One of my favorite things about winter is the abundance of fresh citrus fruits. I am a sucker for grapefruit, even though I have an allergic reaction if I eat too many. Such is life; hives won’t keep me away from this delectable fruit! To celebrate the ripe delicacy, I figured there had to be a recipe out there on the Internet that would put this fruit to the forefront and let it do all the talking. I found just that recipe on Ryan’s Baking Blog. The grapefruit has a very nice tangy taste in these cupcakes, and the yogurt makes the cupcake nice and moist but does not overpower the citrus. My favorite part of the cupcake was making the grapefruit sugar. I think I may have to keep a jar of this on my counters throughout the year it was that good! The grapefruit cream cheese frosting added a nice layer of tang but the cream cheese cut through so that the bitter fruit taste was not overpowering. I think this recipe can be adapted to any of your favorite citrus friends: tangerines, oranges, clementines, you name it! Truly a great dessert to brighten up your mood during those gloomy winter months and bring you to your happy place.
My happy little army of grapefruit cupcakes:
Hands down, my favorite cookies that Stew Leonard’s used to sell in Norwalk, CT were the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Every time that I now frequent the store, I write a suggesting in the suggestion box to bring these cookies back. Don’t get me wrong, the sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies are divine, but they can’t hold a candle to my fond food memories of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
To say the least, I decided I was going to change out the raisins in the typical oatmeal cookies and replace them with chocolate chips to try and replicate my childhood obsession with Stew Leonard’s cookies. I took the traditional Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I cut the butter amount in half, and replaced it with Crisco instead. This is a secret I learned from my future in-laws to make the cookies keep their shape rather than “melting” and forming a flat cookie. I then add the oatmeal to the cookie mix, use an ice cream scoop to make a mound of a cookie, and bake away. Eating 2 of these is certainly a feat, but oh so worth it! I will continue to write my suggestions at Stew Leonard’s, but until then, I think I have found a pretty good replacement.
My friend Kate had “contracted” me for my first official gig, to do a Tiffany themed bridal shower that she was helping host. I was thrilled and honored to start using my passion as a platform, but panicked all the same! I had never made 50+ cupcakes for 1 event, nor did I have anything to display them on!
Luckily, my dad is a master carpenter (when he puts his mind to it ) and was able to build my dream cupcake stand. It holds about 75+ cupcakes and we would be able to add additional shelving, or take shelves away for smaller gatherings. He would be great on Cupcake Wars building the displays for the 2 bakers competing for the grand prize, and would totally fit by wearing the flannel shirt sporting a beard!
Here is the stand in all of it’s glory. It now sits proudly on my guest room dresser awaiting its next debut.
So, to start this daunting task I decided I needed to do a trial run in order to make sure that I could make the cupcakes all in one night, decorating the next day, and being able to have enough time to pack them up and deliver them in time for the shower. So, one Friday night, I set off to make 60 cupcakes, half were Bailey’s cupcakes, half were chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes were so simple. I could make cupcakes in my sleep sometimes. No problems there. Then it was on to the frosting.
This is my arsenal of decorating tricks and tools to make these look Tiffany-esque.
So a Tiffany’s cupcake meant that I was to dye the vanilla buttercreams to a Tiffany blue color. I spent a lot of time researching online to see what dyes would work best, in what amounts, etc. I came upon a blog that highly recommended the Wilton frosting gel dyes and in the specific amounts. So I set off to moderating the drops of gel into the frosting, matching it to the Tiffany’s box. This was a long process, as I didn’t quite follow the online blog to a T, but I tested and kept going back and forth between the box and was very happy with the result when it finally came together.
Here is what I got for frosting. Pretty darn good!
The next task was distributing the 60 cupcakes to family and friends, but I don’t think they complained about the freebies from my test run ;P I was ready to take on my first official gig as a baker!
And the freebies that my family and friends loved me for-pre frosting!
What is better together than strawberries and chocolate? Strawberry and chocolate mousse cupcakes, on Valentine’s Day, that’s what!
So I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It is a Hallmark holiday and I refuse to celebrate it. This year I decided, as I was celebrating home alone because my fiance was working, to make cupcakes. A familiar and popular treat on Valentine’s day, chocolate covered strawberries, so I combined that into a cupcake! I had seen a recipe for strawberry flavored cupcakes, flavored with strawberry jello. Then, to add in the Ghiradelli chocolate mousse, I used my handy dandy cupcake corer (best invention ever!) and put the chocolate mousse into a bag to squirt into the opening.
Here is what the cupcakes looked like with the cores taken out before putting in the chocolate mousse:
For the frosting, I used a vanilla buttercream to decorate with hearts and xo’s, and to add another flavor level. As I stated before, I do not like Valentine’s day, but this past year, I became a fan of Valentine’s Day cupcakes! I cannot wait to plan my next Valentine’s cupcake in only a few months! (Yes I know, I am way behind on my posts).
Here is what they looked like!