Thursday, November 1, 2007

I Sold My First Cheesecake!

I'm SO all about the cupcakes right now, but my all-time favorite thing to bake is cheesecake. I LOVE cheesecake. Like...way too much. As a matter of fact, the only reason I don't make them much anymore is because the fiance told me I couldn't. Literally said, "You can't make anymore cheesecakes."

When we first started dating, I made cheesecakes for us. A lot of them. Big ones. a week. And we ate them. And we both gained like 15 pounds. So, not wanting to weigh more than the oven itself, fiance told me I had to stop.


So I hadn't made a cheesecake for months. Until 2 days ago!

I had been telling a co-worker that I make the best cheesecakes in the world and so he paid me to make one for a friend's birthday. So I chose one of my favorite ones:

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Bourbon Caramel Sauce

I heard it was amazing. My co-worker made "MMMMM" and "AAAARRRRRRRR" noises all day while he recounted the eating of I have a feeling that it turned out pretty decent.

Try this recipe. It's awesome.

1 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and cooled
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
4 eggs, room temperature
15 oz pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain yogurt, full fat if you can find it
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
large pinch salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp bourbon
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and cooled


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9" springform pan. Grind first ingredients until nut mix sticks together. Press mix evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and cool. Wrap pan with 3 layers of heavy foil.

Using mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon peel until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add the pumpkin, yogurt, flour, vanilla, spices, and salt. Pour into pan.

Set springform pan inside a roasting pan. Pour hot water in the roasting pan until the level reaches about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until outer 3 inches puff slightly and center is softly set - about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in water bath for 30 minutes. Remove from water. Cut around sides to loosen. Refrigerate in pan for 4 hours. Cover. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Bring sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil, whisking until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and continue boiling for 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and then the pecans. Set aside to cool.

Uncover and remove foil from springform pan. Cut around pan sides again to make sure sides are loosened. Remove from springform pan.

Cut cheesecake into wedges. Spoon sauce over cake.


All that hooplah with the foil and the roasting pan? A little bit unnecessary...but I ALWAYS do it. It keeps the cheesecake moist and helps it not crack. It sounds like more of a pain than it is.

Also...cheesecakes are a little hard to cut smoothly. Keep the hot water running while cutting, and run your knife under it about every 2 cuts. This will keep your blade warm and clean and cutting smoothly!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Know, I Know

I have actually made a couple of batches of cupcakes since I blogged here last...but they were gone before I could remember to take a picture. Sorrrrry.

I made some YUMMY tiramisu cupcakes for my future in-laws...and they were a HIT. I'll make more and post pics/recipe later. I also made more of my strawberry cupcakes w/ strawberry french buttercream. It's a favorite of a lot of people (including me!), so I make that often. SO GOOD. And gone so fast I don't get pictures.

Last night I made these pumpkin spice cupcakes and made SURE to take pictures of them. So here are some of my favorite monsters (I also made some that weren't too great):

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ten Days! WOW.

It's been awhile since I've posted, huh? Sorry about that. This new job working 9-5 is KILLING my kitchen time. I haven't baked a thing in 2 weeks.

That makes me sad.

But tomorrow I'm breaking in my new mixer. I'm trying Tiramisu Cupcakes and remaking Mojito Cupcakes for my new co-workers. I'll be sure to take lots of yummy pictures.

In other news, I found this apron on Cafepress:

I'm making the fiance buy it for me. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Warning : It's Ugly

Ok. So after going to the wedding cake show, I had to try a cake. HAD. TO.

And it was fun....but MESSY. And it turned out pretty darn ugly. And I might have said a few cuss words while trying to get it together.

But here it is...step by way-too-messy step. And not...quite...100% finished.

This cake is SO totally me. Gotta love it.

Again? Remember this is my first cake. And if you're a future client of mine, please SKIP THIS POST because you will run far far away. Just keep looking at the cupcakes. Thanks.

I used box cake because I'm not THAT ambitious. I made it in a 9x13 pan and cut it in half for the first level. See how NOT even it is? That's jealous.

And see the big ol' crack right down the center? Yeah....typical me, too. Me : totally cracked. (I turned the cake upside down before it'd cooled all the way and it just split down the center. Whodathunk?)

After icing the first layer with buttercream. I found out later this is called "crumbing". And I was cursing the whole time because ALL !!THE!! CRUMBS!!!!!! I wish I would have learned the whole "crumbing" term a little earlier. It would have saved my fiance from hearing all those dirty words.

I then made a second cake (box mix, helllloo, friend!) and cut it in shapes for the 2nd and 3rd layers.

I'd premade some little fondant flowers. TONS of them. Waaaay too many of them. Maybe I'm a LITTLE ambitious. Or not properly or the other.

And also some fondant diamonds. That were too big for what I needed. Ambitious - and also a tad dim-witted.

The second layer is attached and iced now. With a different buttercream. Because I was using all my leftovers. Vanilla flavor cake with all-the-leftovers-in-the-freezer flavor icing...yummy, huh?

Third layer, up. It's looking a little like the Blob now. The mixture of the icings didn't smell so good either. Caramel spice and vanilla and mint. *shudder*

Then I applied the flowers and diamonds and dragees.

The top layer was supposed to be white fondant with white piped icing in a lace pattern, but that didn't work out quite right. I cut the fondant WAY too small and it barely covered one side. HA! So I just threw it away and decided to call it a night.

Now you see how I work in my kitchen. It's kinda like closing my eyes and slinging around a piping bag until I hit something solid.

Impressive, I know.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This Could Be Dangerous

It sure was a good birthday this year!

my new best friend

Monday, October 1, 2007

Some Inspiration

I went to the fair this weekend to see the national sugar arts show and wedding cake competition. Talk about fun!

I was inspired by so many of the cakes. SO much talent there!

So I took some pictures and thought I'd share. Enjoy!

I don't think that I need to tell you that I'm now interested in learning how to do cakes too, do I? I'll be doing one this week.

Now THAT is scary.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

And Happy Freaking Birthday, Shannon!

So...a friend of mine lives in Mississippi. I live in Oklahoma. We decided that since she'd never had any of my awesome cuppies, that she REALLY needed to.

So we decided to try an experiment. The experiment of "how badly will beautiful caramel apple cupcakes be destroyed on a 2-day trip in the US mail?"

I think the answer is clear.





And, because I can't. stop. laughing. at this experiment gone's another picture of the dead cupcakes. It's so sad....but, CRAP, so funny!

Happy Birthday, Shannon. I hope you enjoy your present.


EASY Peanut Butter Cookies

The man was craving something sweet, so I went through my recipes to find something fast and easy. This fit the bill perfectly.

And they turned out SO yummy! (Even though I made them a tad too big. I was supposed to make 36 cookies...I made about 25. Oops!)

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup peanut butter

Cream egg and sugar. Stir in baking soda. Fold in peanut butter.

Drop teaspoons onto a cookie sheet and crease top of cookies with fork.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges turn slightly golden. Take out of oven and cool on cookie sheet.

Happy Birthday, Megan!

I've sold 2 more dozen cuppies...this time for a little girl's birthday. When I was told about it, I was all kinds of excited, thinking of all the fun pink princess stuff I was going to do.

Then my fairy princess dreams were dashed by the little girl deciding she wanted vanilla cupcakes with white icing.

Vanilla. And white. HA!

And one little girl at the party was allergic to food coloring, so I couldn't even use sprinkles!


But, ya know, these are probably one of the favorite cupcakes I've made. Even plain, they're cute as a button. (And please note that I DID find sprinkles I could use...white ones...with no coloring! HA!)

See? Even without icing, these were SO pretty! They domed up perfectly.

White on white on white. Beautiful.

Golden Cupcakes (from Crazy About Cupcakes)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Insert liners into medium cupcake pan.
In large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the egg yolks. Beat well. Add the vanilla. Mix.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating wiht the milk. Mix well.

With clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcake comes out clean.** Cool cupcakes in the pan.

**I filled mine 2/3 full and baked for 20 minutes. They were perfect! :)

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup butter
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Mix cream & flour. Heat in microwave 45 seconds. Set aside to cool.

Mix butter, shortening and vanilla. Sift in confectioner's sugar. Combine on low. Mix on medium for 5 minutes.

Add cream/flour mixture and beat on medium for 10 minutes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My New Swirls

I was totally jealous of BusyBaking's gorgeous rose swirls. So I had to try.

I have to say....not bad for my first try at them! Thanks, BusyBaking! This is my new favorite!

(Use 1M tip...start in the middle w/ bag at 90 degrees - straight up...swirl in a counter-clockwise pattern)

Don't Try This At Home

I found a recipe in an old cookbook my future mother-in-law has. It only had 5 ingredients, so I thought "what the heck!?"

Five ingredients. Three directions. Who could screw this one up?

Well, obviously ME.

Mint Julep Kisses

2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp mint extract
2 drops green food coloring
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar. Add mint extract and green coloring. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Put in preheated oven and turn off immediately. Leave in oven overnight or for several hours.

Looked ok going in!

And they looked ok coming out!!

I had to chisel them off the cookie sheet. Since it's mostly egg whites, they pretty much vanished when I tried.

Can I just say oops?


That is all.

Creme Brulee

Guess what I got for my birthday? A new mixer! And guess what else? Ramekins and a torch!

Needless to say, I baked some stuff this weekend. I didn't have access to the net, so I haven't updated here we go.

I made some caramel apple birthday cupcakes for a friend of mine (hi, Shannon!), but I can't show any pictures of that yet...she hasn't received them. Pics soon, though. They're WAY cute!

So here's the creme brulee. My first one ever! It's SOOOOO good, too. And easy!

Creme Brulee

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
boiling water
5 tbsp superfine sugar

In small saucepan, stir together cream and milk. Heat just to simmering. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place six 4-ounce custard cups (ramekins) into 13x9x2 baking pan.

In small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt. Gently stir into cream mixture. Strain through fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup glass measure. (I didn't have a sieve...and mine turned out fine. Heh.) Pour into ramekins, dividing equally. Place baking pan on oven rack. Add enough boiling water to pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

Bake until custards are set around edge, and knife inserted near edge comes out clean but centers are still jiggly, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove ramekins from water to wire rack to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Blot tops of chilled custards with paper towel to remove any condensation. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp superfine sugar (I used fine) over custard in each ramekin to evenly cover the top.

Heat with a handheld torch until sugar starts to bubble and caramelize. Don't overheat or it will burn.

Let custards sit for a couple of minutes until the top hardens into a shell.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

MOJITO! (Shout It From The Rooftops!)

Mojito, baby!

One of my favorite things in the world is a big ice cold mojito. And, I must say, I make the best mojito in the whole world. Ask anyone.

So, of course, the natural progression to that would be me thinking I could make the best mojito CUPCAKE in the world. I scoured the internet for a mojito recipe, but could only find a vegan one. And let's face it, I personally want to kill as many animals as I can with my cupcakes, so that was out.

I kid, I kid.


So I decided to close my eyes and pretend like I knew what I was doing....and make up my own recipe.

Well...ok. That's a little bit of a lie. I took a recipe I already had and added/subtracted things from it...and then hoped for the best. And ya know what? It turned out GREAT!! I was highly impressed with myself, seeing as it was my first try.

They were domed and then fell a little bit, but still taste amazing. IMHO.

So here it is. The new love of my life.

Mojito Cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
zest & juice of one lime
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4-5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp mint extract
2 tsp finely chopped mint (I used fresh leaves)
2 tbsp Bacardi Limon Rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, mint leaves and zest until smooth. Gradually add sugar. Beat 3 minutes or until fluffy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time. Squeeze lime juice into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to fill to the top. Pour into small mixing bowl. Add vanilla, mint extract and rum, and combine.

Combine flours together. Alternate adding parts of flour mixture with liquid mixture, mixing as you go.

Fill baking cups up to 1/2 full.

Cook 15 minutes. Rotate pan and cook another 5-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Minty Lime Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
zest & juice of 1/2 lime
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor
1/2 tsp diced mint (I used fresh leaves)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Mix cream & flour well. Heat in microwave 45 seconds. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl, mix butter, shortening, mint leaves, zest, lemon juice, vanilla, mint extract, and butter flavor. Using mixer, beat on low. Add confectioners sugar in 4 parts, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add cream mixture and beat for about 10 minutes.

Final Step : make out with whoever made these for you.
If that's you...then come make out with me.

Mint Oreo w/ Mint French Buttercream

I think I've perfected it. I remade the recipe again today with a few tweaks...and it was great. I took it to a party this afternoon and it was a big hit with everyone.

I'm very excited about this one, people. You have to give it a try in your own kitchen! Got kids? They'll LOVE it.

Mint Oreo Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mint extract (spearmint...not peppermint!)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
About 7 mint double-stuffed Oreos, crushed into small pieces
Extra to decorate with (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl cream together butter, milk, mint extract and vanilla. (The directions originally said '3-5 minutes or until fluffy'...but I could never get the butter to mix with milk at all...isn't that like saying 'mix oil and water until combined'? So I just stirred it up a bit. Anyway.)

In separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in the sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed cookies.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Mint French Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp mint extract (spearmint, not peppermint!)
1/2 tsp butter flavor
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Green food coloring gel

Mix cream & flour well. Heat in microwave 45 seconds. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl, mix butter, shortening, vanilla, mint extract, and butter flavor. Using mixer, beat on low. Add confectioners sugar in 4 parts, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add cream mixture and beat for about 10 minutes. When you first add the cream mixture, it will look soupy and curdly (is that a word?). Don't worry - it will fluff up nicely. Add green food coloring until you reach desired color.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mint Oreo Cupcakes. Seriously Dangerous.

Mint. Oreos. In a cupcake. Come ON.

I'm not going to give you the recipe though. How ya like THEM apples?

Let me tell ya...this has MAJOR potential. But there were a few little things I want to change with the recipe(s) first before I put it here.

The cupcakes turned out a little a bit flaky. I know what I did there. And the frosting needs a few tweaks, too. So I'm going to make these again tomorrow and get them perfect for yas. Then? Ooooh, will be in love. I promise.

But I did learn some stuff today while making these:

  • Don't buy cupcake liners from the dollar store.
  • French buttercream is my new best friend.
  • So is Wilton tip #1M.
  • Make sure new best friend #2 is out of the sink before turning on the garbage disposal.
  • Don't put the cap on the mint extract...and then lick your fingers.
  • If you bake a bunch of cupcakes, be sure to change your clothes before going to the movie's a tad embarassing when you have to explain what the HELL is all over you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Strawberries & Cream

I was in the mood for something strawberry, so whipped out my favoritest book ever, "Crazy About Cupcakes" and found these recipes.

All I need to say is....YUM!!!

Strawberry Cupcakes

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, cut up in small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

In separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix for 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in the strawberries and vanilla.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

6 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, cut into small pieces
Lemon juice, as needed

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the strawberries. Mix well. If you are using fresh strawberries, you might need to add a little lemon juice to reach a spreadable consistency.

By the way? The frosting was so good that I licked the beaters. And the spatula. And the spoon. And maybe even the counter when some dripped on there but I probably won't admit to that if you ask me later...