Monday, September 29, 2008

I've Been Slacking

Regrettably I have not been able to participate in a couple of my baking blogs. I didn't do last week's TWD and I won't be able to do this week's TWD either. I have good reason though! I have to pace myself and prepare myself for the mass amounts of cupcakes I will be making this Friday. 400 to be exact. I am totally gonna take pictures, because honestly, I don't even know what 400 cupcakes looks like! Fun stuff.

Additionally, I skipped this month's Daring Bakers. It did not interest me in the least. I would have made something for nothing as neither Glenn nor myself found "Crackers" to be worth spending time and money on. I am all for experimenting and trying new things to expand my repertoire, but crackers seemed a bit silly. That's that. I'll be doing the next challenge regardless though.

Until later, Happy Baking!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Like I'm A Real Baker Now!

Don't you just love those plastic cupcake boxes? I was telling Glenn that putting my cupcakes in those boxes made me feel like a REAL baker. He just said to me "Love, you already are a real baker." How sweet, but then I added in that a real baker gets paid. I found those boxes at the nearby Wholesale Bakery store that I had no idea existed. It won't be long before I return to that glorious place.

After the successes of Cupcake Wednesdays at work, I have been asked to make cupcakes for the Homecoming Dance. How AWESOME is that?!?!?! 400 cupcakes to be exact. Honestly, I have no idea how I will pull it off. I have a grand total of 3 standard 12 cup muffin pans and one oven. Thankfully the cafeteria manager at school is willing to help me out by letting me use the school kitchen after hours. I can't really refuse an offer to make a couple hundred bucks and do what I love to do.

Tomorrow is going to be the sampling/tasting day for the seniors to make sure they like my goods. If they do, then I get the greenlight to start preparing myself. If not, well I don't really know. It's nice because they're trying to keep the money within the school if possible as opposed to just doing what they used to do and order from the grocery stores. That is really nice I think. Lucky me, I am the one benefiting from this. I would like to think that everyone else is too, because honestly, I think my cupcakes are way better than store bought.

Today I made 4 different kinds of cupcakes and 2 frostings for the samples. It was definitely a challenge to 1/2 and sometimes 1/4 the recipe, mostly because figuring out what half an egg looks like is definitely its own challenge. I made Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting, Traditional Yellow with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream.

I really hope they like my stuff. I was really disappointed in the chocolate cupcakes because they spread out way too much and didn't get a dome top at all. If they want chocolate I will pick a different recipe of mine. In my opinion, the Red Velvet turned out beautifully with perfect domes and everything. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Cupcakes in Arizona

Glenn and I rarely venture into the Scottsdale area mostly because we don't like the people there. There is a reason my mom calls the place "Snotsdale." In any event, we were searching for a new place to eat breakfast before we set out on our trek to find Glenn a new bike and for me to go to the awesome wholesale bakery shop and we found ourselves right in the middle of Scottsdale. After breakfast, Glenn asked me if I wanted to go to Sprinkles since we were actually here, and who knows when we would be back. Well, I can't really turn down cupcakes can I, so we went.

I guess I will never understand all the madness an obsession of this place. It's quite simple inside, which I approve of, but the girls behind the counter are completely clueless if not rude. There is no attempt made to help people or to explain anything, like their idiotic whoever speaks up first gets served first policy. After the man in front of me motioned for me to go ahead, I ordered two cupcakes, Red Velvet and Peanut Butter Chocolate. After waiting 5 minutes, seriously, we were directed to pay $7.02. Ouch.

I had the first cupcake in the car, the Red Velvet and the most irritating thing happened. No, we didn't hit a bump that made my cupcake go flying. However, I did peel off the paper only to have the top of the cupcake fall off. Great, I hate when that happens. Whatever. Flavor-wise, it was decent, but a tad dry and a little dense. The frosting was a huge letdown. My favorite part of Red Velvet is the cream cheese frosting. I'm not sure if they even remembered to put the cream cheese in, it was pretty plain. Plain, but tasty.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate gets a big fat... MEH. The cake was overly dense and had an oddly artificial taste to it. I actually wondered if they used real peanut butter or a flavoring oil or something. Kinda fishy if you ask me. The frosting was a plus though. It was a very complimentary peanut butter fudge flavor that didn't leave a film in my mouth at all.

Sorry Oprah and Paris. These really aren't the best cupcakes. Try Buttercream Cupcakes in Florida or Yummy Cupcakes in Santa Monica if you want to know what a REAL cupcake tastes like. Don't believe the hype and save your wallet.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cakespy's "Sweet 100"

I've been seeing that "Omnivore's 100" floating around on various blogs quite often. I contemplated doing one for myself but then realized I am too picky and my list would be boring. However, I found a new 100 list right up my alley. Cakespy has compiled their own list exclusively for those with a sweet tooth. I love this idea. Without further ado, here is Cakespy's "Sweet 100."

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.
5) Optional: Post a comment here linking to your results--or just post a comment letting us know how many you've tried, or what you're going to try next!

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and White Cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (aka Magic Bar or Hello Dolly Bar)
9. Fried Fruit Pies (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with Clotted Cream
13. Bett, Grunt, Slump, Buckle, or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers
17. Bubble Tea (with tapioca "pearls")
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout Cookies
24. Moon Cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo Bar
29. Baba Au Rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon/Mille-Fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac Biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch Baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey Butter Cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green Tea Cake or Cookies
55. Cupcakes from a Cupcake Shop
56. Creme Brulee
57. Some Sort of Deep Fried Fair Food
58. Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "Upside Down" Dessert (pineapple upside down cake or tarte tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a Mold
65. Black Forest Cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer Torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat Pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle/ Lobster Tail
76. Pain au Chocolat
77. A Piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow Cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits Fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade Marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or Cake made with Candy Bar Flavors (Snickers Pie, Reeses Pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas Foster or some other Flaming Dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal Crackers
100. Basbousa

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cupcakes in Florida

Apparently whenever we go out of town I now feel the need to visit at least one cupcake shop. I would love to visit more, but we always have such whirlwind vacations that there is never time. Besides, I have to get at least 4 cupcakes to make a good judgement and Glenn never wants them. A girl can only eat so many cupcakes in 3 days.

On this trip to Florida, we visited Buttercream Cupcakes and Coffee. It was a very cute little place in a small strip of similarly sized stores. There is very little room in front of the display case and with 8 people trying to see the cupcakes, it was a bit difficult. I don't mind that though because I really appreciate small independent businesses. Bigger spaces mean bigger costs. Total, we got 6 cupcakes. I chose 4 of them, which I ate all by myself, and they were Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Triple Chocolate and Vanilla Chocolate Chip. My friend Sandra chose Red Velvet and Oreo.

All of the cupcakes were wickedly moist, and that isn't something most bakeries can master, but these were heavenly. The frosting on all of them was light and fluffy and slightly over proportioned to the cake, but that is how I like mine. My favorite would have to be the Red Velvet. With the cake being as moist as it was and the cream cheese frosting perfectly smooth was to die for, how could I say no?

The service there was decent, but it didn't help that the lady in front of us with her son was an idiot. She asked what every single flavor was like. Really? What don't you understand about lime cupcake lady?

Cupcake Wednesday: Vanilla Overload

It is time again to celebrate office birthdays at work, and big surprise! Guess who was asked to make cupcakes...again: Me! I really do love all the attention, I try not to let it go to my head. Since everyone here is useless when it comes to suggestions, I decided to showcase one of my new purchases... Vanilla Bean Paste.

Oh my goodness, that stuff is heavenly! I would like to bathe in it if I could, the scent is just intoxicating. In any event, I decided to adapt a vanilla cupcake recipe to suit my desires. For the frosting I made a delicious cream cheese vanilla bean frosting. It was so good! I made minis for the rest of the staff to pick up, and everyone raved about the frosting. Yeah, it was that good. In any event, enjoy my attempt at rolling the edges of the cupcakes in sprinkles in an effort to add some variety to my decorating "skills." Do be warned however, these are not for the vanilla shy.

This recipe was adapted from one that I found on the Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit called 3 vanilla cupcakes. Here is my version

Intense Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 2 dozen standard cupcakes and 2 dozen mini cupcakes

18 T butter at room temperature
2 2/3 C vanilla sugar
3 large eggs
4 C flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 C milk
2 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 T vanilla bean paste

1 C (2sticks) butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese
3 T milk
1 T vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ½ C powdered sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes

3. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until well combined.

4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl

5. Combine milk with vanilla extract and paste.

6. Alternating between the dry ingredients and the wet, gradually add to the butter mixture starting and ending with the dry.

7. Fill muffin cups roughly 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes for about 22-24 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fixation Friday: Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Torte

***Sorry about the lack of photos. Blogger decided to rebel while I was away in FL***

Nothing like peanut buttery chocolate goodness on a Friday! Well, actually, not this Friday for me, because I am in Florida. I made this on Monday and used the wonders of blogger scheduling. Anyway...

This Chocolate Fixation recipe was chosen by Shandy of Pastry Heaven. I was SUPER excited to try this because I adore the combo of PB & C. Who doesn't? I have made many different peanut butter and chocolate pies/tortes so I was excited to try this one that seemed slightly different. As opposed to a typical graham cracker or cookie crust that has been pre-made, this one used a yummy brown sugar/butter/cocoa/flour/peanut combo that I found very tasty. Then it required pre-baking, which none of my other crusts have.

Speaking of baking, I made cookies that same day and turned off the oven when I was done with them. Then I turned the oven on again when I realized that I would be baking this crust. Then I got distracted and decided I was done for the day and turned the oven off. 15 minutes later I changed my fickle mind again and I made the crust and put it in the oven. Did you notice something there? Yeah, I never turned the oven back on again. I didn't notice that until I took the crust out and it wasn't very hot. Whatever, there wasn't anything harmful in the crust so I left it warm and partially baked.

Aside from that, everything else for this was super easy. I actually quartered the recipe because I didn't want to have a ton of leftovers in the fridge while we were gone. The best part was that I got to use my super cute mini springform pan! Hooray! I snapped a few quick pictures and then I took it upstairs so Glenn and I could devour it while we watched the terrifically awful made for TV movie "Category 7 - The End of the World" Don't waste your time in case you were wondering. It's too long to be entertaining.

To check out the recipe, go here. By the way, I give major kudos to all those people who take beautiful pictures of their food. Very rarely am I patient enough and strong willed enough to take the time and get a beautiful picture when delectable food is staring me in the face.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I've Hit the Big Time

Oh my goodness! As I am browsing through Cupcakes Take the Cake I screech to a halt. Wait a sec... that is MY picture! Where did that come from? I didn't even submit it? I was so excited! Hehe, I'm a nerd, and my overzealousness proves it. Anyway, you can see me rollin with the big boys here.

Oh yeah, and I also got featured on the U.S.S. Mariner site which is a fan site for the Seattle Mariners. Woohoo!

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

Or rather, Triple Chip and Whatever Nuts Are In the Pantry Chocolate Chunkers. I think Dorie's title is a bit better, you know, being succinct is a good thing. Once again, the weekend got away from me, but for good reason. We were celebrating Glenn's birthday, so I suppose it is okay. Now it is Monday (as I am writing this post) and I completely forgot TWD was tomorrow. How is it possible I forget these things when I do them every week?

We're leaving for Florida this Thursday night so we have been holding off on grocery shopping because inevitably everything we buy would be bad by the time we got back on Sunday. So for this TWD, instead of going to the store and buying the appropriate ingredients, I decided to screw it and make do with what I had in the pantry and fridge. Lo and behold, I give you a chocolate cookie packed with peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, chopped pecans, and chopped walnuts. Who cares if all of that doesn't go together. They smell good.

For once my cookies came out somewhat like the picture in the book. Hooray! I have fat little chubby cookies at last! This was another quick and easy recipe chosen this week by Claudia of Fool for Food and I really enjoyed it. I like when I can come home from work and just throw together a batch of yummy sweetness at a moment's notice. This week's TWD in one word: chunky

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hooray for today! It's my lover's Birthday! Today Glenn turns 26, what an old man, especially since I'm not even 22 yet! I'm just kidding of course, he's still got a few more years before the big 3-0 comes around. Sorry sorry, I just can't help it.

For his birthday, Glenn requested that I FINALLY make the Seattle Mariner Mousse Cupcakes that he's been dying to try. Those were actually the first "baseball cupcakes" that he came up with. What else could I do but oblige him?

These cupcakes are a fudge cupcake with added chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The frosting is a light and fluffy chocolate mousse, and I added a little something extra special. I made moose ears! Well, not ears, but antlers, and they are SO CUTE! They were really fun to make and I am really proud of myself. After all, I did have to make these a little "extra special" since they are doubling as Baseball Cupcakes and Birthday Cupcakes.

The recipe can be found here. These are very much like brownies as opposed to cupcakes, so don't be startled by the thickness of the batter or the denseness of the cupcakes when they are done.

In any event, Happy Birthday Lover! I hope that today is absolutely wonderful. I am so blessed to be part of your life (especially as your wife!) I love you forever!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cupcake Wednesdays: Pink Lemonade

Keeping up with the (new) tradition, I present you with this Wednesday's cupcake. Pink lemonade cupcakes. Basically these are a white cupcake kicked up with some mashed up strawberries as well as Kool-Aid lemonade powder and some lemon juice. I still have a good amount of tweaking to do until I think they are perfect. I think my stroke of genius came when I decided to brush lemon juice on the cupcakes as soon as they were out of the oven. Brilliant I tell you, brilliant. Anyway, these are quite good. Unfrosted, they are very muffin like, but that isn't a bad thing. Once I get my recipe perfected I will post it.

BTW, I make these the day ahead, obviously, since I am certainly not crazy enough to wake up at 2 in the morning to get these ready before work. So sue me if I post a Wednesday topic on Tuesday.

TWD: Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops

This one definitely sounded promising. I love Whoppers. I always make myself sick eating them when I get them at the movie theatres. At least now they are in manageable portions. This week's recipe was chosen by Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart (btw I love the color of her blog) and I was excited to try it.

The dough was very simple to make, as most cookie doughs are. However, in my haste to finish before my Pizza Hut delivery came, I wasn't paying attention and creamed 2 sticks of butter with the sugar instead of the 1 1/3 sticks of butter. Oops! I scraped that out, threw it out, and started over. At least I figured out my mistake before I wasted much else right? After that it was all smooth sailing. Baking them was a different story. Maybe my book was messed up or something, but it didn't have an oven temperature. Kind of odd. I guessed 350. I think I underbaked my cookies a bit too much, but I like them still. I like gooey cookies. To me, it just means they will last longer before they dry out.

Thanks Rachel! Good recipe pick this week. This was a great sweet tooth pacifier (aside from the fact that my cookies were severly underbaked and came out flat, very unlike the thick ones in the picture.) I still enjoyed them a lot. The only change was using Nesquik instead of the malted chocolate milk powder, They only had the plain flavor there and I was not about to pay 6 dollars for Ovaltine that I would not use. I will however be finishing off the Nesquik though. Yum! This week's TWD in one word: malty

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fixation Friday: Chocolatiest Crinkles

Yay! The first "challenge" of my very own baking group. We make anything and everything chocolate twice a month. I like to call our members "addicts" because really, who isn't addicted to chocolate. I've been really excited to start this group. It isn't strict, there aren't too many rules, and the main point is to have fun and eat chocolate. It can be a complicated recipe, or it can be as easy as chocolate rice krispie squares. Whatever. If you are interested, you can go to the site Chocolate Fixation, and there you will also find the recipe for this week.

These cookies are called Chocolatiest Crinkles. I chose them because I haven't made them since Christmas and Glenn loves them, and I thought he deserved a treat. They are also pretty easy to make too. I tweaked mine a bit. I don't roll them in powdered sugar before I bake them because I don't like the way they turn out. Instead I bake them without any added sugar, but after they are mostly cooled, I sift some over the cookies and it looks like snow. Fun stuff. These are great cookies, I reccommend them to anyone who likes chocolate.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes!!!

Imagine my surprise after a month of working and bringing in goodies to the staff when my boss asks me if I can make something special for the Dean and her assistant who happened to have birthdays on the same day. Big surprise right? Yeah, I don't think so. Everyday I have a random teacher come by and ask if I have anything. Sheesh. I spoil them, but they may start to hate me if they get fat. You can't fault the baker when you're the taker. Anyway, I love my job. I am so happy to be there and I love the people I work with. I have so much fun with everyone, especially when I bring in treats.

My big dilemma here was I had no idea what to make. As I am sitting in my office earlier today I overhear a handful of people in the office next door to me talking about sweets. Of course my ears prick up, so I walked next door and asked for suggestions. You know what I get as an answer? "Whatever you want, be creative!" Boo. Worst answer ever. My only real stipulation was I wanted to use buttermilk because I have a ton right now. I finally nagged them into suggestions. One, make it gooey, in other words, put stuff in it so it explodes like the eclairs. Okay. Second suggestion, chocolate, because everyone likes chocolate. Third suggestion, oh wait, there was no suggestion. It amazes me how people are so opinionated, but when I ask their opinion about baked goods, they are put into a stupor. I guess sugar does that to you.


They probably won't ever see that, but now they can't say I don't care.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cupcake Wednesday

Yes, I do know that it is not Wednesday yet. However, at work we have Late Start Wednesdays where the students can go in for extra help and the teachers can prep or have meetings, whatever, until 9:30 am. I decided that Wednesdays would be the best day for me to bring in cupcakes because that way the teachers who can't normally make it to my office will have time to.

Since Glenn started the Baseball Cupcakes blog for me, I have been making the recipes that he finds for Cupcake Wednesdays. Last week's was Philadelphia Phillie Cream Cheese Cupcakes (pictured below) and this week's was Cincinnati Red Velvet Cupcakes (pictured above.)

The cream cheese cupcakes were a big hit last week and I have a feeling these red velvet cupcakes will be well received as well. Unfortunately my red velvet was more like pinkish brown velvet. Whatever. If you want to see the recipes, head over to the Baseball Cupcakes blog.

***Update: Everyone ADORED the red velvet cupcakes. So many people asked me for the recipe. I had to turn a blind eye to certain returning customers who came back not once, not twice, but three times to steal another yummy cupcake.

TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Whew... that title is a mouthful.

Like I said last Tuesday, I am totally getting this done on time. I am actually writing this on Wednesday the 27th and setting it to post at 12:01 AM on Tuesday the 2nd. Hooray for me. Enough back patting for me though.

I really enjoyed this recipe. It was so simple to make, but then again, most of Dorie's recipes are. If you can keep everything you need for the recipe close by, most recipes whip up in a matter of minutes. I can't really say the same thing about the pies and such, but oh well. Anyway, Glenn just opened the fridge and went, "Mmmmm... Cookie dough!" As he went to reach for the bowl, I quickly informed him that there's oatmeal in it. As soon as I could finish speaking he looked at me all disgusted like and says, "Why do I let you buy oatmeal? Never again, that's nasty!" In case it wasn't obvious enough, Glenn doesn't like oatmeal. Whatever, I don't make stuff with oatmeal all that much, and when I do, he doesn't need to eat it. It's not like I don't have an alternative form of sweets! The chocolate banded ice cream torte is sitting in the freezer right now, not to mention he just finished a piece of it. He boggles my mind sometimes, but I love him. I'm a major p.i.t.a. for him so I suppose we are even.

Anyway, now that one cookie has made it from bowl to oven to my mouth, I can officially say that I really like these cookies. I made a couple minor changes. First, I used half peanut butter chips and half chocolate chips and second I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown. Both changes made a big difference. Well I don't actually know that, but they sure are enjoyable cookies. They have that deep warmth and richness to them, if that makes any sense, but they feel good to eat. I suppose that's why they, whoever they is, coined the term "comfort food." Since I like my cookies on the chewier side, I baked mine at the minimum time, but I would suggest a minute or so less. I'm really glad I made these despite Glenn's protestations. This week's TWD in one word: warm

I Got Your Crazy