Friday, May 10, 2013

Birthday Party Blog

AKA I really will do anything to throw a party!

Happy Birthday, "How to be Pleasant"! It's my very first blog post! Thanks for joining me on the path I call "Pleasant Avenue". Life really is good. So we should be celebrating!

Let's get started. Wrap the presents!

 And don't forget the birthday banner...
--> I got this great one from a shop on Etsy. And then I purchased some letters from Joann Fabrics and ironed them on.  
And every party needs food, so here are my favorite eggless cupcake and cream cheese frosting recipes!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes (or Muffins) 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups carrots, grated (I use my Cuisinart)
1 cup crushed pineapple

In a small bowl, mix baking powder and applesause into a foamy mixture, set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Add oil, carrots, pineapple (some of the juice might help), and applesauce mixture.
Mix well.
Scoop mixture into cupcake liners. I typically get 16-20 cupcakes per batch.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (I start checking these at 22 minutes.)
Once cooled, eat! Or frost with cream cheese frosting. (See below.) These are VEGAN until you add the frosting!
I have adjusted this recipe just a tad from the one I found here.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
3. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.

Now you can either spread the frosting on your cupcakes with a knife or spatula or spoon it into a piping bag to decorate. If you don't have a piping bag and tips like this one, you can fill a baggie with frosting and then cut a tiny piece of the corner off to pipe your cupcakes. My favorite tip for frosting luscious-looking cupcakes like the ones below is to spoon the frosting into a piping bag, but leave off the tip altogether. The result is a big, fluffy, round snake of frosting that you can swirl around the top of your cupcakes!

 Mmmm. Those look good, right? Or could it just be my eyes playing tricks on me?

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