello Kitty' Time
I love all of my girlfriends, but it's without a doubt that I love them all for different reasons - reasons that are formed from their characteristics and overall personality.  My one girlfriend is the mother of a little girl, and she recently celebrated her 2nd birthday.  When my friend commissioned me to do cupcakes for the party, I got so excited!!  Of course one of my first questions was "what is the theme going to be?" Well, if you knew this particular friend, you would not have been the least bit surprised when she responsed very nonchalantly and with the 'duh like' expression, "ummmm, Happy Birthday?"...yes, Happy Birthday will be the theme."  God Bless my friend, because she absolutely meant it! So, this is how we ended up with Hello Kitty themed cupcakes, because she was not going to just have 'Happy Birthday' cupcakes if I had anything to do with it and I'm glad I did. Gotta love END! 

Large letters/layered cupcake toppers with tulle pom-poms and a silver bread.

Vanilla cupcake w/tinted vanilla buttercream frosting
Hello Kitty toppers made out of fondant, mini M&M's and black piping gel


Easter Sunday - Cupcake treats
"Brighten Your Day" & "Strawberry Cheesecake"

"Brighten Your Day" w/Sprinkles

Easter Cupcakes!!

Spring brings out the prettiest colors...and flavors!

"Strawberry Lemon-Lime"
This spring-y cupcake flavor is a spin on the "Lemon-Lime" minus (-) the lemon curd and plus (+) the strawberry.  Perfect for a nice warm and sunny day - this cupcake is guaranteed to make you want another!


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