Saturday, April 23, 2011

PB&J Cupcakes

It has been cupcake central around here lately. I've gotten a few more "gigs" which is kind of exciting. My friend asked me to make 300 minis (devils food w/ chocolate butter cream) for a benefit she is doing. I will definitely have to recruit Akiko for a little extra help. Last night Joj asked me if I could make a PB&J cupcake. I tried to "bake in" the jelly. This did not work. It just sank. I guess the next time I will just have to "inject" the jelly. Oh well, lesson learned.

It is a beautiful day here in the PNW. The sun is shining and we will be spending it rooting on Ben and the Tigers.

Happy Saturday Everyone!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Instant Gratification

I'm not one to tackle projects that require any length of time. I seem to have adult onset ADD. If something is actually going to get done, the window is about 30 minutes. Well, today I actually got one done.

I've had this yellow bucket for years. I found it at the goodwill and usually use it as a drink bucket. Somehow it was left outside and it took a pretty good beating. The bottom is pretty rusty so I'm thinking its water proof days are over. Now I needed to find a new use. I had an idea. I have this little corner by the front door that just needed something. So out came the black spray paint.

For less than $5 worth of spray paint, my little tub when from blah to bodacious. When I went to Freddie's to get some flowers I found this hanging basket marked down 50% so I splurged (so worth not having to wait for little starts to grow ~ its the ADD kicking in again) A little chalk and I was good to go. I love it!!

I'm linking up to Show and Tell Fridays at My Romantic Home

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carrot Cake

My friend Candy's little boy's bday is tomorrow and she hired me to bake some cupcakes for the class. She was up to her elbows baking for the weekend's numerous festivities so I was happy to take this off her plate. (Check out her blog if you want to be inspired to rethink the way you eat) Anyway, her son Cam decided carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting was what he wanted, so carrot cake it was.

Since I'm still new at the baking from scratch, I called my go to girl, Akiko (aka my sister-in-law) to help me find the right recipe. We settled on Ina Garten's Carrot and Pineapple Cake, although we did tweak it a bit. Overall, I think it turned out well. Since it was for kids I didn't put the coconut, walnuts or raisins in it, but the taste was good and they were nice and moist. So far, this one is a keeper.

Carrot Pineapple Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(based on Ina Garten's recipe)

  • 2 C sugar

  • 1 1/3 veggie oil

  • 3 eggs room temp

  • 1 t vanilla

  • 2 1/2 C flour

  • 1/2 t baking powder

  • 2 t baking soda

  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 t salt

  • 1/2 C crushed pineapple

  • 1 pound of grated carrots

Mix sugar, oil and eggs until fluffy, add vanilla

Sift dry ingreds and add to wet

Fold in carrots and pineapple

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 350 for 30-35 minutes

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese at room temp

  • 8 oz butter at room temp

  • 1 t vanilla

  • 1 lb powder sugar

Combine and mix until light and fluffy. Place in the fridge to firm up if you are piping the frosting.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today in the test kitchen

I've been toying with the idea of starting a "cupcake for hire" kind of thing. Folks seem to love my baked goods and if they are actually willing to pay for them, even better. Of course, that also means that my "goods" have to be well... good. Today Akiko came and we tried some recipes out. We attempted mini red velvet cupcakes, classic white cake and devils food cake.


Mini Red Velvet Minis

My friend asked me yesterday if I might be interested in making mini red velvet cupcakes for a possible pairing for a wine tasting she is doing. When asked how many she would need, the friend said 250-300. Alrighty then. I'm not sure if this will happen but I figured I better see how many minis my recipe would make. Turns out it makes 48. The tricky part was the baking time. We kind of lost track with all the "one more minutes", but overall, I think the minis are a keeper.

Classic White Cake

I came across this recipe when I googled "moist and fluffy white cake". While the texture of the cake (or "crumb") is exactly what I was looking for, the flavor was average. Even though you only use the egg whites, it still had a very "eggy" taste to me. Even with a mountain of frosting, I could still taste the egg. It was good, but not great. I'm going to keep looking.

Devil's Food Cake

(aka Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake)


All I can say is OMG. This cake was AMAZING!! Super moist, kind of spongy (but in a good way) I topped these bad boys off with peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Holy Yummy, Batman. Yes, these were THAT good. Not only were they delicious, they were super easy to make. If you are craving some chocolate cake, try these. You will not be disappointed.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese

  • 1/3 C peanut butter

  • 6 T butter

  • 1 1/4 C powder sugar

  • 1/2 t vanilla

Cream everything together until light and fluffy



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shower Recap

Saturday was the shower for Maria.

Despite the insane 24 hours prior (including a field trip, PTA meeting, baseball game, birthday party and a 1 am trip to the grocery store) everything came together.

We kept things simple.


Cobb Salad


Garlic Bread

Fruit Platter

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade w/ Preseco

I was extremely happy with how the cupcakes turned out. So moist and fluffy, my best batch to date. It was also a really good batch of cream cheese frosting. I used real lemon juice (since I had one on hand that I had used for the salad dressing) and it was a super juicy lemon. Since there was so much juice I left the milk out of the recipe all together. I think I might just skip the milk from now on.

Overall, I would say the shower was a success.

Super Simple, Super Yummy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 C butter

  • 8 oz room temp cream cheese

  • 2-3 T lemon juice (fresh or bottle)

  • 1 lb powder sugar

Combine the all ingreds and then mix on med for 5-7 minutes


Thursday, April 7, 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

My mom and I are throwing a shower for my little brother's fiance' on Saturday and I'm in charge of the dessert. The original plan was to make some red velvet cupcakes, but then I saw this and it was L.O.VE. at first sight.

Cupcakes, schmupcakes. This is what I wanted to make for the shower, but knowing me I needed to do a trial run. Thankfully, I did.

Now I'm decent with a pastry bag, but for some reason it just didn't turn out. I followed the directions... well most of them. When it came to filling in "the gaps", they were just too big to "swoop" some frosting. I thought "small roses" would look nice ~ wrong. Oh well, I did learn a few things from this experience. When I make this cake again (I've bumped the cupcakes back to plan A for Saturday) I will start in the middle and work my way out, as opposed to starting on the sides like the tutorial suggests. I would also make smaller "roses". The big "roses" make for bigger "gaps" so I think the smaller ones would be easier to smoosh together. Either way, I think this cake has potential.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thirteen years and counting

Today's is our 13th anniversary.

This picuture was taking the day before we graduated from high school back in '87.

Good thing one of us has matured since then.


Friday, April 1, 2011

From the way back file...

I was looking through old posts the other day and I came across one that made me laugh and in the spirit of the day I thought I would share it again.

To truly appreciate this you need to have a little back story. The preschool that I was involved in had recently acquired a historic building to call home. We had also spent almost every penny that we had been scrimping and saving for the last 20 years to rehab the building. The most recent project was to drop 150K to replace the 500 window panes in building.

As we all know, when money is tight folks tend to get a little cranky. As the president at the time, I was the one who got to hear how cranky everyone was. So when we discovered our beloved building had begun to settle I just couldn't resist and I sent out the following letter. Needless to say, not everyone saw the humor and it was "suggested" I make more appropriate choices when using my email.

Good Morning Everyone,

I just got a call from our insurance company and it seems the the settling has caused great amounts of structural damage. In fact the amount of work it would take to repair the damage is far greater than the insurance company is willing to pay. In fact, for safety reasons, the recommendation is for the school to be demolished. I know, I know, after all our hard work it has come down to this. Also unfortunate is the fact that NE Tacoma has no available spaces for our program to move. The churches in our area already have programs of their own. So it is with a heavy heart to let you all know that after almost 50 years this will most likely be the final year for the Northpoint Co-op. This is such a difficult email for me to write. Just take comfort in the fact it is the first of April and I will see you all after spring break, refreshed and ready to enjoy spring at the co-op.

Happy April Fool's Day :0)