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 :)