Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the last thursday of the holiday at the beach market

the last thursday before christmas i spent the day at the holiday at the beach market.  i was hoping to be there more before christmas but i was feeling under the weather and was only able to do the one day.  i am so thankful to cowboy george of blaze gourmet for letting me get involved with the market, and i also owe a big thanks to tino who really helped amp up the sales and bring a great energy to the room.  i was able to also connect with lakewood cookies', who is so nice and makes wonderful & beautiful cookies!  if you need some, you should look her up!  all of the vendors were just really great and i feel lucky to have been able to met and shared this holiday season with them at the beach market :)  for my final day, i made my mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, apple spice cupcakes with caramelized apple swiss meringue buttercream and gingerbread cupcakes with marshmallow fluff frosting.  everything came out perfect during baking the day before and i owe my success to the christmas jams my mom had going in the background for me.  baking really helped amp up my christmas cheer this holiday season.  speaking of, i hope everyone reading this had a wonderful holiday :)  and may the new year bring you even more joy!

mexican hot chocolate cupcake

gingerbread fluff cupcake

apple spice cupcake with caramelized apple swiss meringue cupcake

i also have some exciting developments in the works, but it is too soon to go spreading the word yet.  i'll have a post next week about it :)  again, wishing you all a very happy new year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

last minute market

here is my table at the last minute market outside of michael's studio!  i brought chocolate chai cupcakes, pumpkin graham cracker cheesecake cupcakes, vanilla filled lemon curd with raspberry swiss meringue cupcakes, and chestnut cupcakes.  i made the chestnut puree myself!  it was pretty fun.  the squirrels were happy because they got the extra chestnuts too.  michael was also pretty happy because he got to eat the extra lemon curd i made for the vanilla cupcakes.  the same day i sent these same flavors over to the holiday at the beach market in rocky river.  i couldn't be there but i had some little elves who looked after me :)

chocolate chai cupcakes

vanilla cupcakes filled with lemon curd topped with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream

the famed chestnut cupcakes with cream cheese chocolate swirl frosting!  one of my top 5 for sure :)

pumpkin graham cracker cupcakes with pumpkin cheesecake frosting

Saturday, December 18, 2010

dog birthday cupcakes

i've inserted this extra large picture because a dog cupcake is worthy of an extra large picture!  i made a batch of dog birthday cupcakes for stella's first birthday.  she LOVES peanut butter, so katie asked me if i could make a peanut butter dog cupcake for stella.  and what did the dog think of them?  well she LOVED them, ate it in one big bite!  i gave my dog zooey one of the extras and she was so cute about it.  she licked the frosting off and then wouldn't eat the cupcake until i cut it up for her.  sometimes she is such a lady, but other times she can be a little gassy and clear a room.  i guess that is what makes her so special.  anyways, happy birthday stella!  i am glad i was able to make your birthday treat come to life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

holiday at the beach

this past weekend i did the holiday at the beach market in rocky river.  i will be there again possibly this weekend, but definitely the few days leading up until christmas.  this weekend i will be selling my cupcakes out of michael's studio at the lake erie screw factory for the last minute market.  please come visit us!  anyways this past weekend i had a great time at the market and met a lot of really fun people.  i made peppermint tea cupcakes, almond blackberry cupcakes, marbled lavender cupcakes, blueberry & raspberry ricotta almond cupcakes, eggnog latte cupcakes and chocolate orange cupcakes.  the eggnog latte cupcake frosting is honestly the best frosting i have made to date.  i was eating the leftovers by the spoonful!  here are some pictures of my cupcakes:

i had made a different peppermint cupcake the weekend before, but found the peppermint flavor to be a little too intense and toned it down for this past weekend's version.

i used the lavender leaves i got from cathy's baby shower to make these cupcakes!

almost the end of the summer frozen blackberries!  sad.

i do however still have a good amount of frozen raspberries leftover :)  look forward to some of them appearing in the next couple weeks!

the eggnog frosting i was raving about!  so delicious!!!

and the simple and beautiful chocolate orange cupcake!

so i hope to see you at the last minute market or at the holiday at the beach market!  mention you follow by blog and i'll happily give you a little something extra ;)  the flavors i am hoping for this weekend are chesnut cupcakes, hot chocolate & lemon curd something.  i am debating a few recipes with lemon curd filling involved and i just can't decide which one i want to make.  i might also delay the hot chocolate cupcake and swap it for a chocolate chai.  really, it all depends on what i can find at the store and what i feel like making!  i will also be making some puppycakes for stella.  i took care of stella during the day while katie (her mama) was workin the long hours at the clinic and that little sneak is going to be one soon!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

thanksgiving desserts

i hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving and your bellies are still full from all of the food you ate.  were you expecting me to make cupcakes for my thanksgiving dinner?  well i didn't, not a one!  i did however make pumpkin bread pudding, an almond poppyseed cake for my cousin's birthday and a coconut cake for ned and his family.  a spiced apple caramel sauce was used for the bread pudding, which of course i forgot to take a picture of and the poppyseed cake didn't get photographed at all.  it was made early thursday morning and i had SO MUCH to do that i just didn't have time.  all of the desserts were a success and michael and i just finished off the last of the leftover cake yesterday but today i am wishing i had just a slice more!  i don't think i could ever get sick of that almond poppyseed cake.  it's my all time favorite, probably because it doesn't have frosting.  confession time, i don't really like frosting!  i much prefer my cakes plain.  frosting often tastes too sweet to me, which is why i always cut the sugar in half for the frostings i make, often causing the consistency to be a tad off.  so if you were wondering why my buttercreams aren't as rich as others, it is because i just don't like that much sugar.  anyways, here are some pictures of the coconut cake & pumpkin bread pudding sans dessert.

Monday, November 22, 2010

cupcake toppers

so once i found out i would be making the cupcakes for cathy's baby shower i knew i had to make cupcake toppers!  i have been wanting to make them for a while now because buying them already made is not cheap.  melissa told me that cathy liked birds and owls and that one or the other would be incorporated into the shower... so i had ned make me two different designs.  the sex of the baby is also unknown so i had to try to stick with the more gender neutral colors like purple and green.  i'm not really sure why purple is gender neutral but i saw the two colors paired together a lot so for some reason it works.  i then went and got myself some paper punches, a 2" scallop and a 1.5" circle, some ribbon and some lollipop sticks.  michael was nice enough to lend me his glue gun and i used my own glue sticks.  then i went to work!!  the process was actually really easy and so much fun.  i am going to make extras and sell them on etsy because i hope someone else can use them for their own party!  also, from now on i will be offering cupcake toppers on my orders for an additional cost if you want them.  here is the finished product... i apologize for the poor quality photos but it was late and i was tired after a long day of baking for the sip into the holidays event.

the cupcakes i made for the shower were a lavender marbled cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a chocolate & pear cupcake with vanilla bean buttercream.  one of the party favors from the shower was some lavender from the host's garden so i will be making these cupcakes again for the last minute market at michael's studio.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

sip into the holidays

last night was the sip into the holidays mad men themed event at local girl gallery.  they were auctioning off wine/martini glasses that were decorated by local artists to benefit the Lakewood Commission on Aging.  it was a really awesome event with so much to look at and so many snacks!  one one of the snacks included my cupcakes.  i made minis because those are just much easier to eat at an event than a big cupcake.  no one wants to drop cupcake crumbs all over their fancy outfit!  i chose to make a white russian cupcake and a bourbon & pecan chocolate cupcake.  i really really don't like bourbon, so i found those cupcakes to be really, well, not great.  however, michael loves bourbon and he ate all 10 extra mini bourbon cupcakes so i guess they were pretty good.  i did love the white russian minis though!  the kahlua whipped cream was delicious!  i will definitely be making these again.

look how full my fridge was!  the minis took over!!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

pumpkin muffins

so today i will be feasting with michael on goodies we bought from the shaker square farmer's market yesterday.  we already made the sun choke soup, but he is making a roast of some sort today and i am to make a brussels sprouts salad.  i also was in charge of dessert and because the meal is already so heavy i decided to make pumpkin muffins.  although to be honest i had pumpkin i just needed to use up.  are you sick of pumpkin flavored baked goods yet?  i know i have posted quite a few pumpkin dishes so far, and i don't plan on stopping anytime soon.  i haven't made pumpkin rolls yet and it wouldn't be thanksgiving without one.  i was watching boy meets grill this morning too and bobby flay's pastry chef had made an awesome pumpkin bread in a pumpkin custard with a caramel apple glaze or sauce.  i would like to try my own version of this dish as well!  but back to today's pumpkin dessert, i saw this recipe in my reader a few days ago and thought it would be an excellent way to use up my pumpkin.  cupcake rehab is a pretty funny and cute blog so you should check it out if you have some extra time on your hands.  i would also recommend the recipe, although my muffins were done in 18 minutes and i think the muffin topping could have used a tad more butter or a little less flour.  as usual i used about half the amount of powdered sugar called for in the icing as well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

estate sale finds!

on friday i had the pleasure of visiting ned at work.  ned works for his mom who does estate sales.  i have gotten the majority of my baking tools from them..  no really, my stand mixer is from a sale and a lot of my pans are from them too.  this weekend i was lucky that they had a sale happening in rocky river and that the homeowner was a baker.  she had a really nice almond stand mixer.  the almond color was so pretty i almost questioned my red mixer, but there is just something so special about a red kitchenaid.  yes, i love my mixer.  anyways, if you are ever bored on a friday or saturday you should check out patton & breznai and see what they have going on!  even if you don't need anything, it is pretty neat going through someone's house like that and seeing all of the things they have collected.  anyways, at this weekend's sale i got a popover pan!!  this is something i would never buy myself full price, but i am happy to have it and i am more excited to start making some popovers and/or tall cupcakes.  look forward to seeing something from this pan soon!!  michael also found me these two awesome cook books, baking with julia and chocolate.  sorry for the picture, i was doing some reading in bed and just took the picture there.  i have wanted to make bagels for a long time and now that i own baking with julia, i think i'll just have to move bagels to the top of the list.  did i mention that these books were only 2 dollars?  what a deal !!  thanks ned for being my friend and also for making my awesome logo!

Friday, November 12, 2010

thanksgiving yam cupcakes

thursday michael and i were lucky enough to be invited to alex and maggie's pregiving dinner party.  it really was an awesome evening, filled with lots of wine and good fun.  i managed to spill gravy all over my sweater within the first ten minutes of getting there, but after i let go of that i had a really great evening.  michael made some poblano scalloped potatoes which were AMAZING and i made these thanksgiving yam cupcakes, which of course had to have the 7 minute marshmallow frosting!  this frosting always makes my arms tired, but it's worth it.  i do find though that pumpkin, yams and sweet potatoes all kind of taste the same in cupcake form.  well not identical, but the spices are always pretty similar.  i was reading in one of my cookbooks that chef's often use sweet potato instead of pumpkin in their fall pumpkin dishes because sweet potato is actually easier to work with and no one can really tell the difference.  something to think about!

Monday, November 8, 2010

screw factory open studio

i had the pleasure of setting up shop in michael's studio on saturday and selling some cupcakes.  he was having an open studio, along with the other artists in the screw factory + some extras and i set up my little table!   i meant to take a picture of my set up but the heat didn't come on until later in the day and i was freezing so i mostly huddled around michael trying to absorb his warmth.  when the heat finally did come on, i stood by there for a long time.  so i apologize that there are no pictures of my little booth.  anyways, i decided to make a salted caramel chocolate cupcake, a cabernet blackberry cupcake and a pumpkin cupcake with chocolate ganache.  they all turned out quite well although i think my blackberries might be at the end of their freezer life.  they aren't freezer burned or anything, they just aren't the lively bunch they were back in august.  i don't have very much left either.  i still think they taste better than the store bought ones though!  nothing like picking blackberries from your neighbor :)

if you haven't already please make sure to check out michael's website and/or facebook page.  here is the link to his website:  Forest City Portage which is really just another link to his blog, but i promise his website is coming soon!  actually, you can creep on it a little early if you want to forest city portage unfinished ... remember it isn't done yet though!  jon bobel really has done a great job on it so far.  i am now going to include a cutesy picture of michael with a bag he made because i don't like his about me picture on his website.  he will even admit he looks a bit creepy in it!

:) :) :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

carrot cake!!!

it was michael's dad bob's birthday today and his step-mom cheryl kindly requested that i would make a carrot cake and 12 carrot cupcakes for the gathering at their place this evening.  so i made a traditional simple carrot cake that just had walnuts in it and i flavored it with cinnamon.  the cake was very moist!  one of my favorites for sure.  the frosting came out perfect.  if you can't tell i am not about the fine lines of cakes.  i prefer a more natural look.

because i was making cupcakes too i wanted to try something a little different.  i know some people like their carrot cake with pineapple, or coconut, or raisins... well, there are so many different things people add to carrot cake these days.  i opted to take the original recipe and add some fresh ginger, some candied ginger and i used pecans instead of walnuts.  i also had some mascarpone so i topped half of the cupcakes with lemon mascarpone frosting and the other half with the more traditional cream cheese frosting.  both were really great!  as for the garnish, i dehydrated some carrots that were cooked in a simple syrup.  they kind of look like bacon... i am a mostly vegetarian so i found this a little strange but they still tasted awesome!

this saturday i will be selling cupcakes with michael in his shop for the open studio!  i am going to make a blackberry red wine cupcake and a pumpkin ginger with chocolate ganache cupcake!  not something to miss out on :)