Category Archives: Cakes

Gender Reveal Funfetti Cupcakes

I’m going to start off by getting politically correct. I only named this post “Gender Reveal” because that’s the term everyone uses, that’s how it’ll be searched, and that’s how people are going to know what I’m talking about. People throw around the terms “sex” and “gender” as if they’re the same thing – but they are not.

The correct term for this party should be “Sex Reveal Party” because that’s what you find out when you’re pregnant – the sex of the baby. Sex is literally the physical body parts. Gender on the other hand, is how the person identifies. For most people, their sex and gender are aligned. In some rare instances, the person truly deep down feels like they should have been born with the opposite body parts because they feel like the opposite sex on the inside. Since we obviously can’t tell what the baby’s gender will be while it’s still in utero, we should only ever be referring to their sex.

Anyway….

I got the amazing opportunity to be the baker for a friend’s sex reveal party. Mama-to-be and Daddy-to-be did not even know the sex, so the tech actually sent me an email directly to let me know the color for the big surprise!

I just found the best ever Homemade Funfetti Recipe, and Mama-to-be requested funfetti, so it was perfect! (I’m not going to list the ingredients and directions here since I just posted it, but go check it out if you want to make some awesome funfetti!!)

The best thing about funfetti from scratch is that you can have whatever colored sprinkles you want. I added just pink and blue for these special cupcakes.

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After baking them, I used a melon baller to core out a hole in the top of just 3 of the cupcakes. Then I made my Easy Buttercream Recipe, colored a small amount, and squeeze it into the hole.

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Since I was topping these with white frosting, and I didn’t want the color to seep into the white and ruin the surprise, I left them to crust over a bit while I went to Michaels. 🙂

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Then I just piped swirls on the tops and sprinkled the tops with colored sugar.

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Mama-to-be and Daddy-to-be each got a special cupcake with the color hidden inside.

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The 3rd cupcake with the color was mixed in with the rest of the cupcakes and randomly distributed to their party guests. One lucky guest got the surprise center cupcake announcing to everyone that they’re having a BOY!!

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These cupcakes were super fun to make and fun to be able to know before the excited parents to be!

**

I posted the cored-out cupcake picture above (without the color) on my Instagram to tease the Mama-to-be, and just said something like “Making gender reveal cupcakes” …. and I didn’t even think about it but everyone thought it was MY reveal! Haha, nope – sorry guys, mine is going to be a surprise when Baby comes!!!

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake

My brother joined the navy earlier this year. We are very close – he actually has lived with me for most of the last 3 years.

He came to town on leave to surprise me. He’s been gone for 6 months, and this was the first time in our lives we’ve been away from each other for more than a couple weeks. It was a really good surprise, I cried for like 20 minutes straight. My sneaky husband knew everything and got it all on video. 🙂

While he was here we had a big family BBQ so everyone could see him. I (of course) asked to bring dessert. My brother is after all my best fan tester.

I had been eyeing this cake by Lindsay for a while now, and I knew an ice cream cake would be a perfect summer BBQ dessert that would impress not only my brother, but the entirety of my sweets loving family.

I decided to switch up her recipe a bit. Mostly because (and I know I’m in the minority here) I don’t think caramel and peanut butter belong together. Both are fabulous and both pair perfectly with chocolate, but I like to keep them separate.

Also – this cake is SOOO easy to make. If you can bake a box of brownies, you can make this ice cream cake!

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cakeadapted from Life, Love and Sugar

Ingredients:

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients called for on box (I used fat free brownies)

8 oz brick cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

8 oz Cool Whip, thawed (I used fat free)

Chocolate Syrup

Large bag Reese’s Miniatures, unwrapped and chopped

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Directions:

1. Bake brownies in greased 13×9 pan, but reduce baking time to only 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

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2. With stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, milk, sugar, and peanut butter until completely combined.

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3. Carefully fold Cool Whip into peanut butter mixture.

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4. Top cooled brownies with 1 cup of chocolate syrup. Spread all the way to the edges.

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5. Drop chopped Reese’s on top of the chocolate syrup in an even but hearty layer.

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6. Cover Reese’s in peanut butter mixture and spread smooth.

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7. Cover entire pan in plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours, or overnight.

8. When ready to eat, cut cake into squares and top each square with more chocolate syrup and chopped Reese’s.

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This cake is extremely rich. My brother and my family loved it. Honestly it was a little bit too rich for me to handle, but I’m not a huge chocolate fan anyway so don’t necessarily take my word for it. 😉

I used fat free/low fat everything I could for this recipe. I figured why not – there’s enough sugar in it anyway it’s definitely not going to be low on flavor! Feel free to use the full-fat version if you prefer!

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What’s It Gonna Bee? [My Baby Shower]

My mommy is AMAZING. She threw a wonderful baby shower for me a couple weeks ago. When trying to find a good and easy theme, I stumbled upon “What’s It Gonna Bee?” on Pinterest. Usually this is used for gender reveal parties, but since hubby and I aren’t finding out the sex of our little one, we thought the theme was perfect.

Here is the invitation:

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I made the treats. People were kind of freaking out that I shouldn’t have to make the desserts for my own party, but I feel like it would have been more weird to come to a party for me and there not be Carrie’s Creations cookies!

I fell in love with this photo a while back, and if anyone knows who it belongs to please let me know! I saved the photo from a google search to my phone and the uploaded that to my Pinterest board later… but I have been unable to find it since to give credit to where credit is due.

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I was unable to find a cutter in this shape, but I did find this cutter made by Cristin’s Cookies.

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I modified the inspiration picture above to fit Cristin’s cutter shape, and I have to say – I think I like it better!

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I outlined the whole bee in black, then filled in each section one color at a time.

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In addition to the cookie favors, I made cupcakes. Lemonade Cupcakes to be exact – some of my favorite, and they fit with the warm weather (hottttt weather actually) and the yellow theme.

Here is my inspiration picture, also found through google searching, and also without proper credit.

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I had a hard time finding little bees for the tops. I eventually stumbled upon these sugar bees at Layer Cake Shop, and they were perfect! I piped the frosting using a basic round tip to mimic the hive look, without overdoing it on the frosting.

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20130724-114737.jpg Here are a couple of the other details from the party:

(this shirt I made/wore)

20130724-114907.jpg (my fingernails that my bestie did for me)

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(the table centerpieces I made)

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(the drink table)

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(the fruit salad a family friend made – her sex vote is girl btw, haha…)

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(some of the other foods served, and the little tags I made.. they’re hard to see but each tag has a little bee on it similar to the centerpieces)

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(and one of the games we played… everyone got to make their guess, and we will just have to wait and see who gets the closest!)

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It was a great shower and thank you to Mommy, Sandy, and Ann for helping out!!

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Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

I’ve always wanted a good homemade funfetti recipe. Every time I try one that I find online, I am disappointed. Boxed funfetti is perfection, but cupcakes are appreciated more (especially for a party!) when they’re made from scratch.

This time I decided to start with a well-known blogger’s “best ever” recipe and adapt as I needed to in order to make funfetti. Problem is, I still wanted it to be easy and able to make with basic ingredients. Ain’t nobody got time for fancy ingredients or steps.

I ended up going with Glory’s Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes from her blog Glorious Treats. Quick word about Glory – she actually lives within 15-20 minutes of me in a neighboring city! I’ve never met her, but I think she’s fabulous and I hope to someday. 🙂

**Some of the ingredients below have an “or” in parenthesis. Use whichever ingredient(s) you have on hand!**

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakesrecipe adapted from Glorious Treats

Ingredients:

1 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp flour  (or 1 1/4 cups cake flour and NO cornstarch)

2 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk  (or 1/2 cup buttermilk and skip the vinegar/lemon juice)

1/2 tsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup sprinkles (jimmies work best)

Directions:

1. Whisk together flour and cornstarch. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside.

3. Beat eggs 10-20 seconds, then slowly add sugar and beat. Once full combined, beat in extracts and oil.

4. Slowly add half the flour mixture with the mixer on low. Then add half the milk and combine well. Slowly add the other half of the flour mixture, then the other half of the milk.

5. Turn off mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the sprinkles by hand.

6. Carefully pour mixture into a lined cupcake pan, filling each liner about 2/3 the way. Do not overfill!

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7. Bake at 350* for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes about 15 cupcakes.

I topped mine with my Easy Buttercream.

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Cowgirl Cookies

These cookies were made for a very good friend of mine. We’ve known each other since 1st or 2nd grade. A couple years ago I “introduced” her to a coworker of mine, and they are set to be married in September!

(I’m hoping I can make it to the wedding, it’s 4 days before my due date! Either this baby needs to come pretty early or on time or late for me to be able to make it. Luckily it’s in town so even if I’m still carrying baby I should be able to make it!)

Anyway, these cookies were for her cowgirl themed bridal shower. The wedding colors are orange and deep royal purple.

Here is a pic of the invitation:

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I liked the brown, so I decided to go with that for my accent color on the boots.

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There are three kinds of flowers going to be used for the wedding: orange gerbera daisies, orange roses, and (my favorite!) tiger lilies. Unfortunately I don’t have a cutter for a tiger lily, and my only rose cutter included a stem and leaf and I didn’t want to have to mix green as well… so I went with the ever easy, ever stunning gerbera daisy.

Instead of outlining the whole flower ahead of time and filling each section individually, I decided to do the whole thing, then add the outlines afterward. I did every other petal, then came back and added the remaining petals. I used a boo boo stick (a toothpick would work) to smooth together the touching petals, then added the yellow center at the end.

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I love how simple and fun these turned out to be!

For the party I also made cupcakes. The bride requested chocolate and funfetti cupcakes. I frosting the chocolate cupcakes (recipe here) with bright orange roses.

20130724-105620.jpg The funfetti cupcakes were frosted in a bright purple swirl. I used a brand-new homemade recipe, which will be in the next post!

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Reese’s Cupcakes

Tomorrow is a coworker’s birthday. She asked me to bring chocolate cupcakes. Too boring for me, so I had to get fancy.

These are fun, rich, and look fancy!

Reese’s Cupcakes (yields 24 cupcakes)

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The cupcake base is the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. It’s right on the back of the cocoa box. I have made them a couple times here and here. Aaaannnnnd I just realized I didn’t post the actual recipe either time so here it is:

Chocolate Cupcakes – adapted from Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup boiling water

(I know it’s a lot of ingredients but it’s easy – I promise!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl).

2. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3. Carefully add boiling water and mix in thoroughly by hand. (If you try to use the stand mixer, water will splash everywhere. Trust me. Don’t do it.) Batter will be very thin.

4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 the way. Bake for 11 minutes. While they are baking, start unwrapping miniature Reese’s cups.

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5. After 11 minutes, remove the cupcake pans from the oven. Carefully press a Reese’s cup into the top of each cupcake and return to the oven. Bake for another 11 minutes.

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6. Let cool completely before making the frosting.

Some of the cups sank lower than others for the second half of baking…

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By the way, how cute are these liners? They are the only non-super-girly liners I could find with orange on them. I felt like orange was necessary because, hello – Reese’s!

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Now on to the good stuff….

Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

1 lb powdered sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tbsp milk + 2 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Put powdered sugar in the bowl first. Cut up the butter into small slices or chunks, and spread out on top of the powdered sugar. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and 3 tbsp of the milk to the bowl. (I know this sounds silly, but putting the powdered sugar on the bottom helps the other ingredients incorporate better.)

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2. Mix on low until powdered sugar is incorporated and will no longer fly across the kitchen. Beat on medium speed until frosting is smooth. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of milk one at a time until fully incorporated.

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I frosted my cupcakes with a large closed star tip. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to cover the secret Reese’s cup inside the cupcake. Top with other Reese’s cup and ta-da!

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These cupcakes are super rich and SO dreamy with the peanut butter frosting. How have I never made peanut butter frosting before?!

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Lemon Poke Cupcakes

Poke cake. It’s a great invention.

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically a cake with lots of holes poked in the top after it is baked and cooled, then some kind of liquid is poured over the top and allowed to seep into the top and holes.

I made a raspberry lemonade poke cake a while back, see it here.

My mother in law asked me to bring cupcakes to our Mother’s Day lunch, and I immediately decided to make lemon poke cupcakes. Lemon and Mother’s Day just go together to me – I don’t know if its because it’s spring, or if it just reminds me of moms and grandmas, but it always seems to be a big hit so I guess I’m on to something!

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These cupcakes couldn’t be easier.

1. Bake lemon cupcakes and let cool completely. I used my favorite boxed mix – Betty! Feel free to use your own recipe. The magic of these is really the glaze anyway.

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2. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke 10-12 holes into the top of each cupcake. They should only go about halfway down each cake.

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3. Mix together 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 2 tsp lemon juice with a small spatula. (I used bottled lemon juice and it was just as good, though I probably would have used real lemons if I had them.)

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4. Using the small spatula, “paint” the glaze on the top of each cupcake. You don’t need a lot, but you do want to get some on on most of the cake. It will slowly seep down into the holes and dry thin.

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That’s it!

These cupcakes were so moist and just a little tart. They were a total hit with the family, and I only wish one batch had made more!

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Angel Food Whoopie Pies

My mommy loves angel food cake. For the past couple years I have made something angel-food-cake related for her birthday. See here and here for past posts.

This year I used my heart whoppie pie pan to make little love cakes.

I used the same recipe as last year for the frosting, but switched it up to make it strawberry flavored. Aaaaand I kind of over-whipped it so it turned out more like a strawberry whipped cream and less like strawberry marshmallow.

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Angel Food Whoopie Pies

I used a boxed cake mix. It’s too easy, all you have to add is water. I prepared the batter according to the box directions, then used a medium cookie scoop to dollop batter into each well of my whoopie pie pan.

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I tapped it on the counter a few times and jiggled it side to side until it settled into the lumps of the hearts.

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Bake at 375* for 10 minutes.

I didn’t want them to fall too much, so once I took it out of the oven I turned the pan upside-down on top of a couple drink glasses. Probably not necessary, but it couldn’t hurt.

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Once the pan was cool, I used a butter knife to carefully cut around the edge of each heart. Once the edges were free, they were pretty easy to pop out. Lay bottoms up on a cooling rack until ready to frost.

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Strawberry Whipped Frosting – adapted from this frosting recipe

Ingredients:

Some fresh strawberries ( I used about a basket, but it made a lot so I probably only needed a few)

1 cup granulated sugar

about 5 tbsp water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Clean, hull, and cut up the strawberries, then puree. I used a manual food processor to pulse them as much as possible. I guess you could blend them, but I didn’t mind a little bit of chunks, it was going to get strained anyway.

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2. Cook the strawberry puree in a small pot on low heat for about 30 minutes. I just wanted to reduce it a little… I could have cooked it longer, but I probably could have also skipped this step. I like to think it made a difference so just play along with me. 🙂

3. Once the strawberry goop cooled down a bit, I poured it through a strainer to get rid of the big chunks that were still left. Then I poured some into a measuring cup about 1/2 way up to the 1/3 cup mark. This clearly isn’t exact science here… a little more or a little less won’t hurt anything. Pour any remaining goop into a small jar to store in the fridge for later use. (I’m thinking ice cream topping!!)

4. Add enough water to bring it to 1/3 cup and pour back into the small pot. Add the granulated sugar and cream of tartar, and cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.

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5. While the syrup is cooking, whip egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. (Use the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer.)

6. When syrup is bubbly, slowly add to egg whites while mixer is running. Whip for about 7-10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If you err on the side of less stiff, it will be more of a marshmallow texture. If you over whip (like I did) it will be closer to a whipped cream texture. Either would pair well with these!

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OH! and I also added a tad of hot pink coloring because it wasn’t pink enough from just the strawberries for my liking. 🙂

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7. Put whipped frosting into a piping bag with a large tip (star or round would work fine). Squeeze onto one side of the whoopie pies and top with the other side. If you opted for the softer more marshmallowy texture for the frosting, let it sit for about 30 seconds before you top it with the other piece of whoopie pie. You don’t want to squish your frosting too much.

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These were YUMMY. Because angel food cake is typically tall and fluffy, the shortness of these whoopie pies made them a little denser and stickier. It was almost like taking a piece of angel food cake and squishing it up before biting into it. 🙂

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The strawberry frosting was subtle. Next time I would add even more strawberry. I was just nervous about messing with the liquids in this recipe too much.

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I only made about a dozen of these as whoopie pies (the rest were just regular cupcakes). It was kind of a pain because angel food cake has to stick to the pan to rise, so I had to cut every single one out of the pan, then wash the pan before I could bake the next batch. It was worth it for a couple batches because they came out so cute! Besides, they were for my mommy. 🙂

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Superhero Treats

Alex just turned 3! Last year he had a circus themed party (last year’s treats can be seen here).

I have to share the invite for the party, it’s just too cute! It was also the inspiration for the cookies.

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I made cupcakes of all different colors with superhero toppers…

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And cookies as favors for the guests (who all dressed up as superheros!).

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For the cookies I played around on the computer until I found 3 different fonts I liked. Then I just eyeballed it as I piped on the words. The black makes them pop against all the bright colors.

Here is a picture of them all set out at the party. The big cake in the middle was made by Alex’s mama (so cute!).

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Santa Cruz Wedding Treats

Last October I made treats for the dessert table for a friend’s Santa Cruz Beach Wedding. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the wedding because it was out of town and during the week. Another friend who was in the wedding party delivered the goodies for me, but I forgot to take any photos before I handed them over. The wedding photos just came in, so I wanted to share the treats now!

I made 2 different flavors of mini cupcakes. The tiffany blue ones were bubblegum flavored (see here) and the pale yellow ones were lemonade flavored (see here).20130323-153022.jpg

Of course I also made cookies. The couple has a beloved boxer that actually took part in the ceremony and was in all the pictures. The bride asked for cookies of their pup, and this is what I came up with.

I had a hard time trying to get the facial features down, so I decided to stick to the basic outline and the coloring. (He has pale grey spots on his body.)

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The wedding favors were classic S’more Pops (see here and here). I made simple little tags with the Bride and Groom’s name and their wedding date.

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Thanks Katie for letting me use your pictures! Like I mentioned, I forgot to take photos of these treats… all photo credits go to Grandeur Photography.

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