Category Archives: cupcake

Coconut Cake Fit for a King

My husband had a very special birthday last week and to commemorate the occasion, I decided to get him a coconut cake. I could have made it, but he is always mentioning how much he misses his grandmother’s coconut cake and I didn’t think I could get close.

Enter Angela Saban. I’ve have tried many of her cakes and treats, all of which are gluten free and amazing. I knew it would be good, and I knew it would be closer to grandma’s than I could ever get. What I received was a beautiful, huge cake that lived up to my expectations and more. Husband was totally surprised and said it may not have been grandma’s cake, but it’s the closest he’s ever come to it. And since it was gluten free (and he is not)  I think we’ve accomplished something here, don’t you?

The cake was beautiful on the outside with a pretty ribbon on top with Happy Birthday written on it, edible blue glitter sprinkled on lightly and a generous amount of light frosting and coconut surrounding it. The cake inside was four layers high and yet it was light and sweet. The cake was not too dense and not too sweet, making it a great combo for the light whipped buttercream icing. All white, all coconut and all amazing.

The party was a combined celebration for the Husband and a wonderful 6-year-old boy who is very close to our family. My daughter made her famous gluten-free chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream frosting and decorated with crushed K-Too cookies just for him and his friends. They loved them, and we even had a couple left to bring home and freeze for another day. The cake, as you can see, is sky high and even though there were 15 people eating it, we still had enough to leave a piece for the hostess, give a piece to my Mom, freeze a piece and eat some the next day. Angela did say it would feed 25 people and she wasn’t kidding!

And just for the record, I don’t get anything for writing this. I paid for the cake and I will be doing so again on any other occasion where I don’t have time or inclination to make a cake. I’m just trying to come up with an occasion soon!

Enjoy!

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Filed under baking, Birthday, cake, celebrations, chocolate, coconut, cupcake, gluten free, gluten-free cake, party, vanilla

Fresh Orange Cupcakes

I just love this time of year when the citrus trees are full of beautiful, fresh, sweet navel oranges. When we moved here 11 years ago, there were nine orange trees on the property. Now, there are three left that produce lovely fruit every year. Christmas morning, mimosas with fresh OJ are always on the menu.

But, what to do with all those oranges? Yes, I’m generous with them to everyone who visits, but I love cooking and baking, so I’m always looking to use them. Yesterday I had the urge to bake and decided on orange cupcakes with orange glaze on top. The fresh orange juice and grated orange peel makes it taste like a bite right out of an orange. If you don’t have oranges you can get right in your back yard, I supposed you could use frozen or store-bought OJ, but I don’t think it will be the same.

These were so good, I packed them into the basket on my bike this morning and rode over to a friend’s house for tea and cupcakes. What a beautiful way to start the week. Hope your week is grand.

Fresh Orange Cupcakes
1 package Gluten Free Pantry yellow cake mix
2/3 cup fresh OJ
Grated rind from two oranges
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, room temperature

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbs fresh orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until smooth.
3. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers.
4. Pour into cupcake pan, filling each about 3/4 full (this made 12 full-size cupcakes and about 9 minis)
5. Bake minis for about 10-12 minutes, full-sized cupcakes take about 5 more minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely while making the glaze.
7. To make the glaze, just add a little juice at a time to the sugar and mix until you have a thick, smooth consistency.
8. When cupcakes are cool, just drizzle the glaze over the top and add a little of the orange peel for color and a lovely tart bite, then let them set for a few minutes.

I dare you not to eat them in one night. They are so light and refreshing. But save some for tea in the morning, they are perfect.

Enjoy!

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Filed under breakfast, cake, cupcake, dessert, gluten free, orange, vegetarian

Pumpkin Pie Success! (and a chocolate cupcake)

Once again for the holidays, I tried to make a pie crust and pumpkin pie. This time I was confident enough to go out on my own and tweak the recipes. Thanksgiving’s pie was good, but not amazing. I strive for amazing.

My rule has always been to follow the recipe the first time, then change it the way you want after that. So, this time the crust came out better and thanks to a little mistake, the pumpkin pie filling was fabulous!

Using Gluten Free Pantry’s pie crust mix and following the directions, this time I added a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla to kick up the flavor of the crust. Also, I mixed the dough with my hands, not using a machine and that left chunks of butter (about the size of small marbles) scattered in the dough. Break the dough into two pieces and refrigerate. Now, this is the important part...refrigerate at least 24 hours. The first time, we only let it sit for one hour and had to push it into the pie plate like a giant piece of Playdough. This time, after more than 24 hours of cooling in the fridge, the dough was much more firm and I was able to roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap and place it into the greased pie plate. Press in any spots that rip. There are still a few small bits of butter left in the dough, but leave them. I wanted to sprinkle some sugar on the dough before baking it to give it a layer of crunch, but I forgot. Next time…

Bake the crust for 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven before filling it. (Can’t remember what the package says, that was just what I decided to do. I threw away the box before checking that part.)

Preparing the filling is easy. Just use the recipe on the side of the organic pumpkin can. (Not pumpkin pie filling, yuk!) But instead of evaporated milk, I used a can of sweetened condensed milk. Didn’t realize my mistake until it was mixed in, so we went with it and crossed our fingers. Added cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, sugar and eggs (and a tsp of vanilla). Pour into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes at 450 and turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 30 minutes.

There is no photo, the pie when that fast after dinner. Everyone devoured the pie and the crust, raving about how it was hard to tell that it was gluten-free. Always glad to hear that from the gluten eaters in the group. Little tweaks can sometimes be your best friend, dear chef!

I’ve added a photo above of the beautiful cupcakes my daughter made for the day. Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream frosting and a white-chocolate/peppermint bark on top. Sweet! She’s getting to be the real baker, and may even be better than me now since she’s gotten so creative. So proud! Recipe to follow as soon as she gives it to me.

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Filed under chocolate, Christmas, crust, cupcake, gluten free, peppermint, pumpkin pie, vegetarian

A Supernatural Gluten-free Party!

With an elegant twist in honor of Breaking Dawn, a party was created and I was lucky enough to be invited. I spent the evening last night in a beautiful place, eating beautiful food (all gluten free) all while talking with lovely people. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening. And since you were not there, let me tell you all about the fun and more importantly, the food.

Thanks to Angela Saban of Angel Cakes for hosting this fabulous party. Check out her blog, here, for updates on the amazing cakes she creates (see below for more details on the ooh- and aaah-worthy food).

Welcome!

When you’re welcomed at the party by an old truck (Bella’s with a better paint job?) and a sign, this sets the stage for what’s to come inside. With this attention to detail, I had a feeling nothing would be missed from this point on.

Yay, Swag!

I followed the red carpet into the entry hall with it’s TWILIGHT centerpiece surrounded by swag bags for all guests. Sweet! The centerpiece fascinated me with its simplicity yet creativity. I found out that Angela’s wonderful daughter-in-law, Trista Williams, had fashioned it using pages right out of the series. (Although she did say she felt bad tearing up a perfectly good book, it was worth it!) Here’s a close-up for you crafters.

Pages of the book, close up

Can you choose between Team Edward or Team Jacob? Even if you’re not a fan of the movies or books, the theme is fun and whimsical, yet mysterious with werewolves and vampires. I chose Team Jacob, there I said it. Let the debate begin. Fangs for Edward’s team, wolf ears for the better team, er I mean the other team.

Choose a team

With Full Moon cocktail in hand (Maker’s Mark, apple cider and a splash of ginger ale), I made my way around the pool, which was surrounded by candles and spinning lights. Looking up on the wall I saw projected images of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, as well as scenes from previous movies lighting up the patio. DJ Gabriel kept the vibe going with music from the series, keeping the mood romantic and fun.

Photos and movie scenes on the wall

Moving on to the buffet table (you know that’s what you were interested in!) was a real treat. First off, the tables were topped off with spectacular floral arrangements that fit the mood perfectly. A rose here, a red carnation there, moss and greenery everywhere. All arrangements were created by Elba Brown of Designs by E in Phoenix with an eerie, supernatural touch. Floating red roses among moss and soft white flowers gave the buffet table just the right touch of beauty, elegance and mystery.

Notice the enormous pile of potato chips near the flowers? Oh yeah, my friend. Freshly made chips that were crispy, not too salty and oh so yummy. An avocado cream dipping sauce was provided for the chips, but seriously, with a good chip who needs dip (although it was amazing and I just needed a spoon for it and I could eat it like pudding).

The food was provided by Jennifer’s Catering in Phoenix. Check out the website and see how they serve the chips in little cones, Oh my. Maggie Wark, who works at Jennifer’s, is the gluten-free guru there who made the slider rolls and is spear-heading the gluten-free division of the company. Also on the menu was a tomato salad with Cojita cheese. So refreshing and served in little cups with cute tiny forks. Pork belly and salmon rounded out the food, but you know of course that was not my cup of tea, although I hear it was quite good from those who tried it.

 
Tomato/Cojita salad (yes, I had about 7!)

On to the crowning glory of the party, the pastry table. Oh man, if I could have married it, I would have. It was that good. I stood there wishing I hadn’t opted for the cute little purse that matched the outfit rather than the huge, pastry/cupcake smuggling purse. I would have to be content with eating it all there. (Next time, Angela, don’t question the large duffle purse at the party.)

Edward and Bella should have had this at their wedding

First off, the cake. A beautiful centerpiece with edible flowers. Definitely would not fit in the purse (damn!) I did not eat any, but I’ve had Angela’s cake before at a lovely tea party (check it out here).

Next the cupcakes. Both sides were represented with a special cupcake. Jacob’s side (werewolves) had a fabulously chocolatey caramely cupcake with salted caramel and a fondant paw on top. I could have eaten four, I admit it, but I didn’t. But I so wanted to, but I didn’t.

Edward’s side was represented appropriately by a vanilla-bean cupcake with raspberry filling and even bite marks. The filling was gooey and lovely, the cupcake was light and fluffy and the frosting was a dream.

True to my original team choice, I preferred the chocolate, but it was a tough choice, trust me. Both were light and airy like a cupcake should be, but it didn’t fall apart at all. I felt like Florian from Cupcake Wars as I tried both. Of course, I gave them both good marks, but I’m a chocolate lover at heart, you know.

What about Bella, you ask? Bella-berry Cobblers with a berry filling and flaky, buttery crust gave Bella her chance to shine. And that she did. Two bites of a perfect cherry pie. My table mates all claimed that this was their favorite. The crust was something I have been trying to perfect without success. Once again, Angela shines with a gluten-free pie crust that is equal parts flaky and chewy, just the way it should be.

And yes, there were cookies! What, you say? No really, on top of all this, there were little white hearts of vanilla cookies with white icing. They reminded me of the glorious black and white cookie of my New York City days that I feared I would never eat again. Never fear, they are right here. I’ll bet Angela could even make them black and white if you ask her.

Swag bags, you ask? Oh yeah! I was fortunate enough to meet the actual Tom Sawyer of Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour-fame, no kidding. And not only that, there was a bag of flour for everyone to take home and start baking. Sweet! A chocolate wolf lollipop, Werewolf “kibble” and “blood-spattered” popcorn, all by Angela Saban started the bags off. Add to that Udi‘s chocolate chip cookie, Julia’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll and more. I can’t imagine a better time with better food or company, and I even had swag to take home. Now that’s how you throw a party!

I was lucky enough to meet Kim Pebley, president of the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group and Chandice Probst of Gluten Free Frenzy here in town. Check out her website for giveaways and fun restaurant reviews. I also had the chance to spend a little time with Nina Spitzer, the GF guru who started the Phoenix Celiac group and Gluten Free Absolutely, a wonderful restaurant menu consultation service. What a great group of people who are supporting and advancing the GF community.

Trista Williams, me, and the lovely Elba Brown

Proof positive by Angela that you can have a lovely, successful cocktail party with elegant food and not a speck of gluten to be found. Thanks!

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Filed under Breaking Dawn, cake, cookies, crafts, cupcake, dinner parties, gluten free, party, salad, Team Edward, Team Jacob, Twilight, vegetarian

Whole Foods to the rescue!

Daughter and I were headed out to a baby shower yesterday and realized that we had no cake to eat at the party. Normally, I don’t really care about eating at these things. I usually eat beforehand so I’m not tempted. Daughter has learned to do the same. But she wanted to have some cake and I’ll admit it, I wanted something sweet. I didn’t have time to bake and we were on our way so we stopped at Whole Foods and grabbed a package of their vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

When the cake for the party was served, it looked wonderful. It was chocolate with a chocolate mousse filling and everyone seemed to love it. Daughter and I broke out the cupcakes and tore into them right away. The cake was moist and yummy with a great cupcake texture. The icing was a bit sweet and overpowering, but I think next time I’ll just eat half the frosting and be done with it. For the most part, we didn’t feel deprived and it hit the spot. If we’re on our way to another party, I may grab the chocolate for a change of pace. These are large cupcakes, which is good but, at $8.99 for 4 cupcakes, that won’t be happening very often. It’s much more cost-effective to make our own, but for a quick cupcake…not bad at all!

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Filed under cake, cupcake, gluten free, party, vegetarian

How to have a bridal shower with GF options 101

I hosted my niece’s bridal shower at my place this weekend. Apart from the cupcakes and sandwiches, which were brought in from the outside, I prepared everything else and made sure it was gluten free and vegetarian. My daughter knew what to eat and what to stay away from.

Tomato/mozzarella/basil drizzled with balsamic

These wonderful tomato/mozzarella/basil bites were a hit. I ended up having to refill the plate three times. Drizzled with aged, thick balsamic/garlic/olive oil and parsley, they are so yummy and low-carb. It’s what I munched on all day. Putting each on a toothpick just makes it so much easier to eat.

Fresh strawberries with cream cheese dip

The strawberries were also a hit. Fresh fruit is always lovely on a buffet and these are asy to arrange, then dipped in cream cheese/marshmallow fluff. (OK, not 100% vegetarian, but most people don’t care about that. I love the strawberries!)


And although the cupcakes ordered for the party were not GF, I did buy four GF red velvet cupcakes from Sprinkles for the occasion, making sure the gluten-free guests were taken care of. They were wonderful and we were all happy, most of all my niece, who is marrying a wonderful guy!

Enjoy!

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Filed under cupcake, gluten free, vegetarian

Cupcake Heaven!

Lovely Little Cupcakes

I’ve been dying for cupcakes lately. Probably because everyone is eating them these days and I can’t seem to find one that really tastes like non-GF cupcakes from the old days. But at the park recently, a mom showed up with cupcakes for her daughter and they were fabulous. GF and chocolate, what a combo. After raving about them and saying how hard it is to find a good GF cupcake, I expected to get a long, drawn-out recipe I would dread getting involved with. But all she said was,” I used the Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix.” No way!

So, I decided to give them a try. I bought the mix at Safeway on sale for $3.69, which means I got a lot more cupcakes for my money than from a fancy shop.

My friend and I are throwing a wine and cheese party for the gals tomorrow and this was the perfect time to try out some mini cupcakes. Oh my, they are so lovely. The cake is moist and light, just enough chocolate and not overly sweet. Just what I’ve been looking for. I’ll try the White cake next and see how that goes, but I can’t imagine them being any different. I also found some mini cupcake papers in Safeway also. Aren’t they cute?

Cupcakes Ready for the Ladies

Just follow the directions on the package, which calls for 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of butter and 3 eggs. I used some lovely farmers market eggs. Normally, I tweak the recipe and add a little of this and a little of that. Not this time. I decided to try it as is for the first try. Good idea, I can’t imagine what I would do to them.

The frosting is just something I bought in a can that sprays, which tastes adequate and sweet. I put just a small flower on top of each to keep the sweetness at bay. I suppose my next project is to make my own frosting. I love whipped cream frosting, maybe I’ll try that next.

Enjoy!

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Filed under chocolate, cupcake, gluten free, vegetarian