Sunday, 21 October 2012

Baking Adventures: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

Well, fall is absolutely here. It's undeniable. I put away my summer dresses and shorts and bought some cute sweaters and lace-up combat boots. Tis' the season.
And inevitably, as it happens every year, everything is now available in "pumpkin spice" flavour. Your Starbucks coffee, your muffin, you candles. Yes, everything can be delightfully orange, this time of year.

So I thought now would be a good time to share an amazing recipe for pumpkin spice cupcakes!
All credit here goes to Juicystar07 or Blair Fowler on Youtube. Let's be real, if you read my blog but don't know who she is (she has over 1 million subscribers!) you are insane. 
Anyway she posted a video about how to make these amazing, delicious cupcakes along with a great cream cheese icing that I use for everything now. I've suggest a few tweaks along the way, but mostly the recipe is the best cupcake recipe I've ever tried. I suggest watching the video because she explains everything and demonstrates making them. 

**Warning: If you have never used/smelled uncooked pumpkin puree before (which I had not before tasting these) do not expect it to smell like pumpkin pie. It does not. It smells gross. It makes the batter smell gross. But it tastes amazing once cooked- so don't be frightened. 

So on to the recipe!

Ingredients for pumpkin cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
Garnish & decorations (optional) :
chopped nuts, cinnamon, and/or candy pumpkins

 The batter is a little thick which is normal. I remade these recently and I used almost double the amount of pumpkin puree that the recipe calls for. That just makes them double the delicious- so I would suggest that. Plus it keeps them really soft and moist. Aaaaand, pumpkin is a vegetable so you can totally (kinda) claim these are healthy. Except they're not. 
I also HIGHLY suggest the addition of some nuts or cranberries into this recipe! Nuts give it a great crunch that compliments the softness of the cupcake. I think almonds or walnuts would be best. And cranberries can provide a tart contrast to the sweetness of the icing.
Lastly I suggest increasing the amount of cinnamon suggested and adding nutmeg! When I bake, I never measure spices, I always eyeball them. Nutmeg is really good in these and I usually just add as much as I think I need. Smelling the batter is a good way to tell if you need more. 

Please attempt to ignore the ghetto mess that is this picture. I figured out too late that I didn't have muffin liners and had to butter the pan so... don't hate.

Instructions for pumpkin cupcakes: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. 
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. 
Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. 
Place on a wire rack to cool.

And voila! 

Again, they're kind of stumpy and wonky because of the whole liner situation but they taste so so good!

And the icing... *drooooool*
This is the best cream cheese icing EVER and I use it for almost everything I bake! I featured it on my first baking post- Santa Hat Cupcakes! 

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (175 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Instructions for cream cheese frosting: 
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. 
Add the butter and beat until incorporated and smooth. 
Add the vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). 
Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
Garnish and decorate using nuts, cinnamon, or pumpkin candies (optional).

I used a plain old sandwich bag with a corner cut off to make a piping back and just piped the icing right on top! I added a little candy pumpkin for decoration but sprinkling cinnamon or some nuts on top would be great too!

These are a really great, seasonal treat! If you take the time to ice and decorate them, they make a really great impressions at holiday parties! 
Please try out the recipe and let my know if you liked it!
As always, thanks for readin!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

New *Limited Edition* Colour Tattoos!

Hey again!
I'm being productive today but in all the wrong places. And I like it.
For example, my lovely boyfriend got me a new camera for my birthday (Canon Powershot A2300). And I figured I'd see how it worked by photographing a blog post. It cut my time in half because the focus alone is 10x better on this camera and it finally actually focuses on the product and not the stupid thing behind it.

Maybelline put out eight new shades of the Colour Tattoo cream eyeshadows that are limited edition with their fall collection and I thought I'd review them for you!

That's the view out of my new window! I recently switched rooms and I'm loving the extra space.

*Side note: I didn't write a post on the Colour Tattoos when they first came out for two reasons.
1). They were so widely loved and talked about, I didn't see the point
2). I was REALLY lazy to photograph all those cream eyeshadows, there are a lot of them,

Anyway, long story short, they are cream eyeshadows and I love them! They are pigmented, smooth and they do not crease at all! I need makeup removed to get them off, they are extremely long wearing.

I was dying for the jewel tones that were coming out with this fall collection (a deep purple, blue, etc.) but I haven't seen them anywhere so they might not be coming to Canada which totally sucks monkey balls. However, I did pick up the four more neutral ones that have popped in Shopper Drug Mart recently.

They are truly gorgeous fall shades that will be great for the season.

Above: #100: Barely Beige
The complaint I had when the Colour Tattoos first came out was that there wasn't really a nude/champagne colour. They had "Too Cool" which was a really stark white so I found it difficult to wear. 


 I guess Maybelline realized that too and here we have "Barely Beige" which oddly enough comes of much more pink than it actually is in these pictures. It's a great cream/champagne colour with pink undertones. It's really easy and makes a great base or quick eyeshadow for those days you just need to get out the door quickly. It's shimmery but that doesn't bother me personally.

Above: #200: Mossy Green
I was so excited for this one! It's such a great fall colour and really wearable too.

It's dark, yes but it would make the great beginning for an olive smokey eye. It has a beautiful gold shimmer running through which can lighten it a little, so don't be afraid to try this one!

Above: #300: Gold Shimmer
A lot of people say this is very close the "Bold Gold" colour that they have in the permanent collection but I can't make the comparison because I didn't pick that one up. It looked to much like MAC's "Indianwood" paint pot which I do own for me to justify buying it. 

This however is much darker than "Indianwood" and it has an amazing multi-faceted shimmer which makes so beautiful when worn alone. I love using this day to day for a really beautiful shimmery eye look. This might be my favourite of the new four.

 Above: #400: Rich Mahogany
The other colour I wished had come out with the permanent collection was a really rich dark brown and apparently Maybelline agreed with me again.

 This colour is a really great deep brown with shimmer with a sort of purple/burgandy shimmer running through it, which is why it looks kind of purple in the pictures. It's gorgrous! It would make a great smokey eye for fall or used lightly in the crease it could provide definition.

All four of these limited edition shades have shimmer in them, in case you haven't noticed so if you're not a fan of that- steer clear of these.
They have the same great pigmented, long lasting formula as the regular Colour Tattoos and the same great creamy texture. 
I love all four of these new shades and if you like what you see here- go get some soon! They won't be around for long and they're going fast. I had to go to four different Shopper Drug Marts to find all four shades (a sad example of how I spend my spare time). All for you, blog readers. All for you.  

Just a Few Things...
  • This new camera makes photographing for blog posts so easy! Too bad with my reading week ending this won't increase my blog post output. Sorry :(
  • I think when I do have the time, my next post will be a round-up of some great palettes for the fall seaason, including some old favourites and some new palettes from Urban Decay and Lorac.
  • I had an amazing birthday celebration (shopping and dinner) with some of my best friends (Sarah and Steffy!) yesterday and got some really cute clothes! 
  • I'm already so excited for Christmas! I don't know what it is! The baking, the decorations, spending time with my family, Christmas music, being on break from school- there's just so much to love about the holidays :) 
  • I'm kind of sad all the time lately (I'm not depressed, relax) and I can't figure out why. Maybe the weather change? 
Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Purple and Gold: "Triaccent" Glitter Nails!

Shit. School starts and I always drop the ball here.
Well here's a quick nail post that I knew I wanted to do when I saw the tutorial for it.
Leighannsays is one of my favourite Youtubers, she is hilarious.
Check out her video that shows you exactly how to do this nail look.
Btw, that's why I'm only going to briefly explain how I did the design here because a) it wasn't my idea and b) the video shows it way better than I could ever describe it.

Left to right: Essie "Bahama Mama" China Glaze "I'm not Lion" and Revlon "Facets of Fuchsia"

Leighann calls these "triaccent" nails and they are so easy to do and make your nails look amazing!
I used two coats of Essie's "Bahama Mama" which I love for this fall season by the way. 
The China Glaze glitter polish obviously for the triangles and I have to say I am really impressed with China Glaze glitter polishes. This is the second one I have and I have really fallen in love with both.
 I used the Revlon polish just over my thumb. Revlon's "Facets of Fuchsia was limited edition but I'm so, so glad I got it. Best glitter polish ever created, it works seamlessly on top of any dark colour. You can see that because the purple glitter is in a dark base that it makes my thumbnail look darker than the rest of my nails. I'm considering doing a whole post for it this polish, that's how much I love it. If you can get your hands on it, buy it!

Candle: "Pumpkin Cupcake" from Bath and Body Works. 
Smells so amazing!

The glitter accent was really easy to do but it looks like it would take time and effort, which is why I love this look. It only requires two pieces of scotch tape placed along your nail to create a triangle. 

Anyway, I know this post is short and to the point but school is killing me right now.
Hope everyone enjoyed the post and try it out for yourself!
Thanks for reading!