Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Would you believe that I only just got an Instagram account? I know. I'm a funny blogger. But it wasn't until a couple of months ago that I even owned a smart phone, so I feel justified somewhat.
Anyhow, all of this is to say that you should follow me on Instagram! You can find me by my username maurinedashney. If you like photography, design, cake, cats, and/or general geekiness, you'll probably like my little postings there. Plus, only pretty photos will be allowed.
Like these sparkler photos.
Intagme. It's wonderfully no-nonsense. Get it get it get it!
Monday, April 21, 2014
Have you ever been stuck in the quandary of wanting to give someone a cupcake or two as a gift, only to find yourself at a loss for how to package said cupcake(s)? Well. I gotchu! Here are seven different ways to package cupcakes for gift-giving.
1. Single Cupcake Boxes & Containers
This is the most obvious method, of course, though perhaps not the most practical because these are a little tough to find. I'd still recommend purchasing some just-for-cupcakes boxes or containers and keeping them on hand because they come in handy more often than you'd think!
You have two options here: boxes + inserts, or clear plastic cupcake containers. I've had success finding boxes at Michaels and Mr Take Out Bags, and clear containers at Amazon. You can also check out specialty cooking/baking supply shops like Orson Gygi in Salt Lake.
Note: When ordering containers onine, you might want to consider teaming up with someone to share, say, a bulk case of 200 containers. You'll save tons of money that way!
2. Makeshift Cupcake Insert
This is a variation on 1. Perhaps you don't have special cupcake holder inserts, but you do have a cupcake-sized box on hand. You can create a makeshift insert with card stock by cutting and folding it to fit, cutting an X in the middle for the cupcake to sit in.
3. Clear Cup + Clear Gift Wrap
There are these certain short, clear disposable cups you'll see around stores that are just about the right size for a cupcake. Pop the cupcake in, add some clear gift wrap, tie it off, and you're done.
4. Take-Out Box
You can get these for cheap at Michaels. They have a size that is just about perfect for a cupcake, so with these you can probably get away without making an insert for the cupcake to sit in.
I talked about this in this post about baking cake in jars. Check out the method there, then decorate your jars to your heart's content.
6. (Parfait-Style) Cake-In-A-Jar
This is especially great for when your cupcakes don't come out quite as pretty as planned, as I talked about in this post about salvaging sub-par cake and cupcakes. Simply layer bits of crumbled cake with some frosting to create a parfait-like treat. Ha, I'd definitely decorate the jar a little and label it before giving it away because it looks kinda weird otherwise.
Guys. I saw this on Pinterest, and it totally works. Find a paper cup whose base is around the same size as that of a cupcake. Cut off the top rim, cut equal-sized strips all the way around, and then fold them all down to secure. See?
Whew. Ok, that's all of them. Do you have any go-to methods for single cupcake packaging? I'd love to hear 'em! Shoot me a comment below.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
I found myself craving sugar today, so I decided to whip up a sweet strawberry banana smoothie with some frozen fruit I had in the freezer. And since it was so good, I decided that I needed to share it with all of you.
Also, I'm not giving exact measurements (you'll see). I don't believe in smoothies that require you to get out measuring utensils.
STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE
- a handful of fresh or frozen strawberries (tops removed)
- a handful of fresh or frozen banana slices
- about as much milk as fruit
- spoonful of vanilla protein powder (I like Muscle Milk!)
That's it! Blend well. Be sure to add enough milk so that the consistency isn't too thick.
Sweet, sweet nectar. Enjoy!
Monday, April 14, 2014
Remember that time I made white caramel frosting for those amazing mason jar mini pumpkin cakes?
Well, guess what—now I've (finally) got a dark caramel frosting recipe to go with it! This frosting is made in exactly the same way that white caramel frosting is; the only difference is that you are using brown sugar instead of regular, white sugar here. And as for whether to use light or dark brown sugar, either is totally fine. Just know that the darker the sugar you use, the darker your frosting will be.
This frosting is pretty rich, by the way. I honestly just use skim milk in it, and it works great for me (:
DARK CARAMEL FROSTING
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes or for half of a standard double-layer 9" round cake.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup milk or half and half or cream
- 1–2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- In a small saucepan, gently bring the butter to a boil.
- Add the sugar to the butter and keep the mixture to a low simmer. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and stir in the milk or cream.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let it cool.
- Once the mixture has cooled, beat it with an electric mixer, gradually adding in the powdered sugar.
- Finish by incorporating the vanilla.