TARDIS cake – happy 50th!

Let me preface this by saying that I have the coolest roommates ever.

Phillips, being the perfect person she is, threw a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary viewing shindig, in which all guests dressed up and came over for Doctor Who-themed snacks like Adipose marshmallows…

IMG_5486
…and, of course, to actually watch the new episode and collectively freak out.

Kaitlyn, being the perfect person she is, used her artistic powers for good and turned our door into a TARDIS.

IMG_5441

What? It’s bigger on the inside, you say?

Why, yes, it is.

Sam, being the perfect person she is, sat through several episodes and a crash-course powerpoint presentation (courtesy of Phillips) so that she wouldn’t be lost during the party, and even dressed up as Sally Sparrow.

Sadly, I don’t have a photo of this.

My contribution for the night was a TARDIS cake, inspired by this wonderful tutorial by the Artisan Cake Company.

The results (with a borrowed sonic screwdriver):

IMG_5573

Ooooooh.

Of course, I’m terribly nitpicky, so it kills me to compare my cake to the tutorial. I’m already looking for an excuse to make another one and perfect the design. Probably a bad idea, considering how long this one took me, but I’m not going to think about that.

IMG_5565

This cake was…quite an ordeal. It began on Friday night with the cake itself, the frosting, and the modeling chocolate. The frosting started out as a Swiss meringue buttercream, but I evidently haven’t mastered that yet, because it quickly turned into a regular buttercream. Thankfully, nobody I know is opposed to regular ol’ buttercream. 😉

The cake–well–it was definitely the easiest part of the whole process. I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe from foodess. It’s darker than most chocolate cakes without being overwhelmingly rich, it’s moist, and it has a soft crumble that’s hard to stop eating.

The modeling chocolate, made using this video’s recipe (also referenced by the tutorial), turned out way greasier than the instructions suggested it would. I ended up draining the excess water/grease as I mixed the corn syrup and melted chocolate. I was a little nervous that it would turn the chocolate into a crumbly mess (as threatened by the video), but after sitting wrapped up overnight, it was just as perfectly malleable as I’d hoped. Phew.

Which prompts me to say: if you’re using Wilton candy melts, you’re going to end up with alarming amounts of liquid as you’re mixing. Don’t panic. Drain the excess, wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, and go to sleep. It’ll be fine. Really.

IMG_5465

There are few situations I could’ve imagined in which I’d be molding a cake using a paring knife. This is what happens when there’s no way you can get your hands on an exacto knife.

Several layers of modeling chocolate later, I had a vaguely shaped blue box. Hooray!

IMG_5506

Windows, decals, and a lot of coaxing later, I had turned my blue box into a TARDIS-shaped blue box. Double hooray! 🙂

IMG_5539

In the interest of keeping this cake as cheap as possible–and actually finishing it in time for the party, which was a struggle as it was–I passed on the white fondant and the intricate painting of windows, using leftover buttercream and a bit of black gel food coloring to finish the decorations.

IMG_5578

IMG_5566

I also used a tiny balled up piece of aluminum foil instead of an actual floral light.

I’m a college student; what am I supposed to do with an entire pack of floral lights?

Topped that with leftover modeling chocolate painted black, and I had a “light” for my TARDIS.

IMG_5569

At some point during this process, I switched from apron-clad apartment baker to a femme eleventh Doctor putting the finishing touches on her precious ship.

IMG_5530

The suspenders and blazer showed up later.

IMG_5586

All in all, definitely a successful project. It was painful finally cutting into the cake–but also beyond worth it when everyone actually got to enjoy it.

IMG_5589

The support straws got sliced in the process and looked rather silly.

Also dang, look at those slabs of modeling chocolate. I didn’t even realize how much frosting and chocolate had been layered on there until I cut the thing open.

IMG_5609

Overall: 10/10, would definitely try something this out there again. Too much fun!

For progress photos & many more detail shots, head over to my flickr. Most of these are courtesy of Kaitlyn, who is responsible for the majority of the party documentation.

Thank you, Kaitlyn!

Next time, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming that includes far less time-consuming recipes.

To my UChicago friends: happy 10th week! And to all, happy December! Let the season of peppermint and huge sweaters begin 🙂 x

slutty cupcakes: a story

Picture it if you can:

Wednesday night of 10th week. Classes are done for the year, finals are still far enough that the panic hasn’t set in, and the ladies of PBT are rocking out to Taylor Swift in a dorm basement kitchen.

IMG_3853

Note how excited Emma and Estelle are. As they should be.

Their mission for the night has been long awaited, but what better way to welcome reading period than with stress baking? Yes, the night was simply perfect for slutty cupcakes.

IMG_3842

You’ve never heard of slutty cupcakes? Victoria is skeptical.

Now don’t ask me why they’re slutty. I can’t answer that question in any remotely satisfactory fashion. What I can tell you is that they’re so rich, so deeply indulgent, and so damn easy to make that they should be illegal(Except not actually, because then what would we do without them?!) These classic but slightly terrifying muffin-cupcake-brownies–because one name is not enough to capture what they are–consist of a soft cookie dough base, one full Reese’s Cup, and one full Oreo layered over it, all topped with a healthy serving of gooey, moist brownie batter.

Warning: more than one of these may kill you.

So we assembled the trays. Readymade cookie dough, Reese’s Cups, Double Stuf Oreos, and Betty Crocker brownie mix. They looked like those adorable chocolate-covered marshmallow and graham cracker cookies, whose name completely evades me.

 IMG_3831

IMG_3849

So cute already!

The baking time was an educated guess, so I set the timer for 20 minutes, and we went off to find a way to amuse ourselves.

Victoria remained skeptical.

IMG_3861

I was domestic.

IMG_3869

Emma vandalized Sheena’s whiteboard.

IMG_3909

And we took incredibly cheesy photos in our matching dresses.

 IMG_3887

Somewhere in between all of this, Victoria ended up with a busted ankle. No worries–she’s fine now–but the valiant sacrifice of her body will not be forgotten.

Finally, out came the slutty brownies, hot and baked to perfection, crisp with melting insides. We probably should’ve let them cool longer, but we couldn’t help it. We dug in.

IMG_3913

Estelle is super excited…

IMG_3920

…and super cute when caught off-guard. Sorrynotsorry, girl.

IMG_3914

Nina’s allergies deprive her of slutty cupcakes and make her sad. (It’s okay; she got real cupcakes after this.)

IMG_3912

Emma shows off those beautiful layers.

IMG_3918

And Sheena is simply pleased.

Satisfied, we split up the remaining cupcakes and called it a night. Almost zero effort for a small treat that goes a long way–and makes a great gift for physics TAs, as we found out.

Seriously, make these. You won’t regret it in the slightest.

IMG_3917

On to baking logistics things! One package of brownie mix and one roll of ready to bake cookie dough yielded 24 cupcakes, with leftover brownie batter. Our cupcakes stuck to the paper liners pretty badly, especially once they’d cooled. If you don’t want to deal with that, I’d suggest forgoing the liners and simply spraying the pan. That should solve the problem.

20 minutes at 350F was enough to bake these really thoroughly. As you can see in the photo above, the brownie batter formed a light, flaky skin over the Oreo just as it normally would, and the surrounding edges were crisp like the edges of a pan of brownies. I would actually start checking the cupcakes around 16 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook. The cookie dough will definitely be cooked–you’ll just want to test the brownies, which you can do with a toothpick as normal, cooking until a toothpick inserted into the batter (away from the Oreo!!) comes out clean/with a few moist crumbs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

I’m back! In case that wasn’t obvious. After a week at home to settle in, I’m getting back into the baking swing of things, and updates will become regular again (every weekend!). Unfortunately, being back home means the UChicago cupcake orders have been put on hold for the summer. That being said, if enough people around here want custom cupcakes, I’ll consider making this a second location. Just drop me a comment/message! 🙂

And speaking of UChicago–shameless self-promotion! HUGE thanks to Hannah at Spoon, a UChicago food magazine/blog for writing about tlc baking this month! Spoon is growing quickly, and is definitely worth keeping an eye on even if you don’t go to UChicago. Check out their site here, and read the article about tlc here!

Aaaaand that’s it for my very, very long post. Sorry, guys! Making up for lost time here. 😉

See y’all next weekend!

an apology & an update

First off, I’m horribly, horribly sorry that I went completely MIA and missed the past two updates. D: I’m learning how crazy life gets towards the end of a school year, and how difficult it is to manage all the things I have to do. So for the sake of my work and my sanity, posts will be sporadic between now and the end of finals. I have a few things I want to share with you all before going home, but realistically, they won’t go up on a regular schedule.

That being said, you can still order cupcakes from me! They just won’t be delivered before June 6th or after June 13th. Any UChicago deliveries between those dates will absolutely be fulfilled!
I still ask that you give me at least a week’s notice, but please, feel free to place an order now for finals week. You know you’ll be happy when you have a half dozen cupcakes to get you through those last few hours of paper writing! 😉

In the meantime, I’ll be wrapped up in my own end-of-the-year work.

Hope the long weekend has treated everyone well!

last chance to support Relay for Life!

UChicago Relay for Life happens tonight, which means I’ll be submitting donations in mere hours.

Hours!

That’s also all the time you have left to place a cupcake order and have it count for Relay! So if you’ve been thinking about ordering but have been putting it off, place an order right now. Seriously, this minute. I’ll count all the orders I get before 4 pm today toward fundraising.

Make yours count! 🙂

breaking news: orders!

Today, I’m very excited to announce that I’m launching the second part of my baking blog adventure: made-to-order cupcakes for the UChicago community!

If you look at the Orders tab now, you’ll see a handy little form and all the information you’ll need to get homemade cupcakes delivered to your dorm. Not to mention that 50% of the profits from any orders placed between now and May 17th will go toward Relay for Life!

The drop-down options are slim, but you can always leave me a note in your order if you want something different. I’m happy to try out different ideas!

Serious moment though, guys: this is a big step. I’d really love to share my baking on a much larger scale, but I need help to do it. So tell your friends, tell your RAs, tell anyone who lives on campus who would want to order cupcakes. And don’t forget that for the next month, you’ll be helping a great cause!

I can’t wait to see where this will take me. I hope you’ll all stick around for the ride. 🙂

this is a blog!

After months of researching and planning and fretting–not to mention years of drooling over countless food blogs–I’ve finally decided to launch my own baking blog.

Welcome!

I’m Aneesa, and this is tenderloveandcupcakes.com, where we understand that sometimes, all you want or need at the end of the day is a warm, fluffy, delicious cupcake.

I’m young and more than tied up with school, but there’s no way I’m letting that get in the way of my baking. My posts will be infrequent, but regular.

I take photos, I make messes, and I taste test generously. Join me as I figure my way out through bringing my oven to the internet! It’ll be fun, I promise. 🙂