Archive for February, 2009

22
Feb
09

Best Wishes Cupcakes

We had a potluck at work for one of my co-workers who’s moving on to be a stay at home mom.  I signed up for dessert (of course) and made some strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.  I know I shouldn’t, but I always feel bad when I sign up to bring dessert.  I feel like I’m hogging dessert or something.  (Of course I wasn’t…there was 2 other people bringing dessert, too.)

strawberry cupcakes

I made some fondant cut-outs to top the cupcakes.  I was glad to use these.  It’s been so long since I’ve used any of my fondant flower cutters.  I keep telling myself that one day, when I have time, I’ll practice my flower making with fondant/gumpaste and royal icing.  It’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve attempted to make flowers.  Maybe one day I’ll finally sit down and do it.

flower cupcake

I also cut out some circles and piped a little message:

Best Wishes

22
Feb
09

Truffles

H and I went to a Valentine’s Dinner at Church the week before Valentine’s Day.  I was asked to bring a dessert and I wanted to make something new.  I had seen several blog posts about cheesecake pops and have been wanting to make them for awhile.  It looked like quite a process, but the pops were beautiful so I decided to try.  Well, my cheesecake balls came out a little too big and I was afraid a little lollipop stick wasn’t going to hold them so I decided not to leave them on sticks.  I used a thick bamboo skewer to dip them and just pulled them out when the chocolate hardened.   So, instead of cheesecake pops they turned out to be (huge) cheesecake truffles.

I had to use so much chocolate to coat them.  I think I used at least 3 bags of Guittard chocolate chips.  I love chocolate, but I have to say I started to get tired of having to re-melt the chocolate and getting chocolate on everything.

dipping process
dipping process

I rolled them in chopped chocolate, chopped heath bars, pistachios, almonds, and graham crackers.  I drizzled a few of them with melted pink chocolate.

the assortment
cheesecake truffles

My favorite was crushed up heath toffee bars.  I loved the crunch against the soft cheesecake.

heath cheesecake truffle

Continue reading ‘Truffles’

07
Feb
09

Kung Fu Panda Cake

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to make a cake and 3 dozen cupcakes for her nephew’s 1st birthday.  She wanted either a Kung Fu Panda cake or a Cars cake.  Well, when it comes to sculpted cake toppers, H is the one with the talent (and patience).  He wanted to do something new so he chose Kung Fu Panda.   I had almost no part in the cake (it was a fake cake b/c they were just going to serve the cupcakes).  All I did was make the fondant and help color it.

the evolution of Po
the evolution of Po

H is such a good sculptor.  He’s gotten more comfortable sculpting rice krispies and working with fondant.

the artist at work
the artist at work

He even made the little punching bag character to stand behind Po.  I think he did a great job with the details – the peaches, the hat, the belt, and even the patch on Po’s pants.  And the bamboo was such a good idea.  I love how Po is doing the splits and that his big belly touches the ground.  He was so cute!

the details
details

H was sad when my friend picked up the cake.  He got attached to Po and missed him.  I understand…they did spent quite a few hours together. 🙂

the final cake
the final cake

The cupcakes were supposed to be the peanut butter chocolate cupcakes I had made a few weeks before, but this was at the same time the peanut recall was going on.  Even though the news kept saying peanut butter was safe, I was too paranoid and wanted to avoid it altogether.  Instead of using peanut butter in the buttercream, I used nutella and added a little salt.  I didn’t have anymore toffee or chocolate shards so I decided to use cut up Heath bars at the last minute – similar flavors in a different form.

nutella cupcake
nutella cupcake

We’re both looking forward to the next cake.  Maybe I’ll actually get to bake a cake next time. 🙂

07
Feb
09

january – a recap

I didn’t think I’d have to do a January recap, but it somehow flew by too.  Here’s what I was up to the first half of the month.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  This was before the peanut scare.  (These were perfectly safe by the way.)  I think this is my new favorite.

look at how dark that cocoa powder is
look at how dark that cocoa powder is
black chocolate cupcakes
black chocolate cupcakes
peanut butter buttercream
peanut butter buttercream
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topped with chocolate shards and english toffee
topped with chocolate and english toffee

Mixed Berry Cobbler

H and I had some friends over for dinner and I made this mixed berry cobbler for dessert.  It had a biscuit topping and used frozen berries – raspberry, blueberry, and blackberries.

mixed berry cobbler

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Vanilla Cupcakes

These are yellow cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.    I just felt like baking one night and trying a new recipe.  I’m still looking for my favorite vanilla cupcake.  I made pink and white buttercream because I ended up topping them with frosted circus animal cookies (hence the nonpareils).

white frosted cupcakes
pink frosted cupakes

Kara’s Cupcakes – Trip 2

H and I stopped at Kara’s again.  We were in San Jose to pick up my MIL from the airport so I scheduled a trip to Kara’s since it’s only a few minutes away.  We were in a hurry and didn’t think of picking up coffee first. The caramel fleur de sel was good, but super rich.  We went to Peet’s after to wash it down.

Kara's Cupcakes
lemon, coconut, fleur de sel
lemon, coconut, fleur de sel
caramel fleur de sel cupcake
chocolate fleur de sel cupcake

02
Feb
09

december – a recap

Ok, I’m finally getting around to posting December…

Cookie Exchange

I made french macarons and magic cookie bars for a cookie exchange party.  I’ve tried making french macarons a few times now and am very frustrated that my macarons never rise with a “foot”.  I’ve read a few other blogs and am looking forward to trying them again.

french macarons – no feet 😦
(
magic cookie bars

Yule Log

I finally made a yule log!  I’ve been wanting to make this buche de noel from a Martha Stewart Holiday magazine that I’ve had for years.  I skipped some of the ingredients but it still turned out delicious.  Next time, I’ll probably skip the rum soak – H didn’t like that too much.  The white chocolate mousse was so good and the little meringue mushrooms were cute.

buche de noel
buche de noel

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie

I made a chocolate chunk pecan pie for a potluck.  I needed to make something quick and easy because it was during the same week that I was starting to crank out Christmas cookies.  There were three types of chocolate in this pie – milk, semi-sweet, and white.  We ate slivers of this pie b/c it was so rich.

chocolate chunk pecan pie
chocolate chunk pecan pie

Christmas Cookies

I made a lot of cookies this year for Christmas gifts.  I originally made a list of 8 types that I planned to make, but of course got in over my head and made way more.  Most were successes, but some were disasters.  I just can’t help it.  I love to try new recipes and have a hard time limiting myself to making only a few types.  As it always is during December, my kitchen was a mess and I was exhausted from staying up late every night baking.  It was worth it, but sadly I didn’t have time to make any royal icing cookies.  I don’t know why – I made several types of cookies last Christmas in addition to approximately 75 snowmen cookies.  I don’t know how I had time to do that last year.  I guess I spent a lot more time this year trying out new cookie recipes.

no snowmen this year 😦
(
the original list that i didn’t stick to
the original list
most of what i made
most of what i made
package of goodies
package of goodies

Christmas Potluck

Just like there’s 2 parties to go to for Thanksgiving, there’s also 2 parties to go to for Christmas.  My parents, sister, brother, H, and I went to my mom’s extended family on Christmas Eve.  I made some peppermint s’more cupcakes.  I didn’t bring all the equipment I needed to my parents house and was so frustrated with my cupcakes.  I don’t know if it matters, but I used an electronic hand beater instead of my stand mixer and the marshmallow frosting didn’t set up as much.  To try an avoid a runny mess, I just piped little gobs onto the cupcakes – they still turned our really cute.

mini s’more cupcakes
mini s'more cupcakes

On Christmas day, we all went to see my dad’s extended family – it’s basically a HUGE party with TONS of food.  I brought cheesecake bars – which I didn’t get a picture of AND didn’t get to try!  I guess they were good though :).  I also made homemade empanadas with my grandpa’s secret recipe.  My dad was doing a lot of frying with all my empanadas and H’s crab rangoon.

empanadas
empanadas

crab rangoon
crab rangoon

We had some excitement during the empanada frying/crab rangoon making frenzy.  H microwaved his crab rangoon sauce to dissolve the sugar.  Well, I think he forgot that 1) my parents have a new microwave that’s more powerful than the old one we have and 2) it’s very easy to speed past the time you want to set using the little spinning knob on their microwave.   Basically, I think he accidentally set it for 02:00 instead of 00:20…oops.  So there we all are in the kitchen when my brother suddenly points to the microwave and there’s black smoke coming out of it.  It was hilarious and classic.  The smell didn’t stick around for very long; the inside of the microwave is just a little yellow now. 🙂

scorched
scorched

Kara’s Cupcakes – 1st Time

On our way back to the central coast,  H and I stopped at Kara’s Cupcakes in San Jose.  We tried the sweet chocolate, sweet vanilla, chocolate velvet, and pumpkin.  I think so far this is my favorite cupcake shop (we’ve actually been 2 more times since then!).

kara’s cupcakes
kara's cupcakes