Perks of Being an Aunt

Last month, I got to celebrate my nephews 2nd birthday! I cant believe he is already so big, and he has a vocabulary I think some 8 year olds would envy.  A fun fact is that he was born the weekend I graduated from college, so he is a nice maker of how long I’ve been in the real world. Yikes, has it really been 2 years since I was a True Blue UConn Husky???  Quarter-life crisis aside, we all had a great time with the little munchkin.

He is super into trains so we went to go see Thomas! Seriously, this thing is like a rock concert for toddlers.

Thomas CollageAfterwards we got together for lunch, cake and presents.  In addition to Thomas, my nephew LOVES the movie Despicable Me.  He cant quite say it, so his requests sounded like “Pickle me”.  When we babysat it was a bit confusing, but eventually we figured it out.  In light of this, I decided to attempt my first Auntie confection.  And behold, the minions were born:

2014-05-05 09.03.51  2014-05-03 18.30.26

2014-05-03 18.30.18Aren’t these so cute??? I kept the recipe simple and made Martha Stewart’s vanilla cupcake recipe.  I then added a generous amount of blue food coloring to represent their overalls.  The batter was slightly yellow from the egg yolks so I had to use a lot of coloring to keep it blue, not green.  For the frosting, I made my first butter cream! Soooo good, but also made me realize just how much butter is in butter cream.  Well worth it.  I love the shade of yellow I was able to get.  Its so vibrant and is a pretty good match for the real characters. Because the frosting dries stiff, I did a base coat and then smoothed it out with a second layer of frosting to make a nice even surface for decorating.

When I was planning out my cupcakes, I was trying to come up with a creative way to decorate.  I was pretty sure my frosting abilities weren’t strong enough to do the eyes in white frosting.  Might have gotten a bit scary.  Instead, the idea to use mini marshmallows popped into my head! Using a toothpick, I drew pupils on the center then added some extra frosting to the bottom to act as glue.  I used a basic black gel frosting for the other details. Viola! To best represent the minions diverse personalities, I mixed up there expressions and number of eyes.  It was difficult to get the classic Whaaaaa? face, but I still got a nice range.

At the party, I think the kids were too young to really get it, but they went over well with the adults.  And the kids liked the flavor so win-win.

What whimsical baking have you done?

 

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Practical Pinterest – Pumpkin Cupcakes

I’m here to present Practical Pinterest, Holiday Edition! I wanted to embrace the season so I used  a recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I found it from this pin which has 33 recipes for cupcakes, so I’m sure I will be revisiting this site over the next few months.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg*
  • pinch of cloves*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin

*instead of using all of these spices separately, I had a pumpkin pie spice mix that I substituted in 1 healthy tsp.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  In a separate bowl, mix sugar and eggs.  Add oil and mix at a medium speed for three minutes.  Add flour mixture and then add pumpkin. Mix at medium speed until well blended. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Pumpkin 1

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz room temperature cream cheese*
  • 1/2 stick room temperature butter*
  • 1/2 lb confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*I used 1/3 fat reduced cream cheese and light unsalted butter

Mix ingredients together and make sure everything is blended evenly.  I found that this made a lot of extra frosting because I usually only put on a small glaze rather than a whopping swirl.

Pumpkin 2

These cupcakes were AMAZING!  The flavor was so rich and they stayed really moist.  I brought them to Intern Thanksgiving (more on that later) and not to toot my own horn, but they were very well received.  I would whole heartily recommend this for thanksgiving or just any other time you want to embrace fall.

The nutrition information below reflects the full fat version of the frosting, but only 1/2 a portion of the frosting.

Cupcake Nutritional Information:  Calories:  200, Fat: 10g, Sodium 311mg, Carbohydrate: 26, Fiber 1g, Sugars:17.4g, Protein: 2.3g

Frosting Nutritional Information: Calories: 87, Fat: 2.2g, Sodium: 37mg, Carbohydrate: 16g, Sugars: 15, Protein: 1.3g

What is your favorite holiday treat?