Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moving my Blog!

Happy New Year from PhDcupcaker! Doesn’t that look like me (even just a little)? I tried my best! We have had a website for a while, but haven’t been good about updating it – I guess that is one of our New Year’s resolutions! Since I got into blogging my cupcakes and other treats last year I thought it might be better to house my blog on our site. So, from now on you will find PhDcupcaker at: I am going to try to be better about blogging. I hope you like the new design! I found a really great template by Gisele Jaquenod. You can find more of her free templates here. I then adapted it, including adding my own images and menus. I hope you like it! The menu on the left side will allow you to go easily to the archives for different treats and sweet related posts. Not all of the buttons are operational yet because I am still behind in posts!

For those of you that followed my blogspot blog I’d love for you to follow this new one. I won’t be posting here anymore. For those of you new to my blog please become a follower! Just click on the join my site button on the right of the new site.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An apple a day...

Wow! I am so far behind in posting! It has been a busy semester observing student teachers and working on my dissertation proposal. So, I haven't been making cupcakes that much, but you'll see a few posts in the next few weeks - some of which are me just catching up and some because it is the holidays and I've taken to making more sweets! :-)

So, way back in October a friend of mine bought me the What's New, Cupcake? book. For you cupcakers out there this is by the authors of the Hello, Cupcake book. You can check out their blog here. Anyway, how nice was that to get this book! Yay! Right away I started flipping through the book trying to decide what to make. My birthday was coming up soon and I thought that I might try to make the apple cupcakes. They seemed interesting and I thought they were a good fit considering the whole teacher/apple tradition.

I thought they were pretty good. I followed the recipe in the book to doctor up a yellow cake mix. I added an extra egg and used buttermilk rather than water.
This is supposed to make the cake a bit denser and I think it did. I happened to have some red cupcake liners left over from Fourth of July. Perfect! I used my usual cream cheese icing and colored it red. I put a thin layer of frosting directly on the cupcake and then the interesting part about these was that that on top there is a mini chocolate frosted donut. You cut the donut so that it lays flat on the cupcake and then put it in the freezer for a bit so that it firms up. After a little bit I took them out and put more frosting on the top trying to get the frosting to go on so that it looked like an apple. Then I just dipped the cupcake in some red sugar. For the stem I used half a tootsie roll and I cut little leaves out of starburst candies. It did actually look like an apple although it tasted like a cupcake!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Birthday Cake Gone Bad... Cupcakes to the Rescue

Okay, so it was my friend Aaron's birthday this past weekend. I had these grand plans to re-create something I found on the Charm City Cakes website (this is the "Ace of Cakes" bakery). Who was I kidding! I spend a week trying to figure out how I was going to re-create the TI-84 Graphing Calculator Cake you see below. I had some of it figured out - I even did some math to do this. I used my scanner to scan in my own graphing calculator. I then enlarged the image so that it was about the size of a 9 x 13 in. cake. I was then able to print it and use it as a template for cutting out my fondant pieces. That all worked out fine, but when it came to being able to write on all the little fondant pieces the only success I had was the white keys. For these I was able to use my black food writer. However, most of the keys are gray or black and I was not able to find a good way to write such small text on these keys since none of my food writers would work. Then came trying to get the right color gray fondant and being able to use this to cover the 9 x 13 in cake. I got the fondant to be on okay gray color, but man of man, did it look pretty bad when I put it all on the actual cake. Believe me - nobody would have wanted to eat it! :-) Sorry, no pictures! So, I decided I just couldn't do this. All hail Ace of Cakes! You are amazing! How cool is this cake?!?! So, I decided that since I agreed to make the cake that I would quickly swap out the calculator cake with some birthday cupcakes instead. These are my usual chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I decided to do something different than my usual star tip for the icing. I piped these on without a tip to create little mounds of icing. I then used my Wilton Alphabet and Number Fondant Cutters to cut out the letters and numbers for "Happy 31st Birthday Aaron!" These were a little rushed, but in the end I think they were cute and people thought they were tasty. So, that is a plus! Here's one more picture - a close up. From now on, I think I'll stick to cupcakes, or at least simple cakes for now! :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ending Summer with a Cupcake Trio

In honor of the summer ending and someone's birthday I decided to make a trio of cupcakes; one of which I have made before and two which were completely new. All of these come from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. From left to right we have Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Salted-Caramel, and Rhubarb with Whipped Cream. I also decided that since I was making three different cupcakes, to half all of the recipes (except for the Rhubarb because as written it made 16 and we were really excited to try these ones). It was nice to not have a million cupcakes laying around. We can only eat so much. Well, I should say we don't want to eat too many! :-) The Cookies and Cream were so easy and really tasty! I followed the recipe as it was written in the book, refrigerating these overnight. Sorry the picture is a little blurry (I didn't have my official photographer today). Look at that Oreo cookie at the bottom. That was a hit! The person who received this box of cupcakes for her birthday said these were her favorite of the three. I like that these are different - little mini cheesecakes - who doesn't like cheesecake? Anybody?...?... That is what I thought. I won't say too much about the Chocolate Salted-Caramel because I have made and posted these before. This time I made regular rather than minis. I wasn't too happy with the caramel filling this time though. The first time I burned it and had to start all over. The next time it was okay, but the caramel was really grainy - not the gooey kind I had the last time. Oh well! The icing was still to die for - one of my favorites! Finally - the piece de resistance - Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream! I decided to try these because someone had just given me fresh rhubarb from their garden. I first planned on making rhubarb crisp, but then I thought - why not try a rhubarb cupcake and Martha just so happened to have a recipe for this one. I created the sauce using a vanilla bean just like Martha describes. I thought I wasn't going to be able to find one, but finally found a little tube of two whole vanilla beans at Foods for Living. These were not cheap! I debated on just using vanilla extract, but I decided to try it. If I ever need vanilla beans again I'll be buying them over the Internet since you can find them much cheaper. These definitely added something. I am not sure about the taste, but they definitely gave the sauce the little black specks that you see in the picture. Someone said that they could really tell that I used a real vanilla bean, but I'll have to try these with extract to compare. This same person said that she thought this was the best cupcake she ever had! How nice! I think just the fact that these were rhubarb made the difference. I don't think they had the same sourness that I have had before with rhubarb, but they sure where tasty!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

German Chocolate Cupcakes for the PhDCupcaker photographer (a.k.a. Josh)!

Josh loves German Chocolate cake. It is one of his favorites and he often has it on his birthday. I decided I would make this for his birthday this year and then thought – why not try cupcakes. I had seen these in my Martha Stewart Cupcake book, but decided to use the recipe that Josh likes from the Baker’s German Chocolate, but instead of a three-layer cake make cupcakes instead. Making cupcakes also meant that I could make some with coconut and pecans and some without since I am not a big fan of either of these, but Josh really likes the coconut. Since the icing wasn’t very thick without the coconut and pecans I decided to add some mini chocolate chips after the icing cooled. The chocolate chips melted a little, but helped to make the icing a bit more chunky so when I put it on the layers it didn’t just side right off. I think I should have made a few more coconut ones though since Josh liked those!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Scream… You Scream… We All Scream for Ice Cream!

No, these are not real ice cream cones, much to the dismay of some of the little ones who were at the party I took these to. :-) I made these for an end-of-the-summer party we had for one of my research projects. I couldn’t resist posting two pictures of these. These are cupcakes that just so happen to look like soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones. They were really fun to make. I got the recipe from here. The ice cream is meringue that was piped onto a cookie sheet and baked for 1.5 hours at 200 degrees. I sprinkled some sprinkles on some of them before baking – it was so easy – the sprinkles stuck to the meringue and didn’t burn or melt while cooking. I covered a 13 in. x 9 in. pan with foil and poked some holes in the foil. I then placed an ice cream cone in each hole. This helped keep the cones up straight and I think it helped the cake not get too mushy. The ice cream cones are filled with yellow cake and chocolate fudge pudding and were baked at 350 degrees. I then just took a little buttercream icing and used it to attach the meringue to the cone. I was amazed at how much they looked like ice cream cones. Personally, I liked the look more than the taste, but they seemed to go over pretty well at the party.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3D Cupcakes!?!?!?!?!?

Okay...this is not a post about anything I made, but being a math person and all I thought I would post about this picture. It has to do with math and cupcakes, so... I figured it was appropriate :-) My friend, another math ed PhD student at MSU, sent me this. His brother took this picture of the giant cupcake box at a Menard's. So, if a Giant 3-D Cupcake is a huge hit every time, what about other cupcakes? My friend asks the question, does this company also make planar, linear, or hyperspace cupcakes? I wonder......