Showing posts with label cupcake menorah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cupcake menorah. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dr. Who Wedding Cake from a Cupcake Menorah + Chipotle Cranberry Sauce by Cleo Coyle

Doctor Who Cake design
and photo by Laine Barash

This is one busy week! We are celebrating Chanukah, Thanksgiving, and the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi TV show in history. Am I going to cover all of that ground in this post? You bet'cha!
To get my recipe for
Blue Velvet Cupcakes in a
"keeper" PDF document,
click here.

First up the Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 27) and is observed by the kindling of lights on a unique candelabrum (a menorah). One additional light is added on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.

Last year, I posted a recipe for Blue Velvet Cupcakes that I used to make a tasty cupcake menorah. If you'd like that recipe, click here.  

And this recipe led to the one below:
a Tardis blue Doctor Who Wedding Cake!

THE BLUE WEDDING CAKE STORY: Last year, after I posted my Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe, one of our many very kind blog followers, Laine Barash, remembered it when her daughter announced her plan to get married.

But this wasn't just any marriage. This was a story of two hearts broken and mended; two souls lost and found. Johanna tells their story in her own words below...

“Chris and I married in 2001. Neither of us were especially nice people at the time. I started to change and he did not. It got really bad. We separated...and the divorce was final 1/11. I didn't speak a word to him. Then one day I agreed to meet him for coffee. I could see instantly the changes he had made. And with each day since then I am more proud of the man he has become. The man he was meant to be. And I'm grateful, I never stopped loving him. Just knew that we all deserved better. So we've both made a ton of changes. We both have a long way to go, but we have direction. And each other. And our son. And God. So I'm proud to go through life as his wife!” ~ Johanna Rothberg Banfill (photo by Shana Rothberg)

After Chris lost his wife and then turned himself around to win her back, the couple decided to officially re-tie the knot on their original anniversary, November 13. 

Of course, I was touched by their story and delighted to hear that Laine was able to use my recipe to inspire her creation of a very special wedding cake, a Doctor Who cake of Tardis blue

Why a Doctor Who cake? 

Because the bride and groom are huge fans of the show and the bride requested it. 

Why Tardis blue? 

Because TARDIS is the name of the ship Doctor Who uses to explore the universe (TARDIS = Time And Relative Dimension In Space). And the ship is disguised to look like a blue British police box. (When the series first aired back in 1963, these boxes were a common sight in Britain.) 

In the wider universe, blue is commonly associated with harmony and faithfulness, which means this beautiful slice of cake is perfect for a wedding like Johanna and Chris's...

Photo by Laine Barash

Laine Barash
Laine's Tardis Blue
Doctor Who
Wedding Cake

Recipe courtesy Laine Barash for the wedding
of her daughter, Johanna, and son-in-law, Chris

Directions: To make the cake, follow Cleo Coyle's Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe (click here for the recipe) with these adjustments:

1 – Use two cake mixes, for two 8-inch square pans and two 10-inch square pans. 

2 – When you mix up the batter, increase the amount of coloring gel paste. For Cleo's Blue Velvet Cupcakes, she suggests 1 to 2 teaspoons of Wilton brand Royal Blue gel paste (pictured). For the Tardis Blue Doctor Who Cake, increase that to one full ounce (one jar) of Royal Blue gel paste per cake mix, and a tiny glop of violet. (That's 2 ounces of gel paste total and 2 tiny glops of violet for the 2 cake mixes that create the batter for your four layers of wedding cake.)

3 – When you divide the batter among the pans, you will notice that they are not as full as usual, and that’s okay. Bake these layers at 300° F. and they will bake up more level, which means you will not have to slice off any domes to even them out. Frost, top with a Doctor Who cake topper and serve to oohs and ahhs galore!

Blessings and
Congratulations to you,
Johanna and Chris!

*  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Finally, this week, we are also 
celebrating Thanksgiving!
For my Smoky, Zesty Chipotle
Dipping Sauce recipe, click here.
A few months back, I shared my favorite recipe for smoky, zesty Chipotle Dipping Sauce (click here for the recipe). 

I use it for veggies and chips, but also to make Chipotle Tuna Salad and Chipotle Turkey Salad, a good use for turkey leftovers this weekend!

About the same time that I first posted this recipe, I decided to make a Chipotle Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving.

This little decision led to weeks of debate at the Coyle household. I thought it was a great idea. Marc (my husband) thought nobody would like a recipe that radically changed traditional cranberry sauce.

Then, last week, The New York Times came out with its Thanksgiving menu, and (wouldn't you know it), they suggested a "spicy" cranberry sauce with jalapenos and cayenne. Ha! (Do culinary minds think alike or what?)

This jazzed up tuna salad sandwich was made with
my Chipotle Dipping Sauce. This weekend, I'll be
mixing it with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey to
make Chipotle Turkey Salad.
Pictured below is an even better idea: Use my Easy Chipotle Cranberry Sauce recipe for your traditional Black Friday turkey sandwich

When Marc finally tasted it, he admitted the Chipotle Cranberry Sauce on the cold turkey sandwich brought a nice zing to the roasted meat. 

The smoky, spicy flavor notes of the chipotle paired beautifully with the sweet-tart taste of the cranberries. Now he wants to try the sauce with some Indian dishes as a revved-up chutney. Sounds good to me...I'll keep you posted!

Cleo Coyle's
Easy Chipotle
Cranberry Sauce

Although I had been planning a "spicy" cranberry sauce for months, the NY Times beat me to the punch. Still, I think mine is a better recipe. Why? It's so much easier! The Times version has several ingredients and steps. You're welcome to their version. But I'll stick with  my way. It's a snap...

1. PREPARED SAUCE VERSION: Whether you're using canned cranberry sauce (whole or jellied) or you're using prepared homemade sauce, all you have to do is warm it in a small saucepan until it loosens up and becomes more liquid. Now open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (pictured). Dip a spoon in and measure out one teaspoon. Stir it into your warmed cranberry sauce. Taste...if you'd like it hotter, add more. If you'd like it even hotter, chop up a chipotle pepper and stir it in. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and serve. I use it on cold turkey sandwiches with mayo.

2. FROM SCRATCH VERSION: Follow the directions you like best, using whole cranberries, water, and sugar. Your favorite recipe may also include orange juice, orange zest, and/or fresh or dried and ground ginger. Once you begin the cooking process with the cranberries, open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Stir in one teaspoon of the sauce for a mild spicy flavor. Add another teaspoon or two for a hotter version. For the very hot version, chop up a few peppers and stir them in, as well. Finish cooking the sauce, cool, and serve.

Just be sure to warn your guests 
which sauce is traditional and which is spicy...
and please do have a...

Happy Chanukah! &
Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

December 3rd...

A Coffeehouse Mystery
by Cleo Coyle 

*Starred Review*

"Top Pick"
--RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
~ Publishers Weekly

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blue Velvet Cupcakes and a Cupcake Menorah for Hanukkah Week from Cleo Coyle

Like red velvet cake, blue velvet carries a wonderful hint of cocoa. This is a beautiful cupcake for birthday parties and baby or wedding showers. Because blue is also the color for Hanukkah, I used this recipe to make a cupcake menorah for the first night of Hanukkah this past Saturday evening--and, no, unlike the oil, they did not last eight days! My husband and our friends ate them all on the very first night.

As for the recipe, I'm passing on an easy one to make. It even uses a cake mix as a starter, but there are some tricky aspects, which is why I’m sharing some tips, too.

Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Yule, I send you the warmest wishes for these cold, dark months...

May your own holidays be bright!

~ Cleo Coyle 

Cleo Coyle's 
Blue Velvet Cupcakes 
Basic Buttercream Frosting 

 To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Makes about 16 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

1 box of white or vanilla cake mix (with pudding in the mix)

4 teaspoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

3 eggs (lightly beaten with a fork)

1 cup whole milk + ¼ cup whole milk (add separately)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1-2 teaspoons Royal Blue food coloring gel or paste (also called Icing Color)

For the basic buttercream frosting

10 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered or icing sugar)

3 tablespoons whole milk (+ maybe a little extra)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal Blue food coloring gel paste (also called Icing Color)

*Important Note on the food coloring: Because of the brown cocoa powder in this recipe, your cupcakes will end up turquoise in color (or even greenish) instead of blue if you use the wrong kind of food coloring or the wrong amount. To get the beautiful shade of blue in my photos, be sure you do two things: (1) Do not use water-based food coloring such as McCormick’s brand. Use a gel paste coloring. I used Wilton Royal Blue Icing Color gel paste. Michael’s stores carry it in their baking supplies section, but you can also buy it online; click here to see. (2) My other piece of advice is to use enough of the food coloring. Don’t skimp. Start with 1 full teaspoon, at least. You made need up to another full teaspoon to see your batter turn the shade of blue you like best. (Some bakers add a very small amount of violet gel paste to help achieve a deep, royal blue. Give that a try, if you like, but I did achieve a pretty blue color using only blue gel paste.)

Directions - For the...


Step 1: First preheat your oven to 325° F. Place the vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line with whole milk. Set aside for five minutes.

Step 2: Into a large mixing bowl, combine the box of cake mix, cocoa powder, vegetable or canola oil, and eggs. Add the sour milk from Step 1 and an additional ¼ cup whole milk. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute until a smooth batter forms. (Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you mix.)

Step 3: Measure out 1 teaspoon of the royal blue gel paste and add it to the batter. Mix well and observe the color. You may need to add up to 1 more teaspoon of gel paste to achieve the depth of blue you want.

Step 4: Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Take out the ¼ cup container in your measuring set. Use it to measure out the batter for each cupcake. This will keep the size consistent.

Bake in your preheated 325° F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes (exact time depends on your oven). Cupcakes are done when the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a test cupcake comes out free of wet batter. Transfer pans to a cooling rack and allow the cupcakes to cool in their pans at least five minutes before removing.

Directions for the...


Notes for success: Canned icing doesn’t come close to comparing to the wonderful taste of homemade buttercream. It’s easy to make. Just be sure to: (1) Start with softened butter. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to cream it. (2) When adding milk start with the lowest amount possible and add it in very slowly until you achieve a smooth, spreadable icing. If you throw in a large amount of milk, you will end up with watery frosting—at that point, even if you whip more butter into it, the frosting may remain grainy. (Ask me how I know.)

Step 1: Into a mixing bowl, cut the softened butter into pieces. Measure in the vanilla. Using an electric mixer, cream these ingredients until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer.

Step 2: Add in the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. (No more!) Beat until the sugar is completely incorporated. If the frosting is still too thick, add in a very small splash of milk and beat again. Add in more milk this way, a little at a time, until you get a smooth consistency that’s easy to spread on your cupcake tops. (Try a test frosting of one cupcake to be sure.)

Step 3: Finally, add a small amount of gel paste coloring to the frosting and beat it again. Add more gel paste to achieve the exact shade of blue that you’d like. My method of adding the gel paste is pretty basic—I dip the tines of a fork into the bottle to scoop out the gel and roughly mix it into the frosting before beating again. Frost your cupcakes and eat with blue velvet joy!

May your
holidays be bright!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on Twitter here

Learn about my books here

My new
Coffeehouse Mystery
has just released...

Now a Top-10
New York Times

And an Amazon and
Barnes & Noble
Mass Market Paperback
, nationwide!

A Mystery Guild
Featured Alternate

Publisher's Weekly: “Sprightly…and engaging.”

Kirkus Reviews:
“Jingle bells, beautiful displays, scrumptious treats:
Holiday season in New York City has it all,
including murder…Coyle’s coffeehouse series
captures the New York experience,
from high-society parties to gritty back-street deals.
The fine mystery is followed by some holiday
recipes that will even pack the pounds on readers
who are only browsing them.”

RT Book Reviews
"A fun mixture of family, romance, cooking and...
a perfect Christmas mystery. A treat..."

Holiday Buzz

The clock is ticking down
on some fun contests (links below).

* CONTEST #1 at Fresh Fiction

* CONTEST #2 at Latte Da!

* New Contest at Dru's Book Musings
Read a special excerpt from the opening of Holiday Buzz, leave a comment, and you will be entered to win a stainless steel NYPD travel mug, a personally inscribed copy of my new book, and my recipe card for Candy Cane Frosting. Contest ends Sat. Dec.15th - Click here to enter Dru's contest.

* New Contest at Lori's Reading Corner
Read a brand new exclusive excerpt from the book, a scene between Clare Cosi and her ex-husband Matt that I call: "Manhattan munchies, a tempting patty melt, and a clue to murder..." - Be sure to use Lori's entry form at the end of the post, and you will be entered to win a personally inscribed copy of Holiday Buzz and my recipe card for Candy Cane Frosting. Contest ends Sun. Dec. 23rd. Click here to enter Lori's contest.

Good luck
and have fun,