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Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's time!!!

It's time people!! Time to vote for your favorite cupcake recipe of the Iron Cupcake:Earth challenge ... meaning mine. Hehe.

So head on over to No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and cast your vote, for me and my delicious Apple Cinnamon ... Boozecakes? Hey, I honestly had no clue what to call them and since the IC ingredient was wine, well that's all I could come up with.

Scroll down a bit for the recipe and post to my boozecakes or if you want, just click here.

So come on, help me win please, it would make my day!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Very cool giveaway!!

All About Cakes is having an amazing giveaway and I was lucky enough to find out about it just in time!

All you have to do is post, blog about it and link back to the blog. That's it! Could it get any easier than that? I don't think so!

You're still here? Go post!

Ok ok, so what's so great? Well here's a hint on the prize:That's right!! She's giving away a Betty Crocker 100 Piece Cake Decorating Kit ... but wait, that's not all! She decided to make it a double prize and got an extra set

Yep, you heard right, double! 2 sets so in addition to the first set, you're going to get:
*60 more bags
*20 decorator sculpting combs
*6 large tips
*5 new stencils
*Carrying case
*Storage bag for letter tiles
*Tri star tip and more

How great is that huh?? I say pretty great, so GO, POST, LINK, NOW!!

And congratulations to Rose on her 100th + post, keep up the great work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An apple a day... may make me a winner!!

Apple, cinammon, wine! Hmmm, sounds good right? I thought so, so I decided to bake these cupcakes for the Iron Cupcake:Earth challenge for this month in which the ingredient was... yes you guessed it... apples! Nooo! WINE, how's that for a shocker? Cupcakes and wine? What the *//&*$%%# bleeeep??? Don't get me wrong, I like wine, I do, I even enjoy getting drunk on the stuff once (read often) in a while. I just didn't know how to incorporate (fancy bakers word) it in a cupcake recipe and have it be fantastic! Hey, maybe I need more experience, I'm sure Martha Stewart could do it with her eyes closed, who knows.

Anyhoo... I racked my brain thinking what cupcake am I going to bake with wine that is worthy of winning this challenge and what wine, red, white, frizzy, bubbly, cheap, expensive ... jeez! Make a girl think why don't you?

Sooo, to make a long story short (too late huh?) I decide to bake these sweet wonderful cakes that I love and mix up the recipe a bit with booze!!

I would like to apologize for any bad pictures, lighting, framing, bluriness and everything else that could go wrong with a picture. I am not a professional photographer and do not have one of those fancy cameras that cost like a gizillion bucks and take amazing pictures all by themselves.

And finally... the recipe, with pictures yay! If you want to skip the recipe and amazing professional photography that's fine but please keep reading afterwards to check out the prizes I'm going to win, um, offered and how you can help me win... yes!!!

To make these tasty delights you will need:

*1/2 cup of water

*1/2 cup of red wine (I used Port or Oporto which is sweet)

2 cups sugar

2 cups grated apples

2 cups raisins

2 sticks butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 1/2 cups flour

Place water, wine, sugar, apples, raisins, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a saucepan.

This is how it's going to look, can you see the wine? mmmm...boozie

Bring to boil. I'm not going to show that picture cause it doesn't look that great. Cool completely.

This is what the cooked ingredients will look like.

Stir nuts and baking soda into the flour. No picture for that one, I was too engrossed cooking and forgot! Add to the cooked and cooled mixture.

Here is the complete mix. Looks pretty yummy eh? (eh??? wtf?) Anyways, I can taste the already.

Fill your muffin or cupcake tins till about 3/4 full and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you want to make these absolutely fantastic like mine, combine about 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 water and simmer until a syrup is formed and then add about 1/2 tablespoon of wine and with a pastry brush, brush these puppies as soon as they come out of the oven. This makes them incredibly moist and delicious!

Now for the important part, getting me to win!! Please go over to No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and vote for me!! Yep, that's it, you can do it come on!

Check out the fantastic prices:

When I win, I mean, the winner will receive this amazing ETSY PRIZE-PACK from artists:

cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES
CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for the winner each month until further notice - sweet!

As an added bonus for January, SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY will be tossing in another treat as well.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget the corporate prize providers:
HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,

UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM will be providing the winner with one of their cute cupcake attitude t's!
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.

Who decides the winner of Iron Cupcake:Earth?
You will. You and the entire blogosphere.

During the 5-days following the baking period, a summary of all cupcakes, their photo, and links to their blog post will be live on No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner. In the right hand column of the page there will be a button to vote for the 3 favorite cupcake, based on appearance and summary of each recipe.

Monday, January 19, 2009

French Toast...Pudding??

On sunday mornings I always like to have something special for breakfast. Not sure why, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. As this sunday morning arrived I was thinking what are we going to have today? There's a french toast recipe that I have always wanted to try, but the batter has to be in the fridge overnight and of course I had done none of that the night before. So, I thought about adjusting a great topping for cinnamon rolls that I have to this breakfast favorite. Came out pretty good, nice and gooey, kind of like a pumped up bread pudding. The original recipe calls for pecans, but since my pantry is a little empty I had to improvise with the nuts I had which were almonds and walnuts. I'm not going to post a french toast recipe because I do mine different all the time, I just add stuff until it looks kind of right and that's what I go with. But here is the topping if you would like to try these baked "french toast".

Combine: 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter or margarine and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup. Cook and stir until combined, pour into baking pan and sprinkle with pecans. I love pecans, so I use a lot!

Put your french toast on top of this and if there's any liquid left add that too. Bake at 350 for about 40 min.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buzz...Buzz and a another cake!

Since my oven is still on the fritz, I haven't really been able to bake anything new to share with everyone and it's killing me! I'm posting another specialty cake picture. This one is a Hawaiian themed cake for a girl's birthday party. They loved it! Delicious white spongy cake with a little bit of an orange flavor, filled with cookies 'n' cream... it was a big hit, complete with a flower hopping bee and all on top. I chose this cake, not only because it's one of my favorites but also in honor of a new community I joined called Foodbuzz. It's a really cool place filled with great people, I am brand new but I've found everyone to be very friendly, real food lovers and to have great sites and posts! Check it out and become part of this wonderful sharing community.

To everyone at thank you very much for being so welcoming and keep on buzzing!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Move over Willy Wonka!

I realized I had not posted any pictures of my special cakes so I chose this one which I love. I had a great time making all the lollipops and candy. I even had one of my nieces help out. But the best part was the look on the little girl's face when I arrived to her birthday party with this symphony of sweets!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Martha's Cookies... with a little Tasty twist

These are by far my favorite cookies I think. I got this recipe from Martha Stewart, (not from her directly of course, I wish!) which of course is great, but I decided to change it a little bit and what came out was a truly different and delicious cookie.

So, here's Martha's recipe with my changes...

You can buy chocolate that has already been chunked, or you can just cut up your favorite chocolate.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats or powdered oatmeal (I use this)
1 cup shredded coconut
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks (I just use chocolate chips)
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped (5 ounces) pecans
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set dry ingredients aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter with both sugars; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, milk, and eggs; mix well. Add reserved dry ingredients, and beat until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in oats, chocolate, and pecans. Place dough in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator. Using an ice-cream scoop, shape into 2-inch-diameter balls. Place six balls on each baking sheet, spaced 4 inches apart, and press down
Transfer to oven. Bake until golden, but still soft in center, 15 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Caramel Cream Puffs

Ok, so I decided to take a vacation also. Hey, I really needed it.
Last week I had a dinner party and had to do all the cooking. The menu consisted of a salad with pears and caramelized nuts and a gorgonzola dressing. Roasted sirloin and potatoes with a mustard and pickle sauce and a Bernaisse sauce, fancy... and the most important, the dessert. Caramel Cream Puffs!! Oh my, I've been making cream puffs and eclairs for a while now, and have the pate a choux down thank goodness. But, I had never tried caramel pastry cream, have always wanted too but just never got around to it. OMG!! Why did I wait so long??? I found this recipe, tweeked a little bit and got the creamiest caramel pastry cream I've ever tasted. Not too sweet, just a hint of caramel and very velvety! No need to say, the cream puffs were a big hit! All gone in seconds and not hard to make at all.

Pate a choux
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
Combine butter, 1 cup water and 1/8 tsp salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that does not separate. Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth.
This is your cream puff batter, you can drop by spoonfuls or use a pastry bag and make the puffs or eclairs.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Split puffs and remove any soft dough from inside. Fill with the Pastry Cream!! Yum.
I used a caramel glaze to top the puffs, I dipped them in caramelized sugar before I split them so they wouldn't crumble in my hands later.

Caramel pastry cream
1/4 cup cornstarch or flour (you can use either)
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream (this makes it much silkier)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Add cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl and mix together well. Add the egg yolks and mix until paste is formed. Stir in 1/2 cup milk.
Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar and water in small heavy pot and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan but not stirring until sugar turns medium amber.
Carefully pour in remaining milk and heavy cream and stir until smooth.
Bring mixture to a simmer and then pour hot mixture over mixture in bowl whisking constantly.
Pour back into pan, cook over moderate heat stirring until smooth and thick.
Remove from heat, stir an additional minute, add the vanilla.
Transfer to a bowl, immediately cover with plastic wrap. Cool for at least 2 hours.

Strawberries and Cream

Due to an unforeseen oven malfunction I am forced to come up with a dessert for tonight's dinner without having to bake anything. What on earth am I going to come up with that doesn't require me to use my oven? Thankfully I didn't have to rack my brain for too long since there is a simple and easy dessert that requires no baking at all. We have been having strawberries and cream at our get together's for the longest time and they are always delicious and never boring. You are always safe with this dessert, it does not dissapoint and you can vary it in so many ways. You can use peaches instead of strawberry, you can add vanilla icecream... delicious! Normally, I would take this up a notch and make some merengue shells to go with it, that's always good, but since I don't have an oven to work with, I'm going to have to stick to old fashioned strawberries and whipped cream.
For the strawberries you only have to wash and cut in fours and then sprinkle with plenty of sugar so that this sweet syrup forms.
Here is a recipe I found for the whipped cream, honestly, I would use more confectioner's sugar and vanilla than recommended but that's because I like my whipped cream to be sweet, you can adjust to your taste of course this is always the best way to make anything. Remember to have all your utensils cold and not to over whip the cream or it will curdle. Enjoy!!
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip until stiff:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
And that's it, you have your strawberries all ready in that sugary syrup and your whipped cream and you're ready to go!

Favorite Cookies

My mom came over the other day with a gift. A box of homemade assorted cookies!! Yay, just what I needed! There were Russian Tea cakes, Almond cookies, these yummy cornstarch cookies that are like shortbread but better and Biscotti. This got me to thinking about which was my favorite. Now, I really like cookies so I have a lot of favorites but from this batch today I would definitely have to say the Cornstarch cookies... they're just melt in your mouth goodness. Coming in a close second, Almond squares. This one is actually a secret family recipe and I've never tasted anything like it.
Let me know if you have any favorite cookie and the recipe and I'll try them out!
Thanks mom!!!

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