Category: mini-cupcakes

Ballerina babycakes.

This year I had a few Valentine’s Day ideas, and all of them, or almost all of them, reminded me of fairy tales. Or stories. All by coincidence. Months ago, maybe around Halloween, I ordered these ballerina toppers with absolutely no idea what I was going to use them for. And then, Pola (my wonderful reader, #1 commenter & all-around awesome friend!) sent me a lovely pink gift:

It’s a pink babycakes mini-cupcake maker, and I love it. What an amazing surprise gift to get! It matches Lola and it basically the cutest thing ever. Not to mention it came before Valentine’s Day… so together with those ballerinas, it inspired me. I decided I’d make bright red cupcakes, top ‘em with some thick white frosting, some sprinkles, and then those ballerinas; if that doesn’t say Valentine’s Day, I don’t know what does. Well there are probably other things that say it, but these do too. They also reminded me of that old fairy tale about the twelve dancing princesses.

When I was a kid, I had these little mini-books, European import type things. They were all fairy tales, and one of them was Kate Crackernuts; yes- admittedly a very amusing name but a good story:

A king had a daughter named Anne, and his queen had a daughter named Kate, who was less beautiful. (Jacobs’ notes reveal that in the original story both girls were called Kate and that he had changed one’s name to Anne.) The queen was jealous of Anne, but Kate loved her. The queen consulted with a henwife to ruin Anne’s beauty, and after three tries, they enchanted Anne’s head into a sheep’s head. Kate wrapped Anne’s head in a cloth, and they went out to seek their fortunes.

They found a castle where the king had two sons, one of whom was sickening, and whoever watched him by night vanished. Kate asked for shelter for herself and her “sick” sister, and offered to watch. At midnight, the sick prince rose and rode off. Kate sneaked onto his horse and collected nuts as they rode through the woods. A green hill where the fairies were dancing opened to receive the prince, and Kate rode in with him unnoticed. The second night is passed as the first but Kate found a fairy baby in the hill. It played with a wand, and she heard fairies say that three strokes of the wand would cure Anne. So she rolled nuts to distract the baby and get the wand, then cured her sister.

The third night, Kate said she would stay only if she could marry the prince, and that night, the baby played with a bird, three bites of which would cure the sick prince. She distracted the baby with the nuts again to get it. As soon as they returned to the castle, she cooked it, and the prince was cured by eating it. Meanwhile his brother had seen Anne and fell in love with her, so they all married — the sick brother to the well sister, and the well brother to the sick sister.

Cinderella-ish, in terms of the “ugly” sister & the “pretty” sister, but it also contains pieces of the Twelve Dancing Princesses story, which is a Brother’s Grimm tale. It’s German in origin (there I go again with the German..) and has been used in various adaptations, some of which reducing the number of sisters to 6 or even 3. It’s considerably longer to sum up than the Kate Crackernuts story, but it’s available online if you’re curious. It’s an interesting, magical story & as a child in ballet class, I was a fan of any & every story that mentioned dancing, or ballet.

I’m a sucker for teh cute, & all things retro, and these ballerina toppers fall into both those categories. They also remind me of when I was a kid & I’d get those bakery cupcakes with the thick frosting & the plastic ballerina’s painted gold or silver on top, and that feeling of nostalgia kinda fit in with the fairy tale thing too. These are my version of the twelve dancing princesses.

However, I admit- I made these just to try the cupcake maker, so my decorating job isn’t the best kinda sucks. But I’ll do better next time, I promise. That’s what happens when you decide to make cupcakes just to use your new cupcake maker & your pretty ballerina toppers.

But just wait until you see what else is going on for Valentine’s Day around here.

RED VELVET MINI-CUPCAKES (from the babycakes cupcake maker recipe book)

Supposedly akes about 16, I got 24

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • a dash of salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs until well blended. Beat in sour cream. Blend in dry ingredients. Blend in food coloring & vanilla.
  3. Fill each cup with about 2 tablespoons batter. Bake in cupcake maker for 6-7 minutes (or in oven, for 15-20 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

It was really easy to use, although I found one heaping tablespoon was enough to fill each liner. However my liners were a bit smaller than the indentations, so maybe if you don’t use a liner you’ll end up using around 2 tablespoons. The cupcakes baked evenly, rose really nicely (as you can see) and didn’t overflow. They cooked evenly as well. The booklet says to check each cupcake because one part might heat quicker than another, but all of mine cooked evenly. I have to say, I enjoyed using it immensely. It was fun!

There are people online reviewing this saying it’s a terrible appliance; it doesn’t work, it doesn’t bake evenly, it’s hard to clean if you don’t use liners. They’re all nuts. One, it does work. Unless the person writing the review got a lemon or a broken one, they’re crazy. These photos were all taken from the first time I used it. I’m not a genius, I’m not a pastry chef, I’m not a mechanical whiz and yet WOW. Magically, it actually baked my cupcakes! How shocking. I plugged it in and it worked, imagine that. Two, my mini-liners fit just fine, yes they were a bit smaller but what difference does it make? Just adjust the amount you put in like I said above.. it’s not rocket science people. Three, I haven’t used it without liners yet so I can’t say either way, but judging from the removal of the small amount of excess batter I had to clean off mine, it shouldn’t be as hard as they say. It’s non-stick, so basically as soon as it cools, whatever batter is on it, you can just scrape it off gently. Duh. It actually seemed as though the cleanup was far easier than when I make traditional cupcakes.

If you know someone who likes to bake, or who likes cupcakes, this might make a really cute Valentine’s Day gift for them.

Pardon my boring white liners, the only mini-ones I had were white, black with ghosts or yellow with Easter eggs.
..

And the recipe was pretty good too. What is it about mini-cupcakes that makes you want to eat them all? I must have eaten 5-6 of them, unfrosted, during my little photo shoot here. Anyway, my poor self-control aside, like I said, the recipe was good. I used a regular vanilla confectioner’s sugar buttercream on top because I’m not a fan of cream cheese frosting.

Basically, now I kinda want the donut maker, pie maker & cake pop maker too. Is that bad? Do I really need all these appliances? Will it make me lazy? I don’t know the answers to these questions. All I know is, it’s the time of year when people express their love, so here I am to say: I love my babycakes mini cupcake maker. Thank you Pola!

They say it’s your birthday… it’s my birthday too, yeah…

Yes, my darling readers. Today is my birthday. My 29th birthday, to be exact. And while it’s probably considered déclassé to do so, I have baked myself cupcakes for my birthday. No, not because nobody else would, or because there would be a lack of cake or treats. But because nobody knows quite what I like or want like I do. Sure, my mom knows me really well, and Jay, and my girl Sami, and a few other close friends. But still. I know me better. Besides, I had these leopard print cupcake liners sitting here for months, just waiting for their day in the sun. And I knew that I’d use them for my birthday because I have a thing for leopard print. And the color pink. Oh, you didn’t know that?

Me in my Jessie Steele leopard print apron. This is a photo from March 2010. Unfortunately, my hair is no longer that awesome lavender color, it’s just platinum blonde. Also, it’s a completely different style, which I’ll share with you another time…


And my stand mixer, camera and laptop are all pink. So if you weren’t aware that I have slight obsessions with those things, now you are. Since I bake for everyone else & their birthdays- why shouldn’t I bake for myself!? So I decided I wanted pink cupcakes, in these leopard liners, with chocolate frosting (because it went really well with the brown in the liners) and some pink sprinkles (recipes can be found by clicking the ‘Continue Reading…’ link at the bottom of this post). Then I thought, let me take it a step further. Inspired by Lyns who’s posted about this phenomenon… how about cupcakes on top of cupcakes?!

And so that’s exactly what I did.

I got mini-cupcake liners in the same leopard print as the large ones, and decorated them the same way, hot pink sprinkles & all. Then I just put the little ones right on top of the regular ones, and stuck on some skull & crossbones. How cute is that, seriously? Combine all that with the vintage skull toppers (which are for Halloween really, shhh), andd I think they’re the perfect birthday cupcakes for me. Although… I have a confession to make. When I said I used chocolate frosting… well, I did. But it wasn’t just a regular buttercream. It’s what I like to call ‘chocolate velvet’ buttercream; I probably used twice the amount of cocoa powder without increasing the rest of the ingredients. It makes it thicker, darker and richer- like fudge. Harder to pipe out, I admit, but I could use the arm and hand muscle exercise. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much pink coloring left, so the cupcakes weren’t hot pink, but they were a pretty pale pink. That works too.

Happy birthday to me!

I got some sweet-ass baking related gifts this year, as per usual (if you’ve been reading the blog a while, you’ll remember I got Lola for my birthday 2 years ago…). I got my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment from my dear sweet Jay, Yoyo says she plans on making me “an apron for every holiday” which to me sounds fucking superb! I’m spoiled rotten. I also got other stuff, but you all only come here for the cookery/bakery info. I know that. You baking sluts. But before I get to the recipes I have a few things to say.

I honestly cannot believe I’m 29 and this is my last year in my 20’s. It’s surreal. It seems like yesterday I was just some little teenage punk with purple hair and a spike collar thinking I was so revolutionary. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve learned a lot in the past 12 years since I was that little punk (okay, actually, it’s only been 9 years since I had pink hair, so I guess I was a “little punk” after I was out of my teens too), and some amazing things have happened to me, and some shitty things, but I learned a lot… and most of it I wish I knew back then. But youth is wasted on the young, right? So time marches on, and I guess I just can’t believe it’s marched this fast. You never believe your parents when they tell you this is gonna happen, and then before you know it you’re telling kids that and feeling like a old fart in the process. I mean, look at me, I’m calling teenagers “kids.” That’s just plain weird. If the 16 year old me saw me now, with my baking & my knitting & aversion to “going out”, she’d probably blow a gasket laughing her ass off, and I’d probably slap the shit out of her for the stupid things she did. I’ve changed so much, but at the same time I know I also really haven’t. All I know is, it seems like I woke up 29 today but went to bed last night a 16 year old. Unbelievable. I can’t believe this blog is going to be THREE YEARS OLD this September. Crazy!

Anyway, being non-religious, I don’t believe in “blessings” per se, but for lack of a better term I have been incredibly “blessed.” I choose not to have many friends or acquaintances or random people share in my life, but instead have just a few extremely genuine people I truly care about, and I happen to have a very special inner circle that I adore. That includes people I’ve known my whole life, people I’ve known since I’m a teen, people I’ve known since college, people I’ve never met in person or people I’ve met only once. It includes blood relations, non-blood relations that feel like blood relations, and people who couldn’t be further from my blood relation. So thank you to them for being there for the past 29 years, 15 years, 10 years or 5 years- the amount of time doesn’t matter, it’s the stuff that happens in that amount of time that does. So thank you, you beautiful people. I love you all. And if you doubt that, then maybe you aren’t one of the ones I meant *wink*

Muchas gracias to sweet estelle’s baking supply for the larger leopard liners & Bake It Pretty for the mini-cupcake liners & sprinkles. They both have beautiful stuff, every baker dreams of having cupboards stocked with things like they sell. Or at least I do. I have no idea where the skulls are from, they were a gift. But surely you can find something similar on one of the many internet baking supply stores if you desire them.

Continue reading

Easter?

That was basically my reaction to baking for this holiday this year. I don’t celebrate Easter for the religious aspect, not at all. I celebrate the chocolate bunny aspect, the dying eggs aspect, and the beautiful spring flower aspect (lilies are my favorite flower). I celebrate spring, I guess you could say, more than “Easter.” Except  I don’t like saying that because it makes people think of Wiccans and movies like The Craft or TV shows like Charmed & that just annoys me, because you can celebrate nature without  being stereotyped (and I am far from being Wiccan, just for the record). As a matter of fact, more religions should be open to celebrating how beautiful nature is, regardless of your view on how it came to be. So yeah, I don’t celebrate Easter, perse. However, there are a plethora of adorable liners and cupcake supplies around this time of year with cute little bunnies and eggs printed on them, and since I am not against bunnies or eggs- actually I quite like them (and they don’t have a religious connotation), I use them. Another one of my absolute favorite things about this time of year are Cadbury Creme Eggs. I’m obsessed with them and that’s not an exaggeration.

That said… they don’t translate well to cupcake-baking. I’ve seen people try and bake cupcakes with the creme eggs in them; they just looked like a mess. I’ve thought about using the flavors: chocolate and creamy fondant; but that’s not really anything new. I scrapped that idea long ago. And I’ve already used Cadbury Mini-Eggs on cupcakes a few years back, so I didn’t want to repeat that. Last year I made a delicious chocolate cupcake with banana-flavored Italian meringue covered in a chocolate “shell”, so I didn’t want to do a marshmallow-coated frosting type deal, no matter how much that reminds me of Easter candy. I could’ve done a fruity cupcake like a lemon one, or a lime one or a creamsicle one (which I ended up doing as well, you’ll see it further down in this post). But I wanted to do something different. I was at a complete loss. So was anyone I asked for input (thanks, guys). So what’s a girl to do!?



I had no idea.

Seriously. Not a freakin’ clue. I was about to just forget about it and make something else, despite having 100 mini-cupcake liners, and 25 regular ones just sitting here waiting for me.

And then… it sorta dawned on me, randomly, while surfing the web, that I never made carrot cupcakes. DUH. Carrot cupcakes! For Easter! Bunnies eat carrots! I enjoy carrots, quite a lot. Carrot cake? Not really. But I figured, why not. I never made it before and this recipe is a Martha recipe that comes highly recommended so… here we are.

CARROT CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and eggs.
  2. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and coconut.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

I omitted the coconut, I just didn’t think it was needed. If you don’t frost them, they’re basically muffins. I got 15, but that’s because I did a test run and the batter rose so much I only filled these  halfway. And then they ended  up not rising all that much at all… go figure. I’d guess somewhere in between 1/2 and  3/4 would be the right idea. I frosted them with cream cheese frosting  (recipe here, sans lemon) and tinted it lavender (to match the liners). Another good option for frosting these are white chocolate buttercream (that you can find here) or plain vanilla buttercream. In case anyone is curious- I frosted ‘em once, then frosted on top of that to give it a swirlier taller more flowery look.

These were okay. Not great, not bad, just okay. The flavor just wasn’t quite what I had expected, they were really really moist too and didn’t feel “done” even after they were. Combine that with the very watery batter, and with the rising problems… I’d give it a 5.5 or 6 out of 10. I think I’ll be on the lookout for a better carrot cupcake recipe. If you have a tried & true one, feel free to e·mail it to me! That said… everyone ELSE who ate them said they were terrific. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist. Or maybe Martha just sabotages every recipe she posts so that they never come out right. I know I’ve mentioned this theory before.

Both sets of liners as well as the bunny/egg toppers are by Wilton.

My second batch were really simple, they were orange creamsicle mini- cupcakes with marshmallow fluff frosting. I already have the recipes on here so if you click here you’ll be taken to the cupcake recipe, and if you click here you’ll be taken to the recipe for the marshmallow fluff frosting.  However, I know most of you are probably lazy like me, so I’ll put the recipes here. You’re welcome.

I colored the cupcakes an orange-y color this time. I also halved both recipes, and I got 24 mini-cupcakes and more than enough frosting for them. Luckily, this frosting is delicious eaten right out of the bowl. I think marshmallow Fluff frosting is my favorite, I sort of forgot about it for awhile, but now I remember and boy, is it fucking delicious. Anyway here are the visuals…

Check out my new vintage Jadeite bunny bowl!

CREAMSICLE (ORANGE-VANILLA) CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange extract.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost.

MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

First you get:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (7½ ounce) jar Fluff, or similar marshmallow cream
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Then you’re gonna:

  1. Beat butter in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in marshmallow cream. Reduce speed to low, and beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Increase speed to high; beat until fluffy.
  2. Frost cooled cupcakes.

I’ll tell you this: these little creamsicle cupcakes with marshmallow frosting were WAY better than the carrot. But maybe that’s because I’m a bit biased. The danger in mini-cupcakes, however, is the fact that you pop ‘em in your mouth and eat them like candy. So you probably end up eating twice as many as you would regular cupcakes. Oh well.

BEFORE YOU GO: PLEASE READ MY ENTRY FROM TUESDAY (click here, scroll down or click  the previous entry title at the bottom of this page). It’s about Yoyo‘s donation pick for April, and it’s a very worthy cause, LBEH.org. Today, April 2nd, is the day she’ll be donating 100% of the proceeds from her store to that charity. So please read the entry for details and go to her webstore and BUY STUFF!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring to all.