Books & Baking – Kiss My Cupcake

Hi, lovelies! I read the cutest book that was filled with cupcakes and I knew I just had to try one of them out. I flipped through the book to find all the options where the cupcakes were actually described from the cupcake to the frosting and I came up with five options. Then I showed my partner the options and he chose the ones that I made. So, here are my cupcakes from Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting.

Book: Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

Read my full review here!

This is a romance novel that follows Blaire and Ronan, two business owners that are next to one another. They start off as rivals but decide to team up and host events when a bigger threat comes onto their street. It was a funny and fun story about two bars that are very different but both interesting. I enjoyed it. There were fun pranks, delicious sounding cupcakes, creative events, and a romance I could root for.

“You may have started the war, but I’ll be the one taking you down, one sweet treat at a time.”

“But I think I’d rather have someone to miss than never have the opportunity to witness that kind of devotion.”

Baking: Lemon Drop Cupcakes

Find the full recipe here!

I was torn between the death by chocolate cupcakes and the lemon drop, but my husband asked for the lemon drop ones. So, that’s what I attempted.

“The lemon drop cupcake is a featured special today if you’d like to give it a try.”
“Hmm. Is it sour?” The like you is clearly intimated, though unspoken.
“It has some pucker power, if that’s what you mean. It’s a good balance of sweet and tart.”

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups lemon curd
lemon-cream frosting

Lemon Curd Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Lemon-Cream Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese frosting, room temperature
1 cup bakers sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Cupcake Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
With an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, on medium/low. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mix, then half of the milk, and all the sour cream. Add the next 1/3 of the flour mix and the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour mix. Mix until just combined.
Divide the batter into the cupcake tin (about 1/3 cup in each). Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Let them completely cool before decorating.

Lemon Curd Instructions
In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs. Add the butter and cook over low heat. Stir continuously until the first bubble appears and the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk, about 6 minutes.
Strain lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer if you don’t want lemon zest in the curd. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold.

Frosting Instructions
With an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the lemon curd and mix until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Assembly Instructions
Once cupcakes are fully cooled, scoop small hole out of each cupcake (the recipe said to use a melon baller, but I just used a knife to cut a bit of the top out). Fill each hole with a scoop of lemon curd. Frost cupcakes (the recipe says to use a pastry bag with all the fancy tips, but I used a small ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner). Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.

And here’s a better picture of my final product. I really liked these. They were, as Blaire said, the perfect combination of sweet and bitter. I think the frosting was absolute perfection and the curd was delicious, but there was something about the actual cupcake was a little bit too bitter. I think I zested a bit too much of the lemon. But I would definitely make these again and I highly recommend you make them too if you think you’ll like them. They were pretty easy to make too. I made these yesterday and they’re already gone, so definitely a hit in my house. Let me know if you try to make these!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Books & Baking – The Lightning Thief

Hi, lovelies! I chose to do a rather easy one for this installment of Books & Baking just to keep the momentum going for this feature. I tend to forget about things if I don’t do them regularly. So, I think this one will be a fan favorite (because it’s a very beloved book). For this edition, I’ve decided to bake something from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I’ve always wanted to make a blue food for this blog feature since I first had the idea.

Book: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Read my full review here!

If you don’t know what the Percy Jackson series is about, you must be living under a rock. We follow Percy as he finds out that he’s actually a Demi-god. Lots of wild antics and quests ensue. I really enjoyed this book, and the rest of the series. I love Percy and Annabeth and Grover. I love all of the characters we meet. And I love the representation this story gives.

“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.”

“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.”

“Look, I didnt want to be a half-blood. If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom and dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life. Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful nasty ways. If you’re a normal kid, reading this because you think it’s fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe none of this ever happened. But if you recognize yourself in these pages-if you feel something stirring inside- stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it’s only a matter of time before THEY sense it too, and they’ll come for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Baking: Chocolate Chip Cookies (but they’re blue!)

So, for this one I actually used my mother-in-laws recipe for chocolate chip cookies and I’m actually not going to share that with you all.

“I guess I should explain the blue food. See, Gabe had once told my mom there was no such thing. They had this fight, which seemed like a really small thing at the time. But ever since, my mom went out of her way to eat blue. She baked blue birthday cakes. She mixed blueberry smoothies. She bought blue-corn tortilla chips and brought home blue candy from the shop. ”

Okay, so here is where I’d usually put the ingredients and baking instructions. But as I said above, I’m not sharing my MIL’s recipe. So, find a chocolate chip cookie recipe of your choice and literally, all I did was add blue food coloring to the dough once it was all mixed together. I’m just going to add some more pictures I took in place of the usual ingredients and instructions.

I got some pictures when they came right out of the oven that really show how blue they are. It seemed when they cooled they lost a bit of the color. But they were not good pictures so I will not be adding them here. I also just have to say that I think these are the best batch I’ve made and I think it’s because of a brown sugar issue where I had to make my own. Have you ever made any blue food in honor of Percy Jackson? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Non-Bookish Hobbies

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is Non-Bookish Hobbies (let’s get to know each other! What do you do that does not involve books or reading?)

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Being outside (I have a toddler so we take lots of walks and visit playgrounds and whatnot)

Watching movies/tv shows (let me know your favorites in the comments!)

Writing (I’ll eventually publish a novel)

Baking (See my blog feature about it here)

Cooking (not as much as baking, but I like trying new things my family will like)

Shopping (for books obviously)

Facetiming (most of my friends and family live super far away)

Snuggling my dog (typhoon!)

Playing with make up (though it’s been a while since I’ve had my child)

Listening to music & finding new artists to listen to (I have an obscene CD collection)

This week’s list was a tough one for me! What are your non bookish hobbies?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Books & Baking – The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Hello, lovelies! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted another installment of Books & Baking. That’s not because of a lack of baking, but rather a very busy life with a two-year-old. My child takes up lots of time and energy which I’ve been focusing on keeping up with my reviews and other usual posts. But I’m bake today with something I baked back in April. This was a fun and pretty easy recipe (tasty too!) For this edition of Books & Baking, I’ve decided to make a recipe from The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh.

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Book: The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Read my full review here!

This story is about two sisters that move to New York. GiGi is attending a new school (and a rather fancy one), so she’s trying to adjust to her new life. While all of this is going on, she learns some secrets about her family. I thought this book was so sweet and full of all the family goodness I could ever ask for. I definitely recommend this to those that love to read family centered, middle-grade stories.

“Now ya’ll stop sitting around wishing you were something you’re not and just get on out there and be.”

Baking: Impossible Pie

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This was a recipe I pulled right out of the book. So, I’m going to type it up here for you all. I picked this one because I had all the ingredients for it and I was in a baking mood, but didn’t want to run to the store for things I was missing.

“This is the thing. Sometimes you think something is impossible, but it turns out it’s completely possible. You just need to look. Seriously, in your pantry this whole time you’ve had the ingredients to make pie. Just look at this list. I will bet it’s all in there right now!”

Ingredients

2 cups milk

1/2 cup Mayflower baking mix (or Bisquick works fine, too)

1/2 stick butter, softened

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups sugar

7 ounce bag of sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

“Put the first 6 ingredients into a blender in the order listed. Blend for 3 minutes. Add the coconut, and give it another quick blen till mixed. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Put a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. See? You had it the whole time. You just never knew.”

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Here’s my final product! I liked it becasue it was sweet (thanks to the coconut) but not overwhelmingly so. I also added a bit of green food coloring for a bit of Earth Day festiveness. This was super easy to make. And fun becasue I got to use my blender to make it. If you like coconut, this is the recipe for you. I do also want to mention, all of this was taken directly from the book. Is this something you would make or enjoy? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Day Two: Books & Baking – Blood Magick

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for another edition of Books & Baking! For this latest edition, we’re going in the direction of adult romance with one of my favorite authors. An author I am sure will make another appearance on this blog feature, the ever wonderful, Nora Roberts. I started this trilogy (though it’s one I’ve read before) in October and I knew the third book would be perfect for Books & Baking.

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Book: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

Read my full review here!

This series follows six characters as they attempt to win an age-old battle. This is the third and final installment in the Cousin’s O’Dwyer Trilogy that follows my favorite pairing, Branna and Fin. I would die for Finbar Burke and Branna is a lady I would wife the hell out of. Branna creates incredible things in this book. From food and desserts to handsoaps, candles, and lotions. These are my favorite characters of the six we get to know. With an Irish setting and a magical cast of characters, I really couldn’t ask for more.

“I’m so angry it feels my blood’s on fire. If I didn’t bank it with calm, I might burn the place to the ground.”

“Love can fade and die. I’ve seen it. It can grow and build as well. I think when it’s real and meant, it can only grow bigger and stronger.”

“We’re a superstitious breed, we Irish, and wise enough to build around a faerie hill without disturbing it, to leave a stone dance where it stands. And to keep back from a place where the dark still thrums.”

Baking: Ginger Biscuits 

Find the recipe here!

When I saw these mentioned in the book, I knew they had to be my next creation for Books & Baking because they were perfect to bring to my family as a Thanksgiving treat!

“After donning a white apron, she made her ginger biscuits first because it pleased her. While they cooled and their scent filled the air, she gathered what she needed to make the candle sets on the new list Eileen had given her.”

Ingredients

Plain flour
Ground ginger
Baking soda
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Salt
Margarine or butter, softened
White sugar
One egg
Water
Molasses or golden syrup
White sugar (for rolling)

Instructions

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then water and molasses. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, letting each addition combine fully before adding more.

Form dough into one in balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Bake eight to ten minutes, then cool.

I will admit that I sampled more than a few before packing them up to bring with me to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My husband had some too. Honestly, between the two of us we probably ate a whole batch. So, I’m glad this recipe made more than enough for us to sample and still share for the holiday. I thought they were delicious. I might even make them again when I start my Christmas baking.

Do these sounds yummy or what? Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think! The recipe was fairly easy too!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Books & Baking – The Night Circus

Hellllllo, lovelies! I’m back today for another round of Books & Baking. For this edition, I’ve chosen the book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was one of the first recipes I found when searching for ideas for this new blog feature, but it’s a relatively complicated recipe. So, I tried a few other ideas first. Check out the first two installments of Books & Baking here: House of Salt and Sorrows Heartless

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Book: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Read my full review here!

This story takes place over many, many years which was something I really enjoyed. Our two main characters, Celia and Marco,  were ones that I completely fell in love with. Celia grew so much throughout the book. She was caring and clever and I adored her. Marco had me going back and forth with my feelings. I didn’t always like the choices he made. But ended up really liking him once he and Celia finally met. I also really liked how developed some of the supporting characters was. This book is atmospheric and mysterious. Morgenstern is an incredible writer and this is a must-read.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong being a dreamer.”

“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”

“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon . . . is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

Baking: Darkness to Light Cake  

Find the recipe here!

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For this installment,  I went with a cake that had Night Circus vibes as a whole rather than something that was actually mentioned in the book.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

As I said above, this was a pretty complicated recipe. There are three different kinds of cake, frosting, and chocolate ganache. So, stick with me for the instructions!

White Cake Ingredients

Cake flour
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Sugar
Vanilla extract
Whole milk
Eggs whites

Caramel Cake Ingredients

Sugar
Water
All-purpose flour
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Egg
Whole Milk

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

All-purpose flour
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Baking soda
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Light brown sugar
Sugar
Eggs
Vanilla extract
61% Semisweet chocolate, melted
72% Bittersweet chocolate, melted
Whole milk
Water

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients

Unsalted, softened butter
Confectioners sugar, sifted
Vanilla extract
Caramel syrup (from cake recipe)

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

61% Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
72% Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Heavy cream
Corn syrup

White Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan. Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix milk and vanilla extract. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Mix fully before adding the next addition. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter. Pour mixture into the greased baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Caramel Cake Instructions

Start by making caramel syrup. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water into a pan on the stove. Cook on medium heat until sugar melts and the mixture comes to boil. Let syrup boil until it turns dark golden, then remove from heat and add another 1/2 cup boiling water. Let syrup cool before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking dish. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt then set aside. Combine remaining sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in about 3 tablespoons of caramel syrup, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Add in the egg and beat until combined. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Pour batter into the baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Chocolate Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking dish. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Combine sugars and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Pour in both melted chocolates and beat until combined. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Add in a 1/4 cup boiling water and beat until combined. Pour batter into the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Caramel Buttercream Instructions

Start with the butter, beat until soft and creamy. Add 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next half cup. Add in vanilla extract and caramel syrup, mix until fully combined.

Chocolate Ganache Instructions

Do this after assembling the cake.
Place finely chopped chocolates in a bowl. Combine corn syrup and heavy cream in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Then, pour over chocolates, let sit for a moment, then stir to combine into a glaze. Let cool slightly.

Assembly Instructions

Level each cake layer so they are all flat and even sized. Place chocolate layer on the bottom. Spread a layer of caramel buttercream on top. Add caramel cake on top of the buttercream, then spread another layer of caramel buttercream on top. Add the final layer of white cake. If enough caramel buttercream is left, you may frost the rest of the cake with it. Or continue with the chocolate ganache. Pour the ganache on top of the cake. Use a spatula to guide the chocolate, but don’t spread with it or it may ruin the shiny the finish. Let sit to set at room temperature before serving the cake.

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I went a step further and added some white, vanilla icing around the sides to add a bit of black/white element to the outside of the cake. The original recipe suggested white chocolate plaques, but that was a bit out of my skillset so I went with some easier icing.

The verdict on this cake was decided to be absolutely delicious by myself and my husband. My daughter even tried some and liked it too. I would suggest making this for more than two adults and a one-year-old though, it was hard to finish it in a timely fashion. Regardless, the cake was super good and fun to make.

Is this a recipe you would attempt? Let me know in the comments if you try to make it!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.