Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Cookies 2009

As I've mentioned before, Halloween is my favourite time of year. I was never really a Christmas girl - I'd much rather watch "The Blob" or "Night of the Living Dead" than "Frosty the Snowman" or "Miracle on 34st Street". Plus, Halloween gives us a chance to make cookies like these:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lola Cupcake

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry-Cola
C-o-l-a Cola

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If there was only one band I could listen to for the rest of my life, The Kinks would be on the top of that list. Yes, the Beatles and Zeppelin would be on that list too, but for some reason Ray Davies and the gang always squirm into my heart.

But enough about the British Invasion. More about cupcakes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rock the Cupcake Hero Vote!

Cupcake Hero: October has just been brought to a close. This one is close to my heart - Halloween is my favourite time of year - so we tried to make entries that really fit with the season. We have complete confidence in the recipes, but there are so many amazing tasty (and spooky) cupcakes!

Here's where you can see all the entries and vote for the one you think looks and sounds the tastiest. We hope our Dias de los Muertos and Pumpkin S'more cupcakes do well - but competition is steep!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin S'more Cupcakes

I love marshmallow. Too bad it's a real pain in the tuckus to make.

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I really wanted to put in another entry into this month's Cupcake Hero and I also wanted an excuse to make a S'more cupcake. It was like it was destined to be.

I had a super recipe for Graham Cracker and Chocolate cake, but it was the Marshmallow that really got to me. At first, making it from scratch sounded like a wonderful idea. But I am an impatient person. Waiting over night for little marshmallows to set seemed like a waste of time - I wanted s'more cupcakes in my mouth as. soon. as. possible. So I tried my ol' stand by, 7 minute icing. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, my icing refused to form stiff peeks (I blame the corn syrup rather than my lack of patience). Frustrated and sticky, I went to plan C.

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Even after all the tears and destroyed egg whites, I produced something that I'm proud of. The cake has a lovely texture and is full of chocolatey goodness. The marshmallow on top complements the cake well and leaves you in a happy, pumpkiny mood. If my other half was with me during this journey, maybe I would have gone with the fresh marshmallow (C&C's creations always seem to go better with the second C is around) - but these cuppies hit the spot just the way they are.

I even made little mini cousins, just so Colin could share them with the office.

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The only thing better than a Pumpkin S'mores Cupcake is three dozen mini Pumpkin S'more cupcakes.

Pumpkin S'more Cupcakes
Graham Cracker and Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow on top

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer dark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, graham cracker, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until evenly distributed.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Next alternatively pour in the flour mixture with the milk/yogurt, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Fill your (preferably Halloween-oriented) cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes (or until your tester comes out clean.

Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting
Now, if you want to go the extra mile, I'd use this recipe for homemade pumpkin marshmallow. If you are in a time crunch (Like I was), you can use this super easy subsitute.
2 cups big marshmallows
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice

Put the marshmallows in a large glass bowl and add a TBSP of water. Make sure most of the marshmallows have soaked up some moisture and place them in the microwave. Nuke those bad boys 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time you take the bowl out to check, until the marshmallows are mostly melted (there still will be some lumps, but don't worry about that yet).

Mix all the spices together in a small cup. Put the pumpkin in the marshmallow bowl and about half of the spice mixture. Using a hand mixer, mix everything together until all the marshmallowy lumps are gone. Taste and adjust the spice if need be.

(Your marshmallow will seem watery at this point - don't panic. It will re-congeal when it cools.)

Using a knife, cut out a small hole in the middle of your cooled cupcakes (going just about a third of the way down). Spoon in the pumpkin marshmallow until it covers most of the top. Let the marshmallow cool.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Graham Cracker crumbs

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (preferably in a double boiler). Take off heat and dip each of the cupcakes in the ganache, making sure the pumpkin marshmallow is completely covered. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top.

Add candy/chocolate tombstone and/or zombie limbs as you see fit.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Llama Cake

I love it when cake takes on a personality. But why did this cake have to be so smug?

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Yes, it may look all cute and cuddly to you right now, but inside is dwelling something . . . well, something rainbow.

Velvet rainbow, actually.

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This little cake was for a friend of ours that's really into all things knit or all things that can be knit - this includes llama and alpaca fur (which apparently makes for some really cute mittens and sweaters). She runs a cute little store on Etsy - Drama Llama Knitting Company - and in celebration of this, we thought we'd turn her passion into cake.

The cake is a rainbow velvet with cream cheese icing. On top of that we've got some of our homemade marshmallow fondant with some chocolate swiss buttercream on top as fur. The scarf (which matches the insides . . . ew that sounds gross) is marzipan.

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When the cake was cut, much squealing pursued. Everyone loves cakes with a surprise inside. Half this sucker was consumed in 5 minutes flat - which left everyone on the ground, moaning over their buttercream-stuffed bellies.

But it was very very worth it.

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Why does he still look so damn smug?
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