Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shower Cupcakes

A definite advantage to being home is having an oven. An extra perk, more excuses to bake!

One of my mom's good friends hosted a baby shower this weekend, and asked me to make the dessert. An opportunity to make cupcakes with pink decorations? How could I say no?

The colors of the baby's nursery are pink and brown, so I used that as the inspiration for the cupcakes. The base is a vanilla cupcake with whipped chocolate ganache frosting and fondant decorations. Not only did the decorations come out better than expected, but the cakes were delicious. Hopefully I'll find more excuses to bake soon!

Recipes below:

Vanilla Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart, with some changes)
I really like this recipe because it produces a denser cupcake. It's very reminiscent of a sugar cookie, and smells delicious while baking.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Scrape down bowl, and beat in vanilla extract.
3. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, beating after each addition until combined. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
4. Divide batter among lined muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool completely before frosting

Whipped Chocolate Ganache (from Chockylit, with some changes)
Thicker than regular ganache, this frosting pipes well for a beautiful presentation.

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
3. Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined.
4. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
5. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
6. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mood Ring + Nail Polish

This makes two consecutive posts about nail polish, but I couldn't pass up this unique version. I've always had cold hands, my doctor blames poor circulation, which was awful during the winter, but perfect for mood rings. While most of my friends would busy themselves with trying to change the stone from an ugly brownish green to a striking purple, my ring would oscillate between deep and deeper blue.

Perfect Formula, the beauty gurus behind many other color changing products, have created a line of nail colors to match your mood not for the length of a typical manicure, but by the minute. Changes in body heat trigger the polish to transform from cool, deep tones to warm, bright colors. When we relax or are content, our body temperature cools. Excitement, nervousness, or anger causes the reverse and our body heats up. Other environmental factors, from taking a warm shower to holding a chilled glass, will also spark a transformation. Imagine all the possibilities!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Flutters

I just discovered OPI's latest batch of nail polish colors, the Summer Flutter Collection, and I am in love. I'm especially a fan of "Flower to Flower" a bubblegum pink with a hint of silver sparkle. I'm also intrigued by the bright orange "Flit a Bit". It reminds me of Creamsicles, one of my favorite summer treats. I'm a bit worried that my fingers will be too reminiscent of traffic cones with such an electric hue, but if there's any time to flaunt bright color, it's the warmer months.

I'm also won over by the flower power display. Absolutely perfect for summer!