September 30, 2010

Semi Finalist in Sweet Arleen's Fall Cupcake Challenge

I am thanking my sister, Brie,  for making me enter a Cupcake Challenge at Sweet Arleen's in Thousand Oaks.  While I didn't win, I'm excited to even be a consideration in the top 10.

I just came home to this in my inbox:
Congratulations Stephanie!

Your Margarita Cupcake was selected as one of our ten finalists in Sweet Arleen's Cupcake Challenge! While you were not one of the three final winners, you do receive a Sweet Rewards gift card of $20.00.

Enjoy! Arleen

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September 28, 2010

Cupcakes for LGPCW

A friend of mine called me on Saturday. He needed to take something to his kids preschool for a potluck meeting they were having.  He doesn't cook so he signed up for dessert knowing who to call to help him...so he called my husband, looking for me, which worked and I didn't hesitate in saying "Sure". Of course, when I said "sure", I didn't know we would have a heatwave over the next 3 days with temps were in the 90's-100's...something we rarely see in Santa Barbara. It actually hit 108.2 at my house on Monday.   Despite the heat I used my favorite fluffy vanilla buttercream and it was a tad bit "melty" so it was hard  to make perfect drop flowers with my Wilton 2M tip ...but tastes so much better than crisco based frostings.



Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 lbs confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla

Mix until nice and fluffy..about 5 minutes

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September 26, 2010

Cookie Dough Balls (safe..no raw eggs)

I've been waiting to try this recipe since I saw it on Joy The Baker's blog.    Ever since I was a little girl I loved to lick the beaters.  I rarely make cookies because I can't stay out of the dough... fortunately I've never gotten sick from eating the raw eggs contained in cookie dough or cake batter :)   Her recipe uses greek yogurt as a binder instead of eggs...so it's safe to eat RAW & oh my it is sooooooooo good!    We were invited to our friends tonight and I think it's safe to my friend likes cookie dough as much as I do.   Joy the Baker's recipe makes 9 cookie dough balls but I made smaller balls and made about 24 with the batch. I also added 1/2 cup of oatmeal instead of nuts. I used a normal cookie scooper & stuck them with wooden picks (wider than a toothpick) that I found at Gelson's.   The hardest part was waiting for them to set up in the freezer.  Once they are frozen, you dip them in melted semi sweet chocolate & this is what makes the cookie ball.  Everyone loved them. I think next time I'll toss them in some homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

Fage Greek Yogurt
1.5" cookie dough scoop

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls     makes 20-24 1.5" balls
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter
1 cup semi sweet MINI chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) or oatmeal
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted for dipping


In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine.  Beat in yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts/oatmeal.
Scoop spoonfuls onto a  waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Spear each dough ball with a plastic fork or a popsicle stick.  Place in the freezer overnight or until frozen, at least two hours.
After 2 hours, melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over a low flame or in the microwave.  Remove balls from the freezer and dip into warm chocolate.  Return to the lined cookie sheet and return to the freezer to harden.  Serve cold from the freezer.  




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September 19, 2010

Veryberry Cakes: Cupcake Challenge Recipe #1

A few days ago I was given the book for my birthday, Cupcakes by Pamela Clark.  There are about 50 recipes in the book & I'm challenging myself to make all the recipes in the book by September 17th, 2011, which happens to be my 40th Birthday.    I was happy when I started today's recipe to realize it only makes a dozen. I can get rid of a dozen cupcakes rather easy by sending them to work with my husband or taking them to my office.   I'll follow each blog post with comments about the recipe from myself, my husband & others that do taste testing.

Alterations:
                  -I didn't want to risk samonella poisoning & didn't have a
                   farm fresh egg so I rinsed my berries and rolled them
                   in sugar.
                  -omitted the nuts & baked for 18 minutes instead of 35.
                  -I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract

Dried Berry Buttercake
1 stick of butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dried mixed berries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup milk

Sugared Fruit
4 ounces fresh blueberries
4 ounces fresh raspberries
1 egg white, beaten lightly
3 tablespooons vanilla sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tbsp butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar



1. Prepare sugared fruit by brushing each berry lightly with egg white; roll fruit in sugar. Place berries on parchment paper-lined tray. Leave about 1 hour or until sugar is dry.  (I washed my berries and rolled it in sugar)

2. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 6 hole oversized (Texas) or 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper baking cups.

3. Beat butter, vanilla, sugar and eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until light & fluffy.  Stir in fruit and nuts, then sifted flours and milk. Divide mixture among baking cups; smooth surface.
4. Bake large cakes about 45 minutes, small cakes about 35 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
5. Make cream cheese frosting.  Beat butter & cheese in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually beat in sifted powdered sugar.
6. Spread cakes with frosting. Decorate with sugared fruit.

Reviews:
Me        :  Sweet, good flavor.  Next time no sugar on the fruit
Husband:  Good.. "Can I have another?"
Others   :  Love the frosting, cake is ok

next up..... Recipe #2.... Pear Butterfly Cupcakes

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September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today is my 39th Birthday
and I didn't bake a thing!

We went to dinner Tuesday and my cousin, Pam, surprised me with a lucious lemon bavarian cake from Henning's Bakery.  I hadn't had one of their cakes since our wedding 11 years ago.  It was lemon cake with lemon bavarian filling & lemon buttercream.  So good!

sorry about the picture quality, it is from my mobile phone


Today at the office one of the girls made me a triple chocolate bundt cake. So chocolately and delicious that it doesn't even need frosting or glaze.  Yumm!



Still to come a suprise dessert from my sister! Maybe she'll even do a guest post in the next few days!

Thank you all who've made my birthday a special one! So fortunate to have such wonderful friends & family!


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September 13, 2010

Reynolds Baked for You Staybright Cupcake liners

I stopped in Gelson's tonight on our way home to grab something for dinner and walked out with more than just dinner.   I went to the baking isle looking for oat flour to make a cake next week for one of my employee's that doesn't eat wheat, dairy or rice.  Instead of finding oat flour, I stumbled upon Reynolds Baked for You Staybright Cupcake liners.  Have you ever bought a really cute liner then baked chocolate cupcakes only to lose the design?  Staybrights are lined with foil so you can bake any flavor cupcake and they will still be bright! I came home and looked them up online. They have 8 different patterns. Gelson's only had 2 patterns when I was there tonight so hopefully they will bring in the complete line.  Here is the link to order them online:  Reynold's Baked For You Liners

Patterns available: (photos from http://www.cupcakecentral.com/)


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September 12, 2010

Musical Cupcakes

These were fun. I used my light box (normally used for tracing or dry embossing cardstock) to pipe the royal icing music symbols on the fondant & used texture plate to give the grid effect on each cupcake topper.




To use a texture plate & LIGHTBOX:
1. Roll the fondant 1/8" thick
2. Lay the texture plate on top of the rolled fondant
3. Use your rolling pin and gently roll across the top of the texture plate
4. Gently pull the texture plate from the fondant
5. Cut out the shape that you want to use
6. Brush with shimmer dust (optional)
7. Set the fondant circle on a piece of wax paper
8. Lay your image on the light box
9. Put your fondant circle on top of the light box & image
10. Pipe the image. Carefully pick it up and allow the royal icing to dry.


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