Thursday, December 31, 2009

Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year!

I personally cannot wait for 2010 to begin.  Good riddance, 2009!  We are lucky enough to spend a low key evening with a few close friends who are very special to us.  Since champagne will be my drink of choice for the evening, I thought I'd give champagne cupckes a whirl.  YUM!  I think they taste great, and I'm hoping my friends will, too. The cupcake itself is a sort of white cake mixed with champagne, and the icing is a basic buttercream recipe with some more champagne added.  Once the cupcakes cooled, I also brushed some champagne on top of them to soak into the cake. 

I found this idea out of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Book, but adapted it with chocolate numbers and clock hands instead of icing and photocopies. 

I didn't get as creative with the leftovers...just wrote 2010, which I am hoping turns out to be a great year for everyone. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowman Cupcakes


My brother, Jimmy, and I always had a deal growing up.  He shoveled...I stayed inside and baked cookies.  Once, I even felt bad and tried to help shovel, and he said, "What are you doing?  You need to be baking cookies!"  Well, we're both grown up and married now, but I still bake cookies every time it snows out, and today was no different.  I was so excited to get the phone call last night that work was cancelled for today...mostly because I haven't had time to make Christmas cookies!  I've baked all day, but I still have more to make. 

In addition to cookies, my friend, Denise, asked me to make some cupcakes for her school Christmas Party.  Considering that two feet of snow is currently laying on the ground, I thought snowman cupcakes would suffice.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

Butterscotch Oatmeal Uncle Sean loved them two years ago when I made them, and since he and his family are coming for Christmas Eve, I thought I'd make them again.

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oreo Cake

Happy 21st Birthday, Ben!

Ok, so maybe his birthday was on Tuesday, but we are planning on celebrating today...if my in-laws can get here through the 2 feet of snow!  They say they are still coming, so we will see.  Either way, pulled pork is in the crockpot and the cake is made. 

My lovely friends, Maureen & Andy, bought me these awesome cake pans.  So adorable.  I thought Ben might like it.  Chocolate Cake with Creme Filling.  Yum.  The cake pans are fantastic...a little hard to butter and flour, though, but totally worth it in the end.  Do you think we could eat dessert first?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

All cupcaked up and nowhere to go...

There is no doubt about it...I have a love affair with snow.  It makes me smile, and there is something so cozy about baking while the snow is falling outside.  However, snow has crossed me today.  We had a lovely plan: Bake all day, help my lovely friends, Jen and Mandy, decorate their tree (my new favorite yearly tradition), and lastly, head to my Aunt and Uncle's house for their yearly "Firetruck" Christmas party, where we would be able to see all of my favorite people who have been away at college.  The baking was accomplished, and we made it to our friend's house to decorate the tree.  However, seeing as it took 20 minutes to get to our friends' home when it normally takes 2 minutes, we thought it best not to tempt fate and head to my Aunt and Uncle's.  Turns out, we weren't the only ones who bailed.  My brother, Johnny, was the only one who made it there, and it looks as though he'll be bunking there as well.  And now, at the end of the night, we are left with 12 inches (and counting) of snow, and 24 red velvet cupcakes.  What am I going to do with 24 cupcakes?!  I already took some to neighbors and to Jen and Mandy's.  If you are reading this, and you have access to a snow plow, head on over.  Free cupcakes for all.

Anyway, the cupcakes of the day were red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese icing.  I decorated them with white chocolate mint leaves and a peanut M&M.  They sort of look cute; although, I was going for more of a "wreath" look.  Didn't quite turn out that way, but ok none-the-less.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bailey's Mint Chocolate Creme Icing Cupcakes

Zubaz Cupcakes?

We received a text last night from one of our favorite Irishman, Sean Kelly, who is home for the holidays from San Fransisco.  He invited us over to another friend's house to get together; although, I'm still not sure if our other friend, Jeff, is aware we are about to party at his house.  Sean specifically requested cupcakes as our admission fee, and I thought some alcohol themed cupcakes were appropriate.  Therefore, I made chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's Mint Irish Creme Icing. 

I chopped up some Andes Candies and mixed it in with the icing, then I melted Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses and piped it on top. 

Matt's first response when he saw them was, "They look like Zubaz pants." I started laughing right away because they kind of do! Anyway, I think they taste pretty delicious, so hopefully Sean will approve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All Things Cupcake!

Thank goodness for family & friends...

This week has reminded me of how awesome my friends and family are.   Between phone calls, flowers, cards, dinners, cleaning services, and overall concern, I can never doubt the love my familiy and friends have for me.  Among the gifts of get well, were lots of cake/cupcake themed gifts!  I think the cat is out of the bag that I love to bake. 

My awesome mother (who is credited for making my house look presentable and Christmassy this week) gave me cupcake notecards and the "Cupcake Queen" ornament.  She also gave me an adorable cupcake barrett, but as of this posting, it is MIA.  I'm thinking it fell under my bed.  I will have to look for it.  My Aunt Arlene gave me the Vanilla Cupcake Yankee Candle.  I know, I know...I usually hate the smell of Vanilla, but this candle smells like yummy cake batter, and I LOVE IT!  The Philosophy Sweet Creamy Frosting Body Wash is from my Secret Santa at work.  It was the first gift from him/her, and I think it bodes well!  Finally, The Sandwhich Cookie Cake Pans and Cake Mix is from my college roommate, Maureen, and her husband, Andy.  Its so cute, and I cannot wait to bake an "Oreo" Cake!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nativity Cupcakes

Kate's Christmas Play

The Fabulous Kate makes her acting debut today in her church Christmas play.  She's playing a sheep...she's nervous but has had lots of practice.  She teased me last week saying that she keeps messing up her lines and saying, "Baaa--cock-a-doodle-doo!"  To keep with the theme of the Christmas play, I  made nativity cupcakes, but I also wanted to pay homage to Kate's sheepish role, so I made a few sheep as well. 

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes with white fondant toppers.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing and Marshmallow "fur."  These were inspired by the ones in Martha Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook, but didn't turn out exactly as well as she did it. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

1st Attempt at Rose Cupcakes

Book Club Meeting #2

For our second book club meeting, we decided to read Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald.  To try to stick with the theme, I decided it was the perfect time to attempt to make Rose Cupcakes.  I had a helper amazing mom!  She's been here all week as I've been recovering from minor surgery, and she's the best.  She did the baking, and I did the decorating.  Not too shabby for my first attempt.

Pound Cake Cupcakes with Rose Flavored Icing

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Pies

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a great day!  I spent the day baking Thanksgiving pies and getting ready for Girls' Night with my cousins, aunts, mom and sister-in-law.  The pies ended up turning out pretty good, and we had a fabulous time tonight catching up.  I have a wonderful family, and all of the lovely women I spent time with tonight reminded me of that fact.  This thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the women in my life who helped me become the woman I am today, and all of the young women in my life who constantly awe me in their beauty, poise, elegance and love.   Thanks for a great night, Hilary, Rachel, Laura, Aunt Ruth, Aunt Maria, Mom and Carol!  I love you all. 

Peanut Butter Pie from the Newlywed Cookbook. 

Apple Cranberry Pie with Almond Crumb Crust

Good Old Pumpkin Pie

Traditional Apple Pie.  I tried to be cute with the crust and cut leaves out, but it didn't turn out as cute as I had hoped.  Hopefully, it tastes good!


Brownie Cupcakes with Rose Tinted Icing

Girls' Night

Over the summer, I was lucky to be able to spend so much time with some of my favorite women in my family, and since fall began, three of them are in different states for school.  I  have been going through withdrawal!  Therefore, I invited my three cousins, my two aunts, and my mom over for Girls' Night.  I can't wait to see them, and I thought I'd make pretty girl cupcakes.  Inspiration for these came from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook; however, Martha had lavender infused icing with edible flowers.  I am certainly no Martha and have NO idea where to find edible flowers and lavender.  I stumbled upon rose extract and made the flowers out of fondant.

Milk Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Rose Infused Royal Icing

I want one now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Apparently, I look like a thief

We spent the evening with my cousin and her family for a dinner of delicious appetizers and salad, some playing with her adorable children, and the beginning of the Eagles game.  I brought dessert.  However, on the way home during half time, we got pulled over by a police officer who said that I matched the description of a girl who just ripped off someone's house.  He wasn't too rude or anything, but Matt was upset that he messed up our timing of being home before half time was over.  Anyway, I made Martha Stewart's Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes and we topped them with ice cream.  Yum. 

I've been trying to cut down on sugar, so I used Splenda in place of the sugar.  My cousin-in-law said he couldn't tell the difference...good to know.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Club

Our First Book Club Meeting

A few of my best girlfriends and I end up talking about books every time we get together, so we decided to make it official and start a book club.  Our first book was The Shack by William P. Young.  Mandy and Jen were the first hosts and provided us with delicious cheeses, veggie pizzas, and fruit.  I brought dessert.  Next book up...Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald.

Mini Brownie Cupcakes with Royal Icing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Beach in November

Jesa's Wedding Reception
A friend of mine since childhood, (we went to elementary school, high school, and college together, and now we work together!), got married on November 4, 2009 in Mexico.  Despite postponing because of Swine Flu,  lost luggage, rain, and assorted other small disasters, she had a beautiful wedding and is now having a reception back home in Philly. 150 cupcakes in all...this is my biggest order to date.  No major disasters besides spilling an entire bottle of vanilla extract on myself.  Did I mention I HATE the smell of vanilla?   Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS, JESA & BRANDON!   

Vanilla and  Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

A beach themed wedding, I topped the cupcakes with white chocolate shells.  I also dusted the shells with edible shimmer powder. 

Lined up and ready to go.

Doesn't look like as many on the stand.  They didn't last long at the reception.

My biggest fan, enjoying her favorite thing...SUGAR!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jack's Circus Birthday

Jack turns 2!

Our godson turned two years old in June, and his party was a hit.  The boy is adorable...there is no use arguing.  Thank goodness for my mom, or I would have never figured out how to put this all together.  Jack now tells me that he wants blue cupcakes with robots for his 3rd birthday...

Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. 

Karen enjoyed the circus peanuts.  I thnk she was the only one.

We also made chocolate covered oreos with circus animals on them. 

Cheech's Birthday :)

Pink, Pink, and more Pink

Patricia's Birthday is one of the most anticipated (and advertised) days of the year.  She loves all things pink and all things sugary.  I figured, why not combine them?  I don't believe this is my best work in terms of decorating, but Matt, as he devoured one, said that they were the best tasting ones he has had yet.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Happy Halloween!

Halloween rocks

It is one of my favorite days of the year.  Lots of trick-or-treaters and family over to enjoy.  One thing I hate about this time of year, though, is Candy Corn.   What a disgusting candy!  Yet, my friends at work insist on their yumminess.  I somewhat conceded and made "Candy Corn" Cupcakes for our party at work.  

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing.

Sarah's Bridal Shower

Sarah's Bridal Shower

Matt's cousin is getting married two days after Christmas, and Matt's Aunts threw a wonderful bridal shower.  Again, I offered to bring desserts.  Cookies and cupcakes...can you ask for more? 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Raspberry Icing Topped with Sugar cookies with Raspberry Royal Icing

My wiseass college roommate quickly pointed out to me that the bride and groom's initials are B.S.  Oops...should have put them in a different order.

Welcome Home, Hilary!

Welcome Home, Hilary!

My "little" cousin, Hilary, came home for Fall Break from college, and my aunt and uncle invited us over for dinner.  My aunt and uncle are my "Party Hosts" idols.  They have an incredible way of feeding a truckload of people, while always keeping our wine glasses full!  I offered to bring dessert (of course), and I thought "Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes" might fit the bill. 

Oreo Cheesecake with an Oreo "crust"

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Per our new tradition, Mom's birthday came right along with a flood in our house.  Two years ago, the kitchen sink leaked right as dinner was ending.  This year, our hot water heater broke just as dinner was about to start.  Thank goodness for an awesome (and very handy) uncle and brothers, the mess was quickly cleaned up, and the celebration continued. 

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing

Oreo "flowers" and M&M "ladybugs"

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Katie's Hen Night

These are probably my most popular cupcakes...particularly with my Irish and fond-of-the-drink friends!  Katie's Hen Night was no exception.  They were very delish and added to the fun night of debauchery. 

Guiness Chocolate Cake, Whiskey Ganache Filling with Bailey's Irish Creme Icing.