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I’ve always liked making cupcakes. I rarely make them from scratch (something I should probably start doing), but they’re always fun to make and decorate. I’m usually awful at decorating. My mother and my sister got all of the art creativity in my immediate family. I’m boring, rather clumsy, and I have a very shaky, unsteady hand. Works fine for violin vibrato. ;) However, I’ve been lusting after all the beautifully decorated cupcakes I see on Pinterest, and decided to go for it.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I was at my second family/family friends/former neighbors’ house, as I spend nearly every Sunday now. Us kids (me-22, their oldest-18, and their youngest-14) decided we wanted to make sweets, as their mom was making other snack-y goodies for the game. So we just got a plain yellow box cake and chocolate frosting, plus one of those cookie decorating tubes of frosting in white. I’d brought some disposable decorating bags, and frosting tips to go in them. I was rather proud of my frosting skills, I did the chocolate frosting. They turned out rather nicely!

The white frosting didn’t cooperate as well as the chocolate did, it was a bit thicker and you could feel the sugary texture to it, so it didn’t come out as easily.

Fast forward a little more than a week, and it was Valentine’s Day! I live with my 2 best friends, and two of us are single, while the other one’s boyfriend had to work. So we decided to make V-Day cupcakes! Well, me and 7hir7een (of Thirteen Days Later) ended up making them, as our roommate’s mom, stepdad and grandmother came to visit her.

All these were was a box of Funfetti cake mix, plain white frosting, Wilton Sparkle Gel in black & red, and V-Day sprinkles. I made the cupcakes, and once they were cool, frosted them just like I did with the Super Bowl ones. Then, the decorating commenced!

We had a lot of fun with these. At first, we were just doing “safe” things like one color of sugar, or sugar and some heart sprinkles…then we got a little hyper and started doing other things, like ALL THE SUGARS and attempting to draw hearts (I failed. She succeeded.*) and then ALL THE SPRINKLES!

It was fun. And they were yummmmmmmy. ;)

Happy reading, and good eating!

P.S. In case you were wondering how hard I failed at making a heart…

Peanut Butter Pan Cookie


So one weekend I really wanted to make peanut butter cookies. I’d discovered a jar of peanut butter while re-arranging my shelf of the food pantry, and was in a baking kind of mood. I also remembered that right after Christmas of 2010 I’d gotten a snowman shaped cookie sheet on sale, and it had come with frosting mix and some candies. And while I’d used the snowman before, I’d never used the decorations.

Combined with my PB-craving mood, I decided to make peanut butter cookies. The only problem was that I didn’t have any eggs, and very little butter. So after finding a recipe online that didn’t require butter and only two eggs, I looked up what I could use instead of an egg. I found a substitute using vegetable oil, water and baking soda. Well, when I actually went to bake the big cookie, I must not have been paying much attention because I totally over-filled the pan.

It was a disaster. The pan was overflowing and burnt peanut butter cookie crumbs were all over the bottom of the oven. I had to take the pan out (carefully) and set it aside, even though it wasn’t fully baked yet. After letting the oven cool off, I got all of the cookie out and then finished baking it. When it wasn’t gooey in the middle anymore, I took it out to assess the damage. It wasn’t totally ruined, but it obviously wasn’t ideal. The surface was all cracked but I was pretty sure that the frosting would cover all of that.

So I spread it on and decorated it with the gummies that came in the kit, as well as some sparkle gel I had lying around. When I went to taste it, it was really hard to get out of the pan neatly. It didn’t stay together very well, it crumbled a LOT. But it tasted amazing. It had the texture of cookie crumbs, which wasn’t extremely appealing, but it tasted just like the cookie part of a Nutter Butter.


So, the lesson is that if you totally screw something up and make a big mess, sometimes it’s not all over. Sometimes it’s messy, but still tastes really good. :)

Happy reading, and good eating!

Pizza Dipping Bread


Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything via Pinterest

This is so easy it’s not even funny. And yummy. And fast. It only takes like 5 minutes to cut the bread, stuff in some pepperoni and cheese (I definitely recommend using sliced cheese. Tear/cut it into smaller thinner pieces and shove it in the bread alongside the pepperoni. I used provolone from the deli. You could probably also use pre-packaged slices but my deli slices were nice and thin.) The first time I made this back around the beginning of January, I cut the pepperoni into quarters and used smaller strips of cheese, but the second time I used bigger cheese portions and did not cut the pepperoni. If you are planning on dipping the pizza bread into some kind of sauce, the smaller pepperoni and cheese sizes would probably work best. I didn’t mind the bigger ones, but I did get some pieces of bread with no pepperoni and just a little cheese on the second batch.

I’ll admit that the second time I made this, there was no dip involved. It’s that good. This would be a great thing to bring to a party as an appetizer, probably with pizza sauce-like dip, garlic butter dip, and maybe for my fellow “weirdos”, a ranch dip (I love ranch dip and pizza together!).

Happy reading, and good eating!

Machine-made Cake Pops


So these are the machine-made counterparts to the Red Velvet cake balls I posted last. I got a cake pop maker for Christmas, but these are much different than ones you’d made like I did the ones before.

These were made with Pillsbury Golden Butter Yellow Cake Mix (the kind with a cup of pudding in the mix. Yummy.) I thought that seemed boring and I had a container of Christmas sprinkles, so I dumped them in and made my own Funfetti cake batter. ;)

The machine works much like a waffle iron, you put cake batter in each little hole, let it bake for a few minutes, then pop ‘em out! Makes the process much easier, but also has a much different result. These did not have frosting in them, and I didn’t need to bake the cake and crumble it.
So they taste much more like bites of cake than like cake batter covered in chocolate. That may also have something to do with the fact that I didn’t frost these. This was pretty much a test run of my cake pop maker, so I didn’t go all-out. Well, I didn’t plan to. Then I got silly.

I had some red and black (I know, I know, Louisville colors. BOO! Birds don’t have teeth, go Cats!) Wilton Sparkle Gel leftover from decorating a cake last spring, and decided to make Mr. and Mrs. Cake Pop. I know, I’m a geek. I was really hyper too. But they’re cute!

Now that I know how time-consuming (but better-tasting) making cake balls without the machine is, I’ll probably experiment with different ways to decorate these kind. Covering them in chocolate might be good, chocolate covered cake sounds good. Might be too heavy though. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy reading, and good eating!

Red Velvet Cake Balls


Recipe from The Velveteen Baker via Pinterest

I’d been wanting to make the more from-scratch version of cake balls (I received a cake ball maker much like a waffle iron for Christmas, but the results are definitely very different. More on those later) for a while now, and I finally had all the ingredients and the motivation to do it. I was expecting it to be a rough day for me and thought I would need a pick-me-up later. Turned out my day was fine, it was my roommates that had rougher days so I went ahead with my “Let’s eat cake balls while watching The Vampire Diaries!” plan.

Let me start off by saying that these were WAY more time consuming than I thought they were going to be. TVD starts at 8 here, so I started the process around 6, maybe 6:30. Big mistake. I didn’t completely finish coating the balls in chocolate (or cleaning up my monstrous mess) until around 9:40. Of course, if you don’t have distractions like Damon Salvatore on your TV, you might get these done more quickly than I did. ;)
I also took this as an opportunity to use my new silicone cake molds from IKEA. Since you crumble up the cake anyway, it doesn’t really matter what you bake it in. Turns out this was a pretty good idea, since there were way fewer hard edges than on any other cake I’ve baked. Also, they’re super cute!

If you’re sensitive to heat like me, make sure you wait to crumble the cake until the center isn’t so hot. My cakes were nice and small so it was easy for me to break them into fourths to cool off for a bit. I would imagine that may be harder if you bake it in a 9×13 pan. Also, when you add the frosting in prior to making them into balls, do NOT add too much frosting. It makes the balls much harder to make into any shape, much less a perfect sphere. Part of the reason this was so time-consuming for me was that I didn’t have much room in the freezer to cool the balls off before they got dipped in chocolate. If you’ve got plenty of room in your freezer and don’t make the frosting mistake, you’ll probably make your crumbled cake into balls in no time.

And then there’s the final step—chocolate. J The original recipe calls for almond or chocolate bark. I’d already decided I didn’t want the almond bark, I love almonds but I wanted the red velvet/chocolate combination. When I got to my Wal-Mart Supercenter, all they had was almond bark.  I went ahead and just got Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate melting squares. IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS AS WELL, MAKE SURE YOU GET MORE THAN ONE BOX! I did NOT have enough chocolate to cover all of my balls. Maybe half of them. I improvised on the rest, and drizzled Hershey’s syrup over them before sticking them back in the freezer.

And there you have some tips on cake balls! I will probably make these again sometime, now that I know a couple things to tweak and save me time. I would imagine these would be great for parties and other gatherings, they’re rich so it’s good they’re small, and you get a nice little taste of cake and chocolate without the guilty feeling of having eaten a whole slice.

Happy reading, and good eating!

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