Monday, November 30, 2009

What the NY Times has to say about cupcakes

I come across articles from newspapers and magazines about cupcakes quite frequently. Many writers believe that cupcakes are just a fad. (But we know that isn't true.) It's very refreshing to see an article talk about cupcakes in a positive light. This recent article from The New York Times entitled, "The Latest Entrepreneurial Fantasy Is Selling Cupcakes" discusses the success of cupcake shops. Read all about it.

My Birthday with Meringue Bake Shop

I celebrated my birthday a little over a week ago. My husband (the nicest guy in the whole world) threw a birthday party for me. Nothing makes you feel like the most special person in the world than when your friends and family gather together in honor of you! A HUGE "Thank You" to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I had a great day!

That being said, what could possibly have made my birthday even better? Cupcakes, of course! Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop so kindly delivered cupcakes to me for my birthday! What a sweetheart!


A Kid Again: yellow cake filled with cookie dough topped with peanut butter buttercream

: yellow cake filled with caramel and peanuts topped with chocolate buttercream and drizzled with caramel, chopped peanuts, and a sprinkle of sea salt

: pumpkin cupcake filled with pecan pie topped with cranberry buttercream

The Great Pumpkin
: pumpkin cupcake filled with caramel topped with cream cheese buttercream

: spice cupcake topped with coconut buttercream

Sunday Morning
: yellow cupcake filled with maple syrup and bacon topped with maple buttercream

I knew these cupcakes would go fast, so I hid them for most of the night. Eventually I brought them out and they were gone in a flash. If you were lucky enough to try one, you were in heaven! I got to try three of the flavors (Stuffed, The Great Pumpkin, and Sunday Morning) and I was so happy! I especially loved the cranberry buttercream frosting on the Stuffed cupcake.

Meringue Bake Shop is a custom cupcake company based in Orange County. I would highly recommend Meringue to anyone who is looking to order cupcakes for a wedding, birthday, baby shower, Christmas family party, whatever! You won't be disappointed!

Thank you Kristin!

Friday, November 27, 2009

101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes

I'm a pretty busy person, just like everyone else out there. I usually don't have the time to make cupcakes from scratch. Thank goodness for cookbooks like this!

I recently got my hands on 101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes by Wendy Paul. All of her cupcake recipes stem from using a cake mix.

I tested out her recipes about a week ago while making cupcakes for my sister's birthday party. I decided to be a little adventurous and make two different recipes using one box of cake mix. I also used one of the frosting recipes from the book.

Result: 12 Banana Strussel cupcakes and 12 Pineapple Upside Down cupcakes. Both were delicious and I got credit for baking two flavors of cupcakes!

This cookbook is available from for only $11.55. Perfect holiday gift for your favorite baker (or yourself)!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Better Together: Cookie and Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving today, I want to share Cakespy's weekly post on Serious Eats. Cakespy has given us such desserts as the Triple Threat Dessert and Piece of Pie. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that Jessie sure knows how to put ingredients together! Her newest creation, perfect for Thanksgiving, is Pumpkin Pie in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust. It's exactly what it sounds like...a pumpkin pie with a chocolate chip cookie crust. Why didn't I think of that?

Have a great Thanksgiving day and eat lots of desserts.

Photos: Serious Eats

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Pie Cupcakes

I've been raving about pumpkin cupcakes and desserts for over a month. Pumpkin is just the perfect ingredient for autumn desserts. But I don't want to leave out an equally important autumn ingredient: apple. Because what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin and apple pie?

Photo: kellycakes

These mini apple pie cupcakes from flickr user kellycakes are so adorable! Once you break it down, I bet these aren't too hard to make. The caption says: "Golden butter cupcakes with apple pie filling mixed in the batter, topped with Dutch apple jam and cinnamon vanilla buttercream." Yum! You could even add a dollop of whipped cream on top.
If you prefer pumpkin, check out these mini pumpkin pie cupcakes from Cupcakes a Go-Go that I posted about earlier this month.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Make Turkey Cupcakes

I can't believe this year is almost over! Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I'm not ready yet. I haven't been able to bake since my oven is currently broken, but my parts arrived a few days ago and my husband will be fixing it tonight. Yeah!

Half the fun of cupcakes is making them. Here are a few tutorials on making Turkey Cupcakes for Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble!

Photo: Meringue

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting

I keep hearing rumors of a canned pumpkin shortage, but every time I've visited my Fresh & Easy store in the past two months, the shelves are stocked full. That hasn't stopped me from stocking up on pumpkin. Luckily, it's almost Thanksgiving so I have plenty of opportunities to use my pumpkin.

Cupcake Bake Shop recently posted a recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Toasted Meringue Frosting. I've mentioned several times how much I love pumpkin cupcakes, but I have yet to try a cupcake with pumpkin and chocolate. Each cupcake has a mixture of pumpkin batter and chocolate batter. I love the idea of toasting the meringue frosting to give the cupcake a little bit of a crunch.

This is definitely at the top of my list to make for Thanksgiving. Hopefully my oven will be fixed by then!

And the Winner is...

Thanks to all who entered my giveaway to win a Cupcake Tower! I had no idea how much everyone needs one of these. And the winner is (via


Congratulations! Contact me and I will get your new Cupcake Tower mailed to you as soon as possible. If you are not Boomette, and you must have a Cupcake Tower, you can purchase one through their website.

I will be hosting more giveaways in the future so check back often.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love At First Bite Cupcake

I may have just turned 28 yesterday, and I may be more than double the average age of most fans, but I am a huge Twilight fan! And I am so excited to see New Moon this weekend! Talk about a great birthday present!

Crumbs Bake Shop has a special cupcake in honor of the release of New Moon. The "Love At First Bite" cupcake is a chocolate cupcake with cherry pie filling and vanilla cream cheese frosting. The cupcake is topped with wax fangs and bat sprinkles. The cupcake is $4.50 and available at Crumbs stores.

Team Edward!

Also, last chance to win my giveaway for the Cupcake Tower. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST tonight!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Cupcake Activist

Good morning cupcakers. This is Mr. Cupcake Activist. I have full administrative access over Elise's blog for the purpose of design and analytics but have yet to contribute any content. Today that all changes because today is my wife's birthday, so I am hijacking her blog.

The Cupcake Activist is a great woman, a great athlete, a great friend, and quite a home pastry chef as well. I love her and I am glad so many of you love her blog, too.

Tonight we are having some friends over to the house and there will of course be cupcakes from some of our favorite bakeshops around LA and OC. I am sure there will be a post about the event in the coming days.

If you want to help me celebrate her birthday, leave her some love here on the blog and find yourself a cupcake to enjoy today.


Mr. Cupcake Activist

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

POM Velvet Cupcakes

Jill, this one's for you!

Thanks to I Heart Cuppycakes, I found out that November is National Pomegranate Month. To celebrate, why not make some POM Velvet Cupcakes with POM Cream Cheese Frosting?

I Heart Cuppycakes uses a recipe from the POM Wonderful website. Thankfully, I Heart Cuppycakes converts the recipe from the metric system. See the recipe below.

POM Velvet Cupcakes with
POM Cream Cheese Frosting

From POM Wonderful, coverted by I Heart Cuppycakes

POM Velvet Cupcakes
2-1/2 c. POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice
16 oz. (2 c.) granulated sugar
14 oz. (1-1/2 c. + 4 T.) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1-1/2 c. buttermilk
2 T. white vinegar
2 t. vanilla
15 oz. (3 c. + 5 T.) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz. (5 T.) cocoa powder
3/4 oz. (1 T. + 1 t.) baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 c. heavy cream
POM Cream Cheese Frosting
1-1/2 c. POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice
4 oz. (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
14 oz. (3-1/2 c.) powdered sugar

1 c. arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates, garnish

Instructions for cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with liners.

In a small saucepan, reduce the pomegranate juice, over medium-low heat, down to 3 oz (about 1/3 cup).

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream sugar and soft butter on medium-high speed, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, reduce speed to low and add the eggs in one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pomegranate juice reduction, white vinegar and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients in 2 additions, ending with the dry ingredients. Finish off with the heavy cream, beat just until combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Instructions for frosting:

Reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to about 1/2 cup. Let cool.

In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, cream butter on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined.

Using a Wilton 1M star tip (or your favorite star tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Garnish with pomegranate arils.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a Cupcake Tower! Only a few days left!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free Lacie Panty Cupcake

Get a Lacie Panty "Cupcake" free with a $30 purchase in any Victoria's Secret store. Offer valid from November 17-22. This is one cupcake I know my husband would like!

Source: Victoria's Secret

Adventures in Baking

Last Thursday night I spent the evening watching my favorite TV shows and baking cupcakes for my sister's surprise birthday party. While watching Community, I was startled by the sound of my smoke alarm going off.

I began running around like a crazy person! I ran over to the smoke alarm to fan it off, but then a second smoke alarm starting ringing too. Smoke alarms in stereo is probably the worst sound ever!

I ran back into the kitchen after I realized I needed to take the cupcakes out of the oven. Then I ran back to the smoke alarm, forgot a towel, ran back into the kitchen, ran back to the smoke alarm, and began jumping and fanning at the same time. Ran back into the kitchen to turn on the exhaust, then back to the alarms. Finally it was silent again (except for Joel McHale on the TV in the other room).

How was it possible that my cupcakes had burned? There were still four minutes left on the timer! A few minutes later my oven started beeping at me. The display read E2 F3. That was familiar. I had this same problem last year.

My oven is a Whirlpool Gold Gas Range (Model #GW395LEPS05), less than two years old. It was brand-new when we moved into our house in January 2008. Less than five months later, my oven started burning cupcakes. The insides of the cupcakes were exploding everywhere! I called a repair guy who ended up replacing my temperature sensor. The sensor wasn't telling my oven that it was hot enough, so it just kept getting hotter and hotter. I think it got to 600 degrees when the repair guy was there!

Now my oven is doing it again. Unfortunately, my oven only had a one-year warranty, so it won't be free this time. I called Whirlpool this morning, told them my story (the same problem that was repaired last year), and they offered to send me the parts for free. Yeah! My wonderful husband will be doing the installation.

The big question is: Why does this only happen when I'm baking cupcakes :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday because I love to eat! Forget the turkey, it's all about the side dishes and desserts.

Cupcake Project has found a way to make my favorite side dish a dessert. The creation: Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes. These cupcakes have a sweet potato base and are topped with maple brown sugar frosting and a buttery crumb topping. Makes me want to skip dinner all together and just eat dessert!

You can find the recipe at Cupcake Project's website.

There are still a few days left to win a
Cupcake Tower. Don't miss your chance!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipes

My life changed two days ago...I finally did it! I made cream cheese frosting. Don't judge me! This may have been the first time I've made cream cheese frosting, but I can't help that buying a tub of frosting for $1.50 is so convenient.

As I started looking around, I noticed that no two cream cheese frosting recipes were alike. I ended up using a recipe from a new cupcake cookbook that I got ahold of last week. I will post the recipe in a few days. Here are a few other recipes I came across.

From C&H Sugar:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. butter, softened
2 T. milk
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
4 c. C&H Powdered Sugar

From Bakerella's Red Velvet Cookie recipe:
1/2 c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. box of confectioner's sugar
1 t. vanilla

From Martha Stewart:
16 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
2 t. vanilla
1 c. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, softened
2 lbs. confectioner's sugar, sifted

From RecipeGirl:
1/2 c. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

From Cupcake Bake Shop:
4 oz. Philly cream cheese
1/4 stick butter, softened
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a Cupcake Tower. Contest ends on Friday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes

I'm terrified of spiders! As hard as it may be to do, please disregard the spider and look at this marvelous cupcake. I absolutely love cupcakes with filling, so this is right up my alley!

These Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Cupcakes from The Sweetest Kitchen are perfect for after your Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin cupcakes filled with dulce de leche and topped with dulce de leche buttercream. Can you tell I'm a sucker for pretty much any pumpkin dessert? That's why I love this time of year!

This cupcake creation is adapted from a few different recipes:

Don't forget to enter my
giveaway to win a Cupcake Tower! Contest ends November 20th.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giveaway: The Cupcake Tower

I seemed to have earned a reputation. For some strange reason, people expect me to bring cupcakes to every party I attend. I'm not sure why people would get the impression that I know anything about cupcakes :)

Ha! I couldn't be happier than when I am baking cupcakes to share with others! But my problem lies with the parts that follow. Luckily, last year my sister solved my problem of transportation with a cupcake carrier. So now I can bake cupcakes and transport them to the party. How do I display them?

The Cupcake Tower is available in four different sizes: tiny, small, medium, and large. Each size holds approximately 32, 72, 128, and 208 cupcakes, respectively.

You can win your very own Cupcake Tower!

The small Cupcake Tower
  • Has three layers (10", 14", and 18") and holds 72 cupcakes
  • Stands 13-1/2" high when assembled
  • Folds flat to store just about anywhere
  • Is made of durable wood (MDF) and has a thin laminate coating similar to a countertop so that it wipes clean easily
  • Includes a ribbon "detail design" package custom-matched to your event. Because no glue or adhesive is used, your ribbon can be easily removed and replaced with other colors and patterns for different occasions. The winner of the Cupcake Tower gets to choose their own ribbon detail package.
  • Perfect for parties, weddings, or any special event
  • Retail value: $65

How do you win this Cupcake Tower?

Leave a comment telling me where you would use your new Cupcake Tower (1 entry)

For extra entries:
Follow my blog (2 extra entries) or let me know if you already do

Follow me on Twitter (3 extra entries) or let me know if you already do

Blog about this contest (5 extra entries)

Leave one comment for each entry.
Contest ends November 20th at 11:59pm PST. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy National Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Sometimes I wonder who makes up these crazy days, but today I will be happy with National Vanilla Cupcake Day. Vanilla cupcakes are usually last on my list to eat because they seem so blah to me, but sometimes a good vanilla vanilla cupcake will hit the spot. One of my favorite birthday desserts growing up was funfetti cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

Speaking of my birthday, I'm still trying to determine where I want my birthday cupcakes to come from next week (November 19). Someone suggested that I have a cupcake potluck and have everyone bring their favorite cupcakes. I'm liking this idea!

Pumpkin Something

One of my favorite desserts growing up was Pumpkin Something. Pumpkin what? Yes, it was called Pumpkin Something. I recently made it for the first time since I've been married. My husband fell even more in love with me!

Duncan Hines has a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Crunch, which is pretty similar to my mom's Pumpkin Something (minus the pecans). If you're looking for something a little sweeter than pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, give this a try. I promise it will be a hit!

Pumpkin Pie Crunch/Pumpkin Something

1 16oz. can pumpkin puree
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 13x9 pan.

2. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl. Stir until well blended. Pour into pan. Sprinkles dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with melted butter.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely. Top with whipped cream (optional). Refrigerate leftovers, if any.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Cupcakes at Crumbs

It makes me happy when cupcakeries come out with special holiday flavors. It makes me think that they actually care about my cupcake happiness. Crumbs has a Thanksgiving collection of cupcakes that sounds scrumptious!

Apple Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Vanilla Chocolate
Vanilla Vanilla

The "Thanksgiving Collection" of six cupcakes is $27.00 and the "Thanksgiving Tastepack" of 12 smaller cupcakes is $24.00.

Crumbs has five locations in California:
Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Glendale, Larchmont, and Malibu.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Recipes for Winning Cupcakes!

I'm always on the look-out for delicious cupcake recipes. But even if I find a recipe that sounds good, I'm always a little nervous that it won't be quite what I hoped for.

SF Food Wars
has published recipes of some of the winning cupcakes from the SF Food Wars: Mini Cupcake Clash. Luckily, I know these recipes are fantastic because I already tasted the final results!

Recipe for "My Grandma's Bananas"
winner of People's Choice Award and Judge's 2nd Place

Recipe for "It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!"
winner of People's Choice Honorable Mention

Recipe for "Cinnamon Horchata"
winner of Judge's 3rd place

Interesting note: noticed that "My Grandma's Bananas" used a yellow cake mix...from a box! (Gasp!) That cupcake won the People's Choice award, so maybe using a box mix isn't so bad. But if you're going to use a box mix, I would suggest adding your own twist to make it a little different.

Want to know more about this event? Check out my coverage of the SF Foods Wars: Mini Cupcake Clash

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pioneer Woman and Sweet Tooth Fairy Cupcakes

Spotted: Pioneer Woman with cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. Photo courtesy of Utah Loves Cupcakes.

Other news from Sweet Tooth Fairy: they just announced the location of their second cupcakery. Utah is becoming a hot spot for cupcake shops. I can't wait for my next visit there so I can try some new places!

Posh Pumpkin Cupcakes


I think I only need a few words to grab your interest in this cupcake:

Cranberry Pumpkin Cupcake
Dulce de Leche Cream Filling
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Mousse

Yes, please. I'll take two.

Came across this cupcake on a blog called One Imaginary Girl. She calls her creation Posh Pumpkin Cupcakes. I don't care what she calls them, they sound so amazing! She writes, "You had four different textures in one bite." Please stop, you don't need to do any more convincing, I really want one. Luckily, the recipes (yes, multiple recipes, one for each part of the cupcake) are published on her blog. Go here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes from Williams-Sonoma

Have you ever tried making cupcakes using the Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes from Williams-Sonoma? Lucy Baker from Serious Eats has and she gives the pumpkin mix a thumbs-up. I would love to give it a try, but $14 just seems like a lot for a cupcake mix. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Cupcakes 2009

Let's start off my favorite month of the year with some Thanksgiving cupcakes ideas!

Martha Stewart has a dessert for every holiday.

Hard to believe this is really a cupcake. If you have a lot of free time, you might be able to recreate this Thanksgiving dinner cupcake.

I posted about Bakerella's Pumpkin Pie Bites a few weeks ago. Luckily, Halloween and Thanksgiving both have a pumpkin theme.

These mini pumpkin pie cupcakes are so cute. They don't look too hard to bake.

Here's a good use for your leftover Halloween candy corn.

Last, my favorite find of the day, a Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake filled with jellied cranberry and topped with toasted marshmallows. I'm pretty sure I want to attempt to make this for Thanksgiving. It's a cool take on the regular Thanksgiving dish, with a little cupcake twist.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No Time to Rest!

Halloween just ended, but there is so much work to do before the end of the year! Thanksgiving is in a few weeks, then Christmas, plus there's shopping to do, desserts to be made, don't forget those birthdays in between the holidays, parties to rush to, work off those extra calories at the gym, plus you still have to go to work! Ahhhh!!

Take a deep will be ok. We will get through this. Take another deep breath. Much better.

I can't do your shopping for you or attend that boring work party, but I can help you in the dessert department. I will be posting many festive holiday cupcake ideas and recipes over the next two months. I might even post a few non-cupcake recipes too! Check back often to get some ideas. Good luck!


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