Happy July Fourth!


Happy July 4th! I hope everyone had a safe and fun day with friends and family (and with plenty of delicious food, of course!). This cake is from Better Homes and Gardens Festive Fourth of July Desserts. I didn’t put the jam on it; however, I think it still turned out well. Just a simple cake with plenty of fresh berries and frosting!

What did you make for July 4th?

Cheers!

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Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

“Let them eat cake!”

No, but really, everyone should eat cake (at least before everyone’s New Year’s resolutions starts!). After hearing this phrase on the television (this phrase was supposedly spoken by a princess who learned that the peasants had no bread and was rumored to have  been Marie Antoinette, but no actual proof exists), I became inspired to bake a cake for our annual Christmas dinner.

Now, although the original recipe called to make homemade frosting (Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake With Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting), I copped out and bought store-bought frosting because I was in a pinch and used a bundt pan instead of creating multiple layers. My deviations resulted in an easier version; however, although I saved myself time and energy, I am sure that the original version (complete with homemade frosting!) would have been more flavor-filled and fulfilling. But, that adventure will have to be saved for another day – at least everyone could eat cake!

Step 1: Mix Together Liquids


Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients Into Liquids


Step 3: Bake and Add Frosting


Now, truly after this recipe, I swear that my healthy New Year’s resolution will actually start (I swear!).

Cheers!

Homemade Oreos


I officially have a new obsession – Pinterest. As a result of my recent “pinning” excursions, I have found many different intriguing and recipes that look absolutely delicious. One particular recipe that caught my eye was Homemade Oreos via the blog Sugar Cooking. Oreos have always been a childhood favorite of mine as well as a guilty pleasure. The thought of making these had never previously popped into my mind; however, after seeing that picture, it was all I could think about. After all, sometimes, homemade re-creations just seem better and it’s something I’m always more proud of (as long as it turns out well, of course!).

Step 1: Mix Sugars, Chocolate, Butter
and Egg Together to Form Dough 




Step 2: Form Dough Into Balls, Flatten and Bake


Step 3: Cream Powdered Sugar With
Vanilla Extract and Butter for Frosting 



Step 4: Spread Frosting Between Two
Cookies and Enjoy With Milk 

It is so hard to only eat just one Oreo. In this case, my individual gigantic Oreos resulted in the size of at least three Oreos. So, I guess that means I only get to eat one? Maybe?

Because of their size, these Oreos resemble more of a whoopie pie than the classic Oreo (note: make the dough balls extremely small – even smaller than you consider to be “small”). Nonetheless, they definitely tasted like them. With a  simple bake time of nine minutes and a requirement of normal household ingredients, these are a must-try!

Cheers!

Halloween Cupcakes Part 2: Tombstone Cupcakes

I am absolutely smitten with the idea of cupcakes (especially mini-cupcakes). Cupcakes are the perfect alternative to a heaping piece of cake and are so easy to bring to a party or hand out for one’s birthday. Plus, it’s easy to design each cupcake differently or use different colors of frosting. Even though I love them, I often wish they were just a bit smaller. My next baking investment will definitely result in the purchase of a mini-cupcake tin.

Although I already made Halloween-themed cupcakes as seen in this post, I absolutely love Halloween and figured I’d jump at the chance to make cupcakes again. These are pretty simple; however, beware (so Halloween appropriate) of the green food dye used in this concoction. You wouldn’t want to get it on your clothes!

Step 1: Make Chocolate Cupcakes
and Let Cool

Step 2: Use Black Gel To Write
“R.I.P” on Milano Cookies

Step 3: Combine Green Food Dye and Coconut


Step 4: Stick Knife Into Cupcake
To Make a Pocket; Frost Cupcakes

Step 5: Place Coconut on Top
of Frosting, then Put Cookies
Into the Pocket; Serve and Enjoy!


Now that I’ve made these cupcakes, I need to get to the “real” part of Halloween: picking out a costume!

Cheers!

Halloween Cupcakes Part 1: “Mummy” Cupcakes


I love stumbling across old photos. I happened to find a picture of these Halloween-themed cupcakes from last year on a photo from my phone. Although I’ll be making a different Halloween-themed cupcake for this year (in a future blog post coming soon), I wanted to share these because they are extremely simple and oh-so-cute. Plus, you never can go wrong with cupcakes!

How to Make “Mummy” Cupcakes:

Step 1: Bake chocolate cake mix into cupcake tins and let completely cool once done baking.

Step 2: Frost cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Step 3: Pipe white frosting in strips across the cupcakes for the “mummy layers”.

Step 4: Add M&Ms.

Step 5: Eat!

Cheers!

Top Pot

I am by no means a doughnut consumer. In fact, I never really think to ever buy a doughnut in the morning.

But, after talking to a few of my friends that lived in the East Coast, I learned that donuts are actually a “cool thing” and people really do consume a lot more doughnuts that I had previously thought. After performing a random Google search, I learned that the East Coast consumes 37% more doughnuts per year than the rest of the country with the national average equating to six doughnuts per person per year (NASC Online). Now, considering this is my first doughnut of 2011 (currently averaging at one-tenth of a doughnut per month), I’m pretty sure I’m not going to hit the national average mark.

Nonetheless, today, one of our employees brought Top Pot Doughnuts for the office and, consequently, one of my co-workers prompted me to try one. I caved and decided to try the one with pink frosting and sprinkles. It was completely fitting and brought out the “little kid” in me. I must say, I really liked it. I’m pretty sure the last time I had a doughnut was sometime a few years back from a grocery store chain’s bakery that was pretty tasteless, too greasy and left me feeling sick. On the contrary, this doughnut was fluffy, flavorful and just over-all delightful. Top Pot Doughnuts convinced me that, every now and then, I might just consider indulging in a doughnut.

Cheers!

Easter Cupcakes

Cupcakes are absolutely one of my favorite desserts. Although it may seem strange, the actual ingredients and tastes of cupcakes are not the reasons why I love them. My love of cupcakes stems from the endless possibilities of intricate designs, colors, and presentation features available to put on these quaint little cakes. For example, in the past, I’ve experimented with different icing lettering, vibrant frostings, and cookies/candies galore to add onto the top. Simply, cupcakes are a fun dessert.

One of my favorite cupcake recipe books is titled Hello, Cupcake. Although I did not follow a recipe from this clever book for this blog post, I highly recommend to either buy, peruse the book, or check out their website for fun ideas (in the past year, I made the Snowman and Penguin cupcakes — they seemed daunting, but they turned out really well!).

Anyway, I hadn’t made a “creative” dessert in quite some time. I first became inspired to make cupcakes after a friend bought me a “Cupcake Kit” (from Chronicle Books/Elinor Klivans and seen here).

This kit contains a reusable pastry bag, assorted piping tips, and cupcake baking liners. With this added inspiration, I began to scan the Food Network website for potential cupcake ideas. I finally found a recipe for Chick and Egg Cupcakes and decided to make a version of these to put me into the Easter spirit. I didn’t follow the recipe 100% (I cheated and used boxed cupcake mix to save some time), but I really enjoyed the results!

Step 1: Bake Cupcakes and Let Cool

Step 2: Add Green Dye to Frosting and Coconut

Step 3: Frost; Layer Coconut, Eggs, and Peeps on Top;
Use Pastry Tips to Make Intricate Designs

 

That last picture of a cupcake looks a bit haphazard; however, it was fun to experiment with different pipping techniques. I definitely need to improve with cupcake decorating — my next quest will be to find tips on how to best use the pipping utensil in order to produce the best results.

Until then…


[as seen from “The Cupcake Kit”]

Cheers!