Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twin Cities Bakery Tour - Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique

I've visited many of the bakeries that are popping up around the Twin Cities and thought it would be fun to share my experiences with you.  I will be featuring different bakeries on my blog as I visit them.   

The first bakery feature is the Sweet Retreat Cupcake BoutiqueThe Sweet Retreat is located on 50th & France in Edina at 5013 France Ave South. 

I went to the bakery mid-morning on a Saturday and it was very busy.  There were a couple of people in the bakery who seemed to be working with clients on cake designs/orders, and a lot of customers pondering over which delicious cupcakes to try out!  The cupcakes are packaged in brown boxes sealed with the cute stickers shown above.  If you look on the website, Sweet Retreat has different stickers for the packaging depending on the occasion. 

There were 14 different flavors of cupcakes offered.  They all looked amazing!  It was hard to decide which ones to try out.  I settled on a half dozen cupcakes.  This is the Cookies-N-Cream cupcake.  The best part was that there was a cookie cooked into the bottom of the cupcake. 

This is Kevin's Vanilla Princess cupcake.  Vanilla cake is my favorite and sometimes there is nothing better than a plain ol' vanilla cupcake.

 Coo Coo for Coconut is the name of this cupcake.  If you like coconut you will definitely like this cupcake. 

My husband loves peanut butter cups so I had to try the Peanut Butter Cup cupcake.  This cupcake was very rich and peanut buttery. 

Of the cupcake flavors that I tried, this Salted Caramel Dream was definitely my favorite.  The frosting was light and creamy and the hint of salt was a great combination with the caramel. 

This is the Monkey Business cupcake.  Banana cake with chocolate frosting.  Very tasty!

Sweet Retreat also sells cake balls.  My husband and I tried one of their Cookie Dough cake balls which was de-lish!  We ate it before we got home, so no picture.  They were so good that we bought one and a half dozen for a party that we had recently.  I would highly recommend trying them.  Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique had great cupcakes and we will definitely be going back.  Let me know if you ever stop in and try some of the other cupcake flavors!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Girl's Weekend Booze Cakes

This past weekend was the 9th annual girl's weekend with my family.  There are 10 of us and we always have so much fun every year.  We are lucky to have such a great family that loves to hang out with each other.  This year I decided to make a special treat for the girls, booze cakes.  I got this great book,  Booze Cakes, from my mother-in-law with a lot of fun recipes.  I made boozy, miniature Blue Hawaiian Pineapple Upside Down Cakes.

First I mixed up the batter (with Rum) per the recipe. 

Next, I took a third of the batter and colored in blue with food coloring and added more booze.  The blue layer of cake also had Triple Sec in it. 

The next step was to melt butter and brown sugar in a pan.  After the butter and brown sugar was melted I added rum to the mixture.  I then placed one pineapple ring into each cupcake tin and spooned the mixture evenly into each tin, covering the pineapple.

Then I scooped the plain batter into the cupcake pan and topped it with the blue batter that was mixed with Triple Sec. 

While the cupcakes were baking, I whipped up the boozy whipped cream.  This was simple and oh, so delicious!  You make the whipped cream by beating heavy whipping cream with sugar.  Then add a few Tbsp. of any liquor of your choice.  I used Triple Sec in the whipped cream to go with the cakes.

 Here's how the cakes looked when I pulled them out of the oven. 

Now, for the scary part.  Taking the cakes out of the cupcake pan.  I pressed a cookie sheet to the top of the cupcake pan and quickly flipped the pan over.  The miniature cakes slid right out.  I was impressed with how easily I was able to remove them from the pan.

Then each cake was topped with a spoonful of boozy whipped cream, toasted coconut, and a cherry.  The miniature booze cakes were a hit on girl's weekend. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Run For the Roses

I've been to Kentucky the last three years for the Derby, so I was a little disappointed that I wasn't in the midst of the excitement this year at Churchill Downs.  However, we managed to have a great time at home in MN.  We threw a small party at my parent's house for our friends who are also horse racing enthusiasts and created this Kentucky Derby Table.   

I love these miniature serving glasses that I got from Pier 1 Imports.  I made a simple Caprese Salad.  To make this salad slice baby tomatoes in half, dice fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, mix all ingredients together and add pepper, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. 

 A Kentucky Derby Table wouldn't be complete without a Derby Pie.  See recipe in my previous post. 

 My mom made spicy pecans to include on the table.  These are really delicious and a crowd favorite. 

I made some white cupcakes with buttercream frosting, adorned with red buttercream roses.  After all, the Kentucky Derby is known as the Run for the Roses.  The red rose is the official flower of the Kentucky Derby and the winner receives a garland made up of more than 400 roses. 

A derby party wouldn't be complete without some libations.  One of the specialty drinks we made was the Oaks Lily.  This is the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, which is the race run the day before the Kentucky Derby.  This race is exclusively for 3yr old fillies.  Click here for the official Oaks Lily recipe.

We also made Early Times Mint Juleps.  The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs for almost a century.  Click on the following link to see the official Mint Julep recipe . 

  Here is my mom and some of her lovely lady friends sporting their Derby hats!

My friend Hanna and I with our fun, festive Derby head ware. 

Congratulations to #16 Animal Kingdom, the official winner of the 137th Kentucky Derby!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kentucky Derby Pie

This coming Saturday is the 137th Run for the Roses, the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.  I've gone to the Kentucky Derby the past 3 years but am unable to make it this year so we are going to celebrate at home, in Minnesota, with a small get together.  Derby Pie is the perfect treat for Derby day.
 The ingredients you will need are:
1/2 C. Butter (melted)
1/4 C. White Sugar
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
3/4 C. Light Corn Syrup (Karo)
4 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 C. Bourbon
3/4 C. Gourmet Chocolate Chips
1 1/4 C. Toasted Pecans or Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the melted butter, white sugar, brown sugar, light corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, and bourbon.  Mix the ingredients until frothy.  Fold in the gourmet chocolate chips and toasted pecans or walnuts.  Be sure to blend well. 

 After all ingredients have been mixed together, pour into a prepared pie crust.

This is what the pie looks like before baking.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until set.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Oops!  I accidentally cut the pie into pieces and started eating it before getting a picture of the baked pie.  I am making another one this Saturday for the Kentucky Derby so I will be sure to add a picture.  I wonder if this will be the year for a Triple Crown winner?  Who are you going to bet on; Uncle Mo, Watch Me Go, Santiva?  Or do you think Jockey Calvin Borel, who has won 3 out of the last 4 years, will win again riding Twice the Appeal?  Whoever it is, I am looking forward to race day!

So here it is, a picture of the final product!  I resisted eating this pie until I was able to get a picture.  It didn't last long on Derby Day though.