Monthly Archives: September 2011

Happy Birthday Melinda!!!

September is a big month for birthdays, especially for me! My two favorite people in the world have their birthdays a mere two days apart, so I’ve been quite busy in the kitchen!

Today we’re celebrating the birthday of my sister, Melinda! Her birthday was yesterday, and tonight she’s hosting her “Second Annual Wine and Cheese Birthday Celebration.” Naturally, I had to make her a wine and cheese cupcake to go with the theme!

A Cupcake Vineyard!

A Red Wine and Chocolate Cupcake with Mascarpone Frosting has become my annual wine and cheese cupcake.  I used a port wine for this batch, and it really enhances the chocolatey-ness of the cake. The mascarpone icing is wonderful too. It’s not too sweet, and is a nice compliment to the chocolate-port cake.

Chocolate-Port Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing

The second cupcake I made is a Riesling cake, topped with a white chocolate, Riesling buttercream. The cake itself is nice and light, as it’s made with egg whites. The frosting is very smooth and creamy, with a unique sweetness from the white chocolate.

Riesling Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Riesling Buttercream

And, for the occasion I created a card so her guests would know what their dessert options were!

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Happy Birthday Jer!!!

Happy Birthday Jer!

Today is Jer’s birthday, and to celebrate the big day I baked him a Hostess-style cupcake! He’s been hinting for a while that he’d like one, so I figured his birthday would be the best time to give it a whirl.

Jer is my biggest supporter when it comes to cupcakes, or really any wacky idea I come up with, so I was very excited to finally make a cupcake specifically for him, especially after all the cupcakes he’s sampled that would never have been his choice (namely one particular cream-cheese topped cupcake – he does not like cream cheese, but he tried it anyway!)

I spent the day cooking Sunday in honor of his coming birthday, and he helped too. The day started with a nice egg breakfast, followed by a shrimp and grits lunch. Next it was on to cupcakes and ribs! (I did the cupcakes, Jer did the ribs.) Dinner was the ribs with hush puppies, and a mess of collard greens!

The cupcakes almost took as long as Jer’s ribs!! They’re pretty labor intensive with four different components, which is why I made them over the weekend. I had to make sure the cupcakes were just right, as he is a Hostess expert – the creamy filling could certainly not be used for  the signature Hostess swirl, must be different!

The first component was the cake. I have several chocolate cake recipes in my arsenal, and I’m not totally sure the one I picked was the best for the job, but Jer liked the cake. Personally, I thought it should have been lighter and fluffier!

Next came the creamy filling from the other recipe. It’s a combo of marshmallow fluff (a VERY sticky, odd substance), confectioners sugar, butter, and heavy cream. It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a Hostess cupcake, so I didn’t remember what the filling tasted like, but Jer said it was a pretty good match!

Then came the ganache. Instead of the traditional bittersweet chocolate used for ganache, which I find too bitter, I use semi-sweet, and it was perfect! It had a nice glossy shine and color, and was neither too sweet, nor too bitter!

Lastly, the signature Hostess swirl… I planned on making the swirl with royal icing swirl, but instead made a buttercream. Honestly, I was more concerned about getting the look of the swirl right, as I don’t usually do fine lines, and the swirl is so distinct! But, I managed to get all seven swirls on each cupcake! (some were definitely better than others!)

All in all not too shabby for a first try, and most importantly my birthday guy enjoyed them!!!

It’s Not the End! Or is it?

Labor Day is upon us friends. For many, Labor Day means the end of Summer. Not for me! I refuse to go with that mentality. We still have 3 MORE WEEKS of my very favorite season!

And to celebrate, I’ve made a festive array of summery cupcakes, complete with beach umbrellas, sea shells, and surf boards!

Really the only thing about this weekend that will be “The End” is the destination for these treats! As fellow Long Islanders may have already guessed, we’re heading to Montauk!!

These vanilla, chocolate chip cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream are for our annual company weekend out East. I stayed up late last night getting them done so we can get an early(ish) start on our roadtrip!

All packed and ready to go, we’ve got our Surfer Bears:

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Our Sea Shells for the Sea Shore:

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And last but not least, the Beach Bum Bears:

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Happy It’s Not Yet the End of Summer Weekend!! (it’s not even really the weekend yet!)

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