Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hey there, Cupcakers!! Looking for a sweet way to get your bake on?! Today is the day - Happy Halloween! Check out all of these week's Cupcakin' It Up blogs for good ideas and see how I executed some of them in yesterday's blog.

This morning, I found myself short on time, and I had to throw cupcakes together. With some sprinkles and left over candy, I was able to decorate these red velvet cupcakes in 10 minutes!

Red velvet is great for Halloween, not only because red velvet is a hot flavor these days but it's also a deep shade of (bloody?!) red! Perfect for this holiday, and, conveniently, Christmas too!

Whether you've been planning your cupcakes for weeks or just decided (maybe while reading this blog!) that you want to whip up a festive batch, making cute Halloween cupcakes is easy and always a crowd pleaser!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pick Your Poison

BOO!! Three hours later, I bring you Cupcakin' It Up's own creations! It was easy-

yellow cake
green and yellow food dye
sugar cupcake toppers / bag of candy corn

And a little mix of poison and adorableness makes...

What you can't see here is the green dye that was blended into the batter to create that acidic feel of poison!! Muhahahaha!!

Happy Halloween!! More to come....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Halloween Cupcake Patch

When my talented cousin sent me her festive, Harry Potter-themed creation (fresh from Canada!), it got me thinking about the endless possibilities of pumpkin patches and cupcakes...

It takes so little to make cupcakes so cute at Halloween! Lucky for us, Wilton has made it easy with their adorable sugar candy toppers (right).

If you can't find them at your local market or don't have time to pop into a Michael's or Party City, here are a few more ideas that can be easily accomplished with some orange pumpkin candies (found at any grocery store!) or even some green dye and coconut. Get inspired below!

The cutest little pumpkin tree that Halloween has seen!

Coconut+green dye

100% icing!

My plan is to combine the Wilton candies with the pumpkin candies in a little happy pumpkin patch. In terms of cake flavor, I'm thinking either carrot cake or pumpkin spice cake to round out the theme and color. I'll try to post these on Saturday, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooky Cupcakes

Happy Halloween Week! Yes, yes, I know I've been MIA since the summer, but work and studying have left me too exhausted to type or bake.... However, I intend to make it up to you in honor of my favorite cupcake holiday! Halloween is such a versatile holiday for cupcakes - you can go gory and spooky or cute and cuddly, AND no matter what you decide (or have laying around in your kitchen!), you will always sweeten somebody's day by baking them!

Today's Halloween cupcakespiration focuses on spooky cupcakes. I myself have three different events that I have to bake for this year and plan to make one batch of spookily disturbing cupcakes, using the Wilton sugar skull and cross bones (right, found at Michael's or Party City) and some festive skull muffin cups (left, also purchased at Michael's). My plan (that I will post to the blog on Friday for those of you who would like to get inspired for Halloween!) is to make yellow cake with green dye dripped down the center and acid-green-colored icing for the top. Will this detour tasters from eating them?! I hope not - but if it does, more for me!! MUHAHA!

Here are some more spooky designs I found from other sites that might give you more good ideas!

Eek! Spiders!! Some black licorice, chocolate sprinkles
and red M&Ms or red hots make these spooky treats easy!

For those skilled with an icing tip and black dye,
these really make a spooky statement!

Ok, so this is arguably adorable - but with some tick-tacks,
marshmellow, and white icing, this can be done.

Christmas come early?! So cute and so easy AND all done with icing!
Or get your Oreo on for the eyes!!

Thing to be wary of... making an eyeball cupcake - I find that seeing it in person is just weird looking. It looks like you tried to make a spider but failed (or maybe that's just my cupcakes! haha). Anyway, these are super cute options to spookify your baked goods!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

As girlie as cupcakes get...

Courtesy of the Betty Crocker cupcake mini-magazine, meet the Pink Champagne cupcake. The thing I like about Betty, is that she keeps it simple. Her desserts almost always involve sprucing up a mix, not starting from scratch. The downer about Betty is that, although her stuff looks cute and is very creative, the taste isn't anything to blog about (yet here I am)! She certainly has some very cute designs.

The champagne cupcakes will not be a repeat experience. The cake part simply calls for adding a cup and a quarter of champagne and some food dye. The frosting is the same with less champagne and more sprinkle pizazz:

1 box of Betty Crocker white cake mix
(I suggest using Duncan Heines - it has a richer flavor!)
1 1/4 cups of champagne
1/3 cup of veggie oil
3 egg whites
4-5 drops of food coloring

As for the food coloring, I highly recommend the Wilton 8 Icing color set - the colors are really rich and potent. One little dip of the fork prongs into the color gel and you have your self some HOT pink cupcakes. Just see to the right for proof! The coloring set also comes with a gorgeous shade of blue and green. So much fun!!

But back to the champagne cupcakes - so I separated the icing into the Betty recipe (calling for regular champagne) and my fun experiment (with strawberry champagne!). The strawberry champagne, though creative, in combination with the powdered sugar, practically brought cavities on contact with its sweetness! The normal champagne was an interesting flavor - maybe I'm just a sucker for a old fashioned vanilla frosting!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cool Cupcakes

Hello summer cupcakes! How about this as a way to cool down? Cold Stones Creamery is selling these tasty summer treats - in chocolate, red velvet, and vanilla cake. A fun twist on a classic favorite, this cool summer snack was refreshing and festive. I tried them at a summer office birthday party.

While I give them an A for presentation, I must say that the cake, as usual with ice cream cakes, was not top quality - though to be fair, I do judge a good cake my moistness.

That being said, I was surprised at the richness of flavor, and, of course, the Cold Stones ice cream is deliciously creamy (I'm a sucker for chocolate ice cream, especially in the summer!). For a fun alternative to celebrate a birthday, a baby, or just a fun time at the pool, I would recommend these - especially if you're too tired to bake your own.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cupcakin's First - German Chocolate Icing

I love making birthday desserts - and I've recently discovered my love of making cakes (thanks to my new non-stick, Williams-Sonoma 8" pan!) It has taken some practice, but now my cakes don't cave in, causing my med student fiance to re-engineer them using icing as gauze and butter knives as scalpels. What can I say, I'm a cupcake girl - cakes are new to me! This German chocolate cake was my first success.

Now, whether it is a faux pas in the baking world or not, I used the Duncan Heines cake mix for the cake part. People always remark how moist and rich my cakes are when I use their mix. I like it a lot better than Betty Crocker.

To make absolutely sure this cake wouldn't cave in, I cut the tops with a sharp knife to make them perfectly level (not rounded). What that revealed was tiny air-pockets that had formed in the cake's foundation. Upon some investigation, I learned that air pockets not only jeopardize the structural integrity (and thus the likelihood of a cave-in... or cake-in as we bakers might say!) but are also a sign of over-mixing. I always thought that you couldn't go wrong my mixing at a high speed, but apparently, medium speed is best over all - according to Duncan Heines, the alotted time for mixing on medium speed is 2 minutes. Eureka!

While I was letting my cake cool, I moved onto the icing, which was suprisingly complicated and not well-explained online. Here is the recipe I used from
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup margarine (I used butter instead!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
You are supposed to cook these ingredients in a saucepan over low heat (adding the pecans and coconut after the other ingredients are combined). What I could not seem to get a straight answer online about was how long you cook it or what the consistency should be when it's done. After all, it calls for raw eggs... I don't want to poison the birthday boy!

Here's what I did - I stirred in all ingredients and let it sit on very low heat, stirring it again every 5 minutes. I continued this for 20 minutes, careful to not let the bottom burn. I found the consistency of the above recipes to be a little watery, so I added extra coconut and sugar. This made it very sweet - but that's what you're going for with German Chocolate Cake!

Every stove/oven is different. Allrecipes put the cook time at 15 minutes. I probably cooked mine for 25 minutes total, adding more coconut as needed. Then, I let the entire mix cool completely (for about an hour). Applied it to the cake and refrigerated the cake. It did not melt or lose its structure and still tasted good even though it was refrigerated.

Not sure I would make this again, unless it was specifically requested... it was too sweet for my taste. Maybe if the cake were a straight dark chocolate flavor it would be a richer contrast to the super sweet icing....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Ultimate Cake Topper

Hello future wedding cake! Did I tell you I'm getting married? It's not until next summer, but as I'm sure you could guess, the part I'm most excited about is looking (and tasting!) cakes - and likely some cupcakes along the way!

This definitely counts as Cupcakin It Up material, tiny cake or not! Just check out these cute and wonderlandy cakes! Ok, so maybe the lollipops are a little over the top... also, if it were mine, I would use only shades of pink - none of that weird brown green color.

On the other hand, the cake on the right would be a perfectly reasonable wedding cake selection. But I'm going with a deep magenta as my wedding color, so the ribbon would be hot pink! That cake could be fun! Anyone know any good bakeries in the San Francisco area?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cupcakes are Forever!

In honor of my cupcake buddy (BeadUp) moving 1,627 miles away (yup, I googled!), I have decided to drown my buddy blues by Cupcakin It Up again. Ok, well nothing here at Cupcakin It Up is ever blue... its more like a sad grayish-pink! But the saddest pink you've ever seen!!

Before Bead Up left, we exchanged what true sweet freaks do... friendship cupcake plates!... and cupcake sugar holders... and cupcake aprons. haha Oh, fellow crafters, you don't judge us! I mean what is more friendship forever than CUPCAKE PLATES?! We discovered this sweet find at our favorite haunt - a Ross/Marshalls plaza in suburbia next to our local Michael's Crafts store. It was meant to be! Although I typically find the manic clothing free-for-all at Ross a little overwhelming, I have found true joy in the Home section at the back of the store. We all know how much I adore Michael's, but Ross sells some of the same stuff for HALF the price. It's amazing - frames, vases, fake trees, you name it!

Now this adorable apron was a BeadUp find at ikea of all places! Who knew the Scandinavians loved cupcakes as much as the sugar high Americans do?! Now I won't get every shirt I bake in dirty! I'm definitely one of those cooks who come out of a baking session with pink sparkles and sprinkles in places where sprinkles should never be! Get your mind out of the gutter - I mean my toes and on my new white shirt!

The apron looks adorable. Great work, Bead Up! I look forward to our new adventures in the Kansas City Ross when I drive the 1 day and 2 hours Google Maps claims it will take me to get there - expresso by IV, here I come!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Last Minute Cupcake: Cookies

Does dessert get any better than when cupcakes are fused with cookies?! Somehow The Last Minute Cute Cupcake turns into an adorable and delicious surprise! Your cupcake recipients will think you planned it (not just found your ingredients in the depths of your cabinets!).

Whether it is as a beloved Sesame Street character or a tiny Teddy Graham swimming about in a sea of graham cracker crumbs and blue icing, cookies are the gateway to cuteness!!

Love cookies? Like really really love cookies?? How about baking them INTO the cake?! It's actually pretty easy.

Step 1: Make your ordinary white cake
Step 2: Crush several oreos and mix into the cake mix
Step 3: Drop a whole Oreo into the bottom of the muffin cup
Step 4: Pour the white cake mix over the bottom Oreo
Step 5: Bake as directed
Step 6: Get your cupcake and milk on!!

Add some pink frosting a oreos on top and you have a Pink Panda! Cookies are the ultimate accessory to cupcakes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Last Minute Cute Cupcake: Food Coloring

In continuation of spontaneous cupcakespiration, today we will explore the fun-filled options of...

Food Coloring

If you have food coloring, you can bake a spontaneous batch of cupcakes that can apply to any occasion! I'm not just talking about through colorful icing swirls.

The awe-factor is easy to achieve, just by adding food coloring to the cake part of the cupcake. You can dye it all one color - like green for St. Patrick's Day (or Christmas!), blue for Hanukkah, or tie-dye for birthdays! Here I made these "Hippie" cupcakes for 4th of July last year.

The trick is to remember that regular eggs will give any light-colored cake a yellow hue - so, for true colors, use an egg white recipe. Also, through trial and error, I realize that the dye adds an extra component to the dry mix that thus needs extra moisture. Just a smidgen bit of extra oil!

Also, it helps if you swirl the various batter colors together. Otherwise, the three colors won't combine to create new colors on their own!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Last Minute Cute Cupcake

It is holidays like Easter that test the creativity of our cupcake decorating and oftentimes our last nerve! What happens when you remember a co-worker's birthday at the last minute? Or have to whip up a batch of "congratulation on your new fancy shoes" treats? Take a look in your cabinets for some every day items that can turn an ordinary dessert into something special.

In this week's blog series The Last Minute Cute Cupcake, I will demonstrate how you can utilize random ingredients to create cuteness!! Today is...


Oh the festive options you have by just using a bit of coconut and your run-of-the-mill food dye! You can whip out your extra chocolate chips for eyes and a jelly bean for a nose (or beak!). Either will make it easy for creating the cutest critters that Easter has seen - just look at these little yellow chickies!

Don't have food dye handy (because you iced a rainbow of delicious treats for Valentine's Day to spell out your love's name in icing?) Not a problem. How about a fuzzy bunny?

The ears could either be marshmallows from your latest smore-fest or gummy fruit slices dipped in the white icing. The eyes could be chocolate chips or M&Ms or even sprinkles! Whiskers could be twizzlers from your last movie night or simply drawn on using the decorative icing tubes - which, incidentally, can also be used to color icing, if your food coloring isn't around.

How about pecans for cute little eyebrows? Oh the possibilities with just a tiny bit of coconut and imagination!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Cupcake Garden

It's spring time in my kitchen! You can really tell by all of the flowers popping up!! Thanks to a flower-shaped cupcake pan, I was easily able to create this delicious tribute to Spring. As you can see from the pan below, you can still use the normal-sized cupcake paper liner. The only part left exposed is the petals, so for safe-eating, I lined the petal part with butter for ease of removing them, without breaking the cake, from the pan.

Now, though they are delicious and adorable, they are also incredibly top-heavy, so its a balancing act to carry them without having them tip over. Always carry the fixer icing tube in your purse - haha! I sound like a crazy cupcake bag lady! So worth it, just for the reaction on their size and cuteness. Happy spring!

*Note: the icing used here is the Martha Stewart Vanilla recipe: 1 pound of powdered sugar, 3 sticks of butter (yes, 3!!), and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. I added a little extra powdered sugar to make it less oily...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Aloha, Easter!

Happy Easter Week!!

What better way to welcome the fluffy bunny to town than with a tray full of happily-colored cupcakes that are adorable, festive, and delicious! I received these images from a talented dynamic duo in Oahu who really know how to stir up some Spring creativity!! Shantel and Shaina cooked up a great addition to Easter Week here at Cupcakin' It Up!

It all started with cupcakespiration!! They used yellow cake and food dye to make it colorful. Want to recreate these tastebud-tickling treats in your own kitchen? Here's how -

Check it out!!

Easter-through and through, right down to the cake!

Colors to make your tummy hop with joy!

See how they texturized the icing to make each one unique and awesome!

Add a few sprinkles... and...

PRESTO! Easter perfection!!

Culinary school in their future?? I think so!! Bunny ears off to you girls! You know how to make Easter spring to life!

Mmmmm now I'm hungry.... :-)

*Note: Expect many puns on Easter words this week!! WHY? because it's EASTER WEEK, silly!