Monday, October 26, 2009

Iron Cupcake Earth: Music

So I missed the Iron Cupcake Earth deadline for this month. I thought it was the 15th and, when I hadn't gotten anywhere by that date, I gave up. Then Friday I was looking to see if they had announced the next month's theme and noticed that it wasn't due until the 24th. Which meant I had to have it ready by Saturday.

And I did.

But I didn't have internet at the house so I couldn't blog about it. So I couldn't submit it.

But I still like what I did so here it is!

The theme was music and the cupcake was supposed to be inspired by a song. My choice was the song "Buddy Holly" by Weezer. In particular, I was inspired by the music video (which just so happened to be directed by one of the producers on my film, Spike Jonze). In the video, the band is in Al's (the soda fountain-type restaurant from Happy Days).

So I present the Root Beer Float cupcake!

There are tons of versions of Root Beer Float cupcakes, so I scoured the web and took bits and pieces from everywhere and came up with my own version.

For the cupcake:
1/2 cup condensed root beer (I used A&W and simmered it to let it condense till it was syrupy)
3/4 cups root beer (this is just regular, still fizzy root beer)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and then condensed root beer (one at a time). Add the flour 1/2 c at a time, alternating with the regular root beer (so 1/2 c flour, half the root beer, another 1/2 c flour, the rest of the root beer, the last 1/2 cup of flour). Mix just until combined. Scoop into cupcake pan and fill almost all the way. Bake about 20 min.

Make sure and make extra of the condensed root beer (about another 1/2 cup). Once the cupcakes are baked, poke holes in them and pour around a teaspoon of the condensed root beer over top. Do it really slowly!

Once you're finished with that, you'll put the remaining condensed root beer back on the stove and heat at medium to make the glaze.

Root Beer Glaze:
Around 1/3 c of condensed root beer
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c regular sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

Heat the root beer and mix in all the sugars. Let it come to a boil for a second or two, then take it off and add the vanilla, mixing the whole time. Let it cool. If it gets too thick, add a little milk.

Once the glaze cools, put about a teaspoon on top of each cupcake and allow to harden. The glaze will be almost like royal icing.

I topped each of my cupcakes with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Buttercream frosting, which is a recipe I got from Martha.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a little milk

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy. Slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
    2. Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Slowly add milk and continue beating on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.
    To make the cupcakes look like real floats, I put the frosting in the fridge for just a few minutes, then used my cookie scooper to dole out one scoop of frosting on each cupcake!

That's MRS. Cupcake to you!

Me in my wedding dress!

Not-So-Ex and I just got married! And, it just so happened, the ceremony was done in the same room we got divorced in almost 4 yrs ago!

We are thrilled. The kids are thrilled (except Hunter who was horrified that he had to watch us kiss). The family is thrilled!

And I am now at work in my wedding dress! LOL

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cupcake Hero November (hopefully entry 1)

Since I was such a slacker and missed Cupcake Hero completely in October, I decided to get a jump on November early! And, luckily, November is all about peanut butter, so I have some very happy co-workers and family members!

So my first submission is what I have decided to call the Apple Dip Cupcake. It is an apple cupcake frosted with a peanut butter concoction that is supposed to be used as an apple dip but is the perfect consistency for frosting!

Anyway, here are the recipes!

The Apple Cupcakes started with a recipe from Martha, and the only thing I changed was the way the apples were cut (she said to grate them, I diced mine).


Makes 2 Dozen.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups diced apples, (about 1 3/4 pounds)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
    2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; mix in apples. Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.
    3. Divide batter among lined cups, filling halfway; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins; transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
    For the frosting, I used a recipe from
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
    1 cup peanut butter

    Mix em up and pipe it onto the cupcakes!
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup milk
    some vanilla

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slacker me and my slacker weekend

So my plans over the weekend included lots of cupcaking. After the previous weekend's disastrous baking results, I thought it was down to this last weekend to get my Iron Cupcake: Earth and Cupcake Hero submissions ready. So I went to the store and got everything I could possibly need for the cupcakes I was planning. Then I got home and looked at the websites for each competition and realized the sad truth. Both of them had deadlines of October 15th. And it was October 16th. So I missed a month of cupcake bragging and trying to win awesome prizes. But there's always next month!

Check out those links and you can see the prizes and all the incredible food-porny cupcakes (and they are all truly amazing)!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Epiphanies for the impatient one...

So I had a series of little epiphanies over the weekend (and no internet to be able to share them), which started with one that occurred as I was sitting in the bathroom floor, my head covered in hair dye, reading a book about Julia Child. You see, I discovered that Julia Child never took a single cooking class until she was 37. I had to sit and ponder that for a second.

I am 33. And I am the most impatient person in the world. I don't have to have everything immediately, but I do have to have a goal and know what exactly I have to do to get there. And, once I know those steps, I will do everything I can to speed them up.

I haven't had that goal for several years now. In fact, I have been what I would consider a lost person. I have felt tremendous pressure to find my niche... find what I am meant to offer the world. There were times I thought I had found my place, only to have to give it up. And that urgent need to define who I am (when combined with other things) has led to a state of chaos that I have been in for several years now.

As I pondered all that Julia Child accomplished, and realized that my goals have never been anywhere near that high, I felt a sense of calm. I had to acknowledge that life will take you where it takes you. If you fight it, it will still get you there, it will just take longer. And I've never been one to want to wait to get anywhere.

So, starting with that moment, I tried to just take a deep breath and allow life to unfold. There's no sense in rushing... no sense in pushing... it will only add stress to a person who already handles that badly.

As I really started to look at my impatience, I could see the role it plays in the rest of my life. I saw the way that I want things to change the second that I decide to follow the right path. And how incredibly stupid that is. I can't change my entire world, especially since my world involves other people, overnight. And I can't change myself that quickly either.

I'm at a point where I have realized that I have the right foundation for the life that is ahead of me. There are very few people that I see as necessary in my life. Those people, who only include my kids and Not-So-Ex, have resumed the places they were supposed to hold and the four of us grow stronger every day because we work at it. Now that my foundation is strong, I can grow.

The first steps in this growth will be to provide fulfillment in my life outside of home. My first priority is to find a job where I can be proud of what I do. I have recently begun applying and, luckily, interviewing like mad, so hopefully there will be change in that area before too much longer. My second priority is my thesis. I have worked for several years now on my master's and completed everything but thesis. I'm not going to let that fall to the wayside. To get started on thesis again I had to make changes that I am scared of. But hopefully they were the right ones.

In addition to this outward growth, I am working on my insides as well. I have found that prayer often helps to calm my mind and cease some of the needless worrying that keeps my mind running in circles. When I was nervous this morning as I prepared for my incredibly busy day and my interview, I found so much help when I just stopped and prayed for my friends, my family, and myself. And when I got to work and found that my prayer for my "work mom" had been answered, I was thrilled.

Anyway, in the past I tried to change everything at once. And then couldn't understand why it didn't work. But from here on out I am going to try to slow down and let things develop as they should. To those who have suffered in the midst of the hurricane that I can occasionally cause, as always, I apologize. I hope that one day I will be able to offer a real friendship with a real, whole, at least mostly calm (let's face it I'll always be excitable) person.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kids are funny...

My daughter, who is 12, got hit twice in the nose during gym class at school today. Her comment on the incident was... "It really sucks to have a part of your body that is prone to having balls fly at it."

I was so glad I knew what she was referring to...

The one where she goes all "I Love Lucy" in the kitchen...

So I made cupcakes last night for a work party today. And they turned out yummy and moist and perfectly done. No mess or craziness at all. But I was tired so I waited till this morning to frost them.

I got up this morning, got Hunt to school, and came home to try and rush and get them done. So I put all the stuff together and was mixing away. And mixing... and mixing... But it just didn't look right. It was thickening way too fast. It was to the point where I could barely get it off the beaters. So I added some milk... And that was the point where the beaters started slinging clumps of it onto the walls, the surrounding dishes, and me. So I thought I'd taste it and see if I had really put THAT much powdered sugar in it.

And that was when I realized that I added flour, not powdered sugar.

Anyway, here's the recipes! They obviously turned out just fine (once I used sugar).

Cinnamon Toast Cupcakes
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (1 Tbsp sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon)

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and blend 1 1/2 to 2 min utes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 3/4 full. (You will get between 20 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans side by side in the oven.
3. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 22 min utes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners. Lift the cup cakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your finger tips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for
15 minutes before frosting.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.
5. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Sprinkle the frosting with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place these cupcakes, uncovered or in a cake saver, in the refrig erator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Store the cupcakes in a cake saver or under a glass dome at room temperature
for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 3 cups

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the con fectioners' sugar, a little at a time, blend ing with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend the frost ing until fluffy, 1 minute more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An evening of quiet awesomeness!

I had the best evening yesterday. I came home from work just flat out cold and tired. So Not-So-Ex suggested we just chill out on the couch and watch movies, which is exactly what we did. And on a cold night there is nothing better than being curled up under a warm blanket watching old romantic comedies with a guy who has decided to baby you and warm you up with hot chocolate AND hot tea (my absolute favorite). Even if I am way better at Sudoku than he is (LOL!!!!)... unless he cheats that is...

Of course last night's laziness continued to this morning and I came in an hour late just cause I felt like taking my time... autumn life is awesome!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Woo Hoo!

Another job interview next week! Life is good!


I had a conversation yesterday that led me to choose to delete everything from my blog other than cupcakes, which are generally a safe subject matter. While I felt it was the right choice at the time, I quickly regretted the decision.

There are a lot of thoughts swirling around is this little noggin of mine. However, I am going to choose my words carefully as I know that those words, while cathartic for me, can hurt others, which is something I have no interest in doing.

But there is one thing that I have to state now and state clearly. I am NOT a victim. I got hurt, yes. Who hasn't? But this persistent idea that I somehow feel victimized, and/or enjoy playing victim, is not true.

Not only am I not a victim, but I feel that I am the exact opposite. I feel that I have been blessed. I have someone who loves me... every single day. And I love him right back, just as surely and just as fiercely. And, as if that wasn't enough, I have my family back. All of the people I love most are once again living under the same roof.

I have work to do, both on myself and on the relationships that I hold dear. All of us are continuing to heal from the effects of MY actions. But I firmly believe that we will heal.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Morale building cupcakes?

So, as I've mentioned before, I hate my job. And a meeting that occurred yesterday only managed to make that hatred even stronger as our boss called myself, my four co-workers, and my supervisor, into a meeting to tell us that she understood communication hadn't been great between us and that she would be more clear about assignments in the future. How could this piss me off you may ask? Well, instead of simply apologizing for the bad communication, she admitted that fault but then went on to say that she simply thought they had hired people who would be able to take some initiative and figure out how to do what needed to be done. Who knew it was possible to say "I made a mistake" and "It's all your fault" at the same time?

Anyway, after the meeting, everyone was a mix of furious and depressed and furious all over again. Since I have no way to make my boss any less of a jerk, or our work day any less frustrating and fruitless, I thought I'd at least bring some cupcakes to try to improve the mood in our sad little cubicles. And, if I may say so myself, the cupcakes are pretty damn good.
So here's the recipe, which came from Martha (that means you may wanna cut the recipe down since it made around 30 cupcakes for me):

Pumpkin Cupcakes:


Makes 18.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
    Now I made a mistake on the cupcakes. Instead of using the spices she lists in the recipe, I just used a bit of pumpkin pie spice since it had all the spices listed already in it. And I also am not big on spicy cupcakes, so I was light on it. Don't be. Mine needed more. I also added the ingredients in a different order, which worked out fine. I added the pumpkin and mixed it in thoroughly BEFORE the flour. If you mix too much after adding flour it can make the cupcakes more dense and drier. I don't know if changing the order did anything or not, but I know they weren't dense at all and were really moist.
  • I frosted them with Maple Cream Cheese frosting, also from Martha, which I doubled to frost all those cupcakes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar; continue beating until well combined and smooth.