Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm still here. :) I've had terrible internet connection lately and haven't been able to post. Things haven't slowed down in my kitchen & I'll be posting soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Day After..

It is the day after my 30th birthday.  I'm officially 30!  Not in my twenties anymore.  It all gets better from here, right?  Heck yeah, it does.

Ok, I admit that my GRAND ENTRY into this new decade in my life was more like a little fizzle.  Actually, it SUCKED!  I spent the morning of my special day trying to get an almost 3 year old ready for HER birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  Not MY party...HER party.  Anyone who has ever raised or even babysat a toddler knows that sometimes it is quite challenging.  "Challenging" is a nice way to put how our morning went.  It was more like "Can I please hide under a rock or jump off my balcony instead of argue with a 2 year old" kind of morning.  It took so long getting her dressed and dressed again that I didn't have time to really get myself ready.  boo. Went into my 30's looking like I was headed into a 9am class after partying too much on my 21st birthday.

The night of my birthday ended just as lame as it began.  I was so exhausted from Chuck E Cheese and a grumpy toddler that I was in bed by 9:30pm!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  I knew I was getting older but I thought I was turning 30, not 65!!!  Maybe I can use my 30th year of life finding more people to spend time with outside of work.  I mean, really, I'll drive my self absolutely crazy if I stay shut in much longer.  I need to ask for a babysitter every once in a while.  I admit that when people ask me to go out, I tell them I can't find a sitter before I even begin looking.  Guilt, maybe?  Who knows?

What I do know is that I'm still young.  Regardless of what age I am, I need to have a life also.  I need it to keep my sanity.  It's never too late to start improving your life and that is exactly what I am going to do.  This is the jump off point to a life much more desirable.  Financially, emotionally, socially...  This is MY year.  My big, special year.  I guess I don't need just one day to celebrate the life I'm creating for my daughter and I.  As long as I have her, my health and our love of cupcakes, I got a great beginning to something that will be magical!

In Cupcake news, for her party, I made the Vegan French Vanilla cupcakes that I absolutely adore!  For the frosting, I made a simple Cherry Buttercream.  Sorry, I don't have pictures but they were Princess Pink and oh so tasty!

Question for you - Have you ever been super excited for an upcoming birthday and end up being utterly disappointed?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Funfetti Halloween Cake

So, I promised a coworker I'd make a Halloween cake for her party she was having for some kids in her neighborhood.  I had it all planned out.  It was going to be a sheet cake with all kinds of spooky decorations.  A graveyard, ghosts, spooky trees....  Then, life happened.  I completely ran out of time.  Being a single mother to a toddler can be a little difficult and sometimes you feel like some crazy circus juggler with everything that seems to come up at once.  So, that being said, I did make her a cake but it was a lot smaller and less fancy.  I still think it came out cute and so did she, so we're all happy.

I ended up just doing 2 box cake mixes (don't judge me) that were Devil's Food Cake and Funfetti.  It was very simple and, when in a pinch, this is not a bad way to go.  For the frosting, I went with a store bought Chocolate frosting (please, please don't judge....).  Obviously, I wasn't able to sample the cake being given away but there was enough batter left over that I was able to make a mini cake for my daughter and I to enjoy and it really didn't turn out bad at all.
my favorite box mix brand when I'm short on time

Down to the details...

I made this cake in a bundt pan.  If you don't have one, I suggest adding it to your stock because they just make really fun shaped cakes. =)

I started out by pouring about 1/2 of the Devil's Food cake batter into a well greased pan.  I use Pam for Baking.  On top of that, I poured in about 1/2 of the Funfetti that I added Wilton's Orange Food Coloring to so that the cake would be Halloween colors.  I wanted to add black to the Devil's Food cake but Michael's was all out. Brown and Orange work, though..  When you cut into the cake, it has a bit of a swirl to it and looks pretty cool.  Fun for a kids party. I baked according to package directions for the Bundt cake.

As for decorating, once cooled, I frosted completely with Chocolate frosting.  I thought I'd get creative and make homemade marshmallow fondant.  WHAT A DISASTER!  Not only did I have a 2 year old trying to help me out but I ran out of powdered sugar!  How did I not have any powdered sugar!  I always have it!!  So, I made my own.  Sugar in a food processor will turn into powder but I don't think I was patient enough because it wasn't powdery enough.  It was a big mess.  I finally got it to a point where it was somewhat workable and ended up just cutting out a couple of ghosts to stick onto the cake.  Never again... Or at least not for a long time..
what a mess!

By the end of the day, although the cake turned out fine, I was so happy to get it out of my hands and into the hands of the kids who would devour it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegan French Vanilla Cupcakes

I'm not vegan.  I enjoy my meat and dairy and junk food and especially cupcakes.  I enjoy cupcakes so much that I even enjoyed these ones.

If you're vegan or if you've never tried anything vegan, these cupcakes are for you.  They are so delicious. They're light and fluffy.  They have such a wonderful hint of almond in them.  Top them off with a strawberry frosting and you've got yourself one delectable cupcakes you've ever stuck your teeth into.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures at this time but don't let that discourage you from trying them.

·         1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk or almond milk
·         1 T. lemon juice
·         2 1/4 cup flour
·         2 t. baking powder
·         1/2 t. baking soda
·         1/2 t. salt
·         1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
·         1/2 cup canola oil
·         1 t. vanilla extract
·         1 t. hazelnut extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin pans with 16 cupcake liners and set aside.
2. In a small bowl or cup, combine the soy milk and lemon juice, whisking until combined. (Mixture will curdle.) Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the soymilk mixture with the canola oil, vanilla extract and hazelnut extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined. Portion the batter in to the prepared pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire cooling rack completely before icing with Dairy-Free Frosting of your choice.

Now, I admit, I didn't stay completely Vegan with this cupcake.  I made a strawberry cream cheese frosting for them and it was delicious.  However, I've included a link to the Dairy-Free frostings that would be just as delicious.

Have you made a change in your diet to include any Vegan  dishes?  I am trying to have a few meatless days in our family but I do love dairy!  

Thank you to Dairy Free Cooking for this delicious recipe that I've saved in my favorites, printed and shared, printed some more...

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Heart Just Did Some #BIGSTEPPIN

Take a look at what I found in my Twitter DM!  My heart is Big Steppin!!!  

That's right.  I rock. He said it himself!

man...I love twitter!

Do you have a twitter account?  Has it made your day yet?

You can find me on twitter @cpckkisses or by clicking the link above!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To Die For Chocolate Cupcakes with Big Steppin Skeletons

Last night, I revealed my celebrity crush AND posted a recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes that are TO DIE FOR! After making them tonight, it is confirmed (again) that they are, indeed, TO DIE FOR!

The rich Chocolate cake mixed with the  Ganache and the Frosting are so incredible.  I suggest making mini's so you don't have an overload.

Now, in my post last night I said that I was going to leave off the Chambord Ganache but still have the Raspberry filling.  Well, I changed my mind.  I left out the filling but included the Ganache.  I did change it a little and use some Red Wine I had on hand.  Didn't have the time to go buy Chambord.  It still tasted heavenly.

The Mascarpone Frosting was delectable.  Why don't I make this more often?  It has got to be one of the easiest frostings out there.  It is so light and fluffy and so sweet!  Not sweet like grocery store frosting.  Sweet like I could eat the whole bowl and not frost the cupcakes.

All in all, I'm very satisfied with this cupcakes.  So satisfied that I'm debating on whether I'm going to take them to work with me tomorrow??  Do I really want to share??  =)

Now the fun part.  If you recall, my celebrity crush is Aaron Goodwin of Travel Channel's GHOST ADVENTURES.  You should also remember his signature move.  You don't? I'll give you a second to go back and read that last post.....


Ok, welcome back.  So, he's a Big Steppin kinda guy.  Throwing around some ideas for an upcoming Halloween cake, I thought I'd try out some chocolate Big Steppin Skeletons.  They were so easy to make!  I melted some chocolate chips in a bowl.  Poured the melted chips into a heavy duty plastic baggy and cut off the tip.  I do this a lot if I'm not trying to make super fancy designs.  Anyway, I basically just drew the shape I wanted onto some parchment paper and stuck them in the fridge to set.

He's Big Steppin his way out of my cupcake!

I love it!  Unfortunately, The frosting is soft and so is this little guy so as soon as it started warming up, it also started falling over.  It looked ok when I just laid them all on their cupcakes instead of trying to stand them all up.

Whether or not you want to try to add a little skeleton to your cupcake is up to you but I do suggest that you most definitely make these cupcakes.  They are made to impress and I promise they will! 

If you're a single lady, like myself, grab a glass of red wine, one of these cupcakes and settle in on the couch to watch the most recent episode of Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel.  Friday nights!!  =)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Aaron Goodwin and Chocolate Halloween cupcakes

I don't think I've mentioned this before but I have the most interesting celebrity crush.  Who, you ask??
(I'm imagining him saying "Hey, pretty lady.." to me, of course)

Aaron Goodwin of Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.  I know.. I'm a little confused by it, too.  Where did it come from?  I'm not quite sure?  Maybe, it's my love for all things spooky (at a distance, preferably on tv, of course)?  Maybe, it's the fact that he's from Oregon and I'm in Oregon? Maybe, my tastes in men are changing with the number of candles on my birthday cake?

I'm really not sure where or why but I'm not complaining.  This guy has me cracking up while watching one of the most spooky (if not over dramatized) ghost investigating shows currently on tv. I even make sure that if I miss an episode, I find it on netflix or youtube just so I can keep up.  I will watch this show and let it scare the heck out of me in a dark, quiet apartment, all by myself just so this celebrity crush can make me giggle a little.  Suppose that's something I'll have to leave behind in my 20's?  Yes? No??

Aaron Goodwin has a trademark move called Big Steppin.  He even has a website that sells "Big Steppin Gear" -you can get your Big Steppin Gear here.  In honor of my celebrity crush and Halloween, I will be spending my day making some Halloween themed cupcakes.  On top of these cupcakes will be some Big Steppin skeletons.
Melted Chocolate Big Steppin Skeletons
The Real Big Steppin
I practiced a little tonight with some melted chocolate.  If they set up well and work good on the cupcakes, I'm going to add some to the cake I'm baking for my coworker's party.  I can't wait to see how these things turn out.

But first, the cupcakes!  I'm going to do a chocolate cupcake but to add a creepy little touch, they will be filled with a gooey raspberry filling!

These are delicious.  I've used this recipe many, many times!!  


8 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) organic cocoa

3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large organic eggs

3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

3/4 cup (5 Ounces) sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup(4 ounces)sour cream

Raspberry Filling

1 10 oz. package frozen raspberries with sugar

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Chambord Ganache

3/8 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

4 ounces dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 teaspoon Chambord

Mascarpone Frosting

4 ounces mascarpone cheese

3/8 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1/2 cup whipped heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.


Combine the butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a glass bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water. Heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
Sieve the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine and add espresso powder, sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick. Take care not to overbeat the batter.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out almost clean, 15 to 18 minutes.Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Raspberry Filling
Thaw raspberries and drain. You should have almost 3/4 cup liquid/juice. Put liquid in a small saucepan and combine with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is very thick. Let cool. Stir in raspberries without the extra juice that drains further (you want the filling to be thick). Fill cupcakes by removing a small piece in the middle of the cupcake, fill hole with about 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling. Trim the piece you have cut out and place back over the filling in the cupcake. You can also pipe filling into the cupcake, however, this is pretty thick, so it is more difficult.
Chambord Ganache
Bring cream and butter just to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until glossy and smooth. Add Chambord. Let mixture sit 5 minutes to set before frosting cupcakes.
Mascarpone Frosting
Beat together mascarpone cheese and sugar until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream until combined. Place in a decorating bag and decorate tops of cupcakes as desired.

For these, I will be leaving off the Chambord Ganache.  I'll be serving these to children so the Mascarpone frosting will be enough.  

Thank you to Chef Catherine's Cake Recipes for the wonderful recipe!!

Pictures to come tomorrow!

Do you have a celebrity crush?  Who is yours?  I know you got one..or two..