Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Today was the day to try something new.
I am a certified chocaholic so I always
lean towards chocolate cake and cupcakes.

I had to get into the mood for the season and add some of those wonderfully spicy smells to my house.

Today this is how I chose to do just that. My kitchen smelled heavenly and the finished product was really spectacular and so simple.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes:

1 package spice cake mix
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.
Blend cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water in a large mixer bowl until moistened.
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared cups, filling evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Light and Delicious Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup whipping cream
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla.
Beat until soft.

In a separate bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, then fold into cream cheese mixture. You may have to refrigerate for a few minutes for the frosting to stiffen up enough to pipe on cupcakes.

Today's Pot of Comfort Food

Turkey Sausage, Kale, White Beans and Pasta

Turkey Sausage
Diced Onions
White Beans
Diced Tomatoes
Small pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

I don’t really measure when I cook so I will describe what I did.

I bought a large package of Italian flavored turkey sausage and removed it from its casing –I broke it up and sautéed it with chopped onions.

Meanwhile, I cooked a bag of cleaned and chopped kale in a pot of boiling water. When it was just tender I drained it.

In another pot I boiled a cup of small pasta- whatever your family likes.
I happen to have a box of Barilla Piccolini mini wheels …so I used some of that.

To my pot of sausage I added a can of diced tomatoes and a small (15 oz can) of white beans.
I also chopped the kale a little bit more and added it to my pot.
I turn the heat down and let everything simmer so the flavors blend together.
Once it is ready I tossed in my pasta wheels. (*don't throw them in too early they will over cook and fall apart)

I served it with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread.

***I also made a pan of hot peppers, tomatoes and potatoes today so we had them too. Boy they were HOT!!!

It was filling- delicious and had a little of everything good.

Get The Bean is having a Gourmet Coffee or Tea Giveaway!

Win 1 lb of Gourmet Coffee or Tea at Get The Bean

Here is how you get entries to win 1 lb of Gourmet Coffee or Tea:
Visit Get The Bean and tell them what Estate Coffee you would pick.

You can get extra entries if you do any of the following:

Write a Post on your blog about this giveaway linking to either their blog or website(2 extra)

If you have one of their buttons on your blog or if you put one of their buttons on your blog(2 extra)

Email 5 people telling them about Get The Bean with a link to the blog, website or both.
You must include them in your email: extra)

Stumble(1 extra)

Digg(1 extra)

You do not have to have a blog in order to enter.

However, You MUST provide a valid email address or blog so that they can contact you if you win.

Also, be sure to specify what you did in your comment so they can give you extra entries.
Sorry this is only open to US and Canada :(
Good luck everyone and we will be drawing Friday November 7.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Blogiversary BAKERELLA

Happy Blogiversary BAKERELLA

Congratulations and thank you for all you share with us!

In Celebration of her Blogiversary she is having a fun...

Blogiversary Giveaway!She is giving out presents-Bakerella t-shirts from Three of them!

If you're a bakerella at heart or simply like the site, enter for a chance to win.
Just leave a comment and share which celebrity you had or still have a crush on.
Make sure to leave an email address or a link to your blog soshe can contact you if you win.
The cutoff to enter is Monday, November 3rd at Midnight.

The winners will be announced sometime Tuesday evening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Power of Pink Challenge!

In honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month, Beantown Baker presents a challenge:make something PINK .
It can be anything as long as it's pink.

Here are the rules:
1. Make something, anything, that comes out pink - use any ingredients you want (you can double this up for another blogging event if you'd like)

2. Post your pink food by October 31

3. Include the logo and link back to this post in your post

4. Email her at beantownbaker[at]gmail[dot]com - include:

- Your name and location (city/state/country)

- Name of your blog - Link to your post -

Picture (or permission to pull one out of your post)

I made cupcakes PINK of course.
I made DEATH BY CHOCOLATE cupcakes
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water or 1/4 c. water with 1/4 c. Kahlua
1 boxed cake mix without pudding in the mix
1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
With your electric mixer, combine eggs, oil, sour cream, water, cake mix and pudding; mix well.
Add in chocolate chips. Pour into muffin papers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
I then iced them with store bought vanilla icing that I tinted pink.

My version of a "Hostess Cupcake"

Todays fun cupcake was my version of a "Hostess Cupcake" from way back when!

I know they still sell them but they aren't as exciting these days as they were when I was a kid!
I deceided to copy that classic and bring back the excitement!
When my family saw them they were thrilled!

Being pressed for time I made a boxed mix of 24 chocolate cupcakes.

I also made a batch of buttercream icing for the filling.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar (approximately 1 lb.) sifted
2 Tablespoons milk
Icing makes about 3 cups.
Instructions(Medium Consistency):
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.Add vanilla.Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
I made some chocolate ganache to dip my little jewels in .

For ganache glaze:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate .

I finished them off with a little butter cream squiggle......
They came cute -but best of all they tasted really yummy!

They passed the family taste test!

Grab-Bag-Game at Sunday Baker

Rush right back over to SUNDAY BAKER because Tanya has a really fun Grab-Bag-Game going on.

All you have to do to play is answer this question in the comments section: What is your absolute favorite, love-it-every-time dish to make?

Then, if you're willing, share the recipe. Tanya will use a random Integer Generator to pick a number for a winner, and if you've shared your recipe with your post, then she will make it and post it there too!

This way, we all win by having so many new recipes to try!

Make sure to send your friends on over there to play !

After your name is picked, Tanya will reveal the mystery prize here....

A little Fall Giveaway at My Romantic Home

You have to rush over to Cindy's blog MY ROMANTIC HOME.

Cindy has deceided to giveaway 2 absolutely adorable pumpkin candles.

Anyone can enter whether you have a blog or not! If you don't have a blog, please be sure to include your email address so she has a way to contact you.

Cindy will draw a name on Friday at 9:00 PM Pacific Time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ricotta Pound Cake

Today I made the first recipe from my new cookbook...
(Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma)
I was so excited to make it.
I bought all the ingredients I was missing.

Ricotta Pound Cake( from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano)

1 1/2 c cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and place rack in center.
Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar until smooth and light.
Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition.
If you have a vanilla bean split it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the blunt side of a small knife, then beat them into the batter along with the vanilla extract.
On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat the batter for 30 seconds on medium.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Tap pan on counter a few times to remove air pockets.
Put cake in oven and let bake for 15 minutes, then turn 180 degrees to ensure even browning.

Lower the temperature to 325°F (160°C) and let bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, the sides of the cake have pulled away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes more.
The preparation process went really well and the cake looked great.

BUT when the baking time was up the cake still looked wet.

I left it in the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes but at that point the edges began to get too dark and the center was still wet and heavy.

I removed it from the oven and let it cool- then I removed it from the pan. It came out very easily but was clearly still wet!

The cake smelled great ...but this was not Ginas Ricotta Pound Cake.

Time to make it again.!

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Party time at Sunday Baker!

The fun over at Sunday Baker has already started and if you don't hurry you will miss it!

Tanya has started the fun with a great cookbook giveaway!
To kick off the party, here's her first awesome giveaway!!
From one of her very favorite companies: the Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars -Hardcover Cookbook!
What an awesome cookbook! It has pages and pages of creative and delicious cookie and bar recipes with pictures and ideas (worth $27.95). It's the perfect resource for the upcoming holiday season . To take a stab at winning this, here's a few ways:
~Leave a comment on her post telling Tanya how you found her blog!
~If you have a blog and mention her giveaway in a post, post the link to her page for 2 extra entries!
~Share with a friend...have them mention your name in her comments and receive an extra entry!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Booo-tiful Halloween Cupcake Contest Entry

Today I made cupcakes for the first annual Halloween Cupcake contest hosted by How To Eat A Cupcake and I Heart Cuppycakes!
The contest runs until November 6th @ 12midnight EST so hurry up and start baking! The prizes are super too!

My cupcakes were a big hit and my family couldn’t wait for me to finish taking my pictures so they could eat them.

I made basic yellow cake cupcakes (because they always come so moist).
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Put muffin papers in muffin pans for 24 cupcakes.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Add vanilla and mix until completely combined.
Slowly add flour alternately with milk.
At end of addition batter should be smooth.
Fill each cupcake paper half way.
I baked them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove to a rack and cool completely before frosting.

I made the basic Wilton Butter Cream icing for decorating and I tinted it orange..
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar (approximately 1 lb.) sifted
2 Tablespoons milk
Icing makes about 3 cups.
Instructions(Medium Consistency):
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
Add vanilla.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

I topped each cupcake with a spooky peanut butter eye ball!