Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

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I know that I am totally late for a St. Paddy’s day themed cupcake, but come on- it’s got Bailey’s in it, do we need a reason to make (and eat) these boozy treats?! I’m pretty proud of these cupcakes, the cake and the buttercream frosting came out the way I hoped probably because I finally had a real free day to just bake! I admit I have a tendency to bake in the middle of the night and be rushing to finish and go to bed.

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For these delicious Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcakes I followed the Sweet Tooth blog version of it. Her decorations are so cute and festive! I don’t tend to drink to often, but I do remember being pretty fond of Bailey’s in college so thought St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the perfect opportunity to try an alcohol-infused cupcake.

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This is the star the show- using 1/2 cup in the batter (it leaves a light, barely-there hint of Irish Cream. Later in the buttercream, you’ll use 3 tablespoons which gives plenty of strong, smooth flavor of the liquor.

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Alternate adding the dry flour mixture and the Bailey’s into the egg mixture, starting and ending with flour.

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As soon as the mixture looks evenly mixed, fill the cups with the batter and bake for about 16 mins.

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They come out with a lovely light cappuccino color and they smell AMAZING. While they are cooling, get started on the buttercream. For the butter cream (the best part!), cream together 1 cup of room temperature butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar, and 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s. My family don’t like too much sweetness, so I definitely only made one batch of the buttercream for 24 cupcakes and I still had SO much left.

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I realized that after many failed attempts making frosting does not come easily to me and I realize that’s because I’m never well prepared or I’m in a hurry and I under mix or over mix the cream. This time, it came out perfect: thick, rich, smooth and fluffy!

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For a bit of jolly green cheer, I added some green sprinkles I bought from Michaels.

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Because of the Bailey’s in the buttercream, I would not actually give this to children! For those over 21, eat responsibly and don’t just lick off all the frosting! Cheers!

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Wilton Cake Decorating Class- Lesson 3

Here’s some highlights from my 3rd week of the Wilton cake decorating classes.

I finally figured out this week that it was better to come prepared with my piping bags filled and tipped! I have to say the prep work for the classes is quite intense and time consuming. I felt like a real student rushing to get my materials ready Sunday night.
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This week we worked on different flower designs with various tips and decorating cupcakes- I’m pretty sure this was my favorite lesson, we had a lot of creative freedom to decorate our cupcakes however we wanted- testing out different tips and colors. We first practiced on flower nails.

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My blue buttercream came out so beautiful, I loved the deep rich color. I also learned how to create my favorite designs: little rosettes with tip 16- small star. 2013-09-23 19.41.35

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I was not a big fan of the “mums” which honestly just looked like crazy hair to me, but I had to try out the interesting looking tip. 2013-09-23 19.53.41

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I definitely loved making these large rose designs on the cupcakes. Our instructor taught us an super-secret NOT in the Wilton course: using tip 2D (usually used to make the plumerias) to create these roses!

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Some of my final products and designs…these were a big hit at work!

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream for Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Despite the realities of chilly, gray mornings – San Franciscans hold on to the hope that summer IS around the corner. We huddle in our Northface jackets and hoodies daydreaming about BBQ picnics, ice cream cones, and a refreshing glass of sweet strawberry lemonade in 75 degree weather (that’s hot by SF standards!).

This summer-inspired recipe was made for a celebration for a youth program at my new job (!). We BBQed kabobs and other yummy things at Alamo Square Park (where you can see the Full House house!). I offered to bring dessert of course.

To focus on making the frosting, I made the cupcakes from a Betty Crocker mix, I love that they put pudding in the mix because it makes the cake super moist and soft. I added a few extra drops of lemon extract to intensify the lemon flavor.

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I adapted this recipe from Gimme Some Oven blog for Strawberry Buttercream. Silly me I was already to make the frosting when I realized I did not have enough powdered sugar at 1am in the morning. I woke up at 6:30 in the morning to go to the store, make the frosting, and get to work on time!

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (I used fresh ones)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar

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I love how I did not have to use food coloring for this frosting. The dark red strawberry puree made the frosting a delightful light pink color! It’s au naturale!

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I slowly added the powdered sugar, half-cup by half-cup, to get the right consistency that I wanted. Making frosting is a process that takes patience and can’t be rushed. Mix it enough so that it gets air in it and becomes light and fluffy.

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I took the frosting separate to work and piped the frosting on to the cakes there, however, I think I left the frosting in the car for too long and the buttercream started melting and couldn’t hold it’s shape!

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By the time we got to Alamo Square, that is what happened. Ugh, I was so embarrassed- thankfully it tasted better than it looked!

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Couldn’t help but Instagram this.

After I went home, I took the second half of the batch and frosted the rest. The frosting is pretty sweet but with plenty of ripe strawberry flavor, and it balances the tart citrus flavor on the lemon cake. Tastes like summer!!   I will definitely be making this again- and learn to make frosting that will hold its shape!

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Eating one as I type this entry!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

A few of my coworkers started “Craft Night” last year because we wanted to get together and do crafts and hang out outside of the office. Our occasional Girls’ Night In/ Craft Nights have evolved into what would be more aptly named Food & Movie Night (we got a little lazy on the crafting part)!

I had the pleasure of hosting this month and since one of my coworkers is vegan, I decided I might as well try my hand at a vegan recipe. I borrowed this awesome Vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Oh She Glows.

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As I started following the recipe I was skeptical and curious to see how these cupcakes were going to turn out. After all- a cupcake without eggs or butter?? Whaaaaaat?!

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I christened my new Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer with this recipe- it was pretty great to have both of my hands free while the ingredients mixed smoothly and thoroughly.

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A little bit of cocoa powder goes a long way- smelled so chocolatey! The batter came out a bit more watery and thin than what I was used to seeing in regular recipes.

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Fill each cup about 3/4 full and they puff up really nicely with a glossy dome.

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End result: let me just say, these little guys blew my mind- they tasted so good! I kept asking myself, “How can they be vegan?!?!?!”

They were much more light, moist, and spongey than traditional cupcakes- probably because of the oil and lack of eggs in the recipe. The chocolate taste was really rich and not too sweet. We just ate them plain with no frosting and it was a great healthy dessert.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Despite being really busy, I made some sweet treats for V-day/ S.A.D. (Single Awareness Day). It would have been a real shame if I did not make something to share the love. I fell back into old habits of being a late night baker…didn’t go to bed until 1am.

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A little bit of cocoa goes a long way for red velvet cupcakes.

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I really wanted to try some new, but I did not have time to explore new recipes so I stayed with a tried-and-true, crowd pleaser: Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes, which I used for my Zombie cupcakes.

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I really like that this recipe uses vegetable oil instead of butter. The oil really makes it soft and moist.

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The most laborious process is combining the three separate mixtures together, bit by bit. After many times making this recipe, I finally remember to put the oil and eggs in the biggest mixing bowl, because that is the one that will hold the final mixture. Doing this with a hand mixer was quite the work out, maybe some day I will have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer…..this nonprofit worker can only dream.

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Confession time: I only had 1/2 of the red food dye that the recipe called for…luckily it still came out pretty reddish.

 

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Frosted the cupcakes in the morning with store-bought whipped strawberry frosting and topped each one with a juicy, bright red “heart”.

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This one I left as a surprise for my boyfriend, the rest I took to work for my co-workers and my youth group.

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 Hope every day is filled with love and sweetness!

Zombie Cupcakes

So it’s Spring Break in San Francisco and our youth at work requested some red velvet cupcakes for our meeting this week. Red velvet is one of my fav recipes….who doesn’t love that rich, bright red moist cake with sweet cream cheese frosting? I’ve used this Food Network recipe many times now and it’s definitely a solid winner.

1st made-from-scratch cake for our last International Social Welfare student caucus meeting (May 2011)

200 cupcakes for agency Halloween party (2011)

Studies have found that colors can influence our behaviors. Red and pink are believed to  open your appetite- ever wonder why those Asian bakeries pack their goodies in pink cardboard boxes? The red dye also hides the brown color from the cocoa powder. The vinegar neutralizes the taste from the large amount of dye.

So last night after a long day at work I was excited to dedicate my night to making cupcakes for my kids. However…..when the recipe called for red dye…… I realized it was the one thing I forgot at the store!! I had yellow, blue, and green.

I flashed back to Los Angeles’ Milk and their famous BLUE velvet cake! Red dye for red velvet cupcakes…blue dye for blue velvet right??? Um, apparently not…

As I started mixing the cocoa-colored dry ingredients with the blue-colored buttermilk mix- it started turning into this drab greenish-gray color that just made me think “zombie” (I’ve been watching too much Walking Dead).

I ended up with these “Zombie Brains” that are more appropriate for Halloween.

Mmm….brains…

This is one of those times when substitutions or alterations to a recipe did not work in my favor. I was almost too scared to even bring these to work, but luckily they tasted like red velvet and the frosting helped redeem them a bit.