Monday, September 19, 2011

Glee Slushie Cupcakes!

It's midnight...and you know what that means. IT'S GLEE DAY!!! 

We've been waiting an awfully long time for this. In fact, I've been jamming out to Glee CDs in my car all week long and officially know all the harmonies to the a capella version of Gaga's Poker Face.

So as my friends and I gather around our televisions and prepare to sing along with 27 year-olds disguised as 17 year-olds, I figured it only appropriate that we have delicious cupcakes to celebrate with.

This isn't a recipe post.  It's more or less an inspriation piece.  So long as you have a printer, twizzlers and red/blue food coloring, you've got yourself a Glee cupcake!

I started with a trip to the local CoGos for a bit of my own inspiration.

Next, I started baking.  I went with a simple vanilla cupcake. I tried dying my cupcakes to take on the same coloring as the buttercream...

 and I have one word of advice for you: DON'T!!  Trying to dye my cupcakes red resulted in the biggest bake fail of all time:

So we just uh...nixed these :)  But my "blue" cupcakes came out just fine and so I started on my buttercreams. 

I started with a plain vanilla buttercream and separated it in half.  In one half I poured the teensiest bit of blue-raspberry slushie with a few drops of raspberry flavoring and a drop of blue food coloring.  Next I added a bit of the cherry slushie to the second half with about a teaspoon or Maraschino Cherry juice and a few drops of Christmas Red food coloring and one drop of brown food coloring.

Then I tossed these graphics on to a Word doc 

and printed on a sheet of Avery 2"x4" label printing papers, cut and wrapped them around my cupcakes!  Slap a 1" piece of twizzler in the buttercream and....

VIOLA!  You're ready to get slushied and celebrate Season 3!

I hope you give them a try yourself.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wanna be a Pittsburgh Food Star?! LAST DAY TO ENTER!

Hey friends! So I'm late on the uptake in posting this to ya'll, but I've recently entered a contest to become the "Next Pittsburgh Food Star" and I'm hoping some of you will enter too!

Today is the deadline for entries, so get crackin'!

Anyway, if any of you read my other blog, Taste of Pittsburgh, you might have seen a post I did last year about an AMAZING local food expo called GoodTaste! Pittsburgh.

PID and I had an incredible time last fall and can't wait to go back this year!  A bonus to this year's event?  They're hosting an awesome contest to discover Pittsburgh's next great Food Star! All you have to do is enter a short video of you explaining your favorite recipe, upload it to YouTube and send the link in an e-mail to  The semi-finalists will be selected THIS WEEK and will compete on Saturday for a spot in the finals: performing LIVE at the GoodTaste! event on November 5!  (Oh, by the way, winners also get $1,000!!!)

For my recipe, I made one of my all time favorites: my Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes! Perfect for St. Paddy's Day....or a Thursday.

The center cupcake is my Irish Car Bomb Cake
Here is my entry video:

Pardon the amateur hour with the video editing. I'm handy with spices, but definitely not splices.

So if you've got a smart phone, video camera, or FlipCam lying around with a hunger for 15+ minutes of fame, shoot a short video of yourself making tonight's dinner and enter for your chance to compete with me at the semi-finals!

Best of luck to you!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes -- Perfect for Fall

This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting my first Bridal Shower for my dear friend, Lindsey.  Her wedding is this October and she is, appropriately, going with a fall theme so I decided to do the same for her shower.

Her engagement story is a wonderful one.  Fall is her favorite time of year because she loves absolutely loves pumpkins. So last October, her now-fiance took her to a local pumpkin patch to pick out her own. She chose one, and he asked her:

"Don't you want to keep looking?"

She responded no, but he encouraged her and so she did.  After a few minutes, she stumbled upon pumpkin wrapped in ribbon which had "Will you marry me?" carved in it's face. She turned and saw her best friend down on his knee.  She said yes.

So yesterday, we showered her with blessings.....and, of course, pumpkin cupcakes!

Lindsey's favorite celebrity is Ina Garten, so I channeled my inner Barefoot Contessa for the day and adapted my own version of her Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting.

Here's what you'll need for the cupcakes:

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée (10 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line one full muffin tin with 12 baking cups. 
If you have one, place a large baking stone in your oven as you preheat.  When you bake your cupcakes on top of the stone, it does wonders for helping your cupcakes to rise more evenly.  Just look!

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, potato starch, cinnamon, ginger, marjoram and nutmeg. Set aside. 
In your mixing bowl, cream your butter until smooth, then add the eggs (one at a time), pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use an ice cream scoop to ensure even distribution), set on your baking stone and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

Here's what you'll need for the frosting:
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (extract or natural flavoring works best)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time and mix on medium until it reaches your desired texture.
Frost your cupcakes and top with whatever garnish you choose!  Ina used crumbled Heath Bars which I thought would have been delicious.  I wanted something orange, so I chose simple jimmies.

These cupcakes were perfectly appropriate for a pumpkin lover's shower, but are also great for any fall occasion. They were a hit!  

I hope you try them out at your Halloween Parties or next fall gathering!  Enjoy!