Ahoy!

Today’s project was Navy themed cupcakes for a coworker’s son.  She wanted cupcakes with anchors on them.

I can’t draw.  Even my stick figures are crappy looking.

Despite my faith in my total inability to draw an anchor that actually LOOKS like an anchor, I took the order.  I have a little trick.  It involves clip art, waxed paper and melted chocolate.

I went into MS Word and found a clip art anchor that I liked the look of, then filled the page with it.  When I was ready to make the anchors, I put a piece of wax paper over the sheet with the pictures then traced the shapes of the anchors in melted chocolate that I had placed in a pastry bag with a small round tip.

This technique not only results in cupcake decorations that are edible and (in my case) identifiable, it also ensures uniformity in size.

Anchors aweigh!

Navy Cupcakes 1

Navy Cupcakes 2

Navy Cupcakes 3

Navy Cupcakes 4

 

Bowled Over

The first thing I saw when I turned on the news while getting ready this morning was the live update from Wing Bowl 21.  Every February, gluttons from around the world gather in the early morning hours in Philadelphia to see who can chow down on the most chicken wings (no shortage here folks!).  People actually buy tickets to this.  And, because it can’t be that fun just sitting around watching people try not to regurgitate their drummies, a bunch of scantily clad women (aka “Wingettes”) are on hand for added…entertainment.  Why this event garners more coverage on the morning news than any actual NEWS taking place is beyond me, but whatever.

There it is.
The classy Wingettes from Wing Bowl past…. (Photo credit: Phillyspider)

Next, from my favorite morning radio show – The Preston and Steve Show – came the first annual Possum Bowl.  I found watching possums Petunia and Marigold on the webcam to be much more entertaining (and less nauseating) than the slobby guys and excessive amounts of boob at Wing Bowl, and according to the outcome of this bout – the 49ers are favored to win the real thing on Sunday.

English: Baby possum lapping milk out of a bowl
Possum IN a bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking of the real thing on Sunday, I had to get in on the action too.  A few weeks ago a coworker showed me these cupcakes in a magazine (my poor brain can’t remember which one) and said, “You should make these!”

So I did.  And here they are:

football cupcakes

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For the grass I used a small closed star tip (Wilton #27), and the footballs are chocolate covered almonds.  These were pretty easy to put together and would make a great addition to any Super Bowl party.  Too bad for everyone I know – no one invited me to one this year.  No cupcakes for them!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering – the Wing Bowl 21 champ, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, ate 287 wings.  Gross.  Not quite as gross as last year’s winner though.  He devoured THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN wings.

Bowl of "Wings"
Bowl of “Wings” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Par-tee!

I don’t really understand golf.  I mean, I get the general concept – get the ball in the hole in as few swings (strokes?) as possible – but I don’t get why anyone bothers.  It’s so boring.  And watching it?  I’d rather be eating cupcakes, even if they are golf themed…

Golf Cupcakes 1

Golf Cupcakes 2

These were for a 50th birthday in my office.  I piped on the grass using a Wilton #233 tip.  The “golf balls” are mini-gumballs, and the flags are made from coffee stirrers, paper and tape.  I figure since they were for a coworker, that it was okay for me to make the flags while I was AT work, right? 😉

Peep-A-Boo

Eye See You!!!

Things are about to get a little hairy here on the East Coast, with the impending arrival of “Frankenstorm” (yes, that’s what the news people are calling it).   Water, bread and milk are flying off the shelves along with batteries, flashlights, and generators.  This begs the question – what happened to the generators everyone bought last year, before hurricane Irene?

Anywho, I have no desire to stock up on ingredients for french toast.  I’m more concerned about having an adequate supply of booze and cupcakes.  Too bad I don’t have any of these Peeps and Peepers Cupcakes leftover!

I had an order for some Halloween themed birthday cupcakes the other day.  When I saw these chocolate eyeball candies in the store I knew they would make perfect creepy cupcake toppers.  I also had a package of these cute pumpkin shaped Peeps that my mom gave me.  In case you missed my Easter rantings, I LOVE Peeps and thankfully there is a Peep for every season.

These were just basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes but as you can see, a little decoration can go a long way!

Well, guess I better start battening down some hatches or something.  Or perhaps I will just have a glass of wine… : )

 

 

Halloweenie

One of my favorite holidays is a week away and I have just one question…

When did Halloween become so lame?!

Trick-or-Treat was a serious event when I was a kid.  My mom made a lot of costumes for me and my little brother.

Me, as Rainbow Brite.  Yes, my mom MADE that!
Me, as Rainbow Brite. Yes, my mom MADE that!

Then, when I was too old for my mom to be making my costume for me, I made my own!

Lucky Charms!  I was the blue diamond...
Lucky Charms! I was the blue diamond…

See those things in our hands?!  PILLOWCASES!  We filled them, at least twice! We didn’t run around with those crappy plastic pumpkins that hold ten pieces of candy.

If Halloween fell on a school day: 1.  We got to have a Halloween parade.  I’ve been hearing about all kinds of school districts in my area canceling these events because some asshat is offended.  Give me a freaking break.  What is offensive about playing dress-up and getting free candy?!  And 2.  We were out roaming the streets in droves as soon as school let out, and we didn’t come home until well after 8-9 o’clock.  Now, no one shows up at my house until after dinner and the last kids usually arrive around 7.  LAME!  If Halloween was on the weekend, it was on like Donkey Kong.

We were allowed to wear masks (the creepier the better) and we didn’t have to have our parents lurking on the sidewalk as we went up to ring doorbells.  We were running wild and free, and we had a ball!

These days, I have maybe a dozen kids come to my house to Trick-or-Treat, and half of them don’t even bother to put on costumes.  They just ring my doorbell and then sullenly hold out a bag when I open the door.  They don’t even yell “TRICK OR TREAT!”  I’m often tempted to ask what the hell they are doing on my doorstep, but I’m afraid my house will be paint-balled if I do.  So I give them their candy and send them on their way, all while mourning the loss of what used to be an AWESOME tradition.

So, to honor the good old days, I made some cupcakes with my favorite Halloween candy – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

I used a boxed chocolate cake mix.  I poured a little batter into the bottom of the cups, then added a peanut butter cup.  I poured the remaining batter on top and baked per the box instructions.  I made a chocolate buttercream, and topped the cupcakes with crushed Reese’s Pieces and a mini PB Cup.  Total candy coma!

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Doesn’t this make you want to stick a sheet over your head and go beg your neighbors for candy???  Bring (the real) Halloween Back!!!

Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

 

I made another batch of birthday cupcakes for a coworker last week.  I should get a raise just for the amount of sugary joy I bring to the office on a regular basis.  However, considering I can barely get a raise for being awesome at my job I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, how I long to be a stay at home mom – just without the kids….  I would sleep in every day, then bake stuff and try new drink recipes and waste hours on Pinterest (except it wouldn’t be a waste because there would be nothing else I should be doing anyway!) Ahhhhh…..

 

Atomic Housewife. 19/52
Atomic Housewife. 19/52 (Photo credit: Sarahnaut)

 

Back to the cupcakes!

Since everyone went gaga over my Rum and Coke cupcakes, I decided to revisit the cocktail theme.  This time I wanted to make some Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) cupcakes using my Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka.

I used a box of  lemon cake mix, and subbed half of the water called for with the vodka.  I also added three tablespoons of vodka to my favorite icing recipe (I cut down on the milk called for to just a splash, since the vodka adds the needed liquid).

The reason my post is titled “Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes” is that, while there was a hint of the sweet tea vodka flavor, I didn’t find it strong enough.  So next time I will definitely replace ALL the water called for on the box with the vodka just to punch up the tea flavor a bit more.

Despite the fact that these cupcakes didn’t taste exactly as I had planned, they were still very good.  Light, refreshing, and like my dreams of trading my cubicle for the couch – gone in a flash.

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

Ingredients

Box of lemon cake mix and necessary ingredients listed on box
Sweet Tea Vodka

Directions

Make batter according to directions on box, using the sweet tea vodka in place of the amount of water called for.  Bake as directed.

Sweet Tea Vodka Butter Cream (adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons sweet tea vodka
Splash of milk (if needed to reach proper consistency)

Directions

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Since boxes of cake mix seem to be shrinking these days, and I don’t like to skimp on the size of my cupcakes, this recipe made 18 cupcakes.

Yo Ho Ho and 2 Cups of Rum

Apparently today is National Rum Day!  I did not know this until an hour ago, yet this afternoon I made Rum and Coke cupcakes.  It must have been fate…

A friend wanted me to make these cupcakes for her son’s 21st birthday party.  I tried a test batch last month using a recipe I found for Cola Cake, and a rum buttercream frosting.  It was good, but it tasted nothing like Rum and Coke to me.  Then I discovered the existence of cola extract.  The sun burst through the clouds, the cupcake angels were singing… it was good stuff.

I used the cola extract in my frosting, and found a cupcake recipe that had enough rum in it to make a pirate proud.  For decoration, I used gummy cola bottles and lime wedges with coffee stirrer “straws”.  I used Key Limes – they were the perfect size for the cupcakes.  The resulting cupcake tastes SO MUCH like Rum and Coke that (to quote my boyfriend), “It’s kind of freaky.”

So, though it’s almost over, Happy National Rum Day!  Thankfully you don’t wait until next year to make these tastes-like-the-real-thing Rum and Coke cupcakes.

Rum Cupcake (recipe from Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting on the Betty Crocker website)

1 Box Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 cup dark rum (I used Meyer’s)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs

Heat oven to 325°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size nonstick muffin cups. *I doubled the recipe and ended up with 30 cupcakes total.

In large bowl, mix cake mix, 1 cup rum, the water, oil and eggs with whisk until blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  *I ended up baking them for 25-26 minutes.  For a moment I was afraid they weren’t going to bake through (and REALLY pissed that I had just potentially wasted two whole cups of perfectly good rum!) but I left them in the oven and tested them with a toothpick every few minutes until they were finally done.*   Remove from muffin cups to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Rum Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Buttercream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons cola extract (I bought mine on Amazon)

For frosting, cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

We all scream for cupcakes (that look like ice cream!)

I think I might be a cupcake genius.

Oh yes.  I made Banana Split Cupcakes.

They were all kinds of awesome.

Banana cupcakes, filled with strawberry preserves, topped with vanilla butter cream, hot fudge, rainbow jimmies (sprinkles if you’re not from around here), with a cherry on top.

As Emeril would say – BAM!

I used this recipe from Betty Crocker (minus the chocolate chips, plus one box instant banana pudding) for the banana cupcake batter.  I had my handy dandy cupcake plunger to make room for the strawberry preserves, and I used my small scoop from Pampered Chef to make the icing look like scoops of ice cream.

If you’re looking for a butter cream icing recipe this is my go-to.

If you’re looking for one of these cupcakes you’re out of luck.  We ate them all.

I Enjoy Being A Girl?

I am definitely not a “girly” type of female.

I prefer jeans and sneakers to skirts and high heels.  I have never (nor will I ever) worn a pair of stilettos.  Your feet really aren’t meant to do that.

I would rather watch hockey than Dancing With the Stars.  I was going to make NHL jersey cookies during the Stanley Cup playoffs this year.  I had the cookies baked and everything, but I was too busy watching hockey to decorate them.

Me with Lord Stanley, many moons ago…

I’m not a fan of pink.  I don’t scream at the sight of mice or spiders.  I don’t get manicures unless I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding.  I don’t spaz out when people bring their babies in to work.

I wasn’t even very girly when I was a little girl.  Take my Barbie dolls for example.  Yes, I had Barbies.  No, they did not go shopping or go to fancy dances or get married to the perfectly coiffed Ken dolls.  Barbie drowned in the Barbie pool.  She hung herself from the second story of the Barbie house.  Barbie fell to her death out the third story window of my actual house.

Barbie muerta
Barbie muerta (Photo credit: nicoventurelli)

Remember the Heart Family (Mommy, Daddy and two little toddlers – one boy, one girl) and the Heart Family car?  They didn’t go for leisurely rides to the zoo.  The Heart Family car was a plastic deathtrap on wheels hurtling down the stairs from my attic bedroom, smashing into the wall at the landing and sending Mr. and Mrs. Heart and their progeny flying in all directions.

The Heart Family - Kisses & Cuddles
The Heart Family – Kisses & Cuddles (Photo credit: Freddycat1)

I did have a heart shaped pillow with a picture of Dylan from 90210 (the ORIGINAL!!) on it and I like my cocktails sweet and fruity, so the girly-girl is somewhere there inside me – she just doesn’t come out that often.

I Love Dylan
I Love Dylan (Photo credit: emilydickinsonridesabmx)

Given all this, you can see why I would be amused by the fact that I have made not one, not two, but THREE girly baked treats in the past four days.

First up… Wedding Cake Cookies!  A coworker’s daughter is getting married next weekend and she asked that I make cookies to put in the gift baskets she is making for their out of town guests.

Next, I attempted to make some hydrangea cupcakes I saw on Pinterest.  For a tutorial on how to make these yourself, go here!  These were to celebrate the birthday of one of my friends at work on Monday.  They came out pretty good.  When I was taking the photos my camera was choosing the flower macro setting, so at least I had Canon fooled.

Last but not least are the teapot cookies I made for my friend’s daughter’s Princess Tea Party 6th birthday shindig this weekend.

Okay, I’m gonna go blow up a Barbie doll or something…

Action Barbie
Action Barbie (Photo credit: SamJUK)