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Monday, March 31, 2014

For the ones that Love Cadbury Eggs. Cadbury Egg Inspired Cupcakes ♥

There are many different kinds of people (or should I say..Peeps?!) in the world.  Those who like Peeps. Those who don't like Peeps. Those who think Peeps are adorable and colorful (meeee!!!). Those who like to watch Peeps blow up in the microwave (sometimes I've been guilty. Uh oh). Those who toast their Peeps. Those who like stale Peeps. And those who play with Peeps (again..meeeee!!!!):
Peep Surfing in my bowl of buttercream frosting. Rad. ♥ This happened in my kitchen one night.


Then there are the controversial Cadbury Eggs.   There are the "peeps" who love them. And they gasp in delight when they see them on the shelf.  Or those who think they are awful. Those who don't see what the big deal is and just don't care. And those who use Cadbury Eggs as a medium to create amazing things that can be described in many delicious terms:

Aww. The Peeps are even wearing edible Sixlet Pearls.
A couple of years ago, I baked a cadbury egg inside of these cupcakes.  I was surprised to see that they were featured here on HLN, as one of the Six Amazing/Awful Things To Make With Cadbury Eggs. I was honored. I felt that the word Amazing cancelled out the word Awful. ♥ I am an optimist. Can you tell?!  I guess the "awful" or "amazing" depends on what kind of person you are (see my descriptions above at the top of this blog to find your Peep/Cadbury Egg disposition).


For this Easter, I thought..
Instead of baking a giant Cadbury Egg inside of a cupcake..what if I partnered my chocolate cupcake with the deliciously controversial Cadbury Egg filling? So I stopped asking, and made my fantasy (maybe yours too) a reality!

 A chocolate cupcake.
Filled with a Cadbury Egg filling.
Swirled with layers of Marshmallow Cream buttercream frosting .
A mini Cadbury Egg on top of the yellow frosting "yolk.".
Some have little Peeps carrying the eggs on their backs!

How to make the filling:
You will need:
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Butter (very soft but not melted)
1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla
4-5 Cups Powdered Sugar
Dash Salt
Electric Yellow Gel Paste Food Coloring
Finished Chocolate Cupcakes (see my easy bake-at-home doctored up mix recipe below)

...2 bowls, and 2 piping bags!

Mix up all the ingredients except for powdered sugar in your mixer until creamy.  Typical Cadbury Egg filling doesn't use Heavy Whipping Cream-but the cupcake version does! (It is a much better texture in your mouth in combo with a cupcake).  Now add the powdered sugar gradually until your filling starts to create little "peaks".  You can add or decrease amount of powdered sugar depending on how thick you want the filling to be. If you add more powdered sugar you can actually turn this into a moldable edible clay like fondant!  If you add too much powdered sugar you can always go backwards by adding little bits of Heavy Whipping Cream here and there to thin it out.



Once you reach your desired consistency, divide filling into 2 bowls.  Color one bowl of filling Electric Yellow (I use Americolor Gel Paste), and leave one bowl white! Fill 1 disposable piping bag with yellow. Fill another disposable piping bag with white and set aside until you are ready to fill the cupcakes.  After you have baked your cupcakes, carve a hole out of the middle of your cupcakes with a cupcake corer.  Now you can cut a hole at the end of your piping bags, and alternate the addition of the yellow and white fillings to the inside of your cupcake.

This is what it will look like, yay! Looks just like the inside of a Cadbury Egg.


Now you can decorate the top of each cupcake however you'd like
.
I do the same thing with the frosting that I did with the filling-half of my buttercream frosting is colored yellow with Americolor Electric Yellow Gel Paste, and half is left white. I fill one piping bag with yellow frosting, and one with white. I cut a large hole at the end of each one..and pipe onto my cupcakes,  stacking a yellow frosting "egg yolk" on top of each cupcake!
Then I adorn each cupcake with delight! Peeps swimming through frosting (see the video for how to do that here), Mini Cadbury Eggs, Edible Glitter, Sixlet Pearls!

I wrap up how it is done (even blowing sprinkles at the end)!

Recipe for Marshmallow Cream Frosting:

13 oz Marshmallow Cream
1 lb butter (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-8 Cups Powdered Sugar
♥Combine all ingredients except for powdered sugar in stand mixer and whip until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting is a thick enough texture to hold shape when piping. If you want a creamier frosting, use less powdered sugar.


Easy Bake At Home Chocolate Cupcakes (tastes a lot like my signature cupcakes I make from scratch for the Cupcake Mansion):
1 box of Devils Food Cake Mix
1/2 Cup Instant Chocolate Pudding
1 1/4 Cup Hot Water or Hot Coffee
4 Eggs
1/3 Cup Oil
♥Preheat oven to 325 and line cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers.  Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and whisk together until evenly blended (about 2 minutes).  Make sure to scrape the bowl down in between mixing to incorporate all the ingredients.  Fill cupcake wrappers 3/4 full and bake at 325 for appx 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Next week's recipe:

How to make Rainbow Cotton Candy Cupcakes!

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE CUPCAKE HUG

I made this Red Velvet Cupcake Hug for a friend a few years ago, when he lost his dog.
(Yep, the word is edible-handwritten by me onto parchment paper out of red candy melts).


I have a dream for this Cupcake Hug. For it to change the world.

And last week, The Cupcake Hug started to mean even more to me than it ever has.  I'd like to think that it has the power to help fight cancer. I'll explain.



I was actually going to write about the Cupcake Hug last week when I really needed one myself, but I couldn't come to terms with what to say.  Two weeks ago, my sweet Uncle Burt was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  He was my mom's brother, my dad's best friend, a husband to my aunt, a father, a grandfather.  He was here and gone in a matter of 4 days. His memorial was last Thursday. Not even a week ago.  I traveled to see him 2 days before he passed. We shared hugs, and one of the first and last things he told me in my visit was, "I Love You."  

I have never had the chance to say good-bye to someone when I knew that I'd never see them again here on this earth.  I remember whispering to my mom in the next room, "How do I do this?"  She told me to do whatever was on my heart. So after our "I Love Yous" I chose not to say good-bye.

I said, "See you later."
And I drove back to Wisconsin in a haze.

Even through my misty eyes on the drive back home after this farewell, I realized that my last memories with my Uncle Burt were rare beautiful gems.  Memories that everyone wishes they could have with the one they love before they have passed away.



The grieving process initiates thoughts.  One thought I had never put together until now-was that almost everyone on my mom's side of the family has fought cancer.  My mom fought cancer and won.  Her sister fought cancer and won too.  Sadly a few years ago my mom lost her sweet younger sister Rachel to cancer (she is missed everyday).  My mom sat with her own mom until she took her last breath after a battle with cancer.  My middle name "Marie" is named after my mom's favorite aunt who passed in her thirties from cancer. In my moments of grief, I can see more than ever now that I am not immune to cancer either and that I need to do some possible genetic testing, and be aware of my health more than ever.  The thing is..no one is immune to cancer.  I just have to believe that the more positive we all are, and the more we fight against this evil with good..the more likely we are to conquer the villain that is cancer.
..and that is where my dream of The Cupcake Hug comes along. Bigger and brighter and bolder and with more passion than EVER.   I've always dreamed of creating my own non-profit organization called "The Cupcake Hug" and using the organization to go out and do amazing non-profit things to change the world through the idea of cupcakes. Hopefully this organization will happen someday.

But until I reach that success, I'd soon like to start a line of cupcakes at The Cupcake Mansion or maybe even my other retailers called CUPCAKE HUGS.  A portion of their proceeds will help someone or an organization that helps others with cancer...and I am sure more things that touch my heart in the future.  But to start..cancer is on my heart.

The Cupcake Hug is inspired by..
♥All of those with broken hearts or ailments that only a hug will heal.
♥The woman who visited me at my cupcake shop crying, telling me that she just lost her mother so she just needed an Amanda Cupcake cupcake.
♥My mom who has fought cancer, and is now also fighting Parkinson's Disease. She could be your mom too. My Uncle Burt could be your Uncle too, your best friend, your husband, your grandfather. My mom's sister Rachel could be your younger sister too. 
♥The warm happy feeling you get when a friend gives you a cupcake and everything feels ok for a moment.
♥The superhero side of you who wants to make a difference.


Look for the Amanda Cupcake, Cupcake Hug to launch soon ♥ (wthin the next month, as soon as I find the right first organization to benefit).  I just thought World Cancer Day (happening in about 5 minutes) would be a good time to announce my plan to make a change close to my heart with all that extra glittery love on my cupcake creations.  The true reason I started making cupcakes in the first place.


This blog dedicated to my Uncle Burt. I named my new Hobart mixer after my Uncle Burt so he'll live on forever through all of my baking. The mixer was given to me as a surprise gift (with an awesome love note) the last day I saw my Uncle alive. ♥

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bubblegum Cupcakes (inspired by the Seattle Gum Wall)

Have you ever traveled anywhere alone?  Just packed your bags and braved it, to see what adventures you encountered? I did. Last May. In full on grunge flannel. To Seattle.  Right before my busy busy wedding season.  If it wasn't for Seattle, I am not sure I would have ever thought to make these cupcakes...
Gumball Cupcakes  (I'll explain later).  I packed my glitter in my bags . (I was pretty sure Seattle needed some glitter sprinkled on it). 

Why Seattle?
There are many creative legends here. Many start ups, many firsts.
Starbucks (I visited their original location and it reminds me a lot of the Cupcake Mansion-small, simple but charming).  Nordstrom.  Hard Rock Cafe.  The birth of Grunge Rock.  All of these innovators had to start somewhere with an idea. Like I am right now with my quest to change the world with cupcakes.  I wanted a vacation, but I also wanted inspiration. 
I was long overdue for a week of Napping, Donut Eating, Calamari Trying, Coffee Drinking, Clinking Full Wine Glasses with friends, Flower Shopping, Rockin' out to 90s Grunge tunes, Romantic Walks in the Rain, and Exploring.


When I was exploring....I discovered something pretty, fascinating and amazingly gross ♥
A wall full of thousands of stringy pieces of chewed gum.
The Seattle Gum Wall.

I have a horrible habit.  I chew my gum, and I stick it in random places (TMI)?!  It is both charming and annoying to those around me.  (charming because people are reminded of me when they find my gum and then they miss me).  So this gum wall...touched my childish gum chewing heart.


A Gum Proposal!!!! That took a lot of love and work..and risky exposure to bacteria :).  Now that is TRUE LOVE.  For every piece of gum..is a person. And a story ♥ Apparently a love story too. I even checked in on Facebook.  This gum wall created community in Seattle!

So when I returned to Wisconsin..you know what I did?

With my pastor Bob Adams right outside of my church Radiant Fellowship in Waupaca..  We created our own Gum Wall.   Our Wisconsin Gum Wall was featured in the newspaper ♥


When the gum wall officially launched, I made all of these "chewed" bubble gum cupcakes (that actually tasted like gum) to celebrate, as a reward to to those who dared to join me in sticking pieces of gum on the Waupaca Gum Wall ♥.  I even mushed up pieces of gum (with my fingers..not my mouth) to look like they were chewed and stuck them on top of the cupcakes.  Gross but fascinating.  Just like a gum wall should be.  My pastor named our church service that day "Hubba Bubba." Appropriate.
Whether you think it is gross or not, the day was filled with laughter and creativity.

...and the gum wall continues to bring people together in Wisconsin.

The glittery gum heart I left on the gum wall in Seattle.

..this never would have happened if I didn't travel solo to Seattle. ♥
Where to next?
Simple Recipe for your very own  Gumball Gum Wall Cupcakes:
**Your whole kitchen will smell like bubblegum!

Ingredients for the cupcakes: (makes 18 cupcakes)
1 box of white cake mix
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Packet of Bubblegum Flavor Frosting Creations from Duncan Hines
4 Eggs
1 3.9 oz box of instant White Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients for the frosting:
13 oz Marshmallow Cream
1 lb Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 Packet of Bubblegum Flavor Frosting Creations from Duncan Hines
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Appx 8 Cups Powdered Sugar

For Decoration:
You will need gumballs, assorted pieces of gum.

Method:
For Cupcakes:
1.  Preheat oven to 325 and line cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers.
2.  Mix All Cupcake Ingredients together in Stand Mixer. Be sure to remember to add the Bubblegum Flavor Frosting Creations-this is what makes your cupcakes taste just like bubblegum!
3. Scrape batter down as you mix to incorporate all of the chewy goodness.
4. Whip for appx 2 minutes.
5. Fill each cupcake liner about 1/2 - 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For Frosting:
1. Whip Butter & Marshmallow Cream together in stand mixer until they start to look fluffy.
2. Add 1 Packet of Bubblegum Flavor Frosting Creations to the mixture.
3. Add Vanilla Extract.
4. Gradually Whip In Powdered Sugar, continue to mix the powdered sugar in until frosting is stiff enough to pipe.  You can color your frosting in several different colors. I like Americolor Gel Paste in Electric Pink, Sky Blue, Electric Yellow, Electric Orange, and Electric Purple.

For Decorating:
♥Cut a hole at the end of a disposable piping bag.  If you want to have a really fat fun fluffy dreamy swirl, use a 1A Round Tip at the end of your piping bag.
♥Fill the piping bag half full with frosting. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of your cupcake.
♥Top each cupcake swirl with a gumball.  To make your gum look like it is "chewed" like a Gum Wall Cupcake, use chewy soft gum and mash up with your fingers.  (I guess you could chew it if you are sharing your cupcakes with someone very close to you. ☺)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cocktail Cake Pops to Toast To for the New Year!

In 2013, I made thousands of Cake Pops.
 
 
 
 
Each "Amazeball" (ie: cake pop) is hand rolled with the perfect amount of frosting. Just enough frosting to form a sticky ball that is dipped into a bowl of candy melts and/or chocolate and sprinkled with dots..eyes..batman capes..kitty ears...teeth..you name it.  When you eat it, you will understand the term "Amazeball"!

There have been idealistic discussions about my wish for a cake pop factory, with little mechanical robots that help me hand roll each cake pop.   People often joke that I am a walking cake pop factory.

This is why:
My Cake Pops For Sale at Woodmans Grocery Store !
(one of my biggest career moves of 2013)

To celebrate a grand year of cake pops,
let's toast to many things, with..
Cocktail Cake Pops in hand (or mouth! or tummy!)
Recipe for Pink Champagne..


or


Strawberry Margarita
 Amazeball Cocktail Cake Pops!



Ingredients Needed to make your Amazeball blend:
♥1 box of Strawberry Cake Mix
♥1/2 Cup of Pink Champagne or 1/2 Cup Liquid Strawberry Margarita Mix
♥1 Cup Buttermilk
♥4 Eggs
♥1 3.9 or 4 oz box of Instant Lemon or Strawberry Creme Pudding
♥1/3 Cup Oil
♥1/2 tsp orange extract
♥9x13 cake pan or you can use a cupcake pan
♥..Don't forget to add LOVE.

For Frosting: Use my buttercream recipe
For Pink Champagne Pops: add 3 Tablespoons of Pink Champagne to the frosting
For Strawberry Margarita Pops: add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Tequila + 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Liquid Strawberry Margarita mix to the frosting


How to Bake:
1. Preheat your oven to 325.
2. Combine all ingredients above in a Kitchen Aid Mixer, and mix for 2 minutes until your batter looks amazing and smells bubbly.
3. Pour the  cake batter into a cake pan and bake for appx 30 minutes (depending on your oven, times may fluctuate-- a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean)
4. Once baked, let your cake sit out and cool.

To Roll The Cocktail Amazeballs:
You'll Need:
♥1 Large Bowl
♥1 or 2 Cookie Sheets, Lined with Parchment Paper
♥1 1/4" Meatballer
♥Pink Champagne or Strawberry Margarita Buttercream Frosting

1.  This is the fun and messy part.  Take out a big bowl and crumble your pink champagne cake into the bowl forming tiny little cake crumbs. (or if you don't want to use your hands, you can use a food processor).

2.  Add about a tablespoon of your frosting to the cake pop blend. If you need more frosting later you can always add more. Don't add too much to start with or the cake pops will end up too soggy to work with.

3.  I like to use a 1 1/4" meatball scoop (meatballer) to form my cake pops, or you can hand roll into a 1 1/4" ball. As you roll, the texture should be like play dough-sticky enough to form a cake pop ball.  If it gets crumbly or dry, this is how you know to add a little bit more frosting.

4.  Place all your finished amazeballs onto the parchment paper, and refrigerate for about an hour (don't freeze them, or they will expand inside the chocolate shell after you dip and the outer shell will crack).




To dip and decorate your Cocktail Cake Pops:
You will need:
♥Sucker Sticks (the size I like best is 4 1/2" x 5/32")
♥Candy Melts in any color you choose (You can buy them in the cake decorating aisle at a craft store)
♥A microwave proof bowl deep enough to dip your cake pops into the candy melts
♥Cookie Sheets Lined in Parchment Paper
♥Edible Glitter (I got some homemade edible glitter for Christmas but you can find sanded or crystal edible glitter at your local craft or grocery store in the baking aisle)
♥Sprinkles of your choice (see my pictures above for inspiration. There are no rules, you can mix and match)!
♥A Microwave

1.  Start by pouring your Candy Melt discs into the microwave proof bowl.

2.  Microwave in 20 second increments until candy melts are melted and creamy (do not microwave for too long or the candy melts will burn and turn too thick / lumpy to work with).

3.  Once candy melts are melted, the first thing you are going to do is use them as a "glue" to glue your cake pop stick to the cake pop.

4.  Dip one end of your cake pop stick into the melted candy and immediately insert the wet end of the stick 3/4 of the way into the cake pop. Repeat this for all the cake pops and let them all dry before proceeding. This glues the cake pop stick into the cake pop ball.

5.  Now you can start dipping your cake pops into your dreamy creamy pools of light pink candy melts.

6.  As you dip each cake pop, place your cake pop, stick side up onto parchment paper.  While the cake pops are still wet, sprinkle with edible glitter.  Let dry, and then.....

7.  Tadaa! You have a Pink Champagne Amazeball ♥ Celebrate with a cake pop toast and of course..a midnight kiss!