Well. I was going to bypass any excuses and “oh wow it’s been awhile”…until I saw it’s been almost a YEAR since I last posted. My bad. Hope I get some credit for making it back before a full year passed. Maybe these cupcakes will distract you from that.
When I was a kid I was an extremely picky eater (sorry mom and dad). I recall a particular snack time in preschool where I scraped the creme off of the Oreos to eat and gave the cookie to one of my friends. Of course I got in trouble for that and they cut me off. I still don’t understand that- I wasn’t wasting the cookies, someone was still eating them! Don’t worry, I’ve matured since then and will now eat the entire Oreo. My point is that I love the filling on Oreos. I’ve always thought that they should sell that stuff by the jar. Hold the cookies, please.
So when I was asked to make Oreo cupcakes this week I decided I would try to make my own Oreo creme. A quick google search provided several copycat recipes. Thank you, internet. You will never have to buy Oreos again after making this. Unless you want the cookie. I will warn you- this filling is like crack and you will probably eat all of it in one sitting.
Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes
Make these chocolate cupcakes. After pouring the batter into the cupcake tin, add in chunks of Oreos. I used Double Stuf. We don’t mess around in this kitchen. I pressed some of the pieces down just for good measure. Bake for 20 minutes at 350*.
These cupcakes looked delicious coming out of the oven. Tempting to eat as is. But wait, we are not done!
And here’s what you’ve been waiting for- Oreo filling! Seriously. Making this might be the highlight of my baking career.
Copycat Oreo Creme Frosting
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup shortening
4 Tbsp. hot water
7.5 cups powdered sugar
Cream the first four ingredients together. Gradually add the powdered sugar. The consistency will be thick, just like it is on the cookie. If you want Oreo creme then this is all you have to do. I needed to be able to pipe it onto cupcakes, so I had to thin it out. To do this I added 2 Tbsp. of hot water. It doesn’t take a lot of extra water, so add a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you need. This frosting should be enough for 2 dozen cupcakes.
Pipe onto the cupcakes and top with an Oreo. Marvel at your creation, then devour it.
Gluten has become quite the buzzword these days. At first you heard it constantly from the gluten free camp, but now the gluten eaters are vocalizing their opinions on this tiny little protein. The most annoying part (to me at least), is that so many people on either side can’t even tell you what IS gluten! People. If you’re going to throw around random studies, articles, and arguments, you should probably at least try to educate yourself on what you are talking about. I am not here to tell you whether you should be for or against gluten, but rather to help you form your own opinion. This is the science teacher side of me coming out.
This video by America’s Test Kitchen gives a good visual of gluten, as well as explaining what it is along with some of it’s properties. Don’t worry, it’s only about 3 minutes long. You probably spend more time looking at funny cat memes.
Obviously gluten has a pretty significant impact on baking, which makes it my problem. If you’ve been following my blog you probably know that I bake cupcakes with and without gluten. I realize I’m playing both sides while most sites will cater to one party or the other. As for myself, I choose to follow a gluten free lifestyle and I will gladly answer why if you ever care to ask me. But you probably don’t care and are not here for that. The reason I still post “gluten” desserts right along with the gluten free desserts is for this: Enjoyment.
Most of the events and moments I bake for are celebrations, everything from weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, graduations, baby showers, gender reveal parties…you get the idea. People are celebrating someone or some achievement/moment in someone’s life. You should not be so fixated on FOOD that you miss enjoying the moment. (To clarify, I’m not talking about people who have medical concerns.) I have several customers who do prefer gluten free desserts for one reason or another- and that’s fine. I’m the baker, I’m the one who has to deal with the process whereas they’re concerned about the final product. Can you really tell the difference between these cupcakes? Both are chocolate cupcakes (though one is dark chocolate), but only one is gluten free.
My point is that for all the commotion that gluten has caused, it still remains a mystery to most people. All I’m asking is that you educate yourself before telling others what they should or should not eat. Chances are, if there’s cake you should be celebrating and not analyzing the food!
Word Press just informed me that this was my 2 year anniversary of my blog- I figured that deserved a post if anything. Two whole years. This time of year lends itself to reflection and there is so much that I’ve done and still have yet to do. I’ve done 7 weddings in that time span, and have 2 more coming up in the spring. Not shabby considering this is my side job. Or is teaching my side job? It’s hard to keep straight. I never dreamed of baking on this scale and sometimes it still surprises me how much it’s grown.
Posts about goals and bucket lists have been floating around the interwebs…I find most of them annoying. And I’m very much a goal-oriented person. I’m constantly writing goals, rewriting them, and figuring out what I need to do to get there. I’m in the middle of that process right now. But the thing is, my goals don’t apply to anyone but myself. You don’t know need to know them. Not one of these lists going viral will apply to your life 100%. I hope you do make goals for the new year- and if you achieve them before the year is out, write some more. You don’t need a new year to dictate when you set goals. Figure out what you want, write goals (physically write them out), and go after it. Cover all areas of your life- health, spiritual, relationships, career, and financial. That’s only slightly overwhelming. Bottom line…where are you now, and where do you want to be?
Now, let’s get down to the baking. One of my recent projects was a smash cake and cupcakes for a sweet boy’s 2nd birthday. His party had a barnyard theme, which I thought was adorable. I decided to create cow and pig toppers with gum paste for the cupcakes. I drew the eyes and cow print on with a cake pen. These things are amazing. I originally ordered mine online, but I’m starting to see them in stores now.
I did the cupcakes first, and when I started the smash cake I decided to use the same gum paste decos. Continuity, folks.
I’m looking forward 2014 and everything it will bring! I hope you all get to ring in the new year with loved ones and with new goals. And of course, some delicious treats!
This past week was homecoming week at the school where I teach. If you are unfamiliar with homecoming in Texas, then you have no idea what I’m talking about. All non-Texans can refer to this article. Yes, that really happens and no, I can’t explain why. All I know is that I had to spend an entire day listening to bells and whistles and looking at glitter, gold, and miles of ribbon. Everything is bigger in Texas. We have theme days each day as well to build up school spirit. We don’t mess around. With that said, high school football, homecoming, and a cool front officially ushered in fall. I usually get a constant stream of requests for pumpkin cupcakes once October hits. As I was baking a batch of pumpkin spice cupcakes this week, I realized I had yet to try paleo pumpkin spice cupcakes. A couple days later and I fixed that issue! I’m really trying to provide more flavors for the gluten free crowd, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!
Preheat the oven to 350* and line your cupcake pan. Whisk together the flours, arrowroot, baking soda, and spices. With an electric mixer, mix together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, honey, and vinegar until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips (the chocolate chips I use are dairy/gluten free). Bake at 350* for 20 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 c. heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. honey
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese until smooth. Add the maple syrup and honey to the cream cheese, mix until combined. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese and mix until combined. Frost your cupcakes, and sprinkle with a cinnamon/nutmeg mixture.
The musical Book of Mormon has received a lot of buzz this past year. Well I finally saw it. And it was HILARIOUS! You laugh from curtain to curtain. The dance moves are just as funny as the words and lyrics. If you get a chance to see it, you definitely should. The creators of South Park are behind Book of Mormon, so it’s a little different than the other musicals out there. But so. funny.
This week’s flavor is Lemon Meringue. My sister loves anything lemon, so she was heartbroken that she didn’t get to taste these. She was the only one upset because everyone loved these. I wish I had made extra because I wanted one Sunday morning. Yes, for breakfast. They are light, fluffy, and citrusy (citrusy definitely isn’t a word). The actual cake is good, but what REALLY makes these are the lemon curd filling. So don’t leave it out!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes (12 cupcakes)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350* and line the cupcake tin. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one a time, mixing after each one. Add the zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter among cups and bake for 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
Lemon Curd Filling
Zest of 2 lemon
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 eggs + 1 egg yolk
In a medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely.
Fill your cupcakes and then frost with cream cheese frosting!
Last week was a whirl wind and I’m still not quite sure how I did it. It was the first week of school and I was baking for a wedding the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It’s okay, I know I have a few bolts loose. This was my seventh wedding to bake for in some capacity- seventh! At first I was only helping out good friends that were getting married and at some point it snowballed. Part of this is due to the amazing replica my friends made of Kyle Field (the football stadium at Texas A&M for all of you non-Aggies). This post is mainly going to be pictures, but as I was preparing for this wedding I did realize I had several check points/strategies that helped me get everything done without having a breakdown.
Get ALL supplies ahead of time. This includes wrappers, containers to transport, cake toppers, decorations, and ingredients. The more you can have ready pre-baking, the better. The last thing you want to do is be in the middle of baking and have to run to the store. Walk through each recipe to make sure you have everything- sometimes things like vanilla will slip our minds.
Figure out a baking schedule and STICK. TO. IT. I divided everything thing over 5 days (since I was doing cake balls I could start that early). I knew if I stayed on schedule everything would get done.
Be efficient. If you’re waiting for cupcakes to bake or cool, start the next batch or start on frosting. Start on washing dishes. Frost one batch while another is baking. Just don’t waste 20 minutes because cupcakes are in the oven.
Know what you are doing for transport. This is easy to forget since it doesn’t involve baking, but transport and set up are so much more stressful than the actual baking (to me anyways).
All of that being said, everything went smoothly! Here are some pictures from the baking prep and the actual set up at the wedding. Enjoy!
I think strawberry kiwi was one of my favorite candy flavors when I was little. I always went for the tropical Skittles and Starburst. I make strawberry cupcakes all the time, but I had never ventured over to the strawberry kiwi variety. To be perfectly honest, that was even the original intention of this baking experiment. I had set out for rhubarb and couldn’t find any. After wandering the produce section at the store for about 5 minutes, I saw the kiwis and had a new idea. Strawberries and kiwis.
First I made strawberry cupcakes. Then I made a kiwi “curd”- I’m not sure if you can call it that, but that’s more or less what it’s like. I had no game plan when I started making it…just some prayers that it would turn out delicious. Luckily for me it did work and I was saved a trip to the store for more kiwis. I finished the cupcake off with strawberry cream cheese frosting, though regular cream cheese frosting would also be a good choice.
STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES (~24 cupcakes)
1 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Puree the strawberries (I use a magic bullet). In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and 2/3 cup strawberry puree. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until well combined. Slowly add eggs and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and strawberry mixture (starting and ending with the flour). Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.
KIWI CURD FILLING
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 egg yolks
Scoop the flesh out of the kiwis. Mix the kiwis, sugar, and lemon juice together in a sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When the kiwi mixture reaches a boil, pour it into the egg yolks. Stir the mixture and yolks together and then pour it back into the saucepan. Allow mixture to simmer for about 8 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough to cover the spoon (it will thicken a little as it cools also). Remove mixture from heat and let cool.
While the cupcakes and filling are cooling, make your frosting. I made cream cheese frosting and then used some of the extra strawberry puree. Be careful if you add puree though, it doesn’t take a lot and it will thin out the frosting considerably. Be prepared to add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it.