Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candy Apple Cake Pops

There are definitely nice things about nursing shift work - I can more or less customize my schedule, I can pick up additional shifts to bolster my paycheque, etc - but there are definite downsides as well.
One is that we don't have the luxury of closing down on holidays.
So this long Thanksgiving weekend I worked away and as a result my family decided to postpone our Thanksgiving dinner to later this week so that we all could celebrate (read: stuff our faces) together.
So tomorrow is our Thanksgiving dinner!
I'm going to my parents' place straight from work where I'll sleep for a bit then help my dad and sister get food prepared.
I know my mom has called dibs on a desert but I want to try to make this cool desert I saw the other day.
Hopefully she won't mind... realistically they may taste okay but they're not going to look like they do in the picture below.
I'm optimistic but more realistic.  
In my search for all things Halloween I stumbled upon this recipe
and knew immediately it was one I was going to have to try.
(recipe and photo from Season of Sweet)
Candy Apple Cake Pops
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (batter will be thick).  Using a small cookie scoop, fill each reservoir.  Bake for 4 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack and repeat with remaining batter.  Makes about 4 dozen.
Candied Apple Syrup

 2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

  • Line a baking sheet with buttered parchment paper; set aside. Insert sticks into cake balls; set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce to medium-high heat. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches hard crack stage (between 300-310 degrees), about 20 minutes. 
  • When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from the heat. Working quickly dip cake pop in sugar mixture (careful not to twist) until completely coated.  Let excess drip then transfer to prepared baking sheet and allow to cool.

Hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend full of turkey and all the fixings, family, and everything they could be thankful for.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween: Can You Guess My Costume?

I did this once before years ago where I posted some pictures of my costume idea and asked people to guess.
I'm going to put up some clues and see if anyone can guess what/who I'm going to be.
I won't confirm or deny any guesses until Halloween though.
I'm also kind of excited about this one and really hope it turns out the way I have it planned in my head.
So here's the first clue:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Orange Velvet Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream

After a bit of a delay - and missing the pre-thanksgiving mark - here is the other pumpkin cupcake recipe with the best fall sinpired icing you"ll ever make.

Orange Velvet Cupcakes
(recipe from Southern Shelle)

To make these delicious cupcakes, you'll need:
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. liquid red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 container of orange gel dye
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into a bowl.

Beat butter at low speed until creamy. Add sugar; blend on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape bowl; add food coloring and vanilla.

To get the perfect shade of orange you are going to add the entire container of orange gel food coloring. I know, gel food coloring is so concentrated that you don't normally need that much, but unless you want University of Texas Burnt Orange, add the whole container. I also used approximately 15 drops of liquid yellow food coloring to take away some of the burnt undertones.

On low speed, beat in flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. In small bowl, stir together vinegar and baking soda. Stir into batter.

Line cupcake pans and fill 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan and then move to wire rack to let cool completely.

Then for the full absolutely irrisistably autumn effect, top them with the most delicious thing you'll ever make, ever:
(as you can see, I should have splurged and bought orange gel food colouring instead of trying to combine red and yellow for the desired effect!)
Pumpkin Buttercream
(recipe from Nancy Creative)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons half & half or milk

  • Cream the butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and vanilla, blending well. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add half & half or milk and blend well.
    NOTE: This makes a very thick buttercream frosting. If you want a thinner, creamier frosting, add more half & half or milk until you get the desired consistency.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

    *Note: as soon as I can get my phone to connect to the internet I'll be posting an even tastier recipe for pumpkin-inspired cupcakes*
    Moving on to the tried and true, cupcakes were the obvious next choice.
    I did try to make pumpkin cream cheese truffles but they turned out kind of icky and I didn't like the way they tasted so they got wasted.
    Yep. That rhyme just happened.
    Anyway, I made a batch of mini cupcakes and I have to say the maple cream cheese icing is so good. I cleaned the bowl (a luxury I often pass up as it's John's favourite part but - lucky me - he wasn't home when these were made so the bowl was allllll mine).

    recipe from (where there is also a great tutorial for fondant pumpkins)
    For the cupcakes:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    For the icing:
    • 1 block cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tbs real maple syrup
    • 2 cups icing sugar
      For the cupcakes:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
    2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger, into a medium bowl.
    3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
    4. Divide the batter among the muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    5. Set pumpkin cupcakes aside to cool completely. These are delicious frosted with cream cheese icing or just as is!
    6. For the Icing:
    7. Cream the cream cheese, butter and maple syrup in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Slowly add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
    8. Once your cupcakes are cool, ice them with a butter knife or large piping bag and tip of your choice.