August 2009 Archive

Wedding Cupcake Tower
Love It



I did it, I did it, I did it! Now get ready for one long post :)

Creating



It happened again. I had cupcake nightmares last night. You know the ones where evil cupcakes chase you through the night while their perfectly piped buttercream flies off into the air sending you into a panic? You don’t get these? Hm. I do. I did. Last night I was a wreck. Between two trips last night, and two trips this morning to the grocery store, (plus 2 yesterday morning and one made by my loving Dad), I am grocery stored out! I was stressed. I was flustered. I was all over the place!

Now let me say that I had fun today. The stress was TOTALLY worth it. I had an adrenaline rush just getting this thing set up and doing this wedding was such a blast for me. I recruited my brother Josh to join me for some help (there was LOTS to set up and carry around) plus he made for a pretty good photographer. Here I am placing each of the cupcakes into their purple wrappers. A tricky task considering if the frosting touches the wrapper you are done for; they get greasy fast!

Setting Up
The lovely bride left fresh flowers on the table for me to use around the base of the tower and she couldn’t have picked more perfect blooms. The pink roses were beautiful and matched the fondant flowers perfectly. When I placed them underneath the base of the tower I fell in love with the look. So bright yet undeniably sophisticated. What do you think?
Pretty
This is my favorite shot of the day and ironically is a shot of my favorite flavor the bride and her sister picked; a moist vanilla cupcake filled with lemon creme and then topped with vanilla bean buttercream. When we came up with this combo, I thought it would be way gross. But I was wrong and the customers were right :) It was heavenly. This frosting is to die for. Check out the vanilla seeds in there. Love it!
Red Heads
The pink flowers went on top of the Red Heads, traditional Red Velvet and Cream Cheese.
Mint Meltaways
And the purple flowers went on top of the Mint Meltaways; double chocolate cake and chocolate ganache covered in mint-infused buttercream. I also made these little signs for the table which were to help guests determine which cupcake was which flavor. The purple matched the wedding colors and I thought the black matched the stand nicely. Not sure if they kept them on the table or if the bride liked them but a little DIY never hurts :) Come to think of it, this whole order was a lot of DIY…
Signs
The wedding was held at a hotel in Niagara Falls, and when I walked in everything felt so familar; I used to compete gymnastics at this hotel when I was younger! Except I never knew about the room that the bride and groom picked for their wedding. It was upstairs tucked away on the 10th floor and it’s so intimate and cozy. The white, purple and pink decor they picked was so simple and beautiful. I wish I could have stayed to see it all come together (aka the bride in her dress, the bridesmaids dresses, etc etc :) What a view huh? That’s the American side of Niagara and the Falls are so exciting to watch. It must have been gorgeous at night all lit up.
Hello USA!
The View
One of my favorite things about the bride was how no-fuss, cool and down-to-earth she was and it showed with how spectacular and amazing everything came together. At the door to the reception room was the welcome table with the seating chart and what have you, and they had these gorgeous tall branches draped in a few jewels. Under that was a big bowl of the white cards with wire tie and purple flowers and this was to serve as their “wedding guest book.” Each guest is to write a little note on the white cards and then hang it on the tree. How unique, personal and adorable. I bet that those branches looked amazing by the end of the night dazzled in personal notes from loved ones. I left a little note myself…
Notes
The top of the cake (the one part I am not so proud of; I am a terrible ‘icer’ and since I am not a fan of pound cake it was tough for me to say this cake tasted good) was a three layer pound cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. The groom’s fave cake is pound cake so we couldn’t forget about him! I think the whole thing came together nicely. Crazy-iced pound cake and all!
Cake Cutting
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Melesha, may you and your new husband (and the little one!) have a life of happiness and love and I hope your big day was everything you wanted and dreamt it to be. I loved tasting cupcakes with you and your sister and hope we will cross paths again soon. Sharene, you were a fabulous Maid of Honor and thanks for the sweet call tonight. You two better have danced your butts off tonight :)
Who has an awesome brother? ME
To Josh, my 16-year-old brother; thanks for all of your help today and for your input and compliments and constant reassurance that the tower would not fall over :) The Fun House wasn’t so fun, the Water Park was a rip off, our waitress thought we were dating AND our dinner was kind of crappy but knowing that something as simple as cupcakes could bring us closer together is pretty cool. I love you!
My Helper
Happy Baking, and until next time, Rhiannon
Hershey Kiss Cookies
Soft cookie dough, Hershey kisses and only a 10 minute wait to devour it all? I like.

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And if you’re like me and get antsy waiting for your desserts to bake, or have no time to wait for them to cool and decorate or you have kids (I have no kids, I can’t even remember to feed my cat HA! but I do know when kids want sugar they want sugar!) then these are for you. These are especially great for bake sale and can be made by even the weakest of all bakers; everyone will think you went to the end of the world to create such cutey-patooty little lovies.

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You can use a store-bought cookie dough or you can use your own from-scratch recipe but the store-bought brand is the easiest way to go. Make sure to grease your mini muffin pan extremely well. If you don’t, these treats won’t come out of their wells and you will be stuck with cookie ‘rings’ and a Hershey Kiss stubbornly sitting right where you placed it.

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Place a bit of dough in each greased well and then place a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle of each wad of dough. Press down on the Kiss slightly to squish the dough down and make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees F before plopping in your goodies. Bake for about 10-13 minutes or until brown (seriously wait until they are brown or they will not come out of the wells in one piece). Cool absolutely and completely before trying to remove. To remove twist gently and then pull upwards.

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Oh how I love you little cookies of joy! Bake up up to the sky! So I can EAT you.
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And if you’re wondering how I got these cookies so cute and tiny click here. And get one for yourself! This week is Wedding Week too and I can’t wait for the final product to come together but I will be doing lots to prepare for the big day. Thought this post would hold you over until then!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Banana Bread



Guess what? Tomorrow Little Miss Baker goes back to Canada. It’s heartbreaking to leave Chicago but it also means it’s back to business and back to baking for me. My brief blogging hiatus is coming to an end thankfully! Since I wanted to leave APB with something sweet for when I am gone, I decided to make him my fave recipe, the best banana bread ever!
I also had a few brown bananas frozen in my freezer and was thinking to myself how great a piece of banana bread with a little butter and a cold glass of milk would taste. The results? See for yourself above! Our entire apartment still smells delicious. I sprinkled some chocolate chips and walnuts on top for a little snazz :) The recipe is one I play around with all the time since there are countless methods of making yummy banana bread but this one seems to be just right. Try to use bananas that are very brown, almost to the point where you may feel like you need to throw them out. If you have bananas like this but would like to make the bread a different day, peel the bananas and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use the bananas. They will keep frozen for a few months and taste perfect in the bread!

Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread

1 cup of mashed bananas

1 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 stick of butter

a dash of vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

a dash of salt

chocolate chips and walnuts, however much you’d like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get lots of bowls ready for the batter! Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter and set aside. In a small bowl mash about 3 bananas together to make one cup of banana guts. In a seperate medium sized bowl cream your butter, sugar, eggs (one at a time) and vanilla together until creamy and blended.
Add the flour, and the remaining dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Once combined add in the sour cream and chocolate chips and nuts if you’d like. Make sure everything is equally blended and pour into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and chocolate chips. Bake for 1 hour, give or take a few minutes. Let cool completely for 20 minutes and lightly wiggle out from pan. Wrap and cover to keep fresh and enjoy!