Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Travelling with Cupcakes

So, one of my biggest challenges is trying to get cupcakes to my friends and family who live far away. This past weekend, I went out of town and wanted to bring a few cupcakes with me. I used the individual cupcake holders called cup-a-cakes. They have little prongs inside to hold the cupcake in place so the frosting doesn't get smushed. I packed up my cupcakes and put the containers in my suitcase, nestled among socks to prevent them from moving too much. When I arrived and unpacked, the cupcakes were upside down inside the containers! Although they were intact, the frosting did get smushed against the plastic container, so they weren't as pretty. So although these are great for taking cupcakes to school in a lunchbox, they're not so great for cross country travel. The search for a better transportation system for cupcakes continues.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Faux-stess cupcakes

Remember those great chocolate cupcakes with the white filling you had as a kid? I know that at my school, when it was lunchtime, you simply were not cool if you didn't have one in your lunchbox. Well, now that we're all grown up, I realize how many preservatives and aritifical flavorings there are in those cupcakes. So I decided to make my own, using only all fresh, natural ingredients. Kind of like the grown up version. So I made moist chocolate cake, with a chocolate ganache topping, and filled them with vanilla buttercream, ending up with the signature swirl on top. Although they could haved used more filling, overall they were a great success. I even had a few people break their no-carb diets to try one :) Doesn't that just take you back?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chocolate Dirt and Worms

These are great for kids' parties, or just for fun! They're chocolate cupcakes with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, topped with chocolate graham cracker crumbs, with a squirmy gummy worm on top. It's amazing how the crumbs really look like dirt! You can also use crushed up chocolate cookies for the same effect. These were a big hit, especially with the younger tasters. Who doesn't love gummy worms? :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cupcake Sampler

When my sister was visiting, we made a huge batch of cupcakes, my top 6 flavors of all time. We baked them all together, and then she helped to decorate them. From left to right, they are: vanilla chai, cookies n cream, red velvet, and strawberry. The other two flavors, not pictured, are chocolate and vanilla of course. Then we split them into sampler boxes of a dozen, 2 of each flavor.

All boxed up, they are from top to bottom, left to right: vanilla chai, cookies n cream, red velvet, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate and vanilla we swapped frostings on so there was one of each combination.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tasty Planet

Sometimes cupcakes are a great way to spread a message. I made Earth cupcakes to remind everyone to be kind to our planet and take little steps to improve our lives here. Although the continents are not topographically perfect, you get the idea. Plus, they were chocolate!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Soda Fountain Treats!

So, as a special request, I made fun soda fountain cupcakes for Max's first birthday! The theme colors were blue, green, and orange, so I made orange Fanta and Mountain Dew cupcakes! (Don't worry, Max only had a few bites of the Fantas).

I also sprinkled the tops with Sour Nerds. Talk about sugar overload! They were a big hit with the parents too :) I love how they're so colorful! Sprinkles really make every cupcake a celebration.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Another great flavor combination that everyone loves is chocolate and raspberry. My friend Emily especially loves this, and has wanted me to make these cupcakes for a while. So when I did, I made sure that she got some :) These are just chocolate cupcakes, with raspberry puree mixed in, topped with a raspberry buttercream. I find that whenever I make buttercream with fresh fruit puree, it's a lot softer and runnier, so I have to adjust my recipes to make sure the icing is stiff enough for piping. Although I did add food coloring to achieve the bright pink color, the raspberries alone give a very nice rosy tint. Plus, I just love how the icing looks like a rose when you pipe it like this. It makes the cupcakes even more special!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chocolate and Orange

One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and orange. Remember those orange-shaped chocolates that you can get around the Holidays? You whack it and the chocolate slices come apart? I always looked forward to that each Christmas. So I decided tot urn that into a cupcake! I made a few varieties to see what tasted the best: chocolate, vanilla, chocolate-orange, and vanilla-orange. Then I mixed and matched the frostings so each flavor of cake had a different flavor of frosting. The vanilla orange tastes a bit like a creamsicle :) And the way they smelled when coming out of the oven was just heavenly.
So, the ones with the orange sprinkles on them are the orange flavored frostings. The flavor is super intense, since I used orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract. I personally prefer the double chocolate orange combo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cup-tails, part 2

So in keeping with the cupcakes inspired by cocktails theme, I found a fantastic recipe for margarita cupcakes. And the best part is, they are 100% vegan! I've made vegan varieties before, and they often require some odd ingredients, but these were super easy. And yes, there is real tequila in them! I even added a sugar & salt rim, using course kosher salt and green sanding sugar. They were tart and delicious! Perfect for a summertime party.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cup-tails, part 1

What could be yummier than cupcakes inspired by cocktails? In honor of the Sex and the City movie, I made cosmopolitan cupcakes. The cakes are cranberry, with dried cranberries mixed in, with a Cointreau-lime frosting, topped with a cranberry jelly candy. These were a huge hit! They are tart and refreshing, and make you want to drink a real cosmo at the same time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summery Treats

Since it's a scalding 105 degrees outside, I figured a refreshing cupcake would be perfect. So I made mint-chocolate chip cupcakes! They are chocolate-mint cupcakes, with a minty buttercream with chocolate chips. This just happens to be my husband's favorite milkshake flavor, so I figured it would make a great cupcake too! What is it about the combination of chocolate and mint that's so great? I think it's because of the difference in flavors, chocolate being so rich, and mint so fresh.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Classic Red Velvet

So I have never been a big fan of red velvet, finding the cake usually tasteless and dry, but everyone loooooves the cream cheese frosting. So I finally found a recipe that was moist and flavorful! It's from the Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes book. It differs from other recipes only slightly, but apparently those small changes make a big difference in taste.

I had recently bought a giant cupcake pan which I was dying to use! It's a 2 part pan, top and bottom. I hollowed out the bottom a bit and filled it with cream cheese frosting, then swirled the entire top. You can also make an ice cream cake with the pan!

Well, I had batter left over, so I made some cupcakes too. Can't be wasteful! Although I rarely eat my finished product, I did have a cupcake and it was amazing! And super red too ! Definitely a classic done right. Now if I can only make an armadillo ;)

Friday, August 1, 2008


One of my favorite desserts is Tiramisu. Coming from an Italian family, I've had some pretty amazing homemade versions in my life. So I decided to try a tiramisu cupcake. I started with a sponge cake, poked holes in it and soaked it in a sweetened espresso syrup, then topped with with a mascarpone cheese frosting, sprinkled with cocoa powder on top.

The only improvement I would make, is to more thoroughly soak the cake in espresso syrup so the flavor is more evenly distributed. The frosting wa amazing, though. almost like a cream cheese frosting, but better! Tiramisu means pick me up in Italian, and that's certainly what these did!