Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green Velvet Cupcakes...the Cure for Pinkatitis

I just ate a green cupcake... a Green Velvet Cupcake...


it was; surprisingly satisfying, moist and nicely balanced with it's icing adorned with miniature shamrock quinns and sprinkles{ festive for this time of year}... I think, I liked it. Although at first glance I too was slightly I simply followed my heart, and mouth... and let the cupcake do the talking.
Pinkalicious would have been surprised too to know she could have cured her "rare case of pinkatitis" with the likes of a green cupcake instead of yucky mushy vegetables of the green variety as prescribed by her doctor. Who knew? Cure a cupcake inflicted illness with another cupcake? Brilliant!

No! Not seriously, but for those of you are not well educated about Pinkalicious {Which is probably every person who does not currently have a young daughter, niece, granddaughter or sister below the age of lets say...10 or so}, she's the star in a series of children's books written and illustrated by Victoria & Elizabeth Kann. Pinkalicious is a delightfully witty little girl who loves everything...{you guessed it} PINK! There is never a dull moment in her adventures. You can find out more about her or order the books and even do activities here . Enough about Pinkalicious though, and more about the star of this post, the Green Velvet Cupcake.

With St.Patrick's Day right on the cusp and the kids wanting treats for their classes I did what I do often {the web} in search of fantastic ideas to use or inspire me to bake better. With luck I was brought to another blog Love from the Oven to whom had baked up this funtastic {yes, I said FUN-TASTIC, it's a word, in my vocabulary and should be in Websters hear that Webster??} recipe borrowed from non other than Bakerella. No sense in reinventing the wheel if I don't have to, I work Smarter, not harder!

So here she is, Bakerella's Green {Or Red} Velvet Cupcake Recipe Tweeked* {because I didn't have all the ingredients :)...}

GREEN* {or Red..or any other colour for that matter...} Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups oil* (3/4 c vegetable oil for the cupcakes, Love from the oven used 1 cup)
  • 1 cup buttermilk* (2% worked out just fine, less fat)
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 oz. red food coloring* ( 1 used 1 tsp of Wilton brand kelly green gel colour)
* note changes to these ingredient quantities

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans* (24 muffin cups, lined with wrappers of your choice)


 3.Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.


 4.Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.


 5.Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.


6.Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.* I used a 1/4 c. mashed potato scoop to get even amounts of batter in each of my pre-lined tins...I was able to make 24 cupcakes from this batch of batter.


 7.Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.* (cupcakes took about 20-22 minutes, they were spongey to touch when tested, and a toothpick inserted came out with a few moist crumbs on it.)


 8.After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.


 9.Then make the frosting of your choice*. {People normally put a cream cheese icing with red velvet cakes. I used a buttercream icing that seemed to just melt in my mouth.}


Happy St. Pattie's Day!








Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bitty Two Bite Brownies

Sink your teeth into one of these babies and you will understand why they don't last long at all.  Nobody ever wants to experience the uneasiness and displeasure of running into "The Shortage", so typically I will make a double batch to avoid this problem for the sake of my family. {Way to take one for the team Mom!}  Plus, I really don't like having to cut the butter in half...why add an extra step if I don't have to?  The standard recipe will yield about 3 dozen of these yummy little bite-sized brownies using a small sized cookie scoop.  Be careful not to overbake them though, otherwise they lose their "chew".  It's better to underbake them and then let them firm up in the pan before flipping them out.  I found my lucky number to be about 11 or 12 minutes - But all ovens are different, so know your oven..what works for me may not be the case for you!

Try these a la mode...right from the oven, hot and steamy with a scoop of classic vanilla drizzled with a little chocolate sauce on top.. and there you have it, bite sized pieces of HEAVEN!   If you don't like the ice cream on top, hack up a few brownies and put them INTO the ice cream...with fudge sauce ice cream topping and pecans (if you can have them) and PRESTO! You have your very own Brownie Surprise Soft Serve Ice Cream treat in a cup/bowl. YUMMY!

{You could have it}
Or on a stick,
or in the air,
and on a trip,
packed in lunches,
served at brunches...

{SNAP OUT OF IT LADY!... No more Dr. Seuss for me, call me crazy or hopped up of cocoa and sugar...whichever; either is just as accurate. The latter may make you feel less guilty, and I am okay with that.} Move over Green Eggs and Ham...I could be onto something here... Like cake pops are to Bakerella, Bitty brownies could be the next big thing.

To make your own chewy bits of fudgey goodness, just mix up the following:

Bitty Brownies {Makes ~ 24-36 bite sized brownies}

Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F
Spray your mini muffin pan(s) liberally with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

Mix together in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you have one) until light and fluffy:
1/4c. butter (softened, but not melted)
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Add in 1 at a time mixing inbetween each addition:
2 large eggs (room temperature)

Then add:
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. prepared coffee (hot or cold)

Lastly, mix in the dry ingredients into the moist and blend until completely incorporated:
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Scoop your batter into the prepared mini muffin pans using your small (1-2 tbsp size) cookie scoop. 

Bake at 350 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE THEM or they will dry out.  They should still be soft to touch when tested.  Remove from the oven , and carefully loosen the edges of each brownie if they're stuck.  Let them cool in the tin for abotu 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Re-spray your cooled tin (if you only have one like me) and refill with your remaining batter. Bake. Cool. Eat. Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baking - Uninterrupted

In less than twelve hours  my husband will be jet setting to another hotter, sunnier short-bearing destination for work....and lets just say I can think of somewhere else to be other than Manitoba too.  Needless to say he will be working, he won't 'be here... in Manitoba... where we still have lots of snow

Typically, when he travels in the winter months it usually blizzards {In fact my odds of it blizzarding when he's gone are far better at me ever winning a lottery} and I am left to fend for my kids and myself.  Believe it or not, I... {Yes, "I"} got a snow blower last many women can say that?  But it was out of necessity, and yes, I know how to use it.

Half of the time he'll be gone, my son to will be away from the house in school (like his big sister). After wiping my tears and blowing my nose a couple times I plan on filling the empty hours with nothing but BAKING... all by myself, UNINTERRUPTED.  With St.Pattie's right around the corner, and my Dad's birthday too a cake will be in order, my options are unending.  My opportunity to make up the rainbow layer cake I've been gawking over from Sweetopolita with such vivid colours is at the top of my list. Who doesn't like rainbows? How could I pass this one up?

Sweetopolita's Rainbow Doodle Cake
Now, my Dad has never been a fan of fondant (I don't know why, he loves marshmallows and fondant can be made from marshmallows and icing sugar if you don't want to trade an arm and leg for a couple pounds of the premade variety) but that's fine, the lemon butter cream Rosie has suggested sounds Divine and will compliment the vanilla cake marvelously without doubt.

Now, if only I could break my little sunbeam kitchen stand mixer I would have real good reason to go and by my dream kitchenaid stand mixer...No, I am not planning anything - it broke, really.

Look at the rainbow... man, this is going to be hard to choose just's like women and our shoes, why not have an assortment so they will match our outfit or our mood.  The orange is hot and so is the ice blue, er or maybe the apple green one, but if I pick a girly colour (PINK) my husband will be less apt to using my mixer and potentially breaking it.  I don't use his tools, so why should he use my mixer? Right?

Here's to baking tomorrow, rainbow cake in the near future and a few Luck o'the Irish Green Velvet Cupcakes for Ethan's class party on Thursday.  Stay tuned! This should be a week filled with posts!

Green Velvet Cupcakes to try from Love from the Oven


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Supersized Frogs...would you like Flies with that?

Spring is soon to be upon us, and before I know it the back yard will be swamped, gushy and an atrocious mess... the perfect conditions for after school puddle jumping sessions, soggy pants and mud riddled clothes. Ah, the smell of melting snow and the croaking of frogs?

Earlier in the week a neighbour contacted me to follow up on a request she had made months ago. Her daughter was soon to turn seven and she felt cookies would be a perfect send-off token for all the little buddies attending the party. Like any good neighbour and delighted by the request I said "Yes, I can bake them for you." Followed by "Can I borrow a cup of sugar?" NO! Not really, I did have a late night door knocking a couple weeks back though and this was the exact conversation...

{firm knock at door}

Me:  "Hi."
Neighbour : " Hi, sorry to bug you - my wife decided to make some muffins, she ran out of eggs."
Me:  -
Neighbour:  "Could she borrow two eggs?".
Me:  "She can have them, I don't need them back.{smirk, poor late night humour.}"

Then I handed over my eggs, calculating how many I too would need for the week to tie us over to payday shopping, deliberating with myself if I should have given them up...that was equivalent to 1 double batch of sugar cookie dough. 

Me: "Happy Muffin Making, what time should we be over in the morning for breakfast?" {Smarta#$
{Door closes, neighbour leaves with my eggs in hand}.

I love my neighbours, they really are great, I had never experienced that before where someone would just walk over and ask to borrow something of that sort. Perhaps it's the small community we live in.  As long as the requests stop at baking supplies and not

 "Hey, can I borrow your wife Chad?  I need her to bake me a cake."

ANYWAYS... attempt at humour will now be cast aside and I will get to the order of today's business.

The other neighbour, with the cookie request - {before the side bar, and interlude of neighbourly commentary}  told me her daughter just loves frogs.  I recalled this from our original conversation and like a kid in the candy store went to town and began drawing up templates for potential winners to use for this very occasion.   Remember back a little while ago to my Princesses and the Frog post?  Well, that's the frog! With a few minor tweaks for eyes and mouth.  He was a little smaller than I figured for this party favour though, so I enlarged my pattern {ugh! the P word, I need to get me some cutters that can do double duty...ah, Sugarbelle...share with me your inner knowledge on "How the heck you do it?"}

Moving forward, a sucker for punishment  {as may already know for past posts} I drew my picture on paper, then traced the outline onto a piece of parchment paper.  Then I outlined this onto a piece of chipboard and cut it out.  This is what I got...

What do you get when you take a double batch of cookie dough and a quite housePRODUCTIVITY!!!  Roll, Cut, transfer, bake, cool, repeat.  Twenty four cookies later I was done and ready to move onto icing these little froggies. {Note time to complete - 1 hour, 10 minutes. Including clean up. YEAH ME!}

I made my icing ahead of time, thinned it to piping and flood-filling consistency, added my colours and then let them sit to allow for any air bubbles to surface and vanish in an attempt to have flawless cookies.

Day 1: Bake & Pipe outlines
First I piped the eyeballs using a Number 2 tip.
Then I filled in the gaps with the face outline, again with a Number 2 tip.
Then I made the crown outlines with a number 2 as well.

I let the outlines set up for about 45 minutes.  Then I proceeded to fill in the eyeballs and crowns. 

Wait some more, about 30 minutes, flood fill the green.  I wanted my frog warts to be flush with the green and not raised up, so I piped them randomly onto the bridge of the "nose" so they would settle in.

Then I left them over night undisturbed to harden up.

Day 2: Adding the finishing details

Using a Number 2 tip I piped the arch for the frogs smile, and added the pupils to the eyes with black, and added the rosey pink cheeks for added cuteness. 

Then I added the Monogram with a number 1 in piping consistency in black so they would pop out.  Time to finish drying.  I wrapped them up on Sunday, tied them with coordinating ribbon and attached a cute little tag on them. I love plays on words, how could I resist this time?

Mission complete, party favours ready for pick up.

Pin It