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Posts Tagged ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’

I won’t pretend to have an excuse for not posting anything to this blog for the last, ahem, 5 months. I have some excuses of course but they’re trivial (like being busy/ worn out from work and not having a photo studio at home… aka laziness). I wasn’t planning on blogging at all until I had a stockpile of posts to put up here as I hate blogging and then going awol for a long time, but I figured it was time to finally break the silence. And I have pictures of a cute cake to post.

I was co-hostess for a friend’s baby shower last weekend, and since I’m now a baker the cake fell onto my list of responsibilities. We decided to do a forest animal themed shower, and while perusing the internet for ideas I came across the tree stump cake and thought that was an excellent idea!!

The cake itself is based off the carrot cupcakes from VCTOTW, but I modified the flour and spices, ixnayed the raisins and added figs (wonderful texture contributor!). A word of caution, carrot cake is DENSE, and doesn’t rise very much in the oven. Originally I made a 3 times batch of cupcakes thinking that would be plenty for my 8 and 9 inch cake pans. WRONG! I had to go back to the drawing board and make another 2 times batch. So, that there cake you see above, it’s equivalent to 60 cupcakes. 60. Seriously. And damn, it was heavy. I had a wrist ache after putting the base coating of icing on.

Don't you just love the owl?! He was my favorite. I wanted to keep him.

All the animals and what not are made out of marzipan. And no, I don’t mean that small, overpriced box of preserved crap you find at the local Kroger. If people knew how easy this stuff is to make they would never buy it in ready to use form. Marzipan is simply almond paste, powdered sugar and corn syrup. I absolutely cringed when I bought the bottle of corn syrup (can you say GMO???) but I at least splurged and got the non-high fructose corn syrup stuff. I’m sure you could sub brown rice syrup or maybe even honey, but you’ll have to play with the amount as the consistency will be different.

He's supposed to be a fox but I think he looks more like a squirrel.

As for the almond paste, you can also buy that in ready to use form at specialty baking stores. Or, you can save yourself $15 and make it yourself (of course). There are a bunch of variations of almond paste out there but I went with this one. And you can totally make this several days or even weeks in advance and store it, wrapped tightly, in the fridge.

Shrooms!

Here’s the marzipan recipe:

  • 8oz almond paste
  • 8oz powdered sugar (10x)
  • 2oz corn syrup

Use the paddle attachment and mix the almond paste and 10x in your stand mixer. Add just enough corn syrup to make the almond paste moldable, but it shouldn’t be sticky. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

The bear has pudgy little arms, like a baby!

So coloring the marzipan is where you end up breaking all your culinary ethics and buying a box of Wilton icing colors. I hate fake things. Especially fake things that have high fructose corn syrup in them, but there’s really no other way to get all these colors (which makes me think I need to develop some healthy coloring alternatives…). I rarely make cake or cupcakes with non-natural colors because I hate using that stuff, but this was a special occasion that I felt warranted me going against my food morals.

My grumpy, fat little chipmunk, guarding his acorns.

So, to color the marzipan, you take small blobs of it, grab a toothpick and dip it into the color you want and then stab the marzipan blob all over. Then knead it with your hands until the color is no longer tie-dye but uniform. You’ll most likely have to keep adding and adding color to achieve your desired results, especially if you’re wanting a deep red or black. Start small as you can always add more color.

Ladybugs!

As you can see, I did a lot of hand kneading of the marzipan. It was so much fun though. I had such a great time making all the little figures. I suggest latex gloves, or something similar. The colors will wash off but it can get messy. I need to work on not getting my fingerprints all over the figures, but I think these turned out just fine for my maiden voyage.

I made chocolate cupcakes too. Seems the daddy to be doesn’t really like cake but he likes cupcakes… (I don’t get it either). It’s ok though. I tried to make them look mossy. The green on top is just crumbled up vanilla cake, the same stuff I used for my “grass” around the tree stump.

I also made chocolates for the party (yes, I was a little worn out by the time everything was said and done). The ones in the back are meant to be like the Rocher truffles, there’s a hazelnut in the middle, chocolate ganache, vanilla wafer pieces, chocolate and then cocoa powder. The filled chocolates have either caramel or crisp rice in them, and the clusters in front are just chocolate and crisp rice (word to the wise, make sure you have enough chocolate before trying to make filled chocolates… or you’ll end up making clusters :)).

And, just in case you’re wondering, everything here is completely vegan.

Well, I hope to be frequenting my blog more often. I have tons of ideas but finding time (and money) to actualize them isn’t always so easy. What I REALLY need is a nice little SLR camera and a photo studio my cats won’t tear apart, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. I also find myself making more savory food at home these days rather than sweet, so there’s a high possibility this “baking” blog might yield slightly into a more general food blog, but that’s not necessarily the end of the world is it?

Anyway, until the next time, have a great day and happy baking!

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So last week I had this little peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough extravaganza. And as promised, here’s the cake ball piece of it.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in the art of making cake balls. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever managed to do it correctly. Bakerella makes it look so damn easy, but every time I make them I end up cussing at my cake balls as they slide off the sticks and go kerplunk into a chocolately abyss and make a mess all over everything. The likely culprit I think is that I ALWAYS use too much frosting. I try every time to be sparing but I continually over do it. I still managed to take a couple of decent photos however so here you go.

Just a quick word on the dipping chocolate. The chocolate shell I use is what people normally dip Hi Hat cupcakes in. It appears that most people use these Candy Melts from Wilton when making cake balls (that’s how they get all those vibrant colors). I refuse to use those however because they contain partially hydrogenated oil – meaning they have that nasty trans fat in them (among all the other bad for you ingredients). If that doesn’t bother you go ahead and try them, it might make the dipping easier (I don’t know). The baking chocolate bark stuff might work well too, I’ve not tried it yet so I can’t attest to its functionality – nor do I know if it’s vegan.

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cake Balls (vegan)

Cookie Dough

Alright, so the quantity of everything depends on how many cake balls you want to end up with. When I made the cookie dough I also used it for cookies and ice cream, so I’m guessing I only used 1/4 or less of the total dough for the cake balls. Whatever amount you decide to have, roll nickle-sized balls of dough with your hands (about 2 chocolate chips per ball is a good size reference) and place them in the freezer for about an hour or so. If you decide to use popsicle or lollipop sticks, I’d stick them into the cookie dough before freezing (I think this will actually keep the stinkin things on the sticks during dipping). You obviously don’t have to put the cake balls on sticks, but I don’t know how people manage to dip them in chocolate otherwise.

Chocolate Cake

I made a 1/2 batch of the chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You can find the recipe by clicking on the link above. Though I made 6 cupcakes, I piped a bunch of buttercream on one of them and gave it to my husband, so I only used 5 cupcakes worth of cake for my cake balls. Obviously I don’t expect you to make 5/12ths of a batch of cupcakes, so you just might end up having more balls than me.

Bake the cake or cupcakes and let them cool completely. Once cool, mash them up in a mixing bowl and add the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 C vegan stick butter
  • 2+ C powdered sugar
  • 2 T soy or almond milk
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and extract. Add some of the sugar of whip. Keep adding sugar and whipping until you reach a good, thick consistency. A hand blender or stand mixer will save you time here, unless you want a good arm workout of course.

This is way more frosting than you’ll need for the cake balls by the way, unless you’re making a large batch of them. You honestly need less than half of what this makes so just use your best judgement (whatever that means).

Plop a dollop of frosting into the bowl with the smashed up cake and mix it in. Start small or you’ll end up with slippery balls like me. It needs to be gooey enough to stick together, but not so greasy that it clings to your hands when rolling.

Once you’ve got it where you want it grab the dough balls out of the freezer and roll the cake around them. If you didn’t already put sticks them this part is pretty easy. If you did put sticks in them you’ll have to get a little creative to get the cake sufficiently around the cookie dough. The 5 cupcakes I made were the perfect amount to cover 12 balls of cookie dough (just fyi). Stick them back in the freezer once they’re all rolled for at least 30 minutes (longer would be better).

Chocolate Shell

  • 5 – 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

If you’re making more than 12 cake balls, you’ll need more chocolate. Error on the side of too much chocolate as it will stay good quite awhile in the fridge.

In a double boiler (or the microwave if necessary), melt the chocolate. Mix in the oil and transfer to a deep but narrow container (I used a plastic take-out container common at Thai restaurants). Let it cool a minute or two before dipping the cake balls.

Dipping and Rolling

Crush up about 1/4 cup of peanuts and spread them out on a plate.

Gather the tub of chocolate, a spoon and the cake balls. If they’re on sticks, dip them carefully into the chocolate while simultaneously holding your breath and hoping they don’t slide off. Use the spoon to help spread the chocolate all around the cake ball. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Roll the cake ball in the crushed up peanuts, or use your hand to sprinkle them on top, let it dry a few seconds and then place it on a plate or tray of some sort. Stick them back in the freezer for a few minutes once you’re finished dipping and rolling so that they harden all the way.

Retrieve from freezer. Bite. Enjoy.

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I never really tried to photograph food before a couple years ago. When I started cooking and baking I was proud of the fact that I could make stuff that tasted better than rocks or bits of moldy cardboard, so I wanted to show the world what I could do. Here’s the first photo I ever took of my food:

Not exactly breathtaking is it? =)

Food photography is a wee bit harder than I had anticipated. And it’s even harder to accomplish when you have a crappy point and shoot camera. I made a slight upgrade from my 5.0 megapixel Canon PowerShot last December to a 14.1 megapixel Sony Cyber shot with a 10x zoom, but it’s still a point and shoot. One of these days, when I’m all growed up and out of school and have a paying job (fingers crossed) I’ll bite the bullet and spend $500 – $1,000 for a decent camera, but I just can’t spend that kind of dough until I start making dough (bread that is).

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes, recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

The Sony isn’t half bad, but it’s fairly pathetic in bad lighting situations, which occur quite often here in the awesome but frequently overcast city of Portland, OR. I’ve been meaning to make a light box since about last October but for some reason I can’t ever find time to get to the store and buy fabric and a lamp (i.e. I hate driving and haven’t forced myself to get in my car and go procure these items). So I fuss and fiddle with this half-ass cardboard background contraption I threw together and often find myself getting drizzled on outside on the roof of our apartment while trying to absorb enough natural light to get a good photo without photographing a shadow… I’m not the smartest of people sometimes. The photo above was taken using this “background” thing I speak of. While it’s not a bad photo, there’s this bluish-gray thing going on when in reality that backdrop is white. This becomes a fairly moot point, however, if you’re doing black and white photos.

But food doesn’t always look good in black and white, of course. Here are some other photos I’ve taken using the same camera and half-hazard roof and makeshift background combination.

Tiramisu Cupcakes, recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

This photo isn’t bad, but the background has a blue tint and you can see the shadow on the right side of the main cupcake.

I really like this photo as it has good detailing of the frosting and chocolate rolls I made, but it’s blue and shadowy as well (which means FoodGawker will NOT accept it – I’ve given up on submitted stuff to them).

Here, again, you can see that black and white photos make the location of the sun less important.

Cake Balls made from vanilla cake, strawberry cream cheese icing and melted chocolate

This photo is proof that yes, we actually do get sunshine in Portland. You can see that the Sony does a decent job of focusing on some aspects of the items being photograph but tastefully blurs the rest. There is, however, still a shadow and it’s not really very photogenic because I was lazy and didn’t dress it up at all.

Brownie Pizza with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries

I thought this picture was pretty damn good but FoodGawker, again, rejected it – probably because of the blue tint. I think that’s my biggest problem, blueness. That and the fact that FoodGawker is too damn picky (they’ve rejected me, a lot).

It’s a lot of work photographing food. Even when a photo looks good there are so many little details that can make it not good, so you have to take like a gazillion pictures of everything. Every time I make something my husband’s like, “Can we eat it yet?” One of these days I’ll actually get my act together and go to the fabric store and a-l-l t-h-e w-a-y to Ikea to buy a cheap lamp to make my light box. But until then, I’ll keep fighting with the Portland sun.

Do you photograph food? What kind of camera do you have? Any special tips you’d like to share?

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Assuming that the DQ doesn’t only exist in the south (I think I’ve seen it in Ptown) most of us should remember the notorious dipped ice cream cone. You know, where they take a sugary cone, top it with sugary ice cream and then magically dip the whole thing in melty chocolate and somehow the impossible occurs and the ice cream actually stays on the cone and manages to remain “frozen” long enough for you to eat it. Well there’s been some dabbling lately in the whole dipping thing, but using cupcakes instead of ice cream cones. It’s been a long time coming – I first saw these things last November – but I finally, finally, attempted to make them.

And I succeeded!!!

I think these might possibly be the most fattening cupcakes I’ve ever created, due to the insane amount of frosting piled on top of the cupcake and the chocolately goodness that’s coating the whole damn thing, but sometimes you gotta say to hell with it! And then get up the next morning and run 8 miles. It’s a dessert – fitness balance, and I’d say these are worth every calorie.

The chocolate cupcake part comes straight from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, except I added some brandy soaked strawberries and, of course, brandy to the batter, but any cupcake recipe will do. I took the chocolate coating from Bakerella’s Hi Hat recipe.

Strawberry & Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes

  • 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries (organic preferably)
  • 3 T brandy or cognac

I believe I used about 2 oz hulled strawberries, but just fill up a cup and don’t worry about the oz. Pour about 3 T brandy over the strawberries, cover with lid or plastic wrap and let them sit there for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain as much of the brandy off as possible into a separate bowl.

  • Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  • 2 T brandy (from the strawberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 and make the chocolate cupcake batter as directed on the website above, but transfer 2 tablespoons of strawberry brandy to a 1/3 measuring cup and then fill the rest of it with oil instead of using an entire 1/3 cup of oil.

Once you fill the liners with batter, divide the macerated strawberries up between the 12 cupcakes, and stir them up a bit to cover with batter. You could also just mix the strawberries in with the batter and then fill the cupcake liners (that would probably be easier, though some of the strawberries would stick to the liner). Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack after they rest for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if they sink a little bit in the middle, it’s the strawberries’ fault but nobody will notice (or care).

  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (stick form)
  • 2 tsp brandy (from the strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
  • About 7 cups powdered sugar

Let the cream cheese and butter set out a bit to soften, then toss them into the stand mixer and cream them together. While creaming, use a small food processor or blender and puree some strawberries. I used 2 – 3 oz of strawberries and ended up with over 1/2 cup of puree (so less will do). Add the puree and brandy to the creamed butter and cream cheese. You can add all the sugar at once if you like, though you might find yourself in a cloud of powdered sugar if you do. I added it a cup or two at a time. 7 cups seems a bit much but I wanted to make sure the icing was thick enough to withstand the dipping. I also have a small bit left over so you could cut it back some but then you’d have all these weird measurements and who wants that?

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Some people use a fat, round tip. I’m cheap so I just use the hole at the end of the pastry bag (seems to make sense to me). Place the cupcakes in the freezer to harden the icing.

  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T canola oil

Bakerella used the microwave but I try to use methods other than the microwave if at all possible. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me) fill a small pan halfway full of water and heat it almost to boiling on the stove. Put the chocolate chips and oil in a bowl and set it on top of the pan of water. Stir continuously until the chocolate is all melted.

Now this is where I almost had a problem. I don’t have a lot of fairly narrow but deep containers. You need to put the melted chocolate into something that’s wide enough to fit the cupcake in but has enough depth so that the cupcake doesn’t smash into the bottom. I used a tall take out container (the kind commonly found at Thai restaurants). This was about perfect size but even then the chocolate became too low after about six dips to submerge the cupcake all the way, but a little bit of tilting (of the container) and twirling (of the cupcake) worked just fine.

So, transfer the chocolate to an appropriately sized container; you can let it cool for a minute to make sure it’s not too awfully hot. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Pick one up. Hold your breath. Submerge it into the chocolate. Pull it out. Breath. Let the excess chocolate dribble off. Set it down and move onto the next one.

Isn’t that fun?!?! I had extra chocolate left over so I was trying to find anything I could to dip in it. Strawberries. Pretzels. Chocolate biscotti. =) I told my husband if I had known it was this easy I would have started dipping things a long time ago. But maybe it’s best that I didn’t (you can only run so many miles in the morning).

These cupcakes were for a friend’s birthday outing so I didn’t think I was going to be able to get a picture of the cross-section. But as fate would have it I was left with one little orphan cupcake, so I split him in half this morning and grabbed my camera! I wonder if our neighbors think I’m crazy when they see me out on the roof in 40 degree weather taking pictures of cupcakes?

These cupcakes were really good. I mean really good. Everybody at the table thought they were awesome. The gooey strawberry middle reminded me of those chocolate covered cherries you see at Christmas time (which gave me an idea for another cupcake).

If you dare to dip your cupcake, let me know how it goes!!

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Typically I pride myself on being a “getter doner,” but this summer I’ve become quite adept at putting as much off as possible.  Like these cupcakes that I made, oh, about a month ago without posting the recipe (though I promised my sister I would).  Well, finally, here it is.

This was the best gluten-free cupcake either of us has had.  It’s also vegan so it gets extra bonus points for being animal free.  It was incredibly moist, which I think can be attributed to the agave (having made vanilla gluten-free cupcakes with all sugar instead a couple weeks later that were disappointingly dry).

The recipe is based on VCTOTW’s Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcake and Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake recipes.  I blended the two recipes together, altered some ingredients and modified some amounts.  Thankfully all went well.

At this point you’re probably thinking I’m never going to get to the actual recipe.  I’m good at jabbering too much sometimes (get that from my Mother I think).  As some of you know, I’m currently learning Italian and as school is just around the corner, I must begin to practice it again.  So, this recipe will be presented both in Italian and English.  If you happen to know Italian, feel free to correct my mistakes.

Cominciamo! (Lets begin)

Gluten-free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake:

  • ¼ C almond meal
  • ¼ C millet flour
  • ½ C white rice flour
  • ½ C cocoa
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • Pinch or more cayenne
  • ½ C organic sugar
  • ½ C agave
  • 1/3 C canola oil (or half and half oil and applesauce)
  • 1 C coconut milk (I used light)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t almond
  • ¼ C tapioca flour
  • 2 T ground flax

Icing:

  • ½ C stick vegan margarine
  • ½ C (one big scoop) spectrum shortening (non-hydrogenated)
  • Powdered sugar as needed
  • 2 – 4 T soy milk (or coconut milk)
  • ½ t vanilla
  • 1 t coconut extract

Instructions:

To make the cupcake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine almond meal, millet flour, rice flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne.
  • In another bowl, mix milk, oil, sugar, agave and extracts with an electric mixer to combine.  Add tapioca flour and flax seed and mix well until it’s emulsified.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix well for about two minutes.  It’s really important to mix well here so error on the side of over mixing (it won’t hurt the cupcake).
  • Fill a lined cupcake pan with batter (you’re supposed to get 12 out of this, I usually only get 11).
  • Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*Note: If the mixture seems too thin, add a little bit of any of the flours until it appears thick enough.

To make the icing:

  • Cream the margarine and shortening together.
  • Add the extracts.
  • Add the milk and sugar in increments; you’ll know you have enough when the icing is the texture you want – I typically use about three cups of sugar and about three tablespoons of milk.
  • Blend the mixture together with a spoon or hand mixer until desired consistency is reached.
  • Don’t frost the cupcakes until they’re completely cooled.

*** La ricetta italiana ***

I piccoli tortini cioccolati caldi messicani senza glutine

Gli ingredienti:

Per la piccolo tortino

  • 30 gr di farina di mandorla
  • 30 gr di farina di miglio (oppure grano miglio?)
  • 60 gr di farina di riso bianco
  • 60 gr di cacao
  • 1 cucchiaino di lievito di polvere
  • Un mezzo cucchiaino di bicarbonato di sodio
  • 1 cucchiaino di sale
  • Presa di pepe di cayenna
  • 115 gr di zucchero biologico
  • 120 gr di nettare d’agave
  • 80 gr di olio di canola (oppure mezzo di salsa di mele)
  • 240 gr di latte di cocco (ho usato leggero)
  • 1 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
  • 1 cucchiaino di estratto di mandorla
  • 30 gr di farina di tapioca
  • 15 gr di seme di lino macinato

La glassa

  • 57 gr di burro vegano
  • 57 gr di grasso vegetale (inidrogenati)
  • Zucchero a velo a seconda delle necessita’
  • Un mezzo cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia
  • 1 cucchiaino di estratto di cocco

Le istruzioni:

Fare il piccolo tortino:

  • Preriscaldi il forno alle 350 gradi F.
  • Metta insieme la farina di mandorla, miglio e riso bianco, il cacao, lievito di polvere, bicarbonato di sodio, sale e pepe di cayenna.
  • In un’altro scodella, mischi il latte, olio, zucchero, nettare di agave e gli estratti con un frullatore di mano a combinare.  Aggiunga la farina di tapioca e il seme di lino e mischi bene la mescolanza fino a e’ emulsionata.
  • Aggiunga gli ingredienti asciutti e li mischi bene per circa due minuti.  E’ molto importante a mischiare bene qui cosi’ e’ in errore del lato di mischiare piu’ di necessario (non fara’ male al piccolo tortino).
  • Riempa una teglia per pasticcini rivestita con la pastella (dovrebbe prendere 12 piccoli tortini, ma tipicamente solo ne prendevo 11).
  • Cuoca al forno per circa 20 – 23 minuti, o fino a uno stuzzicadenti viene fuori pulito.

*Nota: Se la mescolanza sembra troppo liquefatta, aggiunga un po’ di qualsiasi farina fino a sembra abbastanza densa.

Fare la glassa:

  • Sbatta insieme il burro e grasso.
  • Aggiunga gli estratti.
  • Aggiunga il latte e zucchero negli incrementi; sapra’ di avere abbastanza quando la glassa e’ la consistenza che desidera – ho usato tipicamente circa tre tazze di zucchero e tre cucchiaio di latte.
  • La mescoli con il cucchiaio o frullatore di mano fino a ottiene la consistenza desiderata.
  • Non glassare i piccoli tortini fino a sono raffreddare completamente.

Eccolo con il gelato di cocco.  Molto delizioso!

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The best thing about a birthday is the cake.  It is absolutely, utterly, undeniably and entirely impossible to have a birthday without a cake.  If you do (god forbid) have birthdays with no cakes, you need to do some finger shaking at your, ahem, loved ones.

We celebrated my fiancee’s birthday yesterday.  His real birthday isn’t until Monday, but with work and school we thought it better to do it on a Friday (which was good because it took me a @#&^@%$& long time to frost this puppy).  While most people sit around thinking of normal things like sports, politics and whether or not they turned the coffee pot off, I tend to daydream about baking.  More specifically, I continually try to think of something new to put inside or on top of a cake or cupcake.  My best ideas tend to come to me at odd hours of the night or in the shower.  Sometimes (most times) they turn out better in my head than in reality [insert cupcake bomb here].  This one turned out ok though, thankfully.

We’ll start from the bottom.  Initially I wanted to do cake-cookie-cake-cookie layering system, but I feared that the cookie would be too heavy for the cake and end up crushing the little bugger.  Plus I only have one 8 inch cake pan, so the oven would have been on for an eternity. So I opted to put the cookie on the bottom.  It’s just your typical peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe (egg subbed out with flax and water).  I stuck it in the freezer for a bit in order to be able to handle the dough without it sticking to every inch of my hands.

The chocolate cake is from VCTOTW…. not much more to say about that I guess.

The icing in the middle and on top is actually the same.  Why the difference in color?  Well, sometimes I’m a bit of an idiot.  I stuck the frosting in the microwave to soften it up a bit to [hopefully] make frosting the top easier.  Did you know if you get chocolate chips warm they melt?  Yeah, duh.  So, what we have here are two versions of peanut butter cookie dough icing, one a little more chocolatey than the other.  You just take some cookie dough and whip it with shortening or margarine and make frosting as usual.

The icing on the side is plain ole chocolate buttercream.  I would say this one too is out of VCTOTW, but I think I actually pulled it from memory.  My Dad made chocolate cake a lot growing up.  The icing recipe may just be the only culinary thing I took with me when I left home.  Hmm, moving on.

The cookies on the side are obviously mini versions of the big PB cookie on the bottom.  I stuck them on there with a dab of icing.

Now what really matters is, Gary loved it!  The cake was delicious and it didn’t turn into a brick in your tummy.  I do think I need to go to cake frosting school though, or just stick to cupcakes.

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  1. Feed it to your cat.
  2. Give it to somebody with braces.
  3. Roll it into balls and bake it in cupcakes.

While the last one may not sound like a horrible idea, amateurs must use caution (as I recently figured out).  At our latest Cupcakes and Cocktails girls night I suggested we make a vanilla cupcake with an oreo at the bottom, a ball of peanut butter in the middle, and peanut butter oreo frosting.  Sounds good, huh?  Yep, a little too good.  I managed to consume a whole cupcake and felt like I had a brick in my tummy.  I even went running the next day for about 9.5 miles to cure my ails (or the calories… whatever).  It was definitely a tasty combination but very, very rich.

That being said, my guys here at home both ate a whole one last night without any complaint, so maybe us ladies just have finicky tummies – about 2 minutes after we ate our cupcakes we all practically went into sugar commas and decided the night was at its end.

The cocktail we made was vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur and a splash of milk served in a cookie crumb rimmed martini glass.  It was fairly good (also rich) but wasn’t exactly what we expected.  I think creme de cacao would probably suffice in place of Godiva’s expensive liqueur, or even chocolate milk.  Or just stick with my favorite; Kahlua and vodka.  The cookie rimmed glass was a nice touch though.

An alternate idea for this cupcake would be to make peanut butter cupcakes instead of putting the ball in the middle.  Another idea I had was to make cookies and cream martini cupcakes by leaving out the PB and subbing half the milk in the batter with vanilla vodka and pouring the liqueur into the middle of the cupcake once it’s cooked.  You could then make the frosting with vodka and liqueur instead of milk and roll the cupcake in cookie crumbs to rim it like a martini.  I would also probably ixnay the cookie at the bottom and just add oreo crumbs to the batter.  I think next the C & C night we’ll be sticking with something fool-proof out of VCTOTW though, so I’ll be trying this on my own soon.  =)

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