Sifted Couture

Baking and sweet stuff

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patty’s Day is coming up. Here is a great recipe for cupcakes using Guiness and Frosting with Bailey’s Irish Cream! They are delicious!

I ended up with 24 cupcakes. The frosting recipe only frosted about 2/3 of them. So I made another half a batch of that to finish my cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes (from Cupcakes Take the Cake blog)
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes: About 30
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes (plus cooling and frosting time)

CUPCAKES
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup Guinness stout
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 24 to 30 muffin cups or line them with paper liners.

In a heavy saucepan heat the butter, Guinness and dark cocoa powder until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool.

In a large bowl, sift together the salt, flour, sugar and baking soda.

Add the Guinness-cocoa mixture and beat for 1 minute on medium speed.

Add the eggs and sour cream and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frosting: (from Dulcedo blog)
A Dulcedo original
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the Bailey’s and half of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. Add the second half of the sugar and beat until smooth.

Make Your Own Cupcake Toppers

toppersclose

Cupcake Toppers are a great idea for Weddings, Birthdays, Graduation, Baby Showers, and just about any Holiday. They are also so easy to make. If you have an event coming up, and when isn’t there one, you can dress up your cupcakes with toppers made by you. If you care crafty then you probably already have most of these items at home.

toppers

What you need:
2″ Paper Punch
1 1/2″ Paper Punch
(these can vary depending on which size you prefer)
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Stick
Scrapbook paper in at least 2 colors (card stock is best, but not necessary)
Stickers/Cut Outs
Lollipop Sticks
Optional: Ribbon for added decor

topper1

Use your smaller paper punch and cut out a circle in the scrapbook paper. Place a sticker on this circle. Use your larger paper punch and cut out another circle on a different color of scrapbook paper. Use your glue stick on the back of the smaller paper and stick it in the center of the larger circle.

toppers2

Next, use your hot glue gun and put just a little on the upper portion of the lollipop stick. Place your circles on the lollipop stick at about to the center of the paper. You can tie a little ribbon on the the lollipop stick for added decoration. Although they look just as cute without. If you put a small foam adhesive on the back of the sticker it will make the sticker look 3D. Pops right out at you and looks professional. Finally, place it in the center of your cupcake. Everyone will be wowed by the look of your cupcake toppers!

toppers3
Imagine how pretty these are going to turn out!

Sorry for being slow on posting. I have really been having a hard time with the white balance on my camera lately. Everything is coming up yellow. I have adjusted the white balance, tried using a bunch of lights, and tried changing all of the settings. It has been cloudy outside and I need some pure daylight! I have another post that I am working on right now and I cannot wait to share it with you!

Marshmallow Fondant – MMF

MMF

In case you don’t know what MMF stands for, it is Marshmallow Fondant. I often get questions about fondant, and one of those being if I make my own or not. I used Wilton’s during school, but for the most part I make my own. I’m going to share a recipe and tips with you for making your own. Marshmallow fondant tastes so much better than Wilton’s brand. I have not had any of the other brands, but I have heard there are some name brands out there that are better tasting than Wilton’s. Not only is it tastier, but marshmallow fondant is also a lot cheaper. And you usually have all of the ingredients to make some at home.

Small batch MMF
1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 Powder Sugar
Crisco (for kneading)

Large batch MMF
16 oz. bag of Mini Marshmallows
2 tbsps water
2 lbs Powder Sugar
Crisco (for kneading)

For Chocolate MMF:
Add 1 oz melted chocolate.
1 tbsp cocoa powder to the basic recipe.

Pack marshmallows down into measuring cup to get 1 cup and then add the water. Microwave in a microwave safe bowl for about 20 seconds. They should look soft and fluffy. Stir with a spoon (I like a wooden spoon). It should look soupy. Add the sugar and fold it in until it is all mixed and no longer sticky. Put just a little Crisco on your board and hands. Knead the fondant with a spoon for about 5-7 minutes. If it has cooled down you can use your hands to knead. Please be extra careful, this just came out of the microwave and things are always very hot when they’ve been in there.

Tips:
If the fondant is too sticky try cutting back on the water. Or let it sit out for 10 minutes. Also, try adding a little powder sugar until it is not sticky anymore. Be careful, because too much will dry it out. It should feel pliable.
Storing your fondant – Put a little bit of crisco on the outside on the fondant. Cover your fondant with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Place that in a ziploc bag. Air will dry fondant out.
Adding coloring to your fondant when it just comes out of the microwave works great. Otherwise, just incorporate it when you need it.
When cutting or rolling out your fondant you should put a little crisco down on your fondant mat, roller, and hands. This will make it easier to lift and help it to not get stuck.

The recipe is by Bunnywoman on the Wilton’s forums. It is by far the most popular fondant recipe that I have ever seen. You can find it here. Along with a ton of questions and answers. Another good page that I went to when I was learning to make fondant is on Cake Journal by Louise. She actually has pictures so you know what your fondant should look like during and when you are done. I hope you enjoy this post and that it helps you with your caking!

Dress Cake

I made a dress cake! I’ve seen these on Cakelet, or cupcakes with toppers in them, and doll cakes. But, we’re a bit old for a Barbie doll cake. This dress cake would be perfect for a bridal shower or a sweet sixteen birthday. You can get as elaborate and detailed as you want. This is a cake for me, so I just did a little detail.

batter bowl cake

I remembered that my Pampered Chef batter bowl has a recipe to make a cake in the bowl. Since I didn’t want a huge cake I went with that size. This is the recipe that Pampered Chef gives. I only used 1 box of mix and took a lot of it out. I have about 2 1/2 or 2 3/4 cups of mixed batter. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Just check for doneness. I looked up how to make a torso from fondant and found this tutorial on Cake Central. I think modeling chocolate might be easier to mold. I saw a tutorial video on this somewhere, or I dreamed that part. I can’t find it now.

Dress Cake
The front of the cake. I used little rolled flowers, but you can use a heart cutout, a circle with decoration like a bead, or a flower cutout. Pretty much anything or nothing. Same goes for the back. Yes, my pearl necklace is a bit lopsided. And I think royal icing might be better here.

dresscakeback
I made a bow for the back. I had to make the flowing ribbon 5 times because they kept breaking. I wrote down notes for the next time that I make these. Like, less arms and neck, and put the ribbon on before it dries! The height is 3″ x 5″ of cake. Including the torso it is 5″ x 5″

Have you ever been to Cake Opera‘s website? You will drool over her cakes. See, now this IS a dress cake. I read that she spends around 40 hours per cake. I would love to be that good some day. But for now this my first dress cake and I think it came out alright looking. If you make one please share a picture with me!

dresscakeoutside
I wanted my cake to have a wedding type picture. So we went outside!

How to make biscuits

Biscuits

Believe it or not, but I have never made biscuits from scratch before. Once I made a bread loaf and my mother laughed so hard when she saw a picture of it. Course, she did have dementia at the time and maybe it was just funny looking? Anyways, I haven’t made bread again. Not because my mom laughed. I loved it when she would laugh. But because it really wasn’t that good, and it was too much work when I could just go to the store and buy a nice soft loaf of bread. My friend gave me a bread maker that didn’t sell at a yard sale. I will use that, eventually.

Back to what this post is about. I made biscuits! And not just once but twice. And they are so good and easy that I will continue to make them. I was in the mood for biscuits with dinner, and I didn’t have any on hand. So, I used my trusty Google search and found a good traditional biscuits recipe by Diane Watkins. I preferred hers because it looked simple enough, and she had a lot of tips.

The directions are below. Here are a few things that I found were helpful to know. As Diane suggests, you want to keep the dry separate from the wet until you are ready to mix. Using self rising flour means you don’t have to add baking powder or salt. I’m all for easy. You cut in the shortening with a fork/hands/pastry blender until it looks like tiny pebbles or crumbs. Then you make a hole in the center and pour in the milk to make soft dough. Now, I wasn’t sure what the dough was supposed to look like here. I just knew not to work the dough too much. I later watched a video by Chef Scot on you tube that was perfect for a first timer. He also added that after adding the milk you will knead it a few times, and fold it, fold it, fold it. That is how you get the nice layers in your biscuits. Finally, you cut the biscuits out. About two inches round and a half inch thick. I used a small glass and it was a perfect size. Do not twist the cutter. I hope this helps those who also have never made biscuits before. Just think of them as cupcakes. Only more flat and not as sweet.

Traditional Southern Biscuit
by Diane Watkins

3 cups self-rising flour, plus some to flour the board
½ cup shortening or lard
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl.
3. Add the shortening to the flour in bits and cut into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Form a well in the center of the flour and add the milk into the well.
5. Stir the milk into the flour with a fork, just until mixed.
6. Turn out onto a floured board, counter top, or piece of parchment paper. Knead gently 2 or 3 times and roll or pat to a ½ inch thickness.
7. Cut into 2 inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

Mimosa Cupcakes

Mimosa Cupcake

Bringing in the new year should be done with cupcakes. A delicious treat to have at your party are Mimosa Cupcakes. Most people seem to reprint the mimosa cupcakes from Cupcake Project. But seeing how she blogged that they were dense I went looking for another recipe. Although in her updated 2010 notes she posts that she now uses a different lighter recipe.

I asked Sublime Sweets for her orange cupcake recipe and then went to find a champagne frosting. The cupcakes were delicious and fluffy! You can definitely taste the orange, and it is not too overpowering. I bought 1 large Sunkist orange and zested it without measuring. It looked to be about 1 tbsp. Squeezing it afterwards gave me the 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. Then I quickly devoured the orange. The frosting was really sweet. You could taste the champagne in the first bite, but then the orange took over. I had to discard most of the frosting because it was just too sweet. It is a pretty basic recipe though, maybe I’ve had too much sweets because of the holidays. The frosting recipe will make twice as much as you need for the cupcake recipe. I found the frosting recipe at Gimme Some Oven.

Orange Cupcakes

1 c flour
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c butter
1/4 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp orange zest
1/4 tsp vanilla (you may increase this if you want)
1/8 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat all ingredients on low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds.
Scrape bowl. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes more.
3. Put in cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 mins or until toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean. Makes about 12 cupcakes.

Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting:

3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.

Cupcakes Security Threat

Apparently cupcakes can be a security threat. Rebecca Hains had her cupcake confiscated this holiday weekend by the TSA in Las Vegas. She went through Logan Airport with two cupcakes, ate one, and then at McCarran International Airport the second one was taken from her. The cupcake shop, Wicked Good Cupcakes of Cohasset, is going to send Hains a new batch. Luckily, during my trip back from New York, I was able to carry my cupcake. The TSA agent only wanted it if it were Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery for her to eat! Because it is the best.

source: The Boston Channel, and thank you Sean!

Macy’s Windows

Macy's Window Display 2011

Magical. That one word sums up the window displays at Macy’s New York store. Their windows were designed by award-winning Paul Olszewski. One window is in 3D technology with a story that unfolds before you. Another window allows you to design your own ornament to take home. Together they all were part of the magic. The windows were in the spirit of Make-A-Wish Foundation. This is what one window read, “Gathered by unknown enchanted beings and drawn aboard a magical ship, wishes from far and wide become rare and beautiful ornaments.” I was going to make a collage of them like I did with the Tiffany window displays. But, there is so much going on and they are so gorgeous I wanted to share them in a larger way. This is just a sample of their many fantastic windows. As you can see in the last picture they were quite long. You can see in a couple of the pictures that there are designers names in the windows. These were people who had inspired Christmas trees that Macy’s auctioned for Make-A-Wish Foundation. And inside Macy’s you could pick up a fancy ornament with their name on it.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas! Bake, eat, love.

Macy's Window Display 2011

Macy's Window Display 2011

Macy's Window Display 2011

New York Cupcakes

Hot & Crusty

I was dedicated to checking out some cupcakes while in New York. The first place I went was Hot & Crusty. They have several locations around the city. The best thing about this bakery is their commitment to making products with no preservatives, additives or chemicals. They say they don’t cut corners and use the best quality ingredients. It has always been hard for me to pass up Red Velvet. So, to keep true to my fashion I went for it. It was so moist, buttery creamy, fluffy, tasty, and delicious.

Magnolia Bakery

Another place that everyone in New York goes to, and by everyone I mean everyone, is Magnolia Bakery. Honestly, you take a number and wait outside. It was freezing cold one night and there were several people waiting outside! I decided to go to Bloomingdales where there is a Magnolia Bakery on the first floor. This adorable little house decoration was in their window. I picked out the December cupcake of the month, the gingerbread cupcake. It was not too sweet and so soft. The cupcake was spiced with gingerbread and the icing was smooth vanilla bean meringue buttercream. From what I’ve read, Magnolia Bakery became so busy because it was in a Sex and the City episode. Next time I am in New York I will try their banana pudding, I hear it is the best!

Tiffany’s at Christmas

Tiffany's 5th Ave Windows

You probably have guessed by now that I love Tiffany’s. I think most girls do. The first place I visited while in New York was Tiffany’s on Wall Street. We just happened to be in the area. The front of the store had some scaffolding for work being done. Beautiful store inside. I picked up the Tiffany silver apple charm for my bracelet. It was surprisingly heavier than I expected. I prefer charms that have meaning to them. This charm will always remind me of my time in the Big Apple.

It was two days later that I was able to visit Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue. The window displays were so pretty! Tiffany’s had a Merry-Go-Round theme in the windows. The horses moved up and down while the animals crossed over the bridge. The outside of the windows were covered to make them all look like part of the merry-go-round. Inside on the third floor was a sleigh. Merry-go-round horses were placed in front of it instead of reindeer. A multitude of Christmas trees frosted with snow and decorated with round balls of a blues, reds, silver, and gold were found throughout the store. Since I already bought my charm at the Wall Street store I purchased a tree ornament from this store. I asked for the teddy bear in a stocking, but when I returned home to Florida it was just the teddy bear. That will be a cute little story for this ornament.

I am still hoping to receive the Tiffany Blue Cupcake for Christmas. I will keep you posted on that.

Tiffany's 5th Ave

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