Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Posts of 2012

Can you believe how fast this year has gone?! A year ago I had a brand-new baby and now I have an almost-walking toddler. 

2012 has been a great year! I've visited lots of new cupcake shops and eaten enough cupcakes to make the average person sick to their stomach. I've also added to my collection of reviews. One of my favorite things to do is check out which posts were the most popular this year. So here it is: the top 10 viewed posts of 2012.

1. And of course my "Where Have I Been" review list is the top page that gets viewed. With over 100 reviews, it's a great resource for finding your favorite cupcake shop. I love to get requests for other bakeries to visit. Email me your favorite and I'll add it to my list.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Cupcake Recipes

Christmas may be over, but the winter holidays are still here. Check out these fun holiday cupcake recipes that will make you want to stay near the fireplace.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Me and My Pink Mixer

Cappuccino Eggnog Angel Food Cupcakes from Cupcake Project

White Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes from The Baking Pan


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from The Cupcake Activist and Family

No explanation needed for this photo. I think it's a ritual in every kids life. This Santa was the coolest ever for pretending to cry too.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Enjoy time with your family and eat lots of good food. Thank you for following me through another year of cupcake eating, triathlons, and struggling to be a first-time mom.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: The Cupcake Cafe

I was already on Cloud Nine from finishing my Ironman. What could be better? How about coming back to my hotel room to find a special package of cupcakes waiting for me?! Thank you, Cupcake Cafe!

Earlier this year Nicki from The Cupcake Cafe offered her cupcakes for my tasting if I was ever in the area. Well, an Ironman race put me in Tempe and I quickly asked if I could take her up on her offer. She graciously said yes and I was just about as excited about that as my race.

I opened the box and found it full of goodies! Cupcakes, cake pops, and a pumpkin cake jar.

First up, the cupcakes: Red Velvet, Classic Chocolate, and Wedding Cake. I took a small bite when I got home from the race, but I couldn't eat too much. After racing for 13 hours, my stomach was a bit on the touchy side. But I certainly enjoyed these as breakfast in bed the next morning. I shouldn't judge a cupcake by its cover, but these cupcakes took me by surprise. They looked simple, but they tasted delicious. My husband liked the wedding cake cupcake best and said it tasted spot on to a wedding cake. All of the cakes were moist and fluffy. The frostings were creamy and delicious. 

My husband and I snacked on the cake pops during our drive home the next day. Wow, they were so delicious! One was vanilla and the other was red velvet. The coating was perfect, not too thick or thin. The inside was so moist and so flavorful. I was only sad that #1-I had to share and #2-we didn't have more. Excellent!

I saved the pumpkin cupcake jar for a few days later. I knew it would keep since it was sealed in a jar. All of the layers of cupcakes made it so appealing and I couldn't wait to try it. All the anticipation was worth it! So delicious! I didn't expect to finish the whole jar in one sitting. It just kinda happened. The cake was moist and the cream cheese frosting was exactly what I love. Perfect!

Right now The Cupcake Cafe is currently a web-based cupcake company in the Phoenix area. Their treats are available at several farmer's markets in the area, as well as delivery. Standard size cupcakes are $36/dozen, cake pops $21/dozen, and cupcake jars $5/each. 

The Cupcake Cafe
Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shipping Cupcake Problem Solved?

I've received so many emails asking if I know how to ship cupcakes. You would think it would be a simple concept, and it is, but the problem still remains. Or does it?

A UK company, Card Cuts, says they have solved the problem. Their product: Cakes-Away Postable Cupcake Boxes. And it looks like they might actually work. Check out their review here.

Have you tried shipping cupcakes before? Success or no success?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Butter & Me Bakeshop

What to know what's torture? Buying cupcakes you can't eat for 1-1/2 days!

But sometimes that's what you gotta do to have cupcakes waiting for you when you need them.

When I was in Arizona last month, I scouted out several cupcake shops to reward myself for finishing an Ironman. That's what I like to do: burn calories so I can eat them. I was excited to find a few cupcake shops within a close distance of our hotel in Scottsdale. One of them being Butter & Me Bakeshop.

Butter & Me is a new bakery in the Old Town Scottsdale area. When I walked in I felt like I was in the middle of a homey kitchen. I loved the open space with only a countertop to separate the baking from the customers.

It was the end of the day when I stopped by, so they didn't have a large selection of cupcakes to choose from. I took one of each of the remaining flavors: Gingerbread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, Blueberry lemon with blueberry compote, and wow, I totally forgot the third flavor (maybe chocolate & vanilla?). I guess that happens when my head is in a completely different place, such as mentally preparing for an Ironman the next day.

I'm not supposed to eat any sugar for a week or so before the race, which is why the tasting had to wait until the next day. BUT I might have taken a small swipe of frosting to get me motivated. Yum...frosting!

Keep in mind that I waited a day to eat these cupcakes. That being said, these cupcakes were a bit dry. The frosting didn't cover the entire top and all exposed areas were dry. I hate when that happens. Bakers just need to add more frosting! And I would definitely vote yes for more frosting because it was my favorite part of the cupcake (it usually is)! All of the frostings were very sweet, something I like on some cupcakes. Other people don't like this, but I think it works in the right situation. I love gingerbread cupcakes and this was my first of the season. The blueberry compote was a bit lacking in the blueberry lemon cupcake.

Overall: I have a positive vibe when I think of Butter & Me Bakeshop. They are new and have some kinks to work out, but I think they are headed in the right direction. I would definitely like to try them again earlier in the day so I can taste fresh cupcakes. I would also like to see what other flavors they offer and what other goodies they make. You should definitely check them out.

4014 N. Goldwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Friday, December 14, 2012

Melting Snowman Cupcakes

My mom sent me a link to these Melting Snowman Cookies (thanks Mom!). These could very easily turn into Melting Snowman Cupcakes. I love the idea, especially since my cupcake frosting skills aren't the greatest. I can't wait to start my holiday baking!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Featured: I Like Pie Bake Shop

Every once in a while I like to feature different cupcake shops from around the world that I haven't been to yet, but look interesting. Last week on Chronicles of a Foodie I came across an interview they did with I Like Pie Bake Shop in Claremont, CA.

Look at those little pies! They look like cupcakes! I Like Pie Bake Shop sells these individual-sized pies, along with toaster tarts, pie pops, and hand pies. It's the holiday season, so even though I LOVE cupcakes, a mini pie would satisfy my sweet cravings too. I've been to a pie shop before (in Maui) and I loved it, so I can imagine that these would be pretty scrumptious too.

I Like Pie Bake Shop
175 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Ste. #102B
Claremont, CA 91711

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dolcissimo Bakeshop Re-Opens in Orange County

One of my first reviews as The Cupcake Activist was Dolcissimo Bakeshop in Costa Mesa, CA.  I can't believe it's been 4-1/2 years since then! I've tasted thousands of cupcakes and written over 100 reviews since that first one.

Not long after that review, Dolcissimo moved to Chino Hills and I never re-visited their shop. Well, the good news is they've opened a second location and it's just down the street from me! Dolcissimo Bakeshop has expanded to the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, CA. And it looks like they've expanded their menu too! Cookies, mini cheesecakes, macarons, dessert shots, and of course lots of cupcakes! I'll be paying them a visit this week to check out their new store.

2800 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Friday, December 7, 2012

The World Needs Edible Cupcake Wrappers

Last weekend was girls weekend in Vegas! Actually, it's not what you think, it was more of a business trip with a half-marathon at the end. But that doesn't mean me and my two girlfriends didn't have a blast. 

The weekend ended with a trip to Retro Bakery, because you can't leave Vegas without stopping by. Well, you can but you'll regret it badly.

During my review of Retro Bakery earlier this year, the only "negative" thing I could say was I wished the wrapper was edible on the Hopscotch cupcake. I recently saw a post on Cupcakes Take the Cake about cupcakes with edible wrappers. Glad someone agrees with me! What do you think? Good idea or not?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Birthday Boy

It's hard to believe it's been a year since my baby boy was born. Yes a whole year has gone by and we celebrated his first birthday last week.

My handsome boy LOVES dogs, so we decided to have a dog-themed birthday party for him. I asked Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop to make the smash cake and cupcakes for the guests. Desmond's cake turned out awesome!

Desmond loved that everyone was watching him as we sang "Happy Birthday." But like most one-year old kids, he didn't quite know what to do with his cake. He touched it a few times and I tried feeding him frosting, but he was still unsure of this strange food.

He had better luck with the cupcakes, which were Sweet & Salty (vanilla cake with salted caramel buttercream) and Birthday Cake (vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream). The cupcakes went fast, as the guests loved them too.

As much as I don't want him to grow up, I love every day with my boy and look forward to all the fun things we can do in the future. Happy Birthday Desmond!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cupcake Gifts

One more post from my birthday coverage. Being The Cupcake Activist means lots of cupcake-themed gifts from friends and family. This gift bag contained cupcake socks, a cupcake necklace, cupcake band-aids, and a cupcake pen. Love my friend Kelly!


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