Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cupcakes

February 12, 2011

Red Velvet Crimson Velveteen Cupcake Iced

How about another colorful cupcake for Valentines Day?  By the way, have you made the Pomeranian Pomegranate Cupcakes that I talked about a few days ago?  If not, here’s option #2 for your Valentine’s Day, and it’s another vegan one!

These are actually called Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes (I love the name!) and they’re from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule. I have several of Isa’s other cookbooks, but I just got this one and these cupcakes are the first thing I’ve baked from it.  This cute little cookbook was named the “Cookbook of the Year” by VegNews.

So, back to the baking.  There was nothing weird in this recipe that required an emergency trip to my favorite little hippie health food store (although that would be dandy with me since I love it there).  Just flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and soda, soy milk (I used almond), canola oil and flavorings.  It was super easy to whip up, so the recipe wins kudos for that too.

Red Velvet Crimson Velveteen Cupcake Nekkid

I also made the icing recommended for this cupcake, Old Fashioned Velvet Icing.  I can’t say that I’m a fan of it though.  I thought I followed the instructions to the letter, but my icing came out grainy, and I hate to say, it was just a tad weird for me.  Sorry, Isa.  I only iced one cupcake for the photo, and just left the other eleven nekkid.  I’d rather have a nice traditional cream cheese icing on my red velvet cupcakes, so I’ll try that the next time I bake these.

And I will bake these again.  They were easy, inexpensive, pretty, and most important of all: delicious and moist!  Run out and buy Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, or use the Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes recipe I found online, but do make these cupcakes!

Red Velvet Crimson Velveteen Cupcake Bite

Happy Valentine’s Day!


~BigSis

Valentine’s Day Pomeranian Pomegranate Cupcakes

February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Pomegranate Cupcake

You know that age-related memory loss that some of us get?  We forget names and appointments, and sometimes, even simple everyday words evade us.  For some reason, I can’t remember the word Pomegranate to save my life these days.

99% of the time I try to come up with Pomegranate, what my brain gives me is Pomeranian.  It makes no logical sense, but in my mind, these little pink guys have been called Pomeranian Cupcakes more often than they’ve been called Pomegranate Cupcakes.  Sorry cute little yappy doggies, you know I’d never make cupcakes out of you!

But forget what I call these; you should call them delicious! Hannah Kaminsky calls them Pomegranate Ginger Cupcakes in her book My Sweet Vegan.  I successfully baked a bunch of things from this book for our SPCA Bake Sale last December, so I thought it would be a great source for a Valentine’s Day treat.  I’m not a fan of crystallized ginger so I left it out of the cupcake batter, and I also omitted the ground ginger in the icing.  I didn’t miss it a bit.

Valentine's Day Pomegranate Cupcake 1 Bite

One bite missing...

This was a super-easy recipe, and I loved that it used 2 cups of the uber-healthy Pomeranian juice.  I mean Pomegranate juice, of course!  Everybody knows you can’t juice a Pomeranian! :-D

The color of the cupcake looks a bit off in the photo, but these were really tasty so don’t let that discourage you from making them.  They were moist and really flavorful!  Half of the POM juice was reduced to a syrup and drizzled over the unbaked batter, and it turned into a nice gooey tangy unexpected treat at the bottom of the cupcake.

I ad-libbed the icing with a stick of Earth Balance and powdered sugar and a bit of tart cherry juice, since I’d exhausted my supply of POM juice.  With a dash of good vanilla and some pink food coloring, the icing was finished.

Valentine's Day Pomegranate Cupcake 2 Bite

2 bites gone now...

Make these for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day!  And remember, they’re Pomegranate Cupcakes!


~BigSis

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes

July 11, 2010

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes

I didn’t even know that they still made Pop Rocks until a few weeks ago when a friend of ours brought them out at the end of a party. (Yes, we tend to get a little silly sometimes.) These little popping candies bring back some fond childhood memories for me so when I stumbled across Noble Pig’s Firecracker Cupcakes recipe with Pop Rocks, I knew that I would be making them soon.

By the way, Noble Pig’s Firecracker Cupcakes garnished with blueberries and raspberries are the most gorgeous cupcakes that I’ve ever seen!

I made my simpler version, Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes last Sunday for our 4th of July Party but in all the excitement of getting ready for the party, I didn’t get photos taken of that batch. So, I decided to make them again since these fun cupcakes don’t have to be made exclusively for the 4th of July. They could bring a bang to any holiday or birthday celebration.  What kid doesn’t get a kick out of of Pop Rocks? (And most adults love them, too!)

Note: I don’t do a lot of baking from scratch, so this is my easy, breezy, simple way to make these cupcakes.

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes
(adapted from Noble Pig)

One Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/3 c. oil
1 c. water
Pillsbury Whipped Supreme Cream Cheese frosting
One 1.75 oz Betty Crocker Rainbow Mix sprinkles
Assorted colors of Pop Rocks
Various candies or fruit

In a large bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water and mix for two minutes on low mixer or whisk by hand for two minutes. Fold in the candy sprinkles. Line cupcake pan with baking cups and fill with batter. Bake at 350 degrees until done. If the cups are filled 2/3 to the top, the cupcakes should take 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

I prefer to fill the baking cups almost all the way to the top so they take between 22-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes

When you're talking about cupcakes, a muffin top is a good thing!

I could actually enjoy one of these cupcakes just like this without the frosting, but decorating these cupcakes is where the fun comes in!

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcakes

Frost the cupcakes or pipe on the frosting as I did and then sprinkle the tops with various flavors of Pop Rocks. I found a variety pack at Walgreens that contained one of each flavor: Strawberry, Watermelon, and Tropical Punch.

(I thought the Watermelon flavor in the green packet would turn out to be green Pop Rocks, but they were also pink like the Strawberry flavor.)

Pop Rocks

To achieve a good firecracker effect, sprinkle the Pop Rocks on just before serving. The moisture is what makes the candies pop, so they will start popping immediately.

How’s this for a big teenage boy bite?

Funfetti Firecracker Cupcake

It’s like a little party of explosions going off in your mouth!

Later this week, I’ll be sharing with you another fun Pop Rocks recipe. Ever tried a cocktail beverage with Pop Rocks?

~LilSis

Easter Basket Cupcakes!

March 30, 2010

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Happy early Easter, everyone!  And happy good-excuse-to-use-pink-holiday!  I DO love me some pink, and I really love pink with green.  But actually, I love pink with any and every other color.  Pink is probably the most perfect color in the rainbow, don’t you think?  Ok, BigSis, you’re getting off track.  Focus, focus, focus, girl!  We’re talking about Easter baking today, not your obsession with all things rosy.

Sorry…back to the program!  I love Easter, I love color, and I love baking.  Voila!  Easter Basket Cupcakes!

You can use any recipe of course.  Since I’m 3 months into doing the vegan thing, I baked up a batcheroo of my all-time favorite Pumpkin Walnut Bread.  I baked tons of it for the last couple of bake sales, more for Christmas gifts, and I’m still baking it.  I can’t get enough of it, so here it is in its’ cute little Easter basket outfit!

I found these super-delicious Wilton Easter Basket Cupcake Wrappers at my Michael’s store, and I bet your local craft store has them too.  They may even be on sale this week like mine were!

Instructions?  I got ‘em for you:

  • Bake any cupcakes you adore in a cute paper liner.
  • Let them cool, then frost or not.  I chose not.
  • Convince some coconut to pretend that it’s Easter grass.  I added about 6 drops of liquid green food coloring to about half a bag of shredded coconut in a ziploc baggie.  Mush it around until the coconut/grass is all pretty green.
  • Add a pile of coconut/grass to each cupcake, and top with some jelly beans or whatever for an extra shout of faux egg color.  I didn’t have jelly beans and don’t really like them anywho, so I wasn’t about to buy any.  I used Skittles and M&Ms.  You’re the boss of these cupcakes, so you do what you want!
  • Make the little basket wrappers, and secure with tape to be sure they don’t come unhinged at an inappropriate time.
  • Drop each cupcake into the Easter Basket wrapper, and add the handle.  I just tucked it into the sides so it would be easy to remove for faster cupcake access!

Easter Basket Cupcake

That’s it!  Hoppy Easter!

~BigSis

St Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

March 16, 2010

St Patricks Day Green Cupcakes

Happy St Patrick’s Day!  LilSis and I are only 1/4 Irish at the most, so we can’t really claim this holiday as our own, but it’s a pretty fun little holiday anyway!  There are no responsibilities or expectations; it’s just about the wearing o’ the green, eating food you probably wouldn’t eat every day like corned beef and cabbage (I’ll pass), and having fun.  Oh, and green beer works its way into the celebration more often than not!  And do you remember when McDonald’s used to have green vanilla milkshakes on St Patrick’s Day?

I’m determined to find a delicious way to bake without using eggs and dairy, and I’m encouraged by my success so far with my favorite Pumpkin Bread and the Banana-Wheat Germ Muffins I made recently.  Getting braver, I decided it was time to be a big vegan girl and try something a little trickier…cake!  With St Patrick’s Day coming up, I had the perfect excuse to bake!

I found this recipe for vanilla cupcakes on VegNews.com and was intrigued!  The amount of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar sounded very acidic, and I wasn’t sure about 100% whole wheat pastry flour in cake.  My rule for a brand new recipe is always to follow it precisely the first go-round though, so that’s what I did.

How’d the cupcakes come out?  My first thought was that they could benefit from a bit less sugar, and perhaps 25% to 50% all purpose flour in place of some of the whole wheat pastry flour.  They were pretty coarse in texture, and maybe a bit more like dense muffins than cake.

St Patricks Day Green Cupcakes

I took these to my test subjects at the office, and got a variety of reactions:

  • A laugh and a shake of the head followed by a brisk/frantic walk away from the untouched cupcakes.
  • Silence after eating one.  Dead silence.  Still silent.
  • “It’s really good, but I like things that taste like they’re healthy”.
  • ” That cake will take some getting used to but I like the frosting”.
  • “Well, they look good.”

I’m convinced that there is a tasty vegan cake recipe out there; actually, I’m sure there are several.  Is this cupcake one of them?  Mmmm, nah.  But it’s not bad.  And when you’re vegan, maybe “not bad cake” is better than no cake at all?

~BigSis

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July 4th Independence Day Sweet Treats

June 28, 2009

Not that we really need a reason to host a party or a cookout, but we love getting a group together to celebrate Independence Day. I’m so happy that July 4th falls on a Saturday this year. Even if you’re not having a party, maybe you’ll be getting together with friends or family to watch fireworks. Either way, any of these red, white, and blue sweet treats would be fun to share.

These Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats are adorable!

Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Cupcakes

Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Cupcakes

This Four Layer Meringue Berry Dessert from Cookie Madness is a cool, light and fluffy dessert for the 4th.

Four Layer Meringue Berry Desert

Four Layer Meringue Berry Dessert

Of course, you can’t go wrong with this Flag Cake from Martha Stewart.

Flag Cake

Flag Cake

And for the kids, I love this Red, White, and Blue Finger Jello from The Recipe Girl.

Red, White, and Blue Finger Jello

Red, White, and Blue Finger Jello

This will be our first year celebrating Independence Day on our boat dock at the Harbor. It’s a big tradition to decorate the boats and dingys and have a big parade of boats right before the fireworks. We’re really looking forward to it.

The theme for the party this year is Hawaiian Luau. I love everything about Hawaii, so I’m thrilled that we’re having a Luau. Be sure to check back here in a couple of days as I’ll be sharing our festive Hawaiian menu for the party.

~LilSis

Christmas Cupcakes and Candy

December 16, 2008

Ready to bake some cupcakes, BigSis? You’re not tired of baking, are you? (tee hee)

While we’re anxiously awaiting the results from the Bake Sale, I thought I’d share a few really cute Christmas cupcake and candy recipes.

I love these Christmas Cupcakes from Bakerella!

These Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Icing from The Recipe Girl are really cute!

Bakerella also does these adorable Christmas Tree Cake Pops with Red Velvet Cake.

I love this Peppermint Oreo Bark from Baking Blonde.

Is Christmas really only 9 days away? I better get busy! I need a houseful of little elves to help me finish what I have to do today!

~LilSis

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Need Last Minute Decorating or Party Ideas for Halloween?

October 26, 2008

BigSis has already said that she isn’t a “Halloween Celebrater”.  I, on the other hand, love to decorate for Halloween and love to host Halloween parties. I have just found it a little hard this year to get into the “Halloween Spirit” because it has been so unseasonably warm here in Southern California.  I had this weekend set aside to get the yard and front porch all decorated. “Best laid plans!”

We found out that HayHay had his first surf competition yesterday.  So, instead of decorating the house, I drove down to Mission Bay for a day at the beach to watch surfers compete! “You do what you gotta do, right?” HayHay came in first place so now we have to be back down at the beach at 11:00 this morning. I really don’t know when I’m going to get this house decorated!

I’ve been “surfing the net” trying to get some new, quick, and easy ideas.

I NEVER eat sweets, but for some crazy reason, I LOVE CANDY CORN! So, of course I love this entire “Candy Corn inspired” theme from Hostess with the Mostess!

I JUST LOVE THE CANDY CORN DECOR!

I JUST LOVE THE CANDY CORN DECOR!

(Maybe I won’t be tempted to eat the candy corn if it’s in a vase with a candle or flowers!)

I don’t like scary stuff so I don’t like any of the “skull & crossbones” party themes. I was really happy when I found this “Playful Mod” theme. It’s perfect for adults and children.  I have a bunch of fun Halloween candle holders from PartyLites that will match this theme perfectly, so I’ll do something like this for Friday night at our house.

I Love this orange, purple, green color combination!

I LOVE THE ORANGE, PURPLE, & GREEN COLOR COMBINATION!

I think these  spider toothpicks will go well with this party theme!

Cute little Spider Toothpicks!

Cute little Spider Toothpicks!

There are recipes galore for very cute, “bat shaped” cookies and candy corn cookies and intricately decorated cupcakes, but those recipes are for those of you who are more prepared than I am this year.  At this late date, I’m looking for fun, quick, and easy.  I found this recipe for Scary Spiderweb Cupcakes on Betty Crocker. I love that the web is just made with the black decorating gel and the spiders are made from gumdrops.  Looks easy enough; even for me.

Scary Spider Cupcakes

Scary Spider Cupcakes

I love this Chocolate Marshmallow Ghost Cake!  One of Martha’s readers said that she simplified it by using two white cake mixes, instead of starting from scratch.  I might have to do that…

Ghostly Marshmallow Cake!

Ghostly Marshmallow Cake!

Check out this great idea for a Witch’s Curtain! You just use trash bags!

Easy Witch's Curtain

Easy Witch Curtain

Every year, we sit aside one night for a Family Pumpkin Carving Competition.  “Yikes!” It just snuck up on me this year.  We’ll do that either Tuesday or Wednesday night and if they turn out “worthy of being photographed”, I’ll post some photos on Friday. I like this Pumpkin Totem idea from Martha.

I really like this pumpkin totem!

I really like this pumpkin totem!

I hope this helps those of you who need some new, quick and easy ideas for this Halloween! Happy Halloween Decorating!

~LilSis

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