Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creative Marketing Ecourse!

There was a post about this course over at Craftypod. It sounds terrific- I signed up and can't wait! Go check it out here if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Carousel Cake: Baby Shower Wrap-Up!

The whole thing started here... my plans for the shower and the idea to make a carousel cake. My first cake ever in honor of my sister's baby shower.

The shower was this past weekend. We had men, women and children friendly games. Coloring for the kids. Good conversation and well- a carousel for amusement. There ended up being close to 40 people, almost everyone who was invited responded with a yes (wow). Everyone seemed to love the carousel (I know I did) at one point the entire shower was on it from the smallest babies to the most senior of our guests who were in their 80's. Which was a fantastic moment. We had good food and lots of fun with family and friends.

All I can say about the cake is- I did it.

I wasn't sure if I could but I actually made a decorated cake and got it to the site of the shower in one piece (with lots of help from my husband- who packed a beautiful car that got the cake there and made many a trip for supplies during "construction").

It was a long way to get there from a test cake a few weekends before which was my first ever cake from scratch

to making chocolate lollipops (also a first).

Constructing the top out of foam board then covering it with fondant and icing.

Then putting the real thing together into the wee hours of the morning before the shower.

At the shower I was asked to make this cake again for a little girls birthday party that will be at the carousel. I might try to make other cakes but I just don't think I can do this one again. We'll see I promised to at least think about it. I was so flattered to be asked, it was a real compliment since I'm a total novice and was winging it on this cake from start to finish. (I had visions of it ended up on cake wreck)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cupkins: Jack-O-Lantern Muffins

Who says muffins have to be unadorned!

It's the first Monday of the month and time for another inst
allment of Cupkins, a collaboration between Joanne at Ready, Set, Craft! and I.

October's ingredient is pumpkin and to me that almost always means Halloween, so I went right to Jack-o-lanterns.

My pumpkin muffins are easy to make. You'll need:

1.5 cups of flour
3/4 cups of sugar
dash of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
About 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (basically I use 1/2 a teaspoon and a dash)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just straight pumpkin)
1/2 cup of applesauce
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup (or more if you like) of chopped walnuts or pecans
6 pecan halves
Yellow frosting
1/2 0z of chocolate (milk, dark, or white chocolate that's been colored green your choice)
Orange food coloring.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your muffin pans with non-stick spray or use muffin liners. This will make 6 large muffins or 12 regular sized muffins.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice together in a bowl. Then add the the applesauce, egg, oil and milk. Stir just until ingredients are combined (don't overwork or the muffins will be tough). Next add pumpkin and chopped nuts, and one to two drops of orange food coloring mix until combined.

Scoop an even amount of batter into each muffin cup. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and muffins are nicely golden on top.

Next comes the fun part... decorating them. I used yellow frosting that comes in a tube (with a decorator tip on the end) to make some jack-0-lantern faces.

Some are happy and some are scary, but I think all of them are cute!

I thought they felt a bit incomplete so I used pecan halves for stems. Melt the chocolate and dip one end of the pecan, then stuck it into the top of the muffin. The chocolate acts as a really yummy glue to hold it the "stems" in place. I used milk chocolate on half and white chocolate colored green on the other half. I don't really like the taste of white chocolate but thought the green looked nicer.

Just a few notes: I added the orange food coloring because I wanted a slightly enhanced but still natural orange color- you could skip this all together or play it up even more... you're choice! I used chopped walnuts in the muffins but pecans for the stems because that's what I had, if you want to just buy one type of nut buy the pecan halves and chop them up for inside the muffin batter.

Be sure to check out Joanne's October Cupkins recipe today by clicking the Cupkins logo below. And if any of you have tried one of our recipes we'd love to hear from you!

Check out my September Cupkin- Apple Cider Muffins here!

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