Category Archives: Baking

Baby Love

Seems like it’s baby season right now. Every where I look my friends have just had or are having a baby. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of baking the cake and cupcakes for a friend’s baby shower. I was quite nervous with this being my first big event, but I think the end results were not too shabby.

Now for some details. I call this cake my Ruffle Cake. This particular ruffle cake was strawberry, lemon poppy seed cake filled with strawberry buttercream and iced with vanilla buttercream icing. I used a rose tip to pipe the icing and it took what felt like half my life to ice the entire cake. The cupcakes were chocolate cake filled with nutella and topped with vanilla buttercream icing.

My favorite part of the shower (besides the glowing guest of honor) was when a guest came up to me and asked me if the cupcakes were filled with nutella. After I said yes, she shook my hand and said ‘spectacular.’ I never never did find out her name but she totally made my day :).

Here are some more fun pictures:

I made little flags to top the cupcakes. The crowd favorite was ‘B is for Booger.’ I really wanted to put ‘B is for Boob’ but couldn’t get the image of kids running around the room screaming boob so I decided to leave that one out.

Since the cake was very tall (a little over 10 inches) I placed a cardboard piece in the middle of the cake so it would be essentially be a 2 tier cake when cutting. Very easy to do, just make sure you tell the person cutting the cake not to try to cut all the way through.


The Pretzel Cupcake

For folks who love a salty and sweet treat, this cupcake is for you!

The Pretzel Cupcake is a fun way to jazz up a classic recipe. And it looks pretty cool too.

Why Did The Banana Go To The Doctor?

Because the banana was not peeling well….hahahooahhaha oh my, I think I need a vacation.

Okay, let’s be serious for a moment and talk about these seriously good Banana Nut Muffins.

A while back a friend asked me to post a good banana bread recipe. I know, I know, this isn’t banana bread. But what’s a girl to do without a loaf pan on hand. Don’t worry though, these delicious Banana Nut Muffins can easily be converted to a banana bread recipe.

One of your bananas needs to be mashed by fork. You want to just lightly mash it to give your muffins good texture.

The other banana you can mix until smooth along with the brown sugar, butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.

Now this is the important step. When mixing in the dry ingredients, do NOT use a mixer. Use a spatula and gently mix in the dry ingredients and mashed banana until just incorporated. Over mixing will cause the muffins to come out tough. Don’t worry about lumps, they will bake away. The key to super moist and soft banana nut muffins or banana bread is to not over mix and using super ripe bananas!

Fill each muffin tin about half way. Use an ice cream scoop to have the muffins bake to the same size. They will be nice and moist and will peel out of the tins easily after they are baked.

Okay, just one more. What do you call two banana skins? A pair of slippers.

Get Your Day Rollin’ with Cinnamon Rolls

I am very shamelessly admitting to my fellow readers that I have eaten 6 cinnamon rolls in the span of 4 days. I am well on my way to a bigger pant size and utter happiness.

People often ask what I do with all the baked goods I make. I always spread the wealth. I have some very happy co-workers and friends. This week, the only person that was happy was me.

Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls are a sure fire way to make any Sunday morning better. Little did I know I was going to be making my Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning better.

This was a very special day for me. I got to use my dough hook attachment in my standing mixer for the first time! That just looks fun, doesn't it?

After pulling the dough off the super fun dough hook, knead it for another 30 seconds with your hand and shape it into the shape above..oval?

Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and let it rise for about 2 hours.

Now for the fun part. Punch the dough to take the air out. Then place it on a well floured surface and use your knuckles to get the rest of the air bubbles out of the dough.

After you have rolled your dough out into a 12x16 rectangle, spread your filling (brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans) on the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border on one of the 16 inch sides (preferable the side away from you). Lightly pat the filling into the dough.

Roll the dough using your fingers and thumbs (coolest part of your hands).

Slice the rolls in half. Then in thirds. Then in thirds again. This will help you cut the rolls evenly so they will all be the same size.

You would think the recipe is coming to an end. Negative. At this point, I put the rolls into a well buttered pan. Covered it well with saran wrap and then placed the pan in the refrigerator overnight. I actually prefer this 2-day method of making cinnamon rolls because otherwise you’d have to wake up at 6 a.m. in order to get the recipe done before brunch…and that ain’t happening.

In the morning, you want to 'proof' your dough for about 30 minutes. All this involves is placing your rolls in an unheated oven over a bowl or pan of boiling water. The steam will wake up the yeast.

After you have proofed the cinnamon rolls, place them in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Once the rolls have cooled slightly, pour your cream cheese icing over each roll. Make sure it gets in all the nooks and crannies!

Eat immediately. And then for 5 days after. Unless you plan on sharing. But sometimes sharing is overrated.

Napoleons – GOSH!

Want to make a special dessert for your honey this Valentine’s Day? No? Okay. Want to make a special dessert for yourself?? Either way, these Strawberry Napoleons are the way to go. They are fun, unique and most importantly, tasty.

Strawberry Napoleons

Napoleons are traditionally a French dessert made with layers of puff pastry filled with pastry cream. Let’s put tradition aside for a little while and see what we can come up with. The most obvious detour I took from the tradition napoleon was the substitution of fresh strawberry whipped cream in the place of pasty cream. I have never been a fan of pasty cream as I find it to be a little too rich. I’m probably the only girl you’ll find who will pass up a cream filled donut :(. So I decided to make a lighter, fresher filling.

Fresh whipped cream whisked to stiff peaks.

Freshly diced strawberries.

Gently fold the strawberries into the whipped cream. Do not over mix because you want to keep the whipped cream nice and fluffy.

Cut out the puff pastry with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place another pan on top of the pastries so they do not 'puff' too much making it easier to create the layers in the Napoleons.

Assembly: puff pastry -> strawberry whipped cream -> puff pastry -> strawberry whipped cream -> puff pastry.

Sift some powdered sugar on top of each napoleon.

Top with fresh strawberry and you have a pretty good looking dessert!

Banana Pudding….Cupcakes!

Did someone say Banana Pudding? Nope. Someone said Banana Pudding Cupcakes!

Yes my friends, these are as delicious as they sound (and look). Some may even say, my best creation yet :).

Mash two ripe (almost completely browned) bananas. The browner the banana, the more banana flavor you'll have in your cake.

Add the mashed bananas to the cake batter once it has been prepared.

Check out this fun cupcake corer the hubs snuck into my stocking this Christmas.

The corer pulls out the center of the cupcake - same mechanism as a wine bottle opener.

Use a piping bag to fill the cupcake with the vanilla pudding.

Push the cake that is stuck in the cupcake corer back in the potion you just cored. The filling will not ooze out, it will mostly seep through the rest of the cupcake making it moist and delicious!

Okay, I skipped a few steps here. But basically what I did was crumble some Nila Wafers onto the cupcake before icing it (you might see some peeking out from underneath the icing). Then I piped the icing (which by the way is a fresh whipped cream based icing so it’s very light and fluffy) and finally I placed a Nila Wafer in the middle of the icing for garnish.

Wah-Lah! Banana Pudding Cupcakes!

One important disclaimer for this recipe. The shelf life on these cupcakes is pretty short. The cake portion will stay fresh if properly stored for 3-4 days. However, once you get the Nila Wafers and icing involved, time until soggy mess increases exponentially! I’d highly recommend only icing these puppies right before serving. Don’t worry, they are so tasty that you won’t have any leftovers to worry about storing.

Happy New Year!

As the New Year begins, it’s inevitable to reflect back on the year gone by. I have so much to be thankful for and the number one thing on that list by miles is my husband. He has been beyond supportive of all my endeavors not matter how out of reach they feel at times. It’s rare to find someone in life who is not only your biggest cheerleader (sorry Neil, couldn’t think of a better analogy) but also a partner who is hell bent on making sh** happen.

Other things I am grateful for include:
1. My friends and family (that’s a constant).
2. Launching my blog.
3. Finding a job in this crap economy. It might not be the job of my dreams but it’s still something to be very grateful for.
4. My beautiful new standing mixer….and ice cream attachment.
5. Baked Apple Cinnamon Donuts.

My first step in the culinary world began in 2011. In the coming year I want to set forth a few ‘hopes.’ Forgive me for not calling them resolutions, but I simply hate that word as every year I see empty resolutions being thrown out there and never being realized.

In 2012 I hope to:
1. Continue to blog at least once a week.
2. Learn/Create 25 new recipes.
3. Finalize my online cupcake website (I’m going to have to sneak this ‘hope’ onto my husband’s list).

Happy New Year to all my friends and family! And a special call out to the new friends I have made through this blog. Wishing you a fantastic new year!

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