Great Vanilla Cupcake

May 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Cupcakes, Dessert | 11 Comments
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When my sister gave me The Great Cupcake Pan for my birthday last week, I didn’t need to wait long for a reason to try it out…my daughter lost her 5th tooth today!

So, in honor of my 5 year old daughter loosing her 5th baby tooth, I present…


I used the recipe from the package and LOVED it! (Surprising for Williams Sonoma) This will be my go-to recipe when a fantastic tasting vanilla cake is needed.

Great Vanilla Cupcake

  • 3 2/3 all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs lightly beaten
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups skim milk

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This photo shows just how big this cupcake is. My daughter was thrilled! To find the Great Cupcake Pan, go to Williams Sonoma and get The Giant Cupcake Pan. The top and bottom are made of cake. And the top half is covered in marshmallow fondant (yep, I still need to work on it).

…the possibilities are endless with this one! Oh, and Pam for Baking is all I needed to get this cake to slide right.

not a fan of the opera

May 28, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 17 Comments

I’m not a fan of the opera, but I love musicals.  Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Lion King, Beach Blanket Babylon…but the opera, I have no desire.

And maybe this was my problem when the Daring Bakers announced this month’s recipe, an Opera Cake.  The restrictions were no coffee or chocolate.  What, no coffee or chocolate in an Opera Cake?  That’s like an opera with no singing!  Or, at the very least, very bad singing.

So I dutifully made my opera cake with almond cake, vanilla bean butter cream, a caramel mousse and a caramel glaze.  Sure, the cake tasted alright.  But the cake didn’t rise.  Nope, not  one bit.  So my opera cake fell flat, literally.

There are, however, some amazing cakes out there.  So be sure to check out the other Opera Cakes.  Some, like my friend’s Passionfruit Opera Cake, require a curtain call.

man’s mud pie

May 19, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Dessert | 18 Comments
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Today I celebrated my 36th birthday with lots of hugs, kisses, and homemade pictures from my kids. My hubby…he made me a mud pie…

Mud Pie

  • 1 pre-made chocolate pie crust
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 container fudge frosting (like what you would buy to cover a cake)
  • 1 bag of candy, smashed and divided (he used butterfinger)
  • chocolate syrup
  • whipped cream

Fill the pie crust with chocolate ice cream so it is level with the top of the crust and allow it to set in the freezer.

In a medium size bowl, (about the same size as pie crust), line with plastic wrap and mix entire 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream with 3/4 of the crushed candy. Place in the freezer until hard.

After the chocolate ice cream is hardened in the crust, spread the fudge frosting over the top and sprinkle with remaining candies. Put back in the freezer and allow it to harden.

Once both the chocolate ice cream crust and vanilla ice cream bowl has hardened, flip the vanilla ice cream mixture onto the top of the chocolate fudge candy sprinkled crust. Mold the edges together. Cover the entire pie with plastic wrap and allow to set in the freezer overnight.

Unwrap. Slice. Cover the top with whipped cream. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Garnish with a cherry. And wish you wife a Happy Birthday.

hitting the pavement

May 19, 2008 at 7:10 am | Posted in solutions | 5 Comments

Solutions week 26

Saturday– My brother graduated with his masters today!  Before the early morning ceremony I got in a 20 minute walk.

And this afternoon I came home to Wii Fit!  LOVE IT!  Played for 33 minutes today.

Friday– Planned to go to the gym this morning, but am attending a memorial service for a family friend’s mother. I’m on the hunt for the Wii fit…maybe I’ll be able to try it later today.

Thursday– Started the day with an early run 30 minutes long. Getting up at 6am isn’t horrible when the sun is out. Went to the gym and started with a good 18 minute warm up on the elliptical. After that into the weight room for tricepts, incline push ups, one legged squats, abs on the bench, abs on the ball, abs on the mat with a med ball, forward lunges with twisting med ball. Finished eating at 5pm. No walk, but I am almost caught up on my kids’ scrapbooks!

Wednesday– Finished dinner at 5:30pm and then went on a 30 minute walk.

Tuesday– Another early morning 30 minute run! I do miss my treadmill, I think it’s dying. At the gym I did an easy warm-up on the elliptical for 20 minutes and then went into the weight room and worked my triceps, shoulders, biceps, I did walking lunges, squats and abs.

I finished dinner at 5:30 pm and then went on a 30 minute walk.

Hallelujah! Coffee has returned to my house thanks to…Silk Creamer in French Vanilla. Yep, it’s good. Real good. And it doesn’t have that bad stuff.

Monday update…so I had lots of bad stuff in that pie. But, I was finished eating at 6:45pm and then went on a brisk 30 minute walk.

After last weeks pitiful, almost non existent week of exercise, I knew I had to make a change, and quick. So last night I set my alarm and laid out my running clothes. This morning I got up at 6am and got in a 30 minute run.

My goals this week are…

  • get up early and run 30 minutes Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Cardio at the gym on Friday.
  • go to the gym for strength training on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • no eating after 7pm
  • drink water
  • avoid high fructose corn syrup
  • avoid hydrogenated fats

Thanks to Allison and this post for inspiring me to get up and run!

solutions week 25

May 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Posted in solutions | 9 Comments

Wednesday:  I got to the gym today for 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Then strength training with assisted pull-ups, tricepts, abs and push-ups.

Tuesday:  Busy day.  I got in a 30 minute evening walk after dinner.

Monday: I’m back from a fun filled week beginning with a trip to Southern California with the family and ending in Tahoe with my girlfriends. Here’s a photo of me and Indiana Jones at LegoLand in San Diego.

Of course, the thought of going to the gym today was filled with dread. It’s amazing how a week off and out of routine can make a three mile run seem like an unobtainable goal. So I went on the treadmill for 40 minutes, alternating between walking and running for over 3.25 miles.

The weight room was closed because we are getting all new equipment! So, I’m planning on a walk and some yoga later today.

Here are some fun photos of our time in Southern California… Continue Reading solutions week 25…

On Vacation

May 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Cupcakes | 13 Comments

I’m away on vacation this week.

While I’m away, feast your eyes on the Crushcakes Cupcakery’s Cupcakes! We stopped by Santa Barbara’s premier cupcakery on a recent visit to the central coast.

Of course I wanted to sample each flavor, but decided 4 would be a respectable number of cupcakes to try.

My first choice was their signature cupcake, the “crushcake” with red velvet cake and a chocolate heart dipped in sour cream frosting. This was the one I tried first, but was so disappointed. It was over baked and dry.

Next I tried the “strawberry blush” cupcake. AMAZING!!!! I would love to get my hands on that strawberry pink frosting recipe. For now I’ll just have to plan another visit.

I followed that with the “lemon drop” cupcake…even better than the strawberry! The frosting was to-die-for! Seriously people. In the words of my dear friend Mary, “I thought the heavens were going to open up and angels descend upon us”! Lemon cake with sweet lemon frosting and crushed lemon drop candies. I will get one of these every time I go.

Finally, my kids picked the “peace cake” cupcake. Okay, I wouldn’t have gotten this one for myself, but I am so glad they picked it. Wonderful! Vanilla bean cake and tie-dyed vanilla bean frosting. I loved the flavors of this one. The cake was wonderful.

Hopefully I will be back to Crushcakes for another box full of cupcakes soon.

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