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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Legally Baked is on Facebook!

I give in. Uploading photos and getting followers on Facebook is a lot easier than it is on Blogger. So, my official new cupcake business, Legally Baked, is now on Facebook. All my recent baking pics, cupcake flavors, prices, and adventures are now over there. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ludington State Park

Some of my favorite images from our September trip to Ludington. More to come in a few weeks after our long weekend at Orchard Beach.
This was a view from a precarious perch on a half-submerged, half-decayed birch log off shore about 2/3rds of the way up the Island Trail. We hiked a 4+-mile loop Saturday morning and I can say it actually pained me a bit near the end! Okay, so the biggest pain was a blister betwixt my two far-left toes, but I also felt like this was one of the most vertical hikes we've ever done in Michigan. The views, the natural textures, colors, light & shade, birds & critters, were all so incredible it's hard to select just a few pics to share.
We arrived at the park Thursday night. Our reservation was originally Friday-Sunday. But spontaneously, Thursday morning I called to extend an extra day and we left work early, in dire need of an extra day away from the office. Best decision EVER! Not only did we get the most gorgeous Lake Michigan sunset all to ourselves, but we also got a great table at Sportsman's Pub for pizza without any wait ;-)

Ah... This is why a 3-day weekend at Ludington State Park has the same soothing effect as a week-long vacation in the Caribbean.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Flavor Braintorming

People keep telling me I should write down all the cupcake flavors I've made and the ideas that randomly pop into my head, so here goes! The flavors I haven't actually made yet are noted as "in the works".

In addition to the flavors listed below, your ideas are happily taste-tested. Let’s make something special for your event!

Ladylike Lemon Vanilla (Mom's Fave): Lemon-zested vanilla cake, filled with lemon curd, frosted with vanilla-lemon Swiss Meringue buttercream

Neapolitan (People’s Choice!): French vanilla cake, filled with fresh strawberry puree, frosted with rich whipped chocolate ganache icing

Obscene Cookies & Crème (People’s Choice!): Double-dark-chocolate-chip-fudge cake, frosted with Oreo-studded cream cheese buttercream

Breakfast on St. Patty’s Day: Coffee-chocolate cake frosted with real Bailey’s Irish cream buttercream (Adults only!)

Mexican Fiesta (Baker’s Fave!): Orange-scented cinna-vanilla cake frosted with Mexican HOT chocolate buttercream (cinnamon + cayenne)

Peppermint Paddy Latte: Mint-chocolate cake with mocha buttercream (whip cream center, optional)

White Christmas (a/k/a Rick's Birthday Cake): Snow-white cake with a coconut-crème center frosted with almond meringue buttercream and topped with coconut, inspired by the amazing creation at Captiva Island's Bubble Room

Bugs B's Fave: Light & fluffy carrot cake topped with a thick swirl of white chocolate, Carolina cream cheese icing (with or without nuts)

Boston Cream: Golden butter cake filled with vanilla custard and topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache

Elvis’s Fave: Chocolate-chip banana cake topped with peanut butter buttercream (Elvis recommends deep-frying this one!)

Fuzzy Navel: Orange-zested sponge cake frosted with peach-nectar buttercream

Pina Colada: Coconut cake frosted with pineapple-rum buttercream

Strawberry Daiquiri: Strawberry-lime cake topped with a shot of vanilla-rum buttercream

Peach Berry: White cake studded with fresh raspberries & blueberries, frosted with peach buttercream (an accidental summer leftover success!)

Reese's PB Cupcake: Chocolate cake filled with a whole Reese's pb cup, topped with milk chocolate & peanut butter swirl buttercream

Caramel Apple: Cinnamon apple cider cake filled with apple butter, topped with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream icing

Raspberry Truffle (in the works): Dark chocolate cake filled with raspberry mousse and topped with rich chocolate ganache

Wine & Cheese (in the works): Pink champagne cake filled with sweetened cream cheese, topped with a swirl of bubbly buttercream & sugar pearls

Cookie Dough (in the works): Chocolate-chip golden butter cake, filled with a ball of FOR-REAL! Tollhouse cookie dough, topped with brown sugar buttercream and mini chocolate-chips

Strawberries & Cream (in the works): Fresh strawberry cake topped with Carolina cream cheese icing

"M" Fanfare (in the works): Only available during Michigan football tailgates! Blue velvet cake frosted with a tall swirl of maize Carolina cream cheese icing.

Candy Cane (in the works): Snow-white peppermint vanilla cake studded with real candy cane bits, topped with cool vanilla-mint buttercream and candy cane sprinkles

Also: Vanilla, Chocolate, and any combination you dare try!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Congrats to the prettiest Grad ever!!!

Our family hosted my adorable cousin Heather's high school graduation party at my grandparents' cottage on Wixom Lake. And I was appointed to be in charge of dessert! (Okay, so I maybe appointed myself.) Anyway, Heather's school colors are orange & blue, so of course I made her a sweet little 4", 3-layer cake decorated especially for her:

And a MILLION cupcakes for everyone else! Our family is WAY fun, so I used cocktails as inspiration for the cake & frosting flavors.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry-lime cake with rum-vanilla buttercream and the prettiest sprinkles on the planet (which Rick picked out ~ he's honing in on his metro tendencies.)

Mudslide (the hands-down FAVORITE!)
Chocolate-chocolate-chip cake with a tiny, itty-bitty hint of mint, Baileys and coffee extract) frosted with mocha buttercream. I can't even describe the rich luciousness....

Pina coladaPineapple-Coconut cake with rum-vanilla buttercream.>

and Fuzzy Navel

Orange-zested peach cake (yellow cake flavored with real peach nectar & orange zest), frosted with peach buttercream. These were painfully sweet, but for some reason they enticed me the most. I have to do them over again and work on making them less sweet.
Rick and my cousin Matt helped set up. They were so darn cute! Of course, they also tried to take all the credit for the cupcakes in the end and helped themselves to a couple that wouldn't (conveniently) fit on the table, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Monday, May 31, 2010

After a week of obsessing....

We have blue & white cake, a SH*& TON of Wilton's famous fluffy white "buttercream" and a chocolate chip island. The island cake took almost an hour to bake. After the 10" layers came out (about 40 minutes at 325), I turned the heat down to 310 until a skewer came out of the pyrex cake clean. Oh, and if you ever want to know how to divide 2 boxes of cake mix (different flavors, of course) into three different-sized baking vessels, ask Rick, whose physics major (& math minor) came in WAY handy on Saturday!
Since Rick was so invested in the baking project, I decided he deserved to have some fun and help me put the decorations on the frosted cake. Other than putting one of the coral pieces on backwards and one sideways he did great ;-) (He's watching me type and just grated his teeth.)

I used four straws (ordinary drinking straws courtesy of Mickey D's) as structural supports under the island. Pretty proud of meeself, I yam. The ONLY thing I was disappointed about was the waves... I wanted them to be more white than blue, but the two colors of frosting really combined in the piping bag, rather than streaking the way I'd hoped.

It is DONE!!!

Rick was a trooper! His steady hand and abundant patience was absolutely necessary to sprinkle on the graham-cracker-crumb-"sand" at the very end. I would've gotten it all over the place (and not just the floor like Rick did ;-) What would I do without my trusty assistant? Rick - you earned your Soux Chef merit badge this weekend. *muah*And the finished product.... Jack Sparrow's island.

The Chocolate Pearl.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is this unfair?...

To decorate the "2nd Grade Desert Island" cake (read below to understand that I am not suggesting we ship all second graders to a deserted island. Although.... ) I decided to play it a little safe. At the suggestion of a fellow blogger/baker/friend I found these great seashell candy molds at Michaels. They also had chocolate pop molds in pirate-themed shapes. The shells will go all around the bottom tier and in a little pile on the top of the island. The skull & treasure chest will be the cake toppers, surrounded by some royal icing grass. I'm skipping out on the palm trees I originally envisioned. Too much risk, too little reward (this time).
I love the seahsells! I think they'd make great little gifts for Hallmark Holidays.

Now, the coral and seahorses are another story... I free-handed the seahorses on waxed paper with a tiny parchment paper cone filled with melted yellow candy melts. They're so cute! For the coral I started with a plate full of corn starch (because I swear I've seen that technique used on Food Network). I dipped a sucker stick in the cornstarch to make little channels for the chocolate to sit in, then piped it in and dusted it with yellow sanding sugar. I can't wait to see how they look on the cake. I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.