Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flowers and Wedding Cupcakes

This week was pretty busy.  My son is out of (pre)school, and I was doing crazy prep for a wedding.  100 cupcakes, with gumpaste roses, calla lilies, and orchids.  Note to future self: do not leave flower making to the last minute.  But last minute madness aside, they turned out pretty, non?
The couple didn't want chocolate or lemon, which are pretty standard wedding cupcake flavours.  This was great, because it meant I got to get creative and try a lot of new flavours.  Which meant baking a lot of different cupcakes.  And therefore eating a lot of different cupcakes.  Like, several a day.  My life is hard; what can I say?

After some deliberation and a few tummy aches, the final round up was: Vanilla, Vanilla Caramel, Peaches and Cream, Marble, and Raspberry Coconut.   They were all topped with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream (the best icing of all time), popped into adorable sage cupcake wrappers, and topped with the variety of gumpaste flowers.

I hope everyone enjoyed them!  Congratulations Meghan and Brenda! 
 And much thanks to my new baking partner in crime, Maddi!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pie Pops

I'm not sure if it gets much cuter than Pie Pops:
To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of pie.  So when I saw pie pops gaining popularity over the last while, I was really reluctant to make them.  I guess I was finally swayed by the cute factor, and the need to use up the lollipop sticks I have hanging around from a horrible cupcake pop failure, so this week I cracked and made some.

Thank god, because they're now one of my favourite treats.  I ate 4 as soon as they came out of the oven (bad idea-- very hot filling) and by the evening the count was up to 6.  They were gone by morning.  They're bite-sized and so adorable, it's easy to get a bit carried away.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jungle Animal Birthday Cake

Well, I managed to make it through exams in one piece.  While I unwind, pray for good marks, upload a million photos of various desserts (including one that sucks like you would not even believe), and basically sort out my life, here's a bit of childhood whimsy:

A first birthday cake for an adorable little man named Spencer.  Happy birthday, Spencer!  The cake is vanilla with bright blue buttercream frosting.  The toys on top, provided by his mom, just kill me.  My son has moved on to "big boy" things, like trucks and weed whackers (don't ask).  These are so adorable, non?  They remind me of pudgy, dimpled baby hands and endless snuggles when your child was too small to squirm away.  Too cute.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes with the Best Chocolate Frosting Ever. For serious.

It's official -- I've taken a leap and signed up as a vendor for the Vancouver Baker's Market.  I will be there October 2nd, November 13th, and December 4th!  I hope to see all your lovely faces for some cupcakes, cookies, and whatever else I come up with. I'm starting to brainstorm what goodies to bring, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.


In other less exciting news, last week was a semester-end class potluck for one course of mine.  The course was long and grueling, and I think it showed in how everyone brought fatty, salty comfort foods on the last day.  These yummy (can anyone say that anymore and not puke thinking about Rachel Ray and her obnoxious Yum-o?) cupcakes were my contribution.  Actually, both the icing and the cupcakes for these were made by my mom, so I guess I can't take credit for much other than the decoration and presentation.  So it goes.


This icing is hands down the best chocolate frosting ever.  EVER.  It's made with chocolate ganache, yet somehow manages to be not too rich, but still decadent enough to be indulging.  The cupcake is sweet and moist, and provides a perfect complement to the chocolate icing.  The combination is perfect, and one of the best I've had in the chocolate/vanilla department.  Normally the frosting overbears the cake, or the cake is too... vanilla (ie boring as shit).  But these two are the perfect pair.





Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Best of 50


In the interest of not writing my now-late archeology paper, here's a roundup of my Top 10 favourite posts so far.  I topped 50 the other day, and what better way to celebrate than weeding out the crap for you?  So here they are, in no particular order:


1. Snickerdoodles.  I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.



2. Blueberry Crumb Muffins.  Other muffins are dead to me.
















3. Soft Pretzels.  I love these almost as much as I love profanity!






























5.  Big (and Best!) Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The reigning champs.













6.  Raspberry Lemonade Squares.  Summer love.











7.  Homemade Pop Tarts.  For when you're too lazy to go to the store.










8.  Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.  Cute and tasty!  














9.  Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  You'll have a cookiegasm as good as the name is long.














10.  Vanilla Passion Fruit Cake. I'm passionate about passion fruit.  And also really, really lame.















So there we go.  Some (but not all) of my favourites from the past 50 posts.  It seems like just yesterday.  Or 5 months ago.  Do I really bake that much?  Jesus.  Anyway, thanks for all your love and support, and even your occasional snarkiness!  Plenty more baking coming your way...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mocha Whoopie Pies, or Top of the Cupcake TO YOU

Whoopie! It's Mocha Whoopie Pies! (That's almost as annoying as cuppycake.  Almost.)

A lot of people are declaring that whoopie pies are the next cupcakes, but I'm not really feeling it.  For one, cupcakes have had a solid run, so can something really be the "next" cupcake?  That's like saying something is the next cake, or brownie.  Cupcakes have surpassed being just a trend, and are pretty much a mainstay in our dessert culture.  That aside, sure whoopie pies have an awesome novelty factor, but they're also more work (marginally) and aren't nearly as cute.  And people fucking love cute.  Whoopie pies can be downright homely sometimes. 


Looks aside, they taste good.  Really good.  They're essentially icing sandwiched between two cupcake tops.  They actually remind me of the hamburger method of cupcake eating.



These little guys were made for my dad's birthday, which comes 8 days after my mom's.  My dad and I have similar taste in dessert so it wasn't that hard to come up with ideas for him.  I've made chocolate whoopie pies before, but wanted something a little bit different.  Mocha it was.  I used a vanilla buttercream filling instead of the ganache used in the recipe.  The vanilla is a lovely complement to the mocha cakes.


They're surprisingly filling, so leave lots of room or wear stretchy pants because you know you'll want to eat a few.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gluten-free Blueberry Buckle


The other day the boyfriend came over with a few cups of blueberries, hopeful I'd bake something he could eat.  Something he can eat = gluten-free, low sugar, and hopefully lactose-free, although I normally slack a bit on the last two components.  We settled on this delicious Blueberry Buckle.
It was fluffy and moist, without the grainy or crumbly texture I've experienced in the past with GF goodies.  It was perfect: I loved it, he loved it, and neither of us got sick or had an allergic reaction.  I think that might be a first.
This recipe comes from Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly.  Both recipes I've made from it so far have been fantastic, and I'm gradually becoming less leery of GF baking. It's a really great cookbook that explains all the different flours, and gives lots of room for substitutions.  A stark contrast from my beloved RLB-- bless her and her rigid consistency. 

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