Tag Archives: Birthday

Melissa & Doug ~ Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set

11 Jul

At least once a week, I pack up Princess and my Mini Cupcake (although she may not be so Mini for that much longer…. single teardrop, they grow so fast) and we walk across the street to Chapters. I’m reallyonly heading there on any given day because I genuinely cannot make it through the day on a single cup of coffee. So a stop in at Starbucks first is a must.

But Princess knows why we’re really there….TOYS!! All the Chapters in our area under went major renovations during the last year and came back with huge, brightly lit and jam-packed with kiddy goodness, Indigo Kids Centres. These people are marketing geniuses. Let’s have the kids come and sample all the expensive trains, doll houses, crafts and books so that there is a pretty good chance that most parents will not make it out of here alive without purchasing something to keep their ankle biter from screaming all the way home.

Thankfully, Princess knows that we will come back again and she can always play with the toys then. On the rare occasion we do have to bribe her with a treat at home, but at least that is cheaper than the alternative.

On our many visits to the play center, there is one item that I’ve had my eye for some time now. For Princess, of course, not myself….. honestly, I swear.

It is the Melissa & Doug Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set.

First let me start by saying how much I adore their products. Quality toys at a reasonable price? I love it!! Most of them are wooden and will likely last much longer than their plastic counterparts.

The cupcake set comes with everything to create delicious, almost life-like birthday cupcakes. There are reuseable wrappers, washable “icing” markers and velcro candles for each cupcake. This way kids can spend hours creating their own cupcake wonders. Then when they’re done, simply wash them off and start over again! With their own oven mitt, they can feel like superstar bakers, making special treats for all of their friends.

I’m still looking for the perfect excuse to bring this item home for Princess to play with (I promise, for her, not for me….) but it may come down to, “Oh, what a good job you did eating your breakfast! Let’s go get a treat at Starbucks….”

It’s ok to spoil them every once in a while, right? 😉

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Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

27 Jun

Every year in June, my family comes together to celebrate a special little lady. This year she’s not so little anymore. Our little lady has turned 20 and is set to become a lovely young woman.

In preparation for this annual celebration several things must take place. Among the traditions are my dad’s shaved head ( in remembrance of her battle and victory over cancer 18 years ago), and I must make some type of Strawberry Shortcake concoction. So this year it had to be….

Once again, this recipe came from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

2/3 cup whole milk

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt)

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used pure vanilla extract this time around)

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with 18 liners.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat just until it is hot; it should measure about 150 degrees F on a thermometer (BTW, I think mine is defective). Remove from the heat.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream colour, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. On low-speed, mix the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Slowly add the hot milk and continue mixing for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth; the batter will be thin.

Fill each liner with a 1/3 cup of batter, to about 5/8 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.

Time to make some fillings 🙂

8 cups cleaned, stemmed and sliced (I probably only used about 5 cups though)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (again, I used the pure stuff this time)

In a large bowl, stir the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar together. (I also added several dashes of Frangelico for added flavour). Let sit for 30 minutes. Some juice will be released as the strawberries sit, and they will shrink to about 6 cups.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream, powered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Using a serrated knife, slice each cupcake (the recipe calls for three pieces, I only slice them into two). Place the bottom of each cupcake on an individual serving plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of whipped cream followed by 1/4 of strawberries with their juice. Place the other half of the cupcake on top and again decorate with whipped cream and strawberries. This presentation is extremely rustic and will not be delicate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I deviated from the recipe’s suggested 12 extra-large cupcakes. I opted for 18 regular cupcakes. As they cooled each shrank considerably to become more like tea cakes. They were still sweet and full of flavour. The pure vanilla and almond extracts make a notable difference in the flavour of the cupcakes. The soft and fluffy cake pair perfectly with the spiked strawberries and whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So until next year… Happy 20th Birthday Auntie Nemo 😉

Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Coffee Whipped Cream Frosting

2 Jun

When it comes to making cupcakes for the Hubby, there is only one thing I need consider…. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

I myself enjoy some chocolate, but not to the point that this man does. If I leave chocolate in the house unattended for any length of time, you can bet that the Hubby will find it and devour it.

So every year for his birthday, I know exactly what to make to show him I care. (And it keeps the recipe searching in a minimum!)

This year it was Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Coffee Whipped Cream Frosting and Grand Marnier soaked Raspberries. Mouth-watering, yes?

Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

3/4 cup Crisco shortening

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup half-and-half cream

1 cup miniature chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pans with liners.

 

In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla, beat well. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with half and half cream to shortening mixture, beating well after each addition. Start and end with dry ingredients. Stir in mini chocolate chips just until incorporated.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cupcakes test done.

Remove from pans to wire rack and cool completely before icing.

Coffee Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup whipping cream

1/2-3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee

Using an electric mixer, whip all three ingredients until the whipped cream is light and stiff.

Spread or pipe frosting over cooled cupcakes.

Grand Marnier Soaked Raspberries

2 or 3 cups of fresh, washed raspberries

3 tbsp Grand Marnier (or any other Orange flavoured liqueur)

Optional: White sugar. I like my raspberries to be more on the tart side, so I skip the added sugar.

Place raspberries in a medium-sized bowl and cover with the Grand Marnier. Stir gently to avoid crushing the berries.

Depending on the length of time they are left to soak, the berries will lose some juice. By all means, please use every last drop when decorating!!

These cupcakes delivered in the chocolate department. However, I did find them a touch dry. I would perhaps try melted chocolate in place of the cocoa to fluff them up a little.

The hubby loved them and promptly ate about 8 of them (that’s nothing, trust me!) Join with me in wishing him a very Happy Birthday!!