Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes With YUMMIEST Frosting EVER

So, before beginning this post, may I just say...

WHY can we NEVER make it to church on time?!??!
Ok, glad to have gotten that out of my system.  And now having said that, I guess one reason we were late today is because I wanted to get a cute picture of these cupcakes and was rushing around, and now as you can see... pretty lousy pictures.  Don't judge, I was in a hurry.  Hope the top picture didn't blind you!  :)
So, let's get to these cupcakes!
I have become a big fan of Annie's Eats website and her Butterfinger Cupcake came highly recommended by a friend so I really wanted to try it out!  Lucky me, I had a reason to try these for some friends at church!  So, after reading the recipe, it says you can make these with either a banana cupcake base or a vanilla base.  I opted for vanilla, even though I've got about a half dozen brown, seriously ripe, bananas sitting on my counter just waiting to be used.  No, let's not use them, that would be silly.  Go on a mad hunt for a vanilla bean instead.  That would be the logical choice, right?  Oh good grief.  So, cutting the bean and scraping the little beans out will have to be another post, because I definitely did NOT master that yesterday.  Good thing I bought two, so I could try again.   All that said, I was pretty impressed with these cupcakes!  But, we haven't gotten to the BEST part yet... the FROSTING.  You wanna talk about some rich, yummy, decadent frosting.   
O.M.Goodness.  De-lish.  
If you love cream cheese frosting or peanut butter frosting, this is a must try.  You will NOT be disappointed!  It's a yummy, creamy mix of cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, butter, powdered sugar, and wait for it...  Cool-Whip.  So stinkin' yummy!  My kids are not exactly cream cheese frosting lovers, so I rarely make it, but this frosting is a keeper.
Top these cupcakes with crumbled Butterfingers and you've got one dangerous cupcake on your hands!
Here's the recipe from Annie's Eats:
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.)  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.)  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
Yield: approximately 30 cupcakes

Before you frost the cupcakes, cut a fun size Butterfinger in half and place on top of the cooled cupcake, then pipe your frosting on top.  Makes for a fun surprise!  :)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.
For garnish:
4 fun size Butterfinger bars, coarsely chopped

Thanks, Annie's Eats for the recipe!!!  Yumm-O.  Now go make these.  Like NOW.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Party Feature!

It's going to be a GREAT day....
Jillian's Dora & Boots party was featured over at Sheek Shindigs!!
Go check it out HERE!!!
Thank you soooo much, Sarah!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dora the Explorer & Boots 3rd Birthday Party

 So, are you ready for picture overload???
Vamonos!  (Isn't that what Dora says?)

 Lollipop Sucker Party Favors
I found these in the Dollar Section at Target before Christmas and snatched up all the ones they had in pink and red and left the red and green ones for all the other shoppers.

 How ADORABLE are these cookies?!?!
Lisa from The Cookie Jar made these for me, and let's just say she and her husband are a DREAM to work with, just the BEST!  These cookies are almost too pretty to eat.

How CUTE are these balloons from 
Lisa was so great to work with and found me exactly what I was looking for and wanted! 

 In honor of Boots the Monkey, I made some Banana Cupcakes with a Caramel Buttercream Frosting.
I got the recipe from Annie's Eats website and you can find the recipe HERE.  I'm pretty sure I added way more bananas than the recipe called for but I wanted to make sure they tasted banana-y.  Then she recommends a caramel swiss meringue buttercream, but I had no luck.  I don't think I whipped it long enough, and so I just made the homemade caramel sauce that she lists in the recipe and then some good old buttercream frosting and added 2 T. of the caramel sauce into the frosting and it was de-lish! 
 And here's my sweet, sweet birthday girl, Jillian!

 My new friend, whom I've never met, Janay, of Stitched By Janay, made Jillian's birthday shirt.  It turned out sooooo stinkin' cute!  {Even cuter than I had pictured in my head!  And bless sweet Janay's heart for putting up with me and all my demands suggestions/requests.}  You really need to go check out her blog, she is so talented!!!! 
 I found Jillian's matching orange hair bow on etsy over at KysKreation.  

 Mama & The Birthday Girl

 And this is the e-vite that I sent out to family and friends.  The BEST thing about e-vites, you can print and mail them OR e-mail them!  LoVe that!

Another party down in the party books... :)
Everything turned out so great and I must say, MUCH less stressed out this time.  I had lots of help from my hubby, mama, and sister.  I had the help of some amazing vendors and now onto the next party!!!

Party Vendors:
Cookies - The Cookie Jar 
Hair Bow - KysKreation on etsy 
Birthday Shirt - Stitched by Janay
Cupcake Stand - AllCustomGifts on etsy 
Photography - My Awesome Mama and a few by ME 
Banana Cupcakes - ME
Cupcake Toppers - ME
Birthday Banner - ME
Poms - ME

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thirty-One WINNER...

And the winner (according to is lucky #4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats to Alice C. who said:
And a facebook fan too!
I kinda feel like a P&P groupie- LOL

Thanks so much for being an awesome Pirates-n-Princesses fan and groupie!!!
I'll be getting in touch with you!!!

Thanks everyone for becoming followers and facebook fans!
I'm so stinkin' excited to share lots of fun parties, recipes, and of course CUPCAKES with you this coming year!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thirty-One GIVEAWAY!!!! **CLOSED!**

Have you heard of Thirty-One Gifts?
Their stuff is so stinkin' cute! And who doesn't love a cute bag???
They have an amazing sale going on right now on their thermal totes. The Thermal Tote is on sale for $10 and the Small Lunch Tote is on sale for $8! PLUS... wait, there's more... you can get it embroidered for only $1.50! So many fun ideas you could do with this bag...
*Fill it with chocolates and a cute stuffed animal for that special Valentine
*Get Mom's name embroidered on it and fill it with goodies for Mother's Day
*How about a cute Easter Egg hunt sack?
*Being a former teacher, I'd LOVE one of these as an end of year teacher gift
*And how about the obvious... to keep your drinks, baby bottles, snacks, whatever you wish, nice and cool
So, who's ready for a FABULOUS giveaway?!?
Thanks to my lovely sister-in-law, Kindi, who is a Thirty-One Gifts consultant, ONE lucky Pirates-n-Princesses follower will receive a thermal tote OR small lunch tote of their choice and can have it monogrammed with whatever they wish!
So... here's the rules. You know I'm not big on making folks jump hoops to win a giveaway, so I'm going to try and make it as easy as possible on y'all!
MANDATORY ENTRY- You must be a follower of Pirates-n-Princesses, the blog. Leave a comment saying you're a follower.
(Super easy... see that little box right there on the left sidebar that says FOLLOWERS, just click FOLLOW. Sooooo easy.) If you aren't a follower, all other entries will be void. Make sure you leave an e-mail address so I can contact you if you are the lucky duck!
That's it. That's all you've got to do. However....
if you want an additional entry (or four or five) here's whatcha can do...
*Visit my sister-in-law's Thirty-One Gifts website and come back here leaving a comment telling me which pattern of thermal tote or lunch tote you'd choose if you were too win. Here's a link to see the thermal tote ad to see their new patterns. I'm LOVING the apple blossom, floral celebration, and pinkdot floral patterns... but that's just me. (Don't worry, if you do win, you aren't obligated to pick that one if you change your mind!)
*Become a Pirates-n-Princesses facebook fan and come back and leave a comment that you are, or if you already are, just leave a comment letting me know you are a facebook fan.
*Blog about this giveaway and come back and leave a comment sharing your link.
*Share this giveaway on Facebook and come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did. (Did you know by putting an @ right in front of Pirates-n-Princesses in your post about this giveaway I'll automatically be tagged?! But you'll still need to come back here and leave a comment.)
So, that's it... you can enter up to FIVE times! I don't think that's too bad. :)
Giveaway ends Friday, January 14, 2011 at NOON (Central Time)!!!!
Thanks for being such amazing Pirates-n-Princesses fans!!!