Mardi Gras King Cakes

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History behind the King Cake…

As part of the Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This is referred to as the Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings called “A King’s Cake.”

Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold). The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today’s King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.

In more recent years, some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings.

January 6, the Twelfth Night after Christmas, is also the day our Mardi Gras season begins. Mardi Gras Day is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday).

Soooooo…. In anticipation of the Mardi Gras spirit, you can follow this delicious recipe & make your own KING CAKES for your next Mardi Gras celebration!!

Here’s what you will need:
PASTRY:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • FROSTING:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Directions

    1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
    2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
    4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
    5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
    6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. When both are rolled, twist the rolls together and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, form into a circle, and seal the edges together. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

    Twist the 2 parts together

    Join ends of twisted dough

    7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Add pruple, green, and yellow sugar crystals to garnish~

    Bake for 30 minutes

    Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

    ~Let the Good Times Roll~

    Valentine’s Day Cupcake Bouquets!

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    We know roses are a Valentine’s Day classic, but if you are looking to do a little something out of the box pot (lol), then try these cute Cupcake Bouquets!  These are super easy to make, and with a little creativity, your gift will be the talk of your guy (or gal’s) friends~

    This bouquet literally only takes 15-20 minutes!  Here’s how to make your very own….

    Supplies 

    Planter

    Styrofoam ball

    Green tissue paper

    Wooden Skewers (or toothpicks for mini cupcakes & smaller bouquets)

    Baked Cupcakes (mini & regular sized)

     

    Let’s get started!

    First, you want to make sure your styrofoam ball fits snugly into your planter.  Wrap the ball in a sheet of green tissue paper and place inside.  For a little added security, you can even use a little hot glue to secure the ball to the planter.  Do this ahead of time & please make sure the cupcakes are not in your craft area!! Hot Glue + Cupcakes= FAIL!

    Next, decide on your placement of skewers and/or toothpicks, and insert them into the styrofoam ball.  If you are using toothpicks, make sure you use 2 per cupcake to keep secure. Just make sure the toothpicks are close enough for the cupcake to fit.  Any design you select will end up looking like a flower arrangement, so try not to worry too much about getting it perfect.

    Continue by placing the full-sized cupcakes on your toothpicks or skewers first.  You will then be able to fill in the spaces with the mini cuppies.

    You can frost your cupcakes before or after you have placed them on the skewers.  If this is your first time, I would frost after you are satisfied with the placement. If you decide to frost the cupcakes ahead of time, start decorating your bouquet from the bottom and work your way up.

    Make sure pre-decorated cupcakes have had a chance to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to decorating.

    Do not use super moist cupcakes for your boquets, as they will be very difficult to stay on your skewers.  Same concept for your frosting.  Very soft frosting has a tendency to move or “run” when the cupcakes are at an angle.

    Tie a pretty bow around your planter and be amazed at your fantastic creation!

     

     

    New Year’s Cupcake Idea: Champagne Cupcakes

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    Looking for a sweet treat to help you ring in the New Year? Champagne goes with everything, so why not try Champagne Cupcakes?!?  No need to break the bank buying Cristal for this fun recipe, a good ole bottle of Andre will do the trick!  As an added bonus, you could always use the rest for one of my faves…. MIMOSAS!

    Here’s a fairly simple recipe you can try to kick off the festivities:

    Champagne Cupcakes

    2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

    3 tsp. baking powder

    1 tsp. salt

    2/3 cup butter

    1 1/2 cups white sugar

    3/4 cup champagne (the sweeter the better – even strawberry would be great!!)

    6 egg whites

     

    Champagne Buttercream

     3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more or less to taste)

    1 cup butter, at room temperature

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

    3-4 drops of red food coloring (also optional)

    Lets Start Baking~

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. 

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

    In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

    Let’s Start Frosting~

    With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.  Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute. You may need to add a little more sugar or liquid depending on how thick or thin you want your frosting.

    Decorate & Enjoy!

    The launch is here! Sweet Chubby Cakes is in Business!

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    It is with much excitement that I announce the much-anticipated launch of my very own Sweet Chubby Cakes!  I have been patiently waiting & working on everything from logo approval, licensing, supplies, Etsy pages, yada yada … so that I can present to you all of my hard work.

    It’s no surprise that baking is my life, and nothing gives me greater pleasure.  No matter what kind of day I have had, if I can get my hands on my trusty Kitchen-Aid mixer all will be right with the world.  What better way to share my love of baking with my family and friends and hopefully future customers (did I say that? lol), than with my infamous Cupcakes in a Jar?!?!  These sweet treats stay moist for up to a week in the recyclable glass jars! I even include a handy compostable wooden spoon  for immediate indulgence~ yum!

     

    Choose from flavors such as Regal Red Velvet, 24 Carat Carrot, Vanilla Vixen, Charming Chocolate, and Sassy Strawberry!  We can be reached via email at SweetChubbyCakes@hotmail .com, or feel free to visit our Etsy page at SweetChubbyCakes.Etsy.com. 

    Don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page for special news and offers!

    Bakery Spotlight: Cupcakes Squared

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    Looking for a delicious way to celebrate that special occassion, but don’t want to do what everyone has already done?  Grab a few dozen of square cupcakes from Cupcakes Squared in San Diego, California. That’s right; SQUARE CUPCAKES!  I was completely in awe when I first saw these sweet treats with a twist! 

    From the website:

    Our cupcakes are more like individual gourmet cakes with over 28 flavors and a unique shape as well. The custom individual wrapping makes for a new experience. Custom made baking pans and paper wrappers make these cupcakes truly and original work of art and an uncopied look. This is the only square cupcake IN THE WORLD!

     

     The menu here consists of everything from Vanilla (Luscious hawaiian vanilla with vanilla buttercream frosting) to Pistachio Pomegranate (Moist pistachio cake with pomegranate cream frosting), so their flavors are sure to impress even those with the most discerning palate.  For a complete list of flavor offerings be sure to visit their website.  They are open 7 days per week, so you can satisfy that sweet tooth any time you please!

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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    Happy October Cupcake Lovers!  As you all may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What better way to celebrate such an amazing cause than with pink cupcakes!  This month I will be baking my own creation of strawberry berry goodness cupcakes in the local Memphis area  and all proceeds will go to the Susan B. Komen Foundation, the worlds largest network of breast cancer suvivors & activists, fighting to save lives.  The only thing better than baking cupcakes is baking cupcakes with a cause.

    This is one of my favorite strawberry cupcake recipies.  Super moist & amazingly delicious.  Enjoy!

     

    Strawberry Cupcakes (makes 18 cupcakes):
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    3 egg whites
    2 teaspoon strawberry extract
    1 cups pureed fresh strawberries
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1 1/2 cups cake flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
    1/4 cup butter-softened
    1 8oz package cream cheese-softened
    2 teaspoon strawberry extract
    6 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
    Pink Food Coloring

    Directions :

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • In a large mixing bowl,beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites one at a time,beating well after each addition.
    • Stir in strawberry extract,pureed strawberries,and sour cream.
    • In a medium mixing bowl,sift together flour,baking powder,soda,and salt.
    • Gradually add to butter mixture,beating until combined.
    • Pour batter evenly into prepared cupcake pans.
    • Bake for 15-20minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove onto wire rack.
    • Cool completely before frosting

    Frosting:

    • In a large bowl,beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.
    • Add strawberry extract beating until combined.
    • Add food coloring until desired color is reached
    • Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth

    Garnish cupcakes with fresh strawberries after frosting & Enjoy!~

     

    ~Peace.Love.Cupcakes.

    Bakery Spotlight: Muddy’s Bake Shop (Memphis, TN)

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    My first bakery spotlight is Memphis’ very own Muddy’s Bake Shop!  Muddy’s prides themselves with making delicious cupcakes with only the freshest ingredients!!  And we love the fact that they only use caged free eggs in all of their desserts.  From the website:

    Muddy’s is a small neighborhood bakery made of up of people who have chosen to pursue a career where they connect with their community through baked goods; we do this because we love to bake (and eat!) and we love people.

    Popular flavors from Muddy’s include Frankly Scarlett, Pink Lady, and the Grasshopper.  Regular sized cupcakes are only $1.60 and mini cupcakes can be purchased by the dozen for $8.50.  How can they afford to be so inexpensive yet so delicious?  The keep their costs low by not advertising.  Thats right!  Muddy’s rely’s on word of mouth to keep their business running,  It’s truly all about the cupcakes here!

    Frankly Scarlett

     

    Pink Lady

     

    Grasshopper

    If you are ever in the Memphis area, you can visit Muddy’s at 5101 Sanderlin #114
    Memphis, TN 38117.  They are open Tues-Saturday.

    ~Peace.Love.Cupcakes.