Monthly Archives: December 2011
Merry Christmas Eve!
Here’s two of my creations from this holiday season! They were created for my annual holiday gathering, and both went pretty quick, despite my fear of having made too many!!
The first was a Peppermint Bark cupcake, inspired by the famous holiday treat! It featured a chocolate, peppermint cake, and was topped with a white chocolate buttercream. As a garnish, crushed candy cane pieces were sprinkled on top, and the cakes were then topped with a candy cane Hershey kiss!
My second cupcake (which may make an encore appearance tomorrow for Christmas) was an eggnog cupcake. Eggnog was used in both the cake and the frosting. There was also a healthy dose of nutmeg and rum to spice things up. The cupcakes were topped with sugar holly leaves and one, tiny red sugar berry, a few shimmery white sprinkles, and a bit more nutmeg!
Last night I had the pleasure of creating cupcakes for a co-worker who wanted to gift a personalized, strawberry/vanilla cupcake this holiday season.
The cupcakes were for a friend’s younger sister, so there was also a request for lots of pink, and I was happy to oblige! The strawberry cake was tinted pink, as was the vanilla buttercream frosting, which was then garnished with pink sugar glitter, and shimmery white sprinkles.
This was my first request for a personalized cupcake, so I invested in funky letter cutters & got to work making some gum paste!
This past weekend we went to Brooklyn to my friend Kristin & her hubby’s place to celebrate her birthday and for their housewarming party. Naturally I couldn’t come empty handed so cupcakes were in order. These were going to be different though because Kristin has a special love, and it’s not chocolate! (She’s actually the only person I know who doesn’t like it!)
This love is that of BACON, so I decided it was time to try out a bacon cupcake recipe! There were equal amounts of surprise, confusion, and delight going around the room when the cupcakes were announced and there were a variety of reactions as well. Some comments included: “Bacon cupcake = strange and wonderful”, followed by “Wonderful and wonderful”, “I just ate a BACON cupcake. My life will never be the same… At first I said eww. Then I had a bite. Un-freaking-believably delicious!”
I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous about their reception, but fortunately it was all positive! I’m sure alcohol helped loosen up anyone who may have been hesitant to try them too. The cake portion was a maple-bacon combo; it’s main ingredients being dark amber maple syrup, bacon fat, a full pound of chopped up bacon, and brown sugar. Despite all the bacon in it, the cake didn’t have much of a bacon-y taste. Some people actually thought it may have contained cornmeal, and I think that’s because it was so dense, and biscuit-like. The next time I make these (if there is a next time!) I have a few adjustments to make, which I think will make the cake a bit lighter.
The frosting was a unique creation. A maple buttercream is suggested to top a maple bacon cupcake, but knowing my audience, I really wanted to make sure I had a full bacon punch. To get that punch, I mixed bacon fat into the butter, and that definitely got the flavor across! I did a mix of milk and maple syrup, so the frosting wouldn’t be too sweet. Each cupcake was then topped with coarse sea salt crystals, sugar in the raw, and real bacon bits!
Before being totally swamped with all the baking and festivities associated with the upcoming holidays, I had to post about my Thanksgiving creations! This was the first Thanksgiving Jer and I hosted in our new home, and no holiday is complete without cupcakes…
Of course having hosted Thanksgiving Italian style (antipasto course, pasta course, turkey course, THEN dessert), there wouldn’t be much room left for cupcakes, so these cupcakes were packaged to go. That’s not to say we went without dessert on Thanksgiving though – my mom made her famous apple pie, Jer’s mom made brownies, and his brother made pumpkin pie!
Pumpkins and apples are two great traditional flavors of Fall, and I wanted to incorporate them both into the cupcakes. The first cupcake was a Pumpkin Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream, topped with orange sugar. The cake itself was made with pumpkin puree and a variety of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. It was moist like a pumpkin bread, but not as dense. The vanilla buttercream was a nice topper, as well, but a cream cheese frosting would have been great too!
The second cupcake was a Cocoa-Apple Cupcake with Sour Buttercream, topped with chocolate sprinkles. The cake was made with cocoa power, shredded organic Gala apples, and studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips. The Sour Buttercream is similar to a traditional buttercream, but is made with sour cream and is not as sweet, so it paired very well with the cake!
I packaged two of each cupcake in a festive box and gave them to our guests as they were leaving – just in case they got hungry on the car ride home 😉
This post is a little behind in wishing my friend Fahad a Happy Birthday, but fortunately his cupcakes were right on time! His being in NYC on the day of his birthday, at the beginning of November, was quite fortunate timing as well. Currently living in Dubai, it’s been probably over a year since we had seen Fahad, so it was great to see him again and celebrate his birthday with him
For the occasion, I whipped up a batch of vanilla, chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I tinted the frosting yellow, and topped the cupcakes with candy-covered mini-kisses. They looked quite festive & went over quite well, hopefully well enough that it won’t be another year before Fahad is back visiting in the Big Apple!