Sugar Chicks.


I actually got the inspiration for these cupcakes from a pin I came across on pinterest (the best site for inspiration, EVER).

I was looking for new ideas for Easter cupcakes. I didn’t want to make the same ones I’ve done in the past, especially since I knew for sure I would be making the Lamb Cake again. At the same time, I had an assignment from my photography class involving shutter speed. I had this grand idea that I’d incorporate the assignment into my cupcake baking. How, you may ask?

Like this:

whip in motion - long shutter speed.

whip in motion – long shutter speed.

And this:

whip in motion - short shutter speed.

whip in motion – short shutter speed.

We were instructed to take pictures of something moving – falling water, a bird flying, etc. The first thing that came to my mind? My mixer (aka “H.A.L.”) in action of course.  While the cake mixed – it was a Lemon Genoise (Italian Sponge) Cake, so it took a while – I snapped a bunch of photos on different shutter speeds.  It was a true learning experience – especially since I had to lug the mixer around the kitchen until I found the spot with the best natural light. H.A.L. is rather heavy, especially with a bowl full of batter in tow. (FYI – in both of those photos, the whip was moving at the same speed – it’s truly amazing the difference the shutter speed can make!)

After the photoshoot, I baked the cupcakes. They were light and spongy and lovely. They were splovely.

like a sponge.

like a sponge.

I whipped up some buttercream, colored it a very light yellow, and gave them each a layer of frosting.

ice, ice, cupcake.

ice, ice, cupcake.

I then dipped them in bright yellow sanding sugar. It created a “Peep effect.”

not a peep!

not a peep!

I gave them all eyes using inverted chocolate chips, and let them sit for a bit.

eyes without a face.

eyes without a face.

Finally, I piped on some yellow wings, an orange beak, and little orange feet.


I shared the results with friends, and all was right with the world. Happy Easter!

Recipe Saturday: Storm Cakes.

What do you do when the thing you’ve feared more than anything since you were about 5 years old is finally about to happen in the form of a superfreak “frankenstorm” with a path that appears to have curved intentionally to slam dead smack into your house? Bake, of course.

Enter: The Storm Cake.

I figured maybe by making a cake in honor of the storm, it would ease the blow – you know, the old “offerings to the angry gods to keep them from unleashing their wrath” kinda thing. Anyway, I began thinking, what kind of cake could live up to such a great task? What goes into a “storm cake?”  More importanly, what doesn’t? I couldn’t just frivolously use up my storm-essentials like eggs and milk. Not at a time like this. No, this cake must be egg and milk-free. But what to add? Chocolate chips seemed like a good choice. And coconut. Oh, and oats. And how ’bout some crushed oreos? So far so good. But a storm has clouds, and lots of them. Marshmallows seemed like a good cloud-representation, however, I had absolutely zero marshmallows in the house, and I was not about to go to the supermarket in the midst of the storm-preparation frenzy for mere marshmallows. So, I improvised.

peep no more.

I mixed it all together, and the batter looked like a jumbled mess – which was rather storm-like.

the wrath of cake.

I opted for cupcakes, and baked them up. When I took them out of the oven, they were bumpy, with things sticking out here and there – yet they rose to life as any normal cupcake should. These were truly Frankencupcakes.

it’s alive!

I topped them with a swirling cloud of cinnamon whipped cream, of which I originally made as topping for the Pumpkin Rosemary Pie, but still had a ton left over.

here comes the twister.

I had to eat one, to see if they lived up to the hype. And unlike I hope the real storm does, they did. The Storm Cake of the Century, I’d say. Give it a try and see for yourself. And if you don’t have all the ingredients, that’s ok – use what you’ve got. No two storms are exactly alike.


Storm Cakes.

What you’ll need:

2 cups warm water

3/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 cup oats

4 crushed oreos

3 ghost-shaped marshmallow peeps (cut up)

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix until well combined and smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, coconut, oats, Oreos, and cut-up Peeps. Scoop into lined muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Should make about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Cool, ice, and enjoy.

Choco Peeps.

A few years back, probably about 5 years ago, I decided that I was going to bring chocolate covered Peeps to Easter dinner. In theory, it sounded fantastic – two of my all time favorite things combined into one yummy treat. Well, it didn’t go so well. The chocolate was cheap, didn’t melt smoothly and didn’t taste all that great, and not to mention, they no longer even looked Peep-shaped. If i had brought them to dinner with no explanation, everyone would have assumed they were just odd-shaped bumpy chocolates. Bah.

Anyway, one thing I learned in pastry school was how to work with chocolate. I’m by no means a master chocolatier at this point, however, I once again attempted chocolate covered Peeps, and this time with great success! I sprinkled them with some shimmery sugar crystals, to give them that extra glow.

sparkly choco peeps.

They’ve retained their peep-like shape, and if one were to be presented with a box of these, I do believe they would be easily identifiable. The bad news is that because I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, I only made a few. The Choco Peep is an endangered species; eat them wisely.

On a side note, I had extra chocolate that I didn’t want to just throw away, so I covered two chocolate chip cookies with it. Now that’s what I call conservation.

why didn’t i think of this years ago??