With Independence Day right around the corner, it only seems right that my favorites this week are all of the red, white and blue variety. Any big plans for the holiday? It's a little rough that it's on a Tuesday. Personally, I'll be doing a civilian ride-along with my husband, so I'm sure I'll see plenty of fireworks...Read More
It's been a busy week! Hopefully you had a chance to check out my newest Hoop Art of the Month, which shows the temperatures here in my little town of Boring for the last year. Based on the fact that it snowed AGAIN yesterday, this year's should be just as interesting!
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Any other planner addicts out there? I don't know what I'd do without mine. Oh, yeah...nothing because I wouldn't know what I was supposed to be doing! I kinda want to caffeine mine up with these printable coffee stickers from DIY Candy.
I remember making a rubber stamp in an art class back in school. It was fun then, and I see no reason why it wouldn't still be now. This tutorial from Gathering Beauty sounds pretty easy, and imagine all the possibilities!
If you ever buy fabric, you might be with me on this. I can do math, but after a few hours in a fabric store (not just me, right?) I tend to lose some basic life skills. This printable yardage conversion card from Sew4Home would come in very handy for those times when fractions and decimals all start to blur together.
I have nothing against frosting, but there are times when it just isn't necessary, like these decadent-looking bananas foster upside down cupcakes from Flavor Mosaic.
Shortly after I joined my quilt guild, which was still new, they offered a charter member enamel pin to order. I bought one, pinned it to my name tag I wear to meetings, then had to find another pin to balance it on the other side. Lately I've found myself wanting to add to my tiny collection as other members have. I ordered this Maker pin from NightOwlPaperGoods on Etsy yesterday, and I can't wait to see it in person!
You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!
I had put Wedding Wednesdays on hiatus for the busy holiday season, but since we’re starting out a typically mild January, I’d like to finish out the series. I have a few more DIYs and amazing builds by my husband that just can’t go unblogged. I’ll be wrapping it up at the end of the month, but for now, lets talk cupcakes.
The bride and groom decided they wanted mini cupcakes rather than a traditional cake. It ended up fitting in well with the dessert buffet and the gluten-free requirement. They chose three flavors, but the biggest issue was what to serve them on. We considered round wood cuts, but my husband happened to find some rough cedar that made perfect stands, and took him little time to make.
He went with three stands – one three tier and two double tier. He cut the bottom piece for each 30 by 12”, the next piece 22 by 12” and the top for the tallest stand 14 by 12”.
He used giant nails to create the layers. These things were 12 inches long and 3/8” diameter. They almost looked cartoonish.
He marked a spot at the midpoint front to back and about 2” from the end on each side. Then he stacked the boards, making sure the top was centered over the bottom and drilled a hole, using a bit just slightly smaller than the nail, stopping about 2/3 of the way through the bottom layer. He repeated the process for the top step on the tallest stand.
He centered the holes in the top tier over an opening on his table saw and hammered the nails in.
He then lifted it over the bottom layer, inserting the nails into the holes. He hammered them in, making sure it was level and the nails were fully in the bottom layer without poking all the way through.
He was finished with all three stands in under half an hour. At that point in the process, time was getting short and anything that could be finished that quickly and come out looking so amazing was a win.
These stands were absolutely perfect for the mini cupcakes. They fit in well with the country décor and were even the right size. I haven’t had the heart to get rid of them yet. I might go buy myself some cupcakes just so I can use them again.
I’m here today to a book review courtesy of Tuttle Publishing. They have provided me with the book in exchange for this review, but the opinions are all my own. I think the title of the book I’m reviewing today, Cupcake Envy, must be a play on words. Before I opened it I thought it meant everyone would be envious of the cute cupcakes the reader would make from it. After reading, I realized it actually seemed to mean that ordinary cupcakes would envy the amazing mini cakes found within the pages. This book is eye candy, pure and simple, but doesn’t stop there.
The author, Amy Eilert, refers to these treats as cakelets. They’re more than a cupcake but smaller than a regular cake. She starts off the book with the charming story of how her business came to be, followed by a chapter laying out the pans, tools and ingredients you’ll want to consider using. I thought the Tricks of the Trade section was nice for those of us who are novice cake decorators. Who knew vodka was a handy decorating tool?
There are basic recipes included for cake, icing and frosting, and then comes the fun part – decorating. It starts off with some lovely, girl options. My favorite was Playing Dress Up. Each project has a difficulty rating in the upper right corner, and this one is Easy/Intermediate.
The next chapter is all about edibles, like this sweet Cup ‘O Joe. Wouldn’t this be perfect for Mother’s Day?
A bag full of groceries?!? I never would have guessed that would make such an adorable cake theme!
If you’re planning a baby shower this year, there’s an entire chapter that’s sure to impress friends and family. If making desserts for a whole party is too intimidating, one sweet cakelet just for her is sure to be appreciated by a new mom.
The guys weren’t left out here, with a chapter to themselves, right down to the manly intro.
This garden cakelet is one of my favorites, but how could anyone bring themselves to actually EAT this? It’s just too pretty.
I have to admit, they lost me a little in the Offbeat and Edgy chapter, but I’m probably not the target audience there.
There’s a handy section just following that though, full of ideas to use if you don’t have fondant available. I realized as I reached the end that it has those ever-useful flip-outs on the front and back to use to hold your place.
For me, getting fancy with my cake decorations means adding sprinkles on top of the frosting which, in truth, is probably to hide the crumbs. I’ve never even touched fondant. However, after drooling over Cupcake Envy, I’m inspired. I really want to give these little cakelets a try!
We all know pumpkin is a fall flavor. Sure, you can buy cans of it year round, but eating pumpkin in summer is like eating a strawberry in January. You can do it, but it just feels weird…unless you’re my daughter.
The kids wanted cupcakes instead of layer cake for the wedding, and there’s a local cupcake shop that makes them gluten-free once a week. For a while, Codi was a Bella Cupcake Wednesday regular. When it came time to place the wedding order, the one flavor she was absolutely sure about was pumpkin chai. Thankfully, Bella was accommodating and agreed, even though it wasn’t pumpkin season for them. Out of the four flavors, it ended up being the most popular. Well, being the experimenter that I am, I decided to attempt my own version.
First of all, let me say I cannot compete with Bella Cupcake. I didn’t get a chance to try one of theirs (like I said, popular) but I already know these don’t taste the same. However, for an amateur, starting-with-boxed-mix version, these are delicious.
I made these gluten-free, but you could certainly use a regular cake mix. Just adjust the amount of eggs and water to reflect what’s required on the box.
Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes
- 1 box of vanilla cake mix
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup instant black tea
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Dissolve the instant tea in the water. Mix all of the dry spices into the cake mix. Add the butter, eggs, pumpkin and tea/water. Continue with the mixing and baking instructions on your box for cupcakes.
I had to try this recipe three times before I had one with the flavor I was looking for. For the first attempt I replaced some of the water with liquid chai concentrate, and they were very pumpkinish and had very little chai coming through. It was all we could do to scarf down the whole batch.
The second time, I referred to my Spiced Chai drink mix for the spices to add. I went a little light because I didn’t want them to be too overpowering. They were good, but it was still hard to taste anything but pumpkin. When I read the drink recipe a second time, I realized the number of servings was nearly the same as my cake mix, so I went all-out and added the same measurements for the spices. You can even see the difference in color between the two batches.
Bingo! These are definitely spicy, but a good dose of cream cheese frosting on top tones them down just enough. I’m pretty sure nothing has ever said fall quite as loudly as these do.
I almost hate to say this, because I know there are MANY people out there who disagree, but I like boxed cake mix. It can be used to make lots of things besides cakes and comes in so many delicious flavors. We’ve been making a big effort to eat healthier around here lately, but I believe in moderation rather than deprivation, so sometimes cake makes its way in there. I came across this recipe from Big Red Kitchen this morning, which was the catalyst for everything to follow. It sounds delicious as is, but my mind immediately spun toward one of my husband’s favorites – carrot cake. He finished my living room today (yay - photos to follow after I mop the floor!) so I was happy to be able to show my appreciation through sugar-loaded baking.
The original recipe above only uses two ingredients. I used both of those, but added a few more of my own.
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes
1 box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla, because it’s what I had)
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
15 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet. Mix until combined. Pour into a muffin tin or 12 small canning jars, sprayed with pan spray. The batter is very thick, so you’ll want to spread it out a bit.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes if you’re using jars. It will probably take less with a tin.
I originally planned to sprinkle these with powdered sugar and stop there, but I knew the family would like them better with cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turns out, all I had was a tub of pineapple cream cheese.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz tub pineapple cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons almond milk (any liquid will do)
Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar with a mixer, adding milk as necessary to gain the desired consistency. Frost cupcakes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good these are. They’re a little sweet, so next time I’d probably use plain cream cheese, but the pineapple flavor with the carrot cake is worth it. It also makes them rich enough that one is enough, which is a good thing when it comes to desserts. I put them in the refrigerator a couple of hours before anyone ate one, and they’re especially good cold.
I’m anxious to try these with some other flavors and fruit. Chocolate and banana anyone?
My poor son had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. They hadn’t even come through his gums yet and were mostly sideways, so they had to put him under and dig all four of them out. He looks a little chipmunkish and hasn’t progressed beyond soup, pudding and milkshakes. New Year’s Eve is coming, and I was trying to come up with something he’d be able to eat that wasn’t chewy or crunchy. The light bulb came on today – cupcakes.
Since this round-up is out of sympathy for my boy, most of these are based on his favorite things. The hardest part will be deciding which to make for the weekend.
With eggnog season winding down, this Eggnog Cupcake from Annie’s Eats might be our choice - while we still have some of it in the fridge.
This is how I know the boy is mine – he loves coconut just as much as I do. He and I would have these Pina Colada Cupcakes from Glorious Treats all to ourselves. Hmm…
If a cupcake is based on a breakfast food, you can eat it for breakfast, right? I wouldn’t mind testing that theory with these French Toast Cupcakes from Housewife in Training.
You can never go wrong with this combination, so there was no doubt these Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction had to make the list.
Whenever I’m in the mood to make cookies and I ask the house in general what kind they should be, my son always pipes up with “Molasses!” He would love these Gingersnap Cupcakes from Picky Palate.
I can’t say I really care how these Cupcake Poppers from Betty Crocker taste. They’re just pretty.
Just looking at these Lemonade Cupcakes from Cooking With Sugar makes my mouth water.
This is one of the flavors of pudding my son has been eating this week, so these Cookies and Cream Cupcakes from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen might have to wait a bit, but this recipe is still a keeper.
Root beer was my son’s favorite drink before I let him start having caffeine. He still likes it, but not as much as he likes staying up all night playing video games once in a while. He’d probably still like these Root Beer Cupcakes from Whatever Dee-Dee Wants on those nights he actually wants to sleep.
Speaking of his new favorite drink, how about some Mountain Dew Cupcakes from All Things Cupcake? There’s a New Year’s Eve cupcake if ever there was one!
I sooo want a cupcake now. Time for a pre-holiday test run. You know, for the sake of research.