Happy Easter!

Morningstar Corsos aka Caesar & Daisy Duke

Happy Birthday, Dan!

So, DH's bithday was earlier this month. I'm a little behind in posting. Not to mention in our family we celebrate birthMONTHS, not days. He did get his cupcakes on time, along with a wonderful dinner with our good friends.

My husband isn't huge on sweets, he usually goes for yellow cake with chocolate frosting. But he also loves peanut butter. And bacon. The bacon got the boot, but I kept the chocolate & peanut butter. The end result? Banana cupcakes with swirled chocolate and peanut butter buttercream frostings they have been named the Naughty Monkey.
A disclaimer on the recipes - I never follow them to the T. I usually add more or less as I like them. Below are the recipes I started with, but I know I added more banana to the cakes & more peanut butter to the frosting. Make them yours!

Naughty Monkey Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes:
1/3 cup butter flavored shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in the bananas, eggs, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture until combined.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Chocolate Frosting:
6 tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 c. Hershey's cocoa
2 2/3 c. unsifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Salt, to taste

Cream butter in small mixer bowl. Add cocoa and confectioners' sugar alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional tablespoon milk may be needed. Blend in vanilla. A pinch of salt to taste. About 2 cups frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup cream

In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in 1/4 cup of the cream. Beat in the remaining confectioners' sugar. If necessary, add a little more cream or milk until the frosting reaches a good spreading consistency. Makes enough to frost one 2 layer 9 inch cake or one 9x13 inch cake.
A little different swirl - just as delicious

Now for the fun part. To get the frosting to "swirl" you'll need a piping bag & attachments (whatever tip you like), a large ziptop plastic bag & a large cup for balancing. First, fill the baggie with chocolate frosting, twist the top & snip one of the bottom corners; set the bag in the large cup to balance. Fit attachments to the piping bag. Carefully spoon the peanut butter frosting so it is only on one side of the bag. Once that is full, use the baggie to easily get the chocolate frosting into the other half of the piping bag. Now, frost away!

Red Velvet Cake Cookies

It's been a little while since I last posted some baking yumminess. Here are the Red Velvet Cake Cookies I made for Valentine's Day. You could also sandwich a layer of Cream Cheese Frosting in between two cookies, but really, these are yummy enough on their own. The cookies are an amazing softness, but not as moist as cake.

I switched up this recipe to make Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies by using white cake mix & chocolate chips. And this time I did sandwich the cookies with a layer of chocolate buttercream. They were sinful. Sorry, no pictures of this one.

For the recipe, visit Bakerella's blog.

Cake Catastrophe!

Well, this cake was for my mom's birthday, but I flopped on two accounts. The cake was a yummy Raspberry Swirl cake. The frosting was a Raspberry Whipped Cream. When first paired, it tasted like a raspberry shortcake. It was yummy. What I found was that whipped cream frosting doesn't hold together so well after being covered in chocolate fondant. I also found that chocolate fondant doesn't hold up so well after being covered with tin foil with such a wet frosting base beneath it.

So, double fail. But the cake did taste alright. Next time will be much better. I did get to practice some fondant skills like embossing & even rolling of pearls & snakes.

Chocolate Bailey's Cake

Dan's aunt & uncle stayed with us overnight & I managed to throw this cake together just in time. It was a simple yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting. But I thought it needed a little something - so it got a couple shots of Bailey's. The end result was a three layer yellow cake with chocolate Bailey's whipped ganache frosting covered with poured chocolate Bailey's ganache with a generous sprinkling of chocolate jimmies & white nonpareils. Best served with a glass of ice cold milk.

Chocolate Bailey's Ganache Recipe:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsps Bailey's

Chop chocolate chips in food processor. Heat cream on stove & add in chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted through. Pour into mixing bowl & put in fridge for 15 minutes (or freezer if you are pressed for time). After cool, add Bailey's & whisk on medium speed until fluffy. If using the ganache to pour, only whisk to mix the Bailey's in.

National Chomps!

So says Sports Illustrated. Congatulations to the University of Florida Gators football team on their national championship win over the Oklahoma Sooners!! One of our resolutions for 2009 is to absolutely get to The Swamp to see the Gators chomp next season's victims. Our recent move leaves us only 2 hours outside of Gainesville & there is just no reason to not be there next season.

Way to go Gators! See you in August!

Christmas Surprise & Violet Cake

I got a huge surprise the other day - while loading something into the back of my ridiculously filthy car, I noticed my hub cap was incredibly clean. Then I realized that not only was it clean, but it was new! I had lost that hub cap & hadn't gotten around to ordering a new one. It was really surprising, because DH hadn't said anything about the hub cap & when I called him to thank him, he knew nothing about it. The hub cap was not from him.

Come to find out, it was the neighbors! It was their Secret Santa gift to us! Apparently they put it on a few days ago & I hadn't even noticed. Ooops.
So as a thank you, I've baked them a cake. It's a devil's food cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, covered in fondant & topped with gum paste violets. It was my first time playing with the gum paste kit Santa brought me. They aren't perfect & boy did it take a long time to make all those little violets! I hope they enjoy the cake as much as I enjoy having FOUR hub caps.

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