{sms} devil’s food cake and peanut butter frosting

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The frosting was unbelievable. These were good. These were hit. Too tired to write more. Had big party; now have to clean.

Thanks to Holly of Phe/Mom/enom for hosting this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays. If you would like the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book. Man, I’m tired.

mini pumpkin-gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

pumpkin cupcake

Today marks the last day of Pumpkin Week here on Pink Stripes. I’m officially pumpkin’d out. Not so much the eating part, but the making pumpkin recipes part. I’m so happy I’m going to be out of the country for Thanksgiving and won’t be around to make a pumpkin pie. The family always has to have a pumpkin pie; it’s not Thanksgiving without one.

The recipe for Mini Pumpkin-Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting comes from Whole Foods. I made them for my pizza party I’m hosting tonight.

You can find the recipe for the cupcakes HERE.

You can find the recipe for the frosting HERE.

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{twd} cappuccino bites

This post will be short and sweet {and, of course, delicious}. I’m so tired from all the baking I did this weekend. I don’t think my kitchen was clean for more than five minutes. And it was clean those five minutes because I was asleep.

In addition to this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Cinnamon Squares, I made: bagels, brioche, bee stings (2x), pecan honey sticky buns, ice cream, and a granita. And then when I finally got the kitchen clean on Sunday night, I had to pack my lunch for work on Monday.

I decided to use my mini-muffin pan and  make mini-cupcakes because like I wrote before, co-workers don’t like to slice. I also made the Cappuccino Square Playing Around suggestion.  I made the full recipe and had enough for 24 mini-cupcakes and one 8×4 loaf pan. I didn’t frost the loaf pan one because 1/2 of it disappeared mysteriously on Saturday morning around breakfast time.What’s not to like about these? There’s cinnamon, espresso, and chocolate.

A big thanks to Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. This was a great choice because it was very easy and delicious. I feel a certain kinship with Tracey because we Tweeted each other over the weekend due to our Bee Sting adventure.  If  you would like the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Cinnamon Squares, please buy the book or visit Tracey’s blog.

The Sweeter {Vegan} Side

The wonderful thing about vegan baking is that you don’t have to wait for ingredients to come to room temperature. With no eggs or butter, I can bake at a moment’s notice. That’s what happened this week. I wanted something sweet to eat on my Vegan Tuesday.

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As I flipped through Veganomicon looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth, I happened upon a recipe for Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes. The recipe was easy and straightforward. I had all the ingredients on-hand and didn’t have to wait for them to get to proper temperature. 😛

imgp3622These were very moist and delicious. The tops get nice and crispy like a doughnut and the center has the surprise of jelly. You can find the recipe here.

I also made Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and served them with brown rice, broccoli, and a whole-wheat. pita. I love tamarind, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to make it when I saw it in the cookbook. The end result is a sweet and spicy satisfying dish. You can find the recipe here.

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{DB} Do you want some caramel with your caramel?

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Fleur de Sel Caramels

I love caramel as much as the next person. Or maybe I love it even more than the next person. Caramel sundaes, caramel macchiatos, creme caramel, caramel apples, chocolate covered caramels, caramel candy. You get the picture…

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The Daring Bakers

This month marks my initiation in The Daring Bakers, an online baking group. The purpose of the group is to once a month challenge bakers by selecting recipes or baking techniques that are seemingly difficult, non-traditional, or unusual. Over 1,000 bakers from around the world are members and each month rotating hosts select the recipe(s). The recipe is known only to the membership until the posting date for the month. In addition to traditional bakers, the group also supports a large contingent of alternative bakers–vegan and/or gluten-free bakers.

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And its a good thing I like caramel. Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, along with Alex of Brownie and Blondie and Jenny of Foray into Food were the hosts of November’s Daring Baker’s challenge and they chose a cake which showcases  caramel and a bonus dessert which is, well, caramel. Assisting the hosts with alternative baking is Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go.

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Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

The hosts picked Shuna Fish Lyndon’s infamous Caramel Cake for November’s DB Challenge. -You can find the recipe here.  I decided to make cupcakes instead of a cake because they are easier to share.  I made the caramel syrup needed for the batter and the frosting. It tasted great but looked like–well, I’ll just say a specimen collection.

Caramel syrup or specimen collection?

Caramel syrup or specimen collection?

The cake batter came together fine with no issues. I used an ice cream scoop to place the batter into the muffin tin. I had left over batter after making 12 cupcakes. I baked the extra batter in my madeleine pan. Although my caramel cake madeleines didn’t look pretty, it was a great way to taste the finished product without tearing into a cupcake.

Ugly Caramel Cake Madelines

Ugly Caramel Cake Madeleines

And we tore into the cupcakes. I made the frosting as directed but 1/2’d the recipe and ended up using only about 6 oz of powdered sugar. P, my husband, loved them. He said they were pure cupcake joy. Not only was the frosting moist, he said, but the cake was moist too. His big complaint about cupcakes is when the cake is dry and the frosting is moist.

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I sprinkled the cupcakes with grated caramels to tie the recipes together. Actually, I tried to make caramel ribbons like I do with chocolate and it didn’t work. So, sprinkles it is.

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I bought the cupcake liners at Crate and Barrel. They’re from their holiday line and are not too “christmas”, so you can use them after the holidays.

Update: I just had a co-worker walk into my office with a crazed look in his eyes saying: “I just had one of your cupcakes. It was like a religious experience. OMG. I thought you should know. I broke down and had one. OMG. It was a religious experience.” I think that means he liked it. 😉

Golden Fleur de Sel Vanilla Bean Caramels

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The hosts picked an additional recipe for extra-credit from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert. This was a great choice because (1) I’m never one to back away from a challenge and (2) I bought this book a while ago and haven’t had the opportunity to make something from it.

The recipes in the book highlight flavors in pure and simple forms–milk, sugar, chocolate, nuts, and flours. The pictures are amazing and the recipes sound delicious. The caramels were great and relatively straightforward to make. A candy thermometer is a must. I know of people who don’t use a candy thermometer and it amazes me.

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