Saturday, July 30, 2011

When life gives you lemons...frost them!

Today I attempted to bake a new flavor of cupcakes - cannoli. I was inspired from my Taste of Home magazine as I was flipping through the pages one night and saw a cannoli cake. I immediately thought, "I want to flip that into a cupcake." It shouldn't be too hard. Right!?!

I baked the vanilla cupcakes, made the filling, and then mixed up the frosting. I was pleased with how fast they had come together. It reaffirmed that my flipping idea wasn't going to be that hard. It was then that I read the next line of the directions..."cover frosting and place in refrigerator until it is set enough to spread." Sounded straight forward enough. It didn't tell me how long this process would take so I decided to give it time and get some errands done.

I took my daughter to the nail salon with me. We both got mani/pedis. We picked lunch up on the way home, arrived back at home, and ate. Then I remembered the frosting. I thought, "Man, that should be good to go now." Checked it - not good to go. Returned back to watching TV, playing with my daughter, and getting stuff ready for our family photo shoot. Another hour passed, checked it - not good to go.

I then decided that I needed to speed this up. I was set to deliver some of these cupcakes to my friend and my awesome photographer in just a couple of hours. Into the freezer it went. Checked it nearly an hour later, still not good to go! Now I know that magazines try to keep their pages clean and not overly verbose, but you would think that they would have considered posting a statement on this recipe that read, "Frosting will need a two week vacation in Iceland before you can spread it on anything." SHEESH! I finally decided that my cannoli cupcake hopes were over for today, and turned to my trusty wingman chocolate buttercream for help. I whipped some up and frosted the cupcakes. Then I added some chocolate chips on top. They were intended for the cannoli cupcakes so using them made me feel a little victorious.

At the end of the day I still had yummy cupcakes to share with my friends and a few extra dirty bowls. The lesson of the day is when life gives you lemons (like bad frosting recipes) don't fret. In the end you may not have ended up with what you wanted but you got a really great alternative!

Happy Baking,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fun, Fabulous, and Fifty!

Holly called me to help out with her Mom's upcoming 50th birthday. When I asked her what the theme was she told me "Fun, Fabulous, and Fifty." Then she sent me a picture of some of the decorations so I could get some ideas. When I saw the combination of polka dots, zebra print, black, white, and pink I knew these were going to be FUN!

Vanilla cake with pink buttercream frosting. Decorated with black sixlets, zebra sugar sheets, and "50" candles

After the cupcakes were ready I drove them to the restaurant to setup for the party. The cupcakes were only some of the fabulous decor Holly had purchased. I mean the theme does have to live up to its name right?!? There were balloons with boa borders, zebra printed wine glasses, candy dishes with special 50 candy inside, and signs for each table. You name it they had it!

Here are the cupcakes setup for the event:

I hope you have a happy birthday Tracy! I am sure it will be a fun and fabulous way to turn fifty.

Happy Baking,

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a wedding shower

A friend, and mentor, from work is getting married! Yay! To celebrate several of us girls got together to surprise her with a wedding shower at Mia Bella's. She was quite shocked when she arrived as she thought she was only dining with one of us today - not eleven. We are often sneaky like that!
We all had a great time chatting, watching the bride-to-be open gifts, and dining on Italian food. To cap off the celebration we had cupcakes for dessert. Afterall, it's the proper way to end a celebration. Actually, it's the proper way to end anything - end of a week, end of the day, end of an hour, end of a blog post... :)

Here are the treats that I whipped up for our gathering:

Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting and "I Do" topper
Devils food cupcake with buttercream frosting and handmade red chocolate hearts covered in sprinkles

Below is the bride-to-be Shelly (on the right) with our friend Shelly L. getting ready to enjoy their cupcakes!

Congratulations Shelly & Matt! Enjoy your upcoming wedding, and the wonderful adventure of marriage!

Happy Baking,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Silent Auction Cupcakes

In a recent post I wrote about a fellow coworker who was injured at his home. To help his family cope with some of their bills his neighborhood hosted a series of charity events. It started with a bake sale on July 4th and ended with a dinner/silent auction the following weekend. AJ's Cupcakes sent a couple dozen chocolate cupcakes to the bake sale. Then I added a gift certificate for two dozen cupcakes to the silent auction.

I am happy to report that between the bake sale and dinner/silent auction over $15K was raised for the Parrish family. That was with several baked items and around 100 items in the auction. AMAZING!

Earlier this week I was contacted by the lady who was the highest bidder on the cupcakes - Suzette. It just so happens that she is participating in a wedding shower this weekend. She asked me if I could make the cupcakes in time for the shower. She noted that the theme was sunshine, and that they were using a lot of orange and yellow. I baked up a dozen vanilla and a dozen chocolate cupcakes and topped them with colored buttercream frosting to match the shower theme!

I am really glad that I was able to help out. The amount of support and contributions people gave was awesome, and I know the family will be appreciative of it!

Happy Baking,

I want candy...

I decided to try a new set of cupcakes tonight - candy. In my house we love a few specific chocolate candies: Butterfinger, Reeses, and M&Ms. We love them in blizzards, on their own, in cookies etc. I figured that if they tasted good in all of those other things then cupcakes were a shoe in.

To start I chopped the candy into small pieces so I could put it into the cake batter. After I spooned the vanilla buttermilk cake into the liners I sprinkled the chopped candy in various cups. To help blend it I added another tablespoon of batter on top. Then I topped them with buttercream frosting and more candy!

When I make a new cupcake I always have my husband test it out before I take it anywhere. Poor guy. Tonight when I asked him to eat them he said that he wasn't really in the mood to eat three different cupcakes. So to compromise I asked him take one bite out of all three. LOL That is the equivalent of him eating one entire cupcake right? I put the three half eaten cupcakes aside for him to snack on later...they are now gone. :)

Happy Baking,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Cupcake Friday

" I call this game FUN-IN-A-BOX ,"
Said the cat.
"In this box are two things
I will show to you now.
You will like these two things,"
Said the cat with a bow.
"I will pick up the hook.
You will see something new.
Two things. And I call them
Thing One and Thing Two."

- The Cat in the Hat

Confetti cake with vanilla frosting. Topped with blue cotton candy.

As soon as I saw these cupcakes on Annie's Eats I knew I had to try them for four reasons:
  1. My daughter loves to read Dr. Seuss. Couldn't you tell from the picture? Those are just some of her books.
  2. I love to decorate cupcakes with fun things - like cotton candy!
  3. Creating a perfect opportunity to tell someone, "Uh there is hair on your cupcake." 
  4. Finally because I wanted to give a shout out to a good friend via cupcakes! My friend Kristen and I were nicknamed Thing 1 and Thing 2 a while back. Probably because we had so much in common, and we were always together at work. It also helped that we wore solid red long sleeved jumpsuits everyday. ;) (Hi Kristen *nerdy wave*)
They were a lot of fun to make and they came together pretty quick. Have a great weekend and eat a cupcake, or two. Oh, and put some cotton candy on it. It really does taste good.

P.S. If anyone stumbles upon silver/gray cotton candy please let me know. I think I need to make a Don King cupcake next. I'm off to find miniature bow ties...

Happy Baking,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

An Americana Staple: Apple Pie

With the 4th of July approaching I decided to find a fun cupcake to honor the day. Nothing screams "Happy Birthday America" like apple pie so I figured it was a good flavor to try out. As I was browsing the internet to see other's renditions I found one that looked great from  Annie's Eats. Let the baking begin...

Have a safe and happy July 4th everyone. Remember the burn ban...we don't need any other kind of fireworks this year either! :)

Happy Baking,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pool Party Cupcakes

My friend Kristine's daughter is turning 4, and her birthday party is tomorrow. To celebrate they chose to host a pool party! That is one of the best things to do in Texas in July. With temperatures near 100 almost everyday there is no better choice. Although playing cards in your refrigerator comes in a close second. LOL

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I chatted about cakes and cupcakes for the party. We finally decided on pool and sun cupcakes. Primarily because the Teddy Graham bears in inner tubes were SO CUTE!

While making these cupcakes I learned something new about Teddy Grahams. Some bears are made with their arms up in the air, and others are made with their arms down at their side. Random thing to learn, I know, but it's important when you are putting them in candy inner tubes. If your bear has his arms up he looks like he is having fun in the pool. Splashing around in his puddle of frosting. If they are down, the candy inner tube sits up around his neck and makes him look like he is drowning! Just a piece of's not ideal to have drowning bears as cupcake decorations at a pool party. :)

Have a great party tomorrow Camryn. Enjoy your cupcakes!

Happy Baking,

Cupcakes for Charity

A colleague at the company I work for was injured earlier this year, and unfortunately is now paralyzed. To help the family cover medical and construction (wheel chair accessible needs) bills their neighborhood, Prestonwood Forest, banded together to help.

The community arranged three events to collect donations for the family:
  • July 4th: Bake sale @ Prestonwood Forest Subdivision (main clubhouse area)
  • July 6th and 7th: Community Garage Sale
  • July 9th: Dinner (for a fee) and Silent Auction (main clubhouse area)
AJ's Cupcakes decided to help out with the bake sale and the silent auction. I sent over 2 dozen cupcakes for Monday, and contributed a voucher for two free dozen cupcakes to the highest bidder at the auction.

If you find yourself in the area of Prestonwood Forest (@ 249 and Prestonwood Forest Dr.) stop in next week and help out the Parrish family. It is times like these when communities need to band together and help one and other. Just like the great folks in Prestonwood Forest. Thanks Cindy and Donna. :)

Happy Baking,