Thanksgiving Cupcakes

In 2018 my resolution is to bake more cupcakes and also to get back to the root of why i started this blog. Since starting my blog has been more about holiday cupcakes, like this one is, and less about Broadway show themed cupcakes. Now I know its January when I’m posting about Thanksgiving Cupcakes but the holidays were crazy. Now on to the Cupcakes!!

I found this idea for the Thanksgiving Cupcakes on Pinterest. For these cupcakes I did a chocolate cake and chocolate icing and for the decoration I used Hershey Kisses and a combination of yellow, orange and brown M&M’s and Skittles. (I originally planned to only use M&M’s but I didn’t calculate correctly how many of each color I would need so i improvised with Skittles).

For the cake and icing I used my Betty Crocker Cook Book. After the cupcakes were cooled and iced I began to decorate. The decorations were meant to look like a turkeys feather. I began with the Brown M&M’s. I used 6 brown M&M’s per cupcake and had 12 total cupcakes. I placed them sticking put of the icing on the rim of one side of the cupcake. Once I ran out of brown M&M’s I used Grape Skittles, which actually ended up working well with the chocolate icing. Next was a row of Yellow (5 per cupcake) then a row of orange (4 per cupcake). Once the candies were all placed, I put a Hershey Kiss in the center to resemble to turkey. The Pinterest Cupcakes had a little more detail but i decided to keep mine a little more simple. They came out great!

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Hello Cupcake Lovers! I’m so excited to tell you about my Easter Basket Cupcakes, my favorite and most ambitious cupcakes yet! I got my idea from the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes but added some of my own ideas. So i bet you’re wondering how ambitious i got with these cupcakes! It wasn’t with the taste or decoration but with the color of the cake. I saw an idea for a St. Patricks Day cupcake on Pinterest where the cake was layered with three different shades of green and i decided that would be a fun idea for my Easter Cupcakes! Instead of different shades of the same color, I decided to go with 3 different colors!

I started out making the yellow cake like normal. After mixing up the batter i divided the batter into three bowls. I chose to do Purple, Green and Pink. After mixing in the food coloring i started to fill the liners. This part was tricky. I started with the purple batter and used a large spoon to put the batter in the cups. After filling 8 out my 12 cupcake liners i ran out of purple batter. Oops. Next time ill definitely need more strategic planning. I then used my green batter for the first layer of the remaining cupcakes and then as the second layer for my first Eight Cupcakes. I used my Pink batter to be the second and final layer for my last 4 cupcakes and was able to distribute the remaining pink batter relatively evenly to the first 8 cupcakes. I definitely learned a lot about my first time using multiple colors in the cake batter and will seek out other techniques if i choose to try this again!

Now that the hardest part was over it was time to let my cupcakes bake and move on to the icing! I decided to keep the icing simple and do a Vanilla Buttercream. I decided to let my cake and the decorations be the Star of my Cupcakes. After the cupcakes were out of the oven and cool I iced them using a knife. I didn’t want to pipe icing on because i was planning on having ornate decorations.

For the decorations i used Jelly Beans, Fruity flavored Twizzlers and Green Crystals. I should also note that i used different colored cupcake liners as well. The first thing i did was lightly sprinkle the Green Crystals on the icing. These green crystals represented the green grass in Easter Baskets. I then placed three different colored Jelly Beans on top, to represent eggs. The final piece was the Twizzlers. I cut about an inch off the ends of each piece i used and inserted them, in an upside down U shape into the cake. These were the handles of the basket. I color coordinated the twizzler with the Cupcake liner, and each of the 12 cupcakes had a different color scheme. I am so proud of the way these cupcakes turned out! They are so cute and fun and taste Delicious!

Christmas Cupcakes Part 2

Hello fellow cupcake lovers! The last time i left you i was telling you about my Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes. But these were not the only cupcakes i made this past Christmas. I also made cupcakes on Christmas Eve for my family. These cupcakes did not necessarily have a theme unless you count the red and green colored icing i decorated them with. This blog also concludes my catch up posts. From here on out i will be writing blogs immediately after baking (at least that’s the plan). So on with the Cupcakes!

On Christmas Eve i decided to make cupcakes for my family on Christmas Eve. I rushed to the store to pick up supplies and put together an idea. I decided to not replicate my reindeer cupcakes because i wanted to keep it simple. At the store in the baking section i found Betty Crocker brand cans containing pre made colored icing that had attachable tips. Lucky for me they had both red and green. I grabbed some holiday cupcake liners and a few other baking supplies and i was ready to go.

I normally only bake 12 cupcakes but since this was for a Christmas party i decided to bake a full batch of 24. I decided to go with a yellow cake and vanilla buttercream icing. Even though i was working with a lot more batter than I’m used to i was pleased with how the cupcakes came out. After frosting them with my icing it was time to pipe the colored icing i had bought. Here’s when it got tricky. In previous posts i have mentioned that my piping skills need a lot of work and that statement is still very true. It took a few tries to get used to using the cans but with a few exceptions, none of the designs i attempted came out very well.  They were mostly a little messy. I was very disappointed but my family assured me they were fine. Even though they didn’t look as pretty as i wanted they still tasted great.

You might ask why i still share the cupcakes that did not turn out so well, especially when i had another Christmas themed cupcake that did. The answer is because it is all part of my journey. I’m an amateur baker that does it for fun! Like real life sometimes things don’t always go as you planned. And sometimes you can feel like you have made a lot of progress only to take a step back. But that doesn’t mean you give up. You simply take a moment to figure out what went wrong and you keep on moving forward.

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Christmas Cupcakes:Reindeer Edition

Hello fellow cupcake lovers! As I mentioned in my last post “Witch Hat Cupcakes” I fell behind on blogging and am now catching up. This is the second catch up post of 3.

I looked through a ton of recipes either through pinterest or the Betty Crocker “Big Book of Cupcakes” for a fun Christmas cupcake and decided on the Reindeer Cupcakes from my Betty Crocker book. These cupcakes turned out to be my favorite yet!

The cake and icing were both chocolate and both made from scratch (My first time making chocolate icing from scratch!). I used various treats and snacks to make the reindeer including marchmallows, skittles, and pretzels. Before i assembled the reindeer I spread the chocolate icing, using a knife, on the cupcakes. I then put chocolate sprinkles on top of the icing. The only bad thing about the sprinkles is they wouldn’t stick on the cupcake as much as i wanted them too. The next step was the antlers. I used thin pretzels broken in half and inserted two on every cupcake. It took a lot of attempts and pretzels to get the desired look i wanted for the antlers. For the eyes i used mini marshmallows cut in half. I also put a red skittle on every cupcake to be Rudolf’s nose.

I’m so happy with these cupcakes! Not only did they look cute and taste good, they also included a component that i had never attempted before. It always feels so good to try something new for the first time and have it come out so well! I’m exciting to be making progress and having small victories!

 

Witch Hat Cupcakes

Even though it has been some time since my last post, i have still been baking cupcakes. Life has been busy lately so i have not gotten to bake as often as i would like but now i am back. In addition to baking cupcakes inspired by Broadway shows i will also bake special Holiday cupcakes. This blog will be about the Halloween cupcakes i made in October. I know, I know its March and you’re probably thinking why Halloween? I still wanted to write about these cupcakes, even though i made them months ago,because i am very proud of them.

The recipe and design of the cupcakes came from the Betty Crocker’s “The Big Book of Cupcakes”. The cupcake was a yellow cake made from scratch with Vanilla Buttercream icing also made from scratch with orange food coloring. For the decoration i used Fudge Striped Cookies and Hershey Kiss’s. The yellow cake i have made a few times from scratch and these cupcake were my best effort. I was also very proud of the icing. Last time i made icing from scratch with food coloring i added the coloring last and  when i did that i realized i had to keep adding the powdered sugar to make sure the icing was not too liquidy which resulted in excess icing. This time i cut back a little on the milk and added the food coloring in sooner. I was much happier with the results.

When it came time to frost the cupcakes i chose to spread the icing with a knife. Before frosting i put aside some frosting to use as decoration on my hat. After frosting all the cupcakes i placed one of the Fudge Striped Cookies upside down on the cupcake. I placed them a little off center with a slight tilt. I then place a Hershey kiss on top the the cookie. I put a little bit of frosting on the bottom of the kiss to help keep it in place.After building the hat i then took my extra frosting and put in a sandwich bag. I cut a small hole in the corner and piped a ring of icing around the Hershey kiss.

I am so happy with how these cupcakes came together and tasted. I still have to practice my piping skills but the little bit i did on these cupcakes turned out well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Awakening Cupcakes

Today is an exciting day! I am happy to present my first Broadway themed cupcakes for Spring Awakening. Before I talk about the cupcakes I’ll give you some of my thoughts on the show. I was lucky to see Deaf West’s production of Spring Awakening just before it closed on Broadway. I was a huge fan of the original production on Broadway so i was both excited and nervous to see it done in a completely different way. I am not too familiar with ASL. My only real experience was when my class in middle school would perform a song we learned with ASL at our monthly mass. I was completely mesmerized and moved by the production. The choreography, the concept and direction, the set and the performances were all stunning and inspiring.

When I was thinking of how I wanted to decorate this cupcake I decided to take a few elements from the show that really spoke to me. For the base I did a simple chocolate cake. One of my favorite songs in the show is Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind, so i decided to incorporate that into the icing. I made a vanilla buttercream icing (First time from scratch!) and put in some drops of Blue food coloring. I was also inspired by the use of a digital chalkboard, so i broke a milk chocolate bar and stuck rectangular pieces onto the cake. These can also symbolize the gravestones of Moritz and Wendla. My last decoration is a white flower. This symbolizes the hope for new life that Wendla sings about in Whispering. For the flower i used a yellow M&M. I piped the flower using a small round tip and used a toothpick to help form the shape i wanted.

This cupcake represented many firsts for me that I am proud of; the icing, piping the flower. I am most proud that this is my first themed cupcake. They’re not perfect but I’m a work in progress!

 

Sweet Progress

Last time I posted I told you all about my disastrous first attempt at cupcakes. Today I am happy to say that i have successfully made my first batch of cupcakes from scratch. They were a yellow cake with vanilla frosting and Green crystal sprinkles. The recipe i used was from Betty Crockers’ The Big Book of Cupcakes. Since i knew where i had gone wrong the first time i was relatively confident that i could succeed today but that doesn’t mean i was a little nervous waiting for them to bake. I couldn’t help but check them every few minutes just to make sure they weren’t going to explode again. Fortunately they came out of the oven looking great! While today was my second attempt at making the cupcakes it was going to be my first attempt piping the icing on. I decided to take it slow and used store bought icing, but I am excited to try making icing from scratch next time! I decided to go with the open star tip for today’s cupcakes. I only piped icing on a few of the cupcakes and even though they turned out pretty good I used a knife to spread icing on the remaining cupcakes. It will probably take me  bit more time to really get that hang of it. For my first time i am super happy with the way my cupcakes turned out both taste wise and decoration wise. I realized that during my first attempt baking i was perhaps a little too excited and eager so today I made sure to stay focused and not jump ahead of myself. Not surprisingly with focus everything went smoothly. So now i am off to enjoy some delicious cupcakes that actually do taste sweeter after overcoming my first failed attempt!IMG_1181

It’s About the Journey

Today was my first attempt at baking cupcakes completely from scratch. I have successfully made box cupcakes with store bought icing but today i tried something I have never done before. I would love to show you pictures of beautifully made cupcakes that tasted delicious but unfortunately there are none. The truth is I utterly failed at my first attempt at baking cupcakes. Why you may ask? Two words: Baking Powder. Who doesn’t love baking powder? Apparently my oven. Yes i made a pretty bad mistake and i am owning up to it. My cupcakes exploded in the oven after only a few minutes. I gathered that something was wrong as i was mixing but i wasn’t sure  exactly what had happened until the mess had been cleaned and i went back to the cookbook. Is this simple mistake slightly embarrassing? Yes. Could it have been avoided? Yes. But like in life things happen, nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes. You also might ask why I am admitting to my failure publicly. I mean i could have cleaned up my mess, tried again tomorrow fixing my mistake and pretended my first attempt at baking was a success and nobody would have been the wiser. The truth is i don’t want to lie to you and i found a valuable lesson here. So let me take you back to when i first conceived this venture. I was looking for a creative outlet in addition to being an actor. I wanted to try a new skill and be able to be artsy with it. Then one day i started watching Cupcake Wars and it hit me. I was going to make cupcakes inspired by Broadway shows i saw, which i still plan to eventually do! Now like any new skill I knew i wouldn’t be great at it right off the bat. I was going to have a lot of trial and error. So i thought i would ease myself into the baking world starting off with simple recipes and decorations and eventually get better and more complex. As i’m sure you all know, it’s difficult trying something new. The most important thing to remember is that it is about the journey. You can’t expect to be able to play Mozart the first time you sit at a piano. So i knew my cupcakes weren’t going to taste like my favorite bakery’s and that’s OK with me. On the other hand i also didn’t expect to completely fail like i did, and it would be easy for me to say i failed so i should probably give up, a thought that did occur while i was cleaning my oven of the mess of my cupcakes. But then i remembered that was never the point of this venture. I was never trying to be a master baker, i wanted to try something new and creative. So tomorrow I’ll go to the store and get some more ingredients and try again because that is what you do if you are passionate about something. You don’t just give up because you couldn’t get it right the first time. You admit you are human and give it another go. This failed attempt could relate to other areas in my life as well. Actually sounds a lot like my life as an actor. Sometimes i go to an audition and it does not go well at all. Sometimes the rejection gets to me and I know that I could have done better but my nerves got in my way. These things sometimes make me think why should i even try? But at the end of the day I truly love theater so I don’t give up and i go on to the next audition. And hey guess what? I’m in a show right now doing what i love so hard work and determination do pay off. Besides i think my cupcakes will taste a little sweeter tomorrow knowing I decided to carry on through the mess i made today! Who knew my first attempt at baking cupcakes could turn into such a valuable life lesson?