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7611  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 05, 2010 06:55:21 PM
While my husband toiled over dinner tonight (a very rare occasion here), I wrote up a cupcake filling tutorial that all of you bakers might enjoy...

La Tua Cantante Cupcakes
(a.k.a. Twilight Inspired Strawberry-Filled French Vanilla Vampire Cupcakes)
7612  COOKING / Dessert / La Tua Cantante Cupcakes; Strawberry-Filled Vampire Cupcake Tutorial on: June 05, 2010 06:44:23 PM

La Tua Cantante Cupcakes
(Twilight Inspired Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes)

My good friend Ex_Gratia just turned 21 in April.  As her birthday was on a Monday night, and she already had a big party planned for the following weekend, she asked if we could do something simple and quiet on her actual birthday.  She thought long and hard about what we should do, and decided that she wanted to come over, have a glass of wine, some dinner, and watch Twilight & New Moon.  Pretty darn good plan I thought.  (Yes, we both admitted its not a very exciting 21st, but were okay with being dorks.)  So, after planning a delicious meal, I knew I needed to plan an even more awesome dessert.  I decided that in honor of the vampire filled evening, we were going to need  La Tua Cantante Cupcakes.  
To be more specific, Strawberry-Filled French Vanilla Cupcakes, oozing a thick blood-red filling from two perfect puncture wounds.

Since the dinner was on a weeknight, and I didnt want to be eating at midnight, I did some prep work on dinner and decorated the cupcakes that morning.  And I admit that I started with a boxed cake mix & pre-made frosting because I had so much other cooking to do.  (Recipes for the Milk & Mustard Baked Ham, and Hash-brown Casserole I made that night will come later!)  I knew what I wanted to make, and had seen plenty of cupcakes decorated with gel icing, which was not what I was quite going for.  I did bother to consult the interwebs about a few things.  Specifically the best way to FILL cupcakes.  Heres  my tutorial on all of it.

1 Cake Mix I used French Vanilla, which was very vampirific shade of white
1 container of Frosting I used Cream Cheese Frosting which I improved upon by adding a few drops of Almond Extract, 2 T of milk, and about C confectioners sugar
1 can of Strawberry Pie Filling
Shimmer or Pearl Dust (optional)

1 paring knive
1 butter knife
a few toothpicks
1 zip top bag (sandwhich size)
1 writing tip
1 coupler

Start by baking the cupcakes according to the package directions.  Allow them to cool completely.  I cannot stress this enough, they must be COOL!  While they are cooling you can doctor up your pre-packaged frosting if you wish.  I always add a bit of extract (almond), milk, and confectioners sugar to mine whenever I use to, to make it taste & behave more like homemade.  

Now, gather your hardware.  Begin by placing a cupcake on a stable surface, and find your most comfortable-to-handle paring knife.

Insert your knife, at about a 45 degree angle, into the cupcake about halfway between the center and the outer edge.  Run your knife around in a circle, to cut out a cone of the cake.   Slice off the tip of the cone, and hollow out any stray bits of cake that you think may get in your way for the next step

Now, use a spoon to extract a single strawberry, and a bit of its surrounding gel, from the can of filling.  Drop the strawberry into the cavity of the cupcake.

Be sure not to overfill, because you will need to place the cupcake top that youve cut out, back on top.  Repeat with all the remaining cupcakes.

Now, frost your cupcakes with your improved-upon frosting.  The stickiness of the gel should hold the tops onto the cupcakes while you frost.  If you like your vampires to sparkle, you can also take this opportunity to add a bit of Shimmer or Pearl Dust onto the top of the frosting.  These are commercially available and completely edible cake decorating products that can be found in cake, party supply, and craft stores including Joanns or Hobby Lobby.  They are generally just brushed on with a pastry brush, but be sure to check the directions on whatever you purchase.

After frosting your cupcakes, you are ready to add the all important oozing puncture wounds.  Start by taking a toothpick and making two small holes into the frosting, about 1 1/4 to 1 apart.  You only need to go through the frosting on this step, not all the way into the cacvity in the cupcake.  Dont worry if you do accidentally pierce the top of the cupcake, but dont go out of your way, or make a mess, going any further in.

Next, take a zip top bag, and cut off the tip.  Fit it with a coupler, and a writing tip.  (These cake decorating products come in very useful in the kitchen and can be found cheaply in any cake, party supply, kitchen, or craft store.  The tip slips between the two pieces of the coupler, which screws together, with the bag between them, holding the tip in place.)  Fill the bag with some of the strawberry pie filling gel, but not any of the berries.  Try to avoid any berry pulp as well, as it can clog the tip.  Remove the excess air from the bag, and zip closed.  

Place the tip down on some wax paper and begins squeezing the bag to start dispensing the filling.  Now, start with one of the puncture wounds you have made.  Place the tip at the hole, and squeeze the bag lightly, making a small stream of gel.  Gently increase the pressure the closer you get to the edge of the cupcake, so that the blood pools in a larger drip than it started as.    

Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.  Be careful not to put too much filling right at the edge, if they are going to sit a while before serving, or gravity may do its work and pull some of the heavier drops off the edge and youll have to go back at touch them up later.

Serve the delicious treats to the hungry hoards and bask in the glow of their wonder at youre amazing cake skills.  

Pssst...  Chocolate cupcakes with cherry filling would be amazing too!  Just sayin'...
7613  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 05, 2010 05:48:29 PM
Ok, you all need to stop whatever it is you are doing and go make HippieKender's Jambalaya.  Now!  What are you people standing around for!?!?
7614  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 05, 2010 04:02:06 PM
My husband is currently making HippieKender's Jambalaya!  The house smells AMAZING!
7615  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 05, 2010 11:11:49 AM
7616  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Re: Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Swap? on: June 05, 2010 11:11:17 AM
That's awesome dustfro!  I can't wait to see your sorting hat puppet!
7617  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 04, 2010 07:44:19 PM
polkadotts, (and anyone else who wants them), just PM me with your email address and I'll send you the file of recipes that I sent my partners.  There's like 15 or so in the document.  Smiley
7618  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 04, 2010 12:51:39 PM
Whoo hoo!  I'll be more than happy to send you the recipes I sent my group too!
7619  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Recipe Swap ~ Signups Closed~ Sendouts June 1 ~ on: June 04, 2010 09:54:28 AM
Mmm, green tea cupcakes do sound delightful...  I may have to barter for more recipes later!  Wink
7620  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Steampunk Charm Swap Mail by 6/18 FULL; Signups Closed! on: June 04, 2010 07:37:18 AM
I also know people like seeing "new" next to a thread and getting excited, but speaking as a frequent swap organizer, this is so much nicer to keep track of.  (Remember, poor starshine is keeping track of 168 packages for us ladies!)  And that is truly an awesome idea about posting when we receive an item starshine!  Really brilliant.  I am so careful with my color coded spreadsheets and updating sending status, but every once in a while I discover a mistake, and have to pour through 800 PMs to double check my info, which sometimes is rather sparse from some swappers.  I really should use it next time I do another Bookmark Swap, which had over 240 items to track!  

We're doing something similar in the recipe swap.  Because it's not all that interesting to post pictures of recipes we got in the mail in the gallery, we each claimed a spot, then made a list of who our partners were, and are listing the recipes they sent us.  Then when we make an item from a recipe, we post a picture of the finished food into our mini-galleries.  So far the gallery is only 4 pages, and we can view it all at once.  Also, people haven't had any problem posting comments in the main thread, about what people received, what looks tasty, etc. Another nice thing people came up with, was making a note at the bottom of their thread to say nice things to others.  (In our case "So-and-so, your recipe for strawberry trifle sounds awesome!", etc.)

Here's a link to our odd gallery in case anyone is curious:  Recipe Swap Gallery
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