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Friday, July 3, 2015

Amanda Cupcake Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake!

I am super excited.
As you may or may not know, I live the life of a sweet everything I do is glitter or sugar or sprinkle coated. I even carry sprinkles in my purse so that I can sprinkle people with them when they are having a bad day. I am like a living female Willy Wonka. So I started thinking, why limit myself to cupcakes only? Why not make all kinds of fun food and even beverages inspired by this sweet lifestyle that I live (and I have a feeling you live a very similar one too if you are reading this!)? Just imagine the territory we could cover adding our glittery spell of cupcake love to everything.

Drumroll please... ♥
So here goes my first venture outside of the "cupcake box":  I partnered with Familiar Grounds Coffee Shop to come up with this: The Amanda Cupcake Red Velvet Cupcake Freeze! We sat down and brainstormed the flavors together, then Lucas (awesomely better than barista at FG) made us samples in the back kitchen and we tried them like..10 minutes after coming up with the flavor idea.  We were a successful team, it tastes just like a red velvet cupcake!  Topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.  So here is a reason to visit New London, Wisconsin! Visit Familiar Grounds Coffee Shop and try my newest venture in creating a sweet, dreamy lifestyle!

Or..if you can't make it to a nearby Familiar can always try one at home. this is my recipe from my very own kitchen.

First things first. I partnered with some other fave people/brands for my red velvet cupcake milkshake.  Ben & Jerry's, Betty Crocker Red Velvet Cake Mix, Americolor Super Red, Pyrex, and Kitchen Aid (yes! I used a mixer to whip this milkshake together instead of a blender. Appropriate since we are bakers, right?)

I was thinking ahead. I bought the clearest of clear plastic cups so that I could see the red color from outside when I was all done making the milkshake! Super economical, and also allows you to show your work off. ♥ I dipped each cup in SPRINKLES! (That's a given.. we are trying to recreate a cupcake in the form of a milkshake, why not coat the cup in sprinkles too?!).  I also sprinkled the inside of the cup with edible glitter!

I embraced my inner cupcake queen and PIPED the milkshake into the cup using a professional decorating bag, just like I was frosting a beautiful cupcake. The piping bag worked pretty perfectly actually, it kept everything very neat!

A red velvet cupcake milkshake.
My first ever Amanda Cupcake inspired beverage.

I swirled whipped cream on top, and used a decorative straw to hold my red velvet cupcake "shishkabob" on top of the drink.  The cherry on top?! There are always more and more and more and more cherries on top where I come from.  

The Amanda Cupcake Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake Recipe:
(Makes 2 milkshakes so you can share!)

Ingredients needed:
4 Tablespoons of dry red velvet cake mix (you can keep the leftover mix for a future batch)!
4-5 big scoops of Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Ice Cream (if you can't find this, use chocolate ice cream)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
15 mini sized drops of Super Red Americolor Gel Paste
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2-3/4 cup cold milk
Whipped cream

Accessories needed:
♥Decorative paper straws
♥Maraschino stemmed cherries
♥Sprinkles galore
♥Mini cupcakes using your favorite red velvet cupcake recipe or you can use the box-just buy an extra one or use the leftover mix . 
♥Bowl of melted white candy melts as the "glue" to get the sprinkles to stick to the cup.
♥Optional: Piping bag to pipe the milkshake neatly into the cup.

First, prepare the sprinkled cups:(Hold on:  If you are going to bake mini cupcakes, make sure you bake them before this step so the cupcakes  have time to cool)
1.  Melt white candy melts in a microwave proof bowl for about 45 seconds at a time until smooth.
2.  Pour sprinkles in bowls big enough to dip your cups into.
3.  Once you have all of this prepped, dip the top rim of each cup into the melted candy melts.
4.  Do not wait for the candy melts to dry-immediately dip the top rim of the cup into your favorite sprinkles.
5.  Repeat for each cup.  While the cups are drying, start preparing your milkshake.

Second, prepare the Milkshakes:
1.  Using a liquid measuring cup, measure out 1/2 Cup cold milk.
2.  Whisk Cocoa, Almond Extract, and Americolor Gel Paste into milk.
3.  In stand mixer (using flat beater attachment), whip ice cream and red velvet cake mix together. Then gradually add milk until you reach a  smooth red velvet milkshake texture.

To pour the milkshake into the cup: Fill a ziploc or a piping bag with the milkshake and cut a hole at the end. Neatly squeeze the milkshake into the cup!

Third, have fun decorating your milkshake!1. Swirl with whipped cream topping.
2. Sprinkle.
3. Put a cherry on top
4. Slide mini cupcake onto the straw like you'd do for a shishkabob. I used  a mini star marshmallow to hold the cupcake onto the straw so it wouldn't slide.  Decorate your drink with the cupcake straw.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

America's Birthday Cake!

Today I woke up at 2am, and drove (very carefully) under the stars, so that I could celebrate America's birthday early with all of Madison, Wisconsin at WKOW 27 with this American Flag cake and cupcakes!

An American flag inside of a cake! That in and of itself is a celebration that you can eat!
Typically, I decorate the outside of everything with crazy swirls, colors, and sprinkles.  It was challenging for me to keep the whipped cream frosting on the outside simple and plain. But this time, it was time for the cake that was hiding to shine (or sparkle like a firework?)!

This is how I constructed an American flag inside of a cake (and it is easier than you think, you just have to think inside out):
  • I mixed enough of my favorite white cake batter to make seven 7 round 8" layers of cake.
  • 3 of my layers were Americolor Gel Paste Super Red.
  • 3 of my layers were White.
  • 1 of my layers was Americolor Gel Paste Electric Blue.
  • After the cakes baked and cooled, I cut the red and white layers in half. After I cut them in half, they were about 3/4" tall.  
  • I did not cut the blue layer in half.  I trimmed any excess cake off of the top of the blue cake so that it was level, but still thicker than the rest of the cake layers.
  • Using a 4" round template made out of card stock, I cut a hole out of the center of 1 white layer and 1 red layer. At this point, I was done with these layers-they didn't go anywhere else on my cake.   I may or may not have eaten some pieces of them! I did keep the red & white rounds and set them aside for later. These are important for creating the final masterpiece.
  • Using my 4" round template, I cut another hole out of the center of the blue cake.  
  • I stacked each layer on top of each other in this order (applying thin layers of frosting to the top of each layer as I built the flag cake): Red, White, Red, White, Blue.
  • As soon as my cake was stacked, I lightly frosted the 4" red & white cake rounds I cut out earlier. I filled the hole in the blue cake with the circles.  First with the red layer. Second with the white layer.  
  • I used a simple whipped frosting to decorate the outside of the cake, and topped the cake with sparkly stars and a glitzy Uncle Sam hat.
When I cut open the cake, my breath was taken away.It was beautiful.
But there was something missing. Glitter and sprinkles. So I added mini white stars by hand.
Then I got to thinking, next time I make this cake I may just add the mini white star sprinkles to the batter!

'Merica is the home of the free...and the delicious.

Leftover batter was used to make matching cupcakes!

Do you see the mason jars with cupcakes inside of them and firework cupcake toppers?
I used the leftover cake trimmings to make little mason jar parfaits!
Those would be a hit at a picnic for the 4th of July.
Happy Birthday, America!!!!!!

(I always find an Ellen cutout whenever I go to the TV studio and take a picture. It's tradition. She is one of the people that has inspired me to become Amanda Cupcake!)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pancake Bacon Breakfast Cupcakes for Dinner!

I am a fan of breakfast.
Breakfast for dinner especially.
And bacon is getting classier all the time.
I would like to have a breakfast for dinner party sometime, and I'd bring my own creation to share.

Maple-Maple-Pancake-Pancake-Pancake-Maple Syrup-Candied Bacon Cupcakes ♥
(If you got lost, I started from the bottom and went up in that list).

An entire meal in a cupcake needs a fork.

The cupcake is made with a yellow cake mix as a base, but you'd never know because I don't follow any of the rules on the box. So for the cake mix nixers: Don't hate, just bake. You'll love it. I guarantee. I basically use the box for my base dry ingredients. The added ingredients are Pure Maple Syrup, Maple Extract, Butterscotch Pudding, Eggs, Buttermilk, Vanilla Extract, and Oil.

Reason for the Butterscotch Pudding:  I wanted to use something to substitute the brown sugar flavor.  Before butterscotch is made, one of its crucial ingredients is brown sugar.  It worked! You don't even taste the butterscotch, all the flavors blend together and create a rich maple/pancake flavor.

While the cupcakes were baking, I made candied bacon (recipe below) and I whipped up my favorite pancake recipe on a skillet by scooping the batter onto the skillet with a mini cookie scoop. (This takes time and patience and a love for mini pancakes but the result is adorable)! You can use Bisquick if you don't make pancakes from scratch, or see below:

If you don't have time to make your own mini pancakes, Eggo brand sells mini pancakes in the freezer section at select grocery stores and they look like this on top of cupcakes. I made these at a different time, for a wedding.  To turn pancake bacon cupcakes into a bridal event, I switched the maple frosting out with a light white whipped cream frosting.  Who doesn't love a little whipped cream on their pancakes?

A mini video on how I stacked the pancakes on top of the pancake bacon cupcakes:

An entire local cable TV segment, step by step on how I made the pancake bacon cupcakes:

Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Candied Bacon.
Printable Recipe
Makes about 15-18 cupcakes

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 packet of butterscotch pudding, in dry powder form, not prepared
1 Cup Buttermilk (room temperature)
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325.  Line cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.  Pour dry yellow cake mix and dry butterscotch pudding in bowl and set aside.  Measure ¼ cup pure maple syrup and set aside.  Measure 1 cup buttermilk and set aside.  In stand mixer, cream eggs, oil, and extracts together.  Gradually alternate the addition of dry ingredients, syrup and buttermilk to the creamed mixture until all is mixed together. Scrape bowl down to make sure there are no leftover ingredients stuck on the bottom of bowl and re-mix. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake wrappers a little over half full and bake for about 24 minutes or until cupcake springs up and doesn’t sink in when touched. While cupcakes are baking, you can bake mini pancakes and candied bacon in preparation to decorate the cupcakes.

Maple Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons dry butterscotch instant pudding
2 teaspoons maple extract
1/4 cup buttermilk or milk

Using a flat beater attachment, cream the butter and the dry butterscotch instant pudding on high speed until fluffy.  Add syrup, maple extract, and liquid.  Scrape bowl down to make sure all ingredients are evenly mixed.  Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting is stiff enough to pipe on top of cupcake.

Candied Bacon
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and line with aluminum foil.  Lay bacon strips out on aluminum foil and lightly sprinkle each piece of bacon with light brown sugar. Bake the bacon at 450 for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Once bacon is done baking, remove immediately from pan and let cool on a plate.  Tear the bacon up in little pieces to decorate the top of your pancake bacon cupcake.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dirt cupcakes

Fact: I make colorful messes.

This is what my table looks like after I am done with a very busy night.
I think my messes look pretty. I'd love to paint a canvas like this.

Beautiful disasters are what inspired my version of DIRT cake cupcakes.
I've never been one to play by the rules, call me a rebel..but honestly I believe that a mess or a mistake can turn into a masterpiece, if you let your imagination run wild.
My beautiful disaster starts with a chocolate cupcake.  I  swirl around the outside of the cupcake with chocolate frosting (using a 1M open star decorating tip) and leave a little empty hole in the center of the frosting swirl. I pour a chocolate ganache "mud" pool in the hole, and sprinkle the "dirt" on top: crushed Oreo cookies.  The bright side? Little "airhead candy" rainbows and glittery rainbow gummy worms on top.

I've also baked my dirt cupcakes inside of mini gardening pots by filling them 1/2 full and baking on a sheet pan in the oven. These can be as messy as you'd like.  Pour chocolate ganache on top and sprinkle with crushed Oreos.  These are totally fun to eat with a fork!

Recipe for your very own Bake-At-Home Beautiful Disaster (have fun!!):

Chocolate Cupcake "CANVAS":
(makes appx 24 cupcake canvases)
3 ¾ Cups flour
2 ½ Cups fine baking sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup cocoa
1 ¼ cup oil
2 ½ cups hot water
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla
2 ½ tablespoons vinegar

♥Preheat oven to 325.
♥Line cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
♥Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa together in bowl & set aside.
♥In stand mixer, cream oil, sugar, and vanilla together.
♥Measure hot water in liquid measuring cup, set aside.
♥Add vinegar to oil, sugar, vanilla blend in stand mixer.
♥Gradually alternate the addition of dry & liquid ingredients to the mixture in stand mixer.
♥Scrape bowl down and make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
♥Fill cupcake wrappers 3/4 full and bake at 325 for appx 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache "MUD":
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

♥In a saucepan on the stove, bring heavy whipping cream to an almost boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat and add 1 cup chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted and you see a shiny glaze.

Chocolate Buttercream Fancy Swirl:
1 Cup butter (room temperature)
¾ Cup Cocoa
¼ teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Cups powdered sugar

♥Cream butter, heavy cream, and vanilla in a stand mixer.
♥Gradually add cocoa and a dab of salt, scrape bowl down.
♥Add powdered sugar little by little until frosting forms peaks, strong enough to pipe frosting swirls on your cupcake canvas.

Oreo "DIRT" crumbles:
1 box of Oreo Cookies
Large plastic ziploc bag

♥Empty Oreo cookies into ziploc bag
♥Close ziploc bag
♥Using a large rolling pin, roll over the top of cookies until they are crumbled.  I like crumbling them until they are chunky and not finely ground. It adds texture.  If you want the oreos to be finely ground like dirt or sand, you can use a food processor for this technique.

Bonus cupcake idea:
Using the same ingredients, decorate with random candies and snacks that are in your cupboard to turn a mess into a beautiful cupcake creation!  Frost the top of your cupcake with chocolate buttercream, dip it in chocolate ganache, and sprinkle with leftover candies & snacks from your cupboard. I've made these on Halloween and called them Trick or Treat cupcakes, but they are yummy any time of the year ♥♥♥