Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CupShakes at Casey's Cupcakes

Casey's Cupcakes recently announced the addition of CupShakes to their menu. I love the idea of blending a cupcake to make a cupcake milkshake, but this isn't the first time I've seen this concept. Sammy's Cafe in Provo, Utah first introduced CupShakes to the world, using cupcakes from Sweet Tooth Fairy in 2009. I've also seen cupcake milkshakes at Sprinkles Ice Cream shop. I'm happy to see this delicious concept spreading to different shops. 

Have you tried a CupShake before? What do you think? Better than a plain cupcake?

Friday, October 25, 2013

OC Register's Best of OC 2013

I have a love-hate relationship with the Best of OC survey from the Orange County Register. This yearly survey supposedly tells what the Best (blank) in Orange County is. Sadly, it's more of a popularity contest. Here's what I mean, Best Chinese Food: PF Chang's. 2nd place for Best Sandwish: Subway. The people of Orange County just don't venture out much. But I feel obligated to report on the cupcake shops that Orange County voted the best in 2013. So here they are!

First Place: Sprinkles Cupcakes
It's hard to compete with such a large, well-known brand. But it's even harder to compete with Sprinkles when they are so good. Along with their great tasting cupcakes, Sprinkles gives you the experience of a gourmet cupcake. They makes their cupcakes feel special and well worth the price tag of $3.25. One thing I really like about Sprinkles is, along with the dozen or so flavors they offer daily, they sell different holiday and season-themed cupcakes throughout the year. I'm looking forward to eating a Pumpkin Cupcake available October 31-November 30.

Second Place: Casey's Cupcakes
I recently reviewed Casey's Cupcakes for the first time. Although I only tried one flavor, it was superb. The whole experience was pretty cool, from the sweet shop to the packaging. I can't wait to go back and try more of their flavors. I have heard they are hit and miss with flavors, but I'm willing to take a chance.

Third Place: SusieCakes
I've proclaimed SusieCakes as one of my favorite cupcake shops. They offer very simple, very delicious cupcakes. My favorite part about their cupcakes is the dollop of frosting hidden in the middle of the cupcake. Yum! Their cupcakes sell for $3.00 each. SusieCakes doesn't just sell cupcakes though, they have many other delicious desserts too. I love their chocolate chip cookies and have been eyeing all of their cakes for a while. You won't be disappointed!

Critic's Choice: Frostings
I reviewed Frostings when they first opened in 2009. Since then, the owners have parted ways and what's left is Frostings and The Cupcake Store. I haven't been back to Frostings since my first review, but I have tried a few of their cupcakes at various cupcake contests. They are a little off-putting to me because of the gigantic amount of frosting they have piled on top of their cupcakes. It's just so overwhelming and sweet. Maybe they are due a re-visit since a lot has changed in the past four years.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Easy Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes from Picky Palate

I can't pass up a good pumpkin recipe. I'm a sucker for anything pumpkin and it's definitely that time of year!

Picky Palate recently published a recipe for 2-ingredient Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes. Two ingredients?! That's my kind of recipe! All you need is a can of pumpkin and a chocolate cake mix. That's it.

Well, you'll need a few other ingredients if you want to make homemade frosting. And trust me, you'll want to use the one from Picky Palate because it uses brown butter! Yes, I'm seriously making these this weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A BQ Needs a Reward....or Two

On Tuesday I shared how I recently qualified to run the Boston Marathon. This deserves a huge reward, and luckily I was close to Sweet Tooth Fairy to indulge! I was literally outside for them to open at 10:30am. I couldn't have been more excited!

Sometimes you need a little savory to offset all of the sweet you'll be eating. I inhaled a cheeseburger and let the sugar time begin. I walked out of Sweet Tooth Fairy with two sugar cookies and two cupcakes. Luckily I had a 6 hour drive ahead to spread out the sugar indulgence!

I bought two flavors of cupcakes that I hadn't tried from Sweet Tooth Fairy before: Salted Caramel and Twix (the flavor of the month). Both were outstanding! My husband especially loved the Salted Caramel and we had to fight for the last bite. The Twix cupcake was filled with chocolate and caramel. It was delicious!

The sugar cookies were topped with Sweet Tooth Fairy's signature vanilla buttercream frosting, which has a hint of almond extract. It's not my favorite vanilla buttercream, but I still thoroughly enjoyed both sugar cookies. 

I got four items and walked out of Sweet Tooth Fairy spending just $10. I forget how much of a bargain they are. If you haven't been to Sweet Tooth Fairy yet, you must go. They have 10 locations and are still expanding. They are located in Utah and soon Arizona.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Going to Boston!!

It looks like I'll need to research cupcakes on the East Coast because I'm going to Boston, baby!!

Yes, a little over a week ago I ran the St. George Marathon in Utah and surprised myself with a Boston Qualifying time. I didn't think it was possible, yet the clock said 3:29:45 when I crossed the finish line!

It's too late to register for 2014, but I'll be in Boston in 2015. I can't wait!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Casey's Cupcakes

Casey's Cupcakes has been around for a few years. They started as a small shop in the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA and have expanded to soon-to-be six locations. It's not hard to find a location, but sadly it took me a few years to finally do a proper review. Yes, I've tried a few cupcakes from Casey's before, but they weren't fresh and it wasn't fair to give my opinion.

So finally I snagged a fresh cupcake from the Irvine Spectrum shop the other night. I couldn't wait any longer! 

This location has been open since April of this year. The shop is located right next to the movie theater, a great location for them. It was clean and professional and screamed girly cupcakes.

I wanted to try all of the flavors, yet I controlled myself and only got one. One! I know, I'm crazy.

I've come across lots of cupcake packaging over the past five years. This was the first time I've been blown away. It's the perfect packaging for one cupcake and gives the ability to take the cupcake out of the box WITHOUT messing it up. You can view my Instagram video HERE.

The winning cupcake I chose was Peanut Butter Chocolate. To tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting this cupcake to be good. I've heard things about Casey's Cupcakes and I wanted these things to be untrue. And luckily the rumors were false: this cupcake was excellent! 

The peanut butter cake was perfectly moist. There were mini chocolate chips sprinkled throughout the cake. The fluffy peanut butter frosting was divine. I thought it would be too much like whipped cream, but it wasn't. The cupcake looked like it was piled high with frosting, but it wasn't overwhelming as I feared it would be. 

There's no doubt in mind that this was one of the best cupcakes I've ever tasted! That being said, I've had several people tell me that this is the best cupcake flavor from Casey's Cupcakes. So does that mean I've set myself up for disappointment on my next visit?! Let's not jump to any conclusions yet. And FYI - my cupcake was $3.50.

Casey's Cupcakes
Facebook: Casey's Cupcakes

Friday, October 4, 2013

How to make Evaporated Milk

The other day I was baking my first pumpkin dessert of the fall season and I realized I didn't have any evaporated milk. And of course my baby boy was sleeping and my husband was out on a bike ride. I didn't have time to make my dessert later, so I searched the internet on how to make evaporated milk. 

News Flash: all you have to do is evaporate milk! Yes, it's that easy, but a bit time-consuming. I found some instructions on SheSimmers. And guess what? It worked and my dessert turned out fabulous. Thanks Internet!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OC Cupcake Classic 2013

The OC Cupcake Classic is one of my favorite cupcake events. It takes place at the OC Fair in front of a live audience. I love getting to see the smiles on people's faces when they are given a winning fair ribbon. To be asked to be a judge for a third time is such an honor. 

Every year more and more cupcakes are entered in the event. The first year I judged there were only three judges and less than 100 cupcakes. This year there were 10 judges and probably close to 500 cupcakes. You know what that means....more cupcakes that need judging!

I love seeing how much effort is put into each cupcake. The bakers aren't professional cupcake bakers. They are local people with a love of baking. Some of them get so creative with the decorations.

Yes I love eating cupcakes, but sometimes I hit a limit. That happened on this day. The other judge at my table and I were very quick at judging our first category (spice cupcakes), so we were given another category to judge (other). I made it almost all the way through before I started to feel queasy. 

But despite feel a little sick to my stomach, I couldn't forget one of my favorite cupcakes of the day: churro. I especially loved the mini churro on top. So delicious!

The winning cupcake was coconut creme. It was a toss-up between that one and chocolate banana. Some decisions are so hard! But all of us judges agreed that the coconut creme was pretty incredible. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and who supported the event in the audience. I had a blast and hope to return again next year. Thanks OC Fair!


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