Friday, August 17, 2012

Update and Steak & Mashed Taters Cake

Hello world,
A lot has happened in the month or so since I blogged last.  Here goes...

I got a JOB at an awesome law firm in downtown Raleigh where I am a legal assistant.  This was SUCH a blessing from God because now I am both bringing in some income and gaining invaluable experience that will help me in my future career.  I have been working here for two and a half weeks now and I absolutely adore it.  I look forward to learning more as time passes.

Also, I have signed up for two classes this fall at my Alma Mater, NCSU (GO PACK).  I am taking some extra classes to beef up my transcript in the hopes that a law school who is considering me for admission can see that I have more academic potential than I showed during my undergraduate degree pursuit.  I am taking a Political Science class, Problems in American Democracy, and a Philosophy class, Ethical Problems in the Law.  I hope they go well and that I can pull off two more A's :)

My Lovely and Beautiful cousin Michelle is getting married in September so I have been doing some fun things to get ready for her wedding in the past month as well.  I blogged the making of her bachelorette invitations and everyone totally loved them.  Her bachelorette went off without a hitch (except some guy tried to accost me outside of the bar we went to in downtown Richmond at 3 AM...of all of the girls I was with, he chose the former police officer and current RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) instructor...bad move pal, he came very close to being badly injured, but he let go after we had a "come to Jesus" meeting).  The next weekend I went to Richmond again for Michelle's bridal shower and we had a blast.  The food was great and my mom and aunt did a wonderful job decorating and planning cute games.  Michelle loved it!

My husband and I also went to and two awesome weddings.  Our friends Laura and Seth got married and are huge comic book nuts, specifically, Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl.  They had a Batman Themed wedding and a unique reception.  Both their bridal party and groom's party were comprised of girls and guys which was really neat.  They wore batman-like masks and stood at the altar of the church in the shape of the Nightwing symbol.  Their reception was like a carnival at a farm with inflatable jump houses, tons of toys/candy decorations, and fair food.  It was a blast.  It rained shortly after the bride and groom arrived but that didn't phase them, in fact a rainbow touched down in the field next to us so we all got to see the end of a pot of gold, but it was still neat :)

The second wedding was that of our friends Sarah and Matt.  They had a lovely church wedding with one of the most fun receptions we have ever been to.  The food was amazing and the decor was beautiful.  The colors were shades of purple and Sarah had decorated with purple gingham and made an indoor picnic with mason jars filled with wildflowers.  They had yummy pulled pork and grilled chicken with green beans and potato salad.  Everything was served family style in antique bowls.  They had a HUGE amount of guests and after we ate we all danced the night away while one of Sarah and my husband Jordan's college friends James DJ'ed.  It was a blast and they sped off in Matt's white Corvette at the end of the night to enjoy their honeymoon. 

The last bit of news is that my friend John had a surprise birthday party thrown by his lovely fiance Meredith.  Knowing that I am and avid baker, she asked me to make his cake and had an unusual request...Apparently for their wedding John had asked for a steak cake as his grooms cake, but being the ultra classy southern belle that Meredith is, she had to decline because their wedding is going to be the epitome of Southern Charm and just didn't fit into the theme.

Meredith said that they would have about 12-15 guests over for the surprise party and so I suggested making cupcakes to go with the cake.  I had a great idea to make mashed potato cupcakes because what man doesn't love steak & taters?  I know my hubby does :)  I saw Paula Deen make TV dinner themed cupcakes on her show once, and I knew it was the perfect accent to the steak.

Here is what the cake and cupcakes looked like displayed.  Apologies for the grainy pics, the lighting was not great.
 For the cake, I used a scratch red velvet cake recipe found here so that when we cut into it, the cake looked like a perfectly cooked steakInstead of baking cupcakes according to the directions though, I just poured the batter into a well greased pyrex rectangular dish and baked until it was done.  After the cake was done and fully cooled, I cut the cake into the shape of a steak and plated it onto a large platter.

Next, I whipped up this amazing homemade chocolate buttercream.  I iced the cake liberally.  Next I made the cupcakes.

I wanted to do something fun and different for the cake flavor so I decided instead of simple white cake, I would do Almond Cake.  Here is the recipe:

Almond Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter 
4 egg whites 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line 20-24 muffin cups with paper bake cups (or coat with cooking spray). Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. Frost using a round tip like the one pictured here.  I used my cream cheese butter cream for the icing.
 6. I then made a small well in the top of the cupcakes and drizzled caramel in the wells making it look like gravy.  To top it off I used unwrapped lemon Starburst candies to make pats of "butter"

 Next, I used some of the leftover cream cheese butter cream and piped it in the shape of a T-bone onto the steak. Finally, I melted some chocolate chips I had in the pantry to make the "grill marks" on the steak.  I put the melted chocolate in a small sandwich bag and snipped a tiny piece off of the corner.  Using this, I piped the "grill marks" onto the cake.  Because the chocolate chips didn't have any cream or liquid added, I knew it would harden back up and keep the lines clean.  I refrigerated the steak cake uncovered for about 30 minutes to make sure the chocolate and the buttercream had set so the would not get ruined by plastic covering.  I placed the cupcakes in a large foil pan and covered them (since my cupcake carrier was full).

Here are some brighter pictures of the finished product!

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