Pig Party!

My daughter adores PIGS. ๐Ÿ™‚ She collects stuffed pigs, reads fictional and non-fictional books about pigs, and even wrote her first research paper (in 2nd grade!) about pot-bellied pigs. To celebrate her 9th birthday, she invited over a few friends for a pig-themed sleepover party. It was perfect!

We started with aย pig invitation- inviting everyone to come PIG out and celebrate. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It included a custom rhyme based on one of our favorite books “If you Give a Pig a Party” by Laura Numeroff.

We PIGged out eating pizza, pig cupcakes, pig pancakes, and pig cookies. We also had our traditional “Number Cookies” as well as chocolate fondue. (Which will most likely become a new tradition!)

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Yes, there were a lot of sweet treats. ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls also made beanie boo sleeping bags adapted from Doll Diaries.com. SO cute! ๐Ÿ™‚ (I cut 2 pieces of fabric 19″ x 16″ and 1 piece 11″ x 16″, with a 4″ fringe border.)

For theย Yellow Cupcakes: (Recipe from The New Best Recipe All-New Edition from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated)

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 7 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners. (I prefer foil-lined paper liners!)
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.
  4. Add the butter, sour cream, egg, yolks, and vanilla and beat the wet ingredients into the dry at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the cups of the prepared tin using a 2-oz ice cream scoop or a spoon.
  7. Bake until the cupcake tops are pale gold and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes.
  8. Use a skewer or paring knife to lift the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to a wire rack; cool the cupcakes to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting & Pig Decorations:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 5 T unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 T sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, plus more for glaze
  • red gel food coloring
  • 6 jumbo marshmallows
  • 12 standard marshmallows
  • pink sanding sugar
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips for the eyes and piping
  • 12 sugar flowers
  1. Using a serrated knife, cut each jumbo marshmallow in half to create two smaller rounds (snouts). Cut each standard marshmallow in half on a diagonal (ears).
  2. Combine a few tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar with a teaspoon of water. Add more water as needed to create a thin glaze.
  3. Cover the top surface of the snouts and the inner surface of the ears with the glaze. Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with pink sanding sugar to coat. Set aside to set.
  4. When the cupcakes are cool, process the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in a stand mixer until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the 5 oz Confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth.
  6. Using a toothpick, add a small amount of red gel food coloring and process to combine. Continue to add small amounts until desired shade is achieved.
  7. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface of each cupcake. (I place a dollop on each cupcake before spreading to ration it evenly.)
  8. Place the snouts, ears, sugar flowers, and eyes on each cupcake. Pipe melted chocolate chips to create the nostrils on the snouts.

Note: I refrigerated these cupcakes overnight and brought them to room temperature prior to serving.

Although I thought the cupcakes were absolutely delicious, the chocolate fondue was the big hit for dessert. I prepared it in minutes and served it during the intermission of our first pig-themed movie, “Babe”.

We used marshmallows, pound cake, pretzel rods, and banana chunks as dippables. The recipe was adapted from Rachel Ray. I used a combination of Lindt milk chocolate and dark chocolate instead of all bittersweet chocolate. I also omitted the optional liqueur and the nuts. Eating fondue is FUN! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chocolate Fondue
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided, reserve 1/4 cup to thin if fondue begins to thicken
  • 4 bittersweet chocolate bars, chopped, 3 1/2 ounces each (I used 1/2 Lindt milk chocolate & 1/2 70% Cacao Lindt dark chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons Frangelico or Amaretto liqueur, optional
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds, optional

Suggested Dippables, choose 3 or 4 selections of the following:

  • hazelnut or almond biscotti
  • salted pretzel sticks or pretzel rods
  • cubed pound cake
  • sliced bananas (large chunks work best)
  • marshmallows
  • strawberries
  • pineapple chunks
  1. Heat 1/2 cup cream in a heavy non-reactive saucepot over moderate heat until cream comes to a low boil.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add chocolate.
  3. Let the chocolate stand in hot cream 3 to 5 minutes to soften, then whisk chocolate together with the cream.
  4. Stir in liqueur and/or chopped nuts, if using, and transfer the fondue to a fondue pot or set the mixing bowl on a rack above a small lit candle.
  5. Arrange your favorite dippables in piles on a platter along side chocolate fondue with fondue forks, bamboo skewers or seafood forks, as utensils, for dipping.

Note: If fondue becomes too thick, stir in reserved cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, to desired consistency.

In the morning, the girls watched their second pig-themed movie, “Gordy,” while I prepared their “pig” pancakes. I used this gold standard recipe.

Before…

After… (well, almost after…)

HBD, sweetheart! โค

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pig cake

Birthday Red Velvet “Owl” Cupcakes, Johnnycake, & The One Room Schoolhouse

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My daughter is so grown up for a second grader. She chose going to a Broadway show instead of a birthday party to celebrate her 8th birthday. She is a Broadway show tune junkie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another grown up choice was choosing red velvet cupcakes for her special birthday dessert. I thought that I wasn’t a red velvet fan- but these were super moist and wonderful. When we saw the owl cupcakes on Nancy Creativeย around Halloween, we both knew that we had to make them! I would say that the owl cupcake choice was the 8-year-old part of this birthday celebration, but I want them for my birthday too!! ๐Ÿ™‚ The cupcake recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

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To make the owl’s eyes, I microwaved the oreos 3 cookies at a time for 7 seconds, but I still had trouble getting a clean split. I need more practice… I suppose it’s been too long since I’ve eaten oreos the right way! The eyeballs and beak were made out of m&m’s. The eyebrows are made from the remaining filling-less sides of the oreo cookies, scored slightly less than in half. Adorable!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

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  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature (can put in a bowl of warm water to quickly change the temperature)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (convection). Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. (I used foil-lined paper liners.)
  2. Whisk together cake flour, and cocoa; add salt.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add the egg, beating until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each.
  5. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter; mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
  6. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 18 minutes (on convection). Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  7. To finish, top with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Note: These are also wonderful as mini-cupcakes. Bake for 10 minutes on convection.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

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Yield: 2 cups, enough to frost 12 cupcakes

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low.
  2. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.
  3. Using a pastry bag with a large fluted tip, pipe onto cupcakes in a circular motion, starting on the outer rim.

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Number Cookies: Our Family Tradition! ๐Ÿ™‚

Another highlight of her birthday was that her class went on a field trip to a historic One Room Schoolhouse. She has been desperate to go on this trip because part of the fun is that everyone is supposed to dress in old-fashioned attire. She absolutely loves dressing up for everything- but this was particularly special because she wore one of my old dresses! (Thanks to her Nana who saves everything! :)) With a felt bonnet too. Super cute.

The kids also bring their lunch in baskets- with each item wrapped in bandanas or cloth. She brought an apple, a buttered roll, dried fruit, and a buttered johnnycake. We had problems coming up with a vessel for her drink…. Makes one appreciate modern conveniences!

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For the New England Johnnycake:

Yield: 12 standard muffins or 1 8-inch square cake (12 squares)

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees (convection).
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the milk, syrup, oil, and eggs. Stir until just incorporated.
  4. Bake in a lined or greased muffin tin for 14 minutes, or in an 8-inch square pan for 20 to 25 minutes.

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