Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Host A Cupcake Exchange

If it were possible, I'd be trying new cupcake recipes all the time, because there are so many out there that sound so yummy! Unfortunately, I haven't the time, and my waiste line would complain quite a bit.

If you're like me, then try this: Plan a Cupcake Exchange! This would be done the same way a cookie exchange is done, except cupcakes are brought instead.
Organize it where everyone brings a different cupcake, by either assigning everyone one, or maybe call them up and draw one out of a bowl, and announce what they bring.

Then, everyone gets together and shares all those delicious cupcakes and takes some of each home!

How fun is that?

Want an easy way to tell your hubby you think he's putting on too much weight?

I've got the perfect solution for a sweet way to break the news that you think he needs to go on a diet...

Chunky Hubby Cupcakes! LOL!

Will be take the hint? Probably not...he'll probably dive headfirst into these delicious looking delights and ask for more...

Here is the recipe:

For the Roasted Bananas:1 1/2 cups bananas – sliced into 1/2″ pieces – about 4 bananas plus an extra banana for garnish, if desired
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp butter, cubed small
For the Cupcakes:2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
11 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Chocolate Ganache:

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature

For the Peanut Butter Frosting
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Directions:Roasted Bananas: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  In a shallow baking dish, toss the sliced bananas with brown sugar and bits of butter until bananas are well-coated with sugar.  Roast for 20 minutes, turning the bananas after 10 minutes.  When the bananas have deeply browned and are caramelized, transfer them to a medium-sized bowl.  Be careful, the bananas and sugar will be very hot.  Spray a potato masher with a light coating of baking spray (like Pam) and mash the bananas up. Set aside to cool almost entirely, stirring every so often to keep them from clumping up.
Cupcakes: When the banana have finished roasting, turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.  Line two 12-cup muffin/cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together on medium speed until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs one at a time, and beat until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl again and beat in the roasted bananas just until they are combined with the batter.  Turn the mixer to low.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl again and mix on low for a few seconds to ensure the mixture is well-combined.
Fill the paper liners about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, rotating the pans 180 degrees after 15 minutes.  Remove the pans to wires rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely on the racks.
Ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring the cream to a gentle boil in a small saucepan.  Pour it over the chocolate, and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes.  Add the butter to the bowl, and whisk until smooth.  Allow to sit at room temperature until it reaches a consistency suitable for piping, or refrigerate, being sure to stir every 10 minutes.
Peanut Butter Frosting: Place the confectioners’ sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.  Add the cream and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
To assemble: Use a small paring knife to cut out a small cone from the top of each cupcake.  Cut the end off a pastry bag fitted (a 1/4″ hole is suggested), fill with the ganache, and pipe each cupcake full of ganache.  Frost as desired with peanut butter frosting. Top with fresh bananas and chocolate-dipped pretzels.
Note: The proportions in the above recipes make enough for 22-24 cupcakes with plenty of frosting for 24-26 well-frosted cupcakes.


Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers rank 4th in the top ten selling candy bars in the United States, so I'd say they're pretty popular! Want to know what makes them even better? (If that is possible...)

Snickers Cupcakes!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.  Recipe yields about 30 cupcakes.  Combine sugar through salt in a large boil.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on low until just incorporated.  Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes.  Stir in boiling water, the batter will be thin.  Transfer batter to prepared pans, filling each liner about 2/3 of the way full, approximately 1/4 cup of batter.  Bake approximately 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans about five minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

When cool, use a paring knife to cut a small cone shape out of the top of each cupcake.  Add caramel sauce as desired.  You can cut the point off the cone and add it back to the cupcake if desired. 

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
8 mini Snickers bar for garnish

Beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes.  Add caramel sauce, heavy cream and vanilla and mix to incorporate.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated to reach the right consistency.  Increase speed to medium-high and whip about one minute until light and fluffy.  Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes or frost as desired.

Coarsely chop candy bars and sprinkle over the top of cupcakes.


Bliss In A Paper Cup

Do you know what the definition of the word "Bliss" means? Webster says it means: "The highest degree of happiness; blessedness; felicity; used of felicity in general, when of an exalted kind, but appropriately, of heavenly joys." In my definiton, it means cupcake recipes like the one I'm giving you today!

Gingerbread Hostess Cupcakes!
You don't have to go to Walmart to get your Hostess Cupcake fix! Now, you can make them yourself, and unless you burn them, I guarentee they will be better! Yes, I said better!!!! So, what are you waiting for? Get to cooking! I'm coming over for a sample!

"Make gingerbread in muffin cups instead of in a pan. Just shorten the cooking time and let them cool before filling. Fill them and then dip the tops in melted white chocolate. Then, add the decorative icing on top (details & recipe below).
Here's the hiccup...the original recipe calls for ganache for the topping. I thought...easy, I'll just replace the chocolate with white chocolate. No, not that easy. The white chocolate was yellow and translucent! Yikes! Skip this step. :) "
 -Author of article where I found this, link at the bottom of this blog post.

For the Filling4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

For the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium tip; I used a star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill).

For the topping
1 box Baker's white chocolate, chopped
1 TBSP Crisco

On medium power, melt the chocolate and Crisco in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds until smooth.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the chocolate. Place in the refrigerator to set up for a few minutes.
For the Icing
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
chocolate brown food coloring

Using a mixer, beat the 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Add food coloring if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a #1 tip pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator.
There - that simple, and you're the talk of the town!

A Cupcake With A Surprising Twist

I've always belived that a "cupcake" was something that was sinfully sweet and decadent and came in many flavors and decorations. Well, it appears I'm wrong, for I have found this:

Know what it is? It's a "Maple Bacon Cupcake" and it is said to be delicious! So, as I am trying it out, you can too with this recipe!


  • 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 stick(s) (1-cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon(s) maple extract
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) milk
  • 2 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 1 pound(s) semisweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • bacon
Directions are as follows:
  1. Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake pans with your choice of cupcake liners. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in maple extract. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes until golden and the tester comes out clean. (Or until your house smells like pancakes!)
  4. Ganache: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream to a full boil; turn off heat. Add chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. (To get silky-smooth ganache takes longer to mix than you think!) Add salt; stir until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl and let chill overnight or until spreadable.
  5. When cupcakes have cooled, spread some ganache on top. Chill for a minute or two. While the cupcakes are chilling, cook up some of your favorite bacon however you like it. (Crunchy and toasted is recommended.) Chop in pieces, top the cupcakes, and voilĂ !
What do you think of that? Leave a comment and let me know what your FIRST impression was and if you're going to try it or not!

Butterflies and Other Cupcake Decorations

Contrary to what some believe, cupcakes don't have
to be boring! Be creative and come up with new ways to decorate them. I found
these beautiful, edible butterfly decorations at

They look to be very easy to make, and the outcome is
positively stunning! They would be perfect for a little girl's birthday party or even a ladies luncheon!

Another idea you might try for cute decorations is stainglass shapes. They are simple to make, but they do need to be made in
advance to allow for hardening.

To make stainglass, edible decorations, follow these instructions:
Draw flowers or shapes that you intend on making on a sheet of paper and tape a sheet of baking paper over the top of the drawing sheet. This will become your template for making shapes.

Make the piping mixture like this:

1 egg white, 250g icing sugar, 3 teaspoons lemon juice, food coloring

1. Lightly beat the egg white with a
wooden spoon.
2. Gradually add sifted icing sugar and beat until you
have a smooth paste.
3. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice slowly until the
mixture has a slightly stiff piping consistency. If the mixture is too runny it
will be difficult to work with.
4. Cover the surface of the frosting
with cling wrap to prevent if from drying out.
Use a piping bag with a 1mm or 2mm piping tip and
carefully pipe the outlines of your shapes. Set shapes aside to dry. Gradually add more lemon juice to the mixture until it is thinner and easier to spread evenly. Divide the mixture into a bowl for
each color you intend using. Add a different food color to each bowl.
Pipe, or flood the colored icing inside the shape outlines. Make sure the bowls are kept covered otherwise the mixture will dry out. Leave the sheets to dry overnight.

You can find this and more ideas for cupcake
decorations at:
Have a great day!

A Cupcake for Daddy, a Cupcake for Mommy, a Cupcake for Baby and a Cupcake for Doggy...

What? A cupcake for a dog, you ask? Well, actually, they are called, "Pupcakes" and yes, they are specially made for you dog! What is this world coming to, right? LOL!
These treats are designed to target your dogs taste buds and are healthy for them as well. Most of the ingredients are things you will find in your cabinets at home!
So, if you have a dog that likes to eat from your table, but you are tired of sharing your ham, make some of these! And if you are having guests over for the holidays who happen to have dogs, make sure you make the holidays brighter for the pooch as well!

Just be sure that nobody gets them confused with your people cupcakes - they do look just like cupcakes we eat every day!

For several different recipes, visit this web site!

Boston Cream Cupcakes

As you are probably aware, Boston Cream Pies are delicious! What you may not know is that they take a lot of time to make. These Boston Cream Cupcakes will save you lots of time and you will still have that heavenly Boston Cream taste to tickle the taste buds of your dinner guests!
Make your basic cupcake using a yellow cake mix, then follow this recipe for the rest!
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch/cornflour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter, softened

1. In a small pan, combine sugar and cornstarch.
2. Stir in milk until smooth.
3. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
4. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
5. Stir in egg yolk and butter.
6. Cool to room temperature.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk

1. Beat frosting ingredients until mixed. Add more milk if necessary.

To assemble Boston cream cupakes:
1. Cut a hole out of each cupcake middle and reserve crumbs.
2. Spoon custard into each center.
3. Pipe frosting on top and garnish with reserved crumbs.

1. Slice cupcakes in half and spread custard over bottom half.
2. Join top half and frost.

Reviews on this recipe are outstanding, and I am certain that you will receive the same compliments from all to whom you serve this wonderful dessert to!

Why "Birth-Day, and not "Birth-Week"?

Most kids think that their birthday is the best day of the year, next to Christmas. And many would give anything to make it last longer. When you think about it, it wasn't just that first day that you celebrated the birth of your baby! You probably had friends and family in and out of your hospital room and at your home for a good part of that first week. So why not make thier wish come true?
Next time your child's birthday rolls around, start six days before your child's actual birthday. Instead of getting one large gift, get seven smaller gifts, or six tiny gifts and one big gift. Each day, do one special activity with your child and then give them a gift. Take them to the park one day, maybe out to eat one day, and even spend some time with them at home just having some quality time together. You could even plan some surprise visits throughout the week from friends and family that your child loves.
To end the week of celebration, on the day of your child's birthday, throw a big party, inviting friends and family over and have fun with you! Your little one will feel so special, and I am thinking that you will have quite a fun time as well!

The Pros and Cons of Cupcakes Versus Cakes

The Pros and Cons of Cupcakes Versus Cakes

You are faced with the decision of whether to make cupcakes or a sheet cake. Which do you choose? Do you want my humble opinion before you decide?

The single pro of a sheet cake would be that it broadens your choices for decorating the cake. It is a great deal easier to "paint an edible picture" on a full cake rather than on cupcakes.
However, there are many pros in favor of cupcakes. Cupcakes are more simple to decorate and are a lot easier to transport than a full cake. They also help to prevent over-eating since they are each individually a serving size portion.

Sheet cake cons definitely outweigh the pros. They are more difficult and stressful to transport. One of the biggest cons with a sheet cake is that it makes it so easy for us to over-indulge and eat much more than our needed serving size of sugar. The only con I see with cupcakes is that, as I stated earlier, you are limited with decorating abilities. However, there are many different lovely decorating ideas out there for beautiful cupcakes.

Overall, unless you are dead set to have a sheet cake, I believe your smartest decision is to go with cupcakes. Easier for you and far more healthy for those who enjoy them!

Some of my favorite Cake Creations

Some of my favorite Cake Creations

Sure, we have all seen "Cake Boss" and all the beautiful confectionary creations he and his team come up with, but I must confess - some of my favorite cakes are a lot more simple than those. Here are a few of my all-time favorite cakes that I hope to create one of these days...

1. Under Water Cake

Isn't this the coolest idea for a cake? And it is so easy to make! Candy rocks, gummy fish, sour belts, blue icing and a cake, and you are set!

2. Sandbucket Cake
 Just think of all the "Oh, how cute" comments you would get with the cake! Bring a little bit of beach to any get-together with this bucket-of-sand cake. And you can't get any easier on decorating a cake!

3. Apple Cupcakes
 How cute are these mini apple cupcakes? I love the fake little bite that they created in them too! The stems and seeds of these cuties are just toosie rolls and the leaves are the green tootsie rolls!

4. Frosty The Cupcake
 I just found these a few days ago, and intend on making them for our family's christmas meal. They are so adorable! And these, too, are very simple to make! Click on this link to read directions and see a video on how to make them as well!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite cake creations. For details on how to make these cakes, and more cute cake ideas, go to www.familyfun.com !

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bring Your Inner Creativity To Life In Your Cakes

Bring Your Inner Creativity To Life In Your Cakes
Everyone has a creative side somewhere in them. For some, it is just a bit harder to find. However, when it comes to birthday cakes for your child, you don't have to rely on the creativity of someone else's creations. Come up with your own! You know your child better than anyone else, and you know what will make them happy. Create a cake based on what you know your kids will love.
A while back, I seen, in passing, the dirt bike climb cake from Family fun. I never gave it much thought any more until here recently, as my son just turned three years old! (My! How time flies!)
Now, Logan doesn't like dirtbikes - or not yet, anyway, but he does love heavy equipment. So, I started brainstorming, and came up with a cake that my son went crazy over! It was super easy to make and I didn't have to worry about messing up!
To create this cute cake, I simply baked two round cakes. I covered one with icing, then broke up the other and stacked it on one side until I had created a hill. After covering that with icing, I made trees and bushes out of that green Wilton spray-can icing and added yellow sugar crystals for sand and crushed oreos for dirt. Oh, and I used Cocoa Puffs for bolders! I had the entire cake completely decorated in less than 45 minutes!
Logan loved his cake so much, and especially enjoyed getting to "scoop" the cake into his mouth with his backhoe! LOL!
If I can pull off something like that, than surely you can too! Be creative and come up with your own, unique cake for your child's next birthday!

A Tea Party Fit For A Princess!

From as early as I can remember, I have always
loved tea parties, dressing up, and anything romantic. I believe that it is in a
girl's nature to love these things. So why not give that little princess of
yours the party of her dreams with a Royal Tea Party?

In your invitations, you can include instructions
to dress up as a princess, in her finest attire. It will thrill the girls to get
to dress up and wear Mommy's lipstick for the day! Make sure you have a

Party decorations are very simple for a party of
this choice, since the main focus of a tea party is on the table. Fix the table
up with a colorful tablecloth, tea sets and make a Lolipop flower arrangment. To
do this, simply cut out flower shapes and leaves, and glue them to one side of a
basic lolipop. The girls can "pick" on of these to take home.

For games and activities, the young party guests
can do each other's makeup for a photoshoot, play "hot teddy bear" (which is
"hot potato" substituting bear for spud!) I found a game on one website that I
thought was particularly cute. It is called "Kiss the frog" and is basically
like "Pin the tail on the donkey" except that each guest applies red lipstick
and actually kisses the frog (drawn on posterboard, or course)! A cute craft
activity to try is making paper fans out of construction paper and doilies. For
details on this craft, visit : http://familyfun.go.com/parties/parties-by-theme/fantasy-fairy-tale-parties/tea-party

You can serve little tea sandwiches and small snack
foods, and choose your child's favorite drink to serve as "tea" The cupcakes to
serve with a party like this is the "Spot of Tea" cupcakes found at: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/spot-of-tea-cupcake

 They look to be a bit time-consuming, but I believe your
daughter and her guest will love the finished product!

Having a tea party for your little girl is a sure
way to make her birthday a day she will never forget!

Cake Decorating 101

Cake and Cupcake Decorating 101
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Do you ever wish you could create cakes like some of these famous bakers do? Well, you may not be a "Cake Boss" or even a Martha Stewart, but if you can spread icing with a knife and squeeze a pastry bag, you can decorate a cake. Yes, I admit, it will take practice, but it isn't impossible! Here are a few tips to remember when decorating cakes and cupcakes.
1. When decorating a cake, freeze your cake for an hour or two  to cut down on crumbs in the icing. After taking it out of the freezer, dust off the loose crumbs, and apply a "crumb layer" of icing. After allowing this to set up for an hour, then apply your regular layer of icing and proceed to decorate.
2. Always practice a new piping technique on a piece of paper before actually doing it on your cake. But if you do mess up on your cake, don't freak out too quickly. Many times, you can easily lift the icing off the cake with a toothpick without leaving a trace of the mistake!
3. A neater, more classy way to ice your cupcakes is to use a pastry bag and squeeze it on rather than smearing it on with a knife. You can pipe it in a "dollop" or create pretty swirls. Top this with some sprinkles, and your guests may think you made a bakery visit for the cakes!
4. Remember that nobody is perfect. If you look closely enough, you can probably find some mistake with just about any cake creation out there. And if that fails to make you feel better, just think, it is all gonna be chomped to bits with lots of teeth in a little while anyway, so just have fun!
Getting stressed out over decorating a cake takes all the fun that could be there out! Relax and create a masterpiece! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wild Cowboy Birthday Party

If you have boys, then you know the definition of "wild." So next time your little cowboy has a birthday, give him a reason to be wild! Have a "Wild West" party!
Include in the invitations instructions to dress up like cowboys or Indians. And make sure to have your camera for a group photo of everyone all dressed up!
For decorations, you can start by decorating with large, cardboard  cacti, cowboy hats, and even rubber snakes. You can make chili pepper garland by sculpting peppers out of aluminum foil and covering them with red tape. Create leaves and stem out of green pipe cleaners and attach them to red ribbon.
You will have so much fun with the games for a western themed party! Hold a gold rush contest. In this game, you fill a small, swimming pool with a few inches of sand and then a few inches of water. Paint some rocks with gold spray paint and you can throw in some gems too. Give each guest a pie pan that you have places holes in the bottom and let them pan for gold! For every rock or gem they find, they get a prize! Other cute game ideas can be found at Kids Party Paradise
Make snakes out of striped tights by filling them three-quarters of the way full of stuffing. Knot the tail at the end and glue eyes and a tongue on. This makes for a very nice party favor! You can also hand out adorable goodie bags made out of a bandanna filled with party favors and candy. One more thing would be to print off these cute coloring pages found at:Family Fun.com
Dessert could not be easier for this party. Cover cupcakes with your choice of frosting then dip them in sand (brown sugar). Thread Jujifruits on toothpicks and leave the tip exposed.  Add a red one on the tip and you have super cute, very easy cupcakes! For detailed directions, visit Family Fun.com