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I know I promised a post yesterday. I am sorry I break promises. Life happens, yunno? But I am here today, even though I wish to be far from here. Not saying I don’t like it here. I do. I really do, but today is a special today. Today is my dad’s birthday. Even though I had hope he would live to see this day, I didn’t think he would. But he did. Barely. He is holding on by a thread. I wish I could be there today to celebrate, but with work and gas being the way it is… it is hard to go up there every week. I wish I could, but I was there last week… and it is getting close to the end of the month. But I hope he feels my love. I hope he understands that he is the most important person in the world to me. I celebrated (kind of) last week when I was up there with him. I baked him an apple pie that he slept through and never ate, but I talked to him. I told him all the things I had been dying to say. I told him how proud of him I am, for fighting and holding on for so long. I prayed for him and wished there was some way I could take his pain away. Why must he suffer? I hope today he found some relief on his birthday.  Not only has he survived another year, but it has almost been a year since he was first diagnosed with cancer. Has a year really almost gone by? In October, he first showed the symptoms. In the beginning of November, he was diagnosed.

A year. It flies by so fast.

Autumn is here and I know in a blink of an eye, it will be snowing. I know people will groan and sputter at that statement… but it is just the fact of life. But Fall is gorgeous. Trees have been starting to change since the end of August, but now it is becoming more frequent. More beautiful.

I also happen to be a huge fan of the flavors Fall brings with them. Apple. Maple. Pumpkin. Currently, I have made an Apple Pie. Caramel Apple Cupcakes (with homemade caramel that came out a lot harder than I wanted it too. Bad Caramel, but very tasty… just not for a frosting…). Pumpkin Cheesecake. And Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I love Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 

Oh and the pumpkin cheesecake.

But I forgot to get pictures of the pumpkin cheesecake.

For some reason, cheesecake just happens to get eaten before pictures can be taken. I just do not know what is up with that.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are pretty easy. And delicious. And something about them… it is like a cookie and a cake had a wonderful pumpkiny baby. And it was good.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 Cups Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (or about half of a 15oz can) of pumpkin puree

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on wax paper or in a medium bowl.

3. Beat butter until smooth, slowly add the granulated sugar. Push down the sides with a spatula. Add the brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin. Mix well.

4. Slowly add in the flour mixture while mixer is on low. Mix until altogether. Do not over beat.

5. Scoop the dough with a large spoon (about a tablespoon) and place on non-stick cookie sheets (spray your cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper if you have to.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

7. Let cool on baking sheets for about 5-10 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack. If you handle sooner, they have a tendency to break!

8 Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I raise my glass of milk to you. I love you, and I hope you can someday soon escape the horrible pain you are in.

This one is for you.

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I have a lot to be thankful for. I have two wonderful kitties who cuddle and snuggle and actually like us and not always just because we feed them. I have a horse who gives me unconditional love and lets me hug her when I need some silent comfort. I have a handsome fiance who supports my passions and helps me be more open minded. I have a KitchenAid mixer from my parents which makes baking so much easier. And because of said KitchenAid mixers, I was able to make delicious Portal cupcakes that won over my first wedding couple and help me launch forward towards my dreams. What are Portal cupcakes you ask? Well, you see it all started with a video game. And I think while you read this blog post you should also be listening to this. Ok, that’s better. So in this game there is a cake. Well maybe there isn’t a cake. You know I am not quite sure what the story is with the cake because I never played the game. And there is something about the cake being a lie? I am not quite sure. But anyway, I was approached by this couple that they wanted this cake at their wedding. 120 times. In cupcake form. I was about to turn that lie into truth. And on Sunday, they came to see the creation and by the mmm’s and ahh’s, I can only assume they liked it. And the fact that they were ready to hire me right then and there. That made me feel very happy. Oh you want to know what these lying cakes look like? Oh I suppose I can give you a visual.

Everything was completely homemade. And yes I made three different types. One with cherries on top and also a cherry frosting filling. One with just cherries on top. And then one with M&Ms, which gave the more authentic look that they wanted. They decided to go with a combination of the cherry filling and also the M&Ms. I am so excited to get to work on this. Can it be June yet? Just skip over winter. (though I am excited for all the baking possibilities this winter… oh darn it. I guess I will just have to be patient!).

Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for. Sushi. Cookies. Cupcakes. Friends. In 22 years, I feel like I have reached a good place, but it is in my nature for wanting something a little more. The hardest part about turning 22 was talking to my dad. And I wished with all my might for one single thing. For one thing. Not roller blades or a pink dolphin to keep in the bath tub. I did not wish for extreme wealth nor did I wish for a brand new car. No what I wished for on my birthday was a cure for cancer. Was for my dad to get better so I could celebrate more birthdays with him. So we could laugh again, and he could beat me at cards. I longed  for his birthday speech about being another year older and thinking about where I want to go with life. That’s all I want.

But when it comes to Birthdays, it isn’t just about the wishes we make. It also involves cake. And I decided to make my own cake this year. My favorite candy in the world is Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Oh man. You can make me walk to the end of the earth by just waving one of those bad boys in front of my face. Ok. It might take 5 to make me walk to the end of the earth. But I love them a lot. So I decided to make a cake to represent this tasty creation.

Not bad for never taking a cake decorating class… right?! Haha. Okay it wasn’t the most beautiful cake in the world. That is why I usually stick to cupcakes. But it is pretty darn tasty!

It is chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting in between the layers, a chocolate glaze frosting, and peanut butter frosting accents and writing.

Chocolate Cake

1 Cup Strong Brewed Coffee

1 3/4 Cup Flour

1 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter, softened

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Brown Sugar

4 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Milk

Ingredients

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 9in circular cake pans. Brew coffee.

2. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt on wax paper or in a small bowl.

3. With the electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Slowly add in the granulated sugar until butter and sugar is well mixed. Then beat in the brown sugar. Scrape bowl. Add eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and milk.

4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and coffee, alternating between the 2. Be careful not to over beat.

5. Separate the batter equally between the two pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before putting them on a cooling rack.

 

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup peanut butter

2-4 tablespoons of milk (depending on what consistency you want)

 

Chocolate Frosting Glaze

2/3 cup butter, softened

2 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (feel free to add more to get the consistency you want)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2/3 cup milk

Decorate as you please!

 

Then serve up and eat! Tastes just like a Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Enjoy!

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Life was a lot simpler back then. Back when the worst thing that happened that day was a scraped knee while pretending to be robotic dinosaurs. Or you got sand up your nose when you jumped off the swing and instead of having the graceful light of a feather landing you imagined, you end up doing a face-plant. Those were the simple days. Not much got me down then, and if I was a little bummed out, I just popped in The Lion King and all my worries were gone by the first note of the very first song of the movie. You know the song. Don’t look at me twiddling your thumbs and pretending you never tried to sing the beginning of “The Circle of Life.” We all have done it. But now, things always make me pause in the middle of the movie. Things like responsibilities. Doing a job that helps pay the bills. Making meals because I can no longer ask my mom to make me a PB&J. But sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to be a kid again. To  imagine the impossible. To slurp down that shake without worrying about your hips. Or in my case, make Shirley Temple Cupcakes.

I have a lot of fond memories of Shirley Temples in my childhood. If I wasn’t getting a Root Beer, I was getting a Shirley Temple. Since my parents went to the same restaurants frequently, they knew my order pretty well. They also knew I loved extra cherries in mine so I didn’t even have to ask for them. That was the best.  One of my favorite memories is when we were in a restaurant somewhere in Connecticut (I was like 6 or 7 at the time so excuse me for not remembering the name, the street, town, or even the exact State. I believe it was in Connecticut!) right before the dinner rush and they had a piano man. I was so captivated and my parents gave me money to put in his fish bowl (aka tip bowl). The piano man smiled at me and let me sit down next to him. He asked me what song he should play next. I was super excited! But I didn’t know any “adult” songs so I requested “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” He smiled at me, and to my surprise, he did play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star but in the most classiest way I have ever heard. I sat there for awhile, watching him play, and he would ask me if I liked a certain song. It was a wonderful evening. And yes, that evening I had a Shirley Temple so it was not just a random blurb about my childhood. It had some relevancy.

But tomorrow is my birthday and I will be turning 22. I know I shouldn’t be yearning for the days of my “youth” quite yet, but I am at the point where I still feel stuck between adulthood and being a kid. And sometimes, I just want to be a kid. I am not good at this whole adult thing. I long for the mysterious, nice piano man and a Shirley Temple.

Well, I don’t have a mysterious piano man, but I did have cherries in my baking cabinet. So I decided to make Shirley Temple Cupcakes. I had seen a few other bloggers try it out, but I had a different idea in mind. Of course, it is more like a really cherry cupcake… but I put umbrellas in them to make the illusion even stronger! Smart, huh?

Sorry for the blurriness. My Fault! Just so excited for them!

 

So now you can feel like a kid too when you just need one of those moments.

Shirley Temple Cupcakes (adapted from The Curvy Carrot)

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup cherry-flavored 7-up

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

4 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice

red food dye

Instructions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups (Sorry, this recipe only makes 12 so share wisely!)

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl or on wax paper.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add in the sugar. Add in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one. Put in the extract and cherry juice.

4. Alternate adding in the flour mixture with the 7-up.

5. I added just a drop of red food dye because I wanted a pink tint to my cupcake.

6. Fill liners with batter about 3/4ths of the way.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Very Cherry Frosting

6 maraschino cherries sliced into quarters

1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

6 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

Instructions

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.

2. Add in 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time.. Beating well after each time.

3. Add in the cherry juice and almond extract. Beat in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar.

4. If you do not like the consistency of the frosting, add in a little bit of whole milk (like a teaspoon at a time). To me, this was fine.

5. Add in the cherry slices. Beat on low so they are well dispersed.

6. Frost to your liking!

Garnish with a whole cherry and a drink umbrella!

In other news, tomorrow is my birthday (just in case you missed that above!). Also, I won over my first wedding couple! I will be making Portal Cupcakes for their wedding! I will be writing more about that soon. I am super excited!

So celebrate with me and make your own Shirley Temple Cakes!

 

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This weekend has been all about baking and it has definitely paid off! This weekend, I made my first order for A Dab of Frosting: more Tiramisu Cupcakes! (which had led to a second order which makes for a very happy Cassy). Now the last time I made Tiramisu cupcakes I had not really planned ahead and ended up throwing away 12 egg whites. It felt like such a waste… but I knew that Angel Food Cake required a lot of egg whites and I reminded my fiance that the next time I make Tiramisu Cupcakes that I need to make an Angel Food Cake at the same time. This ended up happening a lot quicker than I thought. I ended up following this Angel Food Cake Recipe, exactly. It had great reviews and I couldn’t find anything worth changing, and I am glad I didn’t. Now the one thing I thought would go great with the Angel Food Cake and Cheesecake would be the one thing that is in season in Maine right now: Blueberries!

I decided I was going to try my hand at making homemade blueberry syrup! Once again, my inspiration came from AllRecipes Blueberry Sauce but with some differences.

Measure out 2 cups of Blueberries and put them into a bowl. Pick out as many of the stems as possible. Luckily mine did not have that many!

Once you do that, put the berries into a medium sauce pan and add in 1/4 cup cold water, 1/2 cup of orange juice (I used Oakhurst orange juice but you can use whatever suits your fancy), 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix well over medium heat and bring to a boil.

 

In a separate small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 1/4 cup of cold water. Once the blueberry mixture has come to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir in until the blueberry mixture has become thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Now you can alter how thick you want it by adding in some water. I did. I added about another 1/4 of water because I wanted it a little bit more runny. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. And Wha-la!

Homemade Blueberry Syrup! And it tastes amazing! And it goes wonderfully with Angel Food Cake…

And tonight I am going to be trying it with the cheesecake I made… Post about that will have to wait for tomorrow!

But enjoy this yummy picture of it:

Mmmm breakfast food...Enjoy!

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A lot of changes are occurring for A Dab of Frosting — slowly it is starting to evolve into a small business and not just a hobby (because that is the dream to make your passion into a money making machine, right?). Right now it is not so much for profit but to build a fan base and also support my baking adventures so my other paycheck can go to… important stuff… like rent my horse. Who says I don’t have my priorities in order?

To get this feeling more professional, I have even started a Facebook page for it! Ok, well my fiance set it up. I’m not quite that tech savvy yet but I am working on it! Also, I am ordering business cards and making up brochures so I will be ready for our first Monthly Taste Testing party! Anyone who wants to swing by can enjoy Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes and also the famous chocolate chip cookies that helped me fall in love with baking in the first place.

I have BIG dreams and I just know if I stay focus, they can come true!

Now on to the Tiramisu. I really wish I was better at taking pictures throughout my processes. I also wish I had a camera that could really capture the moments. But alas, I have neither. Tiramisu cupcakes are probably the hardest cupcakes I ever made (so far!). The whole process took about 5 hours altogether! So this is something you definitely do not want to do in one afternoon. I would start with the ladyfingers one day and then finish the rest the next morning if you wish to have it for dessert at a reasonable hour the next day. The custard takes about 6 hours in the fridge to set on top of the ladyfingers to get the best flavor. So patience on this one!

The idea to make Tiramisu cupcakes came from when a friend brought over Tiramisu Gelato (YUM) as a dessert for one of our evening gatherings. But then she mentioned how she never had actual Tiramisu! Which is just tragic… so I decided that her streak of being a tiramisu virgin must come to an end! And since I am on such a huge cupcake bender, I decided to try my luck at making them in cupcake form. I went to the internet in search of inspiration since a.) I never made Lady fingers b.) I have only had tiramisu once in my life and even though it was delicious enough to stick with me, it was not enough to replicate completely by memory and c.) I needed a list of ingredients.

and wha-la I found this amazing blog with a recipe for homemade ladyfingers and Tiramisu cupcakes and I highly recommend you check her out at The Cupcake Project. I made the ladyfingers just as she directed (which does involve separating an egg. How many people know how to separate an egg? if there are enough people who would like a little tutorial, I was thinking about doing one in my next blog post!). Now the problem is when you make these ladyfingers in regular cupcake size, and fill the cupcake liners about… a 1/4 up since you really want to layer on the custard…. you get about 30 cupcakes. Or at least I got 30 cupcakes. Either way, plan for A LOT of cupcakes.

Not even half of the ladyfingers! and I had to make my amazing fiance go out and buy me more cupcake liners because the ones I have ordered,  haven’t even come in yet (which is driving me a bit bonkers!).

Ladyfinger Recipe By Cupcake Project

4 eggs, separated

2 tbsp + 2/3 C white sugar

1 C all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 24 cupcake liners (at least). Depends how much ladyfinger to custard ratio you want.

Separate Eggs

Place egg whites in a bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. (Soft Peaks means that the egg whites have just passed the frothy/bubbly state and that it holds some sort of form).

Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar.

Whip until thick and very pale in color. (you can do this with a fork — it is a bit of a work out!)

On wax paper or in a small bowl, mix together flour and baking powder.

Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Add in flour, and then add the remaining egg whites.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/4 full. They will bake up to fill 1/2 the cupcake liner.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

12 egg yolks

1 1/2 C white sugar

1 1/3 C milk (I use whole milk)

2 1/2 C heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 lb mascarpone cheese

2 C strong brewed coffee, room temperature (use good coffee. Kevin and I have discovered a love for Caribou Coffee!)

4 tbsp rum

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

a small amount of dark chocolate for chocolate curls (optional)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Then whisk the milk and cook over medium heat. Make sure to stir constantly until the mixture boils (prepare to be stirring for awhile. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get the mixture to boil).

Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly. (When you can hold your hand over it and not feel it radiating any heat)

Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and whisk in mascarpone (add slowly and whisk each time. About an 8oz container at a time) until smooth.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. (You can also add some sugar to make it a little sweeter. I added 2 teaspoons of sugar to add a little sweetness). Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum.

Drizzle approximately 1 tbsp + 2 tsp of the coffee/rum mixture over each pre-baked ladyfinger.  Add it a little at a time and wait for it to absorb into the ladyfingers before adding more.

Spread the mascarpone mixture over the soaked ladyfingers.

Pipe or spread the whipped cream over the mascarpone.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder. (I used just my fingertips to sprinkle it on. Don’t over do it!)

Optionally, top with chocolate curls.  Make the chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler on a piece of chocolate.

Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set. (Definitely better if you wait for 6 hours… but if you really can’t wait, you can eat one after 4 hours…)

 

And wha-la! You have Tiramisu Cupcakes! Perfect for a lovely date night, a dinner party, or just because you are craving something coffee flavored and delicious.

 

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