Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer of Cupcakes

True, I have done a little bit of neglecting this summer from my blog, but fear you not! That doesn't mean that I have stop baking. In fact, each of the following cupcakes were inspired by different events from the past three months!

Cupcake #1: Mangolicious (click for recipe)

This summer, I had my fill of delicious fruits when I went back to Taiwan. Nothing beats their delicious mangoes that were bigger than the size of my head. Needless to say, when I came back to the States, I had a large void to fill! Here's what came out:

Definitely an interesting cupcake! You'll have to ask Tammy what she thought of them. :) I personally prefer the actual fruit.

Cupcake #2: The Margarita Cupcake (click for recipe)

I had the opportunity to teach a graduate course at Aurora University this summer, which meant no more high schoolers (temporarily, of course)! This called for our adult version of the key lime cupcake: the margarita cupcake! It's basically a lime scented cupcake with a tequila infused buttercream frosting. The verdict was that there wasn't enough tequila in the frosting. Figures. ;)

The class proved to be oodles of fun to teach, partially because I could test out my cupcake recipes on them! ;)

Cupcake #3: The Hannah Lemontana Cupcake

This cupcake's story is somewhat bittersweet, as it was created in dedication to my BFF, Hannah, moving away to the Big Apple only a few weeks ago. At her cupcake crawl bachlorette party, she voted the lemon cupcake to be her fave. So, out came this delicious lemon cupcake filled and topped with a lemon buttercream frosting. Thanks David for the creative name! :)

Just so you can see its inerts:

So despite the fact that I haven't been blogging, at least you can keep up with my summer by checking out the stories behind each cupcake. That's pretty much the last three months in a nutshell. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Purple and Yellow Event

Who knew that little Mac was ready to become a Big Mac? (Don't kill me, E! :P)

Ellen's son, Mac, has graduated and is going to move onto grad school at Louisiana State University! The excitement called for a party. The party called for cupcakes. Thus, the party called for Jeanette. (Those last few sentences could almost have been fashioned into logic statements for my Geometry kids! Inductive reasoning, anyone?)

The inspiration: LSU's school colors, purple and yellow. Ellen originally requested mini cupcakes with purple and yellow frosting. Knowing me, I spent several days thinking about how I could make purple and yellow cupcakes in a different way.

The result: Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes (Get it??). Follow the link to see the recipe! I didn't freeze the blueberries, and I made a lemon buttercream frosting (because I didn't have cream cheese).

I made two batches because I had forgotten the request for mini ones, so here are the big ones:

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the mini ones. But, here is a picture of how I added the blueberries in the minis. I had to crush up blueberries and swirl them into the cupcake for the purple effect:

Congratulations, Mac :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

There's something about summer

Summer is wonderful in so many ways. I get to catch up with people that didn't know I existed during the school year, embark on new baking endeavors, enjoy a conglomerate of fresh fruits, celebrate my nth birthday (this year it's 3^3), and finally post on a blog that I have neglected for nearly a year.

Inspiration in the summer is easy: open the refrigerator, and pick your favorite colors! I chose the following color palette:

Here is the newest creation: "Strawblime Cupcakes," a recipe which I adapted from the Food Network. I added lime zest into the actual cupcake, and then added butter into the icing to make it more of a frosting. I also dipped the strawberry into the frosting before inserting it into the cupcake! The follow picture shows chocolate mint garnish, thanks to Hans and Maggie!

Photo courtesy of Fishie Ling <><

Here's to a great start to the summer! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

I have many friends who are Cubs fans. I also have many friends who are White Sox fans. Despite what you might think after this post, fear not - I am a fan of neither team. (I only grew up a Mets fan because I wanted to be just like my brother when I was little!) :)

Laurie Ryan and Nathan are both HUGE Cubs fans, and their birthdays sandwich August 16th. The creation: "Cub-cakes". I enjoy this name very much. :)
I got the inspiration by searching on google images! Some people are ridiculouslycreative.

If you're curious for the recipe, I just followed Paula Deen's red velvet recipe. Note: I halved the cream cheese frosting recipe and still had leftover! Also, the cupcakes were a bit greasy...

24 Red Velvet Cupcakes
2.5 C flour
1.5 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder
1.5 C vegetable oil
1 C buttermilk (or mix together 1 C milk and 1 T of vinegar)
2 large eggs
2 T red food coloring
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 C) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C powdered sugar

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
3) Mix together vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
4) Combine wet and dry ingredients. Please watch as Laurie demonstrates:

5) Line a muffin tin with paper liners and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
6) While the cupcakes are baking, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add in the vanilla and gradually add the powdered sugar (sifted is better!).
7) For the baseballs: frost cupcakes in a dome-like fashion. Use a toothpick to drag the lines in your frosting. I used a size 2 tip to create the stitches in red:

8) For the cubcakes: I used Wilton's Buttercream Frosting recipe for the red and blue colors. Frost the cupcakes in a flatter fashion. Draw the blue circle (I used a size 4 tip), the "C" (12 tip), and "ubs" (2 tip).
9) Despite what team you enjoy, I assure you that these cubcakes are still delightful. :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baby, baby!

When do you start feeling less like a wannabe pastry chef rather and more like an actual pastry chef? I had a moment on Friday that made me feel more like the latter.

One of my friends who saw my pastries on facebook actually came over to my house to learn how to decorate cupcakes for a baby shower. Do you realize that it combines my love of teaching with my love of baking??

We made brownies from scratch (you'll have to ask Tammy for the recipe, I personally recommend the box version), yellow cake from the box, and of course, wilton buttercream frosting:
My favorite were the brownie rattles. Tammy looked online and found the directions. Here's how you do it:

1) Bake brownie mix as directed in a greased muffin pan (no liners).

2) Poke a small hole with a toothpick. 3) Insert a lollipop stick into the hole (you won't believe how much easier it is when you use the toothpick first).

4) Tie an adorable bow around the lollipop stick.5) Stick a gumdrop (hehe, we used spice drops) on the bottom of the rattle. 6) Decorate as desired! This is the fun part!
Please note how much easier it is to take pictures when there is someone else! :)
**Special thanks to Tammy bringing such fun ideas and being up for decorating til 1am, and Charles for the cakelet pan!!**

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's time for key lime.

By the end of this post, you will learn how I made:

But of course, like everything else in my life, this cupcake has a story.

Awhile back, my darling friends threw me a Disney-themed birthday party. It was like a pop-up video of Disney-filled fun facts (which Ritu so lovingly printed in the DISNEY font, see below).

It was at that moment when I learned that Walt Disney's favorite dessert was Key Lime Pie. Did you know that was my favorite dessert too (and Harry's and Ellen's)??? Perhaps there is a deeper connection here.

In any case, Hannah and Nathan took it upon themselves to surprise me with the sweetest birthday surprise ever: Key Lime Cupcakes. It was so perfect, because this was the year when school actually started ON my birthday. Imagine: "Hi I'm Ms. Horng, and I will be your math teacher....hey it's my birthday!" Um...not as fun as it sounds, until you get a special delivery of cupcakes!

So when limes were on sale at the grocery store, I took it upon myself to try their recipe. I used the recipe Hannah and Nathan adapted from Cake Batter and Crumbs.

Note: I would have added more photos, but I live by myself and realized that taking photos of myself baking requires more than two hands!

24 White Chocolate Key Lime Cupcakes
2 1/3 C all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C shortening
2 eggs
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T sour cream
1 package instant white chocolate pudding mix
2 T fresh lime juice (1-2 small limes)
1 T lime zest

Key Lime Cream Filling and Topping
28 oz (2 cans) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 C lime juice (about 4-5 small limes)
1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or vanilla wafers if you want it to be sweeter)
Whipped Cream (if desired)
1-2 limes, sliced for decoration

1) Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and instant pudding.
2) Cut up the shortening and mix it into the dry ingredients until fine crumbs are formed.
3) Add eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
4) Fold in the lime zest and lime juice.
5) Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the cupcakes cool before filling them.
6) Cut out a hole for your cream filling. I use a wilton 4B tip to cut out the middle; Hannah and Nathan used an apple corer. Either way, it works!

7) Fill 'er up!
8) Top with whipped cream, or graham cracker or lime slice. Enjoy!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes

My friend and co-worker, Laurie, just came back from her honeymoon, today is her birthday, and she needs to prepare for her half marathon on Sunday. Go figure, the first thing I thought to do for the girl was bake her something. Of course, as suggested by one of my readers, I will also include the recipe (Thanks, math buddy!).

The creation: Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes! Thank you, Average Betty for the delicious idea/recipe!

Note: The only alteration I made to the recipe was that I used JELLO pudding (since I had it and it is much less complicated than making your own pudding), and I used the wilton recipe for the frosting.

Ingredients for 12 chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Pudding:
1 packet of JELLO Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding
2 C cold milk, as directed on package.

Buttercream Frosting (by Wilton):
1/2 C Solid Vegetable Shortening
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 C powdered sugar
2 T milk

1) Whisk your instant pudding and milk until it becomes creamy. Set aside.
2) Cream together butter and sugars. Gradually add the eggs, melted chocolate, and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Fold this dry mixture into the wet mixture. 4) Fold in the buttermilk.
5) Line cupcake molds with paper liners and fill the cups with the batter (mine made 14 cupcakes!).
6) Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
7) Cut a valley into the center of each cupcake. Fill the valley with pudding, and place the part you cut out back in to the cupcake.
8) Frost the cupcake with buttercream frosting. Top with sprinkles, if desired. :)

I have some extra, if you wish to try some ;)