This is the holiday e-card that my office has been working on the for past six weeks or so...these are some of the people included in our video: Connie Chung and Maury Povich on Maury's TV show set, Congressman Steny Hoyer on the U.S. Capitol steps, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Mike Miller, Maryland Senate President, Mike Busch, Maryland House Speaker, Gordon England, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense filmed at the Pentagon, UM Professor of International Business Peter Morici, UM Men's Basketball Coach Gary Williams and team, UM Women's Basketball Coach Brenda Frese and team, 2008 National Champs Soccer Coach Sasho Cirovski and team, and 2008 National Champs Field Hockey Coach Missy Meharg and team!
You can go to the site and personalize the ending of the video....go here: www.holidaygreeting.umd.edu
The winner of the Star Wars Transformers was chosen in a random draw...and the winner is....Melanie!
Melanie...I left a coment on your blog.
Now that this contest is over, CQ is working on Thanksgiving Cupcakes...mmmmm....posting on Wednesday!
Okay...we haven't had a contest in a long, long time...but now the contest is back! This PRIZE is the Star Wars Transformers set shown above: Star Wars Transformers Set Millennium Falcon + Bonus Vehicles! This is where Han Solo and Chewbacca Combine become the Millennium Falcon!
The box has never been opened and here's what it contains: Star Wars Transformers 2-figure Set (Millennium Falcon plus a bonus of two titanium vehicles and Han Solo and Chewbacca mini figures. The set features electronic lights and sounds and you can hear sounds and phrases from the movie!
HERE ARE THE RULES: Comment on this blog entry in 100 words or less explaining why you want this transformers set. The deadline is Sunday, Nov. 23 at 9:00 p.m. I will announce the winner Monday, Nov. 24 by noon.
May the Force be with you.
Red Devil Cupcakes photographed as darkness falls across the land: The Midnight Hour Is Close At Hand. Can't you just hear Vincent Price laughing his head off?
These cupcakes are a shoutout to my niece, Kimmie...whose birthday is today. She lives in Spokane, Washington. So, if you see Kim today, but sure to tell her HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Ancho chiles and cayane pepper imbue these Chocolate Ancho Chile Cupcakes... and the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting with avery nice...what can I say...warmth in your mouth!
Believe me, I haven't just been lying around these past few weeks not making cupcakes!! In fact, I've made Brownie Cupcakes with Mocha Frosting, Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemonade Frosting and, these warm, then hot cupcakes.
Work has just been so crazy that I didn't have time to post anything! We've just launched three new web sites at Maryland and had this many meetings...endless meetings.
And, I have my first professional cupcake gig for a wedding that's going to be in February for 200 cupcakes. Today we have a cupcake tasting! I was very nervous but they loved the cupcake samples. The wedding will be in the chapel at the University of Maryland ... how appropriate...and Testudo will be in attendance!
If you would like to give these cupcakes a shot, you can find it here.
Have a great week!
Because We (the royal "we") couldn't be there for the contest, the Cupcake Princesses...Deb and Meg (see below)...took over for the Cupcake Queen last night at the Washington Club, location of DC's First Cupcake Contest! Nostalgia Cupcakes from Annapolis won the contest!
Meanwhile, CQ was sharing a beautiful dinner with University of Maryland Pres. and Mrs. Mote and other awardees of the President's Distinguished Service Award and the President's Medal. We had such a great time that I hardly missed not being at the Cupcake Contest! Meanwhile, everyone at the dinner was asking for cupcake updates!
Everyone had a great time! The cute little skull and crossbones thinggies are from Martha Stewart!
These were the cupcakes I made for the event:
You're the One for Me Cupcake
(Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting)
I Need You in My Life Cupcake
(Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting)
I Love the Way You Look at Me Cupcake
(Cranberry, Apricot, Date, Walnut, Pecan, Almond Cupcake with Vanilla Rum Frosting)
It was definitely a fun day all the way around!
Thanks for all your good wishes!
The Cupcake Queen is entering three cupcakes tomorrow night in the "Pro" group of bakers at the Washington Club (15 Dupont Circle in DC) tomorrow night...Sept. 25th! All of the other pros are bakeries! Baked and Wired, Nostalgia Cupcakes, The Baltimore Cupcake Company, Sweet N Sassy Cupcakes from Newark, Delaware and more! We all make yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and the third one if the "wild card" cupcake...one of your own choosing.
I'll let you know what happens on Friday!
The yummy cupcakes above came from a recipe I found in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Connor, while I was in Durham, NC last weekend visiting new grandbaby, Genny, last weekend! What a cool, fun book this is! I found it at Parker and Otis, a specialty food store located in downtown Durham. I bought a shirt there that just says "Frosting" ...so cute!
The cupcakes are so chocolate-EE and moist. They are to die for. I found the cute coffee cup and saucer at my fav place: Home Goods! Can you see me eating this??? YES!
This weekend we're heading to Bar Harbor, Maine for a wedding. Can't wait. the weather is supposed to be beautiful. Hope you have a great weekend!
Here's the Recipe:
2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (not low-fat)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups boiling water
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Line two standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the sugar and eggs and beat with an electric mixer set at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the mayonnaise and vanilla just until combined. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in half of the flour mixture just until combined.
4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half of the boiling water and beat at very low speed, just until the batter is smooth, 5 to 10 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined, 5 to 10 seconds longer. Beat in the remaining water. The batter will be somewhat thin.
5. Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake cup liners, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer the tin to wire racks and let cool completely.
I topped my cupcakes with both buttercream frosting and whipped cream!
Okay! This week the Washington Post has pitted "Buzz" (in Alexandria, VA) against "Pasteries by Randolph" in Arlington, VA. They really like the Buzz vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting...pictured above. They rated it 5.5 out of 10, whereas the Pastries by Randolph red velvet was only give a 3.5 out of 10. Yikes...these people are rough!
These pictures are making me hungry! Tonight I'm making a special cupcake I've never tried before.
Oh, did I tell you that I won the family football pool this past weekend...mostly because picked Maryland and nobody else did!
Washington Post's photo showing a cupcake from Sticky Fingers
Thought you'd like to know that the The Washington Post has launched a series called "Cupcake Wars" in its Food section today.
It will continue for six weeks...facing off two bakeries each week. This week the bakeries are CakeLove and Sticky Fingers. These are the categories they judge on: About, The Range, Price, Size, How Do They Taste?, and Best of the Bunch.
Check it out and "judge" for yourself!
What a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Dark Chocolate Mounds Bar Cupcakes With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Inspiration! How to get the coconut flavor into the middle of the chocolate cupcake with out mixing it all into the batter? Well, I went out and bought two packages of the little Mounds Bars...which believe it or not...are already in the grocery stores ready for...Yikes!...Halloween...That scared me!
I put the packages in the fridge when I got back home. I didn't want to freeze them, just make them cold so they wouldn't melt as much. So, when I was finished making the batter, I used a crescent moon cookie cutter on the little bars and placed the moon onto the top of each cupcake before putting them into the oven to bake.
The cool part was that when I took them out, the chocolate on the Mounds bar crescent moon had melted into a little chocolate pool and the coconut was right beneath it...just perfect! Then I frosted half of them with vanilla frosting and half with chocolate frosting and plunged them into the fresh coconut to top it all off! This is Nigel...I thought you might like to see how big his tongue can get when he's looking at such a site...he's a french bulldog and quite a hoot!
Layla is checking the cupcake from afar...she settled on a special doggie treat instead!
Here's the Q&D* version on how to make these cupcakes:
1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Cake Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 box chocolate jello instant pudding
1 small Yoplait Yo-Plus Digestive Health with Optibalance Yogurt
2 packages of the small Mounds Dark Chocolate Bars (place in the fridge for about an hour before using)
1 can Dark Chocolate Fudge Creamy Home Style Duncan HInes Frosting
1 can French Vanilla Creamy Home Style Duncan HInes Frosting (or make your own)
1 bag of shredded coconut
Make the cupcakes according to the box instructions, add in the instant pudding and the yogurt and mix with a whisk for 1-1/2 minutes. Add batter to the cupcakes holders.
Use a small cookie cutter to cut a shape into the Mounds bar. It could be circular, square, but it shouldn't be over 3/4 of an inch in length. Place this piece on the center of the cupcake batter and press down a bit.
Bake according to directions on box.
Frost the beauties after they are cool...about 20 minutes. Dunk them in a bowl of shredded coconut.
There's no doubt....You will have many fans after they eat one of these!
*Quick and Dirty
Ripe nectarines...did you know that nectarines are essentially the same fruit as Peaches, the primary difference is that nectarines are smooth-skinned and peaches are fuzzy...white chocolate, cardamom all wrapped up in a cupcake...what more could you want? Love....or a
doubles tennis match played on a clay court!
Seriously, four ripe nectarines called to me to be cupcaked and I could not refuse....and I read about this frosting recipe with cardamom...I always thought it was cardamon...oh, well...on http://cupcakeblog.com/ and I knew it was a match made in heaven!
Layla was so tired from our walk last night that she couldn't even rally to keep her eyes on the cupcake...advantage cupcake!
Here's the recipe:
For the cupcakes:
One box of Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix
4 good sized nectarines(peeled, and food processed)
1 box of instant vanilla pudding
For the frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Making the cupcakes:
1. Follow the recipe on the cake mix box
2. Add in the processed nectarines
3. Add in the instant vanilla pudding
4. Mix with an electric mixer for 1:30 minutes
5. Pour batter into paper cupcake papers
6. Bake according to directions on box
7. Let cool before frosting
Making the frosting:
1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 2 minutes or so.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, and cardamom and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.
Here's my tennis joke of the week:
Q: What did the tennis ball say when it got hit?
A: Who's making all the racquet?
I had a funny desire for spice cupcakes this week...I wonder if it is because it has been so cool here...and...I hate to say this but, the leaves are beginning to turn...and...oh no...some of the leaves have fallen! I hate the end of summer. But pretty soon I love the crisp e ness of fall. Besides, what the H can we do about it??
These cupcakes are made from Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Spice cake mix. I followed the directions on the box...and then I added 1 cup of cranberries, 1/2 cup of walnuts (smallish pieces) in half the batter (because some folks are allergic to nuts), 1 cup of dried apricots (chopped into small pieces), and, finally, 1 cup of plain yogurt.
Layla really liked Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese
Frosting (recipe below)...it is so creamy!
We've become addicted to the Olympics and watch them every night. Are you hooked, too?
Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough for one 9-inch, three-layer cake
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and brought to room temperature
2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
Beat cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add butter, beating until incorporated after each addition.
Reduce speed to low. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, and beat until fluffy and smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature and stir well before using.
Layla and I hope that you have a GR...ATE week!
My sister Robin took these photos of this week's square cupcakes. She titled this one "Nothing helps a broken heart more than cupcakes."
And then we really needed to add in the Kir Royales...how does anyone live without champagne??
These babies were d*** good!
I promised my brother that I would make horsey-type cupcakes...because he and his wife Mary own and love horses...that promise just happened to coincide with the birthday of one of Cupcake Queen's friend's daughter, who is six years old today! She also loves horses!
These little ponies are called Pony in My Pocket Charm Fashions...because one can wear them on a bracelet or a necklace.
The cupcakes are Martha Stewart's Strawberry Cupcake recipe (see below). They are very moist and delicious!
The first part of the frosting is Martha's chocolate frosting (recipe below.) After I frosted the cupcakes, I melted a jar of Marshmallow Fluff and then dipped the frosted cupcake into the fluff for a few seconds!
Then I decorated the cupcakes with all kinds of colored sugars! This was pretty much fun and was so easy. I knew I needed a white surface for the sugars...and I still wanted the chocolate frosting!
Layla really wants that Pony in Her Pocket cupcake!
While Nigel could have cared less...he only cares about chipmunks!
Here are the recipes:
Martha Stewart's Strawberry Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen
* 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup milk
* 8 large egg whites
* Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
* 24 small fresh strawberries, washed (hulls intact), for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up.
Martha Stewart's Chocolate Frosting
Makes 1 1/2 cups
* 3 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
* 1 pinch of salt
* 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 1/4 cup sour cream
1. Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.
2. Sift sugar, cocoa, and salt into a large bowl. Put cream cheese and butter into mixer bowl; mix on medium until fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar mixture; mix until combined. Mix in melted chocolate and sour cream. Use immediately, or refrigerate airtight up to 2 days; bring to room temperature, and stir before using.
Marshmallow Fluff Topping
1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff
Heat in a tall, small pan until the fluff is easy to stir. Dip the frosted cupcakes one at a time into the fluff. Let the cupcakes sit for a few moments and then pour the colored sugar over the fluff.
Remember...this should not be stressful...just have fun and see what happens.
Hope you have a great week!