Category Archives: Desserts

2nd Annual Cupcake and Wine Party

Woohoo! The 2nd Annual Cupcake and Wine Party was a success! This year we had a total of 11 adults and two children, far surpassed last year’s attendance record.

You shouldn’t even have to ask, but yes, I tried each of these. A few of them multiple times, probably more than I should admit. I can’t help it. I.Love.Cupcakes. (mostly ones that are drowning in frosting)

Before I photobomb this post, I have to make a few confessions.

The Cupcakes: I ruined 3.5 batches of cupcakes the weekend prior. I was going to spend a Saturday baking away! And I thought I was excited, but apparently my head was not in the game. The first batch went well – these were the Breakfast Blends, which was actually made from pancake batter. The second was a box of yellow cake mix. I divided the batter in two for different flavors. There were two pans, they went in a few minutes apart. I was closely watching one of them because it had Graham cracker chunks in it and I didn’t want it to dry out. That one came out first. They seemed to be a little brown on top, but I tested one and it tasted great, so I was happy. Then the timer went off for the second pan. These were well done, like too dry and ugly to cover with frosting. WTF? I know my oven is wonky, but I’ve never ruined cupcakes like this. Then I noticed the oven was cranked to 450. Thanx Ken! So, it’s not that I leave my child unattended in the kitchen, I usually shoe him away from the stove when he gets close, but he is Ninja fast. 

I was using recipes from this Better Homes and Gardens cupcake book, and the recipes kept calling for “a box with pudding in the mix” so then I thought, “Hey! Let’s just make pudding and ADD it to the cake mix!” Nope. A full batch ruined.

Then I made a batch of perfectly fine Chocolate cupcakes!

It was getting to be mid-afternoon now. I didn’t want to run to the store again, so being the awesome baker that I am, I decided to stop being lazy and make a freaking cake from scratch. I have done it before, I promise. So I did! And then I took the first pan of cupcakes out of the oven and realized something was off. They hadn’t risen. I FORGOT THE BAKING POWDER. And of course I already had the next pan(s) in their cupcake papers already. Oh, I should also mention that I doubled this batch of made-from-scratch cake?

Just throwing some basic math out there, that’s 3.5 batches of cupcakes ruined. At this point I decided we were going out to eat for dinner, as I was not going to ruin Saturday Night Dinner. (The ruined cupcakes actually tasted delicious, so I salvaged what I could and froze it to make cake balls this coming weekend. So it’s not going to waste!)

And the next morning, I went to the store and bought two more boxes of cake mix. I made them exactly as the directions stated, didn’t even sub buttermilk for water.

Frosting: None of my frostings turned out the way I wanted them. They were delicious tasting, but not the correct consistency. The chocolate was too runny, so it wouldn’t hold it’s shape. Peanut Butter, Maple and Marshmallows were all too thick to pipe from a zip-bag, so I had to use the cookie/ice cream scoop for those. Oh, and I killed my hand-mixer while making the chocolate frosting. Like, dunzo, needs to be tossed, killed it.

Let the photobomb begin.

Cupcake Smorgasbord

Breakfast Blend

Crowd Winner! I think I’ll be making these for the next Ray Family Gathering
Cake: Pancake batter, plus some brown sugar. I had half a box of whole wheat mix and some Heart Smart Bisquick. The batter wasn’t sweet enough on it’s own. Also in the cake was delicious Farmland Pork and Bacon Sausage (look in your freezer section), cook it, drain it, add it to the batter.
Frosting: Maple (cream cheese, butter/margarine/crisco, milk, powdered sugar, maple syrup and maple extract flavoring), with Real Bacon sprinkles

Almond Joy

This was my favorite 🙂 If you’re into the Almond Joy candy bar at all, this one is for you.
Cake: Chocolate, regular chocolate cake mix. Each is filled with Almond Joy filling, which is just coconut and sweet and condensed milk (more coconut than SACM, you just need enough to coat the coconut). Once the batter is in the cupcake pan, add a tablespoon (or two, or three) of the coconut/sweet and condensed milk mixture and bake as normal. The coconut will brown on top just a little. I feel like I’ve unlocked a secret baking badge with this. Homemade Almond Joys???
Frosting: Chocolate (cream cheese, butter/marg, milk, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and Hershey’s syrup, lots of Hershey’s) and cute almonds on top

Cup-O-Joe

Cake: Chocolate Cake mix. Use Super Strong Coffee instead of water. I brewed my strongest K-cup (Revv) plus added 3 tbs of instant coffee. Pretty sure I added a couple more tbs of instant coffee to the batter after I initially mixed it up. Oddly enough, it didn’t have a strong coffee flavor when baked. I was disappointed, I didn’t follow a recipe because I wanted mine super strong.
Frosting: Chocolate (cream cheese, butter/marg, milk, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and Hershey’s syrup, lots of Hershey’s) and Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans on top (melt chocolate bark, add coffee beans, spread on pan to cool, break apart, top on cupcakes or just eat)

Salted Nut Roll

These were also a little slice of heaven.
Cake: Yellow cake, mixed and baked as normal. Once cooked and cooled, I scooped out a half tablespoon or teaspoon of cake from each cupcake. Before frosting, add a heaping tablespoon of caramel to the hole.
Caramel: you could use ice cream topping or whatever, but I had an extra can of Sweet and Condensed Milk, so I cooked it in my 2qt slow cooker on low overnight, creating perfect caramel goodness.
Frosting: Marshmallow (mallow cream, butter/marg, milk, powdered sugar, baby mallows), topped with caramel and salted nuts.
This is a messy one! 

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Cake: Yellow cake, mixed and baked as normal. Just like the Salted Nut Roll, once cut and cooled, scoop out a small chunk of the cake to create a lake for the jelly. I used good ‘ol grape jelly for this, squeeze it in the hole (thatswhatshesaid), cover with frosting.
Frosting: Peanut butter! (cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, butter/marg and peanut butter), topped with peanut butter chips

S'more

Cake: Yellow cake, with chocolate chips and Graham Cracker chunks baked in. Watch your baking times, the grahams will dry out the cake batter.
Frosting:  Marshmallow (mallow cream, butter/marg, milk, powdered sugar, baby mallows), topped with chocolate chips and Teddy Grahams.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight

Cake: Chocolate, with peanut butter chips.
Frosting:  Peanut butter! (cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, butter/marg and peanut butter), topped with peanut butter chips

Jade’s Rodent Cakes

My adorable niece, Jayden, turned 6 in May. She loves rats. Fortunately she does not have a live one, but just lots of stuffed/plastic/rubber ones. They totally freak out Grandma!

So we went on a quest to make a rat cake. I cheated and made these closer to Zhu-Zhu pets, whatever rodents they may be.

I split one cake mix into two loaf pants. Once completely cooled, I carved off all the corners and made him more oval shaped. I used regular kitchen knives. Sure, I could have tried fondant and made a smooth rat, but when has that really worked for me? (Hint, it hasn’t! Yet!).

We mixed up four frosting colors – black, brown, tan and white. And some pink for his little rodent feet and tail. We frosted in sections, then forked all of the frosting for a really matted fur look. 

The ears and nose are made from bubblegum strips. Eyes are some sort of chocolate – looks like malted milk balls. The teeth are some minty 

Turtledove Meringues

By now you’ve figured out that I love love love holiday baking. I really love sharing my baked goods too! But 2011 was really about getting healthy for me, so back in October I was convinced that I wasn’t going to do much holiday baking. That totally went out the window 🙂

For the most parts, I made classic favorites – Peanut Butter Balls, Oreo Balls, Peanut Butter Cup cookies. As my mom and I were finishing up our baking day, I decided I wanted to try these cute meringues, Turtledove Meringues to be exact. The picture was just too cute!

So I measure out my ingredients. I had never beat egg whites before, so I was totally surprised when they went from being regular egg whites to being foam. It was so cool!

And here’s my final beauties:

Turtledove Meringues

Ingredients
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Directions
Beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until small peaks form.
Keep beating, and slowly add sugar, one tbs at a time, until more peaks form.
Shape your turtledoves using the meringue in a frosting or Ziplock bag, doing this on parchment paper works great, but don’t plan on using the paper a second time.
Bake at 300 for 15 minutes, then turn oven off and leave in oven for 30 minutes.


Here are my turtledoves compared to the ones in the book. I think they turned out really well.

Then I got this not-so genius idea to make Ghosty Meringues. They didn’t turn out quite as awesome, I should have added more sugar or substituted the food coloring for the flavoring or something. They just weren’t as puffy, but they were just as delicious.

Have your (cup)Cake and eat it too! Part 1.

There is a small business credit card commercial that I used to hear all the time. About a woman who started a cupcake and wine bar. I thought the concept was genius, and on the spot decided I wanted to do the same in the form of a party. So this has been on my mind for like 6 months.

What better way to drown the winter blues than with 7 different types of cupcakes?

First of all, I needed some decor. I didn’t want to go all out, but found a super cute idea online that took cupcake papers and styrofoam balls and made cupcakes. So I did just that!

As I was buying the ingredients, I found out how expensive styrofoam was. So I only bought a 6-pack and hoped that I would find something else of the same size to use for more. I’m cheap.

I stopped at Michaels later and they had some leftover Christmas decor – including plan, 3 inch not-heavy, not-sure-what-they-are-made-of Christmas balls (bulbs). On clearance for like a quarter each.

They were great for painting. Also glued sequins to a bunch as well. The original idea called for these to be made into Christmas ornaments, but I wanted garland. So I secured the loop under the pom-pom, and tied that on another piece of string.

Here’s a better shot of most of the styrofoam garland,

If I had to do-over, I think I’d stick to styrofoam. It was so much faster to slap on some glue (ok, I used ModPodge for the glitter) rather than hot glue individual sequins. I think I just liked the styrofoam ones better. I love these, but can’t help but think that they look more like ice cream cones than cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • Styrofoam Balls (3inch)
  • Cupcake Papers
  • Pom-Poms
  • Glitter
  • Paint brush
  • Paint (optional)
  • Sequins (optional)
  • Glue (Hot, Tacky, Modpodge, whatever you want)
  • Ribbon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Glue the ball to the bottom of the cupcake wrapper. I used hot glue.
  2. Decorate the ball. I brushed on the glue, then poured the glitter over. I was kinda leery about glitter on Styrofoam, but the excess shakes right off.
  3. Cut your ribbon, if you want it to hang. Like 5 inches? Fold in half, glue to top of ball, add a dab of more glue and add the pom-pom.
  4. Hang.
  5. Don’t eat.

I don’t want this post to get TOO long, so I’ll leave you with a glimpse of the edible cupcakes. I’ll post recipes and more detailed pics soon.

Merry Christmas!

Hello, my name is Ginny and I suck at updating this blog. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I’m not even going to try and justify why I haven’t updated in like three months. Lets pick up where we left off.

Holiday baking. Wow. We baked a lot of stuff this year. A lot of it was pretty generic, and you can find your own sugar cookie recipes. But I ventured out and made the most delicious tarts for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.

The recipe hails from a 1985 Better Homes and Garden cookbook called “Cookies for Christmas”. I cannot stress enough how 1985 had all the best Christmas dessert recipes.

Tiny Holiday Tarts

Choose from multiple different fillings! I made Pumpkin-Sour Cream, Pecan Pie and Brownie-Nut. You will need a mini-muffin pan.

Ingredients for Crust

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1 3 oz package of cream cheese (I seem to only find 8oz containers, so I just use half. It works fine) [softened]
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

  • In small mixer bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese. Stir in flour
  • Cover and chill about 1 hour or till easy to handle (The first time I made it I chilled it, it was too hard and I had to wait for it to warm back up. The second time I just used the dough right after mixing. It was perfect.)
  • Shape into 1 inch balls
  • Press onto bottom and up sides of ungreased muffin cups. Make sure to reach the top of the cup.
  • Fill each with 1 rounded teaspoon filling. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes.
  • Makes 24. 
  • If you are making multiple flavors, you will need a batch of dough for each flavor.

Filling Ingredients

Pumpkin-Sour Cream Filling: Beat together 1 egg, 1/2 cupcanned pumpkin, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1 tbs milk, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Top with whipped cream for serving. 

Pecan Pie Filling: Beat together 1 egg, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tbs melted butter or margarine and 1 tps vanilla. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans. [Note: the first time I made this I doubled the pecans. Don’t do that. It resorted in the batter over flowing the top of the crust – so the sticky caramelized sugar stuck to the pan, burning some edges and sticking to the pan]

Brownie-Nut Filling: In a small saucepan heat and stir 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 tbs butter or margarine over low heat till melted. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg, and 1 tps vanilla. Add one whole peanut in each tart if desired. 

Other fillings I haven’t tried yet

Cranberry Nut Filling: Beat together 1 egg, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tbs melted butter or margarine, and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir in 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cranberries and 3 tbs chopped walnuts

Lemon Coconut Filling: Beat together 2 eggs, 1/2 c sugar, 2 tb melted butter or margarine, 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel, and 1 tbs lemon juice, stir in 1/4 cup flaked coconut. 

Almond Raspberry Filling: Divide 1/4 cup red raspberry preserves among pastries (about 1/2 tsp each). Beat together 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 c almond paste, crumbled. Spoon 1 level teaspoon of the almond mixture over preserves. Sprinkle coarsely chopped sliced almonds. If desired, drizzle cooled baked tarts with additional red raspberry preserves.

Spiced Fruit Filling: In a small saucepan, combine a 3/4 cup chopped mixed dried fruit and 3/4 cup water and bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes or til fruit is very tender. Drain. Stir in 2 tbs orange marmalade, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp cloves. 

Here’s Ken at Thanksgiving (6 months), being super cute and entertaining at the dinner table.

Welcome Kenny

So, I’ve been busy. 

We welcomed our little Kenny bear into the family on May 18 at 12:16am! He was 8lbs, 20 inches long. He is the perfect addition to our family. Brian and I find ourselves just staring at him, we had no idea how entertaining babies are. Anyways, we are absolutely IN LOVE with this little man. 

Photos are by Stephanie Starr. We had these taken when he was one week old. Super cute. He loved the camera 🙂

Kenny is pretty relaxed, he lets us know when he is hungry or wants to cuddle, and other than that he is game for whatever. That means Mom has had some time to go on a sewing binge and do some baking! 

We took Kenny to Illinois for his cousin Jade’s 5th birthday. She had a frog themed party, so my mom and I made her a Kermit big top cupcake and regular sized froggy cupcakes. She loved them!

Muppets are the easiest character to duplicate on the Big Top Cupcake. He is filled with pudding/cream cheese/cool whip filling, his eyes made of Oreos dipped in white candies. The frogs below are cupcakes (obviously), the eyes are made from Wilton candies with chocolate chips. The kids all went for the cupcakes, little did they know there was delicious filling in the cake, not the cupcakes. 

New posts to come soon. Sewing binge, Sock Monkey quilt and more.

Kumquat, Frolic, Onesies and Monster Cookie Cake

Finally had a chance to clean my living room, and halfway convince the weather to cooperate so I could get a few pictures of the freshly painted walls. A big Thank You to Beckey and Tim for painting over Easter weekend. I really appreciate it, and, my living room looks flipping awesome. 

Living Room

 

Vintage blue chair from my Grandma Drevs, in front of one green wall

 

A very happy Mr. Fish, enjoying his new home (but missing his Gma and Gpa).

For those of you playing the Sherwin Williams Home Game, the colors are

  • 6648 Kumquat (orange)
  • 6703 Frolic (green)

So, baby is arriving soon (not soon enough) and instead of playing games at the shower, I suggested that all of the guests decorate onesies for him to wear over the next year. And by “suggested” I mean, I didn’t let a few of the guests leave until they completed the task. They all turned out great, and baby is so excited to start wearing his new clothes!

Click on the image to see them up-close

Tomorrow is Brian’s birthday! He’s doesn’t eat cake, so I couldn’t make him some fun fancy birthday cake. I decided on making him a giant Monster Cookie Cake, since he loves monster cookies. I did a little research and found out that you can use any cookie recipe, just make sure to cut back on the heat, and cook it a little longer. Also, leave the cookie on the pan while it cools – it will continue to cook. I cooked this on a pizza pan (was going to go the pizza stone route, but it would have taken at least two stones). 

Happy Birthday, Brian, I love you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs white syrup (or more, whatever, I never measure, I just pour.)
  • 1 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 c oatmeal (or more, depending on if you use the correct amount of peanut butter)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of M&Ms

Directions for Cookie Cake

  • Cream butter and sugar. Add other ingredients one at a time. Mix well!
  • Spread evenly on pizza pan. Make sure the middle isn’t thicker than the outside, that’s the toughest part to cook. If your dough is already to the edge of your pan, you might want to consider taking some of it off. Cookies spread, you don’t want to waste cookie by feeding it to the oven floor. I cooked mine at 250 for… maybe 25 minutes. I could tell the bottom was just brown, but none of the edges were burnt. These cookies normally cook at 350 for … however you like them done.