Are you ready for some footbaaaaaaaaall (cupcakes)?

Ah, Superbowl Sunday. The perfect excuse to hang out with friends, drink beer, eat terrible-for-you-food (sort of negated my run the next day) and bake some football-themed cupcakes.

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting  and Mini Marzipan Footballs

Cupcakes are the ultimate party dessert. You can have your fancy petit fours, I’ll take a cupcake.

We spent our Superbowl Sunday in Hoboken at the home of my sister-in-law’s fiancee’s sister and her husband (I’ll pause while you figure that one out)….. Got it? They had a little get-together with the siblings and spouses and a few other couples. We paid our $20 to be in the pool and randomly chose squares on a board. Scores were later assigned to each square.

We nibbled on chips and guacamole, chicken wings, meatballs, bruschetta and pizza. It was delicious. While we made fun of the Black Eyed Peas during the halftime show, we broke out my cupcakes.

I opted to make vegan gingerbread cupcakes with lemon frosting so my sister-in-law could have them, and because these cupcakes are so full of flavor anyway, no one would miss eggs or milk. The recipe came from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”.

I bought a new piping tip so I could make grass and formed mini footballs out of marzipan. I think they turned out pretty cute, and everyone seemed to enjoy them.

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcake with Lemon Frosting  and Mini Marzipan Football

Oh, and that pool we entered? We ended up winning three out of the four quarters and took home $85. Not too shabby.

I do have to say that I’m glad football is over and done, and I’m waiting patiently for baseball. I think there may be some baseball cupcakes or cookies in the future for the Mets’ opening day!

The Brooklyn Baker Bakes! Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Rum Frosting and Marzipan Pumpkins

Today just happens to be one of my favorite days of the year. Don’t let the abnormally high temperatures in most of the country fool you into thinking that autumn isn’t here. Because it is. Check your calendar. I’ll wait.

That’s right! Time to start thinking about wool coats, hayrides, falling leaves and harvest foods. Pumpkin and apple and sweet potato, mmm mmm. This is easily my favorite time of year. Once we hit October, I’ll be on cloud nine.

To celebrate the first official day of autumn, I decided to bake up some pumpkin cupcakes. And what better pumpkin cupcakes, than these bad boys over at The Busty Baker. Danae made that cinnamon rum frosting about this time last year and I just about lost my mind over it. It’s dangerously good.

I knew I needed a little extra oomph in these cupcakes, and remembered that I had another tube of marzipan left over from my Carrot Cake Cupcakes a while back, so I set to work making an army of pumpkins.
Marzipan Pumpkins

I used the sturdy part of sprigs of mint to make the stems for the pumpkins, and pressed a toothpick against their sides to make the indentations. I wasn’t sure about them at first, but as soon as I put the stems in, I knew I had a winner.

Next, I baked up the cupcakes, which smell so much Thanksgiving that I want the Yankee Candle company to come and bottle up the scent.
Unfrosted Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Finally, I set to work on the frosting, loaded it up into a piping bag, and swirled my way through 22 cupcakes. Twenty of those cupcakes were then topped with a marzipan pumpkin. And then I took what might be the greatest photo of a baked good that I’ve ever taken:
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Rum Frosting and Marzipan Pumpkin

I took some other photos as well:
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cinnamon Rum Frosting and Marzipan Pumpkin

I found those copper colored cupcake wrappers at a grocery store in midtown. They were over $3 for 24 wrappers, but I really think they completed the look.

I brought these into work this morning and distributed them to some of my co-workers. The reviews were pretty positive (but, c’mon, how could they NOT be?), with one woman telling me she thought they were “gourmet cupcakes, like ones you’d go to a bakery to get” and another guy took a bite and said, “These are heaven.” Heaven! And that’s coming from a guy named Jesus, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about.

The Brooklyn Baker Bakes! Fourth of July Desserts

Long weekends mean baking for me. I’ve had the desire to bake a ton of stuff for a while now, but I haven’t had the time. My weekends have been so full lately that the only time I spend in my apartment is to sleep.

So with the Fourth of July approaching, I started thinking about what I could bake. My husband’s aunt and uncle invited me, my husband, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend over to their house in New Jersey for a little barbecue, so I knew I had to bake something.

I settled on two things; an apple pie and vegan cupcakes.

The apple pie would be easy enough to make. I’ve made several of them throughout my baking career. But I didn’t want it to be the same old, same old pie, so I started looking through various recipes to find something that was a little different.

The winning idea came from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook”. In it, she features a blueberry pie with a top crust made up of stars cut out of pie dough. I was really craving an apple pie, so I decided to use Martha’s apple pie recipe and put it in the star pie crust.

Fourth of July Apple Pie

I followed the pie recipe pretty closely, although I added ginger and cloves to Martha’s somewhat paltry cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness. The pie turned out great.

Fourth of July Apple Pie

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The Brooklyn Baker Bakes: Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Ginger Frosting

(This week’s recipe came from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook”.)

I made a carrot cake last year during my 52 Weeks of Baking project. I just reread that post, and realized that I mentioned I wasn’t the biggest fan of carrot cake. With a little hindsight, I realized that I am a BIG fan of carrot cake, I am not a big fan of raisins or coconut, both of which are included in many carrot cake recipes. When it’s straight-up carrot, I looove it.

In Martha’s book, there’s a nice full-color photo of a few cupcakes and they look amazing. And the one that’s always taunted me was the carrot cupcake with a cute little marzipan carrot on top. I knew I wanted to make those cupcakes. So a couple of weeks ago, I set out to do it.

I found marzipan at my grocery store (first battle won), and then to my delight, I found orange gel food coloring. I was super excited. When we got home, I busted out the marzipan and kneaded it a bit to make it pliable, then hit it with a drop of food coloring.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “This is not turning orange…”

I applied another drop and kneaded it in and…nothing. It was then that I picked up the tube of food coloring and discovered that it was decorating gel.

D’OH! I started looking in my pantry and realized that my box of four liquid food colors was missing the red. Of course. I couldn’t even blend yellow and red together. It was then that my improvisational skills kicked in, and I squeezed that entire tube of orange decorating gel into the marzipan, kneaded it and started making carrots. This is what I got:

Marzipan carrots

Not quite as orange as I would have liked, but orange enough to get the point across. I tore off the prettiest carrot leaves from my bunch and stuck them in the ends of my carrots. I think they actually turned out pretty cute.

The cupcakes themselves were fairly simply and straightforward carrot cupcakes, save for the addition of ginger, which amped up the spice quotient and made the cupcakes delicious. The frosting incorporated two packages of cream cheese, powdered sugar, ginger and just the tiniest hint of orange zest. That frosting is fantastic. I can’t wait to use it again. It would be so good on just about any type of cake. Chocolate, vanilla, gingerbread…yum yum.

Once the cupcakes were frosted, I topped each one with a marzipan carrot:

Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes with Orange-Ginger Frosting and mini marzipan carrots

Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes

My husband and I ate several of these the night they were made, and I took the rest into work. The co-workers who got the cupcakes loved them, and were amazed by the marzipan carrot (a few remarked that they thought it was a real carrot). The best compliment came from one guy, who works downstairs, but happened to come up to get something. I had a couple of cupcakes left and asked him if he wanted one, and he said, “Yeah!” and took it. He went back downstairs and about ten minutes later, he called my phone.

“Kiesha? You’re one hell of a baker. That’s all.”