Monday, April 25, 2011

Blueberry Vodka and Lemonade Cupcakes

These cupcakes are amazing!  And LOADED with blueberry vodka.  Each month that we have Bunco, I like to make a cake for whoever has a birthday that month.  This month was my friend Billie's birthday and she is a huge fan of blueberry vodka and lemonade.  So I thought it was fitting to figure out how to make a cupcake out of that drink.

I used a lemon cupcake and lemon curd recipe from my Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook. You can find it on her website if you don't have the book by going to Martha's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.  I posted my adapted version at the end of this post.

You start by making the lemon curd (recipe follows), and put that into the fridge to chill for about an hour. Next prepare the batter.  I always use a scoop to make sure the same amount goes into each cupcake.  That way they cook evenly.  I also turn the pan once while in the oven to help them cook evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes.

While the cupcakes cool you can get your ingredients out to fill them.  You will need Blueberry Vodka, Blueberries and Lemon Curd.  

Use a small biscuit cutter to cut the middle out of the cupcake (make sure you don't push all the way through).  Take the middle out and brush the inside with the Blueberry Vodka.  Get one that tastes good.  I used a French vodka called Pennacle.  It has a great blueberry flavor to it.  I also cut the piece that I removed (horizontally) so that I can replace it on top when done filling.

Fill the cupcake about half way with the lemon curd and then add four blueberries (or however many will fit.)  Make sure to leave a little space to put the "top" back onto the cupcake. 

Replace the top and brush the entire cupcake with more Blueberry Vodka.  I used a silicone basting brush to brush the vodka onto the cupcakes. 

Frost the cupcakes with Blueberry Vodka Buttercream frosting.  I know you are wondering how much I added to the buttercream.  Well, I added as much as I could that allowed the frosting to hold it's shape.  Worth every drop.  These cakes were Fantastic!  I have the buttercream recipe that I use posted below, keep in mind I just kept the mixer on and added vodka...and more vodka...and more vodka.  Use as little or as much as you like.  You could also make these without the alcohol (why oh why?).  

Top with a fresh blueberry and serve.

Blueberry Vodka and Lemonade Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Makes 24

Lemon Curd


  • 8 large egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces


  1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

  2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Lemon Curd (recipe follows, or you can use store bought)
  • Blueberry Vodka Buttercream Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.

  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

  4. To finish, use a biscuit cutter to hollow out the cupcake.  Brush with blueberry vodka, add lemon curd and blueberries, cut piece you hollowed out in half and replace on top of cupcake.  Brush top with alcohol.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately. 

    Blueberry Vodka Buttercream Frosting

    • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
    • 1 cup room temperature butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Blueberry Vodka
  1.  Mix sugar and butter together in a standing mixer on low with paddle attachment until well blended.  Increase the speed to medium for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream for another minute.  Add blueberry vodka until you reach the consistency you like.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Bunnies

I have always wanted to make the boys chocolate bunnies for Easter.  Last year I waited to long and didn't get the molds.  This year I ordered on time, but didn't read the fine print.  They are much smaller than I thought they would be, but they are so darn cute I don't mind.  This is actually two pieces put together and I added jelly beans to the little "basket" by the bunny.  You could fill it with anything you like.  

The kind of chocolate that you use to make the molds should be something you will enjoy eating.  Once I made a chocolate sucker with semi-sweet chocolate and about gagged.  TOO SWEET.  I like to use Ghiradeli chocolate when I bake.  The yellow bag is okay, but Ghiradeli has amazing flavor and melts so much better.  So here I have melted Ghiradeli Milk Chocolate chips.  If I made these for me I would use Bittersweet.  

Here is the mold I ordered online.  I used Amazon.

Once the chocolate is hardened, I melted a little bit of bittersweet chocolate and used it to "glue" the bunny to the base.

Add a little melted chocoalte and then hold the bunny in place till it stands on it's own.

Two cute bunnies!  I hope the boys love them.  I think they turned out adorable.

One more picture...without jelly beans.  :)

And WITH jelly belly beans!  My boys love Jelly Belly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birds Nests

I saw these on a FB post from Ezra Pound Cake, which is a super cute blog I follow.  I thought they were just adorable!  And EASY.  No baking involved!  Well, you have to melt the chocolate, but even that can be done in the microwave.  Now the recipe called for Lo Mein noodles and I don't usually buy them so I really had no idea what they would taste like.  It suggested you could use pretzel sticks too, but I used what the author used.  Next time I would use pretzels for sure....I LOVE pretzels.

All you do is melt the chocolate with the butter, and then stir in the noodles (or whatever you use).

Arrange your "nests' on parchment or wax paper, and add your "eggs."

Let them try completely.

Store in an airtight container until ready to eat!

For the complete recipe visit Ezra Pound Cake by clicking :  Chocolate Easter Nests.

This is a great one for the kids!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Cookies

Well, I am a huge fan of decorated sugar cookies.  I love eating them, and I love making them.  I love finding new occasions to make them for.  :)  For some reason I find it relaxing and loved how these turned out!  I tried a few techniques that I have seen on some of my favorite blogs, but I have come to love the sugar cookie recipe from Annie's Eats and I use it EVERY TIME.

I made eggs.

And butterflies!

And chicks!

Have fun decorating!

Homemade Peeps

I had an idea about making peeps ever since I made homemade marshmallows this winter.  I was thinking I would use a metal cookie cutter to cut out the marshmallows, but found a recipe that lets me pipe the marshmallow and make them another way.  I gave it a try, but you have to be quick or the marshmallow starts to get hard.  

I found the recipe at and gave it a try.  

Get all of the ingredients out and ready.  You won't have time to do it once things get going.  The first batch I left the remaining marshmallow in the bowl and it hardened before I could finish.  The second time I filled three piping bags and it lasted a little longer.

Here is what it looks like piped in the sugar.  I used a spoon to complete cover it with the rest of the sugar.

I set them on parchment paper and waited for them to set up a little before adding the eyes and nose.  The recipe called for piping black royal icing, but I could only get it gray.  So I decided to use the black circles from Halloween sprinkles.  

I used a toothpick to poke where I wanted the eyes and nose and then put on the sprinkle.  Poking them made the toothpick sticky too, so that is what I used to get pick them up and put them on the faces.

Then I made yellow ones and attempted a peep chick....obviously unsuccessful.  lol

These are just so cute, I can't help but take a ton of pictures.  Can't wait to gobble them up with the kiddos.  Hope you enjoy your peeps!  You can buy them or make them, but it's just not Easter without them! 

Okay, last peep picture!  I promise!  To make your own go to: Easter Peeps.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spinach Saute with Crispy Prosciutto Poached Eggs

I purchased Curtis Stone's latest cookbook from the Borders going out of business sale, which sounded like a good deal at the time.  The recipes inside looked like food my family would eat and it had a few pics of the chef throughout the book...bonus.  What was NOT a bonus, was that I purchased this book MINUS THE COVER.  You know, that paper cover that has all the hot poses on it...ya, that one...I don't have it.  So we get home and  my husband looks the book up on amazon.  I could have gotten a better deal...WITH the cover of course.  DARN.  I am actually tempted to sell the one I have and order another one just to have the outside smiles looking at me each time I decide to cook from that book.  Do I sound crazy?  Yes, but have you seen him?  Come on!

Nothing sounds tastier than breakfast with Curtis Stone.  Unfortunately I woke from that dream and decided the closest thing to it would be cooking something from his cookbook.  On the weekends I like to try something new and make something special for my boys (tall one included).  Luckily they are all great taste testers, so it works out for all of us.  This recipe is really simple if you have all of the ingredients on hand...which I usually do.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with prosciutto and bake as many cups as you need in the oven for about 18 minutes.  Simmer water in a large skillet and poach as many eggs as you need.  Before placing the eggs into the water, it is a good idea to add 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar.  It helps the eggs stay in one piece.  Saute spinach in a pan (I used a wok) with a little olive oil or butter.  THAT IS IT!  And it is very tasty.  

My husband likes the eggs more cooked so I left it in a little longer so they wouldn't be gooey.  But I like mine gooey, so I took them out sooner.  When you take them out, just set them on a paper towel to get off the excess water.  Tasty!  I think you could sprinkle with your favorite cheese to add something to it!

Curtis has his recipe listed on his website.  You can find it at Toasted Bagel with Crispy Prosciutto Poached Eggs

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Corn Tortillas

I know what you are thinking...tortilla shells are cheap, why should I make them?  Well let me tell you why, BECAUSE THEY ARE AWESOME.  I am not usually a fan of a corn tortilla.  I usually go for the whole wheat ones.  I have a hard time finding them too because most tortillas have LARD in them and that totally grosses me out.  Take a look at the package next time...try finding one without lard.  There is a limited selection.

After hearing how easy it is to make my own, I gave it a try.  I bought some Maseca to make my own.  It was in the Mexican food isle.  I found it at Meijer, but I am sure most of the stores around here carry it.

Meijer also carries tortilla presses.  But the ones they carry are aluminum and everything I read said that if you want the press to last you should get a cast iron press.  So I searched and found one on amazon for a good price and couldn't wait for it to come to me so I could make my own tortillas.

So here is my press.  Ready to make some delicious tortillas!  Wait till you see how easy this is!

You combine the Maseca, water and salt in a bowl and divide it into portions.  The recipe is right on the bag.  This is the weird way I did it, but I'm sure any way you divide it will be fine.  lol

Make sure while you are working with each portion you cover the rest with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel.  

Cut three of the sides of a ziplock bag and open it to cover the press.  This keeps it from becoming a giant mess!

Fold over the plastic and then close the press and push the bar down to flatten it out.

It is the perfect tortilla!  Now it just has to be removed from the plastic and placed in a skillet to cook.

Cook on both side for about 50 seconds each.

Place in tortilla keeper to keep them nice and warm.

I also cut some of them up and sprayed them with canola oil and sprinkled with salt.  They were VERY crunchy.

The boys loved these.

This tortilla was delicious!  Soft and warm and perfect!  Give it a try.  I made turkey tacos, but you can make whatever your family's favorite is.  These would also be great for fajitas, breakfast burritos, I could go on...they are just so good!