“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

It’s Time For Some Funfetti!

Wow – it has been WAY too long since I’ve written an update (and yes, I know my last post starts the same way).

Anyway!

To kick start myself back into the baking (tis the season), I decided to formulate my recipe for funfetti cake – mainly because I had a groom’s cake with that cake type 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, funfetti is a great cake – basically a plain vanilla cake, but with some rainbow sprinkled mixed in to give all these little points of color within the cake when you cut it.  I swear it tastes better than regular vanilla cake… but I’m part of the funfetti generation, so I’m a wee bit biased!

The groom for this cake is a vanilla lover, so he requested vanilla with a simple vanilla buttercream.  Enter Kat – Funfetti cake with some Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.  I’m excited for this cake – this was going to be my first fondant-less cake for an event. Continue reading

An Ode to French Buttercream

Remember the first time you tasted your absolutely favorite food?  The feeling you got when you took that first bite, had all the tastes run across your palate, and just fell in love with this marvelous culinary masterpiece?

That’s how I am with French Buttercream.

Sigh. 🙂

French Buttercream (FBC) is the oft-overlooked but oh-so-good kind of frosting/filling that has you taking more than anyone’s fair share of licks as you work on your cake.  (Or, in some cases spoonfuls.  But I don’t know who that could be.)

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is this place called Sushi Toro (or Toro Sushi, depending on what website you find).  One of their specialties is called the “Oh My God Roll”, because after you try it, it’s your first reaction to say “Oh my God!”  No joke.  It seems to happen every time I’m there with anyone new.

I think French Buttercream should just be renamed Oh My God Buttercream.  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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