Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Cupcakes With Cake Banner

I've been seeing cake banners popping up all over the blogosphere. People are so creative and clever! Too bad Bill's birthday has passed this year. Around the same time, though, I found out it was my yoga instructor's birthday and was also dumbfounded how young all the yoga instructors at the studio was. When did people around me start to get younger?

Anyway, I decided to make a peanut butter cupcake because I've never made this kind before, and it's always fun to try new things. Besides, protein is good for you after a tough workout. Then I made a cake banner! After yoga class, we had a teeny tiny celebration. It turns out *two* yoga instructors had birthdays in the same week. The cake banner was a big hit. Cupcakes too.

I didn't change the recipe at all, except I sprinkled some pecans on top of it. Contrary to the recipe comments, my feedback included that they had just the right amount of peanut butter flavor, and that they're good enough to eat four at one setting! Although, in my opinion, the cupcake was just a little on the dry side.

So here are the picture! The batter was just scrumptious-looking.

I have a tendency to over fill the cupcake liners, causing them to look like muffins. Although the toothpick came out dry, the middle still sunk in, which is probably the reason they turned out a little dry.

Decorate the cupcakes and sprinkle nuts on top if you wish.

To decorate the cake stand, I added a parchment paper cutout. Outline with something round...it's useful at this point that the cake stand is also a lazy susan...then fold it in half to cut the shape. It didn't look too bad for being parchment paper! But beware, the parchment paper causes the cupcakes to slide on the stand during transportation. I lost two cupcakes that way.

Last but not least, the cake banner was set in position.

All set for a birthday party! What's your favorite birthday cake decoration?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making Cake Donuts with a Gadget *gasp!*

I like making things by hand. Well, not technically by hand...I can't live without my KitchenAid...but more or less I like to put in my personal touch. I think bread makers and cake mixes take all the fun out of it. If you're looking for convenience, well, it's much more convenient to buy and sometimes cheaper too. But when I wrecked my brain trying to come up with a third item for the church coffee hour--besides lemon bars and white bean brownies--I suddenly remembered this little gadget my mom gave me for Christmas.

The batter is a simple one, like a pancake batter.

Basic Donut Recipe
Makes 21 mini donuts

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cooking oil

Preheat Bella Mini Donut Maker. Stir flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Whisk egg, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mix for one minute on low. Add oil and beat one more minute. Pour one tablespoon of batter in each well. Close the lid for three minutes. Remove from Donut Maker and place on paper towels. Dip mini donuts in anything you like!

I dipped them in chocolate (1/2 cup melted chocolate mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of milk), sugar glaze (1/2 cup powdered sugar with 3-4 tablespoons of milk), and powdered sugar.

It was really a lot of fun and an easy way to make a lot of tasty snacks at once. Plus homemade mini donuts are kind of unusual so it was kind of treat at coffee hour. I don't usually make food for a large crowd, but if I were to do it again, mini donuts would for sure make the menu!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Get Well Soon Sugar Cookies

Okay, let me try to catch up here. This month is going by so quickly. Since our trip to Maine, we went to Connecticut and attended a beautiful wedding. We were just as busy when we lived in Alaska, but we couldn't travel to different states just for a weekend!

In family news, my cousin is expecting! She took a year off with her husband to tour Australia while pregnant. What a brilliant idea. I'm going to have to start knitting baby things. I'm so excited. You know what else is great for babies, or baby showers? Sugar cookies! I saw these GORGEOUS sugar cookies yesterday and was just blown away. Especially now that I've tried making them once.

What gave me the idea was my father-in-law's unfortunate accident breaking his wrist. He had a good sense of humor about it and donned a Hulk glove on his cast after his surgery. So we sent him sugar cookies to wish him a speedy recovery!

The royal icing recipe I used is from The Joy of Baking. I love how she describes every baking process in detail. I chose to use the royal icing recipe with egg whites because I didn't have any meringue powder on hand. So I started with a bunch of gingerbread men using Holiday Sugar Cookie dough from flour. Chilled for half an hour, then baked at 350 degrees. The recipe says 15 minutes. My first batch was very brown. So it turns out 8 to 10 minutes is more reasonable.

Outlined with royal icing in piping consistency.

Then flooded with thinner icing. The icing dries out fast. Remember to cover it in between batches.

Then I played with colors. Decorating sugar cookies is harder than it looks. Another reason I was amazed by Glories Treat's sugar cookies.

Finally I decorated the rest of the "gingerbread" men. And some of them turned out well. I hope you can tell the top ones are medical personnel with stethoscope. The bottom ones are suppose to be my father-in-law with a broken wrist. I know, you've got to use your imagination there. 

It was a ton of fun, although very messy, and time-consuming. Maybe one day I'll get much better at it and I'll be able to make cookies for all occasions!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Taking a break...we'll be back soon!

These past couple of weeks have been crazy. There were business trips and family gatherings. I also delivered my first cupcake order! But there's just not enough time in the day for writing posts. They just have to wait until the summer slows down. I will be updating the facebook page with pictures though, so check it out!

Taking a break. In Steuben, Maine.

See you back here soon!