Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

I love lemon cake. A lot.

Aside from bubblegum-flavored anything, lemon is my favorite dessert flavor. Ever.

I have never been a huge chocolate fan. Calling me a ‘chocoholic’ wouldn’t be accurate at all. Vanilla cake is okay–preferable over chocolate, but still no big deal. But lemon elevates my taste buds to a whole new level of awesomeness. It’s sweet, kind of tart, not too overpowering, and a little goes a long way, so pigging out isn’t necessary (though I do it anyway).

Even though most people don’t care for the delicious option of lemon cake, I offered it for my party, anyway. Not so much for them, but more so for me. Because, after all, it’s my birthday. And at my birthday, we eat lemon cake. And we love it.

And when it’s decorated as cute as it was, with cute pastel sugar pearls on top, it was a pretty clear consensus that yeah, we all loved it.

Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

1 box lemon cake mix, plus ingredients called for on back of box, substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil and egg whites for whole eggs
1 small box sugar free/fat free lemon pudding mix
1 can lemon frosting
Pastel sugar pearls (or other pretty, dainty topping)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, unsweetened applesauce, water and egg whites and blend until combined. Stir in pudding mix until incorporated. Evenly distribute among muffin liners and bake approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

2. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe on the lemon frosting. To jazz up the canned frosting, I would recommend using a little bit of lemon zest–careful not to use the pith–before spooning the icing into the piping bag. Carefully pipe on frosting and top with sugar pearls for decoration. (I used Wilton tip 2D).

Though they aren’t much, these lemon cupcakes definitely make a statement on the table. They’re pretty, dainty, and perfectly simple–three things that win over chocolate and vanilla anyday.

xo, Hayley

Funfetti Cupcakes with Bubblegum Frosting

Okay, so I went slightly ape-shit for my birthday cupcakes.

I wanted a decent selection for my guests, but I also wanted to make things “traditional” to me. And naturally, bubblegum was a fitting choice.

Let me tell you about my love affair with bubblegum: It pretty much started as a child, loving smacking on the chewing gum. I was particularly fond of Bubblicious and Bubble Tape, but it also helped that I had a Barbie-stamp “bubblegum maker” which just consisted of a Barbie stamp-press thing that you stamped into a piece of Bubble-Yum bubblegum. It looked cool for that second before I devoured it, but whatever, aesthetics, you know.

Then it transformed to a greater love when I discovered the awesomeness that is bubblegum shaved ice. I could just drink the syrup plain, that stuff is so good. And finally, the one and only: bubblegum ice cream.

I don’t need to tell you how much I love bubblegum ice cream, but I will. I LOVE BUBBLEGUM ICE CREAM. It is my absolute favorite, and even though tummy hates any dairy, I will willingly suffer for this stuff every chance I get. Luckily, there’s an amazing ice cream parlor in Sacramento called Gunther’s that makes some seriously delicious bubblegum ice cream. Just thinking about it sends chills down my spine and makes my mouth water–it’s that good.

So obviously, when I got my bubblegum oil in the mail from layercakeshop.com, I was eager to concoct some kind of bubblegum frosting to get my fix without the pain (or until I could make it down to Gunther’s again–whichever came first). And lo and behold, I created the one and only delicious bubblegum frosting. To. Die. For.

This outstanding frosting, paired with a moist white cupcake with rainbow sprinkles (another die-hard favorite) baked in the batter was, pretty much, my dream cupcake. And thankfully, I’m still alive to eat more.

Funfetti Cupcakes with Bubblegum Frosting

1 box Funfetti cake mix, plus ingredients called for on back of box, substituting unsweetened applesauce for the oil and using 4 egg whites for the eggs
1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding mix
1 can vanilla frosting
1 tsp bubblegum oil (I purchased mine online at layercakeshop.com)
Rose and Teal Wilton gel colors
Rainbow non-pareils and bubblegum for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, blend together cake mix and ingredients until well combined. Stir in pudding mix until incorporated. Divide into paper liners evenly and bake, approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, flavor the frosting with the teaspoon (or more) of bubblegum oil. Then, evenly separate the frosting into 2 separate bowls. Tint one bowl with a little of the rose color until it turns a bright pink, and tint the other bowl with the teal color until it turns a bright turquoise-y color.

3. In a piping bag that’s been tipped (I use Wilton tip 2D) layer the icing colors side by side, smashing them down into the bag as you move up. Seal out the air, then pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes, starting clockwise in 3 rotations, ending in a point. Sprinkle liberally with rainbow non-pareils or rainbow jimmies and top with a single gumball.

4. Smell, take copious amounts of pictures, and CONSUME. Just remember, it isn’t chewing gum, so if you swallow it, it’s okay. In fact, it’s encouraged.

xo, Hayley

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Since I love baking so much, I am always delegated the job as the baker for all occasions: holidays, events, thank-yous, and obviously, birthdays. Including my own. Yeah, I do the baking for my own birthday. But I enjoy it–really, I’m not being sarcastic. I mean, when you make cupcakes as cool as mine, it’s hard not to enjoy it. Ha, that was only slightly sarcastic. Mostly dead serious, and definitely true.

As I established recently, I’m doing an “Ice Cream Shop” series of cupcakes and neapolitan was a must for this. What’s an ice cream series without this parlor classic? Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry make a wonderful love-child. I totally remember eating this as a child at my grandparent’s house and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. So for my bakery-themed birthday party (yeah, I still have themed parties) I knew I had to make these. And they’re surprisingly simple (don’t let the two-toned cupcake fool you).

Neapolitan Cupcakes

1 box each chocolate and white cake mix, plus ingredients called for on back of box (substituting 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce for oil)
1 box each sugar free/fat free chocolate and vanilla pudding mix
1 can strawberry frosting
1 jar maraschino cherries, stems on, patted dry
1 jar Pirouline cookies (I used dark chocolate because it was at the dollar store), cut in half or thirds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners.  In one bowl, prepare white cake mix according to package directions except using unsweetened applesauce for oil and egg whites for whole eggs; blend together. Stir in dry vanilla pudding mix. In another bowl, prepare chocolate cake mix according to package directions, subbing the applesauce for the oil but using the whole eggs; blend together. Stir in dry chocolate pudding mix.

2. Working quickly and carefully, use one cereal-sized spoon (or small teaspoon) and spoon vanilla batter into one side of a paper liner. Carefully spoon chocolate batter onto the opposite side, next to the vanilla batter. If the two slightly overlap, that’s okay, just do not swirl them together for a marbled effect. They’ll most likely look a little off-center or uneven. Bake approximately 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

3. Once cupcakes are cooled, frost with strawberry buttercream. To enhance the flavor of the icing, I used just a small splash of some leftover maraschino cherry juice to the can before I put it into a piping bag–this is optional. Carefully pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes. Top with a dried cherry and a halved cookie on the side.

Though I don’t recommend eating it with a spoon like you would traditional neapolitan ice cream, I do strongly suggest eating it. Now.

xo, Hayley

Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes

Aren’t these the most amazing cupcakes you ever laid your eyes on? Think of the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen. These are cooler.

So it’s my sister’s 13th birthday and she’s at that weird age where you’re kinda unsure what they like, what’d be too immature to make, etc. I decided that rainbows are pretty age-friendly, and even if they aren’t, tell me who (of ANY age) would deny one of these pretty cakes? That’s what I thought.

While they only look ridiculously hard, they were especially easy to make—just totally time consuming. These aren’t for a “quick—Timmy’s birthday is in an hour and I gotta make something edible” type of cupcake. They’re more like a leisurely, “oh, the party is in 6 hours so I should have time” kinda cake. Thank god I had the day off. And take immense pleasure in cupcakery.

For the recipe AND a VIDEO tutorial, click HERE for the Amazing Rainbow Cupcakes Pt. Deux :)

xo, Hayley

Homemade Cake Doughnuts

If I said “healthy doughnuts,” would would you say?

Yeah right. I doubt it. Am I dreaming? Are pigs flying yet?

Yes way. Yes huh. No you’re not, and sadly they aren’t. But healthy doughnuts are a big, fat, delicious yes.

I found a 6-indentation doughnut pan and decided to whip these easy, delicious vanilla cake doughnuts up, recipe courtesy of Family Circle magazine. I had this notion that making doughnuts from scratch would be a daunting task that a busy baker [not to mention student, worker, sister, daughter and everything else] shouldn’t take on. However, I am pleasantly surprised to report these were not only a cinch to make, but they’re absolutely, positively worth it—no matter how busy you are.

Topping-wise, I opted for half frosted, half cinnamon sugar (my favorite) and half chocolate glazed. But really, your only limits are your imagination. Here, the recipe for the cinnamon sugar ones.

Vanilla Cake Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
1/3 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon sugar, set aside

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 6-indentation donut pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. In a separate large bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Add to the flour bowl and mix well.

3. For easy filling, spoon batter into a pastry bag and fill about 2/3 full into each donut slot in the pan. Smooth tops down. Bake about 13 minutes or until light golden and tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool about 3 minutes in pan, then carefully turn out onto a cooling rack.

4. While still warm [after spending 3 mins cooling] liberally coat doughnut in cooking spray [or melted butter would work] and dunk in cinnamon sugar mixture, coating thoroughly. Set aside to dry and cool, or eat right away and get sugar-fingers :)

***

Really, the possibilities are endless with this one. Add cocoa powder to the dry ingredients for chocolate doughnuts. Coat the doughnuts in a vanilla icing, chocolate icing, and sprinkle with chopped nuts, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles, or even coconut. SO delicious, SO easy, and SO AMAZING!

xo, Hayley

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes


As a delusional, imaginative product of the 1990s, I always thought it’d be awesome to time-travel and be a teen in the 1950s. The war was over, Elvis was gyrating away that pelvis of his, Mom looked dandy in a string of pearls and saddle shoes were hot (clearly, an most important facet of the 1950s). And then there were those soda-pop shops. The ones where (I speculate) teens just like me sat on swivel-stools and ordered malts and soda floats and some diner lady who called you ‘shoog’ waited on you. Yeah, those soda-pop shops.

Anyway, for whatever reason, some loser decided to get rid of those (I’m blaming the hippie movement of the 1960s) and now us kids of the 1990s only have Starbucks to fulfill our beverage desires. So instead of waiting around for a time-travel machine, I decided to combine my wacky perception of the swingin’ 1950s and my love of cupcakes into…drumroll please…soda pop shop cupcakes.

Yes, children of any age. SODA POP SHOP CUPCAKES. And I plan on doing a series of them, too, which I’ll call my ‘soda pop sampling’. How cute!

To kick off the soda pop shop cupcake series, I baked up a batch of delectable chocolate cherry cola cupcakes. These puppies are beyond tasty and took little to no effort (despite my staging efforts which I think looks pretty damn cute). I topped each cola cupcake with some vanilla icing, red non-pareil sprinkles and a dried maraschino cherry. And last but not least, a snipped straw for slurping. HOW CUTE. I’m obsessed.

And they were literally SO easy to make. Just two egg whites, a box of Devil’s Food cake mix (I used Pillsbury), some maraschino cherry syrup (about 1/4 cup) and a can of coke. If I had cherry coke, I would have used that, too, but kept the additional cherry syrup for more flavor.

YAAAY!

So voila, my chocolate cherry cola cupcakes, part one of the soda pop shop cupcake series :) Enjoy!

xo, Hayley

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