Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, February 2012

 

I had a great friend at work that was in desperate need of 4 dozen cupcakes for a tournament fundraiser for her son. This would be my second “order” for cupcakes and while nervous I was also very excited. 4 dozen is quite a few cupcakes! (48 to be exact!)

I love desperation! In all seriousness I was pumped to help her out by baking for her. To keep things simple and to hopefully avoid a lot of allergies we decided on a chocolate cake and a vanilla cake with chocolate and vanilla buttercream icing. I figured this is actually going to give us 4 different flavor combinations and I only had to bake 1 double batch of chocolate cake and 1 double batch of vanilla cake. Same with the icing.

 

What you will need:

Vanilla Cake

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

2 tsps vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of milk

 

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the sugar and the butter. Mix well for 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until well combined. Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk or sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the creamed butter mixture. Add in the milk and stir until smooth. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sorry I do not have step by step pictures to go along. I forgot. ๐Ÿ™ There were just sooooo many cakes to be made I just got to makin them!

 

Chocolate Cake recipe can be found under Cookies & Cream cupcakes

http://acoopedupchick.com/january-2012/cookies-cream-cupcakes/

 

For the Icing you’ll need:

 

Vanilla Buttercream

3 cups icing sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1-2 Tbsps whipping cream

Chocolate Buttercream

3 cups icing sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps vanilla

4 Tbsps whipping cream

 

The method for both buttercreams are identical. Start by whipping the butter for 2-3 minutes.

Sift in the icing sugar a cup at a time. (In the case of the Chocolate buttercream…sift in the icing sugar and the cocoa)

Add the vanilla and cream (for the chocolate add in the salt as well)

Pipe on the cooled cakes.

vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream

 

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

 

chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream

vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream

Of course I had to taste test the cakes.They passed. Jolene was lucky she prepaid me for the cupcakes…or they may not have made it to her. Speaking of which…I heard a rumor that the tournament only got 3 DOZEN cakes….wonder where the other dozen went?

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease

-A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter inspired Butterbeer cupcakes

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, February 2012

 

 

As you are well aware I have been on a cupcake adventure as of late. I’m not sure why other then cake makes me happy. It makes my ass sad and large…but my insides get all warm and fuzzy when presented with miniature cakey goodness.

I went on an internet pilgrimage to find a butterscotch/caramel type cupcake and came across this site that had Butterbeer cupcakes (www.squirrelbakes.com). If you recall back in May, 2011 I took my son Brendan to Orlando. One of the biggest things for us was to visit Harry Potter world (not sure if that is what it is actually called but that’s how we refer to it). We are both huge fans and it was a dream come true to be there. When we had lunch at 3 Broomsticks, OF COURSE, we had to have a mug of Butterbeer to wash it down. Butterbeer is a beverage that has a foam top that tastes like butterscotch or ‘rum & butter’ and a base that is cream soda.

Brendan butterbeer

 

The recipe for these cupcakes incorporates both flavors.

What you will need:

ingredients

Cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring (Ms Dash)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

Ganache:
1 bag of butterscotch chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup of powdered sugar

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your muffin tin and line with paper liners or spray with Pam if you prefer. Set aside.

With a mixer (or bowl and spoon if you don’t have one!), cream your softened butter for 2 minutes to incorporate air and make the butter fluffy.

butter

Add the sugars and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

sugar

Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. Then add the vanilla and butter flavoring.

eggs

In a separate bowl, sift your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

flour

Alternate adding the buttermilk, cream soda and flour mixture until combined. This makes a fairly thick batter.

batter

Scoop batter into lined cups and bake for 15-18 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool at least 15 minutes before icing them.

in the oven

all done

For the ganache, bring a double boiler with water to a boil. Add the heavy cream to the saucepan (or metal bowl) on top. Just as it comes to a simmer add bag of butterscotch chips and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The recipe called for injecting the cake with the ganache. I am glad I tasted a cake before doing this. I found it sweet enough so did NOT add ganache to the center of the cake. This gave me loads of ganache leftover that I used in my Sex-In-A-Pan and as ice cream topper. Yum!!

For this recipes purpose just set the ganache aside. You will need it for the icing and to drizzle on top of the cake when finished.

butterscotch ganache

For the icing, cream butter using a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Add the ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring and salt until combined. Add the icing sugar. Again, mix until combined and is at the consistency you desire. Don’t be afraid to add more if the icing isn’t firm enough for your liking. I like my icing firm and well defined (like I like my men! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) so sometimes I add an extra 1/2 cup….or 2. Beat the icing for 2-3 minutes until it gets glossy.

buttercream icing

Pipe the icing on the cooled cake. I used a Wilton tip #1M. Drizzle with ganache.

 

 

TADA!!!! A beautiful cupcake worthy ofย  ‘The Order of the Phoenix’! Delicious too!

butterbeer cupcake

 

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

Kitchen Bitch Episode 2 – The Anti Valentines Day Bitch

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, Desserts, February 2012, Main Course, Seafood Dishes

 

 

My little group and I decided the best way to celebrate the HORROR that is Valentines Day, aka ‘Single Awareness Day’, would be together, with lots of great food, music and alcohol. I don’t really mind V Day all that much other than all the hearts and pink stuff shoved in our faces by retail establishments that tell us if we don’t have a Valentine we are losers. To me its just another day that I have chosen to be alone. I am alone 364 other days of the year so why is the anniversary of the day that St Valentine had his head chopped off in 270 AD going to be any different? YAY….a beheading….here have a Hallmark card and some flowers to celebrate! ???? My highly intelligent and modern mind cannot grasp this concept. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

So at the last Kitchen Bitch I took it upon myself to snap up February 14th as MY turn to host the next installment. I am so glad that I did. It gave me some fresh, fun eyes to view all the decorations that were up and around every where. Every time I would see a little cupid, I would picture him hanging in my house….decapitated, just like poor St Valentine. I thought it was a fitting tribute…not sadistic.

I would see a shiny, red heart and pictured it ripped down the center…depicting a ‘Broken Heart’.

I had purchased myself some flowers last week (which I do very frequently) and thought once they were wilted and dead they would make a fabulous centerpiece for the table.

I bought a bunch of ‘Love Animals’ clutching hearts dearly to their busoms…and hung them from nooses throughout the house.

 

Some may find this bitter and sad. It made me IMMENSELY happy. I don’t feel bitter at all. I do not want a relationship. I love my life just as it is. That is NOT to say that I do not get lonely from time to time…I am human…not Borg…but I do HONESTLY love my life just as it it. If a wonderful, generous, caring, loving, handsome, well-blessed man presented himself to me I would recognize and give him a chance but I am not actively dating or out looking. I would literally need Baby Jesus to drop him in my lap for me to notice. Please Baby Jesus….drop a rich, well endowed man into my lap. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I decided on for the menu was “Bad Date Foods”. Lots of garlic and spice. Messy foods. For an appetizer I found a recipe online for ‘Conceited Mushrooms’ (because they are full of themselves…..HAAAHAAAHAA). Of course, I tweaked it. I can’t help it.

For the Conceited Mushrooms you will need:

2 dozen button mushrooms

1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs, I used Italian bread crumbs from Progresso

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, diced fine

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsps tomato juice *my addition

4 slices cooked bacon, diced *my addition (cause I even have a T-shirt that says “everything is better with bacon”)

a sprinkle of crushed, red chili flakes *my addition

2 Tbsps fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley *my addition

 

First step is to have nice clean mushrooms.

Then separate the stem from the cap.

 

Take half of the stems and chop very fine. This is what makes the mushrooms full of themselves…we are going to add the stems BACK into the cap. Get it? Huh? ๐Ÿ˜€

Dice your onion.

diced onion

Add some butter or margarine to a small pan and saute the onions and mushroom stems until the onion softens. Add the garlic and sprinkle of chili flakes.

sauteed onion mushroom garlic chili flakes

Add sauteed veg to a bowl.

sauteed veg

Add the bread crumbs…

bread crumbs

…diced bacon…

…the Parmesan cheese…

parmesan cheese

…and the parsley. I tasted the mixture at this point. It was missing an acidic component so I had some tomato juice in the fridge and added a couple of tablespoons. It was PERFECT.

filling for Conceited Mushrooms

I found the button cap had to be modified a little. I took a paring knife and shaved a little around the edge to create a larger opening to restuff. I also sliced a small bit off the bottom to make it more flattened and stable.

Spoon the mixture back into the cap.

conceited mushrooms

Sprinkle a little Parmesan on top and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

stuffed mushrooms conceited mushrooms

 

For the main course I served Super garlicy, spicy shrimp pasta. I have blogged this recipe before (see ‘Spicy Shrimp pasta’ December 2011). I added a side of Roasted Garlic Cheesy bread. Simple french baguette, halved, with garlic butter and roasted garlic mash (lop off the top of a garlic bulb, douse with olive oil, wrap in tin foil, bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes). Add mozza cheese and broil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.

 

This dish would be considered a “bad date food” on 2 fronts! Uber garlic breath and a wonderful, slurpy, pasta slinging mess! Love it. Me and my girls didn’t care!!

garlicy spicy shrimp paste

 

For dessert I made Sex-in-a-pan. I had never made (or ate) this before but I figured that just because we are single doesn’t mean we can’t have sex on Valentine’s Day….it would just have to be in a pan. And not in any kinky way. Again….I modified the recipe slightly.

What you will need (for my bastardized version):

1 package instant chocolate pudding

1 package instant vanilla pudding

(milk to make the pudding…4 cups)

1 container Cool Whip, thawed

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted margarine

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened

1 cup icing sugar

milk chocolate for garnish

butterscotch ganache (1 cup of heavy cream brought to a simmer on stovetop, remove from heat and one package Chipits butterscotch chips stirred in until melted. Allow to cool completely)

 

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. The actual recipe called for 1 cup of chopped pecans but since I am allergic to nuts (take that however you want to! lol) I left them out. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Mine cooked for 16 minutes and was perfect. Allow to cool completely.

graham cracker crust

While the crust cools, make your puddings as per the directions on the box. These also have to set before continuing.

chocolate pudding

vanilla pudding

 

In another bowl, mix the cream cheese and the icing sugar.

cream cheese icing sugar

cream cheese mixture

 

Fold in 1 cup of Cool Whip.

cream cheese mixture with cool whip

 

Once the crust is completely cooled, add the cream cheese mixture.

 

Drizzle with butterscotch ganache.

butterscotch ganache

 

Top with chocolate pudding and some shaved or chopped chocolate.

chocolate layer

 

Add the vanilla pudding layer and top with the remaining Cool Whip.

vanilla and whip cream layer

 

Garnish with more drizzled ganache, shaved and chopped chocolate. To shave chocolate just drag a sharp knife across the chocolate bar. Chop what is left.

 

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

sex in a pan

 

To top off the evening we also created a delicious libation. It started with Amandas idea to mix Peach Schnapps with grapefruit juice (the result of leftover Schnapps from the Belinis at her party…and whatever was sitting in her fridge. Thank GOD she didn’t have beet juice in there!!!) I never got an exact recipe from her so I took that idea and ran with it.

This poor drink has an identity crisis. At first Amanda wanted to call it a ‘Zipless F#$k’ since searching drink names and realizing ‘A One Night Stand’ was taken. This was her idea of a synonym. Since my mommy reads my blog (on occasion) and she would be disappointed in me for using THE BIG CURSE WORD…I nixxed that idea. MY idea of a synonym would be to call it a ‘Colin Farrell’. In my opinion, Mr Farrell looks like a dirty bird that would throw you over the back of a couch, ravage you and then leave you panting…wanting more…as he nonchalantly left the premises. Read: One Night Stand. I could be wrong about this. He could be a really sweet guy…maybe this is my fantasy version of the man! Amanda has since been calling is a ‘Saucy Monkey’. After a few drinks we were easily calling it ‘Colin Farrells Saucy Monkey’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

What you will need is:

2oz Vodka

4oz Peach Schnapps

2 cups Ocean spray Ruby Red Grapefruit juice

3oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

2 Tbsps thawed grapefruit juice concentrate (not mixed with water…straight from the can)

1 squirt Real lemon juice

1 tsp grenadine

grapefruit zest for garnish

grapefruit drink crystals mixed with super fine sugar, to rim the glass.

 

I started by using the leftover, squeezed carcass of grapefruit to moisten the rim of the glass then coated it with the crystal and sugar mixture. SOOOOOOO fancy!

Then in a cocktail shaker I mixed all the ingredients except the grenadine and garnish. Shake (not stirred ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and pour into a martini or margarita glass. Drizzle in the grenadine and top with garnish. YUM YUM YUM!!! I drank these all afternoon. Of course just to get the measurements correct!

vodka peach schnapps grapefruit juice Colin Farrell

 

 

I think the 2nd installment of the Kitchen Bitch club was very successful and FUN! The ladies that attended got to take home a soundtrack with such lovely romantic classics as “These Boots are Made for Walking”, “Whats Love Got to Do With It”, “Love Stinks”, “I Never Really Loved You Anyway” and “I Don’t Need a Man”. Amanda made little Valentines boxes full of chocolates, cinnamon hearts and a little something extra for me. THANKS Amanda!!! I appreciate it!

Thank you to the girls that made it…Amanda and Jenn!! Without you Valentines Day would have sucked…again. I think this may have to be a yearly event at my house. As I take down the decorations and pack them away, I am filled with OTHER great decoration and food ideas for next year. ‘Colin Farrell’ will be there for sure!!

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Bitch Episode 1

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, February 2012, Main Course, Seafood Dishes, Soups

 

Three of us ladies decided to start a little club. A club where we can get out of our house (most of the time), enjoy each others company and some fab food, possibly some entertainment and also to rave and rant about whatever is on our mind or contaminating our souls from the inside out. There have been others invited but for the first installment (Episode 1) there were only the 3 of us. We shall call ourselves the “Founders of the Bitch Revolution” or the “Fab 3”.

We had the first “meeting” at Amandas house (aka. The Girl with Blue Balls of the Soul www.blueballsofthesoul.com).

Our Classy LunchLady photo! (don’t worry…this was staged and the cigarette didn’t even come anywhere close to the food! ;))

Classy Lunch Lady

Amanda had decided to make pseudo Angels on Horseback, Lobster Bisque, Belinis and Cherry Cheesecake. Kind of a retro, throwback, 50s/60s dinner party.

So first course started with the Angels on Horseback. Apparently “authentic” AOH are made with oysters wrapped in bacon. I am SOOOO happy she made pseudo ones. I am NOT an oyster fan. What Amanda made instead were these…

Angels on Horseback

What she did was pound out slices of Wonderbread and cut off the crusts. She spread a thin coating of sweetened condensed milk, Frenchs mustard, a dash of Worcestershire and a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese and then wrapped it up in bacon. She then placed it in a 400 degree oven until done (about 15 minutes).

These were DE-Licious! I could not stop eating them and have been craving them ever since.

 

Second course was the Lobster Bisque. This was an impressive undertaking. I was seriously blown away. Amanda is a foodie like me. A lot of the fun in cooking for me is the adventure along the way…this was quite an adventure, a lot of steps to do this right. She got the recipe from Tyler Florence on FoodNetwork.com and she MOSTLY followed directions. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the exact recipe as found on FoodNetwork.com:

 

Ingredients

Directions

Dispatch the lobsters by plunging a sharp knife directly behind its head.

Cut the lobster in half lengthwise; make sure to collect the juices that will run out. Remove the claws and tail pieces and set aside. Remove the head sac and liver and discard them; cut the body into pieces. Alternately, you can have your fishmonger do this.

 

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt 3 tablespoons butter in it. Add the chopped lobster bodies and heads and their juices, the leeks, 1 onion, celery, carrots, 1/2 the thyme, 1/2 the orange zest and the tomato paste.

veggies lobster bodies tomato paste

Cook until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour in 1/4 cup cognac.

cognac

 

lighting the cognac

 

Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Return to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add water to cover and stir up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes.

pre strained soup

Strain this into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm.

straining the soup

 

more straining

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add remaining onion, thyme, bay leaf, and orange zest along with the peppercorns and let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Add the lobster claws and tails; toss to coat with the fat and flavors. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the remaining 1/4 cup cognac. Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Put the pan into the oven and roast until the lobster pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the lobster pieces and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the lobster meat from the claws and tails.

loster meat from claws and tails

Chop the meat roughly and add it to the strained bisque.

 

To serve, ladle the bisque into warmed soup bowls.

finished bisque

 

 

**********************************************************************************************

 

I added Amandas pics along the way. Now she made a couple of changes. We had some difficulty zesting the orange, she couldn’t find her zester so tried using a small grater. It was not working so instead she halved the orange and juiced it into the pot. Also she used more butter then originally called for in the recipe. I am not certain HOW much more because I was already into the spiked punch and Belinis at this point. Lets say a dollop more. A large dollop.

After straining the bisque she also felt it was missing something so when in doubt….add white wine. And fresh cracked black pepper.

I thought the bisque was DIVINE. I am looking forward to making it myself sometime.

 

For the Belinis it was about an ounce of peach Schnapps, an ounce of peach puree, 2 ounces of pure peach juice and topped off with champagne. YUMM!!

belini

We had Cheesecake for dessert. There was a slight incident (that shall remain secret) with the cake but it was still delicious.

 

I am hosting Februarys Kitchen Bitch at my house and I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to it. It will be a themed soiree as well…full of fun food, decorations, games and party favors to take home. Bring on the Anti-Valentines day party!

Stay tuned for the next episode!

 

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick