Cupcakes For Any Occasion

I found myself on an emotional roller coaster this last weekend.

Ok, that’s a little dramatic.

Ok fine, that’s ridiculously overdramatizing things. Thanks for calling me out.

I found myself feeling moments of cheer and moments of sadness.

There. That’s more accurate.

The peanut butter filling. It's mostly peanut butter and powdered sugar. And really does taste like the inside of a reese's. I should know. After rolling an entire pan of balls out (balls!) and throwing them into the freezer to harden, I kept sneaking them. Which means we ended up with two cupcakes without the peanut butter center. Whoops.

On Saturday I attended a house party. I love house parties. Because usually I know quite a few of the people. I save money. And inevitably, the roommate and I will get control of the music and make poor song choices the rest of the night.

Party rockin’ in the hoooouuuusssseee tonight…

I poured in the batter (it was super thin) and my roommate plopped the peanut butter middle in. Go team!

But this wasn’t the most cheerful reason to have a party. It was a going-away party for one of my favorites. A college friend. A close confidant. A running buddy. A champagne brunch kid. A shoulder to cry on when I’m sad and one to punch when he pisses me off (don’t worry- I’m much too weak to do any harm).

His decision to move back to the area where he grew up was not a popular one in our group of friends. We all used the words “stupid” and “big mistake”. But that was mostly out of selfishness and we know he wants to end up there and we’ll have to support that decision if we like it or not.

Perfection! I suggest, if you do the toothpick trick to test for doneness, poke the side. Otherwise, you just get peanut butter all over your toothpick. Not that I would have done that, or anything.

Whatever. He’ll be back.

And then there’s the flip side.

Another guy friend, also a college friend and champagne brunch participant, was celebrating his birthday over the weekend and at the same party.

Buttttteeerrrrrrrr! When making buttercream from scratch, it's very important to whip the butter before adding anything else. Makes it a little lighter. Also, I cut mine with a little bit of milk (skim, because that's what I have around). Makes it a wee bit healthier (possibly a stretch of my imagination) and easier to work with.

And I love me some birthday celebrations.

Birthdays are your one special day. Or your one special week. Or, in my case, my one special month… 

And they should be reason enough for a big celebration. And what’s a celebration without cake? I don’t let that happen. Because I want you to know, as my friend, how important you are to me. And for some reason or another, I tend to think the only way to convey this message is through buttercream or chocolate. Or both if you’re lucky. ;)

Never skimp on the icing. NEVER. Also, invest in some decent food coloring. Wilton makes the BEST dye for bold and bright colors.

So I was browsing the interwebz one day, I ran across these from Love in the Oven. My instant reaction was a double take and “say what now?!?!”

Chocolate. Peanut butter. Buttercream.

My roommate felt the same way. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

I switched out the chocolate cake recipe for one from the Hershey’s website I had used before. This was done because it’s good cake and I also didn’t have the sour cream needed for the original recipe. It’s all about working with what you’ve got, ya know?

Also, we went with plain vanilla buttercream. Just in case other people weren’t as nuts about peanut butter confections as we are. So considerate, right?

Done and done and done.

Cut the tip off of a ziploc bag. Throw in a big scoop of your two colors. Pipe on like you normally would.
Word to the wise- pipe colors that would look ok if they mix a little. It's going to happen as you're squeezing the bag.

Sure, cupcakes may be an odd thing to tote along to a keg party. And birthday candles are a weird thing to have handy in your purse.

But when have you ever known me to be completely normal?

I am so sorry for really sucking at not cutting through it very well. But you get the point. Chocolate cupcake. Peanut butter filling. Plenty of icing. Perfection.

Another Excuse For Buttercream

We all have one.

Or two.

Or if you’re me, at least 5… maybe 6…

We’re talking about friends with babies. Not benefits. Babies.

And I’m totally cool with it.

Because I’m still working on keeping a house plant alive.  Does anyone really trust me with a child? Nope. Surely one day. But for now? I’ll live vicariously through others.

Like through my friend Jaime:Her little girl, Summer, just popped into this world to say hello a week ago. And I’m no expert, but find her quite a precious and adorable little thing.Because I often bring in treats to the office whenever I have extras from a baking spree, and because Jaime’s gone for a couple months, part of my bridal shower gift to her was to bring her baked goods throughout her maternity leave.

Really, it’s selfishness on my part. Because I’m just using it as an excuse to drop by more often.

Obviously, it’s all about me… right?

Fine. It’s not. It’s really about the cookies.I made these first for a reason.

Because I had a lot of malted milk powder hanging out from when I made the Chubby Hubby cookies. And there was this bag of candy staring me down:Robin Eggs that I got on clearance. It’s the last of the Easter candy that I had hanging around (no judgement about how little of the candy actually went into baking like originally planned, please).

I had to eat all the blue robin eggs. Because Jaime had a girl. So the blue had to go. And I’m not wasteful.

Anyway, if I had actually gone back and read the post about when I baked the chubby hubby cookies, I may have actually remembered how many cookies came out of it.This recipe could really be halved and no one would know the difference. Unless, of course, you’re cooking for a crowd. Or an entire baseball team. Then you should probably make the whole batch.

The recipe for the cookies was also the only one actually followed. When it came to the filling, I really wanted to make the oreo cookie knock-off filling. So I fired up the Google. And searched. And searched. And realized, without vegetable shortening, I was up a creek. Because this week was still a very busy one and a trip to the grocery store was not typed into my Blackberry calendar (aka wasn’t happening).Thank goodness I can always trust good ol’ buttercream to come through for me. Any recipe for it will do (I sort of always eyeball it)- just use at least a stick and a half of butter and a little more powdered sugar/less milk than you normally would as to get a thicker filling that won’t “smush” as quickly once you sandwich the cookies together.

It could all stop here if you really wanted it to. A classic sandwich cookie.Simple. Elegant. Satisfactory.

I am none of those things.

When it comes to baking, I’m a girl who lives in the excess.

*That rule also applies to pizza, wine, shoes and Vince Vaughn.

But anyway, when baking, why not go above and beyond?Because chocolate makes everything better.

As does crushed candy on top of your creation.

As does more chocolate.You can never have enough, to be honest.

It turns out quite pretty.And heavenly to devour when you’re in the market for a solid sugar rush.

Just make sure there’s a napkin involved. That is my disclaimer- I am not responsible for crushed candy getting all over your house.

Now that I’ve left you good and hungry, I must leave you. It’s time for yet another road trip to St. Louis. This maid-of-honor is SO not going to be the one late for the rehearsal dinner…

Toodles!

Oh yeah… I should probably go water that house plant before I leave… ;)

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