Archive for the ‘Cupcakes’ Category

Nut Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Monday, October 18th, 2010

I thought being gluten free was challenging, but imagine being nut free, dairy free and egg free.  Yikes.  It sounds so difficult.  And in the case of my friend, only one member of the family has these allergies… the 3 year old daughter.  She has to have a special treat at birthday parties.  So many foods, especially the processed, kid-friendly ones, are off limits to her.  Brown Sugar Baking to the rescue!  I have made birthday treats for this sweet young lady before.  This time the treats are for her classmate at pre-school, and that kid’s mom is sweet enough to call me to make the order so ALL the kids in the class can eat the same thing.  Isn’t that nice?  Now our little friend won’t have to have a different thing than her friends.

So what fits the bill when it comes to a dessert without dairy, eggs and nuts?  Hello Fruity Pebbles!  I used the classic Rice Krispies Treats recipe with a few substitutions.  Instead of butter or margarine, I used soy based Fleishman’s margarine, which doesn’t have a lick of dairy in it.  I also used Fruity Pebbles instead of Rice Krispies because the colors are so fun for the kids.  Once I made the recipe I let it cool for just a couple minutes.  Instead of buttering my hands I sprayed them with Pam butter flavor spray, which contains soy but no other allergens.  Then I took handfuls of the treats mixture, formed them into shapes to fit cupcake liners, and placed them inside.  I chose some cute, girly, birthday looking cupcake liners I purchased at www.bakeitpretty.com.

naked

Then I frosted the “cupcakes” with Crisco based frosting tinted pink, rather than using a butter based recipe.  A few pink sugar sprinkles on top, and you have a little girl’s dream.  I might have to pretend to be a little kid for a few minutes so I can sample one (Fruity Pebbles just so happen to not have any gluten ingredients either)!

dressed

Healthy Cupcakes

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

healthy cupcakes

healthy cupcakes

That’s right, folks. These cupcakes are going to keep me healthy during flu season this year. But it won’t be from eating them. Confused? Here’s the story… which might start out confusing, but trust me, we get to the point eventually. My friend and former co-worker is married to an E.R. doctor who now owns and runs an urgent care center by my office. I half-jokingly asked her “Think he wants to trade cake for a flu shot?” She loved the idea. And when I got an email from the good doctor that simply said “CHOCOLATE!!!” I began creating. They have 3 kids, so I wanted to make sure they were happy, too. Here we have dark chocolate cake topped with chocolate buttercream. Half are smothered with chocolate shavings, which I think look so delicious, and the other half are topped with mini M&M’s, which I think are every kid’s dream. No money exchanged hands. Just two people figuring out a way to do an old-fashioned barter. I feel better already!

I Do!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

When I got married 6 years ago I was on a budget, just like many brides and grooms these days. A few calls to local bakeries left me in a near panic attack, as they were all quoting prices of 4 to 8 bucks a slice for a traditional wedding cake. With 200 guests we were talking about a thousand dollars or more, depending on which cake I chose. Since my jaw was already dropped from sticker shock I went ahead and stuffed my mouth with some cake to dull my pain. But I snapped back into action, remembered a picture from a friend’s wedding, and set out to save money on my wedding cake. I went with a giant cupcake tower. We used UFOs from Pumpenickels Deli. These little delights are simple… yellow or chocolate cake covered in a chocolate icing glaze. At $1 apiece I would show those local bakeries who’s boss, or at least get my gig in under budget. We chose a small cake for cutting (photo op, really) and all the guests noshed little UFOs as their dessert.

Clearly I wasn’t the first, but in the years since, cupcake towers have become a huge trend in the wedding world. Everyone loves cupcakes, they are cute, you can use paper liners and sprinkles to match your wedding colors, or go with several flavors if you can’t choose just one. I created a lovely cupcake tower for my cousin Drew’s wedding to Margo. They chose 5 flavors… red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake with caramel frosting, and banana cake with peanut butter frosting. For the groom’s cake I bought Bissinger’s chocolate cordial cups and filled them with frosting. Drew loves a good shot, especially a frosting one, and I scattered these around the tower. I made a lovely little menu, placed it in a simple black frame, and set it next to the tower so everyone would know their choices.

One guest at that wedding then ordered cupcakes for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. For one gal to make dozens of cupcakes in different flavors is a lengthy chore, and the customer must agree to me baking and freezing the week before the deadline date to make sure it is all done. This customer also chose 5 flavors… lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake with mint buttercream, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, banana cake with peanut butter frosting, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Each has a garnish to sort of act as a context clue for guests… things like walnuts (carrot cake), red candy hearts (red velvet), and banana chips (banana cake). With a dozen regular size and 2 dozen minis of each flavor, guests get the choice to either go for the one they really wanted, or say “I do” to a couple different tiny ones. And the savings… Oy, don’t get me started! They are paying a fraction of what they would have shelled out for a traditional wedding cake. Plus cupcakes are easier to shove into your new spouse’s face for a really great practical joke!

Ice Cream Cone Candy Cupcakes

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

These look like every little kid’s dream.  Maybe some adults, too.  These sweet delights were for my 3 year old’s last day in his pre-school class before moving to the next class.  I have to admit, I used a boxed cake mix and canned frosting, only because my husband said “They’re 3.  Don’t bother.”  It was late, I was tired, and I fell for it, sort of like when he first asked me out… it was late, I was tired, and I fell for it I fell for him. 

The treats were pretty darn easy to make.  Buy some cake cones, the ones with the flat bottom.  (There’s a joke right there waiting to be made.  Leave a comment if you have one.)  Place one cone in each “cup” of a cupcake pan.  Since they are flat on the bottom they will stay put.  You just have to promise yourself and the kitchen floor that you will be super careful when you take the tray in and out of the oven.  Make your cake mix.  Spoon, scoop or pour the batter into each cone, filling each to about a 1/4 or 1/2 inch from the top.  Bake according to the package directions (most will tell you to bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so.)  Carefully take the tray out, keeping your promise to the kitchen floor.  Let them cool.  Frost them as you wish.  In this case I frosted them with a pretty light coating, then dunked it head first into a bowl of mini M&Ms.  I was kind of jealous of the cupcakes, as I’ve always wanted to dive head first into a bowl of mini M&Ms.