Happy PI Day 2010

March 14, 2010 at 12:49 PM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 18 Comments
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I think it’s pretty obvious that I like cupcakes. And I feel that if you’re reading my blog I can say with complete confidence that you’re kinda into cupcakes too right? I can’t say that I’m much of a pie person though. What’s the point? Pie doesn’t have frosting. I’ve already established my love of cupcakes as a vehicle for frosting. That’s already 1 strike against pie for me. And I’m not a fruity dessert person. Strike 2. I like vanilla, chocolate, caramel, sprinkles, cake…

But being a third generation nerd. I have to celebrate Pi Day. I think it’s in the Nerd Charter along with the secret handshake. All Nerds must celebrate Pi Day. Because who else besides us nerds would appreciate the sheer joy of March 14th? 3.14. Pi Day. I’m literally giddy.

And since I’m a nerd, I found a way to have my Pi day and eat cupcakes too.

Happy Pi Day, readers! Have a slice of pie today. On me.

Graham Cracker Key Lime Cup-Pie
Recipe adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop and King Arthur Flour

Print this recipe

Makes 1 Giant Wilton Cupcake

INGREDIENTS

For the graham cracker crust*
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

* You may not use all the graham cracker crust depending on how thick you make it.

For graham cracker cupcake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk (I used half-and-half instead)
1 teaspoon vanilla

For key lime filling**
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel instead)
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup key lime juice (I used Stirrings 100% Key Lime Juice)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream

** You can probably half the key lime filling but I found it easier to make the full recipe at the time.

For the meringue
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

To make filling—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add condensed milk and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add key lime juice. Then add sour cream and mix until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. While you’re waiting, bake up the cupcakes!


To make giant cupcake—
Preheat oven to 350F. Create a foil liner (I recommend Reynolds non-stick foil) for the cupcake “bottom” and lightly spray with PAM.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cup of graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Spoon into the giant cupcake “bottom”, pressing with a class cup to cover the bottom and sides into a smooth tight fit. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, beat butter on high speed until soft, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Combine milk and vanilla together. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.



Fill cupcake bottom with the cake batter. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before fill and frost.

To make meringue—
In a stand mixer with a clean dry mixer bowl and whisk attachment, whip the egg whites at medium speed until opaque. With the mixer still running, add the vanilla extract and sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks.


To assemble giant cup-pie—
Remove center of the cupcake using the cone method. (I like to use cookie cutter for a guide line.) If you aren’t familiar with the cone method, check out Nicole of Baking Bites step-by-step pictorial instructions (here). Fill cupcake with key lime filling using a spoon.


Reserve some meringue in a piping bag + Wilton 1M tip (or your favorite star tip). Spread the meringue on top of the cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and then pipe rosettes around the edge of the cupcake. Use a creme brulee torch to brown the meringue. Garnish with a few lime slices and graham cracker crumbs.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He really enjoyed the crunchy graham cracker crust with the graham cracker “cake” and key lime filling. Even though he’s not a huge fan of meringue (he prefers whipped cream) he said the whole combination was delicious.

Wifey rating: A/A+
I had a great time putting together this cup-pie. The graham cracker crust is really yummy with the “cake” and filling but I think the next time I make the filling I might up the key lime juice. It wasn’t enough “lime” for me. I”m definitely a meringue girl. So sticky sweet like a melted marshmallow. So good.

Other rating: A+
Hubs brought the cup-pie to share with some colleagues and students and he said it was gone within an hour. He said he didn’t have enough forks and ppl were eating it with their fingers. Awesome!

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Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake

March 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 75 Comments
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Yesterday was my Hubs birthday.

He’s now the ripe ol age of thirty one. (He says when I spell it out it doesn’t seem so bad.)

(Shout out to my friend, Stephanie‘s boy toy, John, who shares the same birthday too!)

I can’t believe I’ve known him for the last 12 birthdays. And I bake him a cake every year. I wish I had kept pictures of all those cakes. I’m certain I’d be LAUGHING MY A$$ OFF over them.

Let’s just say… I wasn’t a cake baker back then. There were a lot of box mix in a 9×13 pan with sprinkles and cheap $0.99 candle days. But since Hubs wanted to get in my pants make me happy, he ate every one.

He’s a good man. I think I’ll keep him around a little longer.

But I’ve been spoiling him. My cakes are getting progressively better (I hope?) but all he wants is Red Velvet. I offered him chocolate variations, Funfetti, Rainbow, Coffee flavored but he turned his nose up at all of them. His MO (modus operandi) is always the same. It’s Red Velvet or nothing. Ok fine. FINE. I’ll give you your Red Velvet but I’m doing it MY way.

In a GIANT cupcake pan.

It had to be a GIANT cupcake b/c I’ve been playing around with the idea of making a chocolate “liner” for it. And this was the perfect opportunity to try it! Can you believe my horror when I realized that my chocolate liner idea wasn’t as original as I thought?? Wilton had the idea first. I guess my idea was so 2008. I hate when that happens. It makes me feel old. Like when people tell me that side ponytails and leg warmers with heels are out. Say it aint so!

But but but… I can redeem myself. I have ideas on how to expand the original idea. Different color candy melts. Combining 2 colors to make a design… Polkadots, swirls, stripes. I just have to find someone who needs a GIANT cupcake first. Hmmm… My godsons’ birthday is 2 months away. That’s not too early to make his birthday cake right?

Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake
Recipe adapted from Confetti Cakes

Print this recipe

Makes 1-Giant Wilton Cupcake + 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For chocolate cupcake “liner”
3 cups candy melts* (I used 2 cups Merckens Cocoa Dark & 1 cup Cocoa Lite)

* You’ll probably have some chocolate leftover but I’d rather start off with more than less

For red velvet cupcakes
3-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
2-1/4 cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup (3 oz) of red food coloring (I used 2 oz)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 tsp white vinegar

For cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

To make chocolate liner—
Place candy melts in a heatproof bowl and melt in intervals of 30 secs in the microwave. Stir between intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Dollop some chocolate into the bottom of the Giant Wilton Cupcake Pan and using a food dedicated paintbrush pulled the chocolate up the sides.


Coat the sides liberally and let set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or overnight. Feel free to add a second coat if you desire for good coverage. (Just remember, the thicker the layer of chocolate the more you’ll have to trim down your “cake” to make it fit inside.) Unmold the chocolate by using your hand and wiggling slightly until it slips out.

To make cupcake—
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray the inside of the Giant Wilton Cupcake pan with PAM and lightly dust with flour. (I forgot to oil+flour my pan and it still came out with a little jiggling.)

In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the oil and sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly dd the food coloring and vanilla extract. (Be careful of splashing!)


Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three additions, ending with the flour mixture. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda and vinegar and add to the mixer. Beat for about 10 seconds so everything is thoroughly combined.

(1) Fill “bottom of cupcake” about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes. Fill “top of cupcake” and bake the whole thing for an additional 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (This is the method that works for me b/c the “top” tends to come out overbaked if you do both at the same time.)

(2) Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the butter and cream cheese. Add 1 cup of powder sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and milk. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar until everything is well combined and you get a smooth stiff consistency. (Note: You may not use all the powdered sugar.)

To assemble giant cupcake—
Carefully hold the “bottom” above the chocolate liner to estimate how much you will need to carve off to fit inside the liner. Using a serrated knife, carve around the circumference as needed. Then level out the tops of the “bottom” cake and “top” cake. To make a layered cake, cut the “bottom” in half and then each half in half again. (Don’t worry! No leftovers were trashed in the making of this cake. *burp*)


Frost the top of each layer but do not assemble “bottom” yet. Frost the “top” with a crumb coat and put in the refrigerator to set for about 15 minutes. Gently assemble the “bottom” layers inside the chocolate liner one layer at at time.

NOTE: Trust me. I tried to assemble the cupcake bottom layers first and then put the whole thing inside and it DID NOT work out very well. The weight of the bottom was so heavy from the frosting that when I “dropped” it inside, the whole chocolate liner cracked and broke. I think I remember screaming.

Place the “top” on the “bottom” and frost the top with a 2nd layer of frosting in any method you like. I decided to go with the simple uncomplicated spatula “spackled” look rather than dirty up my piping bag+ tips.

Add some sprinkles and sparkler candles and it’s just what a 31 year old needs to feel 1 year older but still young at heart.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He is a self proclaimed Red Velvet connoisseur so he KNOWS red velvet. And he had nothing but raves for this one esp with the chocolate liner. I think he said something like “… I don’t mind getting older if I get cake like this every year. This might have to be the go-to recipe, Honey.” What? Oh you have no idea how HUGE this moment is.

Wifey rating: A+
This “cake” recipe was moist+fluffy just the way I like cake. It was great with the cream cheese frosting but I J’DORE the chocolate liner. I have a feeling you’re gonna see many GIANT cupcake liners in my future.

Other rating: A+
Our family and friends were smitten with the chocolate liner. There were many raves for the red velvet and all that was left at the end of the celebration were crumbs. That’s always a good sign!

Happy Birthday Dear Hubsy

February 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 14 Comments
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♪♫Happy Birthday to You
You live in a zoo
You look like a monkey
And you smell like one too♪♫

I’m so glad you are legal now so we can stop hiding our love. xoxo Wifey.

Kidding kidding!!

But you shoulda saw the looks I got at the restaurant when I said that out loud as our waiter brought my Hubs “birthday” dessert last night. Priceless.

I’ll post the recipe and assembly instructions for Giant Red Velvet Birthday Cupcake in a Chocolate Liner tomorrow. (If anyone is interested?)

But for now me and Hubs are off to a wonderful day of birthday pampering.

Ciao Bellas (and Guidos)!

Product Recall? Wilton Party Nut Cups

June 4, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 60 Comments

You know those white party nut cups (aka souffle cups) that I bake my cupcakes in?

Well… that has to be the #1 question I get asked by all my readers.

I love them b/c they are simple and classy. I’m just a simple and classy girl like that. I buy mine at Smart&Final. They come in the 3.25oz (regular cupcakes) or 2oz (mini cupcakes) size in quantity of 250 for $5.00. Sweet deal right? You bet it is! I bake so many cupcakes that I’d be eaten (no pun intended) out of house and home if I bought those cutesy cupcake liners all the time. Although I admit I have my fair share of cutesy cupcake liners in my pantry. (Shhhh! Don’t tell my husband! It will be our little secret.)

Now I realize that not everyone has a Smart&Final near them so another recommendation but in smaller quantities is from Michael’s craft store in the Wilton baking aisle. Unfortunately it has come to my attention (Thanks for letting me know, Nina!) that Wilton party nut cups are NOT oven safe. *smacks head* I didn’t realize that their new party nut cup design is coated in wax to be leak resistant. Uh… What kind of nuts are they eating? Nut leakage? Scary thought. Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that potato chips give you anal leakage. That just aint right.


Click image to enlarge

For more info, please read –> http://cakecentral.com

Anyone else have a party nut cup source? Apparently my Wilton one went and got waxed.

Celebrating my Wilton independence

April 13, 2008 at 6:54 PM | Posted in wilton | 32 Comments

Today was my last Wilton class. sniff

Even though Wilton class is done I am hopeful that my teacher will have follow up project classes so that I can continue to learn more. But I think in the mean time, my blog-tastic friend, Natalie, suggested a great option… join my local cake club! How fun is that?!!

I am really proud of myself for going through all 4 courses. For whatever reason, as the courses go by, less and less people stick around. I guess it doesn’t really apply to “my” graduating class since I have been an only student since course 1 but my Wilton teacher tells me that the following course 1 students after me have decreased as their courses progress. Thats too bad. I encourage all my friends that are currently taking the Wilton course to see it through the end. I’ve learned alot about cake decorating and about myself. If you had told me months ago that I’d be able to decorate a cake with fondant, make a buttercream rose, create various flowers out of gumpaste, I would have never believed you. But it goes to show that you never know what hidden talents you have until you try. Thanks Nikki for seeing my hidden potential and steering me towards the Wilton direction. YRMSO. WYNB!

For my final cake there were a couple sample cakes to choose from but in the end I decided to go for a fun whimsical fondant cake that I could potentially make again for Memorial Day (my apt complex always has a potluck pool par-tay every year) or my birthday (July 4th).


Click image to enlarge

Its an 8 inch diameter x 2 inch cake with blue fondant base, white stars and red+white draping. In the book they use a star shaped cake so the next time I make this design I’ll have to try that. Obviously from the pictures my colors are off. I didn’t have enough time to make it a true blue and red like the real American flag. I admit its my least favorite step – making colored fondant – so I cut the coloring step short and was happy with my pastel flag cake instead. The fun part was making the red+white stripe draping. My teacher showed me how to roll logs of each color, stack them next to each other and them roll them out at the same time to create the striping affect. So cool! (I am easily amused.) All in all a fun cake!

In honor of getting my Wilton diploma… Wanna take a trip down memory lane with me?


Course 1 cake – I could not frost a cake worth a nut. See all the crumbs! haha


Course 2 cake – probably my favorite cake. Love all the flowers and basket weave. The color flow birds is an awesome technique!


Course 4 cake – love me some draping! Also my other 2 fondant cakes here and here.

[Remember..? Course 3 cake got dropped. Son of a biscuit!]

So if you think about it… my subject line has 2 meanings – my holiday specific cake and saying goodbye to Wilton. Dang! I am just so clever like that ;)

ah snap.

Wilton says… Mum’s the word.

March 30, 2008 at 3:20 PM | Posted in decor, wilton | 19 Comments
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Today was my 3rd class of Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste and I spent 2 hours on my Sunday morning making gumpaste flowers – chrysanthemum, daisy and fantasy flower.

We started with the chrysanthemum first. I think its b/c it took the longest to make. You make a base and add about 5-6 layers to create the ruffled petals made from circle cutters. It didn’t look hard from the book but when I started attempting it, it was probably the hardest flower for me. I love the pink edible glitter that lines the outer edges of each layer. So dainty.


Its propped up on some tissue paper while it dries

Next came the daisy. This was MUCH easier. You basically rolled out gumpaste to about 1/16″ thickness and cut out 2 daisy patterns with a daisy cutter and stagger them on top of each other. I decided to make the traditional yellow center for one and then a pink center for the other one. Too bad I ran out of pink glitter since I went a little crazy on the chrysanthemum so my pink daisy center isn’t as “pink” as it could be. The pink daisy –> Nikki. ILM. IATOY. ((H+L))


Click image to enlarge

The last flower was the fantasy flower. Its a multiple layer flower that you use heart cutters to make. Kind of ingenius b/c you use different size cupcake liners to shape it. Right now its still in the cupcake tin and liner along with tissue paper to mold the petals but check back later for the finished picture. After the gumpaste hardened and the mold is set, it reminds me of a water lily.


Click image to enlarge

I can’t believe I am one class away from completing the Wilton 4 course cake decorating class. My teacher sounded so somber when she greeted me at the beginning of class with that incredible fact. Had it really been 4 months already? wow. I know there is so much more to learn in cake decorating but in the Wilton world I’ve almost at the end.

Stay tuned next week for my last Wilton cake final… sniff.

Draping fondant the Wilton way

March 16, 2008 at 5:33 PM | Posted in wilton | 33 Comments

Today was 2nd class of my Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste (unofficial) course 4. Admittedly I do not like the taste of fondant but I LOVE to decorate with it. Its just so versatile and (in my opinion) allows me to be more creative.

This time I was smart enough to bring my camera to class but sadly my teacher’s purse was stolen over the weekend along with her cell phone and my previous cake final picture. I am bummed for her b/c stolen purses are always a big PITA. It’s honestly not about the money for me. Take the cash just leave me my driver’s license, cell phone and credit/debit cards. The hassle of canceling credit cards and going to the DMV for a new license far outweighs any amt of cash that I would lose (esp since I rarely have more than $20 in my purse at one time). It should already tell you something that I’ve been married for 7 months but still have not changed my name. ::hangs head:: I am a bad wifey but I dread going to the SS office and the DMV. ugh.

Oops! Talk about side tracked. Ok back to the point of this BU… haha.

Today I learned how to drape fondant on my “midterm” cake.


(Please excuse my ghetto faux cake board under the cake. I accidently left the “real” one at home.)

It was very time consuming to roll out 4 pieces of fondant, pizza wheel cut each one and drape on the cake but worth the affect. I love the way it looks!

Of course the draping wasn’t enough! I had to add little white fondant flowers to each draping too. Aren’t they stinkin’ cute?

TIP: Maybe it would be better to put the flowers on the fondant piece first before draping so that the flowers will naturally fall with the way you layer. JMO


Click image to enlarge

I ran out of time so I only completed the flowers on one drape in class but I finished the rest at home. Personally I think the flower in the middle is kinda cheesy but thats what the book design was. *shrug

I still have issues with putting the initial (pink) fondant layer over the cake. I just can’t get it as smooth as the book pictures for the life of me! Overall I had fun with this one and definitely could see myself using this technique again. Maybe my FSIL’s bridal shower? Hmmm… the possibilities…

Hope my fellow cake class-ers (Nina, Andrea, Natalie) are having just as much fun! Looking forward to more of your BUs!

PS. Nikki, the pinkness is dedicated to you.

Wilton woes + pics

March 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM | Posted in cupcakes, wilton | 42 Comments
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I finished my Wilton cake decorating course 3 last week. I was so proud of my final cake and couldn’t wait to get home to take a picture to post. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t bring my camera to class. Hindsight is 20/20.) But as I was taking it out of my car my beautiful cake went splat all over the parking lot. *tear* I think I screamed. So sadly I have no pictures of my final cake but I posted the sample from the book.

Mine wasn’t exactly that perfect (I didn’t do the white fondant flower on the base of the cakes or the shell border above the ruffle border) but I was uber proud of it. I am hoping that my teacher saved the picture she took from her camera phone so I can post later.

I do have pictures of some new royal icing flowers that I learned to make though.

A bazillion points to the first one who knows the name of each flower.


(This one is my favorite)

I have to admit that I totally sucked at them the first few times. It probably didn’t help that my hands get really warm when I am concentrating hard so the icing kinda “melted” as I was piping. But after some practice I got more confident and they started looking like flowers. LOL.

Bet you can’t tell which one I made first? ;)

While I am on the topic of Wilton, my teacher was telling me that my Michaels has canceled all their other classes (bead, one stroke painting, crochet, kids club etc) and they are also thinking of canceling the Wilton class too. *sad face* I am guessing it has something to do with paying the instructors but not making a profit from the class related products? No profits… not worth it. Its too bad. She said that the decision came from Michael’s corporate office but she wasn’t sure if this was nationwide Michael’s revamping or just my store.

Anyone know? Andrea?

EDIT: to add names of flowers
Morning Glory, Petunia, Poinsettia, Easter lily

Midterm cake+roses

February 18, 2008 at 3:36 PM | Posted in non-cupcake, wilton | 39 Comments
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I am currently in Course 3 – Fondant and Tiered Cakes – and I usually have a final exam cake at the end of every Wilton course but in this course we had a “midterm” cake of sorts. It’s practice for the final exam cake.


Fondant Bow Cake

I think it turned out uber cute! I love that tiffany blue color. (Sorry all my pink ladies… I decided to go blue vs the pink example. hehe) I could totally see “gift” cupcakes! Wouldn’t those be adorable? Hmm… T’s day is in a couple weeks. I bet he’d love red velvet gifts. :)

Even though I think fondant tastes yucky (jury is still out on the marshmallow fondant as a tastier alternative b/c I haven’t tried it yet), I love decorating with it! It’s so fun to sculpt and create 3d images with fondant compared to buttercream or royal icing IMO.

Also for your viewing pleasure… my fondant roses.


rosebud, medium rose and full rose

I was thinking maybe I could do a how-to video on the fondant rose. Would anyone be interested?

I graduated!

January 30, 2008 at 8:09 PM | Posted in decor, non-cupcake, wilton | 22 Comments
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I graduated from Wilton Cake Class Course 2! I had my final exam cake tonight.


Click image to enlarge

I think it turned out pretty darn good! I saw T eyeing it when I got home (I said the magic word – chocolate) but told him to “BACK AWAY FROM THE CAKE!” Its so purdy I don’t wanna eat it!

Can’t wait for Course 3… FONDANT!! ::rubbing hands together::

© iheartcuppycakes! 2007-2008 All rights reserved.

Royal flowers

January 20, 2008 at 7:05 PM | Posted in decor, non-cupcake, wilton | 7 Comments
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For the past 1-1/2 months I’ve been taking the Wilton Cake Decorating class at my local Michael’s craft store upon the recommendation of my good friend, NB. Since I do everything NB tells me to do, I signed up! ;)

Right now I am 3/4 way through Course 2 – flowers and borders – and my final exam is a cake next week. (I can’t wait til Course 3 – fondant!) From the beginning of the course we’ve been working on royal icing flowers in anticipation of decorating my final exam cake. Just wanted to share my progress…

Aren’t they purdy? I’ve learned how to make a rose, daffodil, daisy (my favorite!), pansy, chrysanthemum and some others that I can’t remember. Obviously I am not a gardner. I’d rather have my hands in powdered sugar than dirt. LOL

I definitely plan to put my new found flower decorating knowledge to good use for my FSIL’s bridal shower cupcakes. I can’t wait to see how everyone reacts when they realize that I made them myself!

© iheartcuppycakes! 2007-2008 All rights reserved.

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