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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.

 

 

 

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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!

Fabulous Boston Bakeries

24 Apr

As much as I love to bake, sometimes it’s nice to go out with some friends for delicious latte and a yummy cupcake that someone else has spent hours baking. It is also a great way to find inspiration for new recipes and flavors to re-create in your own kitchen. In the spirit of (hopefully) summer closing in, I want to provide a list of some of my favorite bakeries in Boston, that will make a perfect after-dinner treat :)

Sweet Bakery

My cousin took me to this bakery the first week that I moved to Boston. Right off the bat, I loved this place. The name is just like their cupcakes: sweet and delicious. They have three locations in Boston: Back Bay, Mass Ave (off Newbury) and one in Harvard Square

Flour

A bunch of girlfriends and I went to this bakery before I class a few weeks ago. They are known for their baked goods, but they also have amazing soups, salad and sandwiches. When I ate there, I had their Cubano sandwich and the creamy tomato and fennel soup. It was a great way to warm up on a stormy day. They also have a wide selection of coffee and tea that I will be back to browse soon (after finals, I hope!) But they are famous for their sticky buns, which according to my friend Juliana are fabulous. Flour Bakery has three locations: Back Bay, Fort Point Channel, and Central Square in Cambridge.

Mike’s Pastries and Modern Pastry

I tried my first cannoli from Mike’s when I came to visit BU last spring. If I hadn’t already committed to BU, I was going to move to Boston just to have the cannolis! I don’t go to Mike’s often because it’s in the North End and I’m in Brighton, but I adore this place. After living in Italy for a semester in college, it was refreshing to walk into a real Italian bakery, complete with the traditional Italian desserts and the loud Italian families. There is always a line outside this place, but it moves fast. Don’t forget to stop by the ATM on your way to Mike’s, because it’s cash only. If you don’t feel like waiting, you can always go across the street to Modern Pastry–a smaller, but just as amazing bakery. One thing I like about Modern Pastry more than Mike’s is that you get to pick your cannoli filling, and they make it fresh, right in front of you

Kickass Cupakes

I haven’t been here yet, but I am following them on Twitter, thanks to @BostonTweet. This bakery seems truly kickass. They host a cupcake happy hour every last Monday of the month, where dessert lovers can enjoy a free tasting of cocktail-inspired mini-cupcakes. They also have incredibly creative flavors, such as the Green Monster (with Sam Adams Cream Stout frosting), the Mojito, and an every-changing flavor of the day cupcake. The bakery is located in Davis Square in Somerville, and I will be taking a trip out there soon! Also soon to come: the Kickass cupcake truck!

These are just a few bakeries that have caught my eye during my short time in Boston. Yelp also has a great list of bakeries in the area. But I put the question out to you, my amazing readers: where is your favorite bakery in Boston?

To My Loyal Readers

8 Mar

Hello everyone! I just wanted to take the time to say thank you so much for reading my blog–and more importantly, coming back to read it! Things have been a little busy here, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about all of you. I also wanted to let you know that I will not be able to post new recipes for a while because I am going to LONDON for spring break!

I am so excited to go on this adventure, but sad to be leaving you without any delicious baking inspirations. Therefore, I am proposing a new idea: while in London, I will make sure to try lots of delicious desserts, and blog as much as I can while there to share my experience with you. And I promise that when I return, I will share some wonderful English desserts with you.

Also, if you guys have any suggestions of places to go in London–dessert oriented or not–I would be so appreciative and thrilled.

I can’t wait to share my vacation findings with you.

Happy baking! Remember to have fun–it’s a cake walk.

Decorating Tips: Frosting!

27 Feb

The frosting on a dessert is the finishing touch. It adds a dab of creativity and makes your baked good complete. The baked good that is most popular for its frosting finish is the cupcake. Unfortunately, this is  my least favorite part about buying a cupcake from a bakery. I am not a fan of heavy, very sugary and thick frostings that often crowns the delicious dessert. But when I try to re-create the signature frosting swirls at home, it just doesn’t look the same–until I discovered this easy decorating trick that doesn’t require the purchase of any expensive frosting bags or frosting tips. All you need is your favorite frosting (store-bought or homemade works), and a Ziploc bag.

In the video below, I demonstrate how easy it is to make your own decorative frosting swirl, with as much, or as little frosting as your heart desires. Take a look! (Note: I am in NO WAY a professional cinematographer, and shot this video with the microwave as my tripod. And my film production roommate was out of town! Darn it!)

I want to see how your frosting swirls turn out! Email me pictures of your latest baking creations to be featured on the site: itsacakewalkblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have fun decorating! Remember–it’s a cake walk!

Red Velvet Valentine

9 Feb

Valentine’s Day is here again! This is the holiday you either love or hate. Whether you have a special someone as your valentine, or you’re planning a single ladies (or guys) night, everyone loves some red velvet cupcakes! I’ve made this ruby dessert many times via Better Crocker, but this year I decided to try to bake them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are everyday household items, so there is no excuse not to try this easy, delicious recipe that will have your valentine seeing red (which in this case, is a good thing!)

The recipe I followed–which includes the cupcake batter and cream cheese frosting–is adapted from the lovely Paula Deen, via the Food Network website. Click here for the original recipe.

Ingredients

Cupcake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cocoa powder (If you’re a real chocolate lover, feel free to add a few more teaspoons.)

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons red food coloring (One small bottle of food coloring roughly equals one tablespoon.)

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe Tip: If you don’t have/can’t find/don’t want to buy buttermilk, you can use this instead: add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk. Stir, let sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled (an ice-cream scooper works great!) Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick to make sure they are fully baked. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

(A little pinker than I anticipated–I ran out of food-coloring–but a little pre-taste determined they were still delicious.)

Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Tip:Paula Deen is known for her large portions. The following a half-serving of the original. If you decide to make the original full batch and end up with a lot of leftovers, no worries: the frosting can be frozen, and then thawed for later use!

1/2 pound cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost to your hearts desire. Serve to your special someone.

(The finished product. Do they make you want to fall in love?)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! If you guys use the recipe, let me know how it turns out. Also, please leave comments on any tips you may have for me, or if there are any recipes you would like to see on the blog. Have fun baking! And remember–it’s a cake walk.

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