Sunday, 22 April 2012

The end is here, but it's really not over!

Easter 2012 arrives, I am to make cupcakes for our family gathering. I picture this as my grand finale, a time to make a cupcake so good and so cute I will want to challenge another 52 weeks. Ok, so maybe I won't make another 52 week cupcake challenge, but I am motivated to make super cute cupcakes. I google Easter cupcake images, and find an adorable bunny picture. No directions on how to make it, but I figure I am now a seasoned cupcake maker and can wing it.
I have left over fondant that I prepare the night before, cutting out the little ears.
The morning of (because I insist they taste far better fresh) I whip up my devils food chocolate recipe I have come to love. I whip up a butter cream icing that I also have come to love. Load my 'easy accent decorator', and get to it. It turns out to be quite easy. Fluffy cheeks, licorice whiskers, jellybean eyes and teeth. (you'll notice some of the bunny's have quite yellow discoloured teeth, but my 3yr old jelly bean sorter ate a few teeth:)
Voila, I love them. The grass cupcakes with eggs, was a take off of what I made last year. I thought they looked cute with the bunny's.
A tear forms and trickles down my cheek, nah just kidding. I celebrate, I am happy to be lifted from this challenge. I am also impressed I am able to complete 52 weeks, 1 or more batches of cupcakes every week, NEVER a miss.
Conclusion: I am not ready for my own cupcake business, would need more spare time. I found that many weeks I was squeezing in a batch anywhere I could. Usually with my baking assistants (kid 1 and kid 2). This makes for messy and often rushed cupcakes.
I have used so many pounds of butter I can not even comprehend. It's actually kinda sick. I will be glad not to bulk buy butter and flour anymore. Mom, thanks for always finding the butter sales for me!
I do enjoy making and decorating cupcakes. I still want to do a baking course. Learn more about cakes...hmmmmmmm.
I did find a few key recipes that I feel are taste test approved.
2-devils food chocolate
3-no sugar carrot
5-butter cream icing
6-cream cheese icing
 Also have realized I love the blog, and have quite a few other blogging ideas. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Week 52, but not the finale! = chocolate marsh mellow MARCH 30th

Chocolate marsh mellow muffins. I found the recipe and wanted to try it. Two reasons, I had marsh mellows, I needed to bake, and I don't like marsh mellows so I knew I wouldn't eat them. Ok so that was three reasons.
Unfortunately they turned out dry and quite bland. hmmmm real bummer seeing we are at the end of the challenge. I think I was purposely trying to dodge the fact that technically I am done. I have started to enjoy the cupcake making and it has become a part of my routine. I find it so easy to bake a batch of cupcakes with a 3 and 1 yr old helping and mess everywhere.
I will however take this next week to make a grand finale cupcake batch and post pics.
I am also committed to making cupcakes for Easter weekend this week!
Stay tuned

Week 51 I finally approach FONDANT

If you want to learn to bake/decorate with fondant icing please first consult someone that has experience with it. I did! Hooray for me. My dear baking friend Wendy has done some amazing things with fondant. beautiful cakes and cupcakes. She was the perfect consult before approaching fondant. She was able to give me rolling, and shaping tips.
Tip one, use any roller you want for fondant. wood, plastic are fine
Tip two, re-ball and re-roll fondant as much as you want
Tip three, work with it quickly as it drys out quite fast (this tip, i didn't follow so well and lost a bit of fondant in the process, it became to dry to re-ball)
Tip four, buy it in bulk, already made, saving yourself loads of hassle (this i followed)
Tip five, colouring your own fondant is easily achieved (i cheated my first attempt and bought pre-coloured fondant)
I have had this vision from week one that I would somehow create beautiful flowers, or at least one beautiful flower that I would delicately place on top of my perfect cupcakes. I always dreamt it would be made from fondant. I don't know why it took my until week 51 to experiment with fondant.
Although, now maybe my subconscious baking mind knew, that I would be a fondant disaster!
I first attempted making my own flowers, like I had visioned. Attempt one disaster with a tad of poopy floppy flower petals. Attempt two, make them look more full with more layers. Again disaster. They looked like my 3yr olds craft project gone haywire.
So I found all of my 3 year old's play doh cutting tools. ha who would of thought, they were the perfect petite size to make some awesome cutouts. Petite teddy bears, ducks, butterflies. Perfect for topping the cupcakes. Fondant looks so much nicer when you use cut outs.
Is this what the big wigs do when decorating? Are those petals and perfectly placed leafs all cutouts??
I need to know this and will find out.
I did completely cover one cupcake with a perfectly rolled and placed yellow fondant layer. Wanted to try my hand at a mini wedding cake look. (Except the only colours I had of pre-coloured fondant icing were pastels) So if a pastel yellow wedding cake with a cute little green ducky is your thing, give me a call:)
I will try fondant again, I think it is a craft that needs to be practised. I do have some more flower ideas too!
Picture on my phone, will post.

Week 50 Chocolate banana, ye ol faithful

Couldn't pass it up, the bananas on our counter were just the perfect shade of brown, they were asking for it. I was going away for a girls weekend and wanted to bring muffins, I just had to.
Sorry Chocolate banana muffins won a stunning week 50!!!

Week 49 LEMON hills very pretty....

March 14th Lemon cupcakes with homemade vanilla frosting infused with real lemon zest.
Anything that is infused with something sounds so lovely doesn't it?
I thought I would try something completely different before the challenge is up. I don't personally like lemon baking, but I know many other's do.
So a simple white based cake with lemon 'infused' in it. Fresh lemon though, real zest and juice.
Which i love doing because I use all my pampered chef products for juicing and zesting and they work so well.
The icing I went a little more heavy on the butter end of the butter cream, to make them richer. I think it was a good choice. I didn't try this cupcake, Tyson liked it, and so did my neighbours.
Again, picture was taken and will be posted beside the blog. (it's on my phone and i can't get it off)


So Tyson's birthday was March 7th so we had to bake a little more this week. No complaints here, I had the opportunity to make a cake instead of cupcakes.
All he requested was we have a chocolate cake with homemade chocolate icing. Now that I have done so much baking his taste buds are picking on the homemade baking.
I found a recipe that included chocolate pudding and extra chocolate chips for his chocolate cake. Are you sensing a theme yet.....chocolate. Do you know my husband a little yet??? He's born and raised (i don't know if he was really raised on chocolate, but it sounds good) chocolate oholic!!
So to top it off, I made it a double decker, with homemade real whipped ,from scratch, cream with an additive for firmness. I had the whipped topping as the middle and then frosted the entire double decker of a cake with my homemade chocolate icing.
Let's just say, this cake was amazing! Moist, rich, gooey and delicious. Most of us could only handle a small piece. Tyson on the other hand ate that cake for lunch, dinner, and every meal after for 48hrs until the entire cake was gone. That has to mean it tasted good, or he wouldn't of eaten it.
Picture was taken and will be attached to this soon. The cake did start to slide immediately after we cut into it, causing it to avalanche into a giant blob!
A blob for the blog!

March 5th Week 48 Zucchini takes over!

Here come the vegetables taking over the cupcake world/challenge again!
Well the zucchini were taking over my fridge, after the weekend when I happened to get an amazing deal at the market and felt the need to purchase 6 zucchini. Really who needs that many? If I would of consulted any zucchini recipes before hand I would of seen that any recipe calls for 1/2 to no more than 1 cup of zucchini at a time. Do you know how many cups you can get from 1 giant zucchini?
I'll tell you, at least 2.
That's 2 cups of zucchini X 6 zucchini = 12 cups of zucchini!!!! AKA toooooo much ZUCCHINI
Say ZUCCHINI 3 times fast.......... funny word isn't it?
So, thanks to my dear baking friend Mairghread, who passed on her mom's zucchini loaf recipe.
I was able to make chocolate zucchini loaf and cupcakes.
I was on my way to London to visit our other dear friends, who really didn't have a choice in the matter, zucchini was coming there way.
I don't know if they were just being nice, but apparently the loaf/cupcakes were a hit. Myself personally, i didn't like the mix of chocolate and zucchini. I think I would of like the zucchini on it's own or chocolate on it's own.
That's 1 zucchini down and 5 to go.......... 1 used in stir fry check.....1 given to family check..... 1 fed to the deer out back check.....and 2 wasted. Sorry couldn't come up with anymore zucchini times.
Won't be buying it for a long time:)

Week 43-47 Muffins, repeats and Valentines Day

So boring post, but I did quite a few repeats this month. Chocolate chocolate, chocolate with vanilla butter cream icing. Chocolate chip muffins (which were a sub from my choc/raspberry muffins, no raspberries), banana chocolate muffins and well you get the point.
I have been on a huge muffin kick being prego.
Valentines Day Telsche and I did do some baking together. Chocolate brownie cupcakes from scratch. Not the greatest recipe, won't do that again. Dry chocolate.
You ever have those weeks or those months were the time just flies by and your not sure how you got to where your at, or what even happened?? That was February here. Could be because everyone in the house had the flu.....twice, then a cold, could be because I am getting more and more prego by the second, or that my husband moved two office locations.
Regardless, the challenge happened every week, and I never missed a deadline.
Still on track.