Friday, September 30, 2011

Elmo Cupcakes!

I just wanted to share these charming little cupcakes because they were so fun to make! One of my dear friends Aireka held an adorable barnyard birthday party for her son Joey. Folks, you KNOW you're getting old when you start attending birthday parties for your friends' children instead of theirs. Hah.

 I will be totally honest. I had no idea what to buy a 2 year old for his birthday. Aireka told me one of Joey's favorite characters is Elmo, so I decided to put my decorating skills to the test and attempt a cupcake that would look just like the furry little guy.

I used the chocolate cupcakes and cream cheese frosting recipe from an earlier post to do this so I will save time not typing the recipe here, just head there to find it.  

I dyed the frosting red to match Elmo's fur. I will warn you that AT LEAST two bottles of red food coloring will be needed to dye the icing red. (I used three small ones!) I used halved marshmallows for the eyes and gumballs for his nose. Finished off the mouth with a halved Oreo. I have to say, they were the spitting image of the Sesame Street star.

Here's what I used:

1 bag of jumbo marshmallows
1 bag of orange gumballs
1 tube of black decorating icing
Oreo cookies
Red food coloring (at least two, i would suggest 3)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Strawberry Heaven Cake

I seem to be on a fruit binge lately. But the recipe I am about to drop on you is much more forgiving on your waistline.  Caught your attention yet?

If angel food cake, ice cream and strawberries had a love child, this cake would be it. It's absolutely heavenly. Hence the name.

I wish I could say I dreamed this dish up all on my own, but that honor must go elsewhere. This recipe was inspired by a treat I had at my pal Shawna's bridal shower. Her maid of honor made it. I could have taken the giant serving spoon and polished it off myself if there hadn't been 20 other women ohh'ing and ahh'ing over it too. I slightly adjusted a few things by adding some sugar free options, fresh strawberries and some homemade vanilla whipped cream to top it off.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Bavarian Torte

Before the days when baking was my obsessive hobby, every now and then I would try to bake something sweet for a special occasion. I tried this recipe out last Christmas and just about died over it. This torte is the bomb diggity, ya'll!

I revisited the recipe a few days ago because I was craving something fruity and it was just as awesome as I remember it. Maybe a little better since I'm just a tad better in the kitchen now. So I wanted to share it with you.

The torte is made in a springform pan. Sweet vanilla cream cheese filling, toasted almonds and cinnamon-kissed baked apples make this dessert of my favorite autumn recipes. The name may sound fancy pants, but it is one of the easiest things to make! Try it if you don't believe me. You can thank me later.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Two weeks later and I STILL don't have my car. Let's just sum it up to say that like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.. when you BUY your auto insurance, not so much when you FILE a claim.

Despite all the crappiness surrounding me, there have been some silver linings along the way. While I may have lost my car for a few days, I have gained a Kitchen Aid stand mixer! Heckkk yeahhhh! My mother was kind enough to "donate" hers to me until I get one for myself. You have no idea how long I have been wanting one of these and it has already made such a difference in the quality of my baking. If you don't have a stand mixer and you can afford to drop a few on one, I would highly suggest it. It will change your baking life.

I wanted to thank my mom for doing such an awesome thing for me so I made a cupcake especially for her. Her favorite: Red Velvet.  Keep in mind I have never made these before so I learned a few things while making them...

#1. Did you know food coloring is what makes them red? I did not know this. I thought there was some magical ingredient involved. I am EXTREMELY embarrassed.

#2. They are actually chocolate cupcakes. Yep. Didn't know this either.

After picking myself up off the floor in shame for my lack of knowledge, I used my new mixer to whip these cupcakes up. And they turned out straight sexy and delicious. I brought them to mother's house the next day and she smiled with joy when I showed up with cupcakes in hand.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They're Spiked!: Pina Colada Cupcakes

If you like Pina Coladas.... getting caught in the rain... If you're not into health food.. if you have half a brain...

I'm cuckoo for coconuts. I know for some it is an acquired taste, whether it be because of the texture or the taste (some have mentioned to me it reminds them of eating sun tan lotion, SAY WHAT?!) My husband happens to be one of these people. He normally won't go near the stuff.

But, if you are a lover of the coco like myself, me thinks you will like these. And might I mention that it WAS raining when I made them. (Please see corny yet awesome lyrics from Rupert Holmes song above if you are confused.)

Okay, starting to ramble. Moving on...

No ingredient was spared to make these. They contain all things that remind you of the tropical cocktail. That's right, booze included. I had a lovely bottle of homemade coconut rum my pal Tracy bought me from St. Martin that was begging to be used.  I was a little worried since the liquor was blue, but they turned out just fantastic. The cupcake is moist and even a little wet from the bits of pineapple, its juice, and the coco rum. Toss in a little coconut milk, frost with a coconut cream cheese frosting and you have quite the saucy pastry that will have you craving for seconds. And thirds.

How cute is this bottle, right??

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Break from the "Cake": Oreo Balls

You were expecting a cupcake post maybe? I siked you out! :)


My mother in law Barbara is one of the greatest cooks I have ever met.  Watching her take even the simplest of ingredients and turn it into something to drool over always amazes me. My husband and I don't get to visit as often as we'd like, but I can promise you, whenever we do make it out to Oklahoma, I gain about 10 pounds in one week. I just can't stop eating her food.

The very first time I was able to meet her, she made these Oreo balls. Ryan kept telling me before we even got there, that I would go nuts over them. He was right on the money. These round little balls of joy are chocolatey, creamy, and ABSOLUTELY addicting. Once you pop, you can't stop (yep, just like Pringles). She sent me home with a box of these for the plane ride. I think about half of them made it to our condo.

And the best thing about them? They're SO easy to make.

Let me show you how...

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I don't go one single morning without a cup of coffee. There is a huge difference in the no coffee Tori in comparison to the caffeinated Tori. (Ask my co-workers). So if you love coffee (and cheese!)  like I do, you will love these treats. They trot a little off the beaten path for standard cupcakes. Most Tiramisu cupcakes I have seen usually involve some type of vanilla/yellow cupcake and very little of the ingredients that remind me of the actual tiramisu dessert. And Tiramisu (along with Creme Brulee) is my ABS favorite dessert. So I wanted a cupcake that tasted exactly like it. I found this recipe on my absolute favorite cupcake blog, Cupcake Project. If you haven't seen her site, she has THE most creative cupcakes I have ever seen and this was the first recipe of many I will be attempting.

I loved this recipe because it's more like a mini Tiramisu than an actual cupcake. Forget the cupcake recipe and give me more mascarpone anyday! I will note these are a little on the labor intensive side, as I made the ladyfingers from scratch, as well as the whipped topping and the mascarpone filling, but it was WELL worth it. These are positively sinful.

So, you wanna know how to make em' now? ;)

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes

My car was stolen on Thursday night. How helpless of a feeling it is to wake up in the morning and see a clunker in  the parking space your car is SUPPOSED to be in. I spent three entire days worried to death about Charles (yes, I gave my car a very masculine name)) wondering if he would be in pieces by the time they found him. He turned up on Sunday evening in not the best of shape, actually, in terrible shape if we're being honest. Needless to say it was a very rough weekend for me. I needed some major cheer in my life.

Like it has always been said, when life hands you lemons, make some lemonade. So I did. Except I used oranges and made cupcakes :)

I have seen several different recipes all over the web for an Orange Dreamsicle cupcake. Some of them required tools I didn't have or techniques I haven't quite mastered yet. So I winged it and made my own recipe. I did a orange/vanilla cupcake and topped it off with an orange cream cheese frosting. I added some candy orange slices to make them a little more cheery. These cuties really turned my frown upside down.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Smore's Cupcakes!

Boy, do I love camping. One of the very first things Ryan (the hubs) and I did when we first met was hit Cape Hatteras for some beach camping. And what goes along perfectly with camping? Making S'mores!
 Along with my strong love for Nutella, I would say my affection for marshmallows is pretty high up there as well. Nothing is more fun than roasting a marshmallow (or charring it like I usually do) over a campfire and assembling that little graham sandwich of goodness. So in honor of that I decided to make these cute little guys. I started with a chocolate cupcake and did a marshmallow frosting and topped with some Hershey and graham cracker. Take one bite of this cupcake and it screams S'mores. And what's better than that?

(Click read more for recipe)

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PB & J Cupcakes!

Yummm. Right?

My hubs loves peanut butter and jelly like woah. Ever seen the pre-made PB & J "Crustables" in the freezer section? Grab them, defrost them, and you're good to go. He lives off of those things. So when I saw these cupcakes, I knew he would geek out to see them sitting on the kitchen table. I did surf the web to check out other recipes, but I really like the way the ones in my book looked. And trust me, they taste even better than they look. I don't think these puppies lasted more than an hour in my house. Hubs gave them two thumbs up. I was also able to share them with my mother and stepfather, which was a nice treat, because it's rare that anyone other than my better half and office pals get to indulge in what I make. This needs to CHANGE! :)

The book called for a basic vanilla cupcake. I decided to go for a buttery yellow cupcake instead. I opted for raspberry preserves in the center of the cupcake and finished with a delightful peanut butter frosting. This recipe was simple which is how I think it should be. I mean, when are PB & J sandwiches ever complicated?

(Click Read more For Recipe)
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Double Dose: Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes Two Ways

** Aren't they fun looking? Like a Dr. Suess type fun?! Thing 1 and Thing 2 might LOVE these.**

So YELLOW is pretty much my favorite color. I wear it weekly. My bridesmaids even wore yellow converse sneakers at our wedding. What a happy color. So when I saw these yummy yellow looking cupcakes I knew this would be next recipe I would try and tackle. I mean,who doesn't love a good poppyseed?! And a glaze filled with bits of bright yellow lemon zest? Where do I sign up? :)

I made the lemon glaze recommended in "Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski". But then the wheels started turning and I decided to put my big girl panties on and make another attempt at the very scary buttercream I have been trying to get right. So I ended up making two batches of these bad boys with two different frostings. The verdict will follow the recipe:

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Monday, September 5, 2011

The First Batch: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

The post for these first cupcakes was actually a long time in the making. I made this first batch quite a few months back, before I even knew I wanted to start a blog. Mind you, I am a novice baker and while I have made MANY cupcakes in my 28 year lifetime, these were the first ones I have done completely from SCRATCH. Obvi I am very proud of this because most of my baking skills came straight from a Betty Crocker box.

I got the recipe from the book, "Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski", that my best pal Stacy got me for my birthday. The book is great for novice and expert bakers alike and really inspired me to keep trying new recipes. The book spawned my cupcake obsession.

Now for the recipe:

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