Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Salted Caramel Mocha Brownie Cups from Inside BruCrew Life

"Chocolate brownies filled with caramel Hershey kisses and topped with salted caramel buttercream."

Does anything else need to be said? 

My guilty pleasure at Starbucks is a salted caramel hot chocolate. BUT sometimes I hate wasting calories on drinking my dessert. Problem solved.

Found this recipe for Salted Caramel Mocha Brownie Cups. Am I the only person who hasn't heard of caramel Hershey kisses? I can only imagine how wonderful they would taste inside of a brownie. I need to make these pronto. Thanks to Inside BruCrew Life for the recipe.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Dolcissimo Bakeshop

In December I reported that Dolcissimo Bakeshop had returned to Orange County. I was so excited to find out it was only a few miles from my house! And then Daniel, the owner, invited me to come in and try out their treats. I couldn't have gotten there quicker!

Dolcissimo Bakeshop is located at the food court at Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, CA. I reviewed Dolcissimo when they were located in Costa Mesa over four years ago. I couldn't wait to go back and try out their expanded menu.

Good thing I have a large stomach and big sweet tooth because I went home with 6 cupcakes, 12 macarons, and 1 cheesecake in a jar. Today was my lucky day!

Let's start off with the cupcakes! Dolcissimo had a decent variety of cupcakes. There was about 10 flavors to choose from. I got Red Velvet (of course), Chocolate Fantasy, Strawberry Lemonade, Snickerdoodle, Diva, Chocolate Chimp. They have a revolving menu, so each day you can find different flavors.

Let me start with my favorites. Chocolate Fantasy was super chocolatey and oh-so delicious. I love that they used a milk chocolate frosting to keep it a bit lighter. Strawberry Lemonade had pieces of real strawberries in the frosting. And Snickerdoodle had a great cinnamon flavor in both cake and frosting.

Red Velvet did not wow me. The cake was gummy, and the cream cheese frosting was way too sweet and not tangy enough. The frosting on Chocolate Chimp was stiff and hard. That's probably from sitting out all day. Diva, a standard chocolate vanilla cupcake, was pretty standard.

Overall, the cupcakes were just ok. I like for a cupcake to stand out, to be memorable, to make me want to eat it again. These cupcakes lacked that quality.

Next up: the macarons. I got one of each flavor (12). The macarons had a good crunchiness on the outside and the fillings were excellent too, but there needed to be more filling! The proportion was a bit off. Besides that, these were delicious.

Last, but certainly not least: the cheesecake in a jar. There were four flavors to choose from and I went home with the caramel cheesecake. The night I opened the jar to taste it, I only planned on taking a bite. I was already full from all the cupcakes and macarons, but I wanted to taste this while fresh. Only one bite. Well, just two bites. And before I knew it, the entire thing was gone!

I am a big cheesecake fan and this one definitely lived up to my standards. Plenty of graham cracker crust at the bottom. The jar wasn't too deep that I couldn't get a scoop of the caramel, cheesecake, and crust together. These were so perfect that I have already been back twice to get more!

Dolcissimo has definitely upped their game since I last reviewed them four years ago. I am happy that another cupcake shop has opened in Orange County, but I was a bit disappointed by the cupcakes. They were ok, but not memorable. BUT I will visit them frequently for their macarons and cheesecakes in a jar.

Dolcissimo Bakeshop
2800 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
In the Main Place Mall

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sugar Cookie Cake from BFFF

I love any recipe that has lots of frosting. This Ombre Sugar Cookie Cake recipe highlighted on Best Friends for Frosting is the perfect vehicle for getting lots of frosting into my mouth. The recipe is from The Baked Equation, a bakery in Anthem, AZ. I love me a good sugar cookie with lots of frosting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tinker Bell Cupcake Shirt

On Monday I told you about my crazy week at Walt Disney World. This past weekend I did the same thing, but at Disneyland. Luckily I live in Orange County, so I didn't have to travel with a 14-month old again.

Sunday was the Tinker Bell 1/2 marathon at Disneyland. I came across this photo and at second glance noticed these adorable Tinker Bell cupcake t-shirts. Where can I get one? 

Friday, January 18, 2013


What a week! After traveling cross-country to Florida for work with my baby, working all day with very little sleep, and playing hard at Walt Disney World every night...I'm exhausted! Probably most of you can relate because lots of people do the same thing. But I'm certainly not used to it.

I'm so lucky to be a stay-at-home work-from-home mom. My company, Team Sparkle, travels around several times a year to sell product at running expos. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun (especially when I get to dress up as Snow White), but it's tiring.

We survived our trip and got home just in time for the whole house to come down with the flu. It's hard being a sick mom with a sick husband and sick baby. I don't know how you all do it! But we are "enjoying" being at home all together. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finding the Right Conditions for Eating Cupcakes

Last weekend I went to Walt Disney World for work (yeah, not a bad gig!). I didn't have much time to search for cupcakes while there, but my friend found us some to munch on while working. When I got a chance to try them, they were delicious. BUT I hadn't eaten anything else during the day and I was SO hungry. 

So my question is: were these great cupcakes? Having the right conditions to review cupcakes is very important. I honestly can't say whether these were delicious or if a cardboard box would have tasted just as great. I'm headed back to Orlando next month, so I'll have to give them a second shot.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Lette

Our staycation in Los Angeles included stops at three different dessert shop: Mikayawa for mochi, 'lette for macarons, and Big Man Bakes for cupcakes (review coming soon!). Talk about a great day!

This was my first time in a macaron-only shop. Macarons are definitely starting to pop up in more places lately and I don't mind at all. I love that they are so little and guiltless. I don't feel bad eating a bunch at one time. I'm very good at rationalizing.

'lette has several locations throughout Southern California. The shop I visited is located in Little Tokyo in LA. BUT I just learned they now have a location in Orange County at Fashion Island. Yes!

Not wanting to be a pig, since we had just left Mikawaya, I only picked out five flavors. Coconut, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, Praline, and Passion Fruit were the winners. Actually, the winner was me because these macarons were soooo good. The Passion Fruit macaron was the best one I've ever ever! 

The cream centers were divine. The texture of the "cookie" was perfect. I know that is hard to perfect too. The only flavor I didn't like was Praline and only because it wasn't very sweet. That's just a preference of flavor though. Surprisingly, I like the fruit flavors best whereas I usually try to avoid them with cupcakes.

Macarons at 'lette sell for $1.70 each, which options to purchase as gift boxes. They had a large selection of flavors to choose from, even near the end of the day. The products are high quality. I will definitely be paying a visit to my local 'lette now that I've experienced greatness. But I promise these won't detract me from cupcakes!

Locations: Beverly Hills, Little Tokyo, Fashion Island, Larchmont Village, Old Pasadena

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cute Little Mochi Lover

New Year's Eve day we did a little staycation in LA. Yes, my husband and I live in Orange County, which is just 30 miles from LA, but we haven't done much exploring there. This day we crossed quite a few things off the list.

Want a great French dip sandwich? Try Cole's. It's comparable to the French dips at Felipe's.

We checked out the Bradbury building where several movies have been filmed. Desmond made a new friend. 

We rode the famous Angels Express train for only a penny!

And of course you can't pass up all the delicious places to eat in LA. We stopped by Mikawaya, a small pastry shop in little Tokyo where mochi was invented. If you've ever tried mochi, you've probably eaten one from this shop. They make the mochi that's sold in Trader Joe's. Desmond was in heaven! He didn't stop eating until they were all gone. I love this little guy and his cute faces!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Favorite Review of 2012

Here's one last post to commemorate the end of 2012: my favorite review of the year. This one was easy to determine and I didn't even have to look back at all of them to figure it out.


I had been itching to visit Retro Bakery in Las Vegas for years. Why it took me so long to finally get there is a mystery and a mistake none of you should make. I visited Retro Bakery in May 2012. I picked up a dozen cupcakes and three cookies to try. Everything was beyond delicious and I've already been back again to get more Hopscotch cupcakes and cookies. Seriously, this is one of my top 3 cupcakes shops ever and the cookies are phenomenal too!

You can check out my full review here. Even better, go get some cupcakes of your own from Retro Bakery. Totally worth the trip!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thank You, Our Best Bites

This year I was in charge of dessert for Christmas Eve at my parent's house. I wanted to do something delicious and decadent. I found my answer at Our Best Bites. I've made a bunch of recipes from this website before for dinners, but this was my first dessert one.

The recipe I used was: Dulce de Leche Banana Toffee Pie.

Luckily I looked at this recipe the night before because I didn't realize that I needed the sweetened condensed milk to make dulce de leche. If I would have known, I would have just bought dulce de leche. BUT it was 10pm at night and I was too lazy to go to the store....again.

So I learned how to make dulce de leche. And surprisingly it was easier than I thought. I also used a recipe from Our Best Bites. You can find it here.

I finished making the rest of the pie the rest day. So many delicious ingredients went into this pie so I knew the end result would be amazing. That night my suspicions were confirmed: delicious! 

My family loved it. I couldn't help but eat two slices myself. And the funny part? My mom got me Our Best Bites recipe book as a Christmas gift. She knows me too well. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review: 21 Cakes

Before my husband and I traveled to Tempe, AZ in November, I searched the internet for the best cupcake shops in the area. I eventually scrapped my list after meeting Missy. Missy is my Arizona counterpart. She is a triathlete who loves sweets too (hence her blog: Sugar Coated Athlete). She also raced Ironman and we actually saw each other during the race. I wished she lived closed so we could train and eat cupcakes together.

 When I asked for a recommendation for a cupcake shop in the area she said I HAD to go to 21 Cakes. And the great part was it was just down the street from my hotel. It was settled. I went there immediately.

The decor inside 21 Cakes is super cute! I love that it felt so warm and cozy. The dining room table made it feel like I was at home.

Missy told me I needed to visit 21 Cakes as early in the day as possible because they run out. I'm glad I did because I had lots of options....which was also a problem because I couldn't try ALL of them.

I went home with four flavors: Cococarmelat, Salted Caramel, Red Velvet, and Chocolate - Peanut Butter. 

After racing for 13 hours and 7 minutes, I was SO ready for a cupcake! The first one I tried was Salted Caramel. So delicious! I probably would have said this about any food that entered my mouth after that long day, but my taste buds were telling me this was something special. What a wonderful mix of flavors and textures! I snacked on this cupcake all day and throughout the next day. I didn't want it to end!

The other flavors were equally as amazing! My favorite was the Cococarmelat. It was like the cupcake version of a Girl Scout Samoa cookie. The combination of chocolate, caramel, and coconut was heavenly! My mouth is salivating just thinking about it. 21 Cakes cupcakes have perfect frosting: thick, not too sweet, flavorful, and creamy. The cakes were moist too. These cupcakes are definitely at the top of my list as exceptional!

The next day some fellow Ironman athletes were asking me where to find the best cupcakes in the area. Since I am now an expert (ha!), I did not hesitant for a second recommending 21 Cakes. This will be my first cupcake visit every time I visit the area. Cupcakes are $3.55 each and they sell macarons too. So wonderful! Thank you Missy!

21 Cakes
7001 N. Scottsdale Rd. #175
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Facebook: 21 Cakes


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