cakespy holiday cards

Another post dedicated to Cakespy. I love this site & I love Jessie Oleson’s artwork. (PS: My cute space needle blog header is all her too.)

I had the opportunity to meet her in-person @ the Etsy Holiday Fair & she is a peach! I ventured to downtown specifically to buy these cards!! HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!? I am excited to give these out to my loved ones – cupcakes & Christmas go hand in hand this year.

s’more cupcakes

Takes me back to camp fire summer nights – toasting marshmallows over the fire, with hershey bars & graham crackers in hand waiting to be sandwiched together to make a little piece of heaven! I would always try to make the perfect s’more to share with others. Now, once I saw Trophy cupcakes made their own rendition of it with cupcakes I had to get it! And I had to bake it!! Thankfully, Jennifer Shea shared her coveted recipe on The Martha Show for everyone to try out in their very own kitchen! I’m very appreciative of it. =)

Here is me after receiving a Trophy cupcake dozen treat from my boyfriend~ I chose the Chocolate Graham Cracker with Toasted Marshmallow to devour first! But, of course.

I decided to make these cupcakes for my friend Sol Yi’s birthday! They turned out great! The cupcake was “chocolate-y” & I loved the marshmallow fluff frosting – Not to mention, it was extremely fun using the torch to create the “toasted” appearance. One of my favorite cupcakes I have made thus far!

Recipe for Trophy’s Chocolate Graham Cracker with Toasted Marshmallow~

Makes 2 dozen

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

Marshmallow Frosting

Makes enough for 2 dozen cupcakes

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

It is now a new season: FALL

Walking around the city with coffee in hand, inhaling the crisp air & seeing the colorful leaves adorn the streets-! It makes me smile, a genuine smile. And then thoughts of Thanksgiving, hearty meals, and seasonal desserts using apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cranberries, & spices make me giddy!!

I must make something with PUMPKIN. Pumpkin cupcakes via Martha’s recipe it is! The cupcakes were extremely moist & delicious! Awesome flavor from the pumpkin puree & enhanced by the spices. The cream cheese frosting rocked my socks too! It was very creamy & I may have personally liked a firmer texture. I received two thumbs up from friends & family. My boyfriend also liked it too – which is a big deal considering he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. =)

Recipe for pumpkin cupcakes

Makes 18

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 2 cups

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add butter, and beat until fluffy.
  2. Reduce speed to low; gradually add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

 

THE cupcake book

I was at Barnes & Noble the other day during my lunch break – I love to see if any new baking books have made it to the shelves. I spied with my lil’ eyes – Martha Stewart’s NEW cupcake book!! I guess it came out in June – I’m a little late. I must say, that I have a few cupcake books given as gifts – but this one takes the cake.

Flipping through the pages – this book is a keeper. It gives you the ABC’s of how cupcakes are done. It features a variety of cupcake recipes, the ins and outs of buttercream, ingredients, baking vocab., decorating tips, lots of pictures to help you through – I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in cupcake making – its a good guide. Plus, all the M. Stewart recipes I have tried so far are really great. Happy baking! Enjoy!

Details

 

 

 

 

 

 

matcha cupcakes with tuxedo strawberries

It was my friend’s birthday this past weekend and she had a themed party- “Gentleman’s Party” – where girls where bow ties & guys were moustaches. I was planning on bringing cupcakes and I had to get my creative juices flowing to match the theme. Baking with matcha has been on my mind for a long time so that was a must!! Also, I wanted to try a light & fluffy frosting w/ the matcha cake- so I decided to go with swiss meringue buttercream – and to top it off, I made tuxedo strawberries. I was satisfied with the results – however, next time I will add more matcha powder. It had a subtle matcha taste but I personally would have liked a stronger, distinct flavor. Also, the matcha powder I used was a soft green colored powder. Next time, I will also get a richer colored powder.

matcha cupcakes

~adapted from Billy’s Vanilla Cupcakes

*halved this recipe to make 12 cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, matcha powder and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
    2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
    4. transfer to rack and cool completely

    swiss meringue buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  •  1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Directions
        1.   Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
        2.   Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.
        3.   Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add vanilla extract and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles

    tuxedo strawberries

  • white chocolate chips
  • milk chocolate chips
  • fresh strawberries
  • Directions

    1. Wash strawberries and pat dry. (make sure the strawberries are not wet, it will not stick to the chocolate)
    2. Two options of melting chocolate: microwave or saucepan – add a little bit of oil. Melt white chocolate first. Choose the side you want to have covered, and dip that side in white chocolate – after you have cover one side of the strawberries in white chocolate – place them on wax paper on a baking sheet and put them in the fridge to harden.
    3. Melt the milk or semi sweet chocolate chips. You want to dip the each side of the strawberry to make a V shape for the tuxedo. Again, place on wax paper to harden.
    4. With the left over melted milk chocolate, place it in a plastic bag & make a tiny slit on the bottom edge to create the buttons (dots) and bow tie. You can also try and use a toothpick.

     

     

     

     

     

    favorite cheap eats

    This post is a MUST. Who doesn’t like cheap eats??! When you find a hole-in-the-wall or hidden gem of a place around town that has amazing food + it doesn’t dent your wallet = (I don’t know about you) but makes me the happiest girl in the world. I live for finding places to eat - the hunt continues..but I’d like to mention the ones that I already frequent.

    NOTE: I’ve noticed that most of the places I LOVE are CASH ONLY. Please note, the cheap eats that will be mentioned are cash only establishments.

    1. PASEO http://www.paseoseattle.com/)

    Fremont: 4225 Fremont Ave N, Tues-Sat.11-9 & Ballard: 6226 Seaview Ave NW, Tues- Sat. 11-8

    BOMB.COM -

    Cuban sandwiches to dieeeeeeeeeeee for. All of their choices are excellent – packed with flavor & finger licking good.  But the Cuban Roast is notably the BEST. Slowly roasted pork shoulder – the meat so succulent  & tender…OMG. And all the fixin’s go together so perfectly: fresh baguette, aoili, picked japalenos, fresh cilantro, romaine lettuce & carmelized onions….not only do you get the sandwich, but garlic seasoned corn on the cob.

    Sandwiches here are my favorite – but they have plated entrees as well that are just as tasty.

    *It is messy eating, no prim & properness here. =)

    Midnight Cuban #8

    2. HOT DOG JOE’S

    1st Ave & Blanchard St (Belltown)~ Open on Friday & Saturday nights till weee hours of the morning

    Seattle’s very own cream cheese hot dogs with all goodies & variety of condiments you can choose from. Must top it off with the shoe string picnic fries! After a long night of partying & drinking – people stumble over to this street corner. I think it’s pretty awesome sober too.

    Hot Dog Joes - Seattle, WA

    3. MUSASHI’S

    1400 N. 45th St, Tues – Fri Open for lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Tues – Thurs for dinner 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Fri 5:00pm -10:00pm, Sat. 5:00pm – 9:30pm

    Sashimi, sushi, bento, teriyaki, etc. – Another hole in the wall, very small establishment that usually has a waiting list. Order to go! But decent sushi for 1/2 the price! So affordable!! And able to get in your sushi fix on a budget. SWEET.

    Musashi'sSalmon and cream cheese roll

    summer blueberries meet cheesecake

    I love summertime! You are able to find fresh berries at almost every grocery store & farmer’s markets in the area. I especially LOVE blueberries. I’ve been eating them everyday. My fridge was stocked with pounds of it – so I decided I should put them to use. I’ve been wanting to make a cheesecake with blueberry topping – so it was the perfect time to do it!

    I used Martha Stewart’s recipe – (found below) It turned out pretty well! But the next time, I am going to use less sour cream. The sour cream seemed to have softened the texture of the cheesecake when I wanted it to a little firmer. Keeping it in the freezer helped a little. Also, having the pan in a water bath really does wonders. No cracks whatsoever!

    For the blueberry compote, if you are going to use frozen blueberries – do not thaw them first. It makes the blueberries mushy & they can also pop open in the heat.

    (picture is cheesecake with fresh blueberries. After I sliced the cheesecake for each person, I added the compote to it. Yum!)

    Cheesecake Recipe w/ Blueberry Topping

    Serves 8 to 10

    • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • Pinch of salt
    • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 16 ounces sour cream
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Boiling water, for roasting pan
    1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) with foil.
    2. Stir together butter, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Press mixture firmly into bottom and 3 inches up sides of pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
    3. Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add sour cream, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat until well combined (do not overmix). Pour into chilled crust.
    4. Set springform pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Place in oven. Carefully ladle enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Transfer roasting pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool in roasting pan 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan, and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours (or overnight).
    5. Run a knife around edge of cake, and unmold. Spoon topping over cake.

    Blueberry Topping

    Makes enough for 1 cheesecake

    • 1 1/2 pints (3 cups) blueberries
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook until berries break down, about 4 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate, covered, until cold (or up to 3 days).