Julia Child's Gingerbread

I followed the recipe to a T, 'cept I added candied ginger. It was delish. I served it with lemon curd. 'Was going to make a white chocolate lemon sauce, but ate too much turkey and, well, you know how that goes.

One more post to follow, before the year's end...

Happy post-Christmas week.



Happy Christmas

While celebrating my birthday in Sonoma, we took a quick trip to SF for some birthday shopping. While there, we visited Citizen Cupcake (oddly placed in the Virgin record store). More on that later, but I will say that I was more impressed with their decorating than the cakes themselves. But this little gingerbread house is so cute I had to post. I'm going to make Julia Child's Ginger Babycakes on Monday (p. 247 Baking with Juila), though I'm going to use my new gingerbread pan, I might have to make a little mini gingerbread house too.

Anyway, here's to a happy 3-day weekend! I'll try to be a better blogger in 2007. I've got a lot on my mind, but I'm too fogged up with Christmas to express myself properly right now.



Her Royal Pie-ness Part 2

I recently celebrated a birthday over the course of about 2 weeks - the first of the celebrations came with Pink Lady Pie from HRP. Bits of the other celebrations call for blogging as well, but it being the Christmas season and all, I'm a little behind. I'll do my best to catch up this week.

I realize pink pie isn't very Christmassy, unless you're celebrating at my house (pink tree), but it is quite possibly the most delicious pie I've ever had, so it needed to be blogged and you need to go make yourself some. If you're not willing to make it a pink Christmas (or New Year's!) then store the recipe away for Valentines pie, or Easter, or for one of those days when you just want something sweet and pink, in the form of pie (or mini pies). Ok, that's it, here's the recipe (look at those yummy insides!):

2 c. diced rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1 pkg. (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. whipped topping
Cook rhubarb and sugar slowly until tender.
Add gelatin dry; stir gently until dissolved.
Let cool and add lemon juice.
Cool to room temperature, fold in whipped topping.
Pour into baked crust and refrigerate.
Top with whipped topping when served.


Guest Bloggamist: Her Royal Pie-ness

Today, in honor of the pie season that kicks off with Thanksgiving, I bring you my first guest bloggamist, Her Royal Pie-ness, and her super scrumtious mini pies:

If you like your pie dough extra flaky and aren’t opposed to a little hydrogenated oil, I would suggest this pie dough recipe

Double-Crust Flaky Pie Dough

Mix in a bowl:

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

Take ½ lb cold unsalted butter (2 sticks) out of fridge and quickly cut into ¼ inch pieces. Add to dry ingredients. Chop the butter into pea-sized pieces with a pastry knife.

Then add ¼ cup solid butter flavored vegetable shortening.

Cut into pea-sized pieces with pastry knife. Don’t let mixture soften. Then drizzle over the mixture 1/3 cup ice water.

Cut into the mixture with a spatula until it is evenly moistened and begins to form small balls. Continue cutting in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks together. But don’t get it too wet.

Split dough into two halves and form into balls. Wrap each tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

When you are ready for the dough, roll it into a 9-10 inch circle. Then place it in a pie dish and form a fluted rim with your fingers.*

If you are opposed to using shortening, then use the same recipe as above without it. It will be equally as delicious, just a little less flaky.

*For mini pies, cut rolled dough into 5-5 ½“ circles. Slip them into the a cupcake tin (I have found that the silicon cupcake tins cook the mini pies more evenly and are easier to clean afterwards). Use every other cup to give the pies enough space. This means you will need 2 cupcake tins to make 12 mini pies. Smooth the dough into the cup and flute the rim with your fingers. Top as you would a normal pie.

Another tip for mini pies is to cook them at a slightly lower temperature and sometimes for a shorter period of time than the recipe calls for. Just keep an eye on them and when they get golden brown on top and the filling bubbles up through the crust and look syrupy.

Grandpa's Cafe Chocolate Pie

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 (9-inch) basket pie crust

- In saucepan combine 1 cup sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cornstarch. Add egg yolks and milk stirring until well mixed. Cook until thick (10-15 minutes- *it took me longer). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

- In medium mixing bowl beat egg white on high speed until soft peaks form. Add 6 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly. Add vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff and glossy.

- Pour filling into baked pie shell. Top with beaten egg whites, being cared to completely cover filling, sealing at edges of crust. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until light golden on the peaks. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to set.

Apple Pie

Prepare and roll out double crust pie dough. Line a pie dish with half of the dough (or 6-12 mini pies.) Set the other half aside for the pie top.

Peel and slice 6 cups of cooking apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. In a large bowl, mix together:

¾ cups sugar

2 tbsp flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon (I use more to taste)

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Add apple slices and mix until thoroughly coated. Place mixture in pie pan. Trim dough if necessary. Place other half of rolled dough on top and cut edges if necessary. Seal and crimp edges as desired. Cut slits into the top of the pie to vent. If making a normal size pie, cover edges with foil to prevent burning. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire wrack.

Rhubarb Pie

Prepare double crust pie dough. Roll out half and line a pie dish. Trim edges if necessary and refrigerate. Roll the other half out and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut 1 ¾ to 1 ½ pounds of rhubarb stalks. (Use thin skinned, pink rhubarb, no bigger than your thumb.)

Measure 5 cups and combine with:

1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups sugar (use larger amount when rhubarb is more mature.)

¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca or cornstarch (cornstarch for lattice top)

Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

¼ tsp salt

I also throw in cinnamon to taste

Let stand for 15 minutes, then stir. Pour into the pie crust and dot with 2 tbsp unsalted butter. Cover with lattice top crust, then seal the edges, trimp and crimp.>

Bake pie for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Then slip a baking sheet underneath and reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake about 25-35 more minutes, until thick juices bubble through the vents. Let cool completely before serving.

i heard a rumor that next week she'll be bringing you a recipe for Pink Lady Pie...


Panda Jonx

my little sister turned 16 recently and requested i make her "cute" cupcakes. what's cuter than a panda?

i made amy sedaris vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream (dreamy!), used large dark chocolate discs for ears, junior mints for dark around eyes, and plastic eye balls from the craft store. you could do that part in frosting, but i was being lazy.


Cupcake Royale is King

a few months ago my darling husband went to seattle for a rock show and came home with a box of cupcake royale cupcakes. oh.my.gawd.YUM! above you see the delicious delicious delicious raspberry, which was the special flavor at the time. raspberry cake, cream cheese frosting, super yummy fruity topper. did i saw delicious? deeeeeeeeeelish!

the whole lot -

lemon drop:
missing a lemon drop topper, but lemony and delicious. the lemon buttercream was perfect!

peppermint patty:
yummy chocolate cake with super minty buttercream. tastes just like a peppermint patty!

orange you glad:
YES I AM! I love, love, love chocolate and orange. their orange buttercream is perfect. tastes of real orange, not fakey flavor.

the barbie:
of course. tasty vanilla cake, tasty vanilla buttercream, pink. what could be better?

the mocha:
oh the mocha. their perfectly perfect chocolate cake topped with a glob of mocha buttercream. can your taste buds imagine it? it was better than that! i want more.

overall i'd say cupcake royale is definitely providing the best cupcakes i've had on the west coast. we could really use a portland branch! and though they don't beat cupcake cafe in NYC, they could rival most of those hoity toity east coast cupcakeries. the cakes were moist, even a day or two old. the frostings were perfectly flavored, not too sweet. the amount of frosting was perfect - a thin spread that provided enough extra moisture, creamy-ness and flavor without overwhelming the cake or your blood sugar level. i can't say enough good things about cupcake royale!


desperate for chocolate

friday night just off work, umpteenth day of driving rain,
running errands, ready for dinner,
st. cupcake on my route.
why not?
the situation called for nothing more than chocolate.
above you see the chocolate trio of:
chocolate on chocolate
caramel on chocolate
hot fudge on chocolate
and what you don't see is the red velvet
that didn't make it out of my car.
the red velvet is perfect, delicious, light chocolatey,
with that perfect red velvet taste and topped with a
creamy and good cream cheese frosting.
i took a photo with my cam-phone but now the cord is broken
and i can't get the photos off. yum yum yum! so now i can say
i love the st cupcake red velvet.
i'm also fond of the banana chocolate chip pound cake
that i tried on another emergency visit.
about the three up top... well they satisfied my need
for chocolate. i adore the hot fudge frosting, as i posted after my last visit,
and the chocolate buttercream was super tasty, a little too much,
too rich for me, and left me with a case of sugar bitus, pronounced with a brooklyn accent - "shuga-bite-us"
but tasty nonetheless. i didn't like the caramel,
but not because it wasn't good, because it actually was,
i'm just not a great fan of caramel flavored things that aren't caramel...
the chocolate cake is just ok. i felt like i tasted more flour than chocolate, and that just ain't right. but it was't greasy, which was my beef with st. c last time, and overall i was satisfied.
so there you have it.
and actually, i have more to say, about another angle, but i'm going to try to get my cam-phone photos to go along with that post.
have a good monday!




Get yourself an extra sweet,
chocolatey cupcake
with a yummy suprise inside
at St. John's Tulip Pastry Shop.



Well I didn't make Halloween cupcakes this year, but I did make a Jack-o-Cupcake
whaddya think?


Sushi Anyone?

The sushi cupcake idea came from the lovely and amazing Clare Crespo's Hey There Cupcake! but the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa. Except of course I cannot take direction and had to change it up a bit. Instead of buttermilk I used coconut milk. And I added a tablespoon of lime juice to activate the baking soda (because I took away the buttermilk).

And I made my own cream cheese frosting, I just added lots of coconut. I think that's it.

And I served it with Momma Krause's delicious fudge sauce (as soy sauce).


bloggy kisses

right back atchya Shelterrific! I think you are just peachy....


Project Runway Finale Cakes

My "project" was to recreate these 4 looks of the final 4 designers using only cupcake liners. I modeled the designs of Jeffrey, Laura and Uli from the garbage challenge, and Michael's from the apt. challenge.

I used upside down cupcakes to hold the models in place. Pink cake, of course, because pink is so fashionable.

Until Season 4...


O Valencia!

A few weeks ago I made orange chiffon cakes filled with orange cream and topped with orange buttercream. I used fresh valencia oranges and orange oil. They were orangey delicious! I'll post the recipe soon.


Amy Sedaris Cupcake UPDATE

In the Fabulous Amy's new book Ms. Sedaris publishes her famous cupcake recipe and a DIFFERENT version of her buttercream - this time with butter. If you read this post you'll know I was very impressed by the Lovely Lady's cakes, but not so much with the frosting. It NEEDED butter! But, I consulted two "official" recipes and neither called for it. And yes, I alter recipes ALL the time, but I wanted the real thing, and this was as close as I was going to get (remember, I tried to get Amy's cakes while visiting NYC but wasn't so lucky). But the published book version calls for butter, so there you have it, I'll be retrying the recipe (which can be found online here) and reporting back soon. In the meantime, everyone should rush out and buy this book! And buy me a copy while you're at it,


Chocolate with a Twist

Chocolate with Lime Buttercream inspired by Cake Love

Chocolate Buttermilk cake topped with Lime Buttercream is simply this chocolate cake and this frosting, but with lime instead of lemon. Easy and super deeeelish!

ps - I found these cups to be nothing more than good looking. They were difficult to get open and made devouring these delicious treats very difficult.


pink cake - a must for all birthdays


Too Cool for School

So Shelterrific, a super fantabulous blog that doesn't quite fill the hole in my heart left by the absence of Budget Living but at least keeps me bloggily entertained, blogged about these cupcakes, and well, I have to as well because they are SO cute, creative, clever, and all things back to school are way way cool. So there you have it. I'm in awe...

The Organdy Cupcakes

A contest! Whoever finds me this book gets a liftime of cupcakes!!

(I'm just kidding, of course, I can't promise a lifetime of anything...)

Gretchen Bemis was a little plump by some standards, but she was the kind of girl who usually set her own standards, and if she wanted to be noticed by a man — even in a baggy nurse’s uniform — she usually was. In fact, among the internes [sic] at Sibert Memorial Hospital she was affectionately known as “Bemis de Milo.”

Not all of Gretchen’s friends in the hospital were like her. Not the delicate Rosemary Joplin, who resented her stepmother because her face always looked as though her feet hurt, and because she was not charmingly helpless like the playmate-mother who had died when Rosemary was fourteen. Not Nelle Gibson, whose square figure and dun-colored hair had made her decide that, not being beautiful, she’d better be bright.

This is the story of senior year at nursing school, when Gretchen and her friends, realizing that they were now adult human beings, began to come to grips with their problems. It was an exciting time for them, and most of all, perhaps, for Gretchen. For her wish was granted in a way that was as unexpected as it was delightful, and graduation day brought to her more than the stiff organdy graduate cap, so like a cupcake, that was the prize for all her hard work.

thank you thank you thank you to Tina for finding this!


Wedding Cakes

Congratulations Mark & Val !!!!!

What does it take to go from baking cupcakes for your friends' birthdays to baking 150 for a wedding? A lot of planning and prep, yes, but mostly it takes getting up early and having a team of good friends to help out - "Team Cupcake" got up with me at 5:00 a.m., kept my coffee cup full, fed me, sprinkled, taste tested, lent advice, took photos, did dishes, frosted, played guitar... well they kept me sane and some how enabled me to make cupcakes for a wedding. So thanks a thousand times over to my cell mates Muffin, Cured Meat, Bone$, Queen Woo, Bagel, Juice, and Dre & Trey, who weren't there early enough to get prison names, but aided in my post-cupcake relaxation by pouring large amounts of whisky and telling me my hair looked good and my dress didn't make me look fat! I couldn't have done it without all of you - I realize that is totally acceptance speech, but it's true! You were more help than I realized I needed, or ever expected, and I can't imagine what we would have ended up with if you hadn't been there to help. And to Vark, there couldn't be sweeter people to make sweets for, I felt honored to provide your wedding dessert and am so happy you are my friends.

Dipping (photo by Jessie Sue Hibbs)

Legalizing Frostitution in Pacific City... (photo by Cousin Ali)

Sprinkling (photo by Jessie Sue Hibbs)

Chocolate dipped Peanut Butter Cups

Bourbon Infused Yellow Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips & Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin with Mexican Chocolate topped with Toasted Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The Recipes

Peanut Butter Cup and Pumpkin w/ Mexican Chocolate have already been blogged. Though, thanks to a tip from my genius friend James, I toasted the cinnamon first, by putting it in a pan and cooking it on low until it smelled really strong. This made for a much more pungent and cinnamony flavored cream cheese frosting. It was deeeelish!

The only new recipe is the yellow cake. This one was my least favorite, though I do think it was good (and I was told it was the favorite of many).

Bourbon Infused Yellow Cakes with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

(Tastes like a chocolate chip cookie, boozed up, and covered in chocolate!)

Makes 48
5 c Cake Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs
4 c. sugar
2 c. melted butter
2 pkg vanilla pudding (shhh... it's the secret ingredient!)
2 c. sour cream
1 c. bourbon
1 bag mini chips

Sift flour, bp, bs, salt in med bowl

In mixer – on medium, beat eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color, about 2 minutes or more.

Stop mixer, scrape sides. On low speed, mix in the butter. Mix in sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in pudding and bourbon. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Bake at 350, start testing after 20 minutes (mine took at least 25).

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (this is essentially 2 G's frosting without the second G)

4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 pkg light cream cheese, room temp
12-16 ounces milk chocolate chips, melted
2-4 cupsconfectionerss sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened, dark chocolate cocoa powder

Mix it all up in the Kitchen Aid, taste - addconfectionersr sugar, liquid, coco powder, melted chocolate, to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slathering on your cakes. I sprinkled with Jimmies just for looks!

Oh and the mini cake - I ordered a pan from Confectionery House and filled it with the pumpkin batter. It took forever to bake, but ended up perfect. I froze the cake (so the frosting wouldn't melt off of it) and then James frosted it for me (because I'm impatient and don't have a delicate hand, and because he was fabulous enough to offer). I used plain cream cheese frosting so it would be white, and topped it with a mini bride and groom ordered from
Plum Party.

One last thing - my photos are a little dark and not so great, mainly because I was tired and distracted with my cupcake job. The lighting wasn't fantastic for photographing and I didn't have my flash with me, so I did the best I could with my tired brain. And Jessie helped enormously by photographing me at work (those came out great). I also wasn't too worried about getting the perfect cupcake photo because there was a real, professional photographer there doing the job. It is very exciting that my cupcakes were photographed by Portland's HOTTEST photographer, and will end up online in something like 4-6 weeks. I'll be sure to post a link to them when they're up. I'm super excited!