Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Have a fun and safe Halloween weekend!

Need some last minute Halloween cupcake idea? Check out my Halloween cupcake posts.

Halloween Cupcakes 2010
Halloween Cupcakes 2009
More Halloween Cupcakes 2009
Halloween Cupcakes 2008
More Halloween Cupcakes 2008

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Black Velvet Cupcakes

I've seen Green Velvet Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day, so why not Black Velvet Cupcake for Halloween?! Java Cupcake posted a recipe Black Velvet Cupcakes. and a tutorial for decorating cupcakes as Pumpkins. Check both out here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mr. and Ms. Cupcke T-shirts

Found these adorable Mr. and Ms. Cupcake t-shirts from Finley & Oliver through Half Baked: the cake blog. I'm seriously even more excited to have kids someday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Oh For Sweets Sake

It took me a while, but I finally did it: I ate cupcakes from Orange County's first mobile cupcake truck!

The reason I waited so long is because I wanted Oh For Sweets Sake to perfect their business before I gave them a try. It's tough on a business to review them when they've just opened. Five months was plenty of time to give them a fair review. Here it is!

As I mentioned before, Oh For Sweets Sake is Orange County's first mobile cupcakery. I'm addicted to food trucks, so I was ecstatic when I heard about a cupcake truck.

Oh For Sweets Sake sells cupcakes (of course) and other desserts such as whoopie pies. Their website doesn't list the other desserts, as I think they change on a daily basis. Recently, Oh For Sweets Sake has expanded their late night menu to include savory foods such as fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, and shrimp po'boys.

The night that I visited Oh For Sweets Sake they were parked in Santa Ana, as they commonly are on Saturday nights. I was happy to find no line when I approached (my husband and I were in a hurry to catch a movie). There was a group of four women who had just purchased a few cupcakes. I talked to them a little bit about the cupcakes. They liked the Red Velvet so much that they bought another.

I was pretty stuffed from dinner, so I only had room to try two cupcakes. I chose Almond Joy and Red Velvet.

Almond Joy: dark chocolate chunk cake, filled with creamy coconut filling, topped with toasted, salted almonds and dark rich buttercream frosting. My first thought after taking a bite was grocery store. The cake was light, but nothing special and the frosting was way too sweet. The reason I thought grocery store is because the frosting tasted exactly like the frosting you'd find on a cupcake from a grocery store. I did not like this cupcake at all. I didn't even finish it.

Simply Red Velvet: delicate southern style light chocolate cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting. The cake was so dry, it almost had a powdery texture to it. Surprisingly, the frosting was pretty good. The cream cheese frosting had a good tanginess to it and was the best part of my whole experience. I ended up scraping the frosting off and throwing away the rest of the cupcake.

Besides the below-par cupcakes, there were a few other things worth noting.

First: the service. When I asked what is the most popular flavor, the owner's husband, Al, said he didn't know, nor did he seem to care. One thing I've noticed about successful cupcake shops is their passion. They lacked this. The owner, Lisa, was hiding in the background and wasn't interacting with the customers either.

Second: the truck. The truck seemed a little dirty and the cupcakes weren't displayed very well. Presentation is very important, especially when you're trying to catch business from people that are walking by.

Third: the price. You would expect the price of cupcakes to drop since there's no overhead of a store, but the cupcakes from Oh For Sweets Sake were $3.00 each. Come on, you're not Sprinkles.

Fourth: food integration. Cupcakes and soul food? I don't get it. Oh For Sweets Sake started by selling cupcakes only, but business must not have been doing so well because now they sell savory foods too. The combination is too weird.

Sadly, Orange County's first mobile cupcakery is a disappointment. I would definitely like to give them another try to taste some of their other desserts, but I'm in no hurry. If your opinion differs, let me know and tell me what you like.

If you're looking for some great cupcakes off a truck in Orange County, check out
Morsels Baking Company. Not only do they have pretty good cupcakes, their other desserts are delicious too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meringue Bake Shop to Sell Cupcakes at Great Park

Have you heard about the new Farmers Market that will take place at the Great Park in Irvine on Sundays? I hadn't either. But even more exciting is that you will find cupcakes from Meringue Bake Shop sold there!!

The Farmers Market will happen every Sunday from 10am-2pm, rain or shine. It will start on October 31, aka Halloween.

Meringue Bake Shop will be selling her cupcakes at the Farmers Market. You can buy individual cupcakes or packs at a discount. Future plans include the introduction of pies, cookies, biscotti, and more!

Since the first Farmers Market takes place on Halloween, Meringue Bake Shop is taking advance orders for dozen assorted decorated cupcake packs that can be picked up at the market. Send her an email and let her know how many dozen you want (one dozen minimum).

If you haven't tried cupcakes from Meringue Bake Shop, you are in for a treat! Her flavors are so amazing! Stop by and see her at the Farmers Market on Halloween!

Meringue Bake Shop

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cupcakes from a Great Friend

I've talked about my friend Jill many times on this blog. We are like two peas in a pod. We love eating, yoga, sweets, snowboarding, laying out, and working out (a lot). We both have jobs that deal with numbers. We both have super-cool husbands. We've spent countless hours in a car talking about really weird stuff. I never expected to find such a great friend, but I'm so thankful I did.

Jill's greatness got even better when she surprised me with a little gift on her recent trip to Utah. Cupcakes from Cupcake Chic!! Yeah, she's my friend and I'm so lucky!

I reviewed Cupcake Chic when I was in Utah last winter. At the time, they just sold their cupcakes in local stores. Since then, they've opened a cupcake store in Orem, Utah. Cupcakes from Cupcake Chic are $2.50 each.

Caramel Apple
Peanut Butter
Key Lime Pie
Orange Ginger

What's with Utah having such great cupcakes? Thanks, Jill!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cupcake Suggestions for Chicago and New York

My husband has been traveling like crazy for work lately. Every time he leaves I give him a list of cupcakeries in the city he will be in. If he has time, he's been bringing me home cupcakes. I know, I have the best husband ever.

This week he is in Chicago and next week it's New York. Help me put together a list of cupcake shops in Chicago and New York. Last time he was in New York he brought me cupcakes from Sweet Revenge, so that's crossed off my list. I need suggestions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Review: Georgetown Cupcake

A friend of mine recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for a wedding. Of course the first thing I thought was, "I wonder if she'll visit Georgetown Cupcake?" Then I had to remember that not everyone is as obsessed about cupcakes as I am. But when she tweeted that she was getting cupcakes, I just knew that's where she was headed.

You may recognize Georgetown Cupcake from the TLC network's summer show "DC Cupcakes." Georgetown Cupcake opened in 2008 and sells 5,000 cupcakes a day. With that many cupcakes being sold, you know it has to be good, right?

While Tran was waiting in line for her cupcakes (a 40-minute wait!), they were filming for (I'm assuming) season 2 of DC Cupcakes. I guess the show was a hit!

Here's what Tran had to say:

"I had low expectations for the cupcakes because I didn’t want to be disappointed if they didn’t live up to the hype. But.. I was very surprised at how DELICIOUS they were. The cake was moist and the frosting wasn’t overly sweet. Some flavor combinations were better than others, but all of them were good. What was really amazing about them was how they held up after traveling around DC (waiting for the DC Circulator in Georgetown, catching the Metro at Dupont Circle) and staying in the room overnight (near the A/C unit) and during the day (while we got ready for the wedding). I ate them more than 24 hours later without any refrigeration, and they still tasted amazing and had this perfect texture (cake and frosting both)."

"Peanut Butter Fudge: Valrhona chocolate cupcake with a fudge core topped with a peanut butter frosting and fudge star drizzle. The cake was delicious, and it had this AMAZING fudge core that just oozed chocolaty goodness. The frosting left much to be desired.. it general tasted liked whipped up Creamy Jiffy.. so I was not impressed with that.

Key Lime: Fresh key lime cupcake with key lime frosting topped with a candied key lime. Tasted like the best key lime pie I have ever had, but in the perfect cupcake size.

Salted Caramel: Caramel cupcake with a salted caramel-infused buttercream frosting topped with a caramel drizzle. I’m a huge fan of salted caramel ANYTHING. This cupcake was no exception. What would have made this cupcake even more perfect is if there was a salted caramel core.

Pumpkin Spice: Pumpkin spice cupcake with a maple-infused cream cheese frosting topped with a fondant maple leaf. The cake was like a PERFECT spice cake with just a hint

Maple: Maple cupcake with a maple-infused cream cheese frosting topped with a fondant maple leaf. The maple cupcake wasn’t anything special (in terms of flavor). But it was good. If I just wanted a simple cupcake without anything too rich or fancy, this would be it.

Chocolate ³: Valrhona chocolate cupcake with a rich Callebaut chocolate ganache icing topped with french chocolate sprinkles. I think this one was my favorite. Like most girls, I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate.. and this cupcake did not disappoint. It was that perfect balance of rich chocolate flavor and light sweetness. The texture of the cake was moist and the ganache icing was the perfect way to top this.

Red Velvet: Classic red velvet cupcake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a red fondant heart. I’m not usually a fan of red velvet, but this one was really good. In fact...Minh actually finished off the cake part (he didn’t care too much for the frosting) after I took my bite.

Mint Cookies and Cream: Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with oreo crumbles topped with a mint oreo crumble-infused buttercream frosting. I didn’t get to try this one, but it looked (and sounds) delicious. Will need to try it whenever I head back to DC.

Generally speaking, I was very impressed with Georgetown Cupcake. It was well worth the long line (only 40 minutes) we waited in outside. And for those of you not willing to wait in line, there’s another location in Bethesda, MD."

Tran's review really makes me want to visit Georgetown Cupcake. With all of the sites to see in Washington, D.C., Georgetown Cupcake is the one I'm dreaming about. I hope to get there someday!

Georgetown Cupcake
3301 M Street NW (corner of 33rd and M)
Washington, DC 20007
Mon-Sat: 10AM – 9PM
Sun: 11AM – 7PM

4834 Bethesda Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Mon-Sat: 10AM – 9PM
Sun: 11AM – 7PM

P.S. You can also order their cupcakes online. If anyone ever wants to send me cupcakes....just saying!

P.P.S. You can read Tran's full review here. Thanks Tran!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shipping Pumpkin Cupcakes in a Jar

One of the most popular questions I get is:
How do you ship cupcakes?

Answer: it's not easy.
And most importantly, the cupcakes won't look perfect.

Last year I posted about Beantown Baker using Mason jars. You have to slice the cupcake in half and pipe frosting in between.

A few weeks later I attempted this when I shipped pumpkin cupcakes for Operation Baking Gals. Not easy.

A few months ago I posted about Yummy Cupcakes version of shipping cupcakes. They use taller mason jars and layer cake and frosting and cake and frosting.

Photo: Flickr

Last week Cakespy wrote about her idea for shipping cupcakes on Serious Eats. Her idea: bake the cupcakes in the jar. Genius! Saves a lot of time and trouble trying to squeeze the cupcakes into a small jar.

Will we ever come up with an easy solution to shipping cupcakes? Maybe. One thing I've learned though, it doesn't matter how the cupcakes look after shipping, it's how they taste! Happy baking!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Polkadots Cupcakery

I LOVE trying new cupcakes, especially good ones. Amanda from Polkadots Cupcakery emailed me the other day asking me to try her cupcakes. Ok, if I have to. Amanda started Polkadots Cupcakery just a few months ago and is really enjoying making cupcakes for her business.

The afternoon these cupcakes stopped by my office was a good one. Lucky for my mom, she was meeting me for lunch that day so she got to partake in the sampling too.

Chocolate with Vanilla Chocolate Chip Frosting
Loved the milk chocolate cake on this cupcake.

Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting
It tasted like vanilla pudding was added in the mix, only because it was so moist. I'm not a huge vanilla fan (because it's so boring), so although this was good I like the others better.

Banana with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yum! I love a good banana bread cupcake with cream cheese frosting. This was my pick!

Chocolate with Chocolate Frosting
The mousse-like frosting made this cupcake my mom's favorite.

Amanda said her most popular flavors are Red Velvet (of course), Banana, and Vanilla (come on people...boring!). I would love to test her Red Velvet sometime because Red Velvet is the huge cupcake test for me. All of Polkadots Cupcakery's cupcakes were very moist and the frostings were good. Check out the assortment of flavors here.

Polkadots Cupcakery

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mickey and Minnie Cupcakes

Love these Mickey and Minnie Mouse cupcakes from B Sweet Catering. I asked where they got the cupcake wrappers and they said they make them! I love them!

Photo: mybsweet

Here's another view, along with a Buzz Lightyear cupcake. These cupcake wrappers make cupcake decorating so fun and easy.

Photo: mybsweet

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cupcake Camp IE Details

Cupcake Camp Inland Empire is only a few weeks away! I had so much fun judging at Cupcake Camp OC, so I'm definitely excited to do it again!

The 1st Annual Cupcake Camp Inland Empire will be taking place on Sunday, November 7, 2010 from 1p-4p. The event will be held at the beautiful Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, CA. All Cupcake Camps benefit a non-profit organization and Cupcake Camp IE is no different. All proceeds from the event will be going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure Inland Empire.

The cost to attend Cupcake Camp IE is a donation of $10. In exchange, you will receive 4 tickets to use to try your favorite cupcakes. All cupcakes are donated by local cupcake bakers.

There will be a competition to determine the best cupcake in three categories: Best Pink Ribbon/Breast Cancer Themed, Most Unique Ingredient, and The Tastiest Cupcake of Cupcake Camp Inland Empire 2010. The cupcakes will be judged by the judges. I am honored to have been asked to judge the competition. I am super excited because I haven't tried many cupcakes from the Inland Empire. You can see the list of other judges here.

The deadline to enter cupcakes in the contest is October 22, 2010. You can find the Bakers Registration Form here. There will be an Amateur and Professional category, so anyone who loves to bake should enter!

I look forward to seeing many of you cupcake lovers there!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Frosting Ever?

That's quite a statement -- BEST FROSTING EVER! But coming from Pioneer Woman, I believe it.

Here's the recipe:

5 T. flour
1 c. milk

1 t. vanilla

1 c. butter

1 c. granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

Grab a spoon and taste this wonderful goodness. If there is any left after your taste test, spread it on a cooled chocolate cake.

Cut yourself a piece and put it on a pretty plate. Grab a fork and prepare to experience the most divine pairing you can imagine. This frosting on chocolate cake is to die for. Sure, the recipe sounds strange — it has flour in it — but it’s sublime. Try it, you’ll see. You’ll love it so much you won’t go back.

Tell me what you think. Is this really the best frosting ever or do you have a favorite that I MUST try?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Visit to Cupcakery Shop

I reviewed a place called Cupcakery earlier this year. A friend had brought cupcakes from Cupcakery to share after we ran the Surf City Marathon. Although I only got to try one cupcake, it was delicious!

A few weeks ago I happened to be in Thousand Oaks and was directed to a nearby cupcake shop. Surprise! It was Cupcakery! Their shop was so adorable. Along with cupcakes, they also sell other cupcake-themed products. I especially loved the aprons on the wall (from Heavenly Hostess in Orange).

Since I had already sampled lots of cupcakes earlier that day at Sweet Arleen's, I only bought one cupcake to enjoy. Turns out it was the same flavor I tried months ago. I can tell you for a fact that their Dulce de Leche cupcake is delicious!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

Fall is here, although the weather might make you wonder otherwise. My favorite part about fall is the reappearance of pumpkin. For some reason, people don't eat it much during the rest of the year. I've gathered a list of some yummy pumpkin desserts. Hope you find some you like too!

Streussel-Topped Pumpkin Bread from Tasty Kitchen

Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake from Pioneer Woman

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from The Domestic Sugar Bake Shop

Pumpkin Swirled Brownie Bites from Bakerys Royale

Iced Pumpkin Muffins from Cookie Madness

Pumpkin Cornbread from Sugarcrafter

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread from two peas and their pod

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Whip Cream from Bakers Royale

Maple Pecan Pumpkin Bundt Cake from Fahrenheit 350

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars from Picky Palate

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cookies from cookies and cups

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes 2010

September just ended, so onto Halloween season. And before we know it, Christmas will be here. Ahhh! Let's take one step at a time.

Halloween. I've come to realize that this holiday is so much fun if you have kids. But not so much fun without kids, so I enjoy Halloween by baking lots of fun treats. With the hundreds of cupcake, baking, and food blogs I read, I come across lots of fun ideas for Halloween cupcakes. Enjoy!

You can also check out the Halloween cupcakes I've posted in previous years.


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