Cupcake Bouquet Tutorial

I came across Cupcake Bouquets while doing some research on Pinterest for something else. Once I saw it though I knew I wanted to try making one myself.

To begin, I gathered my supplies: a 6-inch pot, a 6-inch Styrofoam ball, 9oz. paper cups, toothpicks, and glass weights or rocks. You will also need a hot glue gun. A couple of things to point out… Make sure that the size of your pot and ball are the same size, or close to it, so that ball can fit snug inside of the pot.

Since I had a piece of circular Styrofoam I decided to cut it down to fit inside the bottom of the pot…

So, just in case any of my glass weights escaped from the newspaper I wrapped them in they wouldn’t fall through the hole in the bottom of the pot. The reason for the weights in the pot is to prevent it from tipping over if all the cupcakes are removed from one side.

Next, I lined the inside of the top of the pot with hot glue and placed the Styrofoam ball inside and let it dry for a few minutes before hot gluing paper cups – that I cut to an inch tall – to the ball. Make sure you place the cups just above the rim of your pot, you don’t want too much space. You could attempt to just stick the cupcakes on to the ball using toothpicks, but, using the cups will give the cupcakes more support and less chance of them falling off.

 

I continued gluing the cups around the ball, placing them fairly close together. I ended up with 9 cups in my first round.

For the second round, I placed the cups in between two cups from the first round, ending up with a total of 6 cups. And then, one final cup on top of the ball. Don’t worry about the spaces as they will be filled later with cupcake liners.

 

And finally I placed toothpicks inside of each of the cups. Three toothpicks forming a triangle in the first round, and two toothpicks in the cups on the second round and the one on top. Leave about half of the toothpick out. Be careful as you might stick yourself with a toothpick here and there and it can be quite painful.

A quick recap… A 6-inch Styrofoam ball in a 6-inch pot will yield a 16-Flower Cupcake Bouquet.

Next, bake your favorite cupcakes – I decided on Chocolate & Yellow cupcakes. Once they cooled I stuck one into each of the cups on the ball.

  

Now it’s time to fill the spaces between the cupcakes. Using green cupcake liners, I gathered them and began placing them in the empty spaces, using toothpicks to anchor them to the ball.

 

Next, the fun part – decorating the cupcakes. Since you will be piping flowers, make sure your frosting is firm enough to be piped. Your best bet is to make your own. My favorite frosting to use for piping and decorating is this Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. It’s the perfect consistency and tastes delicious. I used a Wilton 1M tip to creates the roses and a 2D tip to create the hydrangeas. Before you start piping the flowers on to the cupcakes just give them a little nudge to make sure they are all the way into the cups secured by the toothpicks.

 

And finally… You have your Cupcake Bouquet. This is a nice gift for a birthday, a cute idea for a baby shower, or a nice alternative to flowers, etc.

 

 

Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Okay, to be truthful these are more like Espresso Pudding Cakes. I only say that because you don’t get the traditional flavor of tiramisu from them. Yes, you have the cocoa powder and the espresso, but, you don’t have the mascarpone. It’s all good though, they are delicious nonetheless.

I began by making the batter for the cake portion. In a microwave safe bowl I combined a stick of unsalted butter (which I cut into small pieces) with whole milk. I microwaved it in 30-second intervals until the butter had melted. I then added in sugar, vanilla extract and salt and whisked until the batter was smooth. I then added in flour and baking powder and continued whisking until the batter was smooth once again. Next, I divided the batter among 6 ramekins that I lightly sprayed with cooking spray and placed on a baking sheet. It came out to about 1/2 cup of batter for each ramekin.

I then topped the cake batter with a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder. It seems like a lot, but trust me you want to use all of the mixture up.

And finally, I poured about 3 tablespoons of hot water (I used boiled water as opposed to hot tap water) into each ramekin.

I baked the cakes in a 350 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes; until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. Once out of the oven I brushed each cake with Kahlua and then sprinkled them with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa power.

After letting them rest for about 30 minutes it was time to try one. As you will see the “pudding” settles to the bottom while baking and you get a nice amount of it with each spoonful.

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 1/4 cups hot water

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur or dark rum (optional)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter each ramekin and place on a baking sheet.

Put the butter and milk in medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter has melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and continue whisking until smooth. Divide among the ramekins.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, along with the brown sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder in small bowl and sprinkle over the batter. Pour the hot water – about 3 tablespoons per ramekin – over the batter. Do not stir.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean from the center – about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the liqueur or rum and then lightly dust with cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

If you would prefer, you can also make one large pudding cake by using a 2-quart baking dish. The directions and cooking time would be the same.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday post instead of bringing you a meal I am bringing you dessert. I’ve made bread pudding and rice pudding in my slow cooker and I’ve finally made a cake, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.

To begin, I made the cake batter by whisking together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. I then stirred in 2 beaten eggs, whole milk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Once that was well combined I then stirred in peanut butter chips.

Next, I poured the batter into the insert of my slow cooker which I sprayed generously with cooking spray.

Per the recipe I set the slow cooker to low, but, my cake was ready way before the directed time of 4 hours. It was more like 3 hours, but, truthfully I probably should have turned off the slow cooker around 2.5 hours. While make cake came out of the insert without sticking to the sides or bottom…

It was a bit hard/burnt along the edges so I decided to cut it in a way that I ended up with pieces that were more like a snack cake as opposed to a cake cake. But overall it was delicious and incredibly moist and paired very well with vanilla ice cream, especially if you warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

Directions:

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract; mixing until all of the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Pour the batter into the slow cooker, spreading the batter evenly. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the top is set. Since all slow cookers are different begin checking the cake after about 2 hours to ensure it doesn’t burn, check it with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness. The cake may look a little undercooked in the center. Turn off the heat and let the cake cool uncovered for about 20 minutes. The cake will firm up as it cools.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Almond Horns

If you didn’t know, almond is one of my favorite flavors when it comes to dessert. Give me an Almond Croissant for breakfast and I am a happy camper – although that’s not really a dessert item, but, it could be. LOL! Since I am a fan of almond I regularly get the Odense Newsletter that features recipes using their almond paste. In their latest newsletter they had a recipe for Almond Horns that were super simple, I had most of the ingredients on hand and I figured it was time to bake something sweet.

To make the dough I broke the almond paste into small pieces and added it to the bowl of my food processor along with confectioners’ sugar. I mixed the two until it was the texture of fine crumbs. I then added in an egg white (reserving the yolk) and almond flour. I continued mixing the dough until it became a smooth paste.

Next I turned the dough onto my counter that I dusted with confectioners’ sugar and rolled the dough into a 12-inch log and then divided it into 12 equal pieces and rolled each piece into a ball.

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After that I rolled the balls into 3-inch logs that were slightly tapered toward the ends.

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I added water to the reserved yolk and beat the two and spread thinly sliced almonds, which I crushed slightly, on a plate.

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I then dampened the logs in the egg yolk and rolled them in the almonds bending them into crescents and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet that I then placed in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

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While the Almond Horns were in the refrigerator I preheated the oven to 350F. After the 20 minutes, I baked them for 14 minutes and then let them cool completely on a wire rack.

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Once they were cooled I melted bittersweet chocolate and dipped the ends of the horns in.

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These are so good and so easy and quick to make. The outside is crispy while the inside is moist and chewy.

 

Almond Horns

Ingredients:

1 box Odense almond paste, broken into small pieces

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg, separated and at room temperature

1 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour*

1 cup thinly sliced almonds, slightly crushed

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate

*Can substitute Almond Flour. Using Almond Flour will make these cookies Gluten Free

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Using a food processor or mixer combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix until the texture is that of fine crumbs. Add the egg white and flour and continue mixing until the dough becomes a smooth paste, it will be slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a confectioners’ sugar dusted work surface and roll into a 12-inch log. Divide the log into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into a 3-inch log that is slightly tapered at then ends.

Spread the almonds on a plate and beat the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. Dampen the logs in the yolk mixture and then rolls in the almonds shaping the logs into a crescent. Place the crescents onto the prepared cookie sheet 2-inches apart and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then slide the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack so the cookies can cool completely.

Once cooled melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip the ends into the melted chocolate and return to the parchment paper so the chocolate can set. Layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe from Odense

Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie

It’s Pi day! And no, I didn’t spell that wrong. Today is 3/14, the first 3 numbers for Pi. The Greek letter that is a symbol in mathematics to represent a constant – the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It’s an irrational and transcendental number, i.e. it will go on infinitely without repetition or a pattern. Have I bored you yet? Sorry… On to the Pie. In honor of Pi Day, I decided to bake a pie I had never had before, a blueberry pie. A Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie to be exact. Yes, I never had Blueberry Pie until I made this one. I must say, I am not a big pie eater, especially fruit pie. I always feel like they are going to be super sweet. What made this pie a hit amongst those who tried it was the fact that it wasn’t super sweet. Something I was quite happy about as well.

I’m not a fan of making pie crust from scratch so I buy Pillsbury refrigerated crust. I find it works just as well as homemade crust – I am sure there are plenty of you shaking your heads at that comment right now – and its super easy to use to make a decorative crust. And another plus, clean-up is a cinch! So after letting my two crusts (one for the top and one for the bottom) come to room temperature I rolled out what would be the bottom into a 13 inch round; the crust was already a 9-inch round so I had no problem rolling it out the extra few inches. I then fitted it into my 9-inch pie plate.

Next, I made the filling. I combined 7 cups of fresh blueberries with sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch & lemon juice.

I then poured the mixture into the pie plate.

To make the lattice top, I started by rolling out the other half of the pie crust into another 13-inch round.  Then using a fluted pastry wheel I cut the dough into ten 1-inch strips. Thankfully my work mat has 1-inch grid lines on it so cutting out the strips was a breeze. I just had to be sure to cut in a straight steady line.

I placed five of the strips vertically on the pie, evenly spaced.

And then proceeded to fold and unfold the strips to create a lattice pattern.

I then trimmed and tucked in the edges of the crust and crimped it with a fork.

Next, I brushed the pie with an egg yolk-heavy cream egg wash and sprinkled sanding sugar on top.

And after refrigerating the pie for about a half hour in the fridge I placed it on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust began to brown, and then lowered the oven to 350 F and continued baking the pie for about another hour, until the crust was a deep golden brown and the juices began to bubble. I kept the pie tented with aluminum foil for most of the baking time, removing it for the last 30 minutes of baking so the crust wouldn’t brown too quickly.

Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust – Bake your own or store bought

2 pounds (about 7 cups) fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 large egg yolk, for egg wash

1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

On a lightly floured surface roll out half of your pie crust into a 13-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate.

In a large bowl combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour the mixture into the pie plate, piling in the center.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the other half of your pie crust. Once again into a 13-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. To make the lattice, cut the dough into 10 1-inch strips using a fluted pastry wheel or a pizza cutter. Carefully place the strips on the pie weaving into a lattice pattern. Trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang and fold the edges under, then crimp with a fork.

In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream for the egg wash. Brush on top of the dough strips and then sprinkle with the sanding sugar.

Refrigerate or freeze the pie until firm, about 30 minutes.

Place the pie on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until the pie begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices begin to bubble, about an hour. If the crust begins to brown too quickly tent the pie with aluminum foil.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing in.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts Book

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Rice Pudding

For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday recipe I am bringing you dessert. Rice Pudding… One of my favorite desserts. And this is probably the simplest Slow Cooker item I have ever made hence this super short blog post.

In the bowl of my slow cooker I added all of my ingredients: Arborio rice, whole milk, water, sugar, salt and a cinnamon stick. Now, the true title of this rice pudding recipe was for a Moroccan Rice Pudding, but, since I opted not to use the orange water that was listed in the ingredient list I am assuming it’s just a plain rice pudding. I gave everything a good stir and then set it to cook on low…

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And after a short 4 hours my rice pudding was ready. Now, you might be tempted to leave it on longer since the rice will be tender, but, there will still be a considerable amount of milk left, but don’t. As the rice pudding cool it continues to absorb the liquid and it will be creamier.

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You can opt to top it with ground cinnamon or nutmeg or toasted walnuts or almonds. I opted to eat mine as is and I must say it’s one of the best rice puddings I have ever had. I feel that using a cinnamon stick as opposed to ground cinnamon allowed for a cinnamon flavor that wasn’t as pungent and more of an essence. If that makes any sense… I hope it does! I hope you try it and that you like it as much as I did.

 

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain rice, such as Arborio

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter*

3 1/2 cups milk**

2/3 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick

*I used unsalted butter

** I used whole milk

Directions:

In the bowl of a 4-Quart slow cooker add all of the ingredients. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

Top with your favorite topping: cinnamon, nutmeg, toasted almonds or walnuts.

Recipe from Crock-Pot