Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top?"

I developed this recipe after being unable to find a recipe for cherry cupcakes that sounded good to me.  I wanted something simple and tasty.  I was very pleased with this result.  I think I will coat the "dropped" cherries with flour next time in an attempt to suspend them in the center of the cupcake instead of having them drop to the bottom.  Even though the cherries dropped, they added a nice touch to the cupcakes.

I used a new recipe for "Special Buttercream Frosting" that I found on www.allrecipes.com, but I modified that, too.  Instead of all shortening, I used half shortening and half butter and increased the amount of whipping cream.

The reviews were pretty spectacular, so I think this cupcake recipe is a keeper! 

(These cupcakes were made for a little girl on my caseload.  She just turned four and was recently reunited with her family, so I took three cupcakes to her house when I did my monthly visit.  They seemed to appreciate it.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pie are Round?

In Math class we learned that "Pi are square".  In Home Economics, we learned that "Pie are round".  In this case, "Pie are rectangular".  Most people that saw this pie thought it was a cobbler based upon shape alone.  They didn't seem to like pie in a non-traditional shape, although the taste was the same.  Odd...

I got this pie pan from www.kitchenkrafts.com.  I like that it has diagonal wedge guides in the bottom of the pan, but I think they are set too far apart.  It is set to cut 6 large slices of pie.  I would probably cut this into 8 slices.  I also like the fact that because of the unique pan design, you only have one side of exposed filling at any one time.  However, if you normally use a pie gate, it won't work with this pan.

This is an apricot pie with a sugar-laden lattice crust.  It was yummy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunflower Cupcakes

These were sunflower cupcakes made for work.  Chocolate and white cupcakes were the base.  Oreos serve as the centers of the flowers, buttercream frosting makes the grass and flower petals, and Nabisco Honey Graham Bees pollinate each cupcake.  The reason some of the sunflowers are blue (an impossible color for a sunflower) is simply that I ran out of yellow.  

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Life in Cupcakes

(NOTE:  This post has been slightly modified for posting to www.iheartfaces.blogspot.com.)

These Red Velvet cupcakes with Fluffy White frosting were made for my mother's 80th birthday last year.  I just used a boxed cake mix and canned frosting from Duncan Hines.  The true story is in the decorations.  (I also made Pistachio Almond Fudge cupcakes - the cake part from a mix and the frosting from scratch! - for the same party and blogged about them recently.  They can be seen in the first photo here.  The table in the first photo is sprinkled with confetti, not food stains.)

I thought it would be easy to come up with designs describing my mother's life in cupcakes.  I was wrong.  There was just too many things - some lent themselves well to a cupcake tableau, but many did not.  There was also a time issue.  So I settled for cotton bolls, Scrabble tiles, basketballs, marbles, music notes, dominoes, and yes, a few obscure frying pans (black fondant with blue liquid gel inside).  Please allow me to explain...

When my mother, Joan (pronounced JoAnn), was a young girl, her family worked the cotton fields.  Now I hoed peanuts as a teenager, but that was by choice and I only did it one summer.  My mother's entire family planted, hoed, chopped, and picked cotton - even the toddlers - and they did it year after year.  This is something I really have a hard time imagining, but I respect the work ethic that all of the children pitched in with little to no complaints.  The cotton bolls are made from semi-sweet chocolate, which was shaped by ladling melted chocolate into plastic Easter eggs.  When it was hardened, the eggs were bent to remove the "bolls".  The cotton was white cotton candy, which had to be special ordered from New Jersey.  The shipping was actually more than the cost of the cotton candy!  I tried to find white cotton candy locally, but was unsuccessful.  (However, big kudos to The Corn Popper of Tulsa for trying and for giving me what they made for free!) 

The others are mostly self-explanatory:

My mother played marbles as a child and was pretty good at the game;

Dominoes were a staple game in her family and she still loves Moon and regular dominoes.

My mother played basketball in high school - back when girls still played 6-on-6 half-court ball and could only dribble the ball one time before passing it - and she was quite good.

My mother loves music in most forms and has always had a lovely singing voice.  She has played the organ for her church for over 50 years and often sang at church and home.

Now for the obscure frying pan - it's not for the reason you may think.  While my mother is a very good cook, it has nothing to do with cooking, but is a reference to music (sort of).  When my mother was young, her father would entertain his children by making up rhymes about each one and singing them to the kids, along with "Eefin' & Oofin'" or skat.  My mother's rhyme was:

"I know a little girl,
Her name is Joan,
She washed her feet
in the frying pan!"

All of the kids thought this was very funny, as did Granddaddy and Grandmother.  I can still remember hearing him sing it to my sisters and me when we were small. 

So there you have it - my mother's life, on a very small scale, in cupcakes.

: )