Halloween Celebrations!

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Happy Halloween everyone!!

It is my absolute favorite time of year! I love the baking, the pumpkin patch, and dressing up! This past week I had 2 awesome events, a pumpkin carving party at my house & a Halloween party at my Grandma’s community. They were both SO fun! And both involve cupcakes and other equally delicious treats.

First was my pumpkin carving bash! I made a bunch of food; butternut squash soup, cornbread, spiked apple cider, marshmallow pops, cupcakes, whoopie pies, and more!


Gettin’ ready to roast some fresh butternut squash for soup. And my Dad loves to photobomb...haha.
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My assistant and best friend Kayla Berry dipping some marshmallow pops!

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I love the way these turned out!

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Orange Velvet Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting, yum!

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Whoopie pies! Spiderwebs done by Kayla!

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Dylan made a batch of his famous dirt & worms! (Crushed oreos, chocolate pudding & gummy worms!)

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Everyone brought their pumpkins to carve!

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Love this girl, couldn’t have done it without her!

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Dylan did a Mustache-O-Lantern and I did a kitty. Typical us =]

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Everyone and their pumpkins, amazing job!! Thank you to everyone who came.

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Now on to the Halloween party!! I catered the cupcakes, of course.

It was my grandma’s party, so I figure I better start off with a picture of us! I’m Little Red for Halloween this year. Can anyone guess what Dylan is?!

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My creepy cupcake display!

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I did a Pumpkin cupcake, topped with a green Tic-Tac for a stem and some glitter, of course!

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A bloody Red Velvet cupcake!

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And Chocolate Mint, topped with my leftover Nightmare Before Christmas toppers I made last week!

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Love all the bright colors.

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Dylan met me at the party dressed as the Big Bad Wolf! Love.

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I hope everyone has a safe & delicious day!

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Happy Halloween from hollicakes!<3
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Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes!

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Hey friends! So sorry this post is a little late. These guys took some time in the kitchen!

So Dylan & I just renewed our Disneyland passes, and got to go see the park all decked out for Halloween. Oh my gosh, my favorite!

And every year we go on the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, it is amazing what a transformation that ride gets for the holidays! Impresses me every time. Needless to say, that is where my inspiration for the week’s cupcake came from!

What did I make? I did a white cake with a dash of cinnamon, baked with a Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kiss inside, topped with cider caramel buttercream!

These cupcakes have multiple, time sensitive steps to them, so I’ll go through them in the order that I worked in!

The first thing I did, a couple days before: I made the cider caramel.
What is cider caramel? Apple juice, reduced down to a think cider, then caramelized and mixed with butter & cream to make a cider caramel sauce! And its delicious and caramely with a hint of apple cider. A new fall favorite, for sure.

Here’s how I did it, in a little more detail.

Cider Caramel Sauce
-makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 container of apple juice (yes a whole container!)
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 - 2 cups heavy cream, depending on how thick you want your sauce

1. Pour container of apple juice into a large pot, simmer on medium-high heat until reduced by about 75%. (This took me almost 2 hours. I had it on medium heat while I worked on the decorations)
2. Once all the water has evaporated from the apple juice, it will become a sticky, thicker liquid. Keep going. At this point you will want to stop what you’re doing and watch it closely. Since it is a caramel, it can go from almost there to burnt very quickly! Also, be careful friends, especially with children in the kitchen. Hot caramel is dangerous and can burn you!
3. You will see it start getting darker, once its a medium amber color, remove from heat, add butter & cream. It will bubble, watch out!
4. Stir until combined, if sauce is too thick, add more cream. When hot it will seem very liquid, but once it cools it’ll set up. To test, dip a spoon in caramel & set in fridge for 5 minutes. Will keep for 7-10 days, refrigerated.

What it looked like when it started to get sticky.

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Have your butter & cream ready. Missing 1 stick of butter in the picture though! I was kind of winging it, didn’t know how much I was going to use.

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What it looks like when its caramelized and ready for the cream & butter!

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Meanwhile......

I was working on the Nightmare decorations, using stencils Dylan made for me!

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And here they are for your piping pleasure! Minus the mummy eyeball guy, I didn’t end up liking him!

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First I piped the outlines for each, like in the above picture. Then I flooded them with the royal icing.

Never used royal icing? Well its pretty easy to make, and perfect for frosting sugar cookies with. (Think decorated Xmas sugar cookies! Yep that’s royal icing.)

Or also perfect for piping out decorations onto parchment! Once they dry(mine dried in about a day and a half) they peel of nice & easy.

Here is a recipe for you guys.

Royal Icing (Wilton’s Recipe)

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Tips:
For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

Thinned Royal Icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency.


Now time for the cupcakes! I used this recipe by Martha Stewart, but the only things I added to it was cinnamon and Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses!

Cinna-White Cupcakes
-makes about 24

3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
8 large egg whites
24 Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.

5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with 2/3 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.


Found these kisses at Target, yum!

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Look at the pumpkin cream inside!

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Anyways, back to the cupcakes...

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I used clear Vanilla Extract to make sure the cupcakes would be nice and white!

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Look at that beautiful white batter.

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Kisses in the cupcakes.

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Baked and ready to be frosted!

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Time for some frosting with that caramel we made earlier!

Cider Caramel Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
12 tablespoons shortening
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons cider caramel
3-5 drops orange food coloring (optional)

1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat butter and shortening until smooth.
2. Sift powdered sugar, add 1/2 cup at a time to taste.
3. Add caramel and food coloring, beat until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired!

Caramel, yummy!

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Ready to frost?!

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I used a plain star tip to frost my cupcakes, then placed the royal icing decorations on top with a little glitter.

Hello fabulous Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes!!

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Jack & Sally<3

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Pumpkin Monster & Oogy Boogie

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Happy Halloween Everyone!!

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Vanilla Bake Shop: Review

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So a few weeks ago it was mine and Dylan’s 3 year anniversary! Crazy, the time has gone by so fast. And since I work for Fairmont, we went to stay at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica for a day/night of relaxation. And lots of yummy food =]

One of the first places we stopped at was Vanilla Bake Shop, only a couple blocks away from the hotel!

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They had the cutest Halloween display in the window. I wanted to take it home with me!

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We were each going to get a mini cupcake, but since they only sell the mini cupcakes in 3’s, we picked out a third!

Finally decided on Banana Chocolate Chip, Fudgy Brownie & Red Velvet.

Started with the Red Velvet, it was so moist the wrapper was falling off! Loved the cake, but thought the frosting could be a little bit more cream cheesy.

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Then Fudgy Brownie, this one was our least favorite. The cake was a dry “brownie” with not-so-exciting vanilla frosting.

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Cutting it in half to share!

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Banana Chocolate Chip, this one was AMAZING! The banana cake had the perfect amount of chocolate chips and was super moist, and the cream cheese frosting complimented it very well. Would definitely order this cupcake again!

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Yum?

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And Dylan got a super awesome shirt!

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Why yes they do.


If you guys want to visit Vanilla Bake Shop, they have 2 locations; one in Santa Monica & one in Century City.

512 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Ph: 310.458.6644

10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Floor 1 Space 1250
Ph: 310-284-7937

Hours
Monday thru Saturday 10am - 9pm
Sunday 12pm - 7pm



Happy cupcaking!

<3hollicakes

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Mint Chocolate-SPIDER-Chip

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BOO! Happy 2nd week of October, cupcake lovers!

So sorry for the randomness & lack of updates, finally figuring out the issues with the program I publish the blog with. Whew!

Just in time, because starting now, October-December I will be posting a holiday flavor of the week, every week!

Last week, the first week, I posted my Pumpkin Pie Latte cupcakes. And this week I will be featuring one of my new Halloween favorites, Mint Chocolate-SPIDER-Chip.

Yep, you heard right. One of my favorite ice cream flavors transformed into a Halloween cupcake. Life couldn’t get any better right?

Chocolate Cupcakes
-makes about 20-22

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
2. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Heaping 1/2 cup, I love my chocolate chips!

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Bunch of cute Halloween liners. & I didn’t end up using these sprinkles on the cupcakes, but they are super cute anyways, and will definitely use them soon!

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Chocolate cupcakes, they almost look like brownies!

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Mint Buttercream
-makes enough to frost about 24 cupcakes

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon mint extract, depending on how strong you want the mint
5-7 drops AmeriColor Electric Green food coloring

1. Cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Sift powdered sugar, add 1/2 cup at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.
2. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix until combined and smooth. Frost cupcakes.


Mint Buttercream, yum!

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LOVE the lime green.




Piped chocolate spiderwebs and “BOO”s with chocolate melting wafers.

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This is what you get if you’re a neighbor of hollicakes. The extras!

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Like the creepy photos?!

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And the cute spider cupcake stands? From the Halloween section at Target! $4.99 for a set of 4! So cool.

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Dylan and I had so much fun taking these pictures; fog machine, candy corn & spooky lights!

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Have I mentioned Halloween is my favorite holiday? LOVElove love it.

Do YOU guys have any fun Halloween cupcake/cookie/cake/brownie decorating ideas that you want to see featured on my blog?
Send me a Halloween decorating challenge & I’ll try my best to tackle it =]



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CW Event!

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Hello again! I’ve been a busy little cupcake lately & I’m so excited to share what hollicakes has been up to!

The most recent event, Collaborative World’s Fall/Holiday Launch! It was on September 28 at the Galaxy Concert Theater.

What the heck is CW and why was hollicakes there?

Collaborative World is a for-profit apparel company(t-shirts, hats, hoodies, etc.) that donates 50% of their profit from sales to partnering companies already doing good around the world. Giving is the brand. Hollicakes is proud to be a participant in this amazing cause. All the cupcakes featured at this event were donated, we say GIVE CUPCAKES. The CW MISSION: To actively pursue new and more extraordinary ways to give while encouraging others to do the same.

Are you encouraged yet? I sure am =]


Ready for some pictures? Me too!


Chocolate cupcakes lookin good.

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Chocolate, Pumpkin, & Blueberry Pancake; all in line.

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newest addition to the hollicakes team, andrew!

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Team hollicakes! (minus Kayla, we missed you!!)

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The boys setting up.

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The featured seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Pie Latte!

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Sweet + Salty = YUM.

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Back by popular demand.

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Cupcaking with my love!

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Our Fall display!

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Andrew tray-passing hollicakes! love it.

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the boys, haha

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Amazing new CW shirts on display!

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heyyyy, i love cupcakes.


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Pumpkin Pie Latte Cupcakes!

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Hello, fall!

I must say, fall & holiday baking is definitely my favorite time of year. ESPECIALLY Halloween! So get ready for a series of spooky & fun Halloween treats!

You know for sure that fall is here when coffee shops start bringing out seasonal flavors, like pumpkin pie!! My favorite =]

So I decided to turn my favorite seasonal drink into a yummy cupcake, lets see how I did it....


Both your sugars, spices, & baking powder.

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Pumpkin + Cake four = one good cupcake.

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The wet ingredients.

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Add the wet to the dry, mix it up.

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Cute mini cupcake liners I found on sale after Halloween last year!

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Want some recipes? Here you go;


Pumpkin Cupcakes
-makes about 24

2 cups cake flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and set out cupcake pans with liners. Whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder & spices in the bowl of a mixer.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, buttermilk & eggs.
3. With mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients, mix until just combined & smooth.
4. Fill liners 3/4 full, then bake 20-25 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on wire rack.



Oh what makes these cupcakes all coffee & yummy?

Kahlua. The good stuff.

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Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting
-enough to frost about 24 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon dry instant coffee, if desired
1/4 cup baking cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar


1. Beat together softened butter & cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl, add instant coffee and Kahlua, mix to dissolve coffee.
2. Add Kahlua mixture & whipping cream to butter/cream cheese mixture. Mix until incorporated.
3. Sift together cocoa and powdered sugar, add 1/2 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly in between each addition.
4. Frost cupcakes as desired!


Adding the Kahlua to the dry coffee, yum!

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Beautiful pumpkin cupcakes, cooled & ready to be frosted.

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I love how the frosting looks like little pumpkins.

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Happy first day of October!

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Cupcake Camp OC!




On September 11, 2011, an event called Cupcake Camp OC went down over at the Atrium Hotel in Irvine.

All the proceeds went to Children of the Night, a non-profit organization out to stop child prostitution.

So tickets were $15 per person, and you got to pick which track you wanted, 12-2 or 3-5. And from 2-3 was a cupcake competition for the bakers! Each person received 5 tickets, and could trade each ticket for 1 regular or 2 mini cupcakes.

From the moment the doors opened it was cupcake craziness. We brought 700 mini cupcakes, which was split evenly for each of the tracks. But we very quickly found out that there were WAY more people than the event expected and not enough cupcakes for everyone. We handed out 350 cupcakes in 30 minutes.


Here are some photos from the day;

hot out of the oven!



3/4 of team hollicakes getting ready to go!



Dylan and Kayla having a mid-setup cupcake break!



My amazing cupcake engineer, assistant & soulmate.






Oh what flavors did we bring? I thought you’d never ask =]


Mallow Delight - Chocolate cake topped with homemade marshmallow frosting then dipped in dark chocolate.

This flavor was also featured at this years LA Cupcake Challenge, and has become a favorite of some of my youngest fans! What kid (or adult) can say no to the combination of marshmallow & chocolate?!





Raspberry Velvet - Raspberry red velvet cake with tangy cream cheese frosting.

A fun, fruity twist on a delicious classic. Even topped with a homemade fondant heart & edible glitter!





Snickers & Jack - Caramel snickers cake topped with homemade caramel and chocolate Jack Daniels buttercream.

I recently posted about these cupcakes, which were inspired by a “Top Shelf” ice cream that was once featured at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.





Breakfast in Bed - Blueberry buttermilk cake topped with a maple swiss meringue buttercream & cinna-bacon.

These cupcakes were created by Dylan, and feature his famous cinnamon bacon! These sinful breakfast cakes, along with my Snickers & Jack cupcakes have become a favorite of the guys’. You know, the boyfriends/husbands/ brothers of all those cupcake-loving women out there. The men are happy, the women are happy, cupcake bliss.





All set up & ready for the cupcake lovers!



New hollicakes shirts courtesy of TC Screen Printing, pretty amazing.



Cupcake Love<3






The competition included three categories; Most OC, Most Childhood Inspired, and Spirit of 9/11.

RESULTS; hollicakes earned two 2nd places and one 1st place! Yay! I honestly was shocked, and so happy that people loved my cupcakes!


Most OC: Chocolate Orange - Chocolate cake filled with a sweet orange curd, topped with white chocolate orange buttercream & a candied orange slice dipped in chocolate.

2nd Place Winner!





Most Childhood Inspired: Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies - Brown sugar cake filled with a chocolate chip cookie dough, topped with brown sugar buttercream & mini chocolate chips.

2nd Place Winner!





Spirit of 9/11(design only category): Dylan designed and built fondant Twin Towers with light-up blue LEDS.

1st Place Winner!





My cupcake boys - Andrew & Dylan!



Dylan’s favorite cupcake of the day.



Four of my favorite things; Cupcakes, chocolate, glitter & turquoise.



Andrew giving away the LAST breakfast in bed cupcake! intense moment.



Cupcake madness.



Gave away all 700 cupcakes, ended up with a TON of tickets! Love it =]




I had an amazing time at Cupcake Camp OC and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped organize the event, the hotel, all the cupcake fans out there, & the judges.

And most of all THANK YOU to Team Hollicakes!! Dylan, Kayla, Andrew & my mom!! I love you guys! I could not have done it without you.


Until next time,
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