Archive for November, 2012

November 9, 2012

Tools of the (Cupcake) Trade

Well, I found this fun little tool at Walmart for $1.87.  When I first saw these cupcake corers on the internet,  I assumed it would be way more expensive and wrote it off as a useless gimicky gadget (say that five times fast!)  But, for the price, how could I pass it up.  It wasn’t exactly a life altering investment.

Well, good thing it wasn’t. I bought it the weekend I made the apple crisp cupcakes which I already knew I’d be filling with apples.  Perfect time to try it out.  Unless I used it wrong, it basically just cuts through the cupcake, but it doesn’t pull the middle of the cake out when you take it out.  After three attempts, I grabbed my paring knife and finished coring my cupcakes.

Moral of the story – this is not a gadget that you need to make filled cupcakes.

November 2, 2012

Tools of the (Cupcake) Trade

I find baking cups and indispensable tools for baking cupcakes.  If not just for the actual baking, at least for the serving.  I wouldn’t like for people eating my cupcakes to not have a clean surface to hold on to when they select one to eat.

I also think cupcake wrappers can add personality to otherwise bland or monochromatic cupcakes.  And, when needed they can hide out in the background to allow for a cupcakes splendor to rise up.

For that type of situation, I love the white wrappers I found at Dollar Tree.  They are super thin and waxy, and I usually need to double up, but I love how they almost become invisible.

Then, for looks or a special occasion, I like to find wrappers that are more festive or share a message such as the Class of 2012 ones I used for celebratory cupcakes during graduation season. The mini blue ones with the lighter blue circles seemed so perfect for blueberry cupcakes.

When I make mini cupcakes, I usually bake them in straight in the pan and then put them in the wrappers for serving.  This is mostly because my mini cupcake pan in wider and more shallow than the standard wrappers.

I find foil wrappers useful too when I need something really sturdy, and sometimes I’ll double my luck with them and use the white inside paper for one batch and bake cupcakes in the foil leftovers.  I don’t find the paper a necessary component when baking in them.  After all they are on the pricey side, so why not stretch the buck a little.  For a while, I was using them by request because one of my students had an issue with eating the paper wrappers!

I don’t tend to spend on the really fancy and intricately designed baking cups found in the craft stores because that just seems like a waste of money to me.  I mean, if an occasion really called for something extra special, I might splurge, but not on a regular basis.

My favorite place to buy cupcake wrappers is from the dollar bins from Michael’s.  They are cheap and cheerful.  When I run into a time when I have a few odds and ends left around, I’ll just make a batch of cupcakes using up all my leftover wrappers.  I’ll be creating a cupcake tasting for a bride and groom soon, so I can use up my extra baking cups to distinguish flavors, etc.

I received the set of red silicone baking cups as a gift, but found that they are extremely hard to clean so I don’t use them much for baking.  However, they are perfect for putting smaller items in a lunch box when you don’t want things to mix.

For storing, I’ve seen cute ideas where cupcakes cups are stored in mason jars, etc.  I find it just as easy to stack them on top of each other and sometimes I’ll reuse the Reynold’s cups they cup in for additional storage.  That’s what I did with the white cups from Dollar Tree.

November 1, 2012

November Foodie Penpal Revealed!

I think I’m late…so I hope all will be forgiven, but it’s time to reveal my October Foodie Penpal.  I think this program might be one of the main reasons I started a food related blog to begin with!

Anyhow, it’s a fun program started by the Lean Green Bean.  You get matched with someone who sends you a box of food goodies, and you get matched with someone else to send a box to.  I sent a box to Alicia over at Persnickety Snits so go check out her blog and see what I sent her.

I got a great box of goodies from Kim full of Trader Joe’s fall goodies and some gorgeous cupcake wrappers.

I got pumpkin pancake and waffle mix, pumpkin bread mix, chocolate chips and cupcake liners.

It all looked so good, I wanted something right away! So, I pulled out my muffin tin and put the liners in and mixed up with pumpkin mix, then dumped the entire bag of chocolate chips and plopped them in the oven.  Yup, I did it and it was a good idea.  Then, I knew the fate of me eating all the muffins by myself, so I did what I do and brought them to work.  Everyone was pleasantly confused by the treats in the office on a Wednesday, but that didn’t stop them from eating them up.

Now that the weather has severely cooled down in Atlanta, I’m thinking pumpkin pancakes will be the perfect breakfast on the weekends!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals. In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!