Earlier this month I began the four week Wilton Cake Decorating class at Michaels. Last week we learned how to make clowns! It's been a lot of fun and I'm sorry that this week is the last one for this class. I'm actually learning how to use all those decorating tips I have...as well as how to frost a cake...hint: there is an easy way...Our class is very small and relaxed...In fact, a couple of weeks ago we had a lot of snow and Catherine and I were the only ones that made it. We had like a private lesson! It was kind of eerie because the entire store was pretty empty because of the snow.
I love the way the clowns began to take on a little personality. I just sort of pushed them right or left or backward and they began to look...well, I hate to say it...but, human. What do cupcake clowns talk about anyway? However, I did all these while trying to avoid lisening to the Terps play UNC...I'm always very nervous that we will lose, so I have to stay what we call...focused! And, then I was standing in front of the tv with my frosting bag in one hand and a cupcake in the other to watch the very ending of that game. Oh Man! Right down to the buzzer it could have gone either way! Sorry, Davy (he's at UNC)...not really, you big baby! And then, the TERPS won!
Okay, I'm more sane now. Deep breath...I may take the second class, but I'm just not sure yet. The next one has to do with making candy flowers. I mean you actually learn how to make all those tiny little things that cost so much money. Well, maybe I'll do it. I just can't decide yet!
These cupcakes are very moist and yummy. I love chocolate on top of chocolate and this frosting is very bold chocolate. I used the cake receipe below and just made cupcakes with it.
More clown cupcake photos up at my flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cupcakequeen/
Here is the recipe:
Martha Stewart's Moist Devil's Food Cake
Makes 1 eight-inch-round layer cake
"Great swoops of glossy frosting make this a wonderfully exuberant cake with a dark backdrop for birthday candles. But this cake is just as suitable for afternoon snacks or a Sunday supper. It keeps well for several days stored on the counter: Cover with plastic wrap or a glass dome to keep the cake from drying out."
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups sifted cake flour(not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1. Heat oven to 350°; arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.
4. Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.
5. Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second cake layer, and spread with another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with third cake layer. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Serve.
Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting
Makes 6 cups
While this frosting is cooling, you'll need to stir it as instructed; otherwise, the frosting around the edge of the bowl will harden and the frosting at the center will remain liquid. The finished frosting should have a consistent texture. Lois Milman, the creator of the frosting, always uses Nestlé morsels and makes only one batch at a time. Spread the icing on Moist Devil's Food Cake as soon as it is sufficiently chilled; it holds its shape well on the cake.
24 ounces Nestlé semisweet chocolate morsels
4 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1. Place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
2. Stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large metal bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately.
See...I told you they were HOT MOMMAS! And, I'm not just talkin' about the cupcakes! I've had my eye on these ladies since I saw them at Michaels in the baking aisle (no less) a couple of months ago...intrigued I was. I finally got up the nerve to buy a couple...well...okay...a pack of them! I lknew I couldn't leave them naked...which they are...so I stuck some paper on their you know what!
Ok, then...now we get to the cupcakes...They really are HOT...oh, at first they just taste like dark, dusky, luscious chocolate, and you're really enjoying yourself...then your mouth begins to heat up (that's the ancho chiles making their presence known...so cool)...and just to add a little more interest you reach the Häagen-Dazs Mayan Chocolate ice cream INSIDE the cupcake...just a little spoonful!
Then, the granache is made with bittersweet chocolate chips, heavy cream...and Kahlua...all warmed up and mixed together. Then the cupcakes go into the freezer and you pull them 30 minutes before you serve them up...who can wait that long? Not me!
And, of course, we are training Nigel to join Layla at the cupcake trough! He's a quick learner...let me tell you. The unfortunate thing for him is that he is much shorter than Layla...who happens to be tongue-level usually with the cupcakes! On the other hand, he never gets his tongue on a cupcake like someone else I know, whose name I won't mention but starts with an L and ends with an A...hmmmm, that could me me, too, I guess!
Last week, the Cupcake Queen was in NYC...had a great time at the CASE conference...our team won 13 awards. The Gala Award Dinner was at the famous Rainbow Room on top of Rockefeller Plaza. WOW! It was so awesome and the party was just the greatest! The restaurant is operated by the Cipriani family and the food and service were amazing.
When we had some free time, we hopped into a cab and headed to Billy's Bakery. What a time we had....it was so much fun and as soon as we opened the door, all we could smell was butter and frosting and cupcakes! What a cute place!
Here is CQ with Angel...and he was one, too. We were ordering cupcakes to eat, cupcakes to take back home with us, cupcakes to eat on the train, Billy's teeshirts, cupcake cards, coffee...well, you get the picture. We were overwhelmed...we are just from Washington, DC, you know...it's no where as big as New York!
Margaret and Deb came with CQ to Billy's, and we sat there and just took in the ambience of the place. We just don't have anyplace like this in DC. Filled up with yummy vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, we made our way down to Chelsea Market, Soho, and ended up at the Vosges Haut-Chocolat Experience...we always seem to be eating...but here we drank exotic chocolate or "blanca" drinks and bought the "Gatsby Collection" for each of our honeys for Valentine's Day. Wow...what a day...what a week!
More photos at my FLICKR page.
Elmo is very tickled today because he's going to his new home!
The winner of the TMX Elmo contest is GLORIA, who...by the way...is celebrating being 15 years cancer free this year!
Congratulations to Gloria and a BIG thanks to all of you who wanted to take Elmo home!
Valentine's Day Cupcakes: That's Amore! It's all about the love, don't you think? These are lemon cupcakes with pink lemonade frosting and topped with cookies covered with pink frosting!
I am in New York City today and visited Billy's Bakery today! And....we ate cupcakes and took pics.
More tomorrow on that fun visit!
Happy Heart Day!
Call me crazy, but, YES...this is a contest for one TMX Elmo. And...of course...there's a story before you get to the contest! Here goes: I get home from work the other day and see a rather large box on my front proch...hmmm...can't remember ordering anything lately...look at it, and, yes, it's addressed to me! I take it inside and open the mail and then come back to the box. I still can't remember what I might have ordered! I open it up and then it all comes back!
At least two months ago...maybe more...I was frantically looking for Tickle Me Elmo, Extreme...everywhere and none were to be had! I happened onto the Fisher Price web site at some point and they actually had a preorder form for them...one to a person...to be delivered sometime in February! I filled it out quickly and then totally forgot about it.
Christmas comes, and I actually got one for Christmas from my lovely...and crazy...sister! So, I forgot about that other Elmo even more. And that's who was in the box that appeared on my doorstep the other day!
I thought it would be so cool to have another contest...so this little Elmo...who hasn't even been unpacked yet is up for grabs to all you cupcake lovers!
This is how it's going to work.
To get qualify to get in the drawing for the "I WANT TMX ELMO" contest you MUST do two things.
First you MUST make only one comment on the blog about why you think you need TMX ELMO.
Second, you MUST email me including your email address at email@example.com, putting the words "TMX ELMO" in the subject line. I'm doing it this way so that we don't have too many multiple entries from the same person.
Remember, you can't just do one or the other.
The winner will be picked from a large hat by a blindfolded person.
The contest begins 12:00 a.m. (est), Friday, Feb. 9th, and ends at 6:00 a.m. (est), Friday, Feb. 16.
The winner will be announced around noon on Friday, Feb. 16th.
In case you haven't seen Tickle Me Elmo...here's a link to a cute video of him on YouTube.
SuperBowl Sunday....What can I say about this...I'm a Redskins fan...and I love Maryland basketball most of all...however, I must admit that I'llI use any excuse to make cupcakes! I definitely plan to watch the game tonight, but I don't really have a favorite. The only player I can name on either team is Peyton Manning!
This cupcake is from the Cake Doctor's cupcake book. After you make the batter and fill the cupcake liners, you put one Hershey kiss on top and while it bakes it melts straight down into the cupcake so that when you take them out of the oven, you don't see a trace of the hershey kiss!
Then, of course, I got out my "little football people" and the fun began! I made orange and blue frosting and slathered it on the cupcakes...I found the minature Reece's cups at World Market...perfect for the top!
Layla's favorite team is the Colts...but only because she doesn't like bears...but she loves horses. I tried to explain football to her...but you know how dogs are...they can be stubburn when they want to...I just hope she wins!
Have a great game!