Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Race Reward Tradition

It's become a tradition for me to eat cupcakes from Elizabethan Desserts after my Half-Ironman 70.3 California race in Oceanside every year. The race is just a few days away (Saturday) and I'm planning on continuing my tradition of getting cupcakes from my favorite cupcake store of all time. (Yes you read that right. I picked Elizabethan Desserts as #1 on the list of My Top 10 Cupcakes of All Time.)

So watch out! I'm planning on cleaning out the store because I'll have quite an appetite after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Triathlon Cake

Finding this cake seemed perfectly appropriate as I'm competing in my first triathlon (Ironman 70.3 California) of the season this Saturday. This is my A race, so I've been training and training and training for the past three months. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

This cake is from Berties Bakery. Turns out that Bertie is a lot like me: a triathlete who also loves to eat sweets. She made this amazing cake for National Capital Area Cake Show Competition and won 1st place Overall in the Adult Beginner Division. This cake definitely deserves an award...check out all of the detail!




Congrats on the awesome cake, Bertie! I love it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teacupcakes Cupcake Mold

My friend in Switzerland found this great product called Teacupcakes. It's a cupcake mold in the shape of a teacup. The molds are silicone and come with the matching saucers. sells them for 15,94 Euros (about $22 USD).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Review: The Cupcake Store

Between tax season and training for my big race, I just haven't had time to visit all the new cupcakeries in the area yet. Luckily, I know a few people who are perfectly willing to do the "dirty work" for me. Kelly and I have very similar tastes in sweets, so when she told me that she visited The Cupcake Store, I knew it was an opinion I coud trust.

The Cupcake Store has two locations: one at Downtown Disney and one in Mission Viejo. Kelly visit the Downtown Disney location and posted her review on Yelp. Read below:

I'm a sucker for a yummy cupcake. So when I stumbled across The Cupcake Store on a recent Disneyland trip I was thrilled.

The cupcakes were beautiful. Absolutely breathtakingly stunning. Each & everyone was decorated extremely cute & ready for presentation.

With so many delicious looking flavors on hand, I couldn't just buy one, so we ended up taking up home almost one of everything...
Pure Vanilla, Red Velvet, Coconut, Celebration, Chocolate Drip, & Lemon.

They were definitely pricey - I have to agree that $4.95 is a bit high, even for Downtown Disney. But I had high hopes for these beautiful cupcakes.

Unfortunately, you can't judge a cupcake by how it looks. While the cupcakes were amazing to LOOK at, I wasn't "wowed!" by the taste.

The cupcake itself was fine. Fairly moist, but there wasn't anything "special" about it. They were basically vanilla & chocolate cupcakes. Even the lemon cupcake was simply a vanilla cupcake with lemon frosting.

But the real kicker for me was the frosting. EVERY single cupcake (other than the Red Velvet) had that super-sugary-whipped-creamy-store-bought type frosting. You know what I'm talking about - the kind of frosting you usually find on a grocery-store-bought cake? YUCK!

On a store-bought cake I expect that super-sugary-whipped-creamy frosting. But on a cupcake from an actual cupcakery, I expect so much more!

Frosting is what MAKES a cupcake, so give me something fabulous, something thick, something creamy.

As for the single cupcake with cream cheese frosting... I wasn't even a fan of that one. Once again, I still didn't LOVE the frosting. Which is odd, because usually I want to lick the cream cheese frosting off.

Kinda bummed. I had huge hopes for this place. Maybe I just didn't try the right flavors. Maybe next time their cupcakes will feature "REAL" frosting, instead of the store-bought, whipped-sugary kind.

If you're in need of a cupcake "fix" this place will definitely fit the bill. If you simply want a pretty cupcake, they've got you covered. Or, if you love that super-sugary-whipped-creamy-store-bought frosting, well then you will be in love. But this cupcake snob wasn't exactly impressed.

Kelly received an email from The Cupcake Store stating that they make 5 different kids of frosting, including a traditional buttercream and a chocolate frosting, which she didn't try. I plan on visiting the Mission Viejo location soon (hopefully with Kelly), so I can get the full scoop on The Cupcake Store. Thanks for your help Kelly!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cupcake Psych 101 from Saucy's Sprinkles

Everyone eats their cupcakes different. Me?...since I analyze every part of a cupcake, I taste the cupcake in parts. First, I taste the frosting. Second, I take a big bite of the cupcake. Third, I taste the cake by itself. And last, I look for hidden goodness in the middle.

Saucy's Sprinkles gives us Psych 101 on cupcake eaters. Which one are you?

(Eat the cake and leave the frosting. I don't think these people exist.)

I love this analysis of eating a cupcake. Thanks Saucy's Sprinkles!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cupcake Marathon

Also posted on Cupcakes Take the Cake

Cupcakes and triathlons. That pretty much sums up my life. So when a friend pointed me in the direction of Cook Train Eat Race, I knew I had found my people.

I wish I had found them about two weeks ago because that's when their Cupcake Marathon started. What's a cupcake marathon? Participants are given two weeks to run the distance of a full or half marathon. You must submit proof showing the miles and times (Garmin, treadmill, etc). When you enter, are you emailed three recipes from a cookbook. The winner of each category gets a ton of great stuff, including free cupcakes! Yum!

The winners will be chosen by This is a great way to get us motivated to run more. Of course I missed the registration entry, but I plan on participating in the fall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Make Cupcakes in a Food Processor

We all have busy lives. I'm in a middle of tax season and my biggest triathlon of the year is two weeks away. So I am always looking for ways to save time. I came across a recipe for Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream that uses a food processor! Yes, you just throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and out comes vanilla bean cupcake batter. Transfer to your cupcake tin and now you have delicious cupcakes. Nothing easier than that. You can thank Sophistimom for the idea and recipe. You can find it here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Starbucks Petites

Last week I introduced you to the new line of mini-desserts at Starbucks called Starbucks Petites. I could barely wait to give them a try, so I stopped by the nearest Starbucks and grabbed one of almost everything! Three cake pops, two mini cupcakes, and one whoopie pie later, I was one happy girl.

Birthday Cake Pop
- Vanilla cake and icing, dipped in pink chocolaty coating, with white sprinkles. This was my favorite of the three cake pops. It brought back memories of my birthday cakes growing up. The inside was very moist and the coating didn't chip off after the first bite.

Rocky Road Cake Pop - Chocolate cake and icing, dipped in a dark chocolaty coating, with mini marshmallows and roasted almonds. My husband exclaimed, "this tastes just like rocky road!" Even though I'm not a nut fan, I loved this cake pop too. The inside was also moist

Tiramisu Cake Pop - Vanilla cake and Starbucks coffee with vanilla icing, dipped in mocha flavored chocolaty coating, with a chocolate coffee bean. This cake pop had strong flavors of coffee and mocha, which I don't drink, but I still loved the taste. The inside was a little less cakey than the other two and a little more gooey. If you like Tiramisu, you'll love this cake pop.

Peanut Butter Mini Cupcake - Chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting and a mini peanut butter cup. This cupcake took me by surprise! It wasn't just ok, it was actually good! A decent cupcake from Starbucks?...I didn't think it was possible. The cake was moist, although it could have been a little more chocolaty. The frosting was very rich and tasted almost like a sweet peanut butter spread. I'm a huge peanut butter fan (as in, I eat PB&J sandwiches every day), so I loved the frosting!

Carrot Cake Mini Cupcake
- Spiced carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. There were good parts and not-so-good parts about this cupcake. The cake was moist, but the frosting was just so-so. The cream cheese frosting didn't have much of a cream cheese taste, although it did have a good consistency. For the first time ever, I enjoyed the cake more than the frosting.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie - Cream cheese frosting and two small red velvet cakes. I loved how soft the cookies were, but they somewhat lacked a strong red velvet flavor. The cream cheese frosting was the same as the Carrot Cake Mini Cupcake frosting, so you already know it was just ok. The proportion of cookies to frosting was perfect. Overall the whoopie pies were good, but could be better.

I didn't expect much from Starbucks Petites, as Starbucks is a coffee shop, not a bakery, but to my surprise, they did a superb job at creating some tasty mini-desserts. And the best part? Each Petite is under 200 calories! That's good news for when I have a mid-day sweets attack.

So I have to know what you think! Have you tried the Starbucks Petites mini-desserts yet? What is your favorite? Will you go to Starbucks the next time you're having a cupcake craving?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Brownies

Two years ago I posted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. These were the perfect dessert for St. Patrick's Day.


This year I came across a similar recipe, but in brownie form. Presenting Irish Brownie Bombs from Bakers Royale (also posted on Endless Simmer).

It's a classic brownie bottom with some Guinness mixed in the batter. On top of the brownie is a cheesecake layer blended with some Bailey's. Finally, mix your Jameson whiskey shot into the three leaf clover piping. And there you have it, Irish Brownie Bombs that won't leave you with a black eye.

You can find the recipe here. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Casey's Cupcakes Partnering with Bloomingdale's

Lots of Casey's Cupcakes news recently! In January I reported on their expansion to Laguna Beach (opened February 14th). In February Casey appeared on and won Cupcake Wars. This month, Casey's Cupcakes has announced they will be partnering with Bloomingdale's to sell their cupcakes at certain locations.

According to PR Newswire, Casey's Cupcakes will be available for purchase at four Bloomindale's locations -- Santa Monica Place, Fashion Island (Newport Beach), Century City, and Sherman Oaks.

Would you buy a cupcake at an upscale department store?

Also posted on Cupcakes Takes the Cake

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Anatomy of a Cupcake

Stumbled across this diagram the other day. A 23"x15" print is available for purchase for $50. I love it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate and Pistachio?

I am not a pistachio fan. Or so I thought. Two years ago I tried a cupcake at the LA Cupcake Challenge with pistachio in it and fell in love. Who knew? I think it's true that as you get older you start to like more foods. Look Mom, I'm maturing!

Sweetest Kitchen posted a recipe for Quadruple Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes. Now, I'm already liking this recipe because it has the word "quadruple" in it, but I'm also intrigued by the pistachio ingredient. I haven't had a pistachio cupcake since that fateful day two years ago and I think I'm ready to try it again.

The cupcake is made up of:
  • Devil's food chocolate cake with Drotse Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Also, 1/4 cup of flour is replaced by pistachios.
  • Lindt milk chocolate pistachio truffle filling
  • Chocolate olive oil mousse frosting made from 50% Lindt chocolate and 70% Lindt chocolate
  • Topping of chopped and finely ground pistachios
Sounds like this cupcake has a great combination of sweet and salty. I think I need to test it out. You can find the recipe here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Cupcakery to Open in Brea

Photo: OC Weekly

OC Weekly is reporting that a new cupcakery will be opening in Brea within the next 60 days. Merely Sweets will be located in downtown Brea, on Birch Street. The only other info I could find on them was a Facebook page. North Orange County is definitely in need of a cupcakery. I just hope Merely Sweets can live up it our high expectations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cake Pops at Starbucks

Cake pops are everywhere now! And when you see them being sold at Starbucks, you know they're made it big. Cake pops are now part of the Starbucks Petites line. Also included are cupcakes, whoopie pies, lemon squares, and caramel squares.

I've seen cupcakes at Starbucks, but never on a consistent basis. Some stores were selling certain flavors and others didn't have them at all. I hope that all stores will be well-stocked with all of these goodies. Check them out below.

In celebration of 40 years in business, Starbucks gives us Tribute Days. "If you come to Starbucks between 2 and 5 p.m. on March 10-12, we'll treat you to a free Starbucks Petites when you order any handcrafted beverage (while supplies last)."

Have you tried a cake pop from Starbucks yet? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: Sweet E's Bake Shop

This was not my first experience trying Sweet E's. They have been at the LA Cupcake Challenge for the past two years that I've attended. I was so excited to meet Erica the first year because I had recently seen her on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars. It was like meeting a celebrity!

After seeing them at the LA Cupcake Challenge this year, I was determined to visit their new shop in Los Angeles. An opportunity presented itself and I made it to Sweet E's "the mini bake shop."

A display case with their goodies greets you as you walk in. The rest of the shop has tables and chairs for eating inside and lots of cupcake items for sale.

How cute are these Yo Gabba Gabba cake pops!

Of course when I saw these doggie treats, I knew I HAD to bring something home for my Pumpkin. Usually she gobbles up all food that's presented to her in about two seconds, but it actually looked like she savored the mini dog bone cookies. The Cupcake Activist's dog approves. Next time I'll have to bring her a Pupcake.

All of the cupcakes sold in "the mini bake shop" are mini cupcakes. I actually like this better because I can try several flavors and not waste cupcakes or feel so sick. I arrived at Sweet E's at the end of the day, so I didn't have a ton of choices for flavors. That's my fault and I missed out on such flavors as Mint Chocolate, Snickerdoodle, and Mexican Chocolate Churro. Next time.

Cupcakes ($2 each)

Vanilla Milk Chocolate

Molten Chocolate Chip

I'm a sucker for filling in a cupcake. The molten chocolate chip cupcake had a decadent ganache filling in the middle. If you're going to do a chocolate cupcake, you might as well go all out. Yum!

Vanilla Vanilla
Creamy Chocolate
Sparkling Champagne

This was a shocker! My favorite cupcake of the day was the Vanilla Vanilla. I really liked the texture, thickness, and taste of the frosting. You know me and my frosting, I like it thick and creamy. The cake was deliciously moist. Good frosting to cake ratio.

Cake pops: Lemon, Cookies N' Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Red Velvet, Cookie Dough ($3 each)

The center of the cookie dough cake pop looked and tasted more like cookie dough than cake. I'm a huge cookie dough fan, so I thought it was delicious! The other cake pops tasted like what you'd expect from a cake pop. My friend's favorite was Lemon, mine was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (of course).

Whoopie Pies: Red Velvet, Chocolate, Strawberry ($2 each)

This was my first whoopie pie from a bake shop. I know, that's weird. The only other time I've eaten one is when I've made them myself. I would have thought that a softer cookie would have worked better for a whoopie pie, but these not-so-soft cookies worked perfectly. There was a little crunch, which paired well with the creamy texture of the frosting in the middle. These were great!

Sweet E's Bake Shop also sells cookies, brownies, frosting cones, chocolate covered Oreos, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped rice krispie treats, chocolate covered marshmallows, and chocolate covered strawberries. Wow! Lots of sweets!

If you're looking for a little treat in the LA area, definitely stop by Sweet E's mini bake shop. And pick up a pupcake for my cute dog while you're there :)

Sweet E's Bake Shop
1417 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Twitter: @SweetEsBakeShop
Facebook: Sweet E's "the mini bake shop"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tonight's Episode of Cupcake Wars: Ice House

Four bakers go head to head in hopes of having the chance to serve some of Hollywood's legends of laughter.

Sweet (Worchester, MA) - It's a bakery and a bar. Smart concept.

Sticky Fingers Bakery
(Washington, D.C.) - One of the originals owners is the lead singer of the all female tribute band The Iron Maidens. That's pretty unique! All of their sweets are vegan.

C'est La V (Los Angeles, CA) - Another vegan baker. Is this a trend now?

L'oven Baked Goods (Los Angeles, CA) - A catering company based in LA. Besides cupcakes, they also sell cookies, tarts, muffins, and pastries.

Sadly, this is the last episode of the season. Casting has already begun for Season 3 though. Can't wait!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: B Sweet Catering

You can also see this post on Cupcakes Take the Cake

Last week I introduced you to B Sweet Catering. They are a catering company based in Los Angeles that recently stepped into the food truck world. I met up with Barb and Kurt at their kitchen in LA to see what B Sweet Catering was all about. I found great cupcakes (and bread) made by great people. I love that!

I got to tour their kitchen. And let me tell you, it was a dream kitchen for any baker. From the gigantic walk-in cooler to the hundreds of utensils... the giant mixer. This kitchen had everything!

Barb had some special cupcakes set aside just for me. I LOVE how she incorporated B Sweet into the Cupcake Activist banner. So cute!

Lucky for my friends, we stopped by the B Sweet kitchen on our way to a party so I got to share the cupcakes with everyone! I get asked quite frequently why cupcakes are so popular. I think it's because everyone has a special memory of a cupcake from their childhood. How do I know this? When I see a room of adults break into huge smiles when they see cupcakes, I know that cupcakes are special.

Lots of flavors to choose from. It was hard to pick which ones I wanted to eat. Yes, I would have liked to try them all, but after a huge dinner from Pinches Tacos in LA, my stomach said "no way."

Chocolate Bacon
Chocolate Fudge

Green Tea

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Orange Carrot

Red Velvet

Girl Scout specialty cupcakes
Thin Mint

Also included:
Vanilla Bean

Pink Lemonade

Chocolate Ganache

The crowd consensus was: we love these cupcakes! Some of our favorites were: Mocha, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Fudge, and Pink Lemonade. My personal favorite was the Chocolate Fudge, which reminded me of Texas sheet cake. I also really enjoyed the Girl Scouts cupcakes, as these are my two favorite flavors of Girl Scout cookies.

One of my favorite items of the night is one that's not pictured: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. I could eat this every day! It was so moist and perfect.

B Sweet is a catering company that sells delicious homemade desserts. You can also find their desserts and savory food sold on the Go Country Chuck Wagon. Hopefully we will see them roaming the streets of Orange County soon, so I can get some more of their yummy treats.


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