Friday, December 2, 2011

Cupcake Wars and Cinnamon Rolls!

I competed in my very first Cupcake War last night! No, it wasn't like the one on Food Network but it was just as fun and for a very good cause. I traveled to Cedar Rapids last night with my mom to compete again 24 other bakers. We were to bring 4 dozen cupcakes all baked and decorated for the event and following one of three themes: camping, holiday or fiesta. I chose to bring my S'more cupcake, it was one that I had perfected and gotten some really good feedback on; and honestly I just didn't have enough time or energy to try out new recipes beforehand. So anyways, the public was invited to come out and sample our cupcakes, they paid $5 to stuff their faces with lots of sugar and all of the proceeds benefited Camp Courageous of Iowa. We ended up raising $1400 last night for them, that's amazing! We had such a great turnout, way better than I think anyone could have anticipated and I know the organization is excited to plan their next war. Unfortunately I didn't win last night but that's okay; it was a lot of fun, a great learning experience and I got to spend some extra time with my mom!

My S'more cupcakes with a campfire decoration

Here's some more pics from last night, lots of creative cupcakes!

Okay onto the food. During the summer when I had a booth at our local Farmer's Market I made sure to take these cinnamon rolls with me pretty much every Saturday morning. For one, they were perfect for people to grab and eat as they browsed the different vendors and second, they're just that good! Besides my cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and banana bread (recipe coming soon!) were my most requested items. Don't be intimidated by making homemade rolls, it's really quite simple. If you have a stand mixer, it does all the work for you. I like to make up a double batch when I can and put them in the freezer, that way at night I can just pull out a few, let them rise overnight and bake in the morning. A wonderful breakfast without all the fuss. I love how soft these rolls are and full of yummy cinnamon goodness! I'm guessing you won't be able to stop at just one.

Cinnamon Rolls

6 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 egg
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup milk, room temp ( I like to use buttermilk when I have it on hand, but any kind will be just fine)

6 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
Milk to thin icing

Cream together sugar, salt and butter in electric mixer with paddle attachment. Whip in egg until smooth. Add in flour, yeast and milk. Mix on low until dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and increase speed to medium, mix for about 8 minutes or until dough is silky and tacky but not sticky. You may have to add in a little more flour to achieve this texture) Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp for 2 hours.

Lightly flour your work surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle with rolling pin, about 12x14 inches. Combine sugar, cinnamon and brown sugar in small bowl and mix well. (Add in more spices if you'll think you need more, I sort of eyeball this part) Sprinkle cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a log shape. Pinch the seam shut and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a greased baking sheet/dish, placing rolls 1 inch apart.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp for another 1 1/2 hours or until rolls have nearly doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Let cool in baking pan. To make frosting, mix butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in bowl. Add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you've reached your desired consistency. Spread over tops of rolls and serve.


  1. I'm glad the Cupcake Wars was a lot of fun! Love the campfire topping:)

  2. I want to come over for a cinnamon roll. - Mason
    Great looking cupcakes! -Denise


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