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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Champagne Celebration Cupcakes {with Vanilla Champagne Filling}

Need a pretty and festive cupcake to add to your next celebration?  These cupcakes are sure to please when your peeps like their cupcakes 'just right': not too sweet and just the right amount of champagne flavor to prove you love them!  

And, yes folks, I'm calling them, Champagne, not Sparkling Wine.  Yes, I know.  I'm a champagne snob, too, if the truth be told.  When I'm drinking the stuff, it's méthode champenoise all the way, baby!  Baking, well, I'm not that picky.  

When I first started blogging at BIWB, I made a few attempts at champagne cupcakes.  I've been trying out different recipes in the hopes of finding one that has great textures and great flavor.  This time, I think I've found it!  

I started with some basics that I knew would give me a light cupcake that would not overpower the subtle champagne.  I decided, also, not to splurge on an expensive bubbly or make a champagne reduction for the buttercream.  The former doesn't really add much more flavor, while the latter tends to overpower the buttercream with the given champagne's underlying fruit flavors. 

Rounding out the subtle champagne flavors in the cupcakes is a super-easy filling made with instant pudding and champagne.  Just a little adds so much flavor and really adds a nice finish. 

I took these to work while at a 2 day training.  Folks really loved these and were full of compliments.  I so appreciated that kind of feedback!  Nice to know I'm not baking garbage.  :)

Also, I've entered these cupcakes in this month's SaveMart Ultimate Bake-Off: Bake a Sweet Way to Celebrate!  I hope you have a chance to register and vote for me.  Voting is November 16 - 30th, with one vote/person/day.  I'd so appreciate the support and your vote!    

If I win, that means just that much more Bake It With Booze!

P.S. If you remember, I entered in July with my Campfire Cocktail S'mores Bars.  Believe it or not, I WON!  That was a HUGE shock, trust me, especially after all that voting hub-bub.  I'm very excited to enter this time, as well.  Fingers crossed!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Spiced Rum Pumpkin Poppers

I made these awhile ago. Actually, I think I made them in September, the very moment the temperature dropped below 90, giving me the courage to fire up my oven. The novelty of the fall season and the brisk 80 degree weather inspired me to bake something with pumpkin, as you do in the fall. I don't really have a good reason for why it's taken me so long to post these, but I feel like my timing is actually impeccable. It seems like a huge chunk of our population needs a reminder: it's still fall! 

It's the first week of November, and we're (still!) in the middle of my favorite season. Even though we're in California, the weather is decidedly crisp, and someone wisely had the foresight to plant lots of Chinese Pistache, Liquid Ambers, and Maple trees so my neighborhood is (still!) awash in brilliant color. The days are getting shorter, but I'm just not in a hurry to rush right into the Christmas season. Holiday decorations are already popping up everywhere, the State Capitol's tree was delivered today, and I'll admit that I got a peppermint mocha, in a cute red cup, from Starbucks today. Technically, red is also a fall color, so I told myself I was celebrating FALL. I love Christmas, but fall is SO very lovely - can't we just enjoy it awhile longer?

Will these convince you?
Spiced rum pumpkin poppers. Sit down & stay awhile.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Coconut Custard Pie with Malibu Rum

Need an easy, not-too-sweet but WOW pie for your Thanksgiving desserts table?  This coconut custard pie with Malibu Rum will fit nicely among the standard holiday favorites.  Super easy to make, lots and lots of coconut, light on the custard part, and delicately favored with lemon and coconut-flavored rum.  Fabulous, too, as you can make this pie ahead of time to reduce the inevitable Thanksgiving Day stress.  

I grew up with coconut custard pie.  I think when I was very young, my mom probably made it from scratch.  As we all grew up and time was less available to bake, she likely used the Jell-o brand custard mix with coconut.  And, very likely a frozen pie crust was involved.  

Needless-to-say, I'm not a fan of frozen pie crusts...I might opt for the Jell-o custard mix, in a pinch.  However, with as much baking as I do, making a pie crust from scratch is a whole lot easier and a whole lot less expensive.  Plus, the more I practice the better my crusts have become.  This filling requires no cooking on the stove, so what's not to like?! 

If you like coconut, you'll LOVE this pie!  And, as you may have experienced in your own life as well, people are either Coconut Lovers or Coconut Haters.  

I feel a kindred spirit with the former and a great deal of sadness for the latter.   

I 'get it'...It's a texture thing, right?

This pie is chocked full of coconut and not drowning in custard.  The Malibu Rum is subtle and adds a nice depth to the filling.  All-in-all, a great combination!

A fabulous and easy-to-make addition to your festive Thanksgiving desserts table...Or, to any table for that matter:  Coconut Custard Pie with Malibu Rum.

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