Sea Turtle Cupcakes (Chocolate & Caramel)

sea turtle cupcake

My friend Katie loves sea turtles*, so that’s the theme I ran with for her birthday cupcakes. I’d seen cupcakes with gumdrops made to look like turtles on top, but the first thing I thought of was turtle candy, the chocolate caramel and pecan treats that look like turtles.

Of course, the candy would need a cupcake base. I decided on chocolate cupcakes with a caramel center. I made the lighter chocolate cupcakes I like, leaving room for the caramel to shine.

caramel centers

I confess, I “cheated” and didn’t make homemade caramels. It’s just way too easy to drop an unwrapped caramel candy in the middle of each puddle of batter. When they are baked, you can barely see a sign that they’re in there, but there’s a caramel-y surprise waiting.

While my chocolate cupcakes baked, I made the turtle candy. I roasted some pecans, arranging them on foil in groups of four for my turtles’ legs. I then dropped a spoonful of melted caramel in the center of each pecan cluster. Next, I swirled on a spoonful of melted chocolate chips.

turtle candy

To complete my turtles, I made heads with half pecans and finished with some green sprinkles. Vanilla frosting colored blue gave my sea turtles a place to swim.

swimming turtle cupcakes

*Sea turtles are endangered. Learn more about the real turtles and how you can help protect them at www.conserveturtles.org.

[ Posted in Birthdays, Candy/Cookies, Decorating ] [ 1 Comment ]

Amélie & Jason’s Wedding Cake + Cupcakes

In October, I got married. And there were cupcakes.

Wedding Cupcake

The wedding cake was, of course, one of the most important things to plan. To read about our tasting and planning with Kara of KaraBoo Bakery, see my post “Travel Treats: Miramar Beach, Florida.” We discussed the design and Kara sketched it out for me, but I didn’t see the result of our master plan until we entered our reception and finished our first dance.

Wedding Cupcakes

I was delighted with the final product. Thank you KaraBoo!

Ours was a beach wedding. It took place at Carillon Beach, which is a beachside community on the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City Beach, Florida. We used blues and greens and silver seashells in the wedding décor to reflect the beach theme and definitely wanted that carried over to our cake. We also wanted to use a version of the wave “logo” that showed up in various wedding materials and we thought could work on a cake, too.

A traditional tiered cake to cut was a must, but I had to have cupcakes, too. The bonus was that this meant we could have five different delicious cake/frosting combinations. The main cake was three layers of Peanut Butter Cup (black velvet cake with peanut butter cup filling and peanut buttercream), then we had four flavors of cupcakes, color coded.

Wedding Cupcakes Sign

Navy Cupcakes – Pumpkin Spice with Caramel
Green Cupcakes – Piña Colada with Spiced Rum
Periwinkle Cupcakes – Lemon with Raspberry
Light Blue Cupcakes – Vanilla with Salted Caramel

So tasty… I only got to take a few bites at the actual reception, but leftover cupcakes were breakfast for the next three days. Now that’s the way to start a marriage!

The Cake Pull

Wedding Cake Pull

To involve some important ladies in our wedding who weren’t in my bridal party, I co-opted the New Orleans cake pull. I’m a Louisiana girl and have participated in this fun tradition as a bridesmaid in my NOLA cousins’ weddings. The cake pull is traditionally for single girls, but I paid no mind to that. I didn’t include a wedding ring or an “old maid” (?!) charm, just fun charms predicting happy futures. (I also did this as an alternative to torturing single girls with a bouquet toss.)

Bicycle Charm

Sharing our First Slice

Cutting the cake was serious business, and my newly minted husband let me do the honors. I was really concentrating at this point. After all, 100 people (including my caterer mother-in-law) were watching.

Cutting the Cake

And, then, we ate!

Eating Cake

We had a fabulous party with family and friends, and the cake and cupcakes were a highlight of a celebration full of highlights.

Amelie and Jason

Me, my love, and a cupcake = Happily Ever After

Wedding Party Shout Out

Our wedding party

This crazy crew includes some of the family and friends who made our day possible. They spoke during our ceremony and guided our guests. They helped with planning, threw parties, calmed the couple, and toasted our happiness. They let us dress them up. LOVE to our wedding party!

Photos by Rae Leytham Photography

Click here for more wedding cupcake photos…

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Irish Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Chips

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I was advised to make something green and boozy, and that’s just what I did.

Irish Cream Cupcake

I baked these cupcakes with Baileys Irish Cream in the cake batter, some drizzled over after baking, and in the frosting.

Baileys Soaked Cupcakes

I poked holes in the cupcakes with a chopstick before pouring some extra Baileys over them.

I also made a couple without uncooked liquor, topped with cinnamon frosting, for the child who would be enjoying them with us. I colored the icing green in honor of the holiday (blue for kids’ version) and added chocolate chips.

The frosting was the best the part. And, yes, I used a lot!

Baileys Cupcakes

[ Posted in Booze, Holidays ] [ Leave a comment ]

Valentine Red Velvet Cupcakes for New Alternatives

red Velvet AMELIEWant to taste my Red Velvets? One dozen of my cupcakes are on auction right now at the Valentine’s Day Fundraiser for New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth at Il Bastardo, 191 7th Ave, NYC. It’s a free entertainment program with a DJ, live performances and  a silent auction. 100% of proceeds go to charity. Click here for event info!

 

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Strawberry-Walnut Tart

strawberry tart closeupI’ve been on a tart kick lately. Yes, sometimes even I need a break from cupcakes.

My husband and I received a beautiful blue Le Creuset tart baking dish as a wedding present (thank you, Lisa and family!), and I’d really been wanting to put it to use. A recent dinner invitation from friends gave me the first opportunity, though I made sure to confirm that I would be let in their door NOT carrying cupcakes.

I was set on a tart but was open to requests, and one of our hosts wanted strawberry and/or banana. Opting for the first, I began a recipe search. I knew I wanted a baked, warm tart to counter the cold weather. I started from Simply Recipe’s raspberry version, which sounded divine, and made a couple of modifications. I added about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice in the filling to up the tartness and used sliced strawberries instead of raspberries.

The crust was made with just flour, powdered sugar, and butter (it tasted like shortbread when baked). I’ve never owned a food processor, but I gained the use of two when my husband moved in. I was quickly won over, at least for making pastry dough.

I pre-baked the crust for about 20 minutes, covering it with parchment paper and dry beans as weights. I then filled the tart with a layer of chopped walnuts, strawberries, and an egg-based filling.

Walnuts Strawberries

40 minutes later…

Finished Tart

I artfully sprinkled powdered sugar over the top before wrapping it in foil and transporting.

Tarted Up

The sugar had, of course, soaked in by the time it was unveiled. Next time, I’ll sprinkle the sugar just before serving, or skip it.

It didn’t matter once we were eating it. I call my first tart a success!

tart_ready_to_eat

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