Irish Creme Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: June 16, 2018

We were invited to a college graduation party for our friend’s daughter Lana. Lana has finished undergrad education and will start Physician Assistant school in about a year, after some time spent building her healthcare experiences.

Of course, I can never show up at a party without a treat. I asked the graduate what kind of cocktail-inspired cupcake she wanted. Bailey’s Irish Creme was her response.

I’ve made that cupcake before for St. Patrick’s Day, but was happy to whip them up again for Lana.  I piped on the frosting with a 1M tip. I then added generic chocolate jimmies and gold pearlized sugar sprinkles.

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The batter makes more than 24 cupcakes, so I made some mini loaves and covered them with the frosting also.

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Congrats Lana and best of luck on the next part of your professional journey!

Lana and Lou

The beautiful graduate Lana and her mom, my good friend Lou, at the party.

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Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting

Baking date: May 13, 2018

My youngest turned 15 in May. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he immediately replied chocolate-chocolate.

I have a chocolate cake recipe I like. On the page for the cake recipe, I saw a recipe for brownie batter frosting.  I used a milk chocolate brownie box mix, because my son loves milk chocolate.

The frosting is not super smooth, but it definitely tasted like brownies. I added some rainbow nonparelis on top.

My son’s smile says it all:

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Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

Lacrosse Jersey Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Baking and decorating dates: April 15 and 18, 2018

My youngest son made the JV high school lacrosse team this year. In total, the Varsity and JV lacrosse teams aren’t large, and JV often played 8 on 8 games with other teams, having no subs.

The program is rebuilding under a new coaching staff. The boys had grueling practices and conditioning sessions. In addition, there were tough grade requirements (tougher than the county mandated minimum) and community service activities.

There was a Senior night celebration this year. I offered to make jersey cookies and started with a chocolate sugar cookie base. The jersey cookie cutter I bought is rather large, but that gives plenty of room for decorating/names on the jersey. Just make sure you have enough cookie dough if you have a large team!

I started by using cookie icing in royal blue.

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I also used white, and colored some of it golden yellow. This finished up the jerseys for the Senior players and the one student manager. I used a number 1 tip to pipe on the names.

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Some players are moving on to the collegiate level of play. Others are not. Regardless of where their path takes them next — congrats to these hard-working Seniors, and all the best!

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Retirement Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Baking date: April 15, 2018

A colleague recently retired after a long tenure with the Association. He was instrumental in building a resource for medical students, called Careers in Medicine.

I wanted to offer a special treat for him as a thank you for his service; it wasn’t the first time I had made retirement goodies for a long-time employee.

I made chocolate sugar cookies and cut out the 4″ college font letters CIM.  I decorated them with green and white cookie icing. In addition, I made a giant oval cookie and piped the Happy Retirement message on it.

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Congrats, George. And thanks for the amazing work you did!

Knock You Naked Brownies

Baking date: March 31, 2018

I saw these when searching for a recipe that would work for a lacrosse team tournament buffet we were setting up between games. Of special note – there is a player with severe food allergies and this was a recipe that did not have any of the allergens that particular player suffers from.

The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman. The one change I made was not adding nuts, as that is one of the severe food allergies.

The recipe is fairly easy. The melting of the caramels took the most time. Here’s what the dessert looked like halfway through, with the bottom layer baked, and the  melted caramels and chocolate chips middle layer added:

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For the top layer, I had traced the outline of the bottom of the pan I used before any baking started). I then shaped the second half of the batter on wax paper over the outline (you can see that in the top right corner of the photo above). That’s why this top layer looks so smooth and is such an amazing fit on top:

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Here’s the final product – dusted with powdered sugar and cut into small squares. Definitely cut them after you cool them in the frig, because they are a (yummy) gooey mess. I made two batches since the tournament was for both our JV and Varsity teams.

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The mom of the player with allergies was so grateful and her son loved the brownies. I don’t think anyone was bothered by them not having nuts.

Sea Salt Caramel Chip Chocolate Cookies

Baking date: March 31, 2018

When you see a bag of sea salt caramel chips, you grab them.

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That was the case when I was looking for the very elusive Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips one day while in Walmart.  Even though I didn’t find the cinnamon chips, I was intrigued by the sea salt caramel chips, which had a recipe on the bag. I decided to make them for our family’s Easter gathering.

The recipe is simple, and as you would expect, the cookies are soft and yummy.

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I’m thinking they would also be a great addition to brownies. Perhaps I’ll try that next (because, of course, I bought two bags!).

Bridal Shower Cupcakes: Chocolate with Mocha Buttercream; White with Strawberry Buttercream

Baking date: March 2, 2018

I was commissioned to make cupcakes for a bridal shower. I was asked for chocolate with a chocolate frosting, and a white cupcake with strawberry frosting.

I ordered purple foil liners, since that was the color for the wedding. For the chocolate cupcakes, I used one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes – one bowl chocolate cake with a chocolate mocha buttercream. I piped on the frosting with a 1M tip. I hand piped chocolate heart shapes and added a gold sugar pearl and purple sugar sprinkles on each heart.

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Here’s the cupcake up close:

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The base for the other cupcakes was a white cake recipe. The strawberry icing recipe received rave reviews, but I found it difficult to pipe on in a fancy swirl. It wasn’t firm enough to keep it’s shape, like in the inspiration photo:

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I may have added too many strawberries, so it was not as firm as it needed to be. I topped the strawberry frosting with white sparkling sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a photo:

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In the future when using this strawberry frosting recipe, I’ll stick with the recommended amount of strawberries. And if I still find it won’t pipe on and hold it’s shape, I’ll probably add fresh strawberry garnish to improve the aesthetic appeal of the cupcakes.