Sifted Couture

Baking and sweet stuff

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

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.

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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

The Elvis

Elvis
I am back from New York and exhausted. It truly is a city that never sleeps. I saw so much, shopped, and ate while I was there. I have pictures to share with you, but I am still sorting through those. Today I was out finishing up my Christmas shopping when I spotted a CamiCakes Cupcakes shop in the mall! They only had a limited selection at this satellite shop, so I picked one that was totally out of the ordinary. This is their description: Creamy banana and peanut butter frosting topping their classic chocolate garnished with a hint of sea salt. The cake was definitely chocolate, but not too strong. Very light and moist. I could barely taste the peanut butter in the frosting until I bit into the candy on top. The frosting was definitely banana. It was a pretty good combination. Too bad I didn’t have a Pepsi!

Twilight

Twilight Cupcakes

I hope you love the Twilight series, because I definitely do! My friends and I make sure to go and see each new release on opening day. Though they refuse to go at midnight, while I cannot wait to go! We usually have a sushi lunch first, and then off to Tinseltown we go. I made these cupcakes last year, but you haven’t seen them yet! Each cupcake represents one of the books. Can you pick them out? The apple is Twilight, ruffled tulip is for New Moon, the broken ribbon is Eclipse, and the chess pieces are Breaking Dawn. The cupcake toppers were made with marshmallow fondant and Wilton’s colors. I will have to share the marshmallow fondant recipe with you soon. It does taste so much better than Wilton’s. I am headed for New York today. I’ll make sure to check out some cupcakes for you (and Tiffany’s)!

Ornaments 2011

Ornaments 2011

Today I thought that I would share with you my favorite new ornaments of 2011. The first store I shop for Christmas is Hallmark. I can’t wait for the little catalogs to come. I plan out which ornaments I must have. Santa Comes to town is the first ornament in the picture. The train actually goes around the tree, there are different colored lights, and you can hear Santa bellying out Ho Ho Ho!. The Always Remembered ornament is for those close to me that I have lost this year. It has been a very rough year. Christmas Vacation is a favorite movie of ours. Last year I added the Bright and Merry Christmas ornament, unfortunately I do not have the RV ornament. This year we have The Griswold Family Christmas Tree. I also purchased the Christmas Vacation Moose Mug Ornament, although that is not a Hallmark item. And, of course, we have the mugs to drink eggnog out of! Finally, Season’s Treatings #3 in the series. I love these little baked goods ornaments from Hallmark. They are so adorable. 2009 had cookies on a cookie sheet, 2010 was cupcakes in a cupcake pan, and this year a gingerbread house and cookies! So, there you have it, my favorite ornaments of the year. What are yours?

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu Take Two

These tiramisu cupcakes are heavenly. Each bite is so delicious that is leaves you craving for more. Several individual steps are taken and then brought together as one to ensure the tiramisu cupcake is perfection. Tiramisu can be made with or without the marsala wine. Perfect for serving as dessert.

I did not use the Marsala Wine. Also, instead of Mascarpone I used 3 cups Cream Cheese and 9 tablespoons of Sour Cream along with the Confectioners Sugar and Heavy Cream she has listed in her recipe.

Everyone was very happy with these and ate more than one!

This is the link to the actual recipe by Becky Brown, which she found on baking911.
Tiramisu Cupcakes
Cupcake

6 eggs, separated (separate when cold; allow to come to room temp)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoon water, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour (measure after sifted)
In large mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add half of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Rub just a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.
In small mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, water, vanilla and salt (if desired) until blended.
With a sifter or sprinkle flour with a sieve over whites. Add beaten yolk mixture. Gently, but thoroughly, fold yolk mixture and flour into whites.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 min or until done.
Espresso Syrup

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup water
5 teaspoons espresso powder

In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the water, the remaining 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and the espresso or coffee powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Use a fork to poke a few holes into cupcakes so that they will absorb liquid. Pour approximately ½-1 teaspoon of syrup onto each cupcake.

Frosting

3 c mascarpone
1 c confectioner’s sugar
¼ c marsala wine
¾ c heavy cream, chilled

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar and marsala until well blended. Add the cream and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Frost cupcakes with mascarpone/whipped cream mixture. Dust tops with cocoa powder (I used unsweetened) and then sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.

This recipe was adapted from the recipes “Classic Sponge Cake” and “Espresso Tiramisu”, both found on http://www.baking911.com.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Pretzels in a Cup

Along with the Cookies in a Jar gift, I am also giving my friends Chocolate Covered Pretzels! I’ve never made these before, so I searched the internet. Normally when I make things I will search high and low to compare recipes and tips from readers. I thought melting chocolate and dipping pretzels would be easy enough that I didn’t need to. I was a little bit wrong.

I think this is the link where I started. Chocolate Pretzels by Robin Miller.

Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Chocolate Covered Pretzels (read my tips)

1 bag Log Pretzels
1 bag each of Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet and white)
Double boiler/Microwave/or 2 saucepans
Chopped Nuts
Sprinkles or whatever garnish you want. Think cookies! coconut! candies!

Melt the chocolate over low heat in a double boiler or 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave.
Dip the pretzels in to the chocolate.
Add garnish.
Place dipped pretzels on wax paper and allow to harden.

Wrap in clear gift bags and tie with a ribbon for gift giving. These are also great in glasses as decor/treats at a party.

Tips! What I learned (some of it the hard way): White chocolate burns and is the hardest to melt correctly. As you can see, I have no white chocolate on my pretzels. I don’t have a double boiler, but 2 saucepans work just fine for this. So does the microwave. Put your wax paper on cookie sheets, so that you can move the drying pretzels around easily. Place them outside to chill (if it is chilly outside, of course). If you don’t have a dipping jar large enough, or just don’t want to transfer the chocolate to one, use a spoon and pour it down the pretzels sides. If you noticed, the recipe from Food Network says over medium heat, both Ghirardelli and Hershey’s bags said to use the lowest heat or simmer.

I wasn’t sure of the consistency of the melted chocolate, and I know it can burn or solidify easily. My pretzels aren’t as smooth as some you may see on the net. You can’t tell with the ones covered in crushed peanuts and sprinkles. However, they all taste good and your friends don’t care! I’m meeting a couple of mine in an hour to give them their gifts! We’re going out for Mexican.

Pretzels Wrapped

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