For 40 years, a favorite of 2 year-olds has been Sesame Street. We loved it as kids...and kids today still love it. So, for Avery's 2nd birthday, what would be better than Cookie Monster and Elmo cupcakes?
I made the Cookie Monster cupcakes by putting a layer of blue buttercream on the cupcake, placing a cookie on top, putting another heap of buttercream on top of the cookie for his head, sticking on marshmallows for his eyes, and then piping buttercream "fur" all over him. For the Elmo cupcakes (since red buttercream is really difficult to make) I used red jimmies.
I think this is it with the baking until after finals...we'll see...
Delaware is a seriously small world. I mean, there are less than a million people here, after all. So, when talk of my cupcakes made 4 people realize they had mutual friends, it was pretty standard. The person who started this cupcake talk was Kara. She's a friend and patient of Greg's and a friend of one of the attorneys I work with. She loves cupcakes, but for her husband's birthday, she wanted to do a cake. Her hubby loves sports, and since it's football season, I made him an Eagles cake. It's a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. I cut out an Eagles green circle of fondant and placed it on top. Then, I cut the Eagles logo out of fondant, and piped buttercream for the writing and side decorations. I rolled up balls of fondant for the bottom.
Some of the color was distorted when I took the pics below. The true color is in the first pic.
Back to pumpkin. You all know (or you should know) that I love pumpkin. In the last few weeks, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cake twice and pumpkin brown butter cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (yum)...they didn't make it to the blog. Last night, I had a bunch of friends over for dinner and game night. I made spinach artichoke dip, guacamole, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and fried plantains for appetizers; baked ziti, meatballs, and garlic bread for dinner; and a pumpkin banana mousse tart and homemade pumpkin ice cream for dessert. Marie brought an amazing salad (I know, I hate salad...but this one was awesome) and Mike brought a sweet potato pecan pie (yum!).
This torte was a little different for me. It was the first time ever that I used a springform pan....well, I guess that's the only difference. I really thought that the banana would overpower the pumpkin, bu it didn't....in fact, I think the pumpkin overpowered the banana.
I've never posted a recipe before, but this ice cream was so good that it would be sinful for me not to post it. Yes, I realize it has no eggs, but don't turn your nose up just yet. It's actually much easier to make without having to temper the eggs (you will have done that once already in the pumpkin torte). If you have to have eggs, I would think it would be just fine to use your regular vanilla ice cream base and then add the pumpkin and spices as directed. Hope you try it (and by you, I mean KMK, since she's the only person who reads my blog who even has an ice cream maker).
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
4 cups half and half
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
7.5 oz canned pumpkin
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Combine all dairy into a saucepan along with the sugar. Split and scrape the vanilla beans into the dairy and sugar mixture. Bring to 170 degrees F. to dissolve sugar then let cool at room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. While dairy is heating, grate nutmeg into pumpkin and add the other spices. Mix in a bowl to combine and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, take pumpkin and dairy mixture out. Filter dairy mixture to remove large vanilla bean pieces. Add some of the dairy mixture to the pumpkin and mix well to loosen it up. Then mix both the dairy and pumpkin together. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let the ice cream harden for at least two hours unless serving all immediately.
I have a not-so secret double life. Seriously. I am, as it appears, a super serious law student by day, and an obsessed baker by night. One of my professors (who knows of this double life) always asks how I do it all, and I guess the answer (or at least the one I tell him) is that I don't sleep. The truth is that I just work really long days. So, today, after 10 hours at school of class, homework, and relearning 4 years of physiology, I came home to bake cupcakes.
My very good friend (and classmate), Marie (remember her? 4th of July cupcakes), is involved in the Environmental Law Clinic at school. She is one of 12 students who fights for environmental rights in the tri-state area. Every week, her group takes turns bringing "snack" to clinic class. In August, she came to me asking to help when it became her turn to bring snack to the clinic. Tonight, we made the snack.
We made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and topped them with buttercream and fondant fancies! Marie and Lauren cut out the arrows for the reduce-reuse-recycle cupcakes while I piped the words on each one. Somehow I have a feeling that they are going to go over pretty well tomorrow for clinic snack time (yes--law students like snack time too)!
Ok, I admit, I don't like baseball. I do, however, love a social gathering, so I will sacrifice my hatred of sports to go to a party surrounding a sporting event. Tonight, for World Series Game 4, all of our friends are getting together. I made Phillies cupcakes for the event. Greg, being the Mets fan that he is, totally does not approve of this...but thought the cupcakes were cool anyway. See, this is the type of cool stuff I could do if I could spend all day baking (like I did today). GO PHILS!!
Today was Halloween. I spent most of the day at the mall (which was empty since everyone was out playing and watching the Phils). Before my fun-filled day, I made these really cute Halloween cupcakes for my co-worker (remember the Thomas the Train cake?). She has a 4 year-old son who loves pumpkins. The way to a 4 year-olds heart--cupcakes. Came home and made chocolate chip cookies...yum. Sounds like a great Halloween to me!
I'm a young lawyer and self-proclaimed domestic goddess.
I believe in real butter and making everything from scratch.
I bake as a hobby. I find it to be an incredible way to unwind in a world of never-ending work. If you have a question, just ask! ENJOY!
Please feel free to e-mail me: LAnderson2@gmail.com