Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hamburgers and Hot Buttered Rum....Cupcakes?

For the past couple years my husband's employer has put together a picnic in the summer to give everyone the opportunity to mingle outside of work. They set it up so whoever attends must contribute a covered dish or dessert. Everyone usually brings some good things and there is food everywhere. In all seriousness bringing a covered dish that does not have to be refrigerated really isn't as easy as people think. Last year I made an appetizer of bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos. They were of course a hit. But silly me forgot to wear gloves and had fire hands for a few days. Lesson learned. This year I decided that I for sure wanted to do a dessert. And since I have been practicing my dessert presentation I decided to be fancy. This did not come without a road block. When I got home from work at 6:45pm and stepped into my kitchen with a game plan to get 4 dozen cupcakes done, I also stepped in a puddle. A HUGE puddle. Not knowing the source of all of this water I felt the panic set in. Did Joel leave the freezer open? Is water leaking from the pipes? Is our roof leaking? NO! Something even fridge and everything in it was dying a slow warm death. So I had to rush and make my buttercream, use my eggs, and try to keep everything cool in my pocket sized mini fridge and stay sane all at the same time. But my end result was impressive and oh so awesome. I think I did the happy dance a few times during decoration. I'm sure Joel got a laugh out of me doing air kicks and fist pumps with a pastry bag in hand. So without further adieu...I give you Hot Buttered Rum Cupcakes and Hamburger Cupcakes.

Hamburger Cupcakes

1 box vanilla cake (prepared according to package)
1 box brownie mix (prepared according to package)
Buttercream icing (homemade or purchased)
Red, Green, Yellow food coloring
White Sprinkles

Bake cake and brownies according to package. Let cool completely. Remove cupcakes from wrappers and slice in half horizontally. Cut your brownies, you can do squares or circles for the "meat". Divide your butter cream into three bowls and mix up your "mustard" "ketchup" and "lettuce". Place one brownie piece on bottom half of cupcake. Spread or pipe on mustard and ketchup. I suggest piping the lettuce for a more realistic look. Place the top of the "bun" on the brownie and frosting. Scatter the sprinkles on top of each bun. Admire the awesomeness.

I am choosing not to post the buttered rum cupcakes for a few reasons. One is because it is so awesome, if you want to know it, I want to personally give you the gift of this recipe. And two...I really eyeballed this recipe. I couldn't exactly tell you the measurements verbatim. I will however tell you I got the inspiration from The Cupcakery. I changed the recipe quite a bit and topped it with my brown butter cream frosting. Nommyness times ten!!

Listening To:

Fire It Up-Modest Mouse
Army of Me-Bjork
Arizona-Kings of Leon
Boys Don't Cry-The Cure
Time to Pretend-MGMT

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Death By Chocolate

I have always known that my eating habits are very much affected by my mood. And because of this I have self diagnosed myself as an emotional eater. I get sad, I eat. I get happy, I eat. I get nervous, I eat. Well this really might just mean that I like to eat. Most recently I have been wanting chocolate. I love chocolate! And any recipe that claims to kill me with chocolate has to be tried...and eaten. I found this recipe on All Recipes. I changed the original recipe to fit my own taste preferences. I replaced the german chocolate cake for a butter recipe chocolate cake. I also opted to use extra creamy whipped topping and instant coffee. You  could easily make this a minty death by chocolate by substituting toffee for Andes mints or replace the coffee for caramel. Overall this is awesome and I will make it again for sure! It made my tummy happy and I am sure it will make yours happy too!

Death By Chocolate

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 2/3 cups milk
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee ( I used instant coffee)
1 (12 ounce) container creamy whipped topping, thawed
6 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee bars (Heath), frozen and crushed

In any size cake pan, bake cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble. Make pudding, according to package directions, with milk.
In a large trifle or other glass serving bowl, place half of the crumbled cake. Pour half of the coffee over the cake, and spread half of the pudding over that. Top with half of the whipped topping, sprinkled with half the crumbled candy bars. Repeat layers in the same order. Refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday...

So as the clock ticks into the wee hours of the 1st day of August I am overwhelmed by how many birthdays there are for my loved ones and friends this month. I mean like well over 10 people that are close to me will be celebrating their birth at some point in August. And I am not talking about Facebook or Myspace friends that I am "friends" with but have no contact with, I am talking people that I see and talk to pretty often. So this is my shout out to all of my special people and anyone else who is celebrating a birthday! Happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleanos, Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch zum Geburtstag, Hau`oli la hanau! I hope you eat lots of cake and if you are really lucky it will be a cake that someone special has made for you.
One special person that is celebrating a birthday this month is my mother in law Pam. I have been truly blessed to have this awesome woman in my life and I decided that I wanted to make her something extra special for her birthday. Not just any old cake would do. My inspiration came from an Amish bakery/store close to my home that sells some addicting brown butter cookies. These cookies are Pam's favorites so I wanted to turn them into a cake. The only problem is the closest recipe I found is in metric measurements. So after using my awesome brain and the Internet I made some of the yummiest cupcakes. I found that it is actually the icing that makes this recipe because the cake part was not extremely impressive. You could put this icing on a pumpkin cake, spice cake or a rum cake (like a hot buttered rum cupcake!!! Oh man I have to really try to make something like this) and it would be delicious. I will warn you in advance....get ready to feel greasy. I had butter everywhere. I must have even spilt a little at one point because I slid across my floor. The mess is worth it. The flavor is rich, nutty and reminiscent of toffee or a Werther's Original. I loved them and most importantly Pam loved them. Success!!

Brown Butter Cupcakes with Brown Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 400F. First off is burning the butter: place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir constantly until it turns a dark golden color (3-5 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and strain into a bowl (to separate from the sediment). Let the butter sit until it solidifies, but is still a little soft. (This took almost 30 minutes because it’s hot here; if hot out, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes).
When the butter is solid, yet soft, place in a food processor along with ALL cupcake ingredients except milk. Blitz! Add milk slowly and pulse till well-mixed. Divide among 12 cupcake papers and bake for 15-20 minutes.

1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 2/3 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk

Do the same thing with the butter that you did above for the cake. Once it’s in the solid/soft state, beat it along with 1/2 of the sugar until stiff. Add tbsps of milk and the rest of the sugar alternately. Then add the vanilla. Enjoy!

Listening To:
Snow Patrol-Chocolate
Kings of Leon-Pistol Of Fire
Vampire Weekend-Diplomat's Son