Vote for me! (please)

I enter one little cupcake contest and I’m hooked…..

So now I’ve entered myself in another cupcake contest!! It’s put on by celebrations.com and you can VOTE HERE!!! VOTING STARTS TOMORROW!!!

This is the cupcake photo I entered:

These were from a friend’s son’s birthday party a few years ago and I’ve always always always loved them and I was so proud of them!!!!

The voting begins on January 30th at 12:00 AM EST and ends on February 12th.

You can vote 1 time per day– so please vote everyday!!!!

Thanks everybody!!!

some homemade shtuff….

My father in law bought me this book for Christmas:

The book is about a woman who loses her job and contemplates the idea of making things instead of just buying them already prepared, as she had done before when she was working. The experiment includes making her own cheese, raising chickens and goats, curing her own bacon/fish, and raising her own turkey for Thanksgiving. Sounds interesting right?

Now, I love cookbooks and baking books and I’ll gladly read them over and doggy-leaf pages with recipes and all that dooda.

Let me just tell you that I wanted to doggy ear every page of this book!!! Not only does she have recipes for homemade cheese-its, mayo, and pop tarts….the stories are hilarious! And educational. After reading this book I have decided that I want to have chickens one day. But no goats. Maybe honey bees.

 

And she has a blog!!! www.tipsybaker.com.. amazing.

 

 

SO what I made from the book were OREOS and VANILLA EXTRACT. Yup.

Let’s start with the oreos.

Before we begin, let me apologize, because once again I have eaten everything without taking a picture… once again. I have some prep pictures of the cookies but that’s it…. I have failed you. Again. Sorry!!!

BUTTTTTTTTTTT I’m posting the recipe because these came out amazing. If you want to make them, take a pic and send it to me and I’ll put them up here!Ha!

 

 

Homemade Oreos

from Jennifer Reese

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract (you just wait and see how easy this is)
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 t kosher salt (I used table)
  • 1/2 t baking soda

 

filling:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T milk
  • pinch of salt

 

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the vanilla and chocolate and beat well.
  3. Add the egg and beat some more.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda and pour anything that remains in the sifter into the bowl and whisk to combine. Stir this into the chocolate mixture. It will look like a fudgy, sticky mess. Let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature to firm up.
  5. Transfer the dough to a piece of waxed paper. Try to ease the log dough into a long log–about 22 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. The dough is sticky but if you briskly and lightly roll it back and forth on the waxed paper, you will end up with a log. If the dough starts to stick to the paper, transfer it to a new piece of paper. Once you have a log of dough, try to make it as smooth and even as you can. Refrigerate the waxed paper covered log of dough for a few hours, or overnight, until very firm.
  6. Heat the oven to 325. Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper (or use your Silipat mat!!). Cut the dough into scant 1/4 inch slices. Place them on the cookie sheet. They can be as close together as 1/4 inch– but don’t let them touch.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they’re cakey but firm when you press with the tip of your finger. Cool completely on a rack.
  8. To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together until perfectly smooth. Spread onto cooled cookies to make them look like oreos.

 

This is all I got: (lame)

 

lined up on my Silipat mat

me with the chocolate log. (I know it’s gross looking–but the dough was yum!)

don’t put them too close together…..

Well people, although I have no pictures of the finished project to actually show you how good they came out–you’re just going to have to trust me or bake them yourself!!! Sorry again. eh.

Here’s something I made that I actually took pictures of:

VANILLA EXTRACT!!!!

Literally all you need is booze and vanilla beans. And a bottle. And time.

Vanilla Extract

from Jennifer Reese

Take 9 plump vanilla beans and slit them and scrape out the seeds.

beans.

get all that goo out.

Put the seeds and the pods in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of vodka or rum (dark or light) over the beans.

it can be cheap booze!

Cover and shake. Put the jar in the cupboard and let macerate for 3 months, agitating the jar occasionally.

It’s that simple.

I will give updates on the status of my vanilla extract periodically throughout this 3 month period— I can’t wait to see how it comes out!

Looking for vanilla beans?? Check out amazon.com and buy them in bulk. If you go the grocery store you are most likely paying WAYYY too much for individual beans. Like $8 for 2 beans vs. $20 for like 30?? check it out

UP NEXT: vegan chocolate orange cupcakes

***AND LOOK FOR INFO ON THE HOMEPAGE ABOUT ANOTHER CONTEST I’M ENTERED IN!!! MORE DETAILS TO COME!!!****

1 year ago today…..

Hello! Today is my 1st wedding anniversary and although I’ve already watched the wedding video, gone through hundreds of pictures and reminisced about the day– I’m just not done. It was the best day of my life and I wanted to share one of my favorite parts: my cake.

 

 

 

and a close up of the cake topper

penguins!!!

we also had a gluten-free/vegan grooms cake to accommodate food allergies

It was awesome. And the cake was awesome!!!

Check out my posts as part of the “Winter Wedding Cupcakes series” on cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com……

I’ll be back soon with homemade oreos, how to make your own vanilla extract, and vegan chocolate orange cupcakes!

I finally made it to CARLO’S BAKERY!!!!

This summer Adam and I tried to go to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ on one of our “pre-moving to NYC” trips. We drove there from Queens (ugh), saw the line that was literally around the block, and decided to come back another day.

I was very sad.

 

You may be saying to yourself… “what’s Carlo’s Bakery?” Are they famous? What’s the big deal about them?

Does Buddy Valastro ring a bell?

Does THE CAKE BOSS ring a bell??

This is the bakery where the famous CAKE BOSS show on TLC is filmed!! Buddy is the loud and proud, very animated, Italian American baker whose family runs the shop. (Tell me you know who I’m talking about!!!)

 

Anyways.. my sister and I decided to give it a try last week and see if we could get in there! And we did!!!

 

success!!!

I feel that my experience at Carlo’s Bakery would best be expressed through the art of Iphone photography…………..

We got there at 11:30 am on a Thursday afternoon, and the line wasn’t too bad. The guy at the door said about 20 minutes to wait? Totally doable. We just took pictures of the store front and of ourselves. Everybody was waiting for their turn to get inside!!!

Finally the guy waved to us to come on in. There were a lot of people inside:

We got our ticket and waited in line.. again…

On the walls of the bakery, there are cakes at the top and a whole bunch of family pictures and awards or recognition that the bakery has gotten over its career– 100 years!!!

There were soooooooooooooooo many desserts they offered!!!

cookies:

doughnuts:

fruit tarts:

cupcakes:

and CAKES!! CAKES !!! CAKES!!!

                                                   

                                        

so scrumptious looking. it was amazing how many things they offered.

we made our choices and they packed it up for us!

                                           

a napoleon, a cookie, a carrot cake cupcake, and a red velvet cupcake.

They were all very good–the carrot cake was moist with cream cheese filling, the red velvet was a bit dry (sorry, Buddy!) but the buttercream frosting was lovely. The napoleon I must say was one of the best I’ve ever had. Napoleons are pretty much my go-to choice for desserts at any and all bakeries/restaurants. I love me some napoleon!!!

After we got our things packaged, we headed out and made it all the way back to our apt before eating them! Well, we did go for pizza before we went home but we wanted to save our treats for dessert!

All in all, the trip was good! We didn’t get to see Buddy, but we did hear that Grace and Madeline (2 sisters) were upstairs–but we didn’t see them either. Boo! But it was an awesome experience that I’m sooooooooooo glad I finally achieved!!!

“HOBOKEN, BABY!!”– Buddy

UP NEXT: homemade oreos. oh yea.  you just wait…………

Honey Cakes. From Mr. Winnie the Pooh himself

For my birthday, my grandparents (Mema and Gramps) gave me this card:

Pretty precious I thought. This was the inside:

What’s that inside you say?? A RECIPE FOR HONEY CAKE!!!!

I had never heard of honey cake. I don’t really eat that much honey, actually. Hmmm what could a honey cake really be like? What would it taste like? Why does it have coffee and orange rind in it?????

Let me tell you: it was amazing.

SOO amazingly good good good. Love the wrappers, don’t you??

this is my fave pic btw. so simple.

It tastes very much like honey, and orange, with just a hint of coffee. To top them, Adam made a “hard sauce” which is basically 1 c melted butter, 1 c powdered sugar, 1 t vanilla, and 1/2 t nutmeg whisked together and poured over. This gave them a light buttery taste as well.

They may look very plain–aside from those crazy wrappers–but they are FULL of flavor. I will definitely be making these again, maybe in the fall.. with some Winnie the Pooh decorations… hmmmm.

Thanks Mems!!! xoxoxox

PS. Am I the only person who didn’t know that shortening is flammable?

whaaattttt??!?!?!

UP NEXT: I FINALLY make it to Carlo’s Bakery!!!! Hoboken baby!!

Welcome to 2012!!!

Hello all!!! I can’t believe it is 2012…. this past year went by so fast!! And it was  a good year–but a crazy year: I got married, quit my job, moved to a new city, and started a new career. : )

I’m looking forward to 2012 for many reasons… you’ll see…… : )

 

Ok so let me catch you up on the past few weeks. I know I haven’t blogged a lot–I had a crazy work schedule (boo!) and that didn’t leave me a lot of time to bake, which upsets me because I hardly baked anything for the holidays : (

However, my husband, Adam made some awesome VEGAN gingerbread cake pops!!  One of my resolutions for the new year is to get healthier (and thinner!) so I’m going to try to make more vegan and gluten free recipes. Recommendations appreciated!!!

 

For my birthday (12-22) and Christmas, my family really showed their support for me and my baking career. This is what I got:

 

spot on.

I was actually a bit shocked by the amount of cutesy cupcakes!! But in a good way!

Let me break it down for you:

1. A super cute cupcake apron from Flirty Aprons

2. a candle

3. lip gloss

4. a kitchen timer

5. a glass cutting board

6. a necklace (pretty sure it’s from the little girls section….)

7. a knit cupcake thingamabobber

8. cupcake paperclips. i have never seen these before and i’m really excited to have them!!

PHEW!!! THANKS TO MY AMAZING FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!!!

UP NEXT IN 2012: honey cakes (inspired by Pooh bear), more vegan, more gluten free, apple bette’s, more cake pops, ELVIS, more NYC bakery reviews, and maybe a pie or 2. 🙂