Browsing Tag

Love

Cupcakes, Valentine's Day

Homemade Valentine’s Cupcakes

February 13, 2012


When I was younger I loved making crafts. Growing up that love never really stopped. I was into craft-booking for a while, and of course baking now. But I still love doing crafts. I remember in elementary school you would make your own valentine’s, out of red, pink and white cardboard paper and white doilies. They were always heart shaped, usually the type you fold in half, and then open up to the card. I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer at an elementary school as part of my application to the teaching program. I said I would bring in a special treat for Valentine’s day. I was inspired to create cupcakes that looked like edible Valentine’s like the one’s children make. They work incredibly well with the fondant, it cuts like buttah. I used a scalloped edge scissor for most of the hearts.

I actually used craft scissors, the fancy ones, I have an entire block of about 15 different patterns, to make the fondant hearts look like doily’s. I layered them with pink and red fondant hearts to look like a homemade Valentine card. They turned out quite cute. I used the ‘postal’ scissors to make a little Valentine’s ‘Stamp.’

They are rich chocolate cupcakes with whipped buttercream frosting. Perfectly sweet for your Valentine.

This is the first year we are home for Valentine’s Day since Adam and I started dating. The first year, we celebrated the night before, as he left on the 14th for Mexico for two weeks with his company, escaping the craziness that was the Olympics. Last year, we were both in Mexico for Valentine’s day, in Cabo!

However, though I had big plans for Valentine’s Day this year, staying in making a delicious dinner, and of course an indulgent dessert followed by a movie, they will be slightly altered due to my ongoing allergy elimination diet. The only silver lining is that tomorrow I can start to introduce beef! Which means we can both enjoy a nice steak for dinner. I have also been ok eating beans, so we’ll have some green beans, along with potatoes, maybe these super cute heart potatoes, or hasselback, and of course a salad, with only olive oil for dressing. I will definitely be making some chocolate dipped strawberries, because you have to have a little chocolate on Valentine’s, and I may go crazy if I don’t eat some chocolate soon.

Hope the kids are excited for these cupcakes tomorrow as their lunch time treat.

‘Send’ some love with these Valentine’s Stationery inspired cupcakes.

To make, you can use your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, or try this Devil’s Food Cake recipe I used for my Valentine’s Day Cupcakes before

To make the Whipped Buttercream you will need:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter on medium with whisk attachment for a few minutes, about 3-5 minutes until really light and creamy. Stop a few times to scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.
  2. Once it reaches the ‘whipped’ texture, sift in icing sugar one cup at a time. Mix on low to incorporate, and then increase once all icing sugar is incorporated fully.
  3. Add another cup of icing sugar, and repeat. Adding 1-2 tbs of milk once it begins to thicken. You want it quite soft, and whipped so that a spatula can run through it easily, but still keep its shape on either side, not caving in.
  4. Once you have incorporated enough icing sugar to reach desired consistency, you can transfer it to a piping bag. I use Ateco #848.

Cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for one day.

Cupcakes

Peace, Love & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

August 12, 2011

 

The blog world is a wonderful incredible thing. It brings hundreds of thousands of people together from all over the world. Different backgrounds, religions, views, nationalities, and stories. As my mom would say there are people from “all walks of life” surrounding us. Everyone has a story to tell.

I started this blog in the fall of 2008. After some time of looking online at many other blogging baking and cooking websites I decided I wanted a piece of the internet real estate. At the time I was obsessed with the Shopaholic book series, and thus Bakeaholic was born.

I had been interested in baking and cooking from a young age. My mom and dad would let me help in the kitchen, and I’m pretty sure I was putting roasts in the oven when I was 14 years old, so dinner could be ready by the time my full-time working parents were home and we could all enjoy dinner together.

That was one thing my dad insisted on. Every night we ate dinner as a family. Sometimes dad would cook, he was Italian and an amazing cook (having worked in and owned restaurants in the past), and sometimes mom would cook (with dad watching over her shoulder to make sure she was ‘doing it right’ haha) You could say he was a perfectionist when it came to food, much like myself. Most nights my mom would be home after my dad, so he would be the one in the kitchen. It was always a joke that my brother, two years older than I, would be served first. This goes back to an Italian tradition where the boy is the ‘king of the family.’ I guess since he was the first grandson born on that side of the family, and a boy, he was treated like a little prince, and my Nonna made sure of it haha. Even if I were sitting at the table first, his plate would be put at his spot, and then mine. It was a running joke for us. How I miss family dinners.

I can remember every smell of the dishes he would make, pastas (an Italian staple, often 3 times a week), homemade french fries, Pork chops in mushroom soup, french toast, steak with crab and shrimp. Don’t forget the bearnaise sauce. Then there were the nights my mom would work late, maybe once a week. We had the same meals almost every time. A mini pizza with a big salad, a large salad with Tuna fish, or grilled cheese and tomato soup. And a fruit salad for dessert. I knew if mom was working a late shift, we were sure to have one of those meals.

My dad would always make enough dinner to “feed an army” as my mom put it. It’s true, we could have invited another family over at a moments notice and still have leftovers for the next day. And we often did. My dad was ‘giving to a fault,’ again, as my mom says. He would give up anything and everything for anyone if they were in need. He loved his family first and foremost, and held his friends dear. He would always want to host a dinner, BBQ or family function. He was the anchor to our family. I wish he were here to see my blog, to read it and see how far I’ve come from making cookies. He always wanted ‘something sweet,’ and he would ask my mom to pick up a treat at the store while getting groceries.

This past week another blogger, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. Just like my father (pictured above). Like us, in an instant he was gone, without being able to say goodbye. It was my sixteenth birthday when he passed away seven years ago, at the age of just 45. Unfortunately I know what she and her daughters must be going through. I would never wish that feeling upon anyone, it is a heartbreaking and horrible experience. On her blog this week, she posted a recipe for Creamy Peanut Butter Pie. She urged the bloggers out there to make it in memory of her husband, his favourite, and share it with those you love. Because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

I thought this was a perfect oppourtunity to make these cupcakes. I had been wanting to make peanut butter cupcakes for a while, and tomorrow we are attending a family reunion (on my mother’s side) with over 70 family members attending. Some we have not seen in many years. I am very much looking forward to re-connecting with everyone, and remembering onceagain how important family is to all of us.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and hopefully you are able to share it with those you love. Maybe over a slice of pie, or a cupcake. I think my dad would have definitely like these cupcakes.

Creamy Peanut Butter ‘pie’ Cupcakes

Devil’s Food Cupcakes 
Recipe from Martha Stewarts CUPCAKES 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-
    quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe by Bakeaholic
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar (more/less depending on consistency)
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbs. pure vanilla
  • splash of milk (I used almond milk due to allergy, can use soy, rice, coconut etc.)
Directions:
  1. In stand mixer, using paddle attachment, cream buter until light and fluffy. Add Vanilla and mix once more.
  2. Add peanut butter, and mix again until combined.
  3. Add Icing sugar one cup at a time, alternating with a splash of milk until desired consistency reached. You want it stiff, but still creamy and soft so you can run a knife through it.
  4. Continue mixing until you have a frosting consistency.
  5. You can pipe it with an icing bag onto the cupcakes, or use the back of a spoon or a knife/spatula to frost cupcakes.
Everyone said the frosting was absolutely delicious! It is so creamy, fluffy and light~
Optional: Pour 1/2 cup of chocolate cookie crumbs into a bowl, and dip tops of cupcakes into it for a ‘pie’ like taste.

Update: The Food Network has compiled a list of Bloggers around the world taking part in this event ‘A Pie For Mikey.’ I am happy to be included on the list.’

Also seen on Better Recipes, and Tastespotting has also dedicated the front page to pies.

Valentine's Day

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

February 8, 2011

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I should be doing homework right now. Lots of it. I have a lot of assignments and mid terms to get through this week before Adam and I jet off to Mexico! I am definitely in need of a vacation right about now. But, I just had to make these chocolate dipped strawberries in honour of Valentine’s Day. I had made them last year, but like this year Adam and I won’t be home for Valentine’s Day so I wanted to make them in advance. Actually, last year he was in Mexico and I was here, and this year we will both be in Mexico for Valentine’s day, together! This is a great little treat that looks like it took a long time to create. You can package them up in three’s or four’s and hand them out to someone special. They look really cute in a little take along bag as well. There are also step-by-step photo’s on my other post from last year as well.

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I decided to do a few variations this year, pistachio, almond and coconut. As well as the traditional chocolate drizzled ones. The almond ones I made were good, but they were a tad too big to go on the strawberries and while they were yummy, weren’t exactly camera friendly haha. There are lots of combination’s you could try. It doesn’t take long at all and can be made a day before hand, but it’s best if their eaten the same day as the bottoms begin to get soggy. This time I made them and then stuck each one on a cutting board lined with a silicone baking sheet in the fridge after I dipped them one by one. That way they keep cold while you make the next one.

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These are super easy, and really lovely for valentine’s day. Perfect for someone with a sweet tooth, but also healthy too! (right.. I mean, there is fruit involved!) Alright, I better get back to studying! But please make these, they’re so easy and delicious. Or if you’re up for a challenge, try my honey chocolate cupcakes!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

  • 1-2 pkg Strawberries
  • 1 cup Melting Chocolate (dark or milk)
  • 1/2 cup White Melting Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup medium shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place dark chocolate into a double broiler, and simmer on low. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool slightly. ( I always place a glass mixing bowl over the pot, and then transfer the bowl to a hot plate). Alternatively, microwave on 20 second intervals until soft and melted.
  2. Do the same with the white chocolate. Then pour the white chocolate into a piping bag, and snip off a tiny bit. You can also reserve some white chocolate to dip the strawberries into as well.
  3. Wash the strawberries and dry them completely. You’ll want them slightly cool, to help cool the chocolate faster. Dip them one by one into the melted chocolate and place onto a tray, lined in parchment paper or saran wrap or silicone baking mat. Once you’ve finished all of them place the tray into the fridge to harden the chocolate. I placed them into the fridge one by one onto the tray so they would cool faster and harden while I made the others.
  4. You can if you like also dip them/roll them/or sprinkle them with coconut after you have dipped them into the chocolate.
  5. Once they have set, using the white chocolate piping bag, drizzle the white chocolate over the dark and place back into the fridge.
  6. Once they have set completely, you can package them up and give them to someone special!