Friday, September 30, 2011

CupCards To Go Fall Kit: Briar Rose

The fall CupCards {to go} kit, Briar Rose, is available for purchase!

It has a gorgeous mix of contemporary and elegant papers and embellishments that are perfect for fall. I had more fun crafting with this kit then I have in a long time. 

I can't wait to share with you all the cards and the project I made. If you want a preview, check out the gallery. The CC2G DT did an amazing job!

Have any of you made feathers before with patterned paper? It's easy and such an effective technique. I followed this tutorial by Karen and the results were stunning.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pretty Little Girl with a Red Dress

I was going though my awesome Acme Kit from Gauche Alchemy and I spied a gorgeous page of sheet music titled, 'Pretty Little Girl with a Red Dress'. Within moments I Mod Podged it down on my page and was on my way.
(click to see it up close)

Did you see that I used my homemade two-step stamp? There is something so incredibly satisfying about using stamps that I made from scratch.

This hand made book has a huge crease in the center... it's interesting to work around.

Thanks for popping by :-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cake #36 Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

This cake was floating around Pinterest and I had to take a crack at it. I LOVE upside down cakes. They're like a little bit of magic in your oven. Think about it, you make a very boring, sad looking cake, then.... ABRACADABRA... you flip it over and it's a thing of beauty.

One word of warning about this cake:

The glaze/syrup/topping is so delicious you'll want to drink it, serve it on pancakes, pour it over ice cream - it's insane. It tastes like autumn, apples, caramel, fairs... it's a thing of beauty

And the cake soaks it up, transforming it into a crazy-delicious concoction.

And please excuse my pictures, the light was terrible and I didn't do the cake justice at all.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake


2 medium apples
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate (we used apple juice concentrate)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup (we used Roger's Golden Syrup)


3/4 cup vegetable oil (normally I'd use 1/2cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce but I was out of applesauce)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate (we used the juice concentrate)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional (we used pecans)


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan at least 2" deep. Line the bottom with parchment, and grease the parchment. (I only had a 10" deep enough so my cake is a bit shorter)
2) Slice the top, including the stem, off one of the apples and set it aside before peeling and slicing the rest of the apples into 1/4" thick wedges.
3) Place the apple top, stem side down, in the middle of the pan, and overlap the rest of the apple wedges in a ring around it.

4) Prepare the topping by heating the butter, sugar, boiled cider, cinnamon, and corn syrup together over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

5) Pour 1/2 cup of the syrup mixture into the prepared pan, and set the rest aside.
6) To make the cake: Beat the oil, brown sugar, boiled cider, eggs, spices, and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed

7) Mix the flour with the baking soda, and stir it into the batter.

8) Add the chopped apple and nuts, and mix until just blended.

9) Drop scoops of the batter atop the apples in the pan, gently spreading to cover.

10) Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
11) Remove the cake from the oven, and run a thin spatula around the edge to loosen.

12) Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Scrape out any sauce that remains in the pan, and spread it over the cake.

13) Reheat the reserved topping. If butter starts to separate as you reheat, add water by the teaspoon and stir until the butter rejoins the rest of the sauce.

14) Pour the sauce over the cake.

This took quite a bit of scooping to get it to stick to the cake. I think I warmed mine up too hot and subsequently too thin. It REALLY thickens as it cools and the cake absorbs massive amounts of the apple-caramel sauce. It's crazy good.

Serve cake warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

If you're looking for another fall cake but this one doesn't strike your fancy, check out my Cinnamon Chip Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It's fall-tastic!

P.S. Sorry about all the cake this week. I've been crafting assignments that I can't share yet and we're quickly burning weeks if I'm going to get all 52 Cakes baked in 2011. But have no fear, there are rumblings that we'll be doing 52 MORE Cakes in 2012.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cake #35: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Years ago my friend Sarah used to make these amazing 'Cupcakes with Surprise' which was a boxed chocolate cake mix with a cream cheese, egg and sugar center. They were *so* yummy. So when I was cruising around blogland and I saw these, I had to give it a go.

Things I love that made them so tempting:

1. No frosting. Hooray
2. My youngest loves PB and chocolate together and I love him to bits.
3. We all love cream cheese.

These are really yummy. They hit the right note between decadent and everyday. They don't look fancy or take very long, but they taste very rich.

Personally, I've never been much of a peanut butter chip fan, but that's kind of nice too as I'm not tempted to eat them.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
from How About Orange

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips (or just use more chocolate if you want)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sugar, egg, salt. Mix well.

Fold in chips. Set aside.

 For cupcakes, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.

Oops! My phone rang and I completely spaced on taking pictures of these steps. So sorry!

 Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with 2 Tbs. of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350ยบ for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 18. 

I love how the ones that I didn't top as well are solidly chocolate cupcakes with a hidden surprise. 

These were delicious and so easy to make. They're a big hit with the kids.


Special thanks to Lowri at Tip Junkie for sharing my Fall Paper Towel Wreath.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cake #34 Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Wednesday September 28th and it is a tradition to have honey cake to ensure a sweet year to come. I thought it would be nice to make honey cake for my Jewish friends.

The recipe is incredible. There are so many complex and diverse flavors represented and the batter smelled so good my stomach started grumbling. I was a little concerned about how it would all meld together but decided that that was the oven's problem; I'd just have a little faith.

Majestic and Moist Honey Cake via Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 3/4 cup oil and 1/4 apple sauce)
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. 

Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

Because I was sending these in the mail, I waited until they were completely cool and then double wrapped them in waxed paper.

Next Came two layers of plastic wrap and some wrinkle ribbon plus a tag for decoration.

Then I placed them in a ziploc bag and folded it over and secured the excess plastic underneath with tape.

After that I wrapped the cake in bubble wrap and placed them in a box. Maybe it was a little overboard on the five layers of wapping but I wanted it to get to the destination fresh and in one piece. This cake is especially good for mailing because it tastes best after sitting a few days.

I can't confirm this, as the cake we kept was gone before it even had time to cool completely. It had marvelous flavor and the honey taste was very present - not an easy thing as honey tends to get lost in most recipes. The spice blend was perfect and while I worried about the coffee, orange juice and whiskey tasting weird, it just came together into a heady, undefinable greatness. We'll definitely make this again.