Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pink Cupcakes!

I finally made a pink cupcake to match my blog name! Figured I needed to make them eventually! These cupcakes were made out of Funfetti Valentine's edition cake mix. I love, love, love Funfetti and will still use a mix to make these! How can you not love a cupcake with sprinkles inside of it? It's just screams FUN at you!!!

Look at h
ow cute they look without frosting! And look at how cute my cupcake liners are! I've had these same Valentine lines for years! I bought them both at the same time in packets of 40 or so, and have made cupcakes almost every year trying to use them up. I still have a few of each left after this year too!

I had to frost these in pink frosting topped with more sprinkle
s, this time with hearts added in for even more fun! I really wanted the cupcake to be pink as well, but I didn't add in enough food color gel to change the color. I think it's peachy now, not pink. At least the frosting is pretty in pink!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cupcakes - Completely from scratch!

I really wanted to try out a chocolate cake recipe I found in my new favorite cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, but I knew we wouldn't eat a whole sheet cake. So I decided to make half of the recipe and make 12 cupcakes instead. Usually I resort to a box cake mix for cupcakes, but I'm on the quest for perfect homemade cake in all flavors! And once again, I have to thank Ree Drummond for providing me with a delicious recipe! If you haven't heard of Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, look up her blog, pick up her cookbook, and I'm sure you'll fall in love with her and her recipes! Here's what her cookbook looks like ...

So, first I started by sifting the dry ingredients together. I then beat the egg into buttermilk. Melted chocolate and butter over the stove, and then poured the butter and chocolate into the dry ingredients.

I mixed them together slightly to cool the chocolate. I didn't want the egg to cook when I added it in to the mix.
Then, I slowly added the egg and milk mixture.

I mixed them all together until nice and smooth. At this point I also did a taste test just to make sure the batter tasted as good as I thought it should. The verdict? Yummy!

I poured the batter into paper lined cupcake tins and baked them until done.

After letting the cupcakes cool, I started making the frosting. I have never made homemade buttercream frosting before. I've done homemade chocolate and fluffy white frosting, but not buttercream. Primarily because I'm not real sure if I like buttercream frosting; I think it's slightly sweet for me. But, I thought I'd give it a try. I found a simple recipe that just used butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar. Then, I added some blue food coloring gel to make a light blue frosting.

I then did my best to pipe the frosting on the cupc
akes. This is where I fail every time. I'm not good at piping at all! I did a few cupcakes just smoothing the frosting on to put sprinkles on, but I did piping on most of them. I need lots and lots of practice for making nice looking cupcakes! Here are a pictures of the finished cupcakes ...

The final verdict: I love the cake and will use the recipe again. However, not the buttercream recipe. Too sweet for me, and it was very hard, which I didn't like. So I'm still on a search for a good frosting recipe!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Monster Truck Cake

My nephew is turning 5 and his most favorite thing is monster trucks, El Toro Loco to be exact. So, I decided to try and make a monster truck shaped cake. After doing some online research, I found most of the cakes were made from a truck shaped cake pan, of course. But, I found a few sites that listed how people did it by hand. The one I decided to try used two loaf pans instead of a 9x13 pan. I went out and bought the only loaf pans I could find, a devil's food cake mix and lots of frosting. I really wanted to make the cake from scratch with a new recipe I have, but thought I would play it safe for this cake so I could focus all of my energy on the look of the cake without worrying about if the new recipe tasted okay. In other words, I cheated! But I know how to make a cake mix taste amazing - buttermilk instead of water and an extra egg. My cakes always turn out nice and moist using these substitutions!

I'm pretty sure the loaf pans I used were slightly too small. I was actually half afraid that they cake would pouf out of the top and get all over the oven! Luckily, they didn't make a mess, but I ended up having to cut them down quite a bit to make them flat, which I feel is a huge waste of yummy cake! I left one loaf whole for the body of the truck, cut 1/3 of the other loaf for the cab and used the rest for the bottom of the cake to lift the truck. It doesn't look much like a monster truck yet, but at this point I'm holding out hope that it will start to take shape once I start frosting it! I actually thought it looked more like a submarine at this point!

Garrett wanted his cake to look like El Toro Loco. I don't follow monster truck racing so I had to use Google images to find a few pictures. In some pictures his truck look orange, and in others more red. Since Garrett loves orange I decided to go more orange. I was hoping to get an orangish-red, but no matter how much food coloring I added, it still looked orange. And not just orange, but hunter orange. So, the color was a little brighter than El Toro Loco! I used black for the windows and back of the truck, and used chocolate frosting for the bottom lift to help camouflage it. I was also hoping that it would like more like mud than anything! Here is what it looked like at this point, and I'm still very worried that this isn't going to look like a monster truck!

Still looks like a submarine, huh?!!

I then attached chocolate donuts (thanks to my hubby for checking three places to find all chocolate donuts that weren't broken!) for the wheels. And that's when the cake started taking shape! I dipped pretzel rods in vanilla candy coating and colored the ends red with gel frosting for El Toro's horns, used the red to try and make flames on the side and added a little decoration to the front to try and resemble El Toro a little bit more. The finished product looks like a monster truck, but not really like El Toro. I couldn't do his teeth or the flames properly. Here is what it finally looked like ...

The cake turned out okay. Most importantly it was a hit with Garrett! He loved it and thought it looked like El Toro Loco. His favorite part to eat was, of course, the part I didn't make - the donut wheels!