Disney Crazed!

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days. I just started a new job on Monday and have been working the usual 9-5 shift. Combine that with rush-hour traffic and the fact I currently live 45 minutes from work, when I get home I just pass out on the couch! I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but since times are hard, hubby and I have been living with my parents. This week, my mum has kindly offered to cook while I get used to my schedule – I know, I’m very lucky! As such, there won’t be any recipe posts until the weekend, but with my love of blogging I couldn’t stop posting for a week!

For the last few days I’ve been hit by the Disney bug. It could be because Robert took me on a date to see “Beauty and the Beast” or it could just be because Disney is wonderful! Either way, I’ve been a little obsessed. In honor of my current mood, I thought I’d share the cupcakes I made for a friend’s bridal shower.

The cupcakes themselves were just chocolate and vanilla. The icing was vanilla buttercream dyed with blue food colouring (since they were having a boy). The ears were pretty simple, although I did get help as I’d never worked with fondant before.

Here are the basic steps:

Either dye fondant with black food colouring or purchase black fondant from Michael’s.

Roll the fondant out, and using a small bottle cap, cut out circles for the ears.

Unless you are putting out the cupcakes that day, leave the ears to harden a little before putting them in the icing. Actually, even if you are preparing them that day, I’d still leave a little time for the ears to dry. If you put all the ears on right away, there is a good chance they will fold over.

When hardened, place carefully on either side of the icing. Even after they’ve dried, they will still be a little soft, so don’t push too hard when adding them to your cupcakes.

VOILA! Mickey Mouse ears!

I was so excited with the way these turned out. Not only were the cupcakes moist and fluffy, but everything went together nicely. I didn’t have any disasters in the kitchen and the mom-to-be (as of yesterday, new mother) loved them. In the end, that’s what mattered the most.

 

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Cupcake misadventures: Cupcrazed Cakery

Although I am sticking to my goal of healthier cooking and baking this year, I’ve also decided I want to visit every cupcake shop in the area. I love how cute cupcakeries are. Every one I’ve been to has had a quirky design and that always inspires me to have a cupcake and a coffee – although, I unfortunately can’t drink coffee anymore (boo). I can still indulge in my other guilty pleasure though, and because my love of cupcakes has grown into an obsession, I really want to try everything the area has to offer. It won’t be an every week thing because my body is still recovering from the holidays, but I’m thinking I’ll try a new one every month at least.

My first stop was to the Cupcrazed Cakery in Fort Mill, SC. Apparently they entered and won Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” and being an avid watcher of the show, I was the most curious about them.

I loved the long counter and the multiple cupcake displays. Actually, it kind of reminded me of a coffee shop, and I always love how inviting a coffee shop feels. Cupcrazed felt the same way and even had a little lounge area to chat with friends and enjoy a sinfully delicious treat.

Speaking of sinful treats, the cupcakes were delicious! One of the features of Cupcrazed is that they make a bigger sized cupcake. I almost want to say they were as big as muffins, but with a cupcake that size, you’re definitely getting more bakery for your buck. They usually offer the basic flavours, like vanilla, chocolate, carrot cake and red velvet. Yet everyday the cakery offers specials. Today it was nutty buddies and strawberry stuffed death by chocolate. I had to indulge in the chocolate and strawberries because, honestly, that combination sounded fabulous.

I got two cupcakes (the other being a double vanilla), but of the two this was my favourite. The chocolate was so gooey and the taste of the cream, chocolate, and strawberries together was heavenly.  The cake was really moist and the whole thing wasn’t too sweet. It just tasted like an explosion of chocolate, and what woman doesn’t enjoy that?

This is the box of delectables we came home with. The top three are the strawberry stuffed death by chocolate. On the bottom left you have carrot cake, the middle is red velvet, and the bottom right is my double vanilla. I enjoyed the vanilla cupcake, too. But the frosting was really sweet- delicious, I just couldn’t finish it.

Cupcrazed also offers a variety of other scrumptious baked goods, like cake pops, mini pies, cookies, and brownies. If I wasn’t trying to watch my sugar intake, I would have come home with a lot more than just cupcakes. I’m proud to say I behaved myself. Although, I kept going back for more of my vanilla cupcake even when I was stuffed. Which is a testament to how delicious the cupcakes were!

My first attempt at red velvet

There is something wonderful about red velvet. Maybe it’s the pop of red, or maybe it’s how delicious the cream cheese frosting is, but red velvet is one of my favourite flavours. I had always been a little nervous about trying to make it. Not that I’d truly looked at the ingredients, but I knew vinegar, food colouring, and a variety of other ingredients I hadn’t used were involved; however, I wanted to bake something for the Christmas celebration with my cousin-in-laws. Remembering how much they love red velvet, I decided it was time to give the recipe a try.

I was happy with the cake, but the icing was way too sweet. Usually I do okay with my cream cheese frosting, but I think my exhaustion got the better of me this time. After all, I had done a lot of baking that week. The recipe was actually for a raspberry red velvet (complete with alcohol) which I am longing to try. Since I needed a plain red velvet for this event, I skipped the raspberry additions. Stay tuned though, I’ll definitely be trying that twist soon.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Cupcakes 150 Sweet Recipes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of butter

1 1/3 cups of buttermilk (or sour milk)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of red food colouring

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 tablespoons of milk

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cocoa powder and flour in a bowl. Once mixed, leave to the side, and beat butter in a separate bowl. Now combine the sugar with the butter. The recipe suggests gradually adding a 1/4 of a cup until all the sugar is mixed in.

Now add your eggs. Make sure to mix in each egg separately and beat each time you add one. Once the eggs and sugar/butter mixture are combined, add the milk, food colouring, and vanilla. Stir until mixed.

Take the flour and cocoa from earlier and add about 1/2 a cup to your batter. Briefly stir, and then add some of the buttermilk to the mix. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk until both ingredients are gone.

In a separate bowl, mix your vinegar and baking soda. Now add to the batter and combine well.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Cupcakes 150 Sweet Recipes

Ingredients:

5 1/2 to 6 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 cup of butter

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 package of 1/3 fat cream cheese (8 oz)

Method:

Combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with handheld or standing mixer. Once light and fluffy, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

Side note: make sure to taste after about 3 cups of sugar. As I mentioned, mine was far too sweet, and testing along the way you’ll be able to determine the right amount of sweetness for your tastes.

These are the ones I took for my cousin-in-laws. The recipe makes more than nine, but I left some for my brother who also loves red velvet.

 

Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo?

When I lived in England, they had a commercial for Rolos that asked: “do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo?” It always had funny scenarios where the Rolo owner faced the dilemma of sharing the last one. I always think about home and those commercials when I have some. Since my mum loves them so much, and since she misses home as much as I do, I decided to make some Rolo cupcakes at my bake swap (see post below).

To make this recipe, you will need a Cupcake Surprise Pan by Chicago Metal.

Chocolate Rolo cupcakes

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Cupcakes 150 Sweet Recipes (Chocolate cupcake recipe)

Ingredients:

Rolos

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cups of butter

2 cups of sugar

3 eggs

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups of all-purpose flour

Method:

Combine cocoa powder, baking powder, flour, and baking soda in a medium size bowl. Leave alone and use standing mixer to beat the butter.

Next, slowly add the sugar. It’s better to add about 1/4 of a cup until you’ve reached 2 cups (mixing after each load). Once well mixed, add your eggs (also one at a time and mixing after each addition). Throw in the vanilla and keep stirring.

Now, add some of the flour, followed by some of the milk, and repeat until you are out of both ingredients.

Before you put the cake mixture into the muffin cups, place one Rolo on each stick in the cupcake surprise pan. Now pour into 24 muffin cups and leave in oven for 18-22 minutes.

For the Kahlua frosting recipe, head to this post.

Unfortunately readers, I was unable to get a picture of the Rolo in the middle. I don’t have a good camera (yet) so I couldn’t get a clear shot. I do have plans to buy a better camera very soon, so I promise better pictures in the future!