Baking With Booze

Irish Cream Coffee Cupcakes

It’s a risky title, but I’m going with it. Normally, I save my baking with alcohol until around St. Patrick’s Day. Admittedly, this is when I baked these cupcakes for the first time. Since this excursion into baking with booze, I have been seeking out opportunities to use alcohol in my baking.

I find it rather exhilarating to add a little element of naughty into something so sweet and innocent such as cupcakes. You should see people’s eyes light up when you mention there is beer or liquor in the cupcake they are about to partake. It’s as if they were 16 and sneaking a sip of their daddy’s forgotten beer.

Irish Cream Coffee Cupcakes

The delightful addition to these chocolate cupcakes is Irish Cream and coffee. The flavor of the Irish Cream is not strong (I will probably add more next time). I do plan on using a bit of coffee in all of my chocolate cake or cupcake baking in the future. The addition of the coffee, really accentuates the chocolate flavor. Next time you’re baking, add a quarter to half cup of coffee. I promise, it will be amazing.

I plan to tweak the recipe I followed to make these particular cupcakes just a little bit for personal preferences, but that’s not going to stop me from sharing the source. They are quite good. I followed the recipe posted here for Irish Cream & Coffee Cupcakes.  

Irish Cream Coffee Cupcakes

The one change I did make was with the frosting. I left the coffee out of the frosting. I don’t like a strong coffee flavor. Instead, I increased the amount of Irish Cream I used and added a little bit of milk. When using alcohol to create frosting, you will need to add more liquid that when using straight milk. I imagine it has something to do with the alcohol not moisturizing, but I have not done research on the topic. I just know I need to add more than 3-4 tablespoons to get the consistency I need to pipe frosting.

Irish Cream Coffee Cupcakes

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Will you be my…

Will you be my...

There are any number of ways to ask someone to join your bridal party. I wanted to set the tone for the wedding from the beginning. I toyed with loads of options before settling on how our wedding ultimately looked. I wanted to pull into the mix many of the things that were important to us and play into a large portion of our lives. We have many varied interests, I managed to narrow it down to sewing, video games, and reading. While I tried really hard to work in photography, I never found a way to get it in. There were also many ideas I didn’t manage to make happen. Nevertheless, the day turned out amazingly! If anything went wrong, I have no idea. I managed to surround myself with people who kept everything going without needing to consult with me.

Back to the topic at hand, bridal party invites. I hadn’t planned on making my own, but I just couldn’t find the perfect invite to use. I found many parts and pieces of invites that I liked (Etsy.com is an amazing source), so I decided to cobble them together and create my own.

I started out wanting to copy a few ideas I had found, but no one had quite the right supplies. I had about given up, when inspiration struck. I was in the midst of making my wedding dress. Why not use wooden spools (sewing) as the base? I could then wrap the message around the middle like a secret message.

Supplies:

  • wooden spool
  • book pages
  • washi tape
  • paint
  • card stock
  • silhouette
  • baker’s twine

Steps:

First, paint your spools in your desired color. I used a wine color.

Will you be my...

Second, while the paint is drying, cut strips from the book pages that are just wide enough to fit on the flat part of the spool. I had to glue a couple strips together to make them long enough.

Will you be my...

Third,  using your silhouette, create a design to print your “Will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor/bridesman?” strips. Using the pen option, trace the design onto your card stock. Alternatively, you can also hand write your message or print them on a printer. Cut out the strips.

Will you be my...

Fourth,  carefully glue the card stock onto the book page stripes. Give them a minute to dry.

Will you be my...

Fifth, using washi tape, cover the outside end of the paper strips and punch a hole into the middle. This will give you a place to secure your string to keep the paper wrapped tightly. Tie a length of baker’s twine through the hole.

Will you be my...

Sixth, using another piece of washi tape, attach the beginning end of your paper strips to the middle of the painted spools. You may need to use a little glue to keep the tape secure.

Will you be my...

Seventh, wrap the paper around the spool. Use the baker’s twine to secure it in place.

They are ready to be sent or hand delivered. I shipped mine out in a padded envelope since most of my bridal party lived a considerable distance away. If everyone lives close, this would be a great reason for a small party!

Will you be my...

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Birthday Baking

Pink Layer Cup Cakes

This year, I decided to try something new for my birthday treats. Yep, I still make birthday treats for myself. All my co-workers appreciate it. Then again, we are teachers and get birthday treats on a regular basis. Since those treats are store bought, I like to add a little homemade goodness to the mix.

Pink Layer Cup Cakes

I’ve seen stacked cupcakes featured on a few blogs and thought I would give them a try. Rather than try to bake something already round, I opted to bake the cake mixture as a flat sheet. I used a jelly roll pan that is 15 x 11 inches. By baking the cake in this manner, I ended up with a 1 inch thick cake. I then used a 2 in circle cutter to cut out my circles (I think next time, I’ll use a sharper edged cutter as the edges were a little rough).

Pink Layer Cup Cakes

I used a basic buttercream frosting. To make it interesting, I used variegated shades of pink, starting with white. After completing a layer of filling, I added a little more food coloring paste to darken the pink. (I’ll have to do this again as I didn’t take photos of each step.)

Pink Layer Cup Cakes

They turned out amazingly! The cake was fudgey. By using thin layers of frosting, I managed to avoid them being overly sweet.

Pink Layer Cup Cakes

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India Fabric Top

Nearly everyone who sews has a stash of fabric. Some are larger than others. Some have collections dating back decades. Some maybe only a few weeks (Yep, I think that counts!) Some, if they are lucky, have a stash that came from various locations and come with a bit of a story.

Pink India-3909

The white-flowered overlay on this top came from my stash. It comes with a bit of a story of which I only know a small part. This fabric was bought for me by my sister. She spent a short time in India on a missions trip. While on this trip, she managed to remember me and found this fabric. I was so excited to have her home and that she brought me something, that I never thought to ask about where she bought it. Did she barter for it? Was it in an open market? Was there a huge fabric store? It’s been a dozen years or so now, I doubt she even remembers the particular details. I do hope she remembers the fabric when she sees me wearing the top.

Pink India

I used Simplicity 2587. (This pattern is currently out of print, but I saw a couple on Etsy.)  This isn’t my first time using this pattern. It’s quickly becoming a go to summer top pattern. It is an unlined top, so with the right fabric choice, it is nice and cool. The one major adjustment I’ve made is in the placement of the bodice front. I only gather a little in the front and allow the front triangles to overlap rather than rest side-by-side. This adds a little more coverage.

To add the overlay, I treated the solid pink like an underlining. An underlining is a second layer of fabric that is attached to the outside fabric, then they are sewn as if there were only one layer. The only place this created an issue was the midriff band where there ended up being 6 layers of fabric.

Pink India

 

I have already worn this top several times. I am hoping with washing and wearing, the fabric relaxes a bit. It feels a little stiff sometimes.

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Restocked the Shop!

I’m excited to announce that I have restocked the shop. Many of the items have been in the shop before, but I have a few new items that I’d like to share with you today.

The Measuring Tape Earrings are my favourite. I bought a similar pair about a year ago and after only a few occasions of wearing them, they started to fall apart. I decided to improve the design. Rather than use grommets to secure the loop of the measuring tape, I found a ribbon clasp to pinch the top shut. This also hides the cut edge of the vinyl measuring tape. I have been wearing a pair for 3 months now and they are going strong.

Since my shop is full of many Harry Potter characters, I have found myself with quite a collection of LEGO® brooms. Just putting a jump ring through the top didn’t give the right feeling to the piece. I decided to try a little wrapped wire. I am pleased with the look. To ease any concerns of your brooms flying away without you, the wire does go through the broom handle.

The third new item is a bit of a custom LEGO® creation. I have created The Stig! There is an official LEGO® Stig minifig, but they are very rare. I searched for just the right white pieces to assemble this little guy. For those of you who don’t know, The Stig is the tame racing driver from the very popular British show Top Gear.

I plan on having more new items in the shop over the summer, please keep checking back.

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Lovely Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I connect lemons with summer. We always had lemonade. Though, not fresh squeezed lemonade, we had Country Time Lemonade. My mom knew how to mix it up just right. Now that I live in Florida, I am having to rethink all of my perceptions about when certain fruits and vegetables are ripe. Lemons are no exception. I do realise it is July as I am typing this, but I made these bars back in February when the lemons on the neighbour’s tree were ripe for picking. Though I am sure, these bars will be just a good with the imported lemons currently available.

Lemon Bars

Until this year, I had never used lemons. Like I said, lemonade came from a powder! I enjoyed testing out a few recipes using fresh squeezed lemon juice. Topping the charts was the lemon bar recipe I tested. It was the perfect blend of sour and sweet. Even the crust was amazing. It wasn’t too crumbly and it seemed to melt in your mouth.

Lemon Bars

Since this was my first time making lemon bars, I followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen exactly. (You can find it here.) I used the full-sized lemon layer. It was perfect. Even my fiance (who dislikes cheesecakey things because of the texture) loved them. I thought he would prefer a thinner layer of lemon, but he didn’t.

Lemon Bars

I don’t believe I would change anything to make this recipe again. Well, except maybe line the pans with parchment. Even with greasing the pans, the bars stuck to the sides.

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Star Wars Cupcakes

Star Wars Cupcakes

You may have guessed by now, that we are a little on the nerdy side. Or maybe I’ve hidden that fact fairly well thus far. Which means, that we also have friends who are a little nerdy too. Maybe some a little more than others, but it doesn’t matter as we enjoy spending time with them. Especially for birthdays!

Star Wars Cupcakes

I have started offering to bring cupcakes or cakes whenever we are invited to parties. I’m working on getting my baking skills known so if I ever open a bakery, I already have a long list of customers!

Star Wars Cupcakes

This birthday boy, is a huge fan of Star Wars. With that knowledge and some newly acquired Star Wars stamp cookie cutters, I was inspired to do a little experimenting. (I really wish I had taken photos of this part.) The set includes; Yoda, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper, and the Death Star. Not only do they work well when making cookies, they work exceptionally well on fondant. The most difficult part was making sure not to roll the fondant to thin.

Star Wars Cupcakes

The cupcakes themselves, were spectacular. I made Cupcakes-on-Tap from Bake at 350. This is my second time using this particular recipe. I used a different beer both times. The flavor was both amazing and different each time. For this batch, I used AmberBock. The birthday boy’s beer of choice. I highly recommend using this beer (though I also plan on testing this with other beers).

Star Wars Cupcakes

 I also followed the included frosting recipe. Having the touch of beer in the frosting, made it that much more fun. Though, the frosting was very thick. I recommend adding a little milk to make it easier to pipe onto the cupcakes.

Star Wars Cupcakes

These cupcakes are not child friendly. Make sure you are only serving these to people of legal drinking age.

 

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