Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Iron Cupcake: San Francisco

I went to San Francisco yesterday to enter the Iron Cupcake Challenge and I won! It was so much fun! Everyone involved was great and I tasted some dee-lish cupcakes. The most interesting icing was a curry/cardamon buttercream topped with a raisin garnish. Chelsea from Kingdom Cake in San Francisco organizes the event once a month and I highly recommend participating if there is an Iron Cupcake Challenge near you.

A huge thanks to Will at Leland Tea Company who hosted the event. He has an amazing selection of teas and does custom blends and packaging. I can't wait to go back!

The winning cupcake...pumpkin spice with
cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Low Fat Cupcake Tips

When I see a beautiful cupcake, I don't usually think about the consequences...fat and calories. But there are a few things we can do to make our cupcake recipes lower in fat and calories. Experiment with your full-fat recipes and decide what works best for you.

  • Substitute applesauce (plain or cinnamon), pureed pineapple or pumkin, or mashed bananas for the oil in your recipes.

  • Substitute reduced-fat sour cream or cream cheese for full-fat versions - but do not use fat free versions when you bake.

  • Substitute low-fat buttermilk for sour cream.

  • Use cocoa instead of baking chocolate.

  • Replace 2 egg whites for one whole egg - save 5 grams of fat.

  • Skip the frosting. Cupcakes are yummy all by themselves.

  • Make smaller cupcakes (fill the cupcake liners with less batter) or make minis. Just don't eat more cupcakes because they are smaller!

  • Give some away! When you make a batch, don't keep them all. Give some to friends.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick and Easy Cupcake Toppers

Cupcake toppers don't have to come pre-made from a store.

Use what you already have in the kitchen!
  • chopped nuts
  • chocolate curls/grated chocolate
  • candied lemon and orange peels
  • fresh strawberries or raspberries
  • colored sugar
  • a dusting of confectioner's sugar
  • mini marshmallows
  • candies - chunks of candy bars, M&Ms, peppermints, Hershey's Kisses
  • gum drops/gummy bears
  • graham crackers or Teddy Grahams - break off a wedge or crush them for sprinkling

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Recipe of the Week - German Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Week 12

German Chocolate Cupcakes
1 German chocolate cake mix
4 ounces (1 bar) sweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cupcake pan with liners.

Grate the chocolate bar with a microplane and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, buttermilk, water, oil, eggs & vanilla until the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in the grated chocolate.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Frost when completely cooled.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups coconut
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

Place the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and egg yolks in a large pan over medium heat. Cook until thickened and golden brown - about 15 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let frosting cool to room temperature and then fold in the coconut and pecans.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Cake Mix Doctor

In June 1998, Anne Byrn wrote an article for a Nashville newspaper about how to bake cakes quickly by "doctoring up" a cake mix. She asked readers to share their doctored-up
recipes...and the rest is history. She has a whole line of baking books with the Cake Mix Doctor theme.

She published Cupcakes! from the Cake Mix Doctor in 2005 but I just bought the book today. I could not put it down. I skimmed it cover-to-cover and have started over from the beginning. She gives tips, recipes, baking times, preparation experiences and discusses how to turn ordinary cupcakes into celebration cakes using decorations that we already have in the kitchen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cupcake Wine Charms

What better way to identify your wine glass than with a cupcake charm?

All of these can be found on Etsy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Football Cupcakes

Getting ready for tailgate parties? Check out these football cupcake ideas!

Cupcake picks from Fancy Flours

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cupcake Bites

Much has been blogged about cupcake pops by Bakerella, and I made them but didn't like using the sticks. Bakerella solved that problem by inventing cupcake bites!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preparing for Iron Cupcake: San Francisco

On September 28th I will be traveling to San Francisco to participate in my first Iron Cupcake Challenge. The flavor for this month is SQUASH and the instructions state that anything in the squash family will be acceptable.

I have decided to make Pumpkin Spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I think these will travel well and taste great. I still have to come up with a display and decorations and I will be working on that the rest of this week. I will post pictures of the event when I return home on Tuesday the 29th. Stay tuned!

If you would like to participate, please click contact Iron Cupcake: San Francisco Challenge for more information!

from the photostream of wynk via Flickr

from the photostream of kristin_a via Flickr

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Cupcake Stand

This cupcake stand was a birthday gift from my good friend Kristi and we have the same birthday. She is a chef and we share the love of the kitchen in different ways - she likes the savory and I like the sweet!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Week 11

Chocolate malts bring back great childhood memories for me. I spent every summer at my grandmother's house in a very small town in south Mississippi. The Frostie Mug was the local drive-in (the only one) and I spent a lot of time there. To date it was the best chocolate malt I ever had.

When I was in Nashville a few weeks ago, I bought a malted milk cupcake at Gigi's Cupcakes. It had crushed malted milk balls all around the icing edge and of the four cupcakes I tried, it was my favorite.

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups ice water
4 large egg whites - room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare baking cups. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt & nutmeg together and whisk in the malted milk powder.

Beat the sugar and shortening until creamy (3-4 minutes). Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done. Cool completely.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate - finely chopped
8 oz. milk chocolate - finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3 sticks unsalted butter, soft and cut into 1-inch pieces

Place both chocolates in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil - then remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate mixture. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Cool to room temperature. Add the butter pieces until completely incorporated. Frosting should have a smooth and silky look.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday and no birthday is
complete without cupcakes!

Photo from the photostream of Happiness in a Bite via Flickr

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wedding Cupcakes

Lake Tahoe weddings are special...there is no more beautiful place on earth!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

1st Annual FoodBuzz Blogger Festival

The 1st Annual FoodBuzz Blogger Festival will be held November 6-8, 2009 in San Francisco. The weekend will be filled with food & fun...and San Francisco has some great cupcake bakeries that will be on hand to provide us wth delicious treats!

Make plans to be there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hostess Cupcake Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Hostess is celebrating 90 years of cupcake goodness! The best-selling snack cake in history was created in 1919, but the signature "squiggle" topping was not added until 1950 when D. R. "Doc" Rice created the seven loops and vanilla creme filling that we all identify with this product.

More than 600 million Hostess Cupcakes are eaten every year - more than that other famous Hostess product...the Twinkie. Memphis, TN holds the top spot for eating the most Hostess Cupcakes, followed by St. Louis, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Louisville.

I believe the original Hostess Cupcake slogan "you get a big
delight in every bite" could describe any cupcake!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jessica's Cupcake Cafe (Online Game)

Put your cupcake baking skills to the test in this online cupcake have to bake the cupcakes, frost them, put them in the display case and sell them to customers. So far I haven't done very well. I didn't get the correct icing on the cupcakes and had to start over. My customers got tired of waiting and left the store.
Hope you make enough money to save the bakery.
Good luck!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cupcake Postage Stamps

Love these cupcake stamps!

See many more on

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Raspberry Cupcakes

Week 10

Raspberry is one of my favorite flavors and the inspiration for this recipe comes from wedding cupcakes I am making for next weekend.

Raspberry Cupcakes

1 box french vanilla cake mix
1 tsp. lemonade mix
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Mix all ingredients together. Fold in raspberries. Fill cupcake papers 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Frost with your favorite buttercream recipe - add some raspberry liqueur or jam for an extra raspberry kick.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Decorating with the 1M Tip

My favorite tip for decorating cupcakes is the 1M by Wilton. It can make swirls, stars, "puffs" and flowers. It might very well be the only tip you ever need to decorate a cupcake!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

Share a cupcake with someone today in memory of those who lost their lives and loved ones on September 11, 2001. Never forget!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cupcake Cookie Jars

You might not be able to store cupcakes in these jars...but they sure are a cute way to store your cookies! I found them on eBay, Artfire, and CupcakeBites.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Autumn Cupcakes

Labor Day has come and gone and fall is just around the corner. Time for some autumn cupcake inspiration....pumpkin, spice, cinnamon, gingerbread, hazelnut, carrot, applesauce.

So many flavors, so little time!

A platter of mini pumpkin spice cupcakes

Carrot cupcakes with gum paste leaf cut-outs

Applesauce cupcakes with autumn sprinkles

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cupcake Topper & Flower Template

I like to decorate cupcakes with simple piped chocolate decorations, but I have no artistic talent. I use templates and place them under wax paper....then trace them with melted chocolate. I think that Wilton's candy melts are the easiest way to pipe decorations. They stay firm at room temperature and store well for long periods of time.
I made these cupcakes for an anniversary party. I used red candy melts for the petals and light cocoa candy melts for the centers. The flower template can be resized for mini cupcakes!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cupcake Tattoos

Cupcake tattoos....the ultimate expression of cupcake love!

P.S. These are not mine...I have not yet summoned the courage to get a tattoo.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Italian Cream Cupcakes

Week 9

My brother's wedding cake was an Italian Cream Cake, a southern tradition that is usually served on holidays or special occasions. Why must this be? Make the recipe into cupcakes and you can enjoy them any time of the year!

Italian Cream Cupcakes

1 stick butter
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup shortening
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and shortening then add sugar. Add egg yolks and beat well. Combine soda and flour - add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla. Add coconut and nuts. Fold in egg whites. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 package softened cream cheese (8 oz)
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 stick softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese until smooth and stir in sugar. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.