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A Special Birthday Post

2 Oct

Today is a special someone’s birthday…

Super excited about his Easter basket {from April 2012

 

 

and after almost 3 years together, John and I are finally  able to spend his birthday together. John had a list of requested for birthday treats, but he finally narrowed it down to two: cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and bottle cap cupcakes to take to work and share with his friends {not even kidding}. I had no idea what these were, but apparently John’s mom made them for him as a kid, so of course I had to oblige. The recipe is quite easy, but very tasty {no link, his mamma e-mailed it to me}

Bottle Cap Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cake mix {and whatever ingredients your cake mix calls for, usually water, oil and egg}
  • Carton of heavy whipping cream
  • ~2 tablespoons of sugar

Directions

  • Prepare cake mix per instructions on the package
  • Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  • Bake your cupcakes according to instructions. Cupcakes are done when you can insert and remove a knife cleanly in the center of the cake.
  • While cupcakes cool, pour the carton of heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Mix on high speed with an electric mixer. As you mix, add sugar to taste.
  • Mix until stiff peaks form.
  • When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a deep hole in the middle {I put my cupcakes in the fridge to speed up the cooling}. If your cupcakes are still warm, the whipped cream will melt.

Ready for whipped cream

 

  • Fill the opening with whipped cream, as much or as little as you want. Place the cut-out on top of the filling
  • Take to work/school and share with your friends! {or hoard for yourself, no judgement}

 

Happy birthday to you, my love and my best friend.

 

 

 

California Girl {Again}

20 Sep

You may have noticed a lack in updates {…yet again}. But I promise it was for a good reason! I packed up my Boston life into three BIG boxes, two suitcases, grabbed Sally the cat and moved us across the country back to sunny California. After a stressful few weeks {Sally was living with her kitty cousins, but they did NOT like her. There were many peeing incidents to mark territory, a broken-legged puppy, and a stay in the pet hotel. Not to mention the guilt of this fur mama leaving her Sally cat all alone} the boyfriend and I FINALLY found a place to call home. We’re still unpacking, but Sandra Lee is proudly displayed in the new kitchen, and when I get some baking ingredients and mixing bowls, the blog will be goin’ again. Boyfriend’s birthday is next month and he’s already requested a cake. And homemade muffins on a weekly basis {we’ll see about that one…}

Meanwhile, I leave you with this video of Sally’s first encounter with her leash and harness {it was a plane necessity–SO glad I bought it!} I apologize in advance for my ridiculous laughing.

 

P.S. Boston friends–I miss you. Send me Dunkin’ Donuts, PLEASE :) {Or just deliver yourselves to my doorstep. That would be even better}

White-Chocolate Raspberry Birthday

6 Aug

When I started this post, it was my roommate’s birthday… in JUNE! Since then, I’ve just been  unfortunately busy with work, planning on moving {T-8 days, ah!} and casually watching obsessing over the Olympics. Is anyone else as sad as me that Michael Phelps is done with swimming, forever!? As a former competitive swimmer myself {not Olympic caliber…} I have truly enjoyed watching him swim over the last 12 years, and I shed a tear after his last race on Saturday. Thank you Michael, for being an inspiration for swimmers and non-swimmers alike–you really are the greatest Olympian of all time.

But enough of that….

As I said, almost two months ago was my awesome roommate’s birthday! {I won’t spill the deets on how old she is, but let’s just say… she’s getting up there, ha} To commemorate her ascent out of her early/mid 20’s, I decided to try a new cheesecake recipe.  Cheesecakes are great cakes to make for people that a) generally don’t like cake b)like a lighter flavor, since you can add a lot of yummy summer and refreshing fruit flavors {raspberries, strawberries, orange, lemons, etc} and c)really like cream cheese.

Happy birthday Ginny!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com (crust adapted from Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe)

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter

Cake:

  • 1 (approx 10 ounces) package of frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese–24 ounces total
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumb {if you’re like me and don’t have a food processor, a blender on the “ice crush” setting works great to make crumbs!} with brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix well and press into 9″ springform pan. Set aside
  • In a pot/saucepan, mix raspberries, water, cornstarch, and 2 cups sugar over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let boil until thick, about 5 minutes {feel free to add more water/cornstarch to create desired consistency. Cornstarch will make syrup thicker, water will make it thinner, more like a juice than a syrup}.
  • Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds {I wasn’t sure about this step at first, but trust me, you wanna get those seeds out}

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a glass bowl {All recipes says metal, but I like glass better..} over a pot of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips in half-and-half. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and white chocolate sauce and mix until combined.
  • Pour half of the batter over the crust, then 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce {really, you can add as little or as much as you want}. Pour remaining batter, and another 3 tablespoons of sauce on top. Use a knife to swirl the raspberry sauce with the batter to make a pretty marble effect!

  • Bake for 55-60 minutes {tip–When your cheesecake is done baking, it should be slightly jiggley in middle. As the cheesecake cools, the middle will set}. After cheesecake is done, cover in plastic-wrap and let cool overnight.

Ta-Da!

I think this is my new favorite cheesecake {I feel like I say this about everything I bake}. Ginny and I devoured it in less than a week {it’s a little shameful that I can admit that}. I’m sorry for the long break between posts and I will try to do my best to blog on a regular basis. Next time, I will be writing to you from sunny CALIFORNIA! Big things are in store :)

As always, remember, it’s a cake walk! Have fun with the last few weeks of summer baking! xoxo

Strawberry Champagne Summer

19 Jun

Hello my readers! I am sorry for the long hiatus! Between finals, going home and coming back to Boston, it was a bit hectic. But I did manage to bake some delicious desserts that I am ready to share with you, and now that I have some more free time over the summer, I am on the hunt for new and always yummy recipes!

My best friend celebrated her birthday when I was back in California, and she commissioned me to bake her birthday cupcakes for the party. Her criteria was something light and fresh for summer, so after doing some searching online, I found this recipe, which has become a new favorite. Natasha loves strawberries, she loves champagne and the cupcakes were a hit! She’s not a fan of frosting, so we substituted the frosting in the recipe for whipped-cream and champagne-soaked strawberries (details posted below). I found this recipe on The Cupcake Recipes. This website has TONS of amazing recipes…I know I’ll be making more of their cupcakes.

Enjoy!

Sparkling Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups champagne (As the website suggests, I used a sparkling rose wine)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites

Frosting

The original frosting recipe can be found on the website. Here is the frosting/toppings that I used:

  • 1 container of fresh whipping cream
  • 1 container of strawberries
  • Remainder of champagne from the cake batter

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. (Be sure to adhere to lowering the temperature if you have a dark pan! We didn’t lower the temp and the cupcakes were a little over-baked on the bottom–but still delicious!)
  • In large bowl, combine dry cake mix and champagne. Add oil, eggs.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  • Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  • While the cupcakes are baking, cut strawberries in half, and combine strawberries and remainder of the champagne into a large bowl. Let them sit in the fridge for at least the time the cupcakes are baking, but the longer, the better.
  • Prepare whipping cream per-instructions on the carton with an electric mixer.
  • When the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with whipped cream and top with a strawberry.
  • Drink the strawberry infused champagne (so yummy!)

Thank you guys so much for being supportive of my blog, and I hope you enjoy my summer baking recipes!

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