“Champagne” Cupcakes with Strawberry-Champagne Whipped Cream

Happy second day of Cupcake Week!

(p.s.  who’s totally psyched for Top Chef tonight?!?  This girl!!)

I’ve already made champagne cupcakes in the past, and while I enjoyed them, I really felt the champagne didn’t lend enough flavor to the cupcake itself – what I tasted more than anything was the dryness of the champagne.

No longer.

This time when I found out I would be making these, I set myself on a quest for a good bubbly.  While I love champagne dearly, I have decided it’s just not quite appropriate for a cupcake.  This time, my goal was to find a prosecco or sparkling moscato to give these lil cupcakes the extra “oomph” they needed.  After spending some time at Trader Joe’s, I found exactly what I was looking for – a delicious tasting prosecco.  Has the bubbles, but just a bit more flavor than champagne.

And these cupcakes turned out mah-velously.

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Earl Grey Mini-Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting (aka Happy Start to Kat’s Cupcake Week!)

Hello readers!

It’s the start to my own personal cupcake week! (or mini-cupcake week)

A colleague of mine is having a brunch coming up and hired me to make some mini-cupcakes for the event, so starting today I get to have a few different mini cupcake posts!

I ran into this woman when I was getting my hair cut, and what she requested for the cupcakes was something that was not “pedestrian” – something unique and delicious.  So I came up with a bunch of suggestions, and she selected four that she and her sister liked best.  One is a recipe I’ve made and absolutely love, one is a recipe that I’ve made before and am improving on, one is a cake recipe I’ve made and I’m turning into cupcakes, and one is brand spankin’ new!

My brand new recipe is something that sounded interesting and very different – Earl Grey cupcakes with a lemon frosting.  Personally, I’m  not a tea fan – I like peppermint, mint, and then I switch to coffee.  But the idea of a tea cupcake just sounded so appropriate for a brunch, I couldn’t not include it in my list of recommendations.

This cupcake ended up oddly delicious – it almost tasted like a light lemon poppyseed cake.  The tea flavor doesn’t come out until the very end, as a subtle lemony-floral aftertaste.   Continue reading

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

I have a confession.

As a child, I hated cake.  The only part I liked was the royal icing flowers on top.  I think I still ate funfetti cake and the like, but that was it.  Whenever we had birthday cake, I would just turn up my nose and eat my royal icing roses (which, by the way, my mom/aunts had to always ask for a specific number of those so there wouldn’t be fighting among us cousins).

Oh – and I also didn’t like chocolate.

Whew.  That’s a huge weight off my shoulders.  Feel free to throw words at me like “are you insane??”

Now I’m normal and like both chocolate and cake (a little too much for my own good, in my opinion).  I guess that’s one of the good (bad?) things about getting older, your tastes changing.

When we had the double baby shower at work this week, I knew one of the women was a chocoholic, so I decided to make the same cake I made this past weekend for the christening cake

One of my favorite memories of high school was Market Day.  Does everyone remember that?  That “grocery” service through the school where you paid a semi-crazy amount of money for what was basically a bunch of junk food?  Mmmm Italian Dippers.  My favorite thing we got were these frozen Chocolate Puddin’ Cakes.  They were slices of a super moist but not super chocolatey cake, riddled with chocolate chunks.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even let a slice thaw – I would just eat it still frozen (and it was still amazing). Continue reading

Italian Coconut Cream Cake

It seems to be baby week/month in my world!  This past weekend was a christening, I just had a double baby shower at work, and in a week and a half I have another christening to go to.  All this new lil sweet peas joining our world sure is reason for celebration… and cake!

One of the women for the baby shower LOVES coconut.  I am actually fascinated by how much she loves coconut… the way she talks about it, sometimes I wonder if she would trade this baby for some coconut! 🙂

In order to get her good and coconut-ed, I decided to find a really good coconut cake that would be just the ticket.  I searched and searched, but mainly what I found was either a pie or something that was a plain cake with coconut frosting.  That simply wasn’t good enough for the idea I had in mind.

Then I came across a blog that had an Italian Coconut Cream Cake, and it just sounded perfect.

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Christening Cake

Happy Monday – it’s cake time!

This past weekend was a christening in my family.  I’m not exactly sure of the link – it’s my dad’s cousin’s son’s son… is that my second cousin once-removed?  Something like that… I think… but regardless – this new lil guy is my cousin! 🙂

Trying to figure out what to do for a christening cake was a feat unto itself… try googling it. Seriously.  You get everything from cross-shaped cakes to cakes with teddy bears to cakes with booties and balloons.  Basically, it seems like whatever is blue works well, and most people seem to shove the religious part by the wayside.  After spending days and days searching for something to give me inspiration, I gave up, feeling no more inspired than when I started.

Then I ran across a forum post on Cake Central (if you are a baker, check it out, it’s awesome!).  For billowing fondant.

And I was hooked.

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Dreamy Creamsicle Cake Part 3 – Completed Cake!

Happy Monday all!

I had originally planned to get this post up yesterday… but then time just got away from me… so here we are.  (As a side note, don’t you just wish you could go to the store and buy more time?  In my mind it would be sold like parking meters – 25 cents for each additional 15 minutes of time you would like to add to your day.  If only.)

On Saturday morning, before and after getting my hair cut, I was able to finally construct my Dreamy Creamsicle Cake.  I had pulled the cake out of the freezer the night before to thaw, and had pulled the frosting out of the fridge first thing in the morning so they could soften.

The first problem I encountered was that my Orange IMCCB had broken (if you don’t know what that is, check here :)).  Honestly, I think it was broken when I first made it, but at the time I was too positive and was just thinking “oh, that’s only orange zest”.  Um, no.  Unfortunately after the Orange IMCCB had softened and I re-mixed it to hopefully get the emulsion working, it just kind of stared at me sadly while swirling around in the mixing bowl.  But no matter – I had been trying to decide which frosting would be for the inside of the cake, and that just decided it for me, because geez did that stuff still taste good – so good I couldn’t not use it.

When putting this cake together, I had decided to make thinner layers (with more frosting) to make sure that the flavor was well incorporated as well as keeping the cake moist.  Along with this, I had also decided that I wanted to try what I refer to as “swoosh” frosting – basically frosting the cake with an ongoing back and forth motion using a small spatula or back of a spoon to give it a somewhat-unfinished-but-still-nice look.  I think my first attempt at this came out alright – not the best, but definitely not too shabby either!

With the frosting amounts I made in the previous post – I used it ALL.  There was literally nothing left in either bowl, the amount worked out just perfectly.  And, as always, I brushed my cakes with simple syrup to make the frosting stick.  To continue the flavor theme of my cake, I used vanilla in the simple syrup, which of course worked perfectly with the oranges and vanilla cream.

This cake ended up being a nice weight – almost pound cake-ish, but not quite as dense.  Everyone seemed to love it, and their first reaction was that it taste just like a creamsicle.  My dad thought that the vanilla cream cheese frosting was a little too sweet, so I might have to adjust that a bit, but all in all, I would say this was a delicious success!

Next in line – a Christening cake.  Oh boy oh boy!

Dreamy Creamsicle Cake Part 2 – Frosting & Filling

Happy Thursday everyone!  If you haven’t melted yet, the flavors in these two recipes would be enough to refresh you… I had to stop myself from eating the whole bowl of the orange-flavored one!

I get to take a trip for work over the next couple days, which is the main reason that I’m doing this cake in pieces… well, that and the fact that I’m learning doing this in sections is much easier and less stressful (note to self: keep splitting it up!)

For this Dreamy Creamsicle Cake, I wanted to make two different kinds of frostings and/or fillings (I haven’t decided which one is which yet).  One is a Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (CCF), and the other is an Orange Italian Meringue Cream Cheese Buttercream (that is seriously a mouthful and will hereafter be referred to as Orange IMCCB).

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