Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fried Cupcakes at the OC Fair

NOTE: This post was also posted on one of my favorite cupcake blogs, Cupcakes Take the Cake!

Last night we made our annual trip to the OC Fair. Pretty much the only reason we go is to pig-out on greasy, fried food. Since I only do it once a year, it doesn't feel quite so glutenous.

The OC Fair has an expanding range of fried food. Every year there is something new to try. Two years ago it was the fried chicken sandwich with two Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead of a bun, topped with cheese and honey. Talk about heart attack!
So what could be better than an array of fried food at the fair? Why, a cupcake, of course! I was so excited when I saw this booth selling cupcakes. My mind was set, I was going to eat a cupcake!
So what could top wonderful fried food and a cupcake at the fair? A fried cupcake! I needed to try one!
I found the fried cupcakes at the Spud Shack. The Spud Shack also sells other fried foods, such as curly fries, tator tots, and Chocolate on-a-stick (I was slightly disappointed to find out that the "chocolate" on-a-stick was just a Tootsie Roll).
I wondered, what is a fried cupcake? Is it frosted and fried, as is? I was very intrigued! After about five minutes of waiting patiently (fried cupcakes are apparently very popular), I had mine.
I ordered the chocolate fried cupcake. From what my taste buds could gather, the cake part of the cupcake was baked and then deep-fried. After pulled out, they put a chocolate sauce on top and finished with sprinkles.
I was actually very apprehensive about trying this cupcake. I wasn't expecting to like it because it was fried. I haven't eaten many sweet foods that have been given the fried treatment, so I didn't expect it to taste very good. My first bite told a different story. It wasn't too bad. From then on, every bite was better and better. I really enjoyed it and ate the whole thing by myself.

The only thing I was bummed out on was the frosting. The thin layer of chocolate sauce wasn't enough. I wanted some real frosting, piled high on top. In hindsight, I realize that frosting would have melted because the cupcake was served hot.

Verdict: Try something new! My fried cupcake was a sweet surprise and something I will look forward to eating again next year!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Exciting News!

This morning I was mentioned in the Fast Food Maven's blog! The Fast Food Maven writes a blog about fast food news, along with sweets (namely cupcakes), in the fast food industry. I referenced her Cupcake Challenge a few months back. Check out her blog!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Return to Elizabethan Desserts

Saturday was a pretty big day for me! I raced in my first olympic-distance triathlon. My husband promised me that if I finished in less than three hours, he would take me to Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas. My goal for the race was three hours and five minutes, so that would mean finishing five minutes faster than I thought I could. I guess the motivation worked! My final time was 2 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds.

Elizabeth Desserts is located in Sunshine Gardens Nursery in Encinitas. I had been there before, and was so excited to go back! This time we had our camera with us
I love the atmosphere of this place. It is so homey. The last thing I want is corporate produced cupcakes. These desserts seem to have time and love put into them.
My husband got permission to take a few pictures of the bakery from Elizabeth herself. Both times we have been there, she has been behind the counter making cupcakes. The love the fact that she is so hands-on with her products.
Last time I tried the Monkey Business cupcake (banana cake, white chocolate frosting, caramel drizzled on top) and it was definitely the best cupcake I have ever tasted. I knew I couldn't go wrong with something so wonderful, so I got that cupcake again. I also bought a few of the Chocolate Peanut Butter ones and a Coconut to share with my family. In hindsight, I wish I had bought some other flavors. I guess that means I need to go back soon.
The verdict? Just as tasty as before! My husband was talking to Elizabeth who said that the Monkey Business cake was a little bit denser than usual. I had noticed that also. She explained the difficulties of baking with fruit and finding the right consistency for denseness and moistness. Elizabeth was debating on whether to pull the cupcakes because they weren't as delicious as possible. Even though I enjoyed the cupcake as much as the first time, I also appreciated Elizabeth's attention to detail and care for the product. This kind of attitude may have helped her business to become as successful as it is. I had an epiphany on the drive home. These cupcakes are definitely different than any other cupcake that I have tried before. I think the difference is that these cupcakes are more like desserts in a cupcake shape. The cake in Monkey Business is not the same as the usual consistency of a "normal" cupcake. Having thought this, it does not change my opinion at all. Elizabeth Desserts has just differentiated themselves by going beyond the traditional cupcake idea. I love their cupcakes and need to go back soon to expand the number of flavors tested. Thank you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes

Recently a friend was saddened when I attended an event and didn't bring any cupcakes. I am now known as the cupcake girl! I was very excited to be given this unofficial title. So last week my husband had a birthday. We had a party for him and, of course, I had to bake cupcakes! I wanted to try something a little different. One of my favorite cupcakes that I reviewed recently was the Peanut Butter from SusieCakes. Peanut butter and chocolate are just made to go together!
So peanut butter and chocolate were my inspiration for my birthday cupcakes. I used a devil's food chocolate cake mix. For the frosting I used milk chocolate, and then mixed about 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter. Last, I sprinkled large chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on top.
They were a success! I think that the crumbled Reese's were definitely the key to my cupcake success. I had to control myself by only eating one because I have my triathlon on Saturday. (I try to cut out sugar for the two weeks before my races.) But watch out after my race!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Boston Cream Pie Minis

My sister recently sent me a recipe for some cupcakes called Boston Cream Pie Minis. They sounded delicious, but I haven't found the time to bake them yet! This week I had the privilege of trying them as she made them to celebrate my brother returning home.
She cut the yellow cake cupcakes in half horizontally and put filling between the two halves. The filling was made out of Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding. The topping was a mixture of Cool Whip and semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Of course I am always nervous when Cool Whip is involved (bleh!), but they were exactly how I thought they would taste...delicious! (I didn't even remember that there was Cool Whip involved until I read the recipe today, so it wasn't even an issue.) They were light so I didn't feel bad for eating one three days before my next triathlon. Thanks, Robin!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remember Jigglypuff?

My brothers were heavy in the Pokemon phenomenon back in the day. I, on the other hand, can only recognize a handful of the characters. But when I saw this cupcake, I knew exactly who it was. Reader Ms. Chocolat sent me this adorable picture of a Jigglypuff cupcake.
She created these cupcakes for a friend's daughter's birthday party. She used vanilla cake, buttercream frosting, and fondant for the face. I have yet to taste a cupcake with fondant. This is the cutest cupcake I have ever seen though! She also made "mellows on-a-stick." Not sure exactly what they are, but they sure do look yummy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cupcakes on the East Coast

I keep hearing about all of the wonderful cupcake stores on the east coast. I dream of traveling there to visit as many stores as I want. It is a fantasy, but for now I will focus on finding the good cupcake bakeries here!

My cousin Laura lives in New Hampshire. She is getting married to her fiance Matt at the end of this month. Congratulations to them! I have never been to the east coast, but she is my CCA street team member for the other side of the country. I recently received the following email from her:

Matt and I were in Boston for the 4th of July visiting Kristin my old roomie and we were walking down Newbury Street and I saw a sign Johnny Cupcakes and I don't think I have to mention how excited we got. However when we went into the store we didn't find cupcakes, it was a store that had shirts etc. but to tease us they were displayed in glass cases like you would find in a bakery. Well, needless to say we were a little disappointed, and all we had on our mind was cupcakes.

We headed to the North End, which is famous for it's sweets so we figured it was our best hope...even if we didn't find cupcakes we would be able to get something yummy. We found Lulu's Bake Shoppe! There was a decent selection of cupcakes, but we went for S'more, Oreo, and chocolate, all with buttercream frosting. They were all delicious, and the cake part wasn't dry, the frosting was a little sweet, but still very yummy.
These cupcakes look yummy! If I am ever in Boston, I know where to go. Thanks, Laura!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Cupcakery

Wow, did we get lucky or what?! This past weekend we were driving home from Lake Mead and stopped in the Silverado Ranch Plaza in Henderson, NV for some food. I knew The Cupcakery was in this shopping center, but we arrived too late. It closed at 6:00 and it was about 30 minutes past closing time. I have heard a lot about this cupcake store so I had been very anxious to try it. This was my second attempt and I was bummed to be missing it again. My brother-in-law (my new hero!) somehow managed to get someone's attention inside the store and convinced them to sell us some cupcakes. My eyes lit up when I saw him hand me this box of assorted cupcakes!
Since there were nine of us, I cut each cupcake into four pieces. Each of us got to try four different cupcakes. We didn't know what kinds of cupcakes we got so we had to use our excellent deducing skills. When I got home I looked up the flavors on their website .

Going from left to right, top to bottom:

Chocolate Passion: This was the table favorite! Who doesn't like chocolate and more chocolate?
Chocolate Vanilla?": This was a chocolate cake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting. Very, very good.
Oh, My Gosh Ganache: Wow, wow! This was a vanilla cake cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream, and the best part was the chocolate truffle center. I wasn't expecting the truffle center, but it was so tasty! The truffle was a little overwhelming to one of the tasters because it was so heavy and it overpowered all other flavors. I really enjoyed the truffle center because it was something different and so unexpected!
Good Morning, Cupcake: I didn't try this one, but everyone else who did loved it. This yellow cake cupcake didn't have buttercream frosting but was topped with cinnamon and a maple glaze. It is a good choice for people who don't want something too sweet. It is a good mix between a muffin and a cupcake.
Mocha: This cupcake had chocolate cake with a mocha flavored buttercream frosting. One taster compared the taste of the frosting to a light, fluffy See's candy Bordeaux.
Strawberry Shortcake: I was a little hesitant to try this cupcake because fruit flavored cupcakes are not my favorite, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this cupcake tasted! It had strawberry cake and strawberry frosting. Definitely the best strawberry cupcake I had tasted, by far! One taster disagreed with me and said that this cupcake was too sweet for him.
Chocolate Coconut: This was also another table favorite. It was yellow cake, with chocolate frosting and coconut sprinkled on top. I would say it was similar to a German chocolate cake except that the cake was yellow, not chocolate.
Lemonberry: One taster told me that this cupcake contained real blueberries and had lemon cake. He really enjoyed this one.
Pamela's Pina Colada: This was a sneaky cupcake! Since we didn't know the flavors we assumed this cupcake was lemon. One taster got a huge surprise as she discovered it was not lemon, but pina colada. She doesn't like pina colada so her vote doesn't really count. The other tasters really enjoyed this cupcake. It was a coconut cake with pineapple buttercream and coconut sprinkled on top. I wish I had tried this one!

Overall, The Cupcakery was better than I had hoped for. Lately I have tried a lot of mediocre cupcakes and was wondering if I had hit my peak of good cupcake stores. The Cupcakery renewed by hope in cupcakes! Their cupcakes had moist cake, good buttercream frosting, and a large assortment of flavors. One last note, I like how each cupcake looked unique. The frosting was applied in different ways on many of the cupcakes. Good job Cupcakery! I will be making a stop each time I travel to Lake Mead or Las Vegas.


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