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Archive | October, 2017

Dragon Cupcake Cake

24 Oct

The title says it all! lol

My dragon boat team had our season end party and I made a dragon cupcake cake for one of the desserts.

I would like to stress I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. I saw a video 6 months ago about making a pull apart cupcake cake in the shape of a unicorn and I thought it might be fun to make but instead of a unicorn make a dragon. About a month ago I googled “dragon cupcake cake” and found plenty of images of amazing looking dragon cupcake cakes. I took the two I liked best, and used their images as inspiration to make my own version.

He came out like this…

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You want to start out by making a double batch of chocolate cupcakes. I used 24 for the dragon, I had 3 that were throwaways because they were the first three I frosted, I don’t have experience frosting with a bag and tip and let’s just say there was a learning curve lol

I attempted to make red frosting as one of my team colours is red but even though I used a “true red” no flavour gel dye from Wilton the best I could get was pink. sigh. The frosting tip was borrowed from work and I have no idea what size or number it was, it was star shaped though…in case that is something that interests you. πŸ˜›

I baked the cupcakes on the Wednesday and waited until the Thursday for frosting and decorating, partly because of time constraints and partly because you want the cupcakes to be completely cooled before moving them around and frosting them.

To make the dragon it is just a matter of having an idea of the shape you want and placing the cupcakes down in that shape, moving and tweaking as necessary until you get a shape that looks right. Then frost the cupcakes, which I quickly learned is harder and yet easier than I thought it would be. Once I got the hang of things it was fairly easy, but it took a bit to feel like I knew what I was doing.

The frosting is a simple buttercream frosting, made to be a bit on the firm side, so it would hold its shape for a while – I was worried about what would happen during transport.

I wanted to distinguish the back from the legs and head so I put a bit of black frosting on those pieces. The claws are made from soft licorice that I cut in to triangles. The eyes are a marshmallow that I broke in half and then flattened, the pupils are brown mini m&m’s that are stuck in to the gooey side of the flattened marshmallow. The nostrils are also brown mini m&m’s, the mouth is made of white chocolate chips, and the whiskers are Twizzler Pull ‘n Peels that I pulled apart so I could get the red strips.

It was a lot of fun to make the face, as it came together it made me smile. Its kind of hard to resist a smiling dragon lol

For transport I dismantled the dragon, the cupcakes just barely fit in to my rectangular cake holder. Once at the party it was quick work to put the cupcakes back in order so the dragon was once again a dragon. I had placed marks on the tray he was going to be displayed on so I knew where some of the body pieces went, making it even easier to get him back together quickly.

The team seemed to like him, pictures were taken, comments were made about how cute he was, he was a hit! πŸ™‚

I’ve got to say, of the desserts I have made for the season end party over the past three years this one is my favourite, and I think the easiest to make…I would have thought he’d be harder, or more work, because it seems a more finicky thing to deal with – all those cupcakes and the decorating and the placement of them, but nope, super easy, and fun! Makes me wonder what other shapes I might try making…

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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

23 Oct

It was Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago, a holiday I normally celebrate by eating pizza and watching a movie. This year though, a friend decided she was going to do the whole Thanksgiving thing and she invited me over. My contribution to the meal was dessert because let’s face it, it is the only thing I can reliably make lol

I was going to make a traditional pumpkin pie but decided to switch it up a bit and made a pumpkin swirl cheesecake – it sounds fancier than it is lol

Basically it is a cheesecake that had the batter separated so half is normal cheesecake batter and the other half has pumpkin puree and a bit more sugar mixed in, then you layer it and swirl it with a knife. It was dead easy to make and people liked it, so a win in my books!

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The cheesecake cracked along the swirl lines I made with my knife when cooling, which is annoying. I tried the hack of turning the oven off, cracking the door open, and letting the cheesecake cool that way, theoretically making the cooling off process less traumatic and therefore stopping the cheesecake from cracking…you can see how well that turned out. *rolls eyes* I know there are ways to repair the cracks but it would have ruined the marble look so I just left it.

The crust was made by putting ginger snap cookies in my mini food processor and pulsing until the cookies were crumbs, then doing the same with walnuts, pour the crumbs of both in to a bowl, add melted butter, mix it all up then put it in to the bottom of a springform pan and press it down so it is even. As a crust it turned out perfect, firm enough to maintain structural integrity when a slice was cut, but not so hard it wasn’t an easy thing to eat. I liked it but didn’t love it…could be because I’m not a huge ginger cookie fan. It was a complimentary flavour for the pumpkin though, which was why it was chosen.

As for the cheesecake it is like I mentioned above, you make a standard plain cheesecake batter, take out a cup and leave it alone, to the rest you add pumpkin puree, seasonings,Β  and some sugar, mix it in well. Then you pour approximately half the pumpkin batter in to the pan (on top of the ginger-walnut crust you’ve already put in there), make sure it spreads evenly. Put about half of the white cheesecake batter on top, sort of in blobs, then use a knife to spread it a bit. Then repeat! Once you’ve got the second layers of the pumpkin batter and the plain batter in the pan use a knife and swirl it all around. Make sure your knife goes all the way down to the crust without actually cutting through or messing up the crust.

Bake, let it cool, pray to the baking gods you don’t get huge cracks during the cooling process, curse the baking gods when the cracks come anyways, transfer to your serving platter or in my case the cake holder I was using to transport the cheesecake, and all that is left is to enjoy. πŸ™‚

In my opinion it turned out not flavourful enough, but others seemed happy with it so that could just be me. I wish I’d put more seasonings in it (it uses the same as a pumpkin pie) but hey, live an learn! I am toying with making it again but instead of pumpkin I’d make a raspberry puree and use that, I think it would be pretty with a pink swirl in it.

Here are some other pictures from Thanksgiving…my friend hosted a great evening, her meal was delicious, and it was fun to spend the evening with her and her family. πŸ™‚

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