Monthly Archives: May 2012

Disney Treats

My husband and I just got back from a week long vacation. We spent 8 days in Southern California, and 3 of those days were at Disneyland and California Adventure!

I saw so many fun, yummy and creative treats I thought I needed to share!

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Above are mickey shaped chocolate dipped rice krispy treats…

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these are mallow pops.. mickey on the left and minnie on the right!

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Chocolate and M&M covered giant pretzel sticks.

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Disney decorated cookies!

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Princess decorated cookies!

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Mickey body cookies.

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Dipped ears decorated cookies.

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Mickey face soft pretzels.

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Mickey head sourdough bread. BTW those are about the size of my head!

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Some more decorated cookies and krispies.

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These are cake pops! Holy moly they were like 4″ across!

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Mickey chocolate chip cookie dipped and swizzled.

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Dipped ear cookies and baseballs.

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SOOO in love with these caramel/candy apples. The ears are marshmallows!

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A couple more apples… pooh’s hunny pots, and some nightmare before xmas jack heads.

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These tigger tails are marshmallow pops! Super cool!

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The ice creams above are actually cupcakes in cones. I’v made cupcakes like this before but never so cute!

My hubby and I also went to Universal Studios Hollywood and I spotted some cute treats there as well. (Are cute treats on the rise, or did I just never notice this kind of stuff before I immersed myself in it?)

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Spongebob decorated cookies.

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Cute animal apples…

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I LOVE the pink piggie ones!

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It’s hard to see from the angle but there are some animal mallow pops on the left up there…

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Turtle apples, marshmallow apples, and I think the ones on the right are rocky road apples…

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully soon I will be able to share something cute that I made myself!

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Filed under Cake Pops, Candy, Cookies, Marshmallows, Misc

Cosmo Cookies {Guest Post}

I am currently at the happiest place on earth! That’s right, Disneyland!

Since cookies and treats are out of question for me while I am away, I have asked my friend Kendra of Royal Cookie Designs to guest post for me. I am so excited that she agreed to do so! Take it away, Kendra!

 I’m excited to be writing my first guest post! This one is for my new friend Carrie from Carrie’s Creations. She’s so incredibly creative and talented. I didn’t know what to showcase because quite frankly…she’s done it all…and done it amazingly to boot! After days of brainstorming I decided to just do what I do best…cookies. I had a last minute cookie order and decided to take Carrie and her fellow bloggers along for the ride. Here we go!

A friend of mine called and wanted cookies for his mother’s 70th birthday. It was going to be a small, informal get together of mostly family and he wanted cookies for favors.  I don’t know what it is lately, but it seems everyone is coming to me with an open invitation for designs. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi Mark! Heard you’re looking for some cookies for your Mom’s birthday. What were you thinking?

Friend: Oh I don’t know…you’re the expert, whatever you decide J (yes…I’m positive he was smiling at this point of our conversation even though I couldn’t see him)

Me: What does she like? Does she have any hobbies? For instance, does she like dogs or flowers or…

Friend: Yes! She likes dogs and flowers.

Me: HA OK then I’ll think up something to go with that.

Friend: Wait! Jules (amazing wife that he has!) has a suggestion. She says Mom really likes martinis. What about martini cookies?

Me: Oh how fun!! What does she like…vodka martinis or flavored martinis?

Friend: She’s really into the cosmo martinis right now.

Me: Perfect! That will be really really cute and fun to make!

And so we settled on a cosmo martini cookie. I couldn’t wait to get off the phone and think up what color pink to do and Google what garnish was served with a cosmopolitan! So excited that it didn’t register until a few hours later that I had NO MARTINI COOKIE CUTTER! DOH! 

What to do? What to do? I shooed my hubby and two kids upstairs so I could compose an email (for anyone with a 2 year old you understand why this couldn’t be done with them around!). I sent out an APB for a martini cookie cutter to almost everyone I knew in the area.  Can you believe no one had one?? I had one friend with a margarita cutter but it would have been more manipulation than I was ready for.

So…I decided to go it alone. Manually making my martini cookies. First…I drew out a circle about the size of cookie I wanted. Then I sketched the shape and outlined in marker the final shape lines.

 

My hubby then cut it out of the paper and traced it onto cardstock using a straight edge to get the lines nice and perfect. He’s an engineer…this is where he really shines J

 

Once the template was created I started rolling out the dough and cutting out the martini glasses using a knife. I thought this would take longer than it did but it seemed to go quickly. Happy it was only 2 dozen!

 

Baked ‘em up and then let them sit overnight to cool. Next stop…icing town!

 Decided I’d outline the entire cookie to give the glass an “edge”. Then filled in the glass and pink “adult juice” hehe For the pink I used 2 parts tulip red, 2 parts fuchsia, and 1 part soft pink (all Americolor gels).

 

After drying I then went back and added some glass shine (light sky blue) and a green lime twist. At the last minute I decided to add a little sanding sugar to the rim…I mean why not more sugar right!?!

 

Packaged them up and sent them to work with my hubby for delivery.  This was a super fun project despite the initial shock that I was attempting a shaped cookie without a cutter. Now I know it IS possible and I won’t be as nervous the next time I find myself caught up in the excitement without my level head 😉

 

Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoyed my story…now I need a drink 😉

I absolutely love these!! I love the pink, I love the sugar rim, I love the blue glass shine, I love the lime twist! I honestly have never tried a Cosmo.. not sure why, I love all the ingredients. I think I shall try one very soon.. like maybe at dinner tonight…

If you haven’t seen Kendra’s work before, go check out her site and her blog. She is just so sweet and makes gorgeous cookies and cakes! Last month she made this cake for me for my bloggy birthday. Sweetest thing ever! Thanks again Kendra!

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Red Velvet Donuts {Guest Post}

I am very happy to introduce my first guest post! Mallory is my coworker’s daughter and she is away at school in Chicago. (Which is too bad because we are like baking soulmates!) Mallory agreed to do a little guest post for me, and what a perfect time because my hubby and I are on vacation!! Thanks again chica!

My name is Mallory and I am a college student with a very large sweet tooth. I’ve always loved baking and filling people’s bellies with delicious treats. Very recently have I started venturing outside of boxed cake and brownie mixes (though they are delicious). Now that I am out of the dorms and in an apartment, I am eager to use my kitchen as much as I can. I’ve actually had to cut back on the baking so I didn’t overload my roommates and myself too much, not that they ever complained! Anyway, a lot of what I bake comes from Pinterest and from this blog.

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A few months ago, I had my very first red velvet cupcake at a wonderful place called Flacos Tacos. I recently found out that these are actually made by Au Bon Pain and distributed, but I still like to pretend that they are from Flacos because it gives me an excuse to go back weekly. 🙂 The cupcake was absolutely magical, and I have yet to find anything like it. Essentially, I’ve been obsessed with red velvet ever since and have been eager to find a recipe. I’ve realized that I have never baked red velvet anything. While searching for the perfect, but somewhat simple recipe to try, I came across a website called velveteenbaker.com through Pinterest. Since I hadn’t yet used this Babycakes Donut Maker my grandma bought me for Christmas, these cute little red velvet donuts definitely caught my eye.

Because I have absolutely no experience baking red velvet or donuts, I figured I would follow this recipe exactly before trying to make it my own.

Ingredients for Donut batter:

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cups buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp red food coloring

1 tbsp natural cocoa powder, not dutch-processed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, sift together all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Make a paste with the cocoa and red food coloring. This part worried me. Mine was powdery rather than pasty and red, but don’t worry because when you add it with the rest of the mixture it will turn out the way it should. Here’s what my “paste” looked like:

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Next, add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, butter and red paste mixture and beat until just combined. The batter should be thicker than normal cake batter. This picture doesn’t help much considering that it’s red on red.

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Fill each donut cup approximately 3/4 of the way full. Bake 5-8 minutes or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Mine baked in about 3-4 minutes, but if you’re baking in donut pans in the actual oven 5-8 will be necessary. This was actually the trickiest part and I made an absolute MESS. As you can see below, the holes in the donut maker are tiny, but I wanted to be precise as possible so that they turned out round and fluffy.

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I thought that using a piping bag would do the trick, but the mixture was way too thick for it. I ended up with red batter all over my cabinets and my arms somehow. I don’t even know how that happened. But I also don’t have much experience with piping bags, so if you have the skill and are feeling gutsy go for it. 🙂 Anyway, I ended up just using a good old-fashioned silverware spoon and hoped for the best. The spoon worked better for me. In the picture below, the piping bag ones are on the left and the better-looking spoon ones are on the right.

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Also, I baked the donuts before I even made the vanilla glaze. That way, I could glaze them all at once and didn’t have to worry about the mixture hardening and becoming chunky.

Ingredients for Vanilla glaze:

2 tbsp hot water

2 cups confectioner’ s sugar

1 tbsp milk (I substituted buttermilk since it was all I had)

½ tsp vanilla extract

In small bowl, stir together all ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved. Use immediately to glaze donuts. You can either toss them in or dip just the tops. If the glaze starts to harden you can add more hot water, though I didn’t need to.

I basically took the donuts by hand (some cooled, some not) and dipped them in the glaze. I let them dry for a minute or so and dipped them again to make the coating a little bit thicker. Here’s the final product. They were yummy and a lot better when fresh. Though I think that next time a cream cheese glaze would be amazing!

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Lemon and Strawberry Cake

I made this cake for Mother’s Day. Actually I made it twice, one for my mommy, and one for my mother-in-law.

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(Sorry the lighting isn’t great in the second one!)

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I made 6″ lemon cakes (with the help of my friend Betty), then whipped up some fresh strawberry buttercream. I basically make my standard buttercream, but substituted almost all of the milk for strawberry puree. I added the strawberry first, then slowly added milk a tablespoon at a time until it was the consistency I was looking for.

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The picture above makes me happy.

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(We’re still working on our kitchen, which is why the walls look funny. It’ll be done soon though, yay!)

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Man… this cake was tasty.

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Oh yeah and I threw in a middle layer of chopped up strawberries mixed with a few drops of puree and a pinch of sugar. Easy, fresh, and yummy!

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After having the first piece at my mother-in-law’s for lunch, my first thought was that I wish I could have more… then I realized I would get another piece after dinner at my parents house that night. 🙂

 

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It was loved by my family members that love sweets, as well as those who don’t care much for them. It was a perfect party cake for a small group.

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Homemade Marshmallows

A while back, I bought this book:

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Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever

The book is super adorable. It’s smallish and has a squishy cover.. and is packed full of gorgeous photos of all these amazing sounding recipes for homemade marshmallows!

The basic recipe & technique flows throughout, so once you get the procedure down you’re ready to get crazy with flavors. My bestie got just as excited about the book as me when I showed it to her, so we decided as we go through the recipes, we would make them together.

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For our first go, we wanted to make basic vanilla mallows for a couple of reasons. Firstly because “fundamentals are the building blocks of fun.” Secondly because Shauna herself loves it more than any of her other wild crazy fun flavors!

I can see why Shauna likes the vanilla ones. So simple yet so amazing! Next time I will add the optional vanilla bean to add some extra vanilla umph!

It turned out to be a quick and easy process (minus having to wait overnight to cut and taste them), so we decided to make a second flavor too. Details on how to make these Black Cherry mallows coming soon!

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Shauna was kind enough to let me share her recipe.. there are a few others on her blog, so go check it out!

Before we get started, there are a few things you NEED to have in order to make these. #1 is a candy thermometer. They aren’t expensive, so if you are dying to make these, go get one!! #2 is a a stand mixer. Obviously not necessary, but you really don’t want to stand and whip these with a hand mixer… with a stand mixer it takes 15 minutes, I can only imagine how long it would take with a hand mixer.

*The first time I made these, I didn’t take any photos. I was too busy concentrating on getting the recipe right! The pictures of the steps below are of funfetti marshmallows I made, which is the same recipe up until the very end. You’ll see when we get there.

Classic Vanilla Marshmallows (from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever)

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Ingredients:

2 packets powdered unflavored gelatin (I used Knox) – about 4 1/2 tsp

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp salt (I don’t have a measuring spoon this small so I just guestimated with my 1/4 tsp)

2 tsp vanilla

**1 cup corn starch

**1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Lightly spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray. The recipe says to use an 8×8, but really you can use whatever you want. The 8×8 makes the mallows about an inch to an inch and a half thick. I imagine a 13×9 would make much thinner mallows.

2. Sift together the corn starch and powdered sugar. If you don’t have a sifter (like me) a whisk is fine. The cornstarch can be kind of chunky (weird word choice but I couldn’t think of anything better) so you want to break it up and mix it as best as possible. **The amounts above yeild way more than you need for just 1 recipe. You need this for almost any mallow recipe, so it’s a good idea to just make this much and save it for later. If you don’t want to you can cut it down by 1/3 or 1/4 and you’ll still have enough.

3. Whisk together the powdered gelatin and cold water (in a microwave safe bowl) until the powder is dissolved, then let sit for 5 minutes.

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(The picture below is after 5 minutes. It’s hard to tell but it kind of solidifies… like gelatin…)

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4. While the gelatin is sitting, combine 1/4 cup of corn syrup, the sugar, 1/4 cup water, and salt in a medium pot. (I learned my second time making these that a medium pot heats the sugar faster than a small pot.) Attach the candy thermometer so that the tip does not touch the bottom of the pot, but instead sits in the mixture. Turn the heat on high and stir occasionally while checking the temperature (you want it to get to about 235-240*).

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5. Put the other 1/4 cup corn syrup in the mixer. By now the gelatin should have been sitting for about 5 minutes. Put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it’s completely melted. Pour this in the mixer with the corn syrup and turn the mixer on low.

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6. When the sugar mixture reaches about 235-240*, pull it off the stove and slowly pour it into the running mixer. (The spill shield is perfect for this.)

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This photo got steamy cuz I took it right after I added all of the hot syrup.

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7. Once all of the sugar mixture is added, turn the mixer up to speed 5-6 and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn the mixer up to speed 8 and set the timer for another 5 minutes. The first picture below is after the first 5 minutes, the second is after the second 5 minutes.

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8. When the timer goes off again, add your vanilla then turn the mixer up to the highest speed for about 2 minutes. Your mallow mixture should be 2-3 times expanded and white in color.

9. Turn off the mixer and pour your mallow goop into the prepared pan. (It’s pretty sticky so you’ll need to scrape and scoop with a spatula of some sort.) Using an offset spatula helps push it into the corners without getting your fingers sticky. Smooth it out as best as possible.

**The rest of the pictures are of funfetti marshmallows. The steps are the same so just ignore the sprinkles. Details on how to make funfetti mallows coming soon!)

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10. Sprinkle the top of your mallow mixture with your powdered sugar mix, then flatten with your hands. Let it rest/dry out overnight (uncovered) in a cool dark spot.

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11. The next day, use a knife to separate the mallow from the sides of the pan.

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12. Dust a cutting board or other flat surface with your powdered sugar mixture, then get the mallow out of your pan. It should easily come out in one piece, but it might need a nudge or pull with your fingers.

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13. Cut the mallows however you’d like (squares are easy) and dust the cut (aka sticky) sides in more powder. I found it was easiest to just throw a couple cut pieces in the bowl of powdered sugar and stir it around to coat, then shake off any excess.

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14. Store mallows spread out and uncovered for the first couple days so that they don’t regain moisture and stick together.

The whole process seems daunting but it’s actually easy and fast. You can do it!!

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SF Giants Cookies!

I am so excited that these cookies finally had a reason to happen!

My hubby is a die-hard Giants fan and always has been. Naturally I had the choice to either get on board, or be forever miserable and bored and angry about the TV takeovers. Okay, so I still get that way, but only after so many days in a row.

I really enjoy going to the games, and I have gained quite the wardrobe of black and orange over the last couple years.

These cookies were super fun to make because I was given free range to make whatever I wanted. They are for my coworker’s dinner group, who were having a Giants baseball themed get-together.

I have all the necessary parts.

Balls & Bats…

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Some of our boys…

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Logos… I made these by printing and cutting out a logo, poking holes in the icing with a toothpick, then connecting the dots.

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A couple “Fear the Beard” silhouettes… I made these by just eyeballing it.

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… and a couple Pandas! Love these guys.

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I’m sure I will be doing these again soon. I have so many more shapes I thought of after I had already finished baking.

Black & Orange!!!

 

 

 

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Homemade Kettle Corn

I crave kettle corn all the time.

It’s sweet, crunchy, salty… the perfect craving food to fill every need. And so easy to eat!

It’s not one of those things you can just go to the store to buy. At least not here in Northern California.

You can get it at fairs and baseball games and very few other places. You gotta get it when you can otherwise you may not see any for a while.

Two weeks ago my hubby and I were at a Giants game, and the ENTIRE time I was looking for a kettle corn vendor to come up the stairs and make my day. No one ever came! I was devastated.

I decided I better learn to make it myself or else I may never get it when I need it again.

This recipe is sooooo easy, you’re CRAZY if you are not already planning on making this.

Seriously.

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Homemade Kettle Corn – recipe from SavorySweetLife.com

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels (I used white popcorn)

1/3 cup sugar

salt

**you will need a large pot (4-5 qts) with a lid

1. Pour the oil into your large pot and turn the heat on high.

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2. Measure your popcorn and sugar into a bowl and shake it a bit to mix it up.

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3. Drop 4 popcorn kernels into your oil. (When they pop, your oil is hot enough.)

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4. After the kernels pop, dump in the sugar and the rest of the kernels.

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5. Quickly stir them into the oil with a spatula, then put the lid on top the pot.

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6. Holding the pot on top of or slightly above the burner, start to shake the pot. Once the kernels really start popping, turn off the burner and continue to shake the pot.

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7. When the kernels slow and there is barely any popping, remove the lid and dump the popcorn into a large bowl.

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8. Sprinkle with salt, stir it up, and sprinkle some more salt. Test. Stir and sprinkle more salt if necessary.

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THAT’S IT! The whole process took maybe 5 or 6 minutes.

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We actually ate most of it right away. Then I felt bad because my brother was at work and didn’t get any yet. Plus I forgot to take pictures of all the steps.

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So….. I made another batch. Now you should make some. Ready, go!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Oh my my…

These babies are the result of a hot night that Mr. Chocolate Chip Cookie and Mrs. Brownie spent together… in secret… but I am outting them. Because the world needs to meet this baby.

I saw them on Natasha’s blog Butter and immediately knew I wanted to make them. I adapted my recipe a bit based on ingredients I had on hand, but the idea was all Natasha’s.

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First we’re gonna start with some chocolate chip cookie dough. One of the best things in the world if you ask me.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (adapted from Butter)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup), melted & slightly cooled

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups + 2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together sugars and melted butter until smooth. (I always put the sugar in the bowl first then put the butter on top.)

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Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to butter mixture until fully combined.

Stir in chips by hand.

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Line 13×9 pan with parchment paper. Make tablespoon sized balls of dough and drop into baking dish. (Let’s pretend I didn’t forget to take a picture at this part, okay?)

Next comes the brownie batter… I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like chocolate, which includes brownies. Don’t believe me? Search my blog for brownies. You’ll get 1 actual brownie recipe before this.

Anyways… I couldn’t use Natasha’s recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients called for, so I used a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com. When I did a google search for “homemade brownie recipe” it was the first that came up. And it looked easy and that’s how I roll.

Brownies (as found here on AllRecipes.com)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Mix together oil, sugar and vanilla. Looks weird at this point…

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Beat in eggs. Looks a little better now.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

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Slowly add to oil mixture until fully incorporated.

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Pour over the cookie dough balls and make sure batter gets into each corner.

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Look how beautiful it is.

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Lets look again.

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Ooooh, aaahhh…

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Okay enough of that. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. It took mine 25 minutes. Toothpick should come out with wet crumbs, but not wet batter.

Half cookie amazingness, half soft rich brownie.

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Even I enjoyed these. Well, one anyway. I might have to wait till tomorrow to have another.

As always, brother approved.

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Next time I make these, I will press the cookie into the bottom of the pan (to form an entire layer) then pour the brownie mix on top. Even distribution would have made these even better!

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Angel Food Cupcakes

My mommy’s birthday was last week and her favorite is angel food cake. Last year’s was a fun twist, but I wanted to do something different this time.

I don’t own a tube pan for baking angel food cake, so I had to get creative. I also had to do some research on angel food. Let’s learn a bit, shall we?

Angel food cake is mostly made of egg whites, which makes it uber light and fluffy. The tube pan ensures that the cake is heated equally from all sides at the same rate. The tube pan cannot be non-stick, as the cake needs to be able to cling to the sides as it rises. After it is baked, it has to be cooled upside down, or else the cake will collapse in on itself and the cake will not be as light and fluffy as possible. The cake has to be cut from the sides of the pan to be released, so a bundt pan cannot be used as it will be nearly impossible to remove from the pan.

Okay all details aside, I decided to try and make cupcakes. I was going to go paperless and then try to dry the cupcakes upside down… but when I got home and looked at the angel food cake mix (ahem, Betty Crocker) there was a cupcake recipe right on the side of the box! So I made them like regular cupcakes, and yes they did collapse a little, but they were still light and tasted amazing.

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For the frosting I wanted something light (exnay on the uttercreambay) but I didn’t really want to do whipped cream because (don’t hate me) I don’t like whipped cream… So I decided to revisit this marshamllow frosting recipe I made a while back for these chocolate cupcakes.

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It was the perfect light fluffy texture to go with the light fluffy cupcake. Top it with a couple pieces of strawberry and they were perfect!

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Mom approved!

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