Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Objet D Taart Mini Cupcakes

A while back, I created a small tower of mini treats
for RosannaShe carries a line of paperweights called,
"Objet D'Art" that I wanted to duplicate for her enjoyment.
I fell in love with the "old soul" and it now rests in my workspace.
The eye also caught mine.
Objet D'Art Paperweights by Rosanna

I nicknamed my cupcakes, "Objet D Taart" for a laugh.
(Taart translates to cake in Dutch.)
So these are international cupcakes indeed!
Photography by Sydney Field, Rosanna, Inc
Mini vanilla cupcakes with frosting sheet images
and clear piping gel.
Before . . .

. . . and after.

The menu included mini cupcakes, tarts and cookies in the following flavors.
Just reading them again is making my mouth water.

Pumpkin Spice Latte with Caramel
(w/mini pumpkin pie toppers of caramel & fondant)
Devils Food with Espresso Buttercream
Macadamia Nut Praline Tartlettes
Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Raspberry Filled Almond Objet D'Taarts

What a lovely day!
Meeting Rosanna and crew was the best treat of all.
Thanks Rosanna for taking time to sit and chat!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Surprise Inside Cake - Twice Baked Cupcakes

So what's a girl to do with left over batter? MORE EXPERIMENTING! Yay!

Some of my friends loved the idea of the cake balls as polka dots but since they have a booming bakery business, the time needed to do so just wouldn't be profitable for cupcakes. So I thought I'd try out some alternatives.

The cereal cupcakes don't fall under the "Twice Baked Cupcakes" category, but the idea was to try and get brightly colored shapes inside a cupcake without too much effort.

Here are some of the things I tried: Four of the cupcakes used the little strips I'd cut from cake scraps. Three of them used slightly varying amounts of Fruity Pebbles. And the others were all onesies of different cereals or cake crumb scrap variations.

I love how all of these looked before they went into the oven! The cups were getting quite full and to avoid a real mess as they baked, I didn't put batter on top of the colored additions. Which I would do next time.

The extra batter seals in the moisture and keeps the add ins at their best and brightest rather than toasting them on top. Since they were to be covered with frosting anyway, and this IS an experiment, I left them to see if the batter would rise up around the fillings on its own without further fuss. It didn't. But none overflowed so there was no mess in the oven. Next time, I'd thin the batter even more or find a thin batter that would pour easily over the mix ins and level off on its own. Maybe a sponge? (This may not have been an issue if I'd been faster and filling the 6 inch square with confetti cake scraps and batter.)

You can use a toothpick to move things around a bit and cover them but I'm looking for a less troublesome method. I was concerned that just mixing in some of the non-cereal items with the batter would break them up too much and blur the shapes and colors.

This one did get covered with batter so let me show you what is hiding inside that lovely white sugary blanket!

More cake scraps! This time I pressed them into ice cube trays meant for water bottles but any shape would do. A flexible mold was handy. Not sure if the shapes would pop out as easily in a rigid mold. That's another post for another day. Or perhaps one of you will try it and let me know. I'd love to see your creations!

The scraps were moist enough that no frosting or other "glue" was used. Just a little pressure to smish . . . (Is that a word? No, per spellchecker. It's a technical term meaning to smash and squish at the same time.) . . . them into the cavities and then into the freezer to harden up.

While I was waiting for the tray of misfit cupcakes to bake, I peeled back the liner on these two that I'd baked earlier. They were REALLY full of Fruity Pebbles. A bit too much for me. Which is why there are three more in the oven with a less pebble-to-batter ratio.

The cereal doesn't stay crunchy since there's so much sugar in it. Instead it becomes a little chewy. But the good news is that it doesn't all fall to the bottom while baking. And it adds a nice happy confetti look along with some fruity flavor. If you like that sort of thing. To be fair, I had to give the other fruity cereals a run at it.

I contacted the Trix people to ask them when or if regular colors of Trix would be available in the stores. I hadn't bought Trix in YEARS so I was disappointed to learn that they all have swirls. I was hoping for brighter solid colors. The swirls are a limited edition and regular Trix won't be available until they're sold out.

Meanwhile, the Walmart brand of Fruity Puffs did the trick. And then there were the Froot Loops. Conveniently available at my hotel breakfast bar a couple of mornings ago. I love their softer color blend.

A word about Froot Loops in cupcakes. I searched for recipes to make sure that this was a somewhat original idea. Turns out that are lots of cupcake recipes with Froot Loops on top or crushed into the batter or frosting. I only found one with what may have been whole cereal inside but the photo didn't show any bright colors.

Most recipes were going for citrus flavor in the batter and the fun colors on top but my goal was to get those fun colors inside in polka dot or confetti type fashion. Another thing I learned about Froot Loops along the way: the spelling. I'd never noticed the play on words before. Cute.
I'm sure to misspell it often as I did in the labels above.

The same may be true for the originality of my Fruity Pebbles cupcakes. I stopped searching after a while in order to get back to my vision of bright colors inside. Someone, somewhere in this big wide world may have come up with this first. If so, I'm sure I'll find them sooner or later.

Here they are all baked and covered up. I didn't want to spoil the surprise for you. So I sort of frosted them in patterns that hinted of their insides. I like the idea of a plain white outside so that no one suspects the fun in the middle.

But you could also add a little hint of what's to come like I did here.

These are the leftover confetti cake scrap and Fruity Pebbles cupcakes. Not quite enough pebbles inside. But the cake scrap confetti cupcakes were just about right. Although the tops were a bit dry when I first took them out of the oven, they moistened back up overnight. Patience is a wonderful thing.

Doesn't this one look yummy? Confetti cake crumbs. Nothing goes to waste. And they kept their pretty colors.

This was the one I was most hopeful about. Confetti cake scrap tubes. Although they made stripes, they weren't quite as distinct as I'd planned. Next time I'll use all solid colors and make sure that they are spaced correctly. They kind of remind me of Playdoh.

Are your eyes tired of all these bright colors yet? Not me. These are the confetti cake scraps. So cheerful looking!

The Fruit Froot Loops stayed in place but I didn't use enough of them. The colors got a bit darker during baking which helps them show up more.

The Fruity Puffs made cute little dots but again, I could have added a few more. The colors here stayed pretty true.

And this little Fruity Pebbles was just right. You can pretend that the dots are dried fruit if you're concerned about too much sugar. Which dried fruit also has. Pick your battles. Or eliminate them from birth. I was amazed when one of my baking buddies visited last weekend with her daughter who had no idea what Fruity Pebbles were. Good mommy!

I, unfortunately was the bad mommy type. My thirty something son will love getting the leftover ingredients from this session.

These look like they could have stood a couple more minutes in the heat unless that's frosting transferred during cutting. All of the cupcakes had more holes than usual. I'll bet my food science friend, Summer would have the answer to this one.

And finally, the Trix cupcakes. Not enough added to the batter and not enough colors in the box in my humble opinion. I'll wait for them to reintroduce the old style Trix or substitute Fruity Puffs.

I may not have had much leftover batter after all these cupcakes but I still have leftover ideas. Be sure to check back for the latest craziness!

Surprise Inside Cake - Hidden Squares and Geometrics

Just a quick note to show you another way to hide some fun inside a cake.
This cake is a chocolate cake with Duff's black color gel added.
The colorful squares are cut from white cake that has
been tinted and baked into cupcakes beforehand.
The squares stayed nice and moist and didn't get lost in all the black.
A few more squares could be added to the batter next time.

Hope you'll give them a try sometime and let me know how your experiment went.

More to come on this method since I still have scraps . . . 

Hope to see you soon!

Surprise Inside Cake - More Hidden Polka Dots

And the saga continues . . .
These are the cones I showed you last time we met.
 While this cake was baking I had lots of time to tidy up
the scraps and was wondering if I should toss them or 
save them for another project. Save. Nice save.
The trimmed tops were punched with my latest invention,
a small corer made from a bubble straw.
 Here's a closer look. I already had something in mind for these cute little cylinders.
 The mini corer was made by trimming a length from a bubble straw.
Bubble straws are fatter than regular drinking straws and
are sold for milkshakes at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $2.
They are also perfect for use as cake supports since
they cut so much easier than wooden dowels.
You'd be amazed at their strength.
Back to the project . . . 
A second piece a little longer than the first segment was cut from the same straw.
This longer piece was then cut down the entire length.
The cut straw naturally rolls itself into a smaller diameter
that fits perfectly inside the first cut piece.
I sprayed a bit of Pam inside so that the cored cake wouldn't stick.
The corer was then used just like the fatter versions for cupcakes with the
center straw used to push the mini cake cylinder out.
So if you're wondering what they were used for . . .
 . . . yet another fun shape to go inside a cake layer!
I had some colored batter left over from the cones and
the polka dot baking a few days before.
The mini donut pan was the perfect size to use up
small bits of batter and them pop them in a freezer bag for later.
 You can find Wilton's mini doughnut pan online or at Michael's and other craft stores.
Thirty four little donuts with bright colored centers
filled this 10 inch square along with some thinned white cake batter.
I couldn't decide how to decorate the square so I opted for some simple texture.
 A long cross section revealed only the outer donuts to have color inside.
So I cut some pieces from around the edge.
And here's what they looked like.
There was of course, left over batter . . .

See you next time!

Surprise Inside Cake - More Hidden Polka Dots

Actually the title should read more like, "Twice Baked Cakes and Cupcakes" to be accurate.
The reason is that the insides are baked first in a separate step
and then baked again with more raw batter.
Remember this cake from my last post?
I just couldn't wait to experiment some more!
Good thing we had a long holiday weekend so that
I could play Barbies in the kitchen all day long.
My head is just filled with things to try inside cakes and cupcakes!
At 3:30 am this morning, cones were calling.
Must've been on my brain from my recent snow cone cupcake post.
Who knows? Anywho, cones were first at bat in the oven today.
 It had been several years since I made the snow cones but the cans and cups were still waiting for me.
I'd forgotten about the very minor fumes from the empty V-8 juice cans I'd used way back then.
Word to the wise: find a can with no plastic coating, inside or out to support the cup while baking.
I plan to try the chrome plated egg cups next time or maybe Wilton's King Sized Muffin pan.
A metal rack for ice cream cones might also work.
I'm fairly certain my V-8 can method is no where near food safe.
Who knows what kind of drain bramage I caused myself already.
 That would explain SO many things!
Please be safe and let me know if you come up with a better solution.
 These are the empty wrappers from today.
Since snow cones were the goal last time and they weren't to be
removed from the liner until eaten, I didn't worry about the cake
releasing from the paper so much. It stuck more than I'd have preferred.
Next time I plan to try an inner liner of either parchment
or waxed paper inside the paper cone. Baking spray probably
won't work since the paper is somewhat more porous than cupcake liners.
You can see that I combined two colors in one cup in the red/green paper above.
Fun little surprise when I opened that cone.
The green on the bottom had baked up inside the center of the red.
Not sure if this happens every time but it might be worth looking into.
 Here are the naked cones inside a prepared 9 inch round.
A thin layer of batter went in first then the rest was dumped on top to cover.
I added an additional 1/4 cup of water to the cake mix this time
so that it would be thin enough to flow around the shapes.
I'd also trimmed the top and bottom of each cone to level them up a bit.
The tips of the cones all stuck in the very points of the cups
but I wanted a blunt end anyway. So it was all good.
Photo used with permission of Kerry Vincent.

Forgive me Kerry Vincent, for I have sinned. On purpose.
I made no attempt whatsoever to do a good job at frosting or decorating
the following cakes and cupcakes you'll see in my next few posts.
I really wish they would have magically decorated themselves.
For your sake. But I was beyond caring about the outside.
My mommy always told me, "It's what's inside that counts."
Let's hope so.
I am the slowest decorator ever and I REALLY
wanted to get to the heart or the guts of the matter in this case.
(I had a punk boss many years ago whose favorite saying to me was,
"You may not be good but you sure are slow!" Still true. And he's still a punk.)
So please forgive what you are about to witness.
Plain. White. Frosting.
Not even smoothed down. Shameful.
Okay. I caved and smoothed a tiny bit.
The embossed circles were added with the large end of a giant piping tip.
Notice the red/green one? That's the one I was telling you about earlier. Cool.
I was hoping to end up with larger and smaller polka dots with this cone method.
Perhaps if I'd arranged them differently.
So when it came right down to it, I still had no idea what the middle would look like.
 But I LOVE the bright colors!

More experiments to come . . .