Evil Yumminess in the Land of Giant Cupcakes

November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Baby Shower Cake

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Halloween,spice cake,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 11:42 AM
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Thank goodness this thing is done and eaten now! I always get so excited when I am asked to make a larger cake and want to make the most of the opportunity. This instance was no different. I was pretty much told I could do the cake however I wanted as long as it came out elegant and pretty. My friend was very happy with the end result, Yay!!!

The cake was a spice cake, thus all my overly obsessed blog posts regarding generating a good spice cake, with cream cheese frosting. The thing weighed about ten pounds, I swear! The bottom cake was a four-layer 9″ cake decorated like a basket. I added a candy pearl accent around the bottom and a peachy-pink ruffle around the top. On top of that there was a two-layer 6″ round and then the 3D pumpkin. I added mini cupcakes around the bottom for extra flare. I had originally intended to put the mini cupcakes on top of the bottom cake so that it looked like a basket of flower, but there didn’t end up being enough room on top of the cake to do so. I guess I should have measured or something to make sure that they would have fit. It worked out, though. I also used a ton of luster dust to give the cake some shimmer and shine.

Since I needed to fill in the empty space below the pumpkin, I whipped out a big flower-ish tip and plopped a bunch of flowers into that space. I didn’t like the effect really, but decided that if I added the luster dust it would be okay. I added some of the candy pearls, too, and it turned out looking nice.

I put both peach and white icing in a pastry bag and covered the 3D pumpkin with tip #18 drop stars. I started in the indented parts and worked my way out so that the shape would still show. The green on the top for the leaf, stem and vines got a treatment of luster dust, too, so that they would stand out some more. The pumpkin looked really, really sad without the green and pretty dang good with it.

I started icing this thing at around 7:30 pm Friday night. I took a short break (about 30 minutes) to get my daughter into bed and then dove right back into the cake. I finally finished the decorating, not including the mini cupcakes which I did the next day, at around midnight. I don’t plan to ever pipe cream cheese frosting again if I can help it. It is either too stiff or too soft. There is too small a window when the icing is just right to work with and I’m too impatient.

As I mentioned before, I think the cake weighed about ten pounds. Between the cake itself, the mini cupcakes, and the whoopie pies that I filled, there was 4 packages of cream cheese, 4 sticks of butter, and 4 pounds of powdered sugar. Plus, add in the weight from the different elements of cake and we are talking one dang heavy cake. I was so afraid I was going to drop it!

On another note, I really need to make a sign to put in the back of my car so that the poor souls that get stuck behind me when I’m delivering a cake know why I’m only driving about 4 miles per hour. I’m thinking something like, “Cake Delivery in Progress…SORRY!”

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October 28, 2010

Successful Candy Corn Peanut Butter Cookies

Finally, I have this silly cookie figured out! My wonderful co-worker, Tanya the Enabler, suggested that I try using the candy corn flavored Hershey’s Kisses. THANK YOU, TANYA!!! Not only do these taste really yummy, they are also melt-able! Regular candy corn does not handle being baked into things or being melted and cooled. It gets hard and nasty. The kisses, however, are perfect. There’s a recipe on the back of the candy bag suggests melting some and drizzling them over cookies. After reading this, I had to take a minute to calm myself down due to the possibilities that were running through my head!

Anyway, dorkiness aside, I was very please to find that I finally had a finished product that matched my initial idea.

I chopped up a package of Kisses (minus 18) and added them instead of the Heath bits that the recipe usually calls for. For whatever reason, perhaps over mixing, the cookies turned out a little flatter than I would have liked. Seems to be the trend for this week. Grrr. I would have also liked to had some of that chunky pretzel salt to add to the top of the cookie. Other than that…PERFECTION!!! You bite into the cookie and it you instantly get the candy corn taste. The candy corn flavor had gotten lost in other trial batches.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup Skippy Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter
  • 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted peanuts (optional)
  • 1 bag candy corn flavored Hershey’s Kisses,  coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Beat butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup nuts and candy corn pieces

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Do not over bake (see note #1 at bottom). Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

5. If desired, melt some candy corn Kisses and drizzle over the top of the cookies.

NOTE #1: The original recipe recommends a cooking time of 7-8 minutes. I have have to bake my cookies, even the smaller ones, for 10-11 minutes. I recommend starting to check your first sheet of cookies at around 7 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to brown ever so slightly. You will need to leave the cookies on the sheet for a few minutes since they are very soft. If you try to move them immediately, you’ll most likely end up with a huge mess.

October 12, 2010

Spice Cake…The Quest

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Halloween,spice cake,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 1:32 PM
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My best friend is planning her sister’s baby shower and enlisted my services for the cake. The sister notified her that the baby had been craving spice cake lately. So, naturally, the cake for the baby shower is going to be spice cake. I’ve never made a spice cake before. I don’t like spice cake at all and have no idea what a good spice cake tastes like. Neither the sister nor my friend live near enough to me that I can have them taste test for me. Luckily, I have a long list of friends and co-workers which I can call upon to participate in a taste test of this kind.

I started searching on the internet and found a ton of recipes, but I decided to ask my mom to delve into her recipe book cache to see if you should find a old recipe that might work. When I got home from work, she had about six cookbooks of various origins and age sitting on the table for me. One of these books was a very old, musty, dirty binder with typed recipes. No name, no date, nothing. I asked Mom what the deal was with it and was delighted to find that I was holding my great-grandmother’s recipes. Apparently, her uncle had typed them up a very long time ago so that they would all be in one place. THANK YOU GREAT-UNCLE L!

This cookbook is old and the recipes in it are even older. Many of the recipes do not include instructions. Some of them do not even have measurements. They’ll just say, “add enough flour to get a stiff dough” or “add flour until you get a dough that you are just able to handle.” Temperature settings are more likely than not to be “moderate,” “slightly fast,” etc. Obviously these recipes were from someone who knew how to bake in the first place. Some recipes even instruct you to take the pan out of the fire. Nice, huh!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try the Spice Cake recipe and compare it to a cake mix to see which was better. Unfortunately, I did not own all the spices needed.  As I said, I don’t like spice cake, so I didn’t have nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or allspice. I went to the store and had a heart attack over the price of spices (once again). I decided to just buy the allspice and see how it went. Turns out, it wasn’t enough, but that comes later.

Being me, I had forgotten about the family weenie roast last Sunday until my husband came home at 2:30 and reminded me. He wasn’t sure if we were going to go until around 3:15 and at that point I didn’t have anything to take with us. We have to leave at 4:30. Perfect time to make up these spice cupcakes, right? I thought so. Also being me, I decided that I should be able to get two batched, one from scratch and one from a mix, baked and iced in an hour.  Imagine my distress when my hubby declared at 4:15 that it was time to go. I just laughed…he did not. I did get them done, but I was taking the last batch out of the oven when it was time to actually leave at 4:30. Hubby was annoyed; he hates to be late. I got enough of them iced using store bought cream cheese frosting (sad face) to take to the weenie roast. The rest I stuck in a container for later.

Now for the comparison…

On the left is my great-grandma’s recipe and on the right is the box mix. You can tell in the picture that one is much lighter in color than the other. The from from-scratch recipe was a little less moist, was spongier, and not as flavorful. the lack of flavor was expected, though, since all I used was cinnamon and allspice to flavor it. The box mix was moister and denser. It also smelled much better. So far, the reviews have been mixed. Some like one and some like the other.

I robbed my Mom’s spices and came away with cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, so I plan to do another trial on the recipe to see if it is any better. In addition to the extra spices, I plan to use a little brown sugar to see if that will help the flavor and color at all.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk (aka buttermilk)
1 cup raisins, chopped (which I omitted because I despise raisins)
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp soda in sour milk
2 large cups flour

One can only presume to know exactly what this recipe means by “large cups flour.” I just measured it out like I usually do (Stir flour, spoon into measuring cup, and level with spoon). Just another joy in the quest for an excellent spice cake! This recipe only make 19 cupcakes instead of the usual 24, too.

By the way, I do NOT recommend trying to make two batches of cupcakes in an hour and expect to get them iced, especially if one recipe if from scratch. It was a sketchy business, to be sure!

September 20, 2010

Candy Corn and Peanut Butter Cookies

Filed under: Candy Corn,Cookies,Halloween,peanut butter,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 4:44 PM
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Ever had candy corn and salty peanuts mixed together like a trial mix? Well, this post is all about the cookie version of that combination. There was a little bit of trial and error, but I ended up with a pretty good representation of the flavors I was seeking!

I knew from previous experience (Urg!)  that when you melt candy corn, it cools into a hard mass of sugar. You basically turn it from a soft chewy piece of candy into hard candy. Not exactly what I was trying to accomplish here. Still, I wondered what would happen if I put it inside cookies. So, I baked my first batch of cookies with chopped candy corn in the batter. As I expected, the candy corn that was outside the batter turned into hard candy. The candy corn that was inside the batter, got really chewy. The visual result of the cookie was not good at all and the taste of the candy corn was almost completely lost. Now, obsessed with getting the proper result, I consulted with my mother, and decided to make another batch of cookies.

This time, as per my mother’s advice, I decided to put the candy corn on top of the cookies immediately after I removed them from the oven. I had some minor complications, mainly the peanuts not letting the candy corn be pressed down into the cookie and some of the candy corn pieces not sticking to the cookie, but over all the result was very good.  There is only a small window of opportunity to get the candy corn onto the cookie since they flatten out as they cool. Sadly, I was running out of candy corn at this point since the local grocery store only sold the “Autumn Mix” and not just a big bag of regular candy corn. I had to use pieces of candy corn instead of the full specimen, and some of the cookies ended up with half a pumpkin candy on them, which also turned out looking rather nice.

Without any further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup Skippy Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter
  • 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I usually use a pinch of salt since I use salted butter)
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • candy corn

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Beat butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup nuts. DO NOT ADD CANDY CORN AT THIS POINT!

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Do not over bake (see note #1 at bottom). Place candy corn onto cookies as soon as you remove them from the oven. Press each piece of candy gently into the cookie. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

NOTE #1: The original recipe recommends a cooking time of 7-8 minutes. I have have to bake my cookies, even the smaller ones, for 10-11 minutes. I recommend starting to check your first sheet of cookies at around 7 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to brown ever so slightly. You will need to leave the cookies on the sheet for a few minutes since they are very soft. If you try to move them immediately, you’ll most likely end up with a huge mess.

NOTE #2: These cookies were quite as salty as I would have liked. The next time I bake them, I may try sprinkling the tops of the unbaked cookies with some of pretzel salt and see how that turns out. Might be good, might not.

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