Tuesday, August 25, 2009

18 Burgers, Hold the Fries

These started out as a request for a hamburger cake, but after seeing the burger cupcakes posted by Bakerella, I knew they had to be cupcakes. I have a clear preference for cupcakes over cake (and actually for all things miniature), and these were just too cute.

Cupcake "buns" waiting for assembly

To make these, I made 18 vanilla cupcakes. Once they were baked and cooled, I cut them each in half to form the "bun." The tops were a bit sticky after being stored in an airtight container overnight, and I sprinkled a tiny bit of sesame seeds over the top so they looked authentic. I also baked a batch of brownies in a rectangle pan. Using a 2" cutter, I cut out 9 brownie circles and cut each of these in half lengthwise to form the "hamburger patties."

Assembled cupcakes

After using a bit of frosting to adhere the lower bun to the brownie, I divided the remaining frosting into 3 bowls and dyed it green (lettuce), red (ketchup) and yellow (mustard). The frosting then got piped onto the brownie, and the rest of the vanilla cupcake was placed on top.

Box of burgers

Throughout the process of assembling these, my dad was sitting at the kitchen table watching me make them. The whole time, he kept saying "I just don't understand how these are going to look like burgers..." Finally when they were all put together, he goes, "WOAH! Those look exactly like hamburgers." Mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cupcakes to Accompany Beer

Every year friends of my family host a huge beer pong tournament in August. Everyone partners up, comes up with a creative name, and competes based on their seeding. This is hands down one of my favorite events of every summer, and this year was no different. I was partnered with my sister Melissa, and we settled on the team name MC Hammered. I have to give Melissa credit because she pulled our whole awesome team uniform together.

MC Hammered

While Melissa was running around finding Hammer pants and choreographing our victory dance, I was busy baking 6 dozen cupcakes to bring to the party. After much debate, I settled on Irish car bomb (what better than cupcakes baked with beer for this event), vanilla, and cherry vanilla. The cherry vanilla is my favorite, and I was happy to have an excuse to make them again.

Cupcakes before most were taken

The cupcakes got set up well after the tournament was underway and most of them disappeared as I was setting them up on the stand. I had to keep shooing people away in order to set them all up and take a picture.

Dunkaroos enjoying their cupcakes

Although MC Hammered did not win the whole tournament (we actually were out in the 1st round), we did win the prize for best team name/uniform, which I consider a major victory.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eric!

Last week it was my brother Eric's 23rd birthday. If you read the comments on this blog, he's the one always talking about the calorie content of cupcakes or making fun of our little sister, Melissa, for eating too many. See, Melissa and I are normal, cupcake-loving people, but Eric's strange and doesn't eat really anything that's bad for you. His ideal cupcake would probably be a mix of chicken, tuna, and protein powder.

Workspace around 1:00 am

Having decided that was not going to be my ingredient list, I went for a banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting. And I used no butter. Which is no small feat for me being as I use that stuff by the pounds. I also reduced the sugar in the cake. This was just about the "healthiest" cupcake I've baked yet. I also made a dozen regular vanilla for the people who wouldn't prefer the protein cupcakes.

Finished cupcakes

I really don't like bananas, but the banana cupcake wasn't bad at all. It definitely had more of a muffin texture, but that's probably due to the absence of butter. The combo of peanut butter and banana was good; each flavor held its own nicely.

Close-up of the suits cupcakes

Because Eric was having his birthday celebration down in Atlantic City, I went with a poker theme for the cupcakes. I covered the peanut butter banana cupcakes in rolled green fondant to look like a poker table and topped them with edible fondant poker chips I hand made and painted with gold luster dust. The vanilla cupcakes were covered in white fondant and topped with a card suit cut out of red and black fondant. I actually bought those fondant cutters about two months ago in preparation for these cupcakes. I also found tiny suit sprinkles at NY Cake and used those on the white cupcakes as well.

Poker chip cupcakes

All of this baking and decorating went down around midnight last Thursday. By the time I finished, I was exhausted and covered in corn starch (you roll the fondant on it).

About to sing Happy Birthday

Fortunately, when Eric and his friends returned from Atlantic City, most of them had won. It would not have been good to have a cupcake reminder of the big losses suffered at the poker tables.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cupcakes for Birthdays

These liners even say they're for parties on the packaging

I just got done with the poker-themed cupcakes I made for my brother's birthday this weekend. I'll post those later, but for now I have pictures of cupcakes I made for a birthday party last weekend. I hate showing up to any kind of occasion with empty hands, and this party was for a birthday, so I definitely needed to bake cupcakes.

Purple cookie dough

I've had these fun cupcake liners from Reynold's that I picked up in the grocery store near me a while ago. They're good to use in my parents' oven because they're not greaseproof, so they don't slip away from the cupcake, but are still more fun than basic white. There was some purple ones, and I baked cookie dough cupcakes in them and dyed the chocolate chip frosting light purple to match the liner. I also baked a dozen margarita cupcakes into the pink & green argyle wrappers.

Margarita cupcake - Matches the liner!

These cupcakes were a pretty big hit at the party. I'm excited to see if Reynold's or any other supermarket brand puts out more decorative liners in the future.

Box of cupcakes, ready to go to the party

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Cupcakes I Almost Dropped on the Port Authority Floor

Due to time constraints and other plans this weekend, I had to bake an order that was due in Toms River Saturday on Friday in Hoboken. I left my apartment early Saturday morning in order to make it down in time, anticipating shore traffic that I did eventually hit.

Cupcakes, post near-fall and frosted in Toms River

While I was standing on line for the bus to Toms River, I reached into my bag to grab my bus ticket while balancing the heavy box of two dozen cupcakes in one hand. As I was just about to grasp my ticket, I lost my balance, and the box began wobbling out of my control. I immediately panicked, fearing these cupcakes would soon be scattered on the floor in front of me. For those of you who have never been to Port Authority (which is possible now that my blog has visitors from 37 countries and 45 U.S. states!! - yay!), it is by far one of the dirtiest places I have been. In all my years of traveling through Port Authority, I have never once witnessed anyone mopping the floor. I suppose there's no point though being as pigeons and other creatures are plentiful in the terminals.

Safe, secure, boxed and ready to go

If these cupcakes had hit the floor, it would have been nothing short of a disaster. I'd have to toss the infected cupcakes, and after that, I'm not sure what I would do. Probably cry for the entire bus ride and quit baking forever. Okay, maybe not that severe, but I would have had to show up with something at 1:00 pm at the person's house expecting a dozen Oreo and a dozen toasted coconut cupcakes. I'm wondering if Entenmann's would work in a pinch. Fortunately by some crazy maneuvering that pulled no less than 10 muscles in my back, I regained a grip on the cupcakes, and no cupcakes were injured in the process. Because they weren't yet frosted, it didn't even matter they all got jumbled in the box. This was extraordinarily lucky. The cupcakes arrived in TR unharmed and ready to be frosted.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lessons Learned (White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes)

I learned a very important lesson this morning. I will never again put a container of cupcakes on my lap while wearing a pretty silk dress. I have since realized that the outside of the container is likely to have traces of frosting on it which will undoubtedly leave oil marks on the dress. This was a major bummer this morning.

Folding the strawberries and white chocolate into the batter

I had baked these white chocolate strawberry cupcakes last night for a coworker's birthday today. I started with my basic vanilla recipe and once it was mixed, added some white chocolate chunks and diced fresh strawberries. The frosting I used is white chocolate buttercream with fresh strawberries. These were seriously good, despite the melting issues they encountered in the heat.

Cupcakes fresh out of the oven, unfrosted

When I was younger, white chocolate was my favorite type of chocolate. Every Easter I'd get a white chocolate bunny in my Easter basket, that I probably ate that morning for breakfast (are you getting the sense I'm a healthy eater?). I was pretty surprised years later when I learned white chocolate actually has no cacao in it. It's just cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar.

Finished cupcake on my desk, slightly melted

Blog Design by Delicious Design Studio