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Kiri's Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes, or Becky's Man-Magnet Cupcakes?

Today's blog has nothing to do with writing. It has a tiny bit  to do with being creative, though, which I haven't been in a really long time, it seems (despite the finished novel, which I' excited to tell you all about. But not today.)

So, aside from working long hours and being unbelievably exhausted this past week (long story short, I haven't had a day off from either job in about a month), I've had a good week for one reason. My older sister, Kiri, came home!!!! She also celebrated her birthday this week, 28 years young on this earth.

This year, my present for immediate family has been cupcakes. For my mom, I made Carrot Cake Cupcakes with homemade Cream Cheese Butter Cream

Sadly, since it was a "Healthy" recipe, they stuck to the liners like MAD! Still tasty, though. :-)
For my daddy, the Peanut Butter Love, I made PB cupcakes with a chocolate ganache and decorated with a cashew, his favorite nut.

I'm not the best artist in the world. I deal in words, not paint or colors. I could deal in flavors, if I gave it more practice, but I really don't. I don't have time with two jobs (four if you count the novel and worship team at church), but I enjoy myself when I do have time to play, like today.

For my sister's cupcakes, I gave her the choice of what kind she wanted (I know my parents' tastes better than hers, I guess). A little background on the relationship I have with my sister, though.

We are GEEKS! We love comic book movies, Doctor Who, 80's cartoons, random movies that we quote, Star Trek, Star Wars (The originals, not the blasphemy that is the latest "prequels"), etc. We get it from our dad, and our love of the Muppets and Peanuts characters from our mom.

Today, while her cupcakes were baking, we were watching last week's Cupcake Wars (Prompt: Renaissance Faire, which my sister is frequently a performer), and talking about Joss Whedon's The Avengers, which we saw on Wednesday night, her birthday.

Planning our weekend for when Iron Man 3 comes out next year, we started putting together Iron Man-themed cupcakes. We got so into it, we also put together Thor and started on Captain America. And our ideas are AMAZING! I won't be sharing them here now, because I have pics of the LOOOOOOOOONG day I had baking.

Shall we begin?

She decided on a Black Forest cupcake, which promptly changed to a Chocolate Covered Strawberry cupcake when mom came back from working the Farmer's Market with two cartons of Strawberries.

I've never made cupcakes from scratch before this year. The last two batches for my parents made WAY more than the yield said, so I was expecting that from here, too. Not so. Made exactly a dozen.

Empty bowl. Didn't make nearly as much as I thought it would. But that's okay.

Am I the only one who loves to watch cupcakes bake? Seriously. Cupcakes put me in such a mood to actually compete in a cupcake competition, but then I realize that I have so much to learn before I'm actually able to not cause myself a panic attack just thinking of it.

While the cupcakes baked, I prepared the strawberries. The recipe I had called for frozen in sugar or syrup, but all I had were fresh. Oh noes!

I'm in the minority when I say I'm not a huge strawberry fan. Yet, I love strawberry jam, which this basically turned into. This was spectacular, and I'm glad there was leftover jam for later.

Buttercream is hard to make. It's a painstaking process, especially when using powdered cocoa instead of melted bars (I didn't have enough bars for the buttercream. Just the cupcakes. Oh well. Live and Learn). It ended up a lot drier than I'd anticipated, so I added a lot of almond milk and corn syrup (per the instructions), and it still ended up a little dry.

This is my mom piping it onto the cakes. It was very thick frosting, and it was starting to hurt my hands, so she took over. She's wonderful that way.

It was her idea to add the sprinkles, and I think they added just enough pizzazz to them. Aren't they nice?

This man, our friend Lisa's husband, Aaron, actually said that if he believed in polygamy, he'd marry me over these cupcakes. That's very good information to have on hand when I want to woo a man. Now if only I knew a man worth wooing...

Lastly, the birthday girl with her cupcakes. She loved them. Lots.

Happy Birthday, Sissy! I'm glad you came home.

For recipes, view the following links:


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