Thursday, August 30, 2012

State Fair Cupcake: Corn!

Well, it's still State Fair week, which means another fair-themed cupcake!

One thing I try to get at the fair is a roasted ear of corn. It gives the illusion of healthiness as it isn't fried or processed too much. However, it pays to keep in mind that the roasted ear is dipped in melted butter prior to serving!  Anyway, the corn stand is extremely popular and always has a crowd milling about in front. Don't let the mob intimidate you, though - the line moves pretty fast. Here are some reasons you should get some:

  • Support your state farmers! The fair is supposed to be an agricultural event, after all.
  • Celebrate the fact that Minnesota's corn crop has done pretty well, considering the drought in most of corn country.
  • It's only three bucks!
  • The cobs are all composted! Yay!
  • Did I mention it's dipped in butter?
Here's a good article about the corn guy at the fair that also touches on the difficulty of getting into the fair as a vendor:

Okay, here's the low down on this cupcake. You've probably seen this idea around before. I got it from the awesome cupcake-decorating book called, "Hello, Cupcake!"   Most times people show three cupcakes side by side to make a whole cob, but I thought just one was cute (even if it's not the right shape). This one is covered in yellow jelly belly beans for the "kernels" and a yellow starburst for the "butter". I bought the candy at a candy store in downtown Minneapolis called "Amy's Confections".

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Artists in Storefronts - Jack Edwards Pop Up Gallery

A friend and I happened upon this pop up gallery when driving past on Nicollet Avenue. I saw the giant White Rabbit sculpture and was like, "What is THAT? That is awesome! We need to stop!"
It turns out that it was a Pop Up Gallery featuring the work of Jack Edwards. The gallery is part of the Whittier neighborhoods "Artists in Storefronts" project that has been going on this summer.

I had the chance to speak with Mr. Edwards while looking around the gallery. In addition to decades of costuming work for the Guthrie Theater, the artist worked on the old Dayton's department store 8th floor Christmas show for many years and designed some of the Holidazzle parade floats, as well. Since Macy's acquired Marshall Fields (which acquired Daytons), the holiday display has been exactly the same for three years running and Mr. Edwards is no longer affiliated with the display. Macy's is so lame. Apparently, they own all of the figures from past displays but won't sell them and hardly ever display them. It's so sad; these quirky characters should be shared with the public.

There are some good interviews with Jack Edwards at these links:

The Artists in Storefronts project is ongoing until September 9th. The last walking tour is scheduled for noon on Saturday September 8th. There is more information on their website:

State Fair Cupcake: Cotton Candy

Another State Fair post!

Ah, the smell of the fair!  Mostly fried food of every possible kind (deep-fried butter is the craziest, in my opinion) with the occasionaly whiff of manure from the animal barns. The smell that instantly transports me, though, is the sweet smell of cotton candy! So delicious! Although I'm not a big fan of the taste of cotton candy (pure sugar), I admit it fascinates me. That melt-in-your-mouth texture combined with the beautiful pink or blue fluffiness of tempting. So festive!

Anyway, for this cupcake, I topped a funfetti cupcake (I added sprinkles to vanilla batter) with a some cotton candy attached to a striped candy stick. I got the cotton candy from Target (love that it is called Fluffy Stuff). As long as it isn't too humid outside, the cotton candy toppers hold up for several hours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

State Fair Cupcake - Cookies & Milk!

It's State Fair time here in Minnesota! The fair started last Thursday and goes through Labor Day. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love the fair. So, this week I'll be featuring some cupcake decorating ideas inspired by some of my favorite things at the state fair.

One of the booths that are super duper busy at the fair is Sweet Martha's Cookies. You can buy a huge pail of cookies (huge! and overfilled to the point where you have to eat a bunch of cookies in order to get the lid on) and then head over to the all-you-can-drink milk booth (chocolate or skim, $1) and have a milk and cookies fest! Here is Sweet Martha's website:

Anyway, here is my tribute below. It is a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting but I think a chocolate chip cupcake or even a tres leches cupcake would be great! The "cookies" on top are cookie crisp cereal and I added the straw to represent the "milk".

Monday, August 27, 2012

M&M Cake

Here's just a quick post. I actually made this cake months ago and forgot to post it! You've probably seen lots of cakes decorated with M&Ms online as it seems to be a trend. I thought it would be a fun, casual way to decorate a cake and didn't want to be too fussy with my design. As you can see, my pattern is a little random. You could definitely be more exact with your design - making the side stripes line up with the top or make them go around the outside horizontally or create more obvious circle or flower patterns, etc.

FYI - all those M&Ms make it a little more difficult to stick the candles in a birthday cake!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sculptures on my lunch break

I often take a walk around downtown during my lunch break. I have a only thirty minutes (and they are very strict about it) so I have to figure out places where I can go and still get back in time. I often go to Barnes and Noble (yay books!) but that can be dangerous to my wallet. Another frequent destination is the Central Library bookstore (yay MORE books!) which is slightly less dangerous. The other day I decided to travel a little further out so that I could share some photos of one of my very favorite sculptures/parks downtown.
Here is a photo of Minneapolis City Hall. I like it because it looks like a castle or chateau of some kind. I've often thought it would be cool to live here if the apocalypse ever comes. But then I think about having to defend all of those windows. Hmmm, impractical.

The park and sculptures are another block over.
These sculptures are in the plaza of the U.S. Courthouse. A quick google search shows that the artist is Tom Otterness and the work is called, "Rockman". They are made from bronze.
When these sculptures were first installed, I remember reading an editorial saying that they weren't appropriate for a federal courthouse building. They were too "whimsical". Well, you know what I say to that...
Geez, it's not like you can have too much whimsy in your life. I daresay the people who have to spend time at the courthouse could probably use an extra dose of whimsy.
These guys kind of remind me of the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters by Roger Hargreaves (yes, I had to google that to get the name of the artist. Sir Google and I are bff).

Remember those guys?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake

Here is a delicious quick bread recipe! The only change I made was to use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy and to add some mini pb cups. Oh, and I sprinkled turbinado sugar on top for extra crunch. The peanut butter taste really comes through and it's nice and moist! Next time I would use a darker chocolate chip - maybe a chocolate ganache glaze on top?! Hey -O!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keepers Antique Shop (Faribault)

Here are some photos from the antique store I mentioned in my last post. First is a group of creepy dolls but there was much much more that was more cute/awesome rather than creepy. We spent probably an hour at the store and there was just tons of stuff - vintage clothes, books, instruments, toys of all kinds, jewelery... you name it. Not too much furniture, which was fine with me because I'm not usually in the market for furniture. I thought it was a good, eclectic mix, and the prices were reasonable!


Last weekend I visited my sister who lives in Northfield. In our journey to get a gluten-free pizza, we ended up making a trip to the town of Faribault (pronounced Fair Bo - it's French, yo!). After dinner, we sort of stumbled across a festival on the main street (The Blue Collar BBQ Festival). Bonus!

Like a lot of small towns in Minnesota, there is basically a small historic "downtown" area that consists of just a couple of streets with cute little shops. I don't know that I would put "Faribault, Minnesota" on my top ten lists of hot vacation spots but it definitely makes for a nice little outing if you are down that way (maybe combine a trip to Northfield, Faribault, and Nerstrand Big Woods State Park )
We stopped at The Cheese Cave to sample the wares and buy some local cheeses. Apparently, they do private tastings and other fun stuff in addition to selling cheese and other gourmet food stuffs

The main street has a sweets shop (picture below), a bike shop, a music store, an old-timey barbershop, a crafts store, an AWESOME antiques store (see my next post) and several little cafes
This mannequin head cracks me up. " you think this wig brings out the red, white, and blue in my eyes?"
You can find out tons of info on Faribault on their website: or this short piece that was done on Kare-11 News a while ago:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Some Local Art

Detail of awesome mural on 32nd Street and Bryant Ave South in Minneapolis. Check out the whole thing below. I wish every building had an awesome mural. Truly.

This giant head sculpture is right by the Landmark Theatre in the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis. Cool but a little creepy. It reminds me a little of The Face of Boe from Dr. Who and a little of those Easter Island heads.

Love is a warm puppy! There's a whole group of these Peanuts sculptures in downtown Saint Paul. They are in the park right by the Saint Paul Hotel and the Landmark Center. I wait there everyday for my connecting bus. Amusingly, every Thursday they've been having giant group dance lessons in the park - salsa, swing, you name it! It looks fun.