St. Patrick’s Day Pot o’ Gold Rainbow Cupcakes

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IMG_5601_2These cupcakes were a long time in the making. Last year I bought the makings for some rainbow cupcakes for a baby shower but never ended up making them. I didn’t want the candy to go to waste though, so I kept it in the back of my mind to find a good time to use them. Rainbow cupcakes would be good at any time, but I wanted it to be the right time, the right situation.

Then St. Patrick’s Day came around this year and it hit me: Now is the time! Rainbows are a great motif of St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring, so I modified my idea and added little candy pots of gold to more fit the theme of St. Patrick’s Day.

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These cupcakes were fun to make because they’re covered in candy! I got inspiration for these cupcakes from Babble.com. For the decor, you’re going to need Airheads Xtremes Rainbow Berry Sour Candy strips, Rolos, gold sparkle gel, gold sugar sprinkles, green jimmies, green frosting dye, and white frosting. I used Just A Pinch’s Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe for the frosting.

Make a batch of cupcakes in whatever flavor you want. I chose to make chocolate cupcakes (recipe here) so the cake was the “dirt” under the grass. If you use my mom’s chocolate cake recipe, follow the recipe exactly, except cook the cupcakes for only 20-25 minutes, otherwise they’ll be overcooked.

IMG_5589While the cupcakes cooled, I made the pots o’ gold using the Rolos, the sparkle gel, and gold sugar sprinkles. Flip the Rolos upside down, add a glob of sparkle gel to the center, leaving the edges untouched, and sprinkle some gold sugar on top. Now you’ve got a treasury full of gold waiting to be placed at the end of the rainbow!

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Make your frosting next and color about half of it green. I did the green in batches because I didn’t want to make too much green and not have enough white frosting left over, but half green/half white should work out. If you want to be cautious, make a little green at a time until you’ve frosted the tops of all the cupcakes. Thin frosting is just fine for this project. Sprinkle the green jimmies on top of all the freshly frosted cupcakes for the grass. You might need to push them into the frosting to make them stick better.

IMG_5595Next cut the rainbow candy strips in half. This will give you 24 rainbows, just enough to cover 2 dozen cupcakes. If you end up with more cupcakes or need more than 24, you’ll need to buy a second package of the rainbow candy.

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With your left over white frosting placed in a frosting bag or zip lock fitted with a Wilton #12 tip, pipe small puffy clouds on two sides of each cupcake. Then stick each end of a rainbow strip into the clouds. Lastly, use a dot of sparkle gel to the side of one cloud to attach a pot o’ gold.

One last thing I will leave you with. Make sure these cupcakes don’t get too warm or they will get a bit droopy, as seen below:

IMG_0833I hope these cupcakes bring you luck this St. Patrick’s Day!

***Update: I included a link to where my inspriation for this cupcake originated.***
 
TidyMomFRIDAYS-1

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Cakes Under the Influence Kit Giveaway!

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IMG_5416_2Yesterday I shared my review of Cakes Under the Influence Entertainer Kit and my Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes. Now here’s the good news: Cakes Under the Influence is offering to giveaway a Two Under the Influence Baking Kit to one of my readers!

TUIKit

This kit is perfect for a romantic night between you and a loved one or for those times you just want a little something sweet but don’t want to make a huge batch of treats.

The kit comes with:

  • Your choice of 2 Martini molds, OR Margarita molds, OR Champagne molds
  • 2 Matching stemware serving dishes
  • Set of 24 matching paper baking cups
  • 2 food and oven safe silicone cupcake stands
  • 2 pouches of Hi-Proof Baking Mix for Two (1 vanilla and 1 cocoa)
  • Access to CUI Mobile App for recipes, recipe sharing and reviews

How to enter:

Enter this giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter widget below. The only mandatory entry is to leave your name and an email with which to contact you. All other entries are optional, but the more you complete, the better chance you have to win.

This giveaway is open to those who are 18+ and residents of the US only. For complete rules click here.

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes Made with a Cakes Under the Influence Kit {Review}

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IMG_5401_3I love cocktails and cupcakes, so what could be more awesome than a cocktail cupcake?! NOTHING! Duh.

What’s even better is the baking supply company, Cakes Under the Influence, makes baking boozy cupcakes super easy with their easy-to-use kits. I got the chance to try out their nifty Entertainer Kit that has everything you’ll need (minus the alcohol) to make a set of cocktail cupcakes and display them. I wish I had had this kit last year when my boyfriend and I threw a ’60s themed cocktail party.

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My kit included:

  • 1 20″ x 15″ acrylic, dishwasher safe, serving tray that holds up to 12 snap on acrylic stemware
  • 12 food safe silicone cupcake stands (to be used with your own cupcake baking pan)
  • 12 Mini-Martini shaped aluminum molds (3 oz.)
  • 24 greaseproof mini-martini shaped paper baking liners
  • 12 martini shaped acrylic, dishwasher safe and reusable, serving cups
  • 12 acrylic bottoms that the serving cups snap into (these are usually sold separately from the kit)
  • 1 Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix (also sold separately from the entertainer kit)

The kit was also supposed to come with access to the CUI Mobile app available on Apple and Android devices with access to CUI recipes and CUI Community features, but I couldn’t find the app in the Apple app store for my iPod Touch. I also don’t have any android devices, so I couldn’t use the app. Maybe others will have more luck.

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The silicone cupcake stands and aluminum molds worked just fine with my cupcake baking pan. You can use the paper liners with these molds or spray them with cooking spray and use them without paper liners. I decided to try both methods and found differing results. More on that later.

Here’s a quick animation from their website that visually shows how easy it is to use the kit:

The Cakes Under the Influence company encourages you to find new ways to use their product and to create new cocktail cupcake recipes to make with their cake mix. Since I received a package of cake mix with my review kit, I decided to come up with a cocktail recipe that I didn’t see available on their website.

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If you use their cake mix, all you have to do is add the ingredients of your favorite cocktail. It’s pretty darn easy. There are instructions on the back that you can follow, but I choose to modify the Manhattan Cocktail Cupcake Recipe from the CUI website to make Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes!

IMG_5418Here’s what you’ll need for the cupcakes:

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the cupcake batter:
  • 1 Family size package (13.7 oz) of Vanilla Hi-proof Baking Mix
  • 4 - 5 Tbsp. of club soda or water
  • 1/2 c. bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. cherry juice (either Rose's or the syrup from a maraschino cherry jar)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the drizzle:
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey (or more to taste)
  • A splash of cherry juice
  • A splash of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 orange
  • 1 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries
  • toothpicks

Instructions

    For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients.
  3. Mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Line molds with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use the baking spray that has oil and flour in it.
  5. Pour or spoon the batter into the molds.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. For the garnish:
  9. Cut the orange into wheels and then cut the wheels into quarters.
  10. Take a toothpick and add one cherry and one orange quarter to each.
  11. Place the garnish on top of the cupcake after you put the drizzle on it.
  12. For the drizzle:
  13. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with all liquid ingredients. If it is too thick, thin with more of the juices or a splash of milk. (Don't use too much milk or the citrus juice may curdle it.)
  14. Use the rest of the orange you used for garnish for the juice.
  15. Drizzle on the top of each cupcake.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2014/01/old-fashioned-cocktail-cupcakes-made-with-a-cakes-under-the-influence-kit-review/
When they’re done, they’ll look like this:

IMG_5402I tasted the batter before it was cooked, and it really did taste like an Old Fashioned. Once cooked, the strength of the flavor had subsided a little since some of the alcohol had cooked out, but I still picked up the taste of an Old Fashioned. The whiskey drizzle on the top really enhanced the cake’s taste too. The consistency of the cake was almost muffin-like and wasn’t too sweet which I liked.

IMG_5405The acrylic stemware snapped into the included serving tray easily and looked pretty fancy once they were all on there. If you use the bases instead of the tray, I found that the tops didn’t snap into them, but rather fit tightly. A couple didn’t fit as tightly, and fell apart when I picked them up.

Since I made some of the cupcakes in the liners and some without, I noticed they cooked differently. The cake in the liners was more perfectly round on top, and the ones without were flatter. The cakes themselves tasted the same, but that might be something to keep in mind if you want a specific look for these cupcakes.

IMG_5416Cakes Under the Influence has many different options so you can find the right product for your lifestyle. Don’t need a full Entertaining Kit? They have other kit options, including a 2-person package. Besides the mini martini molds and stemware, they also have margarita, champagne flutes, and shot glass shapes! If cupcakes aren’t your style, they offer large cake molds and cocktail cookie cutters as well.

These kits are great for adult parties or even a romantic night in. Like I mentioned before, I wish I had known about these when I had my cocktail party, because they would have been perfect! The best thing about this product is, except for the paper liners, it’s all reusable. Next time I throw a cocktail party, you better believe there’s going to be a set of Cake Under the Influence boozy cupcakes on the table.

Connect

Want to find out more about Cakes Under the Influence? Connect with them through any of the ways below:

Win!!

Click here to enter for a chance to win a Two Under the Influence Baking Kit from Cakes Under the Influence!

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*** I received this baking kit in return for an honest review of the product. All opinions are true and my own.*** 
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It’s Time For A Christmas Giveaway!

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It’s time for a Christmas Giveaway! I love the holidays and found a few items that will help with your holiday entertaining needs. There’s even a special handmade item from me!

Here’s what you get:

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  1.  Cardboard Christmas Themed Cupcake Stand
  2. Christmas Tree Candy Mold
  3. Santa Cupcake Toppers
  4. Christmas Themed Cupcake Liners and Toppers
  5. Cupcake Corer
  6. Decorative Paper StrawsIMG_5078_2
  7. Card Display Kit
  8. An Ornament Frame
  9. Plastic Mustache Party Shot GlassesIMG_5080_2
  10. Fingerless Gloves
  11. Handemade Kitchen Themed Half Apron

I’ve been in the sewing spirit lately and made a pretty apron for you guys! Here’s what the fabric looks like up close:

IMG_5089And here it is all spread out:

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Enter the Giveaway

To enter this giveaway fill out the Rafflecopter form below. All that is mandatory is that you enter your name and an email address I can contact you with if you win. The rest of the options are optional, but will give you a better chance at winning the more you complete.

Rules

This giveaway is open to all residents of the US who are 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. For complete rules please read the Official Rules page.

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Hamburger Cupcakes with Pound Cake Fries

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IMG_3521Happy Independence Day everyone! Instead of a red, white, and blue dessert today, I decided to make burger cupcakes and cake fries because they are perfect for a summer BBQ.

I was inspired by several sources including Bakerella’s adorable Hamburger cupcakes and the pound cake french fries from the book What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I also used some of the book’s ideas from its submarine sandwich cupcakes. There are so many great ways to decorate hamburger cupcakes that the possibilities are almost endless.

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To get started here’s what you’re going to need for the cupcakes:

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  • Brownie mix or brownies from scratch (baked in a 13″ x 9″ pan)
  • Yellow cake mix or cake from scratch
  • Ingredients for mixes (oil, water, eggs, etc)*
  • Corn Flakes
  • Can of frosting or frosting from scratch
  • Red and yellow icing dye (gel coloring works best)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green candy melts (maybe some yellow candy melts if you don’t like the shade of green)
  • Starbursts (we’ll need the orange ones)

*Note: I used Bakerella’s suggestion of substituting 1 cup buttermilk for the water in the cake mix. It made the cake very moist and almost sponge like. I’d recommend this substitution.

Bake the brownies first and let them cool. Once cool, use a 2″ circle cutter and cut out the patties.

While the brownies cool, make and bake the cupcakes in liners. If you cook them without liners the sides of the cupcakes will look too dark for the “buns.”

As the cupcakes are cooking as per the recipe or box mix’s instructions, start to make the ingredients for the burgers. Warm the orange Starbursts in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds and then, on a piece of wax paper,  smash two together and roll it out.

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Then cut it into a square:

IMG_3483Now you have your cheese slices!

For the lettuce, melt some green candy melts (adding some yellow candy melts if you want to soften the shade of green) and pour some corn flakes into the melted candy. If the candy isn’t thin enough, try thinning it with some oil. Stir the cereal around lightly, coating the them, and then pull out the individual pieces to set up. It’s good to put these on a piece of wax paper and then stick them in the fridge.

IMG_3484Once the cupcakes are done baking and cooling, cut the top and the bottoms off and set aside. The middle part will not be used for these. Save them for another dessert (mix any left over frosting into them for cake pops!) or throw them away.

IMG_3479Mix up your yellow (mustard) and red (ketchup) frostings and put them in piping bags or ziplock bags with the corner cut off.

IMG_3486Layer the hamburgers however you want. I layered in this order (from bottom-up): bun bottom, frosting, lettuce, frosting, brownie patty, frosting, cheese, frosting, bun top.

On the top of the bun brush a little water on top and then sprinkle some sesame seeds.

For the poundcake fries, I used a frozen Sara Lee poundcake. Not sure if this would work as well with a homemade loaf but you could try. Pull the cake out of the freezer and let defrost for a little bit. It’s best if it’s still a little cold or frozen when you cut it because the ridges from the crinkle cutter will be more pronounced.

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Using a crinkle cutter or knife (used to cut vegetables and potatoes), cut the cake into 1/2″ slices and cut off the brown edges. Then cut those slices into the fry sticks. Place them on a baking sheet and heat them in a preheated broiler on high for no longer than 30 seconds or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on these as they will brown quickly and burn easily.

Put some left over frosting ketchup in a dish or condiment container and serve with the cake fries for dipping!

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That’s it! These are fairly labor intensive but so easy to put together. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

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Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Review and Giveaway

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giveawayimageThe great folks at Gartner Studios sent me some Duff Goldman products this week to review. I was curious to try this brand after seeing some of his interesting products on the shelves at Michaels before. Have you ever watched Food Network’s Ace of Cakes? Duff Goldman is the baker and creator of that show! Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios is the bakeware and cake decorating product line that was created to bring his unique style of baking to your home.

Receiving these products was exciting for me because they are flavors I don’t usually work with. Here’s a run down of the products:

  • Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Red Velvet Cake Mix – Duff’s premium cake mixes use low protein and low gluten flour, which makes for a lighter, fluffier cake.
  • Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Raspberry Cake and Cupcake Filling – Add a flavorful, tasty center to cakes and cupcakes with Duff’s zingy new Raspberry filling. It’s extra delicious when paired with Buttercream or Cream Cheese frosting. Which brings me to the last product for review:
  • Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Cream Cheese Ready to Serve Frosting – Reach for the most delicious, easily spreadable frosting available, from the Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios collection. Other delicious flavors include: Fudge, Chocolate, and White.

IMG_3329Over the years I’ve noticed a negative stigma attached to boxed cake mixes and pre-made baking products. I know that “from scratch” recipes usually turn out better quality products and allow for experimentation more easily, but boxed mixes have their place too! When my boyfriend and I were making these red velvet cupcakes this week, he commented how much easier and less of a hassle it was to use these Duff products than it was the last time he helped me make cupcakes from scratch. It really was a lot easier and created much less of a mess to clean up later too. That’s why I don’t look down on boxed mixes. They definitely have their place when you just want to make a quick batch of cupcakes without having to devote your whole afternoon to them.

The Duff red velvet cake mix was simple to mix together. All you needed was some water, eggs, and oil. The batter itself was a little thinner than I expected, but didn’t effect the final product negatively. In fact they were very light and airy while still having a density that made them hold up well. The batter had a lot of red dye in it though. So much so that it stained my skin! But it washed off fairly easily. I’m not sure how easily it would have washed out of clothing though, so that’s something to keep in mind. Look how red it was!

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The ready-to-use raspberry filling came in a sealed plastic bag, so I just snipped off a corner and squeezed it into the centers of the cupcakes after coring them out with a large frosting tip. Then I took the center part out of the frosting tip, cut off the excess cake and placed the top part back on the cupcake once I filled it. The filling is sweet and slightly tart. If you like really tart raspberry flavor you might find this a bit sweet, but it isn’t overpoweringly sweet. And it paired well with the cream cheese frosting flavor.

coringcupcakeThe cream cheese frosting was one of the best canned cream cheese frostings I’ve ever tasted. It was also sweeter than most homemade cream cheese frostings I’ve made. Its main draw back was that it was rather thin so it isn’t very good for piping tall frosting. Whipping it and maybe adding a little powdered sugar to it might help thicken it a bit, but it’s best for frosting with a spatula in a thin layer on top of the cake. These cupcakes didn’t need a lot of frosting though, because there was already so much flavor in them. The the slight cream cheese flavor definitely went well with the red velvet and raspberry flavors of this cupcake.

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Overall, I was very impressed with these products from Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. I was worried they’d taste dull because they are a mass produced product, but surprisingly, they had a lot of flavor and nice consistency. I would definitely recommend these products to others, especially those who want quality cupcakes in a short amount of time.

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BUY IT

You can find these products at several stores including Michaels, select Walmart and Target stores, or online at www.duff.com.

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Stay up-to-date on all things Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios! Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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One lucky reader will win their own package of Duff products! The package will have the same items I reviewed above including the Red Velvet Premium Cake Mix, Raspberry Cake and Cupcake Filling, and Cream Cheese Ready to Serve Frosting.

Open to U.S. residents of all ages only. Giveaway ends 6/30/13 at 11:59 pm EST.

Click HERE for complete giveaway rules.

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****I received these products free of charge for an honest review of the products. I was not compensated monetarily for this review and all opinions are my own.****
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