Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cupcake Day for EDEN

On the last post I told you that I was going to be baking a storm of cupcakes for a friend. Well the day has come and gone of the Cupcake Day. I was asked by a friend and coworker of Matt's to make a batch of cupcakes to raise money for the awareness of the media's effect on women's self image. The organization is called EDEN, standing for Eating Difficulties Education Network; every year they run a campaign selling cupcakes and raising awareness on the issue. Here is the site for the organization, if you are interested. This year, they decided to run the Cupcake Day at Oktobor, and they asked if I would bake the cupcakes for it. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to bake. I started researching new ideas, and came across tons of amazing bakes.

I also told you on the last post how excited I was getting for Halloween. I got a little over excited, and couldn't help but combine the Cupcake Day and Halloween. To start off, I found myself in this store, called Milly's Kitchen. They have the most amazing kitchen supplies, and oodles of great gear for baking, cooking, and general wasting of time. They have just come out with all of these Halloween necessities (they are necessities!), and of course, I stocked up. Again, I was so excited about Halloween that I may or may not have jumped the gun on the goodies for the joyous holiday. Ok, I did jump the gun. But it was worth it.

I bought the candy molds at Milly's Kitchen, and got started on making some chocolate tombstones and skulls. I also found the cutest bone sprinkles there, which were perfect for the recipe I decided on. But first the chocolate.

 Pretty cool huh? And scary of course...

So the recipe I found was from the all-talented Martha Stewart. Is there anything this woman can't do? She has so many awesome Halloween treats, including the recipe I tried. They are called Tombstone Cupcakes and have a delish Devil's Food Cake middle, a Chocolate Ganache frosting, cookie crumbles to appear like dirt, and the chocolate molds on top for me. Here are the bare cupcakes, pre-decoration.

And here's the decoration line up. 

And the finished product ready to be eaten. 

And again, just because they're pretty. 

I had way too much fun with those. And in case you're wondering, those are really easy to make, so make them for Halloween this year. You can make the cookies that she puts on top, or come up with another fun idea to make them look like graveyards.

The next cupcake I jumped at the chance of making is Red Velvet Cupcakes. This one of course came from my favorite sweets blogger, Bakerella. Again, in case you wondering (and I know you were), she has the BEST Red Velvet Cake recipe (not that I've tried any other) on the planet. Seriously. So moist, and so so scrumdiddlyumptious! And they look so...


Don't they? Ok, so the lighting, and my camera, and my non-expertise didn't mix well with these ones. But they were yummy, despite the appearance.

Matty took some better pictures of them all iced up and ready to eat, but apparently I don't know how to make a straight line with cupcakes, so ignore that too. I promise they were good! Please make these too. 

This next recipe came from a new blogger that I recently found, thanks to one of Matt's bosses wives. They are Cheesecake Cupcakes with Crumb Topping. For 12 cupcakes you use two packages of cream cheese. Yes, two. And although I didn't get to taste these, they went fast, so I assume the two packages are worth it. I am going to make them again soon so I can taste them. But aren't they pretty, even without the fruit on top?

And here is what they look like once you garnish them. 

Use whatever fruit you have on hand. Here they are displayed with the Red Velvet ones in the background. At least those ones look like they're in a straight line... 

And one more picture for good measure; this time with the tombstone cupcakes hiding behind them. 

The last batch of cupcakes I made again came from Bakerella. Have you gone to her site yet? Why not? You should. She's amazing. Ok, back to the cupcakes. These are called Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. Hers are a lot prettier than mine, but hey, mine tasted good too!

Here I am icing them. Don't mind my grimace. Apparently I give dirty looks when I'm concentrating. I apologize for that, if you have ever thought I was giving you a dirty look, I was probably just thinking about something.

 I love the look of these when they're finished, with the icing and Oreo placed on top. Yum, I want another. So sad they are gone.

 Matty and his pictures. When I grow up, I want to take pictures like him...

 Here is the line-up for the Cupcake Day. You can't see the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, but they are hidden back there, or maybe they were trying to jump in my tummy. No one knows.

 And lastly, here is the lovely Paulo, getting ready to chomp the Red Velvet Cupcake, and double fisting it for seconds. I think they must have been good!

All-in-all, the day was a success, raising just under $300 for EDEN. Oktoborians are a very generous people. I was proud that they gave that much and enjoyed some cupcakes at the same time. I made between 75-80 cupcakes and the majority of them were gone in the first 10 minutes. I had so much fun baking for this today, and I am uber excited to focus on Halloween treats now. Stay tuned for those. And speaking of Halloween, Oktobor gave us the green light on a party! Woohoo! Time to get planning!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So Many New Bakes!

I have been on a baking craze lately! Not only have I been baking quite a bit, but I have also been doing a lot of research on new things to bake and going from store to store to buy things to bake new things. I bought a new big muffin tin, a cake leveler, and lots of decorations and colorings for my stuff. Next week, I will be baking between 50 and 100 cupcakes (I haven't decided how many yet), for a friend who needs them for a campaign. We are selling them at Oktobor for the non-profit organization that she works for. I am so excited to bake for that, as I hardly ever bake cupcakes. I will be posting on what I end up baking, so check back on that.

I don't know about you, but I am also overly excited about Halloween this year. Is it just me? Probably. But I am. Maybe its that I discovered my baking passion after Halloween last year, but I cannot wait to bake for Halloween this year. Again, check back on what I did for it. Lots of ideas roaming around in my head, but none solidified yet. I am shopping around for goodies on this too! I found some yukky finger cookie trays, and some tombstone candy molds that I cant wait to start messing around with. Any other ideas I cant do without? Let me know.

Ok, so now to the stuff I have already baked. On the last post I said I would find the recipe online for the Lemon Crisps I made. Here's the picture of them again.

 Oh boy those were good.  Here's the link.

A new recipe I tried this past week was a huge hit at Matty's work. Some said these were the best cookies they have tasted. You should definitely make them as soon as you can, and be ready for a taste explosion! They are called Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies. I got the recipe from Picky Palate, who has a lot of amazing recipes. I follow her blog. You should too.

Go here for the step by step instructions on these cookies. And by the way, I have been experimenting with taking pictures, since Matty never is around when I bake (I wish he didn't have to work), so he can't take the pictures for me. I bought some fabric when my mom was here, and have been enjoying messing around with that. If you have any comments on how to make the pictures better, please share, but just know, I am NOT an expert (I'm sure you knew that), and I only have one lens for the camera. We could use a better one, but not in the budget right now. But still, comments? Let me know.

These cookies are ones I had never made, but had tasted. A friend made them for a group of us, and I was automatically obsessed. They are a savory cookie, but what's wrong with that? I say nothing. I made them for the first time this past week, and was so excited about them, but they jumped into everyone else's mouth before it got to mine, so I didn't get to enjoy them. Guess I'll have to make them again... They have a extraordinary mix of flour, salt, pepper, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and jalapenos. Oh yes, and don't forget the butter. Never forget the butter. Butter is so good. Butter is so great. Butter makes baking great.

Oh, sorry. I went on a rant. But really. Butter. Yum.

Anyway... you want that recipe too? Ok here you go. Please enjoy.

 A couple months ago, Matt and I went to the Food Show at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland. If you have ever been to one of these types of conventions, you know they give out a lot of free stuff, and at a food show, they just might give out free recipes (they did) trying to promote certain products. Well this next recipe is one that came off of one of those recipe cards. I didn't use the products that they suggested, and I changed quite a bit on the recipe, so this is an adapted Stout Cake Recipe, and I'm going to share it with you. I know, you're excited. But first, look at it.

 Isn't it so pretty with the black in the middle and white on top? And what an amazing addition to cake to add beer. Yum!

Adapted Chocolate Stout Cake (I used black beer instead of stout beer, but Chocolate Black Cake doesn't sound as good, do you agree?)

Cake Ingredients:
-125g butter, cubed and softened
-100g dark chocolate
-2cups all purpose flour
-1 1/2tsp baking soda
-2tsp cinnamon
-1/2tsp salt
-1 1/2cups sugar
-1/2cup unsweetened plain yogurt
-2 large eggs
-1 bottle black or stout beer
-1/2cup cocoa powder

Frosting Ingredients: (the recipe called for a different one, but this is what I did)
-1/2cup butter, softened
-2cups powdered or icing sugar
-3Tbsp black or stout beer
-1/2tsp vanilla

-Preheat oven to 180*C/350*F. Grease a round cake pan, the bigger the better.
-Put the butter and chocolate in a medium sized glass bowl and melt in the microwave, or using a double boiler. Don't overheat. Heat a little, stir then heat again.
-Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingers, stir in the sugar into the dry ingredients.
-Stir the yogurt and eggs into the chocolate mixture, then add this mixture and the beer to the dry ingredients. Stir the mixture together using a whisk, but don't over mix.
-Pour into the cake pan, and bake 45-60 minutes, or until skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean.
-While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Mix butter, icing sugar, beer and vanilla using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
-When cake is completely cooled, ice the cake all around, and make sure to admire the contrast when you cut into it.
-Make sure you enjoy :)

A few weekends ago, Matt's work had a big BBQ, and it was a potluck BBQ, which of course meant that everyone expected me to bring some great sweet treats. I decided to make one recipe I have made before, because it was a big hit, and another that I haven't made before. The new one was this Carrot Cake recipe. The kitchen had it out for me the day I made that, as I ended up with lots of cuts and burns, but the cake was great! Try it soon. Even if you don't like some of the ingredients (pineapple, coconut, etc), try it anyway. You will be amazed. Oh I also substituted almonds for the pecans and I thought it was awesome.

The other is Mississippi Mud Pie, which I got from the cookbook that started this whole adventure. Such an amazing recipe. Find this recipe online and make it! It's so great!  I'm not sure if I am allowed to share that recipe, since it isn't mine, but I will email it to you if you want it, so let me know if that is the case.

So there you go. I know it was a lot to share, but I have just been having too much fun with it. I am super excited to be making new things coming up here, so please be checking in. Also I think I fixed the problem with the comments. I think anyone should be able to comment now, so please leave more comments.

Thanks for checking in, and check back soon.