Sunday, June 24, 2012

Red Velvet ~ A Southern Classic

Yikes! It's been a while since we've made a post. We have had an insanely busy two months with non stop orders and deliveries. That doesn't mean we haven't been taste testing new recipes. I've found a made from scratch Devil's Food cake recipe that I love but it does need to be tinkered with to adjust to our climate so I won't post that recipe yet.
Instead, I thought I'd share with you our Red Velvet recipe. I'll be honest, the first time we tried a red velvet cake, it was from a box mix and I was just NOT impressed so I never tried again. I thought, "Really? What is all the fuss about?" because I know people who will gush over red velvet cake. I finally searched out several recipes and spent a weekend baking away to get the perfect recipe. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! The recipe makes 36 cupcakes so we are almost always guaranteed to have a few leftover...which makes me happy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
  • 1 ounce red food coloring** (okay, that is a lot of red food coloring!) It doesn’t change the taste, so I only use 1 teaspoon unless the red color is really important to me.
  • 4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Gently remove from oven (these are super-moist, and will collapse if you aren’t careful). Cool in pans on wire rack at least 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Root Beer Float Cupcakes

I was a little hesitant about trying these. I'm usually pretty excited about new flavors but when we start changing the texture of a turning a root beer float into a cupcake, I am always leery. I have a hard time getting past the fact that root beer is supposed to be a drink and I can't imagine eating eat. I don't even eat the root beer candies. I know...I have issues. But I really wanted to try these! So I sucked it up, went grocery shopping and whipped up a batch of these. And I don't regret it!

I looked up several different recipes and they all were basically the same thing. White cake mix mixed with a can/bottle of soda. So I tried it. Again...another doctored cake mix recipe. I really need to find a made from scratch recipe that can be subbed for a cake mix.
The first batch of cupcakes I made, I followed the directions: 1 box of white cake mix + 1 bottle of root beer. They smelled good before being baked and you could definitely taste the root beer. But once it was baked the root beer flavor was much less intense. And the cakes came out with an odd texture. So I altered the altered cake mix recipe :-)
You know the saying "Third time is a charm"? Well, I didn't need a third time! These were amazing and I couldn't keep my family from eating them. Considering that I run a home bakery, that was a bit problematic. I even had a few customers come back for seconds and thirds (And when my customers order, it's by the 6-pk!).

Root Beer Float Cupcakes:
1 box Pillsbury white cake mix
1 cup root beer
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 Tbsp. root beer extract

Prepare cake mix using the ingredients listed (if you can't tell, I followed the directions on the box subbing root beer for water and adding root beer extract). You may be able to get away with using less root beer extract (it wound up being about 1/2 the bottle). I just used 2 Tbsp to make sure I got a good root beer flavor. Bake as directed and let cool. Top with an ice cream buttercream.

Ice Cream Buttercream
Vanilla Ice Cream, melted (the premium brands taste better than the store bought)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2# powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together the butter, shortening, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Slowly add in half of the powdered sugar. At this point I like to mix in half of my liquid, in this case the melted ice cream. The amount that you mix in will depend on the brand of ice cream you are using. Some thicker than others. I usually start with 1/3 cup and go from there. Once the melted ice cream is blended in (be sure to scrape sides and  bottom of bowl!) add the other half of the powdered sugar. Blend until creamy and smooth. Mix in more melted ice cream until you reach the consistency you would like. It should be another 1/3 cup but again, it will depend on the brand of ice cream you used.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

These. Are. Amazing. I'll leave it at that. Unfortunately (I hate to admit this) this recipe is a doctored cake mix. Which I have nothing against, but I love made from scratch foods so I try to do as much home-made as possible. I'm working my way through recipes to see if I can get a good homemade vanilla mix that would work as a substitute for doctored cake mix recipes. But for now, the box mix will have to work.
This cupcake is full of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey awesomeness. It has a great banana flavor, big chunks of walnuts and lots of chocolate. It just can't go wrong!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Take 5 Cupcakes

We have a list of cupcake flavors we'd like to try. And we finally got some free time to make up a batch. I let my Facebook fans choose which flavor they'd like to try the most and the cupcake chosen was a Take 5 Cupcake.
The Take 5 candy bar is a combination of pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate. Can you say yum! I found a great looking cupcake recipe on pinterest and decided to give it a go. As with trying out any new recipe, I'm always leary of what I don't know. But these turned out great (though I made a few small alterations).

This recipe is from Jamie at My Baking Addiction

Take 5 Cupcakes

YIELD: 24 Cupcakes
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 22 minutes


For the Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (I use Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water
24 Fun Size Take 5 Candy Bars; cut in half

For the Peanut Butter Butter Cream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy cream (if using milk, amount will be less)

Caramel Sauce (recipe here)

Crushed Pretzels

For the Chocolate Glaze 

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. 
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-24 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched.  Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Buttercream

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
2. Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy
3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Prepare Chocolate Glaze.

For the Chocolate Glaze Assembly

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling.
2. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting.


Sprinkle crushed pretzels onto the peanut butter buttercream. You may need to slightly press them into place. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of caramel sauce on top of the cupcake. You can use store bought caramel sauce but it won't be as thick. Top with another heaping tablespoon of chocolate ganache. Let set.

*Optional: sprinkling crushed peanuts onto chocolate ganache

Friday, March 23, 2012

Made from scratch caramel sauce!

Don't be intimidated by the title! This is possibly one of the easiest things in the world to make and tastes great. I originally found this recipe from Annie's Eats (I love her website!). I mentally bookmarked the idea and forgot about (in other words: was too afraid to try it) for a few months. Read the directions and you'll understand why. So for the time being, I kept using the gourmet sauce that my awesome husband was able to order for me through his work (Marrying a chef has it's perks). Eventually though, I was using so much, so sporadically that it was getting hard to figure out if we needed more and how much more. When you go from using 2 lbs of caramel sauce a week to not using any for two weeks, it's hard to decide how much you should keep on hand.
I operate completely out of my small house (Yay for cottage food laws!) so space is limited. I went back to Annie's recipe but I was a little afraid of cooking sugar. More specifically, I was afraid that I'd burn the sugar. So I tried several different recipes that had sugar dissolved in a liquid. And none of them turned out great. And if there is one thing I am a little OCD about, it's making sure that what comes out of my kitchen is great.
So reluctantly I tried Annie's recipe.
The first time I made it, I did not realize that the sugar on the bottom of the pan would be melting while it appeared like nothing was happening from the top. I'll admit it, it was a little overcooked but I noticed it too late into cooking the sugar to do anything about and figured what the heck, keep going and see how it turns out. It turned out great! The first day it was obvious that it had been over cooked. The second day, the flavor had mellowed out a bit and after the third day, my husband was declaring it better than anything he'd ever tried. Notice my jar of caramel....almost gone. I didn't think to take a picture of it until after I had filled up my squeeze bottle.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1½  cups
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¼ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully.  When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center.  Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir.  Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream.  Set aside.  Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  (To test the color, spoon a drop onto a white plate or bowl.)  Carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream along with the vanilla bean seeds.  The mixture will steam and bubble violently.  Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream.  Stir in the salt and the vanilla.  If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

*From my experience, the sugar always hardens when you add the cream. I might try heating up the cream next time...if I remember...and see if that helps. If that happens, just keep the sauce over a medium low heat and stir (and stir and stir) until smooth. If you don't have vanilla bean or don't want to spend $4 on one bean, the sauce also tastes great without it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY Electronic Quiz board

All three of my boys are Boy Scouts. Not only does that make our schedule extremely hectic during the school year, but it also keeps me super busy because I'm usually the one helping them out with their achievements/electives.
My oldest son's den went to the Science Center to learn about electricity. Because it was on a Sunday, we weren't able to go with them so we did our own electricity science experiment at home. At the beginning of the school year we had checked out a book from the library that had design plans for building an electronic quiz board. And naturally, because I decided that would be a good replacement achievement for Christian, I wasn't able to find the book again. But I wasn't too worried because I figured somewhere on google, there would be some information I could use. I was wrong. There are some made with a Christmas light bulb and aluminum foil on cardstock. But I had plans on using this board for impromptu home-school quizzes. 
Let me start out by saying, I have absolutely no experience with electricity except for plugging something in or flipping a switch. But I'm never one to back down from a challenge! Lowe's sells small 6W light bulb sockets and bulbs in the hobby section of their hardware aisle. But it would have been $10ish just for those two parts. Plus buying the wires, battery packs, etc. I wanted this to be cheap! Ultimately, I spent $16 on a large quiz board that we will use every week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Customize a cake

Have I mentioned before that these months are the slow months for me? It's nice to get a break but at the same time, I love baking and trying out new flavors, and staying busy. I haven't had much in the way of orders the past few weeks. Or at least orders that are for recipes I haven't already shared with you.

I was however, asked to babysit for a family (that I love) so the mom and dad could celebrate her birthday. I was already trying to figure out a design for a birthday cake for her so this worked out great. In my mind I had picked out a beautiful design with modeled flowers spilling out over the cake. But once I learned that I would have their 3 boys my design took on a completely different design.
I had been planning on making one of the most adorable cakes for my husband for either his birthday in a few weeks or for Father's Day. It all depended on if I found another manly cake that I wanted to make for him and which occasion it would fit better. The idea was to have my kids collaborate together and draw a picture for him. My kids are quite the artists (if I may brag a little) so I knew that the picture would be full of detail and wouldn't need much design from me. And then I would use my edible image printer to copy that picture onto icing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Tiramisu is a delicious Italian dessert. Traditionally, tiramisu consists of ladyfingers soaked in coffee and layered between a sweet mascarpone filling. The first time I made this dessert, it was for dinner at a friend's house. I wasn't sure what to make and wanted it to be something more than cookies or a plain cake. I scoured for a new dessert to try. Because this was for dinner at a friend's house, I wanted the recipe to be highly rated. I narrowed it down to two possibilities: tiramisu or baklava. Apparently I was feeling ethnic that day. Because I didn't have access to thawed out phyllo dough to make the baklava, I went with the tiramisu. This recipe has over 1000 five star ratings! I didn't make many changes to it the first time...I omitted all of the liqueur and replaced it with plain coffee. Now that I've made it a hundred times, I still haven't changed a thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Recently, my sister and I were talking. She had made some cheesecake stuffed strawberries that she saw on pinterest. She couldn't stop gushing about how great they were. Then she made them again but this time drizzled them in chocolate...another pinterest idea. Even better than before!
So, two days before Valentine's Day we decided that it would make a great cupcake. We discussed what type of base cake, what type of icing, what type of toppings and now...I present "Sweet Temptations":

This is a chocolate cake topped with fresh strawberry buttercream, rolled in chocolate bits, and garnished with a DELICIOUS chocolate-covered, cheesecake-stuffed strawberry. Doesn't that just sound amazing?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cakes of the Week

This week was a busy week! I had a total of 4 cake orders, which wouldn't be too bad...but wait until you see one of the cakes! On top of those 4 cakes, our church is having their Valentine's Day fellowship today and I signed up to make some desserts. Plus, my weekly Blessing "Basket". And then yesterday, my husband announced, "I think I need a cake for Sunday." A total of 8 cakes!!! Here they are!

There were two tiramisu cakes and the chocolate truffle cheesecake. One cake is not pictured here because it had already been picked up:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Cheesecake Cupcakes

These are one of my most popular cupcakes. They disappear as soon as I open a box of them. You can make them in a variety of flavors and not change the recipe. I think my favorite are the Blueberry Cheesecake (pictured below). This is also one of the easiest "recipes" to make!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crock Pot Gumbo

My husband is a big New Orleans food fan....gumbo, jambalaya, etc. He always asks for it. However, I am NOT a seafood person. I don't even do all. However, I am a crock pot fan and occasionally, I do like to spoil my husband. So, when I recently searched for new crock pot recipes and I saw this gumbo, I knew I'd give it a try. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my husband....that's true love!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweet Saturdays ~ Chocolate Passion Cupcakes

This cupcake is ALL about the chocolate: chocolate cake, topped with chocolate icing, drizzled with chocolate fudge, and sprinkled with chocolate chips. My sister as adequately nick-named these cupcakes the "PMS Cupcakes". understand. I'm even debating adding a fudge cream filled center. Okay, truth is, I've wanted to add the filled center but my memory is lacking so I never remember until after I've put the mound of chocolate icing on top. Either way, these will definitely cure any chocolate cravings that you have.

Sweet Saturdays ~ Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

This recipe perhaps one of my most requested cupcakes...even if it is the same repeat customer every week! In all seriousness though, this is my most popular fall flavor. I modified a recipe from Annie's Eats but just barely. She has such great recipes - be sure to check them out. I have yet to find one that I don't like!
I originally searched for this recipe because I tend to follow Starbucks as far as seasonal flavors. The very same day I started searching for it, Annie posted the recipe on her website. It was fate!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seuss-tastic Birthday!

When our youngest daughter turned 2, we threw a huge Dr. Seuss themed party for her. It wasn't really "huge" because we went all out and spared no expense. It was huge because we have 50ish family and immediate friends that we invite to our get togethers. My husband has 7 immediate brothers and sisters, who {mostly} each have several children, plus I don't know how many half brothers/sisters and step brothers/sisters. It's really confusing and after 7 years of marriage, I still don't know them all.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheesecake Icing

If you've ever tried one of my cheesecake cupcakes, you'll know how great this stuff tastes. If you haven't, you don't know what you're missing! This icing tastes exactly like cheesecake...thick, creamy, and delicious! No more beating around the bush; lets get straight to the point! I's cruel posting the picture of the entire cupcake but it's the only picture I have of the icing. BUT...stayed tune next Saturday (02/11/12) for the recipe for this delicious Blueberry Cheesecake cupcake. Though I bet you could piece together a recipe yourself.


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

*This is a recipe from

Chocolate Buttercream

Whenever I have a cupcake or cake topped with chocolate icing, this is my go to recipe. I absolutely love it and so far, so does everybody else. My sister has said it taste almost like fudge. I'm sharing this because I will be posting my Chocolate Passion cupcake recipe this weekend and this chocolate buttercream recipe is a must have.

Cash Budget Envelope System

I'm sure most of you have heard of using the cash budget system. It's been made popular by Dave Ramsey but honestly, it's little more than common sense. When we have cash on hand, we're more reluctant to get rid of it...or at least I am. And that's the main idea behind the cash budget system. You don't use debit cards, credit cards or checks. You use strictly cash.
This method is great for a multitude of reasons: you're less willing to hand over a $20 bill for some $5 frivolous item than you are to slide a debit or credit card; you can visually see where your money is going and realize more quickly when you're about to go fact, you can't really go over-budget with this method; you keep better track of where you use your cash than you do where you use your debit card; and if you're anything like me, I detest using $1 bills (such a pain!) so they just pile up which can add up to big 'savings'.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cakes of the week!

The winter is usually a little slow for me but now that spring is just around the corner, I'm starting to get in quite a few cake orders. Now that I'll have new cakes to do, I'd like to take the opportunity to share them with you. At the end of each week, I'll post that weeks cakes. This week it will only be one cake.

Sweet Saturdays ~ Samoa cupcakes

Yes, I realize that today is Sunday but yesterday was pretty busy for us and for some reason, I was unusually tired. I think I took a nap at about 5:30pm and woke up at 8am. Now THAT is tired. Luckily, I have an awesome husband that let me do it!
I recently got a nice order for cupcakes for next week. It's only a total of 2 dozen cupcakes but the customer ordered 6 different flavors. Yes, its more work for me but I've really been wanting to start posting some of my recipes plus take some better pictures. Unfortunately, the order isn't until next week and I am not a baker who bakes that far in advance. Then I remembered, I have a few nice photos of some of my cupcakes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sweet Gifts: Towel Cakes

We've all seen or heard of diaper cakes, right? Well, have you ever heard of a towel cake? They aren't really that uncommon but definitely not as popular as diaper cakes. I've made my fair share of towel cakes; probably more than I've made diaper cakes. But that's just because I think they're a great, unusual gift to give. What occasion would you gift a towel cake? Really for anything but one of my most favorites is for bridal showers. The concept is the same as with a diaper cake: you make the basic cake frame and then load it up with goodies.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Let me just say...these are DELICIOUS! I'm not really a big pork fan but I'll eat it when I have to. Unfortunately, I married a pork fan so that is usually more often than I'd like. Growing up, I can't remember my parents making too many pork products. The only pork dish that I remember is pork roast and apple sauce. And that was always one of my favorites. It must be the apples.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Despite what you may think, I don't do much baking for my family most of the year. I just don't like to heat up my house that much. It's different if I'm getting paid to do it. But once the cold weather hits, my ovens are on non-stop. This week alone we've made 4 batches of cinnamon rolls.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Houston...we have a problem...

Do you have something you do that you always do a certain way? I know certain people who drink their orange juice before they eat their cereal, or reading the sports section of the paper first. I'm sure you all can think of something. For me: I double my recipes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

DIY Coffee Liqueur

Recently, I was searching around on Pinterest for anything that I might like. I've found so many great ideas on there; you just never know what you'll find. Such as homemade vanilla extract. I have some steeping right now so once it's done, I'll be sure to write a post about it.
In the meantime, I found a great recipe for homemade coffee liqueur.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A slow start to a new year.

The very first year that I started baking (for profit) we had very distinct business periods. I was the most busy in the summer; when people are gathering together for graduations, birthdays, weddings, etc. About mid-fall, things began to die down and eventually, during in winter I didn't do much, if any business. Then in the spring, things started to pick up again.