Happy OWLeen!

Hoooo doesn’t love halloween?? It was definitely one of Aly’s favorite holidays. She loved that one day out of the year you could be anything you want and eat all the candy you want! Celebrate this halloween with these owl cupcakes!

Ingredients

Chocolate cake mix

Chocolate frosting

Oreos

Reeses pieces

Directions

1. Bake cupcakes according to box (substitute whole milk for water for a more dense cake).

2. After cupcakes have fully cooled, you may need to use a knife to flatten the tops to make them easier to decorate.

3. Frost cupcakes.

4. Twist oreos and set aside halves with cream. Add brown Reeses pieces to the oreo halves for the owl eyes and then place on top of the cupcakes.

5. Add orange Reeses pieces underneath the eyes to make the owl beaks.

6. Depending on what time your event is, you may want to decorate on site. This will ensure everything stays in place and the oreos will stay crispy. If you decorate beforehand, serve within a few hours.

* 1 out of every 2-3 oreos I twisted were usable for the eyes. Save unsuccessful twists and other halves to make a crust or add to vanilla cake for a cookies and cream flavor.

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Save Sesame Street!

Once upon a time an evil man tried to take over Aly’s kingdom. He made threats against all the people she loved, including everyone on Sesame Street. Aly and Prince Charming were especially worried about their friend Cookie Monster. Thankfully they were able to gather an army led by Sir Obama and banished the evil man away to a far away land.

How to Decorate:

After your cupcakes have fully cooled, use a sharp knife to cut sections out for the eyes and mouth. If your cupcakes baked really high in the middle, you might also want to level it off a little bit.

The eyes – Wilton’s white chocolate baking chips with the black cookie icing (you can also use a black edible pen).

The mouth – small chocolate chip cookies cut into halves.

Frosting – blue food coloring added to vanilla frosting and piped on last after placing the eyes and mouth.

Nutella Cheesecake

Once upon a time, something magical happened. Nutella was created in the 1940s by Mr. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company. At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts to extend the chocolate supply.

Aly loved to use this magical creation to make crepes, milkshakes, and smores. One day she experimented to make nutella cheesecake. Thanks World War II!

Ingredients:

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup melted butter

2 eight ounce packs of cream cheese

1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup nutella

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press down into cupcake holders and bake for about 8 minutes. Then take out and cool for 5 minutes.

3. While crusts bake, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth.

4. Add nutella, vanilla extract, and eggs, and mix.

5. Fill cupcake holders with mixture.

6. Bake at the same temperature for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

* Nutella flavor was not as strong as I had hoped. I topped the cupcakes with whipped cream and hazelnuts but next time I would add ferrero rocher pieces instead.

* For peanut butter lovers you can substitute nutella for 1/2 cup of peanut butter and add 1 cup of Reeses peanut butter cup crumble.

Hunger Games Bakeshop

There was only one day left until the Hunger Games movie premiere! Aly got pretty hungry while she counted down so she decided to make Hunger Games inspired desserts: Mockingjay Cake, Prim’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake, Girl on Fire Cupcakes, and Peeta’s Lavender Shortbread. The Mockingjay Cake is a 5″ x 5″ piece of red velvet cake, covered with buttercream frosting and black sprinkles, and the symbol is made out of shortbread. Same cake and frosting for the Girl on Fire Cupcakes; also decorated with shortbread. See below for recipes. Enjoy and may the odds be ever in your favor when you bake!

Prim’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter

16 ounces cream cheese (softened)

8 ounces goat cheese from Prim’s goat Lady

8 ounces sour cream

4 eggs (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions

1. Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter and press it onto the bottom and about a third way up the sides of your pan.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese with an electric mixer on low until light and fluffy.

4. Add sour cream and continue mixing on low. Then add eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix.

5. Pour filling into the crust and bake for about 45-50 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.

Shortbread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick of butter (softened)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

Directions

1. Combine flour with salt and set aside.

2. Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Then add flour and mix.

3. Separate dough depending on how many colors you want to use for decor.

4. To make the Mockingjay symbol I added yellow food coloring and used a knife to cut the circle, bird, and arrow. Then I layered each piece on top of the cake which was frosted and covered with black sprinkles.

5.  For the fire design on the cupcakes, I used red and yellow food coloring and layered the yellow piece on top of the red and baked them as one piece.

6. Bake at 350 for about 7-9 minutes depending on how thick you rolled your designs.

* To make Peeta’s Lavendar Shortbread, add 1 tablespoon of lavender extract and 2 tablespoons of honey to the recipe above and use purple food coloring.

A Royal Wedding!

One winter a long, long time ago Princess Aly’s dear friend Princess Gwendolyn got engaged to a very handsome prince. They had a ball to celebrate and Aly made champagne cupcakes inspired by her fabulous friend. Cheers to the wonderful couple on their happily ever after!!!

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 pack white cake mix

1/3 cup softened butter

3 egg whites

1 1/4 cups champagne

5 drops red food color (optional)

Directions

 1. Mix softened butter until creamy.

2. Add cake mix, egg whites, food coloring, champagne and blend until smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Place paper baking cups in muffin pan.

4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, about 3/4 full.

5. Bake 17 to 18 minutes. Insert toothpick in center and make sure it comes out clean. After a few minutes, move the cupcakes from pan to cooling rack.

*For a stronger champagne flavor, use a toothpick and poke a few holes at the top of each cupcake. Then use a pastry brush and add champagne to the tops of cupcakes; a few brushes per cupcake. If you don’t like champagne, you can substitute for riesling or another sweet white wine.

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

1. Mix butter until creamy.

2. Add powdered sugar and blend.

3. Add salt, vanilla, and whipping cream and blend.

4. If frosting is too stiff, add more whipping cream. If it is too soft, add more powdered sugar.

5. Frost cupcakes after they have fully cooled; about 30-40 minutes.

6. Leftover frosting can be refrigerated for about 5-6 days. Just bring back to room temperature and stir a few times.

*Additional decorations can be found at Michaels – pink pearls, gold dust, and princess sugar layons.

Dessert at Tiffanys

One day, Princess Aly received a message from her postal carrier (Damon the dove). The message was from a friend who was wondering if Aly had time to make cupcakes for her birthday party. Princess Aly quickly scribbled a yes, sent Damon on his way, and went straight to the castle’s kitchen to come up with the right cupcake. Aly remembered her friend’s obsession for a particular jewelry store and came up with the … Tiffany cupcake!

Ingredients

1 box of yellow or chocolate cake mix

1 can plain buttercream frosting

1 tube of blue food coloring

Directions

1. Bake your favorite yellow or chocolate cupcakes. Make sure to buy additional items such as eggs, vegetable oil, etc depending on what brand you choose.

2. While the cupcakes cool, scoop the frosting into a bowl. Add a few drops of the blue food coloring and stir. Continue doing this until the color starts to get close, then add the food coloring one drop at a time, and stir.

3. After your cupcakes have fully cooled, add the frosting on top and you’re done!

For all the Prince Charmings out there, this is a great way to present your girlfriend with an anniversary necklace or perhaps pop the question with a Tiffany’s ring in the middle??!!