Monday, April 25, 2011

Cupcakes and Crown Royal

The Easter Bunny has arrived...
... and he brought cupcakes!
I'm a legal adult and the youngest in my whole family, so Easter is no longer about chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. In fact, it's about bacon and Crown Royal (for breakfast!). What better cupcake to accompany our Easter brunch than a carrot cake... and Boy! They were GOOOD. Before we get into the cupcakes themselves, I'll back up and explain why we booze up on Easter morning. My dear Uncle Don, whose family is from Czechoslovakia (I think?) brought us his tradition of Speck/Schpek/Shpeck.. shoot. It's a delightful meal which is so sinful that we probably would die if we ate it more than once a year. It's a simple process:
1. Make bacon, save grease.
2. Make more bacon, save more grease.
3. Think you have enough bacon? Make more.
4. Yes, keep the grease.
5. Light your grill and open up a big, crusty loaf of sourdough bread.
6. Bread? Where? The Grill? YES.
7. Just put the bread on the grill? HELL NO. You must brush your bread with bacon grease first!
8. Grill your bread- not for too long, though! Make sure both sides are fully covered in bacon grease.
9. Chop up some raw vidalia onions and put your salt on the table. Don't ask any questions.
10. Pour a glass of Crown Royal for everyone there. Make the glass extra tall for your Dad and Uncle.
11. Assemble Speck.

Place a piece of grilled sourdough on your plate, then add your raw onion (don't be shy! The Crown will mask the onion smell), add bacon, add more bacon, salt heavily. Follow with Crown Royal!

Let's move on to the cupcakes! Carrot Cake with traditional Cream Cheese frosting, rolled in chopped walnuts and accented with modeling chocolate carrots and bunnies :) They're precious and delicious. My new go-to Carrot Cake recipe is adapted from AllRecipe's Sam's Famous Carrot Cake. I also topped with Cream Cheese Frosting (lot's of cream cheese flavor.. only 2 cups of powdered sugar in this one!)

They were delicious, and the more perverse members of my family really enjoyed eating the heads of the modeling chocolate bunnies. All in all, it was an overwhelmingly successful and fun holiday with awesome cupcakes! What more can I ask for?

Oh, yeah. I can ask for good health. <sigh> On a side note, I've had two severe episodes in the last few days, one of which ended in a trip to the ER. I'm heading up to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville next month, hopefully they'll have some better treatment ideas.
Until then, I'm sticking to the best medicine: CUPCAKES! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cookies and, erm, cookies?

Oh no, you didn't. Oh yes, I did.
Confession: I love all things cookies and cream. Cookies and cream candy bars, cookies and cream ice cream, and- apparently- cookies n' cream cupcakes!
I experienced a lot of inner turmoil over these bad boys. Do I make a gooey chocolate cupcake with cookies n' cream frosting, or cookies n' cream cupcake with cookies n' cream frosting? It was a tough decision. I raked my mind and... AH HA! An image of a cupcake with a cookie in the bottom popped into my brain. (The part of my brain that actually works, oh dysautonomia.) I'd seen it before, and I made a mental note to try it... So here began, "Operation: Cookies n' Cream Cupcake With an Oreo Cookie in the Bottom and Cookies n' Cream Cream Cheese Frosting."
Several good things came from this:
First, I was able to use my beautiful black and white swirly damask cupcake liners. See pictures, they're precious.
Second, I got to kill two birds with one stone. My wonderful grandparents were in town for the weekend and they came over with my mother for brunch in the morning. Then, Martin's parents and aunt and uncle came over for a barbeque dinner. Two families: one cupcake recipe. LOVE IT!
(DISCLAIMER: No birds or stones were actually harmed in the making of these cupcakes.)
Third, the cupcakes are dreamy. The Oreo cookie chunks baked up into these soft, chocolate, cake like nuggets of love folded into a beautiful, light white cake. The cream cheese frosting balanced the sweetness perfectly, and the little flecks of oreo said "cookies and cream".

Well, yes... They are as delicious as they look.
PS, wanna play a game?
Take a shot for every time I said "cream" in this post.

Thats, twelve shots. Have fun! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lemon Berry LOVE!

Could I have a new favorite? I think I do. Last weekend, I asked my Dad what cupcake flavor he would like, and he said Blueberry. What every happened to chocolate or vanilla? Even red velvet if you're feeling really crazy. But blueberry? I've heard of blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins, but never blueberry cupcakes. Not to mention, blueberries really don't come into season until later in the summer. But, he's my Dad, and what he wants, he gets.

This is one of those recipes where nothing came out the way I intended. Yet, the finished product was absolutely phenomenal. I knew from the begining I wanted to do a lemon cake with a blueberry frosting. That happened... kind of. The finished product was, officially, a "lemon cupcake with blueberry filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting, garnished with a blueberry drizzle, lemon sugar, and a candied lemon"... That title is entirely too long, so Lemon Berry is it! :) The lemon cake is particularly nice, and a good contrast to the sweet blueberry and syrupy lemon garnish. I used Better Homes and Garden's Lemon Cake Recipe and was very happy with the outcome. (Note to self: next time I want to make anything lemon, do it on a day when I don't have numerous unexplained cuts on my fingers. ugh.) Now, things got tricky. I started making my cream cheese buttercream frosting and adding frozen blueberries that I'd thawed and sent through the food processor. Things started to go south, quickly. The frosting got so thin, there was no return. I added powdered sugar, I added corn starch, I added more cream cheese. I tried everything. So, I hid it in the center of the cupcake as a filling, not a frosting. I went back to my go-to cream cheese frosting and added a little bit of lemon extract, and it turned out very well. What to do with the leftover blueberry goo? Drizzle it over the top! I also rubbed some lemon zest with some granulated sugar and sprinkled it over the top. The piece de resistance is the candied lemon slice- a pain in the patootie but totally worth it. I followed Martha Stewart's instructions and simmered my lemon slices in a simple syrup for about a hour and a half. They were gorgeous!
The finished product :)

The blueberry filling

Definately some of my favorites!

After I piped in the blueberry filling.

slice the lemons....

simmer in simple syrup!
Well, guys, I think these turned out pretty well. What do you think?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring has Sprung (Part 2)

Remember when I said I'd find my digital camera? I did. I charged it, and I took pictures of the Easter cupcakes that I had left. Here's the thing... either the Dysautonomia or one of the medicines make my hands shake likes it's nobody's business, so accomplishing a clear, beautiful picture like some of these other blogs might not happen. I guess that's what makes Cupcakes on Bedrest so special :)

To elaborate on the construction, the chicks' heads are a marshmallow- the cream cheese buttercream was piped over it and the rest of the cake. I also tried to pipe up little "tails" on the cuppies too, I think it's more apparent in person. The eyes, beaks, and cheeks on the bunnies are a gumpaste/modeling chocolate blend. I was really happy with the consistency these dried to. Yes, they were a pain in the ass to make. The bunny ears are also marshmallows with food-safe pink gel painted inside, with some shimmery sprinkles for fun :) The bunnies are covered in shredded coconut. The nests are all buttercream, colored and piped, with Cadbury Eggs.

... drumroll, please.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

That's right! Spring is in full bloom... all over my dining room table.
I would say, "it's not what it looks like." But it is. Except the vodka, that was really used in the decorating. Today, my best friend Megan came over and we did a "trial run" on Easter Cupcakes. If you've read my last blogs, you'll know that I've had a slight obsession with making and decorating cupcakes for Easter. Truth is, I couldn't wait another three weeks. I will confess that we used boxed cake mix... and it made me wonder why the hell I go through the trouble of making recipes from scratch. Alas, I will continue to do so. The cupcakes are vanilla and we used my favorite cream cheese buttercream frosting. They were delicious! But, this was more about aesthetics. We made Easter Chicks, Bunny Rabbits, Nests, and a couple of flowers. I think they turned out a-dor-a-ble!

They're almost too cute to eat. Good thing I am surrounded by men who don't mind ;)

PS, I promise to locate my digital camera and start taking pictures with that instead of my Droid. Hey, it's the quality of pictures that stink, not the quality of cupcakes!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm not from boston, but...

I do ADORE my new boston creme cupcake recipe! Made these gorgeous cuppies today while dealing with side effects from fainting last night and the medicinal concoctions of the day. I knew I needed the therapuetic effect of baking, but I wouldn't be able to stand. So, I set up shop with a swivel chair at my kitchen island, right between my oven and the countertop, and started baking. I saw an idea on Food Network from Sandra Lee- who hosts a show called "Semi Homemade". In Sandra's version, boxed yellow cake mix, boxed pudding, and boxed icing combine to make a Boston Creme Pie inspired cupcake. In an effort to make mine a little more authentic, I made yellow cake from scratch (Joy of Baking's recipe... is there any other one?!), with a pastry cream filling (Wilton's recipe), and chocolate ganache (no recipe, it's two ingredients!) I also made modeling chocolate for the first time, used white Ghiradelli chocolate and colored it for little flower accents on the cupcakes.

The SNAFU's:
1. The damned pastry cream. Can I leave it there? The first batch came out more like tapioca pudding, bumps and all. Why? No idea. There are four raw egg yolks in the recipe that go right over the heat. My best guess is that the eggs scrambled a little bit. I pitched that and started over with lower heat, a better eye and a stronger stir, then VOILA! Gorgeous, smooth, why-bother-putting-in-the-cupcakes-when-we-can-eat-it-from-the-bowl custard. I used my new tip to inject a tablespoon or so of that into the cupcakes and allowed them to set up in the fridge. Crisis averted.
2. The damned ganache. This one is a classic lesson on the art of KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid! The ganache turned out beautifully, as did the cupcakes. Getting the ganache onto the cupcakes without it looking like a chocolate tsunami was the issue. I started with a spoon and got some major drippage. "X" that idea. So, I got fancy and grabbed a piping bag and started to pipe. That wasn't any more effective. Back to the drawing board... AH! Just dip the cupcakes in the ganache... Worked like a charm! Sometimes, less is more.

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup half & half or 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream plus 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


About 1 1/3 cups of filling.


In saucepan, blend all ingredients except vanilla. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches the consistency of medium cream sauce. Remove from heat, add vanilla and cool quickly. To prevent a skin from forming, brush with melted butter. Stir before using.

Self Loathing and Cake Decorating Sets

Okay, World... I don't know whether to shamelessly brag or hang my head in embarrassment. You see, I'm the proud new owner of Wilton's "Ultimate Decorating Set" - awesome, right? Yep, my boyfriend bought this for my birthday... which is over a month away. To be honest, this move was calculated, but it turned out slightly more caniving than I intended. Martin and I were heading to Petco (which is so conveniently located in the same plaza as Michael's) when I mentioned I had a coupon for 40% off any single regular-priced item.. ::cough:: the decorating set ::cough:: - I had him in the palm of my hand. He crumbled and told me to wait in the car (with his dignity) and he pranced into the arts and crafts store. In the meantime, I called my Dad, who was in St.Pete with my brother, uncle and pseudo-aunt. Now, when I'm not on godforsaken bedrest, my favorite past time is fishing- a hundred miles offshore with lines screaming and fish jumping, covered in blood, sweat, and salt water. Just thinking about it makes me sad. Sad?!! Yes. Sad. Dysautonomia has thoroughly screwed any chance of me being near a boat, more or less on one or out of land's sight. So, when I called my dad and they were offshore with a box full of grouper and more fish on the line, I lost it. I tried SO hard to stifle the tears as I told Dad to have fun and be safe, but the second I hit the "end" button on my cell phone, I broke down. Poor Martin had no clue what was waiting for him when he came out of the store. He wiped my tears, and we headed home.
You see, I've been obsessing over Easter and the idea of cupcakes with little chicks, bunnies, flowers... OH the options! All of which need special tips, bags, colors, et cetera, that are included in this kit! Martin knows this. So, as we got home and I continued feeling sorry for myself, Martin knew just the thing to cheer me up. Yes, I was allowed to open my present a month early. No, I'm not ashamed. It's not like I did this on purpose. Right?

Well, here I am... done feeling sorry for myself and ready to bake.
On Deck: Boston Creme Cupcakes.

I'll keep you guys posted.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Let's Play Catch UP!

Last week my boyfriend, Martin, started thinking about what we'll be planting in the flower beds this spring. Let's back up... when I say "we", I really mean he. I don't garden, I actually kill our fake plants.The man has orchids in bloom all year long. I adore him for keeping my herbs alive and flourishing. This idea, in conjunction with my first official purchase of real Wilton decorating tips, made me decide to make my own garden--- out of cupcakes. I did some googling and Martin went to home depot, and we set out on our gardens. This is what I ended up with:

So, the cupcakes are Key Lime with a cream cheese buttercream and Pina Colada with coconut buttercream. It was my first time piping flowers and I picked it up suprisingly well. It was also my first time using gumpaste and stamens, which was also suprisingly easy. I was a big fan of the Key Lime cake- and the crusting buttercream, oh my god! My other half didn't share my opinion... he thought the Key Lime cake was way too lime-y. The Pina Colada cake was OK- not sure I would make it again. The cake recipe called for shredded coconut to be folded in and I wasn't a big fan of the texture.

Here is the recipe for crusting cream cheese buttercream, compliments of
SERVES 1 , 4-5 cups (change servings and units)
Ingredients :
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 lb cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
3 1/2 lbs sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter, shortening, cream cheese and extracts. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and salt. Beat on low speed until nice and creamy. If you want whiter icing, try to use butter without dyes available at most health food stores.
NOTE: This recipe is for a stiff consistency. For a thinner consistency, use 3 pounds of powdered sugar instead.
The pots are cheap terra cotta from Home Depot, the leaves are from Wal Mart, and to assemble I just used the green styrofoam stuff (the extent of my gardening knowledge) and scewered the cupcakes into it using toothpicks.

Let's Play Catch UP!

March- St. Patrick's Day on the 17th, and my BIG brother's 21st birthday on the 18th. So, I made vanilla cupcakes and my favorite brownies (recipe below) and sent them with him to share with my Dad's office. (I would have taken them myself, but this blog is also about my lack of driving privileges.) Okay, stopping my self loathing now.

This was before I owned a proper icing tip, so the swirls (created with a snipped ziploc) look more like soft serve ice cream than light, fluffy frosting!

The cupcakes and brownies were soon devoured and all I had left was this picture, compliments of my dad:

My "go-to" brownie recipe: Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies on


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.

Let's Play Catch UP!

February- Strawberries came into season and Valentine's day rolled around! My wonderful grandmother has a phenomenal recipe for strawberry cake that my mother made me for several birthdays. For some reason, my cupcakes turned out really dense, so I turned the frosting into more of a glaze and used cheap gel writing icing from Publix to draw little strawberries. I also had a LOT of leftover frosting and batter, so I baked and iced a 9" round to go with. (The round was also very dense, I must have screwed up the recipe somehow!)