Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shane's Heart Cupcakes

Yesterday we had a board meeting for Shane's Foundation, I am so excited about the major projects that we are getting involved in and it makes me so happy to see Shane's life leave a positive impact in this world. One of the reasons we started this Foundation is to create awareness of Congenital Heart Disease and make early scans of the heart an important step in prenatal care. While Shane's Heart is participating in a Congenital Heart detection symposium in October, we are also going to be doing a major fundraiser in the month of September to help pediatric cardiology patients. The fundraiser will include raising money for gift cards to help families and patients of UCLA's pediatric cardiology. Since UCLA is one of the BEST in the nation, people travel from all over to get their children the best care. Hospital stays can be a difficult time for families, whether that is travel expenses, food expenses and even overnight expenses. Every parent should be able to be with their child while they are in the hospital and if we can assist in that way, that is one way Shane's Foundation wants to help. I know this is my dessert blog, but I was so excited about this I just had to share. The website has not even been updated yet, so consider yourselves VIP of Shane's Heart news :) Later this month, check the website for further details and updates on these projects.

Onto these desserts:
In the month of July, two of my friends and fellow board members had a birthday, so to celebrate Chris and Karen's birthday I made some cupcakes with the Foundation logo on them. I made the cinnamon bun cupcakes that I made for Easter brunch and I decorated them with a simple vanilla frosting topped with a white chocolate disc with the logo pipped on it. Unfortunately Karen couldn't make it but I sent her this picture to let her know we were celebrating in her honor!

Most of the time, I like to experiment and create recipes of my own, but this one is just too good to alter or even try to duplicate in my own way. So I found the recipe online and I want to share it with all of you, because these cupcakes are really SOOOOO good!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Truffles on the Menu

My mom sent me a link to this website where she found these delicious looking chocolate truffles. When I went to visit the website I was amazed by how easy it is to make these bite-size balls of goodness (and yes, I just said that!). But how else can you describe this tiny chocolaty treats that are packed with richness?

These are Brigadeiros: "the gooey, chocolatey, caramel-y Brazilian candy treat"

I decided to try this recipe out for dinner at my mother-in-law's tonight, since family is visiting from out of town. (Mom, I will be sure to bring you some the next time I visit, and again, thanks for sending me this link) From start to finish these treats probably took under an hour to make, you could tack on more time for the refrigeration process, but I was able to get other stuff done while these little guys chilled out :)

There are only 4 ingredients to this recipe. All you need to do is to combine 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons butter. Heat this over medium heat and stir until the chocolate mixture is at a thick consistency. From there, all you have to do is pour the mixture into a square dish, refrigerate for an hour or so, and then roll the chocolate into 1 in. balls. Let them take a dip into a pool of sprinkles (whatever kind you like) until fully covered and then you are done!

That was my quick version of this recipe, but to view the actual one, with pictures and all, click on the link I have provided.

I highly recommend this small dessert for any kind of get-together. They have a fun yet sophisticated look, they are rich in flavor, and they sound expensive! Brigadeiro, they are a truffle after all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And the Poll Went Gaga...

Your WINNER is...Lady Gaga!
Lady Gaga, clearly a unique soul and extremely talented, this cupcake was inspired was inspired by this multifaceted musician. Her extraordinary taste in fashion has influenced the design of one-of-a-kind cupcake.

I chose to create a cupcake that truly captured the essence of this standout celebrity. Her bleached blond hair and big sunglasses are a part of this artist's signature style.

The nest-like head piece inspired the base of this cupcake's decorations.

Lady Gaga, shocking and unprecedented entry into the 2011 Grammys also influenced this cupcake.

The cupcake was extremely fun to create as I had very creative individual to pull from.

As for the cupcake itself, I felt the cupcake needed some
"pizazz" so I created a vanilla cupcake that was swirled with two different colors.

So here it is...I hope you find it as entertaining as Lady Gaga, herself:

Your LADY GAGA inspired cupcake

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CARmageddon=Baking Weekend :

Ok, so for all you So. Cal folk you know that this is the weekend to either get out of town (TODAY) or stay home. Since the 405 closure is keeping me from going anywhere east of my home, I thought it was a good time to create my "Celebrity Inspired" cupcake, that has been picked by those of you who like to follow my blog. Since, the "Celebrity Inspired" cupcake is about the aesthetics, and will probably require some time, I think this weekend will be a good time to create this fun dessert. So...
PLEASE PLACE YOU VOTE TODAY, before the poll closes tomorrow at 12 noon. If you want to write in a vote, leave it in a comment.
-its Thursday people...time to get desserted!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marshmallow Fondant, Lemon Cake Pops, and a Chocolate RED WINE Cupcake

This was the first time I ever used homemade fondant to decorate an entire cake. It was for Mike's nana's surprise birthday party. I used marshmallows, white chocolate, vanilla, and confectioners sugar to make the fondant. This fondant is extremely sticky and it takes a lot of kneading and powdered sugar to make it the consistency where it is easy to work with. I used cookie cutters to cut out these flowers, though, they kind of look like rounded out stars. I threw in some grapes because the theme was wine.
I also made dark chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate cabernet sauvignon frosting. I made a rich chocolate cupcake and decided to throw some wine into the frosting, because who doesn't like chocolate and red wine? It is probably the best combination since peanut butter and jelly. I added the wine to taste. I probably used about 2 cups. I, personally, really enjoyed this frosting because it gives the chocolate frosting a sophisticated taste. It is such a wonderful combination of flavors. You can really smell the wine and sweetness of the chocolate when you walk into the room.
Lastly, for the party I made lemon cake pops. I made a lemon buttercream frosting to mix with the lemon cake and I coated them with purple candy melts and also semi sweet chocolate chips with sprinkles. I think the lemon cake with the chocolate coating were the best ones :). I put them in the dragonfly tea cup because of my dragonfly tattoo for Shane, and Shane is Nana's first great-grandson.

The Birthday Girl
My Fantastic Family

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cake Pops Take 1...

I decided to try making some cake pops. I saw them done at a bridal shower and I thought I might give them a try. They look way more easy to do than they appear. The initial part of making these little treats, the baking of the cake and molding the "pop" together, is yes, very simple. However, it's the candy coating part of these bad boys that seemed a little more difficult, at least to me.

First off, I realized very early that the pop cannot be too big, or they will be too heavy for the stick. The second part that I had to learn, is that you really have to get the candy part of the shell very hot so that it is smooth and thin enough to coat the cake. If the candy melts are not hot enough, the candy coating is not smooth, and the shell is very thick which can weigh the cake down and cause it to fall off of the stick.

After a little of "trial and error" it got a little easier. Needless to say, these were not the prettiest things I have every made, but they did taste pretty good. I'm going to try these again for a birthday party next weekend. Stay tuned for "Cake Pops Take 2..."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Showered with Cupcakes

My brother-in-law is getting married! His soon-to-be wife and my soon-to-be sister-in-law had her shower this past weekend. The theme of her shower was Paris, as this is where Katia and Jay will be honeymooning. My mother-in-law asked me to make some cupcakes for the shower and so Katia gave me some favorite flavors.

I made 3 different types. The first was a strawberry cupcake with strawberry frosting, topped with a fresh strawberry. The second was a lemon cupcake with lemon and vanilla frosting, topped with a meringue Eiffle Tower (royal icing), a meringue flower and edible silver pearls. The third was a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, topped with edible pearls.

I love the decoration aspect of cupcake making! It is my favorite part!

Happy Bridal Shower Katia! xoxo

Giving The Gift Of S'more Bites

Who doesn't like S'mores? I made a special order for a friend who was looking to give thank you gifts out. These are fun little boxes of S'more Bites that were made.

Lemon Drop Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Since before I was 2 my family has spent nearly every single Easter Sunday at our friends home. Every year, including this one, there is an Easter egg hunt; it's a tradition. For this Easter, I made lemon drop cupcake. Again, I found a recipe in the same magazine as the cinnamon bun cupcake, however, I altered it a bit. I might alter it again, to get a more unique lemon flavor next time, after all these are lemon drop cupcakes, not just lemon.

These cupcakes had a light lemon flavor, not too overpowering. The frosting was lemon flavored to enhance the lemon flavor but also giving it the creamy texture to contrast the cake. The bunnies are made out of a marshmallow fondant and the eggs are Jordan almond candies.

Cinnamon Bun Cupcake

For Easter, Mike's aunt and uncle had us all over for Sunday brunch. Since desserts are typically what I do, I thought a cinnamon bun cupcake would be appropriate as a late morning treat. I found this recipe in a special edition Better Homes and Garden magazine, given to me so very thoughtfully by my husband. These cupcake are phenomenal! If you would like the recipe, please feel free to e-mail me.

These cupcakes were really cool to make. When I first decided to make them, I wondered how the cupcakes would get the cinnamon swirl in the middle. What is neat about these cupcakes is that the "swirl" is actually made by layering batter and the cinnamon/sugar mixture, batter first, followed by cinnamon and sugar, batter again, and topped with the cinnamon/sugar. I was fortunate that the cupcake holders I used were very sheer so that you could see the beautiful layers after they were done baking.

As for the frosting, cinnamon buns are sweet as they are, so instead of putting a swirl of frosting, I decided to just drizzle vanilla frosting over the tops. This added just the right amount of sweetness needed from the sugary frosting.

I really loved this recipe and they seemed to be enjoyed at brunch. I definitely recommend finding desserts to double as breakfast foods :)