On a whim, I took a cupcake decorating class, and was hooked!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How much? Really?? Ummm...

I took the box of cupcakes in a jar to my local post office branch on Monday after work to mail it off to my friend Kim in Canada.  It turns out that one box containing a greeting card, some styrofoam packing piffles, and six 8-oz canning jars filled with cupcakes-n-icing costs

THIRTY SIX American Dollars

to mail to Canada.  EEEEEEK!

After I picked myself off the floor, I asked the helpful post office worker WTF?  He said that if I could get the box under four pounds, it would likely cut the price in half.  So I asked him for a pair of scissors and proceeded right there to open the box and remove two of the cupcake jars.  He put the box on the scale, and the postage had gone down to a WAY more manageable $16.

I asked the lady behind me if she wanted one of the cupcake jars, and she was delighted to take it.  Gave me a buck to help defray postage, too!  What a nice lady!  And I gave the other cupcake jar to the post office counter man.  His son doesn't like chocolate, either, just like my friend Kim!  So he was happy to have a nice treat to take home for him. 

Mission Accomplished!  The cupcakes are on the way to Canada, eh?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Now, we're talking!

After I finished putting cupcakes in a jar for my friend Kim, I had a bunch of cupcakes left over.  And for me, it's all about the chocolate!  So I made a batch of chocolate buttercream and went to town on the rest of the cupcakes.

This batch of cupcakes in a jar went home with my friend Lori.  It's so nice to have someone who appreciates cupcakes!

Don't they look yummy?

And I've still got a whole bunch left over, too.  I'll send some home with Gretchen, maybe.

The chocolate icing is just SO YUM.

I have a batch of lemon cream cheese icing in the fridge, for Rebecca's batch of lemon cupcakes.  I hope to be able to mail those to her next weekend!

Cupcakes, eh?

My friend Kim in Canada doesn't like chocolate, poor dear, so she requested white cake with white icing.  I'm not sure what 'white' icing is, so I made vanilla buttercream, and layered it in the cupcakes-in-a-jar.  Look how cute!

I'm going to box these up all snug and safe and secure, then will mail to Canada.  I hope to be able to take them to the post office Sunday.  WAIT - do I have her current address?  Eeeeek!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing. YUM!

Cupcakes on a weeknight?  Absolutely!

The box of Betty Crocker lemon cake has been blowing raspberries at me from the pantry shelf for some weeks.  I've been wanting to make lemon cupcakes and either lemon or lime cream cheese icing, but just have not had the time.  Today?  Time!  (So happy to be done with schoolwork for now!)

I actually made 48 mini cupcakes and 8 regular ones.  I don't like to fill up the cupcake liners too much, and if there's a muffin top when it's done baking, that's too much!  It's easier to pick up if the cake part stays in the liner, so I only fill about halfway up with cake batter.

The icing recipe is from AllRecipes.com and got a lot of positive reviews.  I adjusted it somewhat: I left out the butter and used 2 blocks of Philly, and we ran out of lemons to zest before we got to 4 teaspoons, so it got lemon juice, some lemon zest, and not quite a teaspoon of lemon extract instead of the vanilla.  I usually like a firmer icing, but stopped adding sugar while this one was still on the creamy side.

I used my #1 favorite 1M tip and then sprinkled the first 35 with yellow Cake Sparkles.  The other ones that didn't fit into the pan for delivery to work were sprinkled with vanilla sanding sugar and that was surprisingly yummy!  I made Gretchen eat the first one, but we are in agreement that the vanilla smooths out the bright lemon flavor very well indeed. 

The ones in the picture above are going to work tomorrow, and the ones that didn't fit into that pan are being divided up!  Some are going to Gretchen's folks, and I'm sure my darling husband will want one or two, and Gretchen might want to take a couple home, too.  Free cupcakes to good home!

Lessons learned:  Keep the butter in next time, and possibly add the vanilla, too.  Also, get more lemons!!  I don't know how much zest comes off of each lemon, but it isn't very darn much.

Nefarious plans for the future:  I want one of those peeler thingies that makes tiny little citrus peel curls so that I can do this.  And I want a microplane too.  Too much of that precious zest was lost in the knucklebuster.  Wooo!  Wouldn't candied lemon or lime peels be a fantastic addition to the top of a lemon cupcake?? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


The only name I've mentioned in this blog more than Moaning Myrtle, my KitchenAid, is Alice, of Savory Sweet Life.  I haven't done much in the way of kitcheny things, but Alice made it seem so possible for me to make my first batch of buttercream icing!  I love how Alice blogs recipes and techniques to make baking something that even I can do.  And I'm so excited that Alice's book is coming out in June!

I have been excited about books before.  I have met the postman on my porch and scurried off to read the new Harry Potter book.  I have gone to Cincinnati to have a book signed my Laurell K Hamilton before her Anita Blake series jumped the shark a few installments ago.  I have release dates in my calendar for favorite authors' new books on a fairly regular basis, and I snap them up on my Kindle and devour them.

But NEVER have I been worked up over a cookbook.


So I'm sharing the momentousness of that on my blog!  Alice has a cookbook coming out, and I want it!!  And I'll even go to her book signing, if there's one in driving distance and if I'm able to get someone to drive me.  I'll likely be in a sling and not allowed to drive by the time Alice takes her tour to the Midwest. 

I'm excited!  Over a COOKBOOK!  Go figure.  :-)

I'm a fangirl. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Whew!  The first class in my MBA is almost over.  I have a paper to finish, and an evaluation on my team.  That's it, and everything is due day after tomorrow.  The team evaluation is already done, and we were all awesome, I must say!  And I'll bet you a shiny new quarter that I can get this paper done after work on Friday.  Do you know what that would mean?

A WEEKEND.  With no classwork.  What a concept!!

And maybe I'll get to bake some cupcakes?  Or maybe I'll just sleep all weekend.  The luxury!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Savory Cupcakes?

My tablemates at the VOICEcorps annual volunteer banquet got me to wondering about savory cupcakes.  I found this recipe on reddit, for Sweet Basil and Olive Oil cupcakes.  Hmmm.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
Creamy basil icing (frosting)
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 90 g unsalted butter, softened (but not too softened, as I learned..)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped basil, plus small basil leaves to decorate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 standard muffin holes with paper cases.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add the orange and lemon zests, then stir in the olive oil. Stir in the sifted flour alternately with the milk and orange juice. Stir the mixture gently for 30 seconds with a wooden spoon.

Divide the mixture evenly among the cases. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, place half the icing sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and chopped basil in large mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar until the icing is thick. Decorate each cake with the icing and a small basil leaf.

EDIT: recipe from a book called Cupcakes: a fine selection of sweet treats by Murdoch Books