Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm not dead!

Just resting :o)

I have been so busy these past couple of weeks - I don't even know where to begin!! I swear Halloween season starts, and the craziness does not end until after New Years. It is a little confusing for me though, because it is still in the 90s here! It just feels wong to be carving pumpkins and decorating for fall when it is still too hot to hang out outside. Oh well what can you do?

I guess I will break up everything we've been up to into several mini posts. And since people have been asking me "where are the cupcakes?!" I should probably start with that first!! I had a fun day yesterday baking for several hours after church. I made some mini batches of cupcakes from recipes I had wanted to test, and also a couple of different types of icing. I also got some new fun cupcake stuff from Michaels over the weekend, and I wanted to try some of it out. For the most part, the experiments turned out great. And my sweet hubby cleaned up the huge mess I made in the kitchen!! Can't beat that!

The first recipe I made was a vanilla cupcake from Amy Sedaris's book which can be found
here. I wanted the cupcakes to be really dome-ey on top, so I filled up the liners a little more than I usually would. I ran the risk of overflow this way, but they actually stayed put!! I only ended up with 8 cupcakes in the end (I had halfed the recipe) but a pretty 8 cupcakes they were. I should have taken pictures of the "naked" stage :o)

I wanted to make really pretty cupcakes this time around, so I topped these with my favorite color combo, pink and lime green. The flowers are made of tinted rolled fondant, cut with a mini cutter and dotted with buttercream in the center. The icing is Magnolia Bakery's vanilla buttercream recipe, which I love!! I swear you will never go back to grocery store shortening - laden cupcakes after you taste this buttercream. Yum!!!

The other cupcakes I made were Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and for such a simple recipe they are TASTY! I am in love with these cupcakes. They are awesome even without icing! But chocolate cupcakes require chocolate frosting, so i topped them with Billy's chocolate buttercream, and a single jumbo confetti sprinkle. Cupcake heaven!! So enjoy the pictures, and then go make some cupcakes :o)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's TV night

I have been so busy this past week, and therefore completely slacking on writing anything lately. Unfortunately, today is no different, I am running around like crazy, but I just had to post a link to this article about Daniel Dae Kim from LOST. All I know is they had better not kill off Jin this season! You'd think the actors on this show would learn something from their coworkers, but apparently not! Anyway, the readers' comments following the article cracked me up. We will just have to wait and see what happens I guess. :o) Only 4 "short" months to go...

TV Guide Article

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Love Halloween!

And candy, and dressing up, and jack o lanterns, and scary movies, and candy, and more candy... So of course when I saw this I knew I had to create a cupcake based on halloween candy!

When I was little, See's Candy used to make these really awesome orange and black striped licorice/orange flavored sugar sticks during Halloween time (they still make the sugar sticks just not the licorice ones) and I could not get enough of them! I know, it it's a weird thing for a kid to like black licorice! So since sadly I can't get those anymore, I wanted to make a cupcake that would resemble as closely as possible the flavor of the candy sticks. I used a white, egg-white-only cake base, to which I added white chocolate and anise extract. I made the icing with marshmallow cream to give it a creamy, candy-like taste, and used orange juice to thin it instead of milk.

I knew I was kind of taking a risk making these, as there really just aren't too many people I know who actually like black licorice. But it also meant I had nothing to lose :o) Jay and I both really liked how they turned out! The orange and licorice flavors blended really well, and they really did taste like candy. Kalei was brave and tried one, but she hates black licorice, so she was pretty annoyed with me for giving her a "yucky" cupcake lol! So if you love black licorice, give these a try, if not, you are missing out!


1 1/3 C cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

8 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp anise extract

5 tbsp butter

2 oz white chocolate

¾ C sugar

5 egg whites at room temp

¼ tsp cream of tartar

Melt chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the top of a double boiler. When completely melted and combined, stir in the sugar, and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl.

In a large glass measuring cup, mix together the milk, vanilla, and anise extracts.

Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Beat just until ingredients are combined after each addition.

With clean bowl and beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed for one minute,then on high until soft peaks form.

Transfer 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the batter bowl, gently fold to combine. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Fill cupcake papers to ¼ inch from the top rim. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


1 stick butter

3 cups powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream

2-3 TBSP orange juice

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla and orange juice, and then add the marshmallow cream. Continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minuted. Mixture should be smooth and shiny, and thick enough to hold it's shape a bit.

Top cooled licorice cupcakes as desired. (I tinted some of the icing orange to make the spiderwebs, and the spiders are plastic Halloween rings.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

He Slimed Me!

A couple of days ago I went to a Halloween themed Pampered Chef party, where we made all of this food that looked icky but tasted yummy! Inspired by this, and also from watching Ghostbusters too often lately, I decided I should come up with a "gross" cupcake for Halloween - Slimer Cupcakes :o)

The flavor of this cupcake was totally an experiment for me. I wanted something super kid friendly, since the look of these cupcakes would probably appeal more to kids than adults. I have also really been craving banana cream pie, the kind made with vanilla pudding, Nilla Wafers, bananas, and Cool Whip. I took my usual vanilla cupcake base recipe, added some mashed bananas, and replaced part of the flour and sugar with vanilla wafers I crushed up using a food processor, then dyed the batter bright orange. I was really nervous about whether or not the ingredients would cooperate well with each other, but the texture of the cupcakes turned out just perfect! Light, moist, and fluffy, with a good banana flavor that wasn't overly sweet. I really liked the resulting shade of orange, it stayed nice and bright!

When the cupcakes were all cooled, I filled each of them with instant french vanilla pudding that I had dyed a radioactive shade of green. The colors looked so gross together, but that is exactly what I was aiming for :o) I topped the cupcakes with green Cool Whip, and sprinkled them with some really cute Wilton Ghost Mix sprinkles.

Later today I plan to deliver these cupcakes to various places, inlcuding Jay's work, The Family Treehouse, and to some friends. They were so much fun to make, I already can't wait for next Halloween!


2 C cake flour

1 C finely crushed vanilla wafers

1 C sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 C (2 sticks) of butter at room temp

3 eggs at room temp

1 C whole milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 C mashed ripe banana

1 small box french vanilla pudding

1 1/2 C cold milk

2 containers of Cool Whip, thawed and tinted green

Using a food chopper or processor, finely crush enough vanilla wafers to equal one cup. Transfer to a small bowl, and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the mashed banana and vanilla, beat until well incorporated.

In a glass measuring cup, stir together the milk and orange food coloring.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating adding the milk in 2 parts. Mix on medium speed just until blended after each addition. Start and end with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on wire rack before filling or frosting.


Follow the "pie filling" directions on the box of pudding. Tint as desired with green food coloring.

To fill the cupcakes -

Using a small sharp paring knife, cut a small cylinder in the top of the cupcake. Cut off the bottom half, reserving the top half to replace after filling. Using a pastry bag or small spoon, fill cavities with about 1 tsp pudding, then replace cupcake tops.

Top cupcakes with Cool Whip and sprinkles.

Devour - while contemplating how something so yucky looking can taste so good!

Slimer Cupcake dissected

Happy Halloween Time! Only 16 more days left!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Only one of the many reasons why I love this show

All 3 of us in our family absolutely love Yo Gabba Gabba (Nick Jr. tv show). There are so many things that are good about this show, I could go on and on, but most of all I just love that Kalei loves it so much! It gets her up and dancing and singing. She just goes crazy when it's on! She loves all of the music and always announces what band is coming on or who the guest of the day is. It's pretty darn cute! There is this hilarious part in one of the episodes where Brobee drops his sandwich, and upon trying to eat it anyway, is promptly stopped by Plex the Robot, because it is now covered in germs. They sing a song that goes, "We are the tiny ugly germs! We are ugly, and we stick! We will make you sick!" Afterwards Plex, tells Brobee to put the sandwich in a better place (the trash).

Tonight while Kalei and I were eating dinner, she broke off a piece of her banana that she did not want to eat. She said, "Here, you eat it!" but dropped it when she tried to hand it to me. I said, "No, I can't eat it! It's covered with tiny ugly germs!" She responded, "That's ok. Lets go put it in a better place!" and took it to the trash. This totally cracked me up! :o)

Russian Tea Cupcakes

I have been making all of these cupcakes but so far have not posted pictures or recipes for any of them! Well that's about to I give you Russian Tea Cupcakes. Russian Tea is a super yummy (word of wisdom approved!) spiced and citrusy "hot drink" mix that Jay's family introduced me to. I thought it sounded like a perfect flavor for a cupcake! Unfortunately, I don't have the exact recipe that was used to make the batch of it I had on hand when I made these cupcakes. However, many russian tea recipes can be found on the internet. Just pick the one that sounds the tastiest to you (and just leave out the instant tea called for in many of them).

It is a good thing I gave most of these away, because I could have eaten them all. The fact that I made them tiny, one-bite-size did not help either! It's kind of like when you buy a bag of bite size snickers, milky ways, etc. etc. and feel justified in eating 20 of them in one sitting because they are so little... or is that just me that does that? :o) Anway, on to the recipe!

1 ½ C cake flour

½ C sugar

½ C Russian tea

½ tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp

2 large eggs

½ C milk

½ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar, and russian tea together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated each time. Mix in the vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour in 3 parts, and the milk in 2 parts to the butter and sugar mixture (start and end with the flour.) Mix on medium speed just until incorporated each time.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on wire rack before icing. Makes 24 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

3-4 C powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

In medium size bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Mix in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating until fluffy with each addition. Start with 3 cups of powdered sugar, if frosting is too soft, continue to add up to 1 more cup of powdered sugar until the frosting reaches desired consistency.

When I made these I also drizzled each one with melted dark choclate before piping on the frosting. They are tasty both ways!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

She naps!!!

It's a miracle! Kalei is actually in her bed, napping. I almost don't know what to do with myself! Granted it is almost 5:00 pm, and I am not going to let her sleep for too long, but I will take what I can get! :o)

Last night Jay and Kalei returned home after spending the past 4 days in Sierra Vista with Jay's family. They had such a great time! Kalei does not get to see her cousins on that side of the family nearly enough, and I know she had a ton of fun with them. I stayed here this weekend so that I could babysit for a friend of mine while she and her husband went on a trip to Magic Mountain for her birthday. It was a little odd but super fun to have a a little boy around the house for a couple of days! It is not very often that Jay gets even 2 days off from work in a row, let alone 4, so I am really glad that he was able to go adn visit his family. It would have been awesome to have been there with them too, but I know Kalei really enjoyed having that special Daddy-Kalei time. And it meant I got to have a couple of days at home all to myself! It was wonderful! While I did spend a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the quiet time, I did manage to get a fair amount of cleaning projects done, and of course I made lots of cupcakes too! I sure was happy to have them both back home though. I miss them so much when they are gone :)

Jay brought home some really cute pictures from their trip so of course I have to share them!

Kalei and her cousins at the pumpkin patch

Kalei and Daddy cutting the cute baby pumpkins she picked out

Yay cousins!

With cousin C. I love their identical poses...

Kalei and Daddy being silly at Oma and Opa's house on the sky chair


and kisses!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Title...

About 2 years ago, I started baking. Like super hardcore, making cakes and cupcakes everyday all day. I was taking classes, buying equipment left and right, and when I wasn't baking or decorating the cakes, we were eating them. (sooo bad!) I even considered starting a home based cake decorating business for awhile... It all started because I saw the cover of the 2006 Wilton Yearbook and just knew it had to be Kalei's 2 year birthday cake! Was she old enough to care? No. Could I have bought her a cake from the grocery store that would have worked just fine? You bet. Did I care? Nope!

Long story short - It took me a week to make. A week!! Don't get me wrong, it was a total blast, and turned out pretty awesome. Kalei was so super stoked that each of the cupcakes had it's own lollipop on top, it was definitely her favorite part. It was really fun to make something that she enjoyed so much!

About 1 month ago, Kalei was looking through my cake decorating books and said "mom, can we make the cupcakes with the lollipops?" Sure enough, she was talking about the ones on the cover of the yearbook. When I explained to her that they were the cupcakes I had made for her second birthday, she said, "Oh! Well can I turn 2 again so we can have them again?" Too funny!! Since then she has been telling everyone that she is 3, but that when her next birthday comes, she is going to turn 2 so that she can have the lollipop cupcakes again. Smart kid!

So, that is kind of where the inspiration for my blog name came from. I love LOVE baking, and spend so much time doing it, that it seemed like I should keep a record of the fun stuff I make. I have been focusing more on cupcakes than other things lately, mostly because cake decorating is just too time and resource consuming. Over the next few weeks I will be posting some pictures and examples of the recipes I have been creating. If anyone has any ideas for a crazy new cupcake flavor, send me an email and let me know and I will see what I can come up with!! :o)

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