mmmmm caaarmel.

I woke up last Sunday and felt really ambitious.  That rarely happens.  So, I decided to trek into more uncharted territory and make salted caramel cupcakes.  Best decision of my life so far.  Well, that might be a stretch, but it’s right up near the top of the list.  Lucky for me, I found a recipe that made it pretty easy!

This whole ordeal was full of firsts for me.  I’ve never had/made a brown sugar cupcake before.  It may be my favorite kind of cupcake.  I don’t know how I’ve lived this long and never made them before!  Super simple and crazy good.

Also, I’ve never made filled cupcakes before.  Fortunately, I got this cool little tool for removing the stems from strawberries at Williams Sonoma, and that worked perfectly to make a tiny little divot to fill with caramel-y goodness.

AND I’d never worked with homemade caramel before.  Who knew that you can dump a little sugar and some magic in a pan and it makes caramel?  It’s not surprisingly delicate to work with.  It can go from perfect to a black mess in a blink.  I have more sympathy for those caramel-burning pastry chefs on Cupcake Wars now.  Seriously, every week, someone burns the caramel.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t totally thrilled with the frosting at first.  All I could taste was butter.  BUT when I ate one later, it was delicious and I could taste the caramel.  I think I was just used to eating (drinking?) the real stuff from the pan.

Happy Valentine’s Day–Part 1

We dreamed up this idea a couple weeks ago and have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to execute it.  We decided to make mini-cupcakes with a surprise inside!  The surprise?  A cookie!  We made strawberry cupcakes with a Nilla Wafer baked into the bottom and Valentines Fun-Fetti cupcakes with a mini Oreo baked into the bottom.  They are so cute and delicious–it’s like a yummy little crust at the bottom of the cake!

We learned a lot about mini cupcakes today: 1) bake them at around 325 for 18 minutes; 2) one box of cake mix will make 72 mini cupcakes; and 3) one canister of frosting will frost 72 mini cupcakes.

So, after I tied on the apron I made in the 7th grade and queueing up Frank Sinatra, we rocked out 12 dozen mini cupcakes.  12 DOZEN.  Needless to say, we are taking a ton to work and making Valentine’s deliveries to family friends!

Thank you, morning sunshine, for making my pics turn out great!

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

This week, we decided to create Cookie Monster cupcakes.  Good news–we were successful!  With the help of the internet, we found some great pictures and tutorials here that we tweaked a little bit.

We used all of the same materials except the black fondant.  We just used normal black icing for the eyes.

cookie monster eyes--candy melts and black icing

Two things that stumped us for a minute: 1) we had no idea where to find “white chocolate buttons” and didn’t feel ambitious enough to go to a fancy candy store, so we used vanilla Wilton Candy Melts.

And 2) we didn’t realize until we were in the middle of the process that the coconut used in the tutorial was desiccated–not just a bag of flaked coconut.  If you’re like us, you might be wonder what the heck the difference is…with the help of a smart phone, we found out that desiccated coconut is basically dried coconut flakes.  So we improvised and emptied the bag of flakes onto a cookie sheet and popped it in the oven (heated to about 250) for a bit–make sure to check on it and stir it around to evenly dry it all, and be careful not to toast it!

 

We also modified the mouth because our cupcakes weren’t as giant as the tutorial’s.  We just made a slit in the top of each cake and jammed a cookie half in (we cut each Chip’s Ahoy in half so it wouldn’t overwhelm the rest of the monster).

To get the coconut to stick, we frosted the cupcakes first with icing that was almost the same shade of blue as the coconut, then we rolled each one in the coconut.  There’s a picture of it below.

Without further ado…the pictures really speak for themselves!

Unicorn Cake

Full disclosure:  most of the credit for this creation goes to my best friend.  She’s really good at kitchen stuff…and I’m not really trust worthy with sharp knives (like the one used to cut the shapes for this one).

My roommate recently had a birthday and she really loves unicorns, so my best friend and I decided to put our creative skills to the test and create a unicorn cake!  We really couldn’t have done it without the help of Google.  Believe me, if you search for “unicorn cake” you will see some seriously amazing cakes!  Luckily, she found this pattern that seemed pretty manageable.  We followed the instructions pretty closely–except she used an 8″ square instead of 9.”  Oh, and we used vanilla CandiQuik and sugar dyed light pink for the horn.  I think the end result was pretty great!

Here are some pics of the process:

Today, we just finished up some Micky Mouse cupcakes for another friend’s birthday.  So I’ll post those pics soon too.