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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet Blessings and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my dear friends! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. :o)

Thankfully I had some crafty time last night, so I have a card to post with my tasty treat! I made it with a few challenges in mind, but I had all sorts of trouble with its concept and creation. Sometimes that's just what happens, right? I will still share and participate. :o) A touch of whimsy and a touch of elegance to celebrate the beautiful facets of Autumn... and to remind someone they're a blessing, too.

"Sweet blessings"

Harvesty blessings of rich reds, fall foliage, and caramel apples. I realized all of my Fall cards thus far have been of the golden variety, so I wanted to make red center stage this time. I love the pops of reds in the trees. :o) Naturally a seasonal highlight is going to the apple orchards... and then turning your pickings into delicious caramel apples. I added Glossy Accents to the caramel parts of the apples to make them shiny. I made four different flavors: white chocolate (via liquid pearls), pastel nonpareil sprinkles, chocolate chip, and butterscotch. I used toothpicks for the holder thingies, adhered by a tiny red button and gorgeous lime twine. Such fun! The apples are pop-dotted in a double layer and I couldn't resist a nice coating of Shimmer Spritz to capture the sparkle of the season. :o) And of course the centerpiece... I love this ribbon wreath! I made a white one a few months back and had been eager to make one again. It's so relaxing and fun to weave.. and easy to make it ten miles too long because it's just so enjoyable. ;) Surely a holly berry one will be part of some Christmas creations this year. :o)

Wreath Tutorial: En-May Ribbon Wreath Tutorial

Challenges entered:
 (I had hoped to split them up, but cannot rely on time availability this weekend. Grr.)
 * Celebrate the Occasion~ Any occasion (must use ribbon)
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Apples and/or honey
 * Fantabulous Cricut~ Leaves
 * Frosted Designs~ Fussy Cutting (I love that phrase. The leaves for my sentiment were cut out of a different sheet of the background paper.)
 * Getting Cricky~ Fall Treats
 * My Craft Spot~ Ribbon

I think you all deserve a treat. An amazing, fabulous, incredible treat. (I hope my bloggy friend Nita is sitting down for this one.) This is quite possibly my new favorite cupcake... and that's saying a LOT. You guys know I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes. What could be better for Autumn, right? It turns out there is now competition, thanks to this marvelous Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcake.

These are positively scrumptious and I am so grateful someone created (and nailed!) a recipe to mimic this beloved drink. The cake is a dialed-down pumpkin spice cake with espresso powder added in. After baking, the tops are brushed with coffee or espresso to amp up the coffee flavor. With a swirl of freshly whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and caramel drizzle on top... you have just created one fantastic cupcake. I may have eaten one for breakfast as I finished my card today. Resistance was futile. :o)

Note: In case you want to make your own caramel sauce, I'm including a wonderful recipe below. :o)

Thank you for visiting me today! I wish you all a sparkly weekend! Now go make cupcakes. ;)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
Yield: Approximate 2 dozen

For the cupcakes:
2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

For the whipped cream:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners' sugar

For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel (recipe follows)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating. Let cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping on medium-low speed, gradually increasing to high speed. Gradually blend in the confectioners' sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat. Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
Yield: 1½ cups

1 cup sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it toward the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over-stir. Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream. Set aside.

Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. (To test the color, spoon a drop onto a white plate or bowl.) Carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream along with the vanilla bean seeds. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, rewarm in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

Source for both recipes: Annie's Eats

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Critter, Elegant Edges, Gypsy Wanderings
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Victoria
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink
 * Sentiment: Computer generated
 * Ribbon: Celebrate It (from Michael's)
 * Twine: Twisted Lime Green Trendy Twine, purchased from My Craft Spot
 * Buttons: Michael's dollar bin (score!)
 * Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents, Liquid Pearls, rhinestones, Shimmer Spritz (sparkle)



  1. Hi, your card is lovely great background and lovely yummy yummy cakes Thank you for your lovely comments:) Sandra H

  2. SCREEEEECH!!!! Pumpkin Spice Latte CUPCAKES!!!? NO WAY!!! Who, but wonderful you, would know there was such a thing? Oooh, I am so happy dancing right now! If you were standing in front of me I would knock you over with gigantic HUGS of THANKFULNESS. :) :) :) My life will never be the same. :)

    Whew. Okay, now that I've calmed down (a little), moving away from the cupcakes (for now - I'll be baking up these babies tonight!), I have to say that your card is a work of ART! Red is my absolute favorite fall colour, so of course I love everything about this masterpiece.

    I have to ask, did you MAKE that wreath out of ribbon? Because it's PERFECT. I love how it frames your leafy sentiment. :) And those caramel apples look good enough to eat. They look almost as tasty as your CUPCAKES!!!! *embarrassed grin* Sorry. I just can't get those out of my head.

    Oh Karen, my crafty friend, I love Sweet Saturdays. Thanks for giving me something wonderful to look forward to every week. :)

    Hugs, Nits

  3. Love the project but would die for the cupcakes. I love cupcakes. I will have to try this out.......
    Good Luck on the challenge.

  4. Nita~ Oops... I was so distracted by my cupcakes that I neglected to even mention my ribbon wreath at first! Only the *main* point of my card. Ha! I've edited my post. ;) Geez, these cupcakes are dangerous...

    Hugs and sparkles for all! <3

  5. Oooh your treats make me so happy it's officially October! Autumn is probably by favorite season (it's a toss up with Spring), and your creations perfectly demonstrate why. I'm crazy about your caramel apples! They look good enough to pop off the card and eat! And of course I adore the ribbon wreath. Bright, crisp red leaves are my absolute favorite, so I fully support your color decision hehe. Oh, and I almost licked my screen your cupcakes look so good. I want! Amazing work as always, Sweets! <3

  6. What a cute card and I want some cuppies! Mail some to Nashville TN! Come by and get you some puddin n pie to go with the cuppies.

  7. Karen, you are so very talented and such an inspiration . I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog... you are such a sweetheart to say such sweet things.. Thank you for your encouragement...
    I always love to stop by and see what you have created... This is just BEAUTIFUL... hugs from ukiah

  8. What a fun blog to visit! love your ribbon wreath, and the cute little leaves you fussy-cut! I hope to see you create with us again at Frosted Designs! *Robeta

  9. Wow! Amazing! I love the wreath. I would love to know how to make one. Thanks for joining us at CTO. -Yvette

  10. Pretty card....great wreath! Thanks for playing along with us this week at My Craft Spot !

  11. Lovely ribbon wreath card! Thanks for sharing this week at FCCB! :)Amy

  12. Awesome card! I love the way you decorated the caramel apples. Love the the twine bows too! :)


  13. Love your project and OHMy I would love a cupcake too!!
    Happy sunday my friend.

  14. Karen what a gorgeous card. Love that you used reds and your little apples are amazing...Fabulous detail to each one.How brilliant is your wreath?!
    Your cupcakes look yummy,
    Jayne x

  15. Your card is adorable!! How'd you know pumpkin spice latte was my absolute favorite??? lol Thank you so much for the recipe, I'm definitely going to try it!! And thanks for playing with us at CTO.


  16. Love your card and so love the pumpkin lattes, will have to try the cupcakes...TFS with us FCCB

  17. What a beautiful card and those candied apples are too, too adorable! Great job on the Fussy Cutting for your leaves! Thanks for playing along with us this week @ Frosted Designs! :)

  18. That is a beuatifuk ribbon wreath! And your pumpkin spice latte cupcake looks delicious! I may have to give it a try, thanks for sharing.


  19. Ok, where do I start? Your card is stunning! Those caramel apples are so beautiful! Now, the cupcakes, these are making my mouth water!!! They are fat~free right? Hee~Hee! Karen, I can't wait to see what's next! You are a VERY talented girl that just brightened my evening!
    Shelly :)

  20. Hi Karen,
    It's been a while...just trying to catch up with some blogging after being gone. I am loving your always do such a fabulous job. Your recipe looks absolutly yummy. Thanks for sharing:)
    Sherrie K

  21. What a busy lady you have dbeen love the card- and thanks for sharing your project with us at Frosgted Designs this week- hope to see more of your creativity

  22. Cute ribbon wreath. The tiny leaves are adorable. I'm stopping by from Getting Cricky where I'm also playing along!


  23. OMG, I love this. Great ribbon! Good luck!
    Thank you for playing our Simply Sunday Challenge at Getting Cricky.
    Hugs :),
    Kathy - Getting Cricky DTM

  24. What an adorable card, love all your wonderful embellishments and your beautiful ribbon wreath! Thanks for joining us this week @ CTO, hope to see you next week :)

  25. I love the candy apples on the left side!! Thanks for playing along with us at Getting Cricky's Simply Sunday Challenge!
    Happy Craftin :)

    Ildi-Getting Cricky DTM
    The Craftin Mama
    Please visit me too!
    Oppertunity to Earn Extra $$!!

  26. What a lovely ribbon wreath!
    Very creative!
    Thanks for joining us at CTO!

  27. Another fabulous card and recipe. I love the little wreath and the the leaves. Nice job with those pumpkins too..each one different!:) Hugs:)

  28. Yummy card and recipe, Karen! Love the caramel apples with their different toppings! Thanks so much for linking up at Cooking With Cricut this week.

    ~ Jen, CWC Design Team

  29. Wow Amazing job Karen!I LOVE the yummy treat and your wreath on your BEAUTIFUL card.Just FANTASTIC!:)

  30. So very pretty!!!! Thanks for sharing with us at Frosted Designs!!

  31. What a fabulous card! Your "candy" apples look super. And your woven wreath is amazing! I've never seen ribbon used like that and am most impressed!
    Karen, thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I did prepare your pumpkin chocolate chip bundt cake recipe - although did a loaf & muffins. They were a hit! Thanks again for sharing. Your cupcakes look wonderful too - perhaps as whipped cream is one of my biggest weaknesses!

  32. Love the ribbon wreath! Thanks for playing in Getting Cricky's Simple Sunday challenge. Hugs! :) Janis Getting Cricky DTM

  33. I am catching up Karen and so happy to be visiting you this afternoon!
    Your card is gorgeous! That wreath really makes the card pop. I love how you moved towards the reds for Fall. There are many gorgeous red colors in nature, so this is perfect! And I love your caramel apples with their sparkliness! you know I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes!! I made pumpkin bread last weekend!
    Hugs my friend!

  34. Ahhhh, Sweet Saturdays, how I've missed them!! And as usual, you never disappoint! I'll get to those delectable-looking cupcakes in a bit but first the gorgeous card! I love the beautiful red wreath! How perfect for Fall! And the caramel apples are just the perfect touch! Your cards always, always make me smile! I love this! And I'm so happy you linked up with our Getting Cricky Simply Sunday Challenge!

    Now, those amazing cupcakes - wow! They look so delicious! I love anything pumpkin-flavored so I can't wait to try these! Thank you as always for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us, Karen!!

    Hugs, Lisa


Thank you for leaving some love! Have a beautifully blessed day. :o)

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