Week 44: Bourbon Street Cupcakes in Honor of Mardi Gras

First, let me thank all of you for the sweet and caring comments about my operation...everything went very well...and i'm getting used to one-handed (wrong-handed for me!) typing...and cupcake decorating! I was able to make the cupcakes Friday morning before my operation (the heated up bourbon, orange zest, and golden raisons smelled really good, probably because I couldn't have any breakfast! Laura made the frosting for me this morning, and got me set up for the decorating!

But first I wanted to share this funniest birthday card...my birthday was Feb. 22nd and I had the best day ever...beginning with a cinnabon provided secretly by Catherine of What Cat Ate, continued with lunch at my favorite College Park eatery:...it's got the greatest giros...Marathon Deli...they're so small that I don't think they have a web site....then for dinner...it's all about eating, you know?...we all went to Cafe Milano in Georgetown. It was so much fun, and, of course, I had my Kir Royale!.... that I received from my neice, Kim, who lives in Spokane. It's from Hallmark.com and it was so cute and cupcake appropriate! It's called Birthday Cupcake's Terror. Thanks, Kimbo...it was the best laugh of the day...at least until I received the Versace sun glasses from Amanda and James!

And...finally to the cupcakes...I've been reading about New Orleans and the Mardi Gras in the Washington Post and the whole thing just pulled at my heart strings, because they are having such a hard time there and yet trying hard to keep Mardi Gras going. I visited Bourbon St. once a long time ago and it was so much fun! I decided to make the Bourbon Street Cupcake!

I used Wild Turkey Bourbon....my Uncle Charlie would have said that was a waste of good liquor...lol...in the batter and the frosting, too. Yum! We made half the frosting purple and half of it green and then I went to town decorating...using gold balls, as well as different color pastel balls, too. There are some other Bourbon Street Cupcake photos on my flickr account.

The recipe is HERE.

Week 43: Chocolate and Zucchini Cupcakes

This mini cupcake is so cute, don't you think? I've been wanting to make this Chocolate and Zucchini cupcake for sometime. Then, yesterday I found these cute little pink holders at A.C. Moore's and that sealed the deal. I found them at A.C. Moore...and I was in there a very long time...not just looking for cupcake stuff, but I have been thinking about making some small lapel pins for my jackets for work. Well, about $80 later I have enough odds and ends to make 8 million (my favorite number for extreme things) lapel pins! I bought pin backs, little tiny metal letters, different kinds of papers...for the backing...OMG!...how did I ever get out of there? But, then, because I was in a good location for errands...on Rockville Pike...I ended up in Linens and Things...Filene's Basement...and Toys R Us! Oh yeah, and World Market....I thought I'd never make it home to start my cupcakes! Rest assured: this cupcake is pretty easy to make and everyone who has tried them today, loves them!

They are light, moist, chocolateeeee and the Buttercreme frosting is reminiscent of the stuff inside a Hostess Cupcake. Which reminds me of why this afternoon I had to go to Whole Foods to look for something that was mentioned in one of the recipes I found for this recipe: Coconut Oil...which I did find at Whole Foods. Another surprise....it's not liquid. It's in a jar and it's kinds of lard like. The taste and smell is amazing. I can't wait to use it in something in the future!

I guess this is the time to let you know that I might not be making cupcakes this coming week. I'm trying to work it out so that I get them done ahead of time but I'm not sure I can...This coming Friday I'm having an operation on my left hand...and I'm left-handed...I have arthritis in the base of my thumb. It's bothered me for quite while, and my doctor and I agree that it's time to do something about it. I'll be out of commission at least a couple of days. So. Where does that leave you guys? Well, I am just going to try to make some Mardi Gras cupcakes on Thursday night. I haven't missed one week yet and I can't start now!

Oh yeah...Two people in my family are going to be sent one of these cupcakes tomorrow. Be on the lookout!

The recipe for the Week 43 Cupcakes is HERE.

Another "I Know They're Not Cupcakes" Thursday Night Baking: Star Doggie Treats!

It's another round of doggie treats from the Three Dog Bakery Book. These are called Simple Simon's Birthday Bones, but I used a star cookie cutter instead of a bone shaped one. Layla and the other doggies love them...Here's the recipe:

Simple Simon's Birthday Bones

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oats
1 cup skim milk

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Add wet mixture to dry and mix well. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

Here's Layla's on a down stay waiting for her treats...which she gobbled up in 1 second!

Week 42-Valentine's Day: Kir Royale Cupcakes with Champagne Cassis Frosting

Some of you know how much I LOVE Kir Royales...it's made with champagne and cassis which turns the champagne a really cool dark red...so with that lovely treat in mind, I set out to duplicate it in this week's cupcake...in honor of Valentine's Day. And, lucky for me, Julie Hasson has the recipe for a Cassis Cupcake in her book, 125 Best Cupcake Recipes, and I did add a bit little champagne to it. The cupcakes turned out perfectly! The texture is so nice...crispy on the top and firm on the inside....

Then, I searched for a champagne and cassis frostiing but couldn't find one...so I invented it: Champagne and Cassis Fluff Frosting....I found one plain Fluff recipe that I thought would work and added my extra ingredients and it tastes soooo good! (I'm getting brave, aren't I?) I had the best time decorating these guys. Once again, little personalities began to emerge (like with the Halloween cupcakes)...but this time I didn't get into the ghoulish routine...it is, after all, Valentine's Day! The are more photos of these cupcakes on my flickr account here. Hope you have a great Valentine's Day. Enjoy a Kir Royale on me!

Download the recipe here

Definitely Not Cupcakes...They're Homemade Doggie Treatz

>>Doggie Treatz Recipe Here

To calm myself down during the Maryland/UVA basketball game tonight...which we WON!!!...I cracked open a new cookbook...of sorts...I bought a couple of weeks ago...it's a stretch I know...from cupcakes to doggie treatz...the book was in the cookbook area...(i think...it's all big blank now)...it's called Three Dog Bakery (there, it says bake) Cookbook. There really are some amazing recipes in this book...I think even humans could eat these...hmmm...I could probably make some of their muffins for work. There's one called "Dr. Feelgood's Feel Better Muffins."

The recipe I picked is called Party Hearty Mix-It-Up Mix. And, all the doggiez here tonight seemed to think they were pretty d&#$ good...Layla, Harry and Chuck...and yummy. In fact they wanted a lot more...so Harry and Chuck took some home with them! And, Layla asked if she could sleep in the kitchen tonight just to be closer to the treatz. Some of the humans...includng me...ate a couple of the treatz....and rated them "pretty good" for a dog treat.

They're made with whole wheat flour, honey, milk, 1 egg, baking powder and ground ginger. I had a small dog bone shaped cookie cutter that I used...just the perfect size for a little reward for nice doggiez!

Week 41: Super Bowl Cupcakes...the Big Show Down Match Between the Angel Food Cupcakes and the Devil's Food Cupcakes

Another awesome trip to Wegmans yesterday...and this time I didn't get us lost, so it only took about 20 minutes to get there...to gather cupcake material for this week's Super Bowl Cupcakes and also some stuff for the Valentine's Cupcakes...shhhh...no telling what that's going to be! For Super Bowl XV's cupcake, my sister gave me this idea....Angel Food Mini Cupcakes on one side Devil's Food Mini Cupcakes on the other! BYW...did you know that sports writers often refer to their "easy to beat opponents" as "cupcakes"....as in seen in this article ..."Don`t be fooled into thinking the Seahawks skipped into the Super Bowl on a path paved with cupcakes and candy floss." What's up with that??

The frostings are the key with these puppies...First, I did my own coin toss to see who would get to be the Angel Food Cupcakes and the Steelers won...hmmm...perhaps that's a positive sign. The frosting had, of course to be black. I used a buttercream recipe and added my own idea of fun: Goldschlager. It's a cool liqueur because it has real gold flakes in it and it tastes like cinnamon!

The Devil's Food Cupcake frosting...which is blue...also was made with buttercream frosting and for this one I, of course, added Starbuck's Coffee Liqueur. This one tastes like heaven...chocolate and coffee.

After the frosting was complete, I created this somewhat elaborate football field on the kitchen table which was pretty funny...crowd scene, football formation and all...Here's the link to my Super Bowl cupcakes on my flickr account. NOW KIDS...ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Peanut Butter Cupcakes Land Safely in Spokane...3,000 Miles From Home

I boxed up a dozen of the Week 40 cupcakes...Dark, Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter with Dark Chocolate Ganache...on Tuesday to fedex to my brother, Jim, in Spokane, because I lost our bet on the (who can bear to remember??) Redskins vs Seattle game on Jan. 14. I had created a new packaging idea using styrofoam, and it appears to have worked...even tho I was not happy with it. Now I have a couple of other ideas. When they get finalized, I'll see who wants to be a testee (or testor) for the cupcake shipping box!

Here's what my brother's email said:
"They got here in great shape, tasted like they were made today. Got rave reviews from the crew, especially the frosting! I had to save 4 for Mary and Les and I'm guarding them with my life. Terrif!"