Irish? I-rish!!

Happy St. Patty’s day! I wanted to make a dessert worthy of a corned beef and ‘kraut dinner that my friends hosted, so I went with two kinds of cupcakes: Mint chocolate chip cupcakes and a Irish Whiskey ganache-filled Guiness cupcake with a Bailey’s frosting.

For the mint chip cupcakes: chocolate cupcake batter with handfuls of Andes mint chips!

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Guiness cupcakes next to some Jameson-infused dark chocolate ganache:

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I used my cupcake corer to make little holes for the ganache filling:

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Filled cupcakes!

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Caps back on top! (I ate two of them, so two cupcakes were missing the hats)

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Buttercream frosting with Bailey’s Irish Cream piped on top!

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Back to the mint chocolate chip cupcakes- green tinted vanilla buttercream tops these off:

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I tried piping different designs… don’t these look like seashells? haha… I guess these don’t scream “St. Patty’s Day.”

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I tried to go for a 4 leaf clover arrangement here:

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Anyone catch a leprechaun? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Hoo’s arriving in April?

I’m excited to announce that our “special guest” arriving in April is my first niece! My sister is expecting, and I recently went home to visit and to host and attend her baby shower. I was really excited to bake something for her shower. At her request, we went with lemon cupcakes with a raspberry cream cheese filling, topped with lemon buttercream frosting and an owl fondant decoration. Her theme for the baby shower and my niece’s new bedroom will be- you guessed it- owls.

These are the lemon cupcakes. I love the pink and green wrappers. I procured a cool little tool for myself as well- a cupcake corer! It’s a simple little gadget, really. It’s no more than a ย long circular cookie cutter with a fun flower design at the top for the “gripper,” but it works surprisingly well. I got this size and a larger one (1 inch diameter) as a set at Wal-mart for 1.84.

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See? In less than 5 minutes, I had cored 24 cupcakes. I ate the bowl of cupcake holes, but I guess you can replace them after you fill the cupcakes… if you are feeling generous and not hungry like me!
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The cupcakes are filled with the raspberry cream cheese filling. I just piped it in with a good ol’ ziplock baggie:

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I covered cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting:

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Here’s where it got a little tricky AND labor intensive. I made homemade fondant with lemon meringue flavored marshmallows that I found at Wal-mart. (They are freakin’ delicious)…. and then colored the fondant with gel food coloring. The bonus was lemon flavored fondant!! Yum. The owls are a product of “creative” cookie cutter manipulation, led by my two faithful baking helpers, my parents. (Shout out and props to them for staying up until 2 AM making cupcakes with me, now THAT’s love). ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Ah! The final product: a hoard of owls. Is it a hoard? … I just looked it up. I think it’s a “stare” of owls. I don’t know, that’s what the Audubon and BirdNote partnership say.

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I’m not sure if you can see the filling, but it’s in there:

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Here are a couple of “bonus” pictures from the shower.

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The favors were baking related! It’s cookie mix. (I tried out the mix from an extra jar they had made. The cookies were delicious!)

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And… just because I thought it was cute… Make a bib for the baby! haha.

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Congrats Mel (& Pezz)! Thanks for making me an Aunt-to-be!

Elmo!

Who is fuzzy, red, and has a high voice? As you could probably infer from the post title, this baking project was Elmo themed. Our lovable friend was the theme of Mr. Grant’s second birthday bash. Elmo cupcakes for all!

We have Oreo halves for Elmo’s big smile:

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Orange jelly beans for his nose:

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Red Swiss buttercream frosting for his face:

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Mentos for his eyes; the pupils were drawn on with edible food coloring markers:

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Elmo#1! (not Elmo IS #1, but this is the first guy… of many)

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We are just a regular Elmo cupcake making factory here:

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Aren’t they jolly? Total there were 2 dozen Elmo’s… 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla.

Happy Birthday, Grant!!

Miracle Mile Masterpiece?

This post is long overdue, but it took me a while to get my ducks in a row, know what I mean? Anyways, in January, my friend Vanessa asked me to help her make a cake for her boo, Sagar, for his birthday. She was envisioning a Chicago themed cake, as that’s “his town.” I thought we were able to do a good job at incorporating a lot of elements of Chicago while focusing on some of Sagar’s favorites. Take a look!

Sagar’s a huge Chicago sports fan. Bull’s Jersey, anyone? Courtesy of our resident sports expert AND closet fondant craftsman. I like to call him Mr. T.
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Can you name who this #7 jersey belonged to? If you said the Croatian Sensation, you are CORRECT!

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It’s not Chicago without the iconic skyline! Check out the Sears (now Willis) Tower (sans tower poles). The red CNA building, and… uh… some artistic interpretations of the other buildings…. yeah.

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Back to sports! Can you guess who this is?

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Ditka! Ditka!… question. Coach Ditka versus a hurricane… who would win? But wait! The Hurricane is named Hurricane Ditka! Oh yeah, and a “da bears” logo.

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Ah! Coming together… Speaking of Sagar’s favorites- check out the fondant “Vanessa” at the top. I thought it was a cute touch. The “Willis” tower now has the poles up top. There’s a plane flying by with a banner, wishing Sagar Happy Birthday on behalf of all Chicagoans.

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A few finishing touches include carefully placing the Jersey and some sports balls.

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Ah, an Old Style beer logo screams classic Chicago.

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I don’t have a picture of this, but Vanessa saved her Navy Pier Ferris Wheel made out of dots for the empty spot in the center on top of the cake.

Happy birthday, Sagar!!