Thursday, 17 November 2011

Week 32-Cravings take over the Cupcake challenge

November 17th 
Sorry, but sometimes this happens. Cravings. I have been wanting a rice crispy square FOREVER! So two weeks ago, when I thought I needed to squeeze in the cupcakes, I made these. Well I made them again today they are that good.
Mudpie bars, is the official name. Now they are Mudpie cupcakes:)
I originally received this recipe from a friend of my brother's while he was living on Vancouver Island. I went to visit for a week. Every day we would go and eat at this amazing vegan restaurant. (We were also both hard core veggies at the time, sigh, how times have changed) They sold these 'Mudpie Bars'. I loved them. His friend worked there and was able to get me the recipe. SCORE!
Really they are so simple and I'm going to share the full recipe with you. They are the perfect combination of PB and chocolate, rolled into a rice crispy form. Heaven. Of course I formed them into cupcake pans, and voila. Cupcakes this week.
See below picture for full recipe details.
In a heavy sauce pan, bring 1 cup of brown rice syrup and 1tsp of vanilla to an almost boil. (do not boil and stir often)
Immediately add 1/2 cup PB (we used the all natural)
Stir off the heat until melted.
Pour over 4 cups of brown or regular rice crispies. Mix until well combined.
Press into well greased pan/muffin pan. Leaving a quarter/or less of the mixture.
Melt in microwave or double boiler, 1 cup of PB and 2 cups of chocolate chips/carob chips.
Pour over pressed crispy in pan.
Sprinkle remaining rice mixture over chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate until hard and enjoy the heaven!! We did.

Week 31-Tried to go healthy and failed

November 9th, 2011
So I actually goofed up. I made a huge craving of mine at the end of last week. Thinking that I need to make sure I fit the week's cupcakes in. BUTTTT I had already made them on Sat. Mess me right up being so early and on top of things.
Anyways, this week I wanted to make something for the kids. I found a healthy banana/orange/raisin cupcake recipe. I thought this would be perfect for the kids. My youngest loved it. My oldest thought the raisins did not belong. Funny that she'll eat raisins on their own though.
Besides that they were dry as dry can be. As my Dad would say 'they are dry as a fart'. Really, what does that mean Dad?
I won't make that recipe again. Wasn't worth taking a picture or talking about the fact that I soaked the raisins for an hour in OJ.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Week 30- DUO COMES TO LIFE (Halloween vs. UFC)

Week 30.... What the??? How did I make it this far? I mean I am happy I have, but really, have I made 30 batches of cupcakes this year, that's over 360 cupcakes and 30lbs of butter. That's a lot of butter. Hence why I jump at the chance to get these suckers out of my house. It just happened this week, I had two chances. First a Halloween party (which we couldn't make it to, due to illness, boooo) which I was so excited to make cupcakes for. Second a UFC party my hubby was going to.
I started by making the Devils Food Chocolate cupcakes, I swear by these now. Although, I made them Friday night and froze them for freshness. Dumb idea. I should of just put them in a sealed container overnight, I think they would of been more fresh. I don't like making them a day ahead, but I thought the UFC party goer needed them at 9am, which he didn't. So, not my fault if they were eating stale cupcakes over Mr. Universe vs. Mr. Hulk.
Due to the illness that's been lingering around the house and within the girls all week, I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull off the Halloween cupcakes. Of course, the morning of my dear friends party, I call and say 'so you want some cupcakes?'. I realized I would be able to pull it off, with some help. Help from a little thing called 'snack trap'. Load my kids up with snacks in the snack trap and they are happy and out of the kitchen momentarily leaving me to make icing.
I made plain vanilla icing. Which I wasn't too happy with, tasted boring to me today. Maybe I am just sick of icing. Anyways, then iced the cupcakes with a butter knife to give the tops a smooth flat surface.
Rewind: On Friday night, I melted the chocolate, put it in a zip lock bag and made the bug outlines on wax paper. Then attached m & m's, smarties and jellies while they were still wet. Refrigerated overnight.
Easy pasy, next took the bugs off the wax paper and attached them to the cupcakes. I think they were cute. I still wanted to try the skeletons. As you will see in my photos, the skeletons didn't turn out amazing. I didn't have time to melt icing, and colour it for the skeleton face, so i used washable marker. Sorry, hopefully no one ate those marsh mellows, and if they did rest assured they were none toxic washable:)
I packed them up and my adorable, super helpful, awesome Mom, stopped by and delivered the cupcakes for me. Thanks Mom.
Later in the afternoon, I made more, slightly crappy vanilla icing. Iced 12 more cupcakes with a butter knife. Then coloured some icing to an orange colour, which I was hoping for a red orange (didn't happen). Went through my five billion icing tips to discover, of course I don't have the right tip. My husband "you never have the right tip'.  I don't, I am always finding something that just isn't right. So I wrote UFC on individual cupcakes (as per my husbands request, I don't think he realized how hard it is to right UFC over and over with the wrong tip on tiny cupcakes instead of writing it once, large, like in the picture i posted on week 29) one at a time. I think they looked crap, but what are you going to do. Packed em up and sent them off.
I liked the double challenge, but think my heart was on Halloween and the bugs. I might dedicate the next few months to Christmas cupcakes, I just love Christmas. I can't even think of it today though. Here are the pics.

Week 29 Oct 27th

Again, because this is my blog, my rules. I am breaking them. I am sort of pairing two weeks into one, in a way. Today was all about prep, and will count as Week 29. I am prepping for Halloween cupcakes for the weekend, and UFC cupcakes for the weekend. I went to Bulk Barn today and purchased a few things. (see picture)

I have this idea for Halloween cupcakes, actually two ideas. One a super cute skeleton cupcake
and two a bug adventure cupcake. The skeleton idea, I found from a picture on the internet. See below.
Except, it didn't come with any directions. I am in week 29, I can improvise......right???
Clearly this meant buying yogurt covered pretzels, suckers and some marsh mellows. I think. Then the bug adventure cupcakes, i found in one of my cupcake books. They came with bug outlines.
For the UFC cupcakes, i found another picture on the internet. Boring but achievable.
Stay tuned for Saturday, the big duo unveiling.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Week 28 -Pampered Chef meeting

Going to another meeting tonight for pampered chef, what a great opportunity to get the cupcakes out of the house. Again, I still didn't have the few key ingredients. Silly me. I also didn't have a chance to make them until 6:38pm when I had to be at the meeting by 7:30pm. (Sigh) I made chocolate chocolate. Only because I wanted to nail out the chocolate icing, once and for all! I finally decided that it needs less icing sugar. Makes less icing but tastes way better. Next time I do the chocolate I need to double the recipe to see how it turns out. I batch is not enough for 12 cupcakes. Butter is somewhat expensive, for good butter anyways, and I am finding I am going through sooooo much. I should be tracking my expenses and butter usage. Not to self for later:)
Oh the funniest thing this week. I again did not have the key ingredients. Ha, get it together Kathy. I didn't taste the cupcakes before taking them to the meeting. I did, however, taste them later. Bla, the actual cupcake tasted so dense and boring. No wonder nobody commented on the cupcakes at the party. Good selling feature Kath:(
Coming up, special Halloween cupcakes!

Week 27 Tuesday morning play date:)

First of all, I'm more than halfway there. Holy smokes, where does the time go?
Our friends came over this am to play. So fun. So of course while they are arriving I am starting to make cupcakes:) Chocolate with white icing. I thought it would be nice to have a treat. It was messy and busy to make them with 4 kids running around. I think this is how I thrive making cupcakes. I didn't have a few key ingredients. Baking soda, vanilla, oops.
Anyways, it was great to send some of the cupcakes home with our friends. Get them out of my house:)

Week 26- Early Thanksgiving!

Like I said, my brother was home and my Dad came home from the hospital, so we celebrated. Early thanksgiving. So yummy. Guess what I was in charge of????? Can't guess, dessert. Yummy. This week I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing. A new recipe I found, with a few surprise ingredients. They were moist and very rich. Cream cheese icing was a great topper. Good reviews from the fam.

Week 25 Thurs September 29th (Distracted and feeling yucky)

Well, with my Dad in the hospital into this week. I was a little distracted. I also wasn't feeling so great this week, plus my brother came home and it was fun to do some visiting. Challenge challenge challenge! Thank you to my hubby who put on the apron and lent a hand this week. I got out the good old banana chocolate chip recipe, got out the mushy mashy bananas and off he went. This is where you say, ahhhhhh that's so sweet. I am allowed at least one of these in the year right? Too bad, i make the rules and I say yes. So no new news, this week.

Tuesday September 20th Chocolate Ginger

I was on my way to a Pampered Chef party tonight. So I made the Pampered Chef chocolate ginger cupcake recipe. Fresh grated ginger. It was supposed to have a lovely chocolate ginger glaze on top. I say supposed to because I never got that far. My Dad needed to go to the hospital, so off I went with my Mom. Poor Dad. He's since out and on the road to recovery. Feel better Dad.
Needless to say, I didn't even try the chocolate ginger cupcakes and a few of them were wasted. Oh well, next time.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Week 23-Use up the peaches!

It was just peach season and we had some delicious ones sitting on our counter begging to be used. One of my childhood favourite's is apple crisp. My Mom's yummy homemade apple goodness. The kind of baking that you love so much you can taste it even when your not at home. The kind of yumminess that you smell when walk in the door from a long boring day of school and smell lofting the air of your cozy home. The kind of dish that says 'this reminds me of home.' So I have this idea that it would taste just as good as a peach crisp. I spent two days looking up recipes on the internet for amazing peach crisps. NOT ONE of them had a peach crisp with the yummy bottom. All of them were peaches glazed and then a crumble on top. Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't a crumble the kind with the stuff on top only?? a crisp the one with the crispy bottom and crumble on top???
I finally remember to ask my mom for her apple crisp recipe. (As a side note, asking my mom for a recipe is really a funny story in itself. She has to go to the infamous recipe cupboard, and find her recipe book. There is many recipe books in her cupboard, but the only one that is used is ancient and falling apart. It probably only has the capacity to hold 20 recipes but there are at least 100 in it. They are all stuffed in, loose page after loose page. These are the reasons I love this recipe book. None the less, it is funny every time.)
I am excited to make it, but really don't realize how much sugar is in it. It's way too much, I should have known.
The moral is, they turned out wayyyyyy too sweet. I felt really disgusting after eating part of one. Tyson ate one and only one.
I won't be making peach crisp again.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Week 22-Veggies make it into the Cupcakes:)

Shhhh don't tell my husband or my kids, but veggies made it into the cupcakes this week. yahooo. After my Dad asked if I would make the famous (in our house) chickpea cookies to take to his old work. I had to throw in a batch up cupcakes. I make them every week anyways, it was perfect to have a purpose and a place for the cupcakes to go. I went threw a lot of recipes, and decided on the one that had beet puree in the filing and squash in the cupcake. Raspberry lemon cupcakes. I added a low fat cream cheese icing to the top. Is cream cheese icing ever low fat though??? Anyways, I only took a little nibble off of the one I gave to my husband for trial. They were pretty good. I have never put filling in cupcakes before. It recommended to put half the cupcake batter in the cup, then a dot of filing, then the rest of the batter on top. I did this, but would highly recommend putting much more filing in the middle. I was worried it would ooze everywhere and make a crazy mess while cooking. Quite the contrary. Now I am left with beet/raspberry filing in my fridge. What to do with it? Here is a pic, last minute taking on my Dad's itouch.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Week 21-Fresh Fruit hits the stands, and my cupcakes!

Wednesday, August 24th. The peaches on my counter are starting to attract a few fruit flies. I hate them, and instantly decide the peaches must be used today. (Note: there is aprox 8-10 peaches) I am home alone with the kids today. I don't see my little toddlers eating 4 peaches each, unless I want to clean up a nasty mess later. No comments necessary.

Peach cupcakes is the solution. Time to branch out and find a new recipe. I find a recipe that I tweak a little and will add a cream cheese icing too. The recipe is similar to a pound cake, but turns out to be a lovely moist cupcake. Diced fresh fruit is soooo delicious in the cake. I much prefer this over frozen fruit. I also love the way the cupcakes turnout in the baking stone. So much better than a conventional baking cups. Just seems they never burn or dry out. I pick my typical cream cheese icing but I add more butter to the recipe. Next time I may infuse peaches/lemon/zest of some kind into the icing. I sent the majority of the cupcakes with Tyson to work. Pictures, hmmmm I seem to need a reminder on that.

I am approaching my halfway mark. So exciting and still going strong. Any suggestions on a big AMAZING halfway mark cupcake????????

WEEK 20- I'll admit it, I'm a chocoholic.

This week my husband was requesting Chocolate. Huh, that's funny, he requests chocolate every week. No surprise. Since, I was making the cupcakes on Aug. 18th (thurs) my deadline day for the week. I checked the cupboards and low and behold, I have the ingredients for chocolate chocolate. I take this last minute challenge of the challenge to the test because I have not yet perfected my chocolate icing. I decide to follow my chocolate icing recipe that I have labeled 'perfect chocolate icing' in the recipe book. This is not always the case for this recipe. Or maybe I have never followed it perfectly. So I did this night of Aug. 18th. Go figure, the icing comes out perfectly (in my eyes) and voila. I keep the recipe.
I was on my way to book club meeting. Perfect, another opportunity to get the cupcakes out of the house. Not so great for my hubby, who is sulking before I am even finished baking. He is looking over at me, asking for a taste every two seconds. I let him lick the finished bowl and scoop. I also give him a mile high piled cupcake with icing. I think this was satisfying until he learns i will be giving all of the cupcakes away. We are better for it. So I hope they were yummy, I didn't try. I heard from two others that they were. I forgot to take a picture. Silly me. The chocolate swirl seemed to come out so lovely too. Perfectly sitting on top of the little cupcake.
Side note: I brought the cupcakes to a restaurant (where our book club was meeting), not the best idea to bring a dessert to a restaurant, where they want to serve you dessert. Opps sorry.

August 6th Chocolate meets Shark attack!

I know, I know, again. Yes, I did it again. I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing. I have the chocolate cupcake recipe that myself and others seem to love and the icing seems to be spot on lately. According to users;)
I will take a break from them, unless requested. It only took this long to perfect and make sure. Huge sigh. Now on to another perfection recipe.
This week was special though. I made cupcakes for a family party. Thank goodness for parties. It gives the cupcakes a purpose and a place for them to go, other than my belly! I don't want to give a true meaning the the phrase 'muffin top'. (Don't know what that is, look it up. It will be in the dictionary next to: overflowing belly, and cupcakes are my best friend. Probably with my picture beside it at week 52 of cupcakes:)
Anywho here are pics. They were super easy and fun to make. Tinted the icing blue. Made the shark fins 2 days ahead of time by melting blue baking chocolate and using an outline I drew of the fin. Refer back to the butterfly making in May for technique. The sand is icing rolled in graham cracker crumbs. I loved that I could just swish on the icing for waves and didn't have to get the tips and bags out this week. Easy.  P.S. Although I used the same icing recipe, it was a bit more fluffy and runny. I think when the butter is too warm it does this. Icing seems to be best when it is a little chunky or slightly cooled. TIP: If butter is room temp and soft. I put it in the freezer while I am making the cupcakes. Aprox 10min. It then seems to be perfect for the icing making.

August 3rd, Cupcakes turns muffins

Soooo we had a special visitor today at our house. Let's just say mum's the word on who the visitor was, but it was a nerve racking, interview like visitor. Sooooo anyone that knows me. When I have visitors, (or when I'm nervous for that matter) I bake:) I have a comfort food I bake for these occasions. Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. I make them for people when they've had a baby, when people are sick, when someone dies, or when I am nervous. They are my go-to all occasion muffins. Since I have played with a few muffin recipes as my cupcakes. I decided that they would fit into my cupcake challenge. I haven't made them yet this challenge. So my husband and I ate 2 each, the visitor, 0. Ha, go figure. So This week was Banana Chocolate chip. Classic and wonderful. Love it!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

July 26th, Chocolate Chip cookie Cupcakes

Let's just say mmmmmmm. Thanks to my sister in law, Glory for this recipe. Which I think came from Martha Stewart herself before that. I was thankful for a new recipe to try, also a little inspiration. First I had to make the chocolate chip cookie dough. Between you and me, I couldn't resist to pop a few of these cookies into the oven, just to see how they would taste on their own. Super yummy cookies on their own too! I made a few to decorate the tops of the cookies. Then I made the icing. Same icing as last week. White butter cream icing. I will say, that really soft, almost warm butter made the icing a little too soft/creamy. It worked for these cupcakes, but I wouldn't like it for a swirl top vanilla or chocolate cupcake. A few times before I used room temp butter, that I had put in the freezer for about 10min prior to whipping and it worked beautifully. Great tip!!! I refrigerated the dough and the icing overnight. Made the batter in the morning and baked them up. Oh assembly. Aprox 1tbs of cookie dough on the bottom of the cupcake liner, then aprox 2tbs of cupcake batter on top of that. Bake aprox 20min. Cool and then top with icing and a decoration cookie/half cookie.
These were delicious, I tasted one when they were just made and I loved it. I didn't have the chance to taste another because they were eaten so fast. I didn't hear anything negative about these cupcakes and will make them again. Actually the cookie dough is worth making on it's own. Here is a photo of the recipe used for the cookies. Enjoy:)

Happy Birthday to me cupcakes -July 18th

hmmmmm it's my birthday and what kind of cupcakes do you think i would make???? That's right, chocolate. Ha are we getting sick of chocolate yet? Nope! I made a new chocolate recipe though. Chocolate cupcakes and white butter cream icing. I seem to have the icing down pat now. I have written out the exact measurements and it seems to be right on each week. I am really happy about that. So I made myself cupcakes on my birthday. My family came over in the evening to enjoy them. Next week, new avenues!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Week 15 I suck!

So blog fans (if there are any), this week I suck. I am not feeling so hot. I had a cheese monkey cupcake session this week. Hold your breath now..... I pulled cupcakes I had made 2 weeks ago out of the freezer and....... used crappy store frosting. (big piano noises now!!!!) Here is the pathetic picture. Promise to make it up. I have such high expectations upcoming. Gluten free, marshmallow, and cookie cupcakes will hit the blog soon!


Please stay tuned for this posting. It was completed and will be posted. BUTTT certain things have to happen before I can post. You'll get it later::)))) shhhhhhhhh, top secret

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Week 13, Happy Father's Day

Again, thank goodness for holiday's. It gives me purpose for cupcakes and creativity. This week I can not take credit for my creativity. My friend Heidi, in Switzerland, sent me a link with perfectly decorated Father's Day cupcakes. (Thanks Heidi) Brilliant idea. This week, it was up to my hubby to determine what kind of cupcake he wanted. Let's guess........chocolate! Next week, no chocolate. I am sick of cleaning up cocoa powder off of my cupboards. It's so light and dusty. Seeing that my 2yr old loves to help with the baking, the cocoa seems to spread everywhere.

So I focused on the decorations instead. As you will see in the photograph's (yes I finally took pictures again) I made little BBQ's out of the cupcakes. I had so much fun in the candy isle, trying to pick out the best disguise for hot dogs and little mini steaks. So cute. By the way, the steaks are caramels that I mushed and shaped with my fingers and then a dab of icing in the middle. Upon first glance I know they don't look so hot but this week was fun. It was also a wonderful surprise for Tyson and my Dad. Manly cupcakes. The picture had gray grills, but who the heck knows how to make gray icing???? Brown was my sub. Thanks again Heidi, great idea:)

Week 12 of 52:) Cupcake Challenge

Sooooo short and simple this week. Half a cheat, I made a double batch last week and froze them to use this week. I did make fresh icing. Cream cheese icing. CRAPPPPP AGAIN. Too much cream cheese, and butter, I think. Anyways, I made them on Monday night when Tyson was away. My Mom came over and my toddler declared that we should have a party. Brilliant idea. Girls only party, according to my toddler, had to include: presents, balloons, dancing and CUPCAKES. ahhhhhh so sweet. Any smart parent (I just figured out) has balloons on hand at all times. Luckily we had pink ones. The presents included a new outfit from Grandma and borrowed DVD's from the library. So we ate cupcakes and danced the night away. Ok maybe not the night, but at least we rocked out to Bobs and Lo Lo for a solid 45min before bath time:)

Week 11, Birthday's Again!

Thank goodness for birthday's and holidays or I would be a boring Bob for cupcake making. This weekend was my Mom's birthday. June 5th. Cupcakes, yeah!
I first want to say, is there ever going to be a week where I don't eat at least one cupcake????? Please cupcake God make me stop eating them. Sometimes there not even that good, I just eat them. This week, posed an especially big issue with the cupcake eating because I made them on my Mom's birthday and then I didn't see her. She went away. Yeah for you Mom, bad for me and my hips. My Mom had requested earlier on for chocolate-chocolate cupcakes. I want to perfect my chocolate icing anyways. The icing wasn't so hot...... AGAIN! I put it on real thick though, in hopes that you may just be overwhelmed with sugar and disregard that, 'hmmmm there just is something missing', feeling. Can I swear on hear? Of course I can, it's my blog::)))) *##$$#$## ps for future reference that means shit, crap f*#k. Sorry Mom and Dad. I am getting tired of not having a perfect icing all the time. Its been almost 3 months. So no pictures. My Mom seemed to like them though. Thank goodness. Promise by week 52 mom, I'll have the best chocolate-chocolate cupcakes you could ever imagine. Sigh!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Week 10 -Birthday Bonanza!

As you know it was my baby girl's first birthday this week. Let's just say the preparations lasted the whole week through. Cupcake prep started on thurs evening when I decided I would make the butterflies. We don't own a microwave so melting coloured chocolate and then putting it in pastry bags, is really hard. The chocolate is so flippin hot I had to wear an oven mitt for the procedure. Hence, my tracing skills (of my beautiful butterfly outline) was a little wobbly. 22 purple and pink butterflies later, I realize I have to store them in the fridge until Sun. Ummmm crap, where will they go??? So I clear out the top shelf of our fridge (probably didn't need or know I had half of it's belongings anyways) and gently place the 3 trays, 22 butterflies, AKA 44 wings in the top shelf. Ahhhhhh
I decide to make the cupcakes the day before the party. I don't like to do this, because I hate stale cupcakes, but time was of an essence. So of course I squeezed in it between 2yr old haircut, lunch/naps, and a visit with friends to our house. Of course I fit it in:) Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the 3 dozen no sugar carrot cupcakes turned into 1 dozen carrot and 2 dozen chocolate. (If you know my husband you would know why. For those that don't, basically he is a choco-holic. More than any chic I have ever known:) Love you honey but you love chocolate more than me, and that's a hard one. So somehow he convinced me to make chocolate, and I did) 1 dozen carrot, complete, no worries. 2 dozen devils food chocolate no worries. I did however manage to complete destroy our kitchen in about 1hr. Hubby had left me a lovely note saying how clean the kitchen was for our arriving guests and I was not to mess it up. Ummmm opps again! So our guests arrive. Best friend Richelle, husband Dale and daughter Ella. I apologize for the chaos called our kitchen. Little did I know that the chaos was just beginning. If you know Richelle, and you know me, then you put those personalities in a 2 and 1 yr old and you know the visit is going to be fall off your chair funny, and a little busy. Which it was. Just to paint a quick funny picture in your head of the visit, here are a few highlights.
-My 2 yr old is on day 4 of potty training. There were many trips to the potty that involved 2 adults, 2+kids. Musical potty seats and lots of children acrobatics on the potty. A few funny noises here and there potty style as well:)
-Lack of meal planning meant we had a 3 course meat meal. Tuna, sausage and chicken. Sorry kids, no veggies today! (Let me say though, it was delicious and I highly recommend it)
-Me making the icing for the cupcakes in between meat meal and bath times= more chaos in the kitchen.
- 3 kids and 4 adults eating = messy table and messy floor. Don't worry though our busy crawling 1yr old treated it like a buffet.
-2 toddlers in the tub. Need I say more here.
It was so much fun and so funny. I loved it. Made me way more relaxed for the upcoming birthday party with the family. 17 adults and 10 kids:)

Back to the cupcakes. I put them in the freezer overnight to hopefully preserve any freshness in them. Decorated them around noon. Then put the butterflies on them. Had my dad sort the smarties to pick out all the pink ones for me. Thanks Dad. I think they turned out great. They were so pretty, I just may make them again. Maybe, some day, ask me in 20 weeks or so:) Again, I have no idea what to make this week. Ask me in a few days.

Week 9 of 52-Boring Bob

Made cupcakes, Tues May 23rd. This week is exactly that, borrrring. I had to get the cupcakes in, but didn't want to do anything to detailed because I was getting ready for the birthday party. So I decided to perfect the vanilla cupcake and vanilla icing. Soooooo this is not my strong point. The vanilla were boring, and the icing was just ok. Could of been that I had to use brown sugar for the cupcakes because I didn't have any regular. My husband thought the cupcake and the icing tasted like butter and brown sugar. Sounds nice, but really it wasn't. It was cheap grocery store material. I guess I will have to do these ones again, even though I was hoping I wouldn't have to. My family thinks vanilla is boring. Chocolate is where it's at! Oh well, I want to perfect all angles. No pictures for boring bob week:(
Stay tuned for next week, BIRTHDAY BONANZA:)

Week 8 of 52, Cupcake Challenge

I know I know, 'I will post immediately after my next bake'. oppss sorry. Life happens, and apparently life is busy lately. Not to worry, the challenge is still happening. Every week!!! Ok, down to business. Week 8. Trial run cupcakes for my daughters first birthday. I make vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. Dumb mistake number one.Using whole wheat flour for vanilla cupcakes. Makes them taste like a gross healthy version, that shouldn't have icing on top, but rather......... fruit or something. BLA.
Oh well, this week was all about the decorations. Check out the photo's. I made little monarch butterflies for the top. Used melted chocolate (coloured), and filled ziplock bags with the icing.  Then drizzled the chocolate over wax paper butterfly designs. They go in the fridge to harden, and are topped on the icing with little smarties. I loved them.
NOTES: They are a super pain to make. Take loads of time. Holding the zip-lock bags was way too hot, I will use a icing tool next time. They are worth the pain, I think, because they look so cute in the end.
I dedicated my cupcakes this week to my friend who has been helping me a ton with the Pampered Chef.
Remember: Cupcakes made, and then get them out of the house, so I don't become a cupcake.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Week 7 of 52

So I am keeping up with all the baking. No probs. I have never been down to the 11th hour or anything. I do seem to have an issue writing about it though;) Next time I'll write immediately after baking (or try). So week 7. Let me start with saying a quote from my husband. As the children are running/jumping/crying/pushing/playing all over the living room with my husband stuck somewhere in the middle of that. He looks at me in the kitchen (as i am baking the cupcakes this week) and says 'so you pick the most inconvenient time to bake your cupcakes. Can we talk about that?'. I smiled, and realized I was/am picking the most inconvenient time to bake the cupcakes. Maybe that's the most convenient time for me?? AKA I need a break from mommy world. OR maybe i bake best under pressure? My thoughts this week are to try out these theories. Also to try to see what I can produce with no pressure and lots of free time. (this may not happen until closer to week 50!

This week: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate icing. I know chocolate again! Who could ever get sick of chocolate though. I made the cupcakes Tues morning before my Pampered Chef meeting. Yes I decided to join Pampered Chef and become a consultant. It's awesome, the host rewards are awesome, there is great support, fits my schedule and I love the products. (there's my new business plug, want to host a show?? contact me, great host rewards, tons of free and discounted products. You can even have a catalog show (no actual show) but all the same benefits.) ANYWAYS, i thought i would bring them to the meeting. Remember, get them out of my house!  8 Chocolate cupcakes and 24 mini chocolate cupcakes. Perfect swirl on top. Not so perfect tasting icing. I doubled my 'perfect' chocolate icing recipe and it was crap. Tyson (my husband) the cupcake connoisseur, thought it was fine, but he loves anything with sugar. So I took the rest to the meeting (minus the 2.5 i saved for my parents) and left them there.
Continue to make cupcakes at inconvenient times, kinda of funny as it happens
Try decorating ideas more
Re-try chocolate icing
Again no pics, too rushed. Next week I promise.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Cupcake challenge Week 6 of 52

I drift through this week. AKA I had no brilliant ideas/motivation to make anything spectacular. Soooo I had doubled the chocolate batter last week and saved half. I used it this week and just had to add the wet ingredients to it. That makes for fast cupcakes. In fact, when the kids went to bed at 12:15, I went to the bank, did the groceries, made the cupcakes and icing all before they woke up at 2pm. Not bad I thought. I tinted the icing yellow, just for fun. (purposely ripped the ingredients list off the food colouring box as to not see what crap was in it) I got my handy dandy injector thingy out. Shoved the icing in it after choosing a large star tip. Voila, swirling beautiful tops. Easy as pie (except making pie is not easy, stupid saying). I also layered icing on two cupcakes thickly and then rolled them in fun sprinkle colours. Then I stuck a sucker in the top of each one. They looked pretty cute. I just wanted to see how they would look, because I was thinking this would be an easy decorating solution in a pinch. Clearly kids would be drawn to them, my two year old was asking for the sucker all day.
Notes for this week:
Next week make the cupcakes and then give them away immediately. I am going to look like a cupcake in 40 something weeks. They just taste so good.
Try chocolate icing with the chocolate cupcake for an extra rich treat. Possibly try brownie cupcakes/fudgey ones.
Until next time!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cupcake Challenge Week 5 of 52


So, my challenge this week was to work on design. Pick something that would be a 'challenge' and try to make it work. I re-did the chocolate cupcake recipe I used earlier because I know it works. (not too rich, moist enough, clear chocolate taste) I used a basic confectioners sugar icing recipe. Followed it exact. Except I always use Almond milk because that is all we ever have.
Cupcakes I made in regular time. I decided to work on the icing while the kids and my husband were in the living room (which is attached to our kitchen). I don't usually do this unless I want to frustrate myself or I am in a mad rush). Lucky for me, backyardagans were entrancing both the kids and my husband.
Making the icing, not a problem. I again, followed the recipe exactly. Then came time to tint the icing to the colour of grass. (you'll see in the pictures). I separated the icing into three bowls. Tinted the first bowl darker green, the second one light, and then made the third one into chocolate icing (by melting on square of semi-sweet choc and a tablespoon of butter, then adding it to the icing). I used my new injector thingy tool with a funny looking half moon-jagged tip on it to create the grass. I borrowed the directions on how to make icing fur (as in fur on dogs) to then simulate into grass:)
It took me 20mins to decorate the first cupcake. I was ready to throw in the towel because that was exhausting. BUT of course I challenged through.
TO make the bunnies popping down the hole, i covered the cupcake in chocolate icing, then covered it with oreo cookie crumbs. I cut out the feet from white chocolate wafers (this alone took over 5 mins/set of feet), then coloured the chocolate icing even darker to pipe on the paw prints, with the other injector tool i have, then stuck a mini-marshmallow on it.
So see what you think for yourselves. The first two are my cupcakes and the last one is the picture I copied it from.
I can't even think about next week yet, I am cupcaked out today!

Cupcake Challenge Week 4 of 52

So I made the cupcakes on thurs this week (a day ahead of schedule, I was very impressed). I made them on Thurs because I was going to a party Thurs night and wanted to bring something with me as a thank you. Sooooo little did I know, when you go to a Pampered Chef party, they cook a big meal and all kinds of snacks! You don't need to bring food to this kind of party. I am a huge loser for doing this, and clearly should of read the invitation more accurately. I also showed up to the wrong house at first. Big sigh, it was a long week. BUT, good news is I made the cupcakes and I was totally happy with the recipe.
I will be using this recipe for our daughters first birthday.
So, my Mom bought me another icing tool. A large tube, injector like thing with large plastic tips. At first I thought, I don't think anything is going to help me with my decorating issues. I filled it anyways and gave it a whirl (litterally:) It worked brilliantly. The swooping, glorious swirling cupcakes I was looking for happened. Ok, so they weren't perfect and that glorious, but I felt so excited that they (the swooping, glorious, swirling cupcakes) were on there way to happening. PROGRESS.
My husband wasn't so big on the cupcake this time. He doesn't like pinapple/any fruit chunks in cupcakes. Everyone else though seemed to enjoy them. They didn't have the moisture problem like the last carrot ones. They weren't too spicy. The icing tasted just right and I started to run out of icing sugar, so my measurements didn't even happen. I just guessed at the icing. (not so great of an idea when you are trying to document and stick to recipes for later use:)
So i am obviously obsessed with :) faces, and that just means I was happy with this weeks challenge.
Not so happy at my pampered chef silliness.
PS I must have been so excited about the icing and swoopingness that I didn't take a photo of the end result. Seriously, i suck i know.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cupcake Challenge Week 3 of 52

At first I thought I would continue with the carrot theme and perfect it. So I gathered all the ingredients to make SUGAR FREE CARROT MUFFINS. orrrrr so I thought. I forgot the bloody carrots. Seriously, where is my head. Oh right with a two children under two and five billion other things going on:) So slightly disappointing because we were expecting friends over in 2hrs and I already had the cream cheese thawing to room temp for the icing. So a quickly looked for a backup recipe that I did have the ingredients for. CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES. Plain chocolate, nothing fancy.

They were easy to make, and the cream cheese icing went great with them. They were moist and yummy. I think they may be a keeper to try again, with another icing.
No pictures for this week as I was in a huge hurry. The icing however, was easier to push through the stupidly small hole of the tip. I have a book that shows how to ice with a zip lock bag, maybe I will try this next time and try the sugar free carrot. (i want to have something for my daughters first birthday in May)
I am quite possibly getting a little sick of eating the cupcakes (i know my waist line isn't) but i am not sick of making them. I am looking forward to each week.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cupcake Challenge Week 2 of 52

Icing is still a problem! I decided to make CARROT CUPCAKES with a WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE ICING. Sounds delicious I know.
The one thing I don't like about making carrot cupcakes/muffins is grating the carrots. Just seems like an extra step in baking, but.... 2 cups of carrots really doesn't take very long.
These cupcakes had pineapple in them as well. Really added to the moisture of the cupcakes but you didn't have to taste the pineapple.
The cupcakes were really moist. Kinda of oily. If I made this recipe again, I would cutback on the oil and sub in applesauce, but that might make them mushy. hmmmmm
My tasters this week (aka my family again) loved the cupcakes, loved the taste, but also thought they were too moist/oily if they were for someone. I.E if they were to be displayed for a birthday/wedding.  Just touching the paper liners, your fingers were oily.
Soooooo ICING. Geez, why does it have to be so frustrating. I've decided it's not my icing recipes/consistencies, it's my technique. How much icing to put in the pastry bag, what temperature should it be, how to squeeze the icing out perfectly on the cupcakes.
I had just as much issues this week as last with the icing. I switched the icing bag twice (alternating with a Ziploc bag). It would only come out in tiny spaghetti like lines. Not the big swooping swirls I was looking for.
I am kinda of getting carpal tunnel from squeezing the bag so hard.
Note to self: Solicit outside help for decorating. Join a cake decorating course, talk to my aunt (baker), google cake decorating.
Pictures to follow.
Feeling slightly discouraged and it's only week 2, but then remembering I have
50 more tries to make it right:))
PS white chocolate in the icing wasn't worth it. You couldn't taste it and it was a lot of hassle and silly to get the heavy cream and white chocolate only to use a few table spoons.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Cupcake Challenge Week 1 of 52

So, i have completed the first weeks cupcake challenge. Here is the rundown of how it went:0
  • Choose a basic white/yellow cupcake recipe with white confectioners sugar icing
  • Bought the ingredients, most of which i already had in the house
  • Sunday morning, assembled the ingredients on the counter and had my 2yr old jump up on her helping stool (thanks Pa Pa) to mix and make the cupcakes
  • Everything went smoothly during this phase, followed directions exactly (-the spilt cup of sugar on the counter, thanks little helper:) baked cupcakes to perfection
  • Let them cool on a rack, which i never do
  • Made the icing (on my own) and followed directions exactly, I've never done this before
  • I went for a thicker icing, used all 4 cups icing sugar, with the 1/2 cup butter. I wanted the icing to swirl on top of the cupcakes instead of melting off
  • Here's where the struggle came..........
  • Put icing in small (sandwhich size) ziplock bag, with a small hole where i inserted the #30 star tip, started icing the cupcakes, the bag springs a hole out the side, icing is pushing out, squish as much icing as possible into a large ziplock bag (which doesn't have a straight corner, so the cut for the tip is slanted and funny), put all the icing i have in this bag and start to ice the cupcakes, the tip hole burst open, start swearing now (don't worry the kids were in bed), empty junk drawer (note to self to clean junk drawer) looking for the syringey looking thing that is for icing, find it, squish-cancel that- stuff some icing in it (it is small and incredibly hard to load), start icing cupcakes, (here is where my husband walks by and comments 'it looks to pasty' aka too thick), ignore husband, the syringey thing starts to break at the seam of the plastic, grrrrrrrrr, decide i need the proper tools to start this challenge, drive to the kitchen store around the corner, purchase a pastry bag and more tips (which the lady said had instructions inside-WRONG), after googling how to load a pastry bag I squeeze, squish, spoon and scrap all the icing I have into the pastry bag, I then try to ice the cupcakes.....again, swearing here, I then take all the icing out of the bag, put it back in the bowl and add more milk, stir, and spoon back into icing bag, then start icing cupcakes.
  • I used 5 different tips trying to make it work, when clearly the icing was too thick (note to self, listen to husband sometimes)
  • I will post pictures later, but the swirls were small and hard to make, it almost looked like large noodles all messy on the cupcakes, but thank goodness they are done
  • We had my parents over for dinner and to taste the cupcakes
  • End result from the testers said: 3.5/5 for the cupcakes and 4/5 for the icing (taste only not looks)
  • Some comments: very dense, icing too thick (still grrrr), could of been more icing (well there would of been before the 5 trys)
  • Suggestions for upcoming weeks: pinapple cupcakes, bigger cupcakes, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, boiled icing
I have already learned that proper tools make the world of a difference, that following the recipe exact doesn't always work, and that you always need to leave time for error.
 My two year old really enjoyed the baking though!
Stay tuned for pics and next weeks adventure.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

My Super Mom Challenge

Why not start off my blog with a super Mom challenge! So, I have been thinking about a small business I can do from home, something that I love, something that will allow me to be with my children. hmmmm what can I do??? Well, one of my favourite things to do it bake:) I love making cupcakes/muffins. So I have given myself a super challenge. Here's one way to get skilled in doing something, do it over and over again!
Here's the Challenge:
Bake one/more batches of cupcakes/muffins per week for one year.
That's 52 batches.
I can repeat recipes if they seem to be going well to perfect them, but must produce one batch of cupcakes/muffins per week. (12 or more)
I hope to perfect my icing techniques, and come up with something unique for my cupcakes. Come up with a business name along the way, and find a few favourites.
The good thing for you is, I will blog each week the progress outcome and hopefully some pictures. I will also blog the feedback from the tasters (which could be anyone over the year). To top it off,  my life is funny, I can guarantee there will be humour. 
I will be taking suggestions.
Wish me luck!
Challenge to start: Friday March 25th (each week will go Fri-Thur)
Challenge to end: Thursday Thurs March 22nd 2012