French Toast and Maple Bacon Cupcakes

February 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 22 Comments
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I know I said this post would be available on my blog today. It’s currently 10:45pm PST. I’m 1.25 hours away from breaking my promise. I’ve literally been sitting at my computer all day trying to write this post. But nothing seems to come out quite right.

This post is truly bittersweet for me. *tearing up*

Since I can’t seem to find the words, I’ll just SAY it.

I’ve decided to stop blogging on I Heart Cuppycakes. *let it sink in*

I still love cupcakes. I still love blogging. I still have my Facebook page and email if my readers wanna keep in touch. I’m sure I’ll still be posting cupcake related thoughts, products, reviews etc on Facebook. I’m leaving my cupcake blog up and will continue to pay for my domain every month b/c I think it would break my heart to give up my little space on the blogosphere. Also maybe it’s my way of saying, it’s not good bye… It’s until we meet again.

Thank you for all your love, support, comments, suggestions, stories these 4 years. I miss you all already.

Have one last cupcake on me.

French Toast and Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Life With Cake

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt (I used table salt)
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature (I used half-and-half instead)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp instead)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

For maple syrup buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon maple extract (I used 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup)

bacon, cooked* and crumbled, garnish
extra maple syrup, garnish

* I baked my thick cut bacon in a 375F oven for 10 minutes, then flip the bacon with tongs. Bake for another 7-10 minutes longer or until golden brown.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes–
Preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, (I used a pyrex measuring cup) whisk together the milk and vanilla and set aside.

In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully combined before adding the next.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Continue mixing until batter is smooth. Set aside.

In a different bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed. Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the cupcake batter, until just combined.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

To make buttercream–
In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Continuing mixing until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the heavy cream and maple extract. Raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Using a Wilton 1M piping tip (or your favorite star tip) pipe frosting on cupcake. Garnish with crumpled bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
At first he was very skeptical about the bacon but he said he was pleasantly surprised that the “salt” from bacon was a really nice balance to the “sweet” from the frosting.

Wifey rating: A
These definitely reminded me of a delicious breakfast. The maple syrup buttercream is AH-MAY-ZING! I could eat it by the spoonful. Next time I bake these I might even add some bacon crumbles to the cupcake batter before I bake it to get some bacon in every bite!

Other rating: A+
I made these for my client for Valentine’s Day. All he said was “my girlfriend loves bacon” so I just went for it! He sent me a text later to let me know that his girlfriend LOVED the cupcakes and has requested them again for her birthday. What a great compliment!

LA Cupcake Challenge 2012

February 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Posted in blog event, cupcakes | 4 Comments
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This might be my favorite day of the year.

It’s the one place I can wear all my crazy cupcake gear and people think it’s cute instead of wanting to have me committed. Every where I turned people wanted to take my picture. It’s fun being a celebrity for the day. Although, the morning after, I’m seeing white streaks b/c of all the camera flashes now. lol

Yup, it’s that time again! I’m talking about the LA Cupcake Challenge 2012 in Hollywood. I am fortunate enough to be invited by Drink:Eat:Play (the event’s sponsor) and Dan Silberstein every year as Judge. Yes, he’s really that tall and I’m really that short.

Unfortunately last year I couldn’t make it so I was even MORE excited to go this year.

I brought my friend with me since my Husband declined my guest invitation b/c “… one year is enough for me…” HA HA! Wuss. Even though I prepared her I don’t think she REALLY understood the enormity of the event until she saw it with her own eyes. It might be one of the few times she’s been speechless and maybe a little scared.

I love this event because it’s very casual. My friend that came with me describe it almost like a wine tasting. There are various booths set up around the Renaissance hotel ballroom. After you check in at the front table you can go up to any booth, meet the bakers, sample their cupcakes, talk with other cupcake lovers and just enjoy the atmosphere. We met a couple at our table that even brought their own jug of milk! Hilarious.

(Top row: Friandise, Cake Mama’s, Cake Mama’s mini helpers, [Desi]gn Cupcakes, Sheree’s Sweets, Frosted Heaven)


(Bottom row: Bake U Happy (?), Dulcitas, Polkatots, Sugar Babies, Sugar Jones, My Delight)

I hope I didn’t make a mistake on any of the bakers above. Note to bakers: If you wear a shirt that has your cupcakery name on it it’s easier to remember you! Everyone was very sweet to take the time out of the line chaos to take a picture with me. Well… most everyone. But I’m a good girl and won’t mention names. All I’ll say is that name dropping does not a tasty cupcake make.

One of the highlights of the night was FINALLY meeting Elise of Cupcake Activist. Check out her blog in a few days. She does a MUCH BETTER recap of the cupcakes than I do. I was too busy eating!

Yikes! I have total cupcake beanie hair. I’m bummed I left my cupcake beanie in the car by the time we took a picture. It was actually on a whim that I had already left the hotel but then came back that we ran into each other. We’re cupcake friends in the blogsphere but we always seemed to miss each other every year in person. Can you believe she just had a baby?? She’s as beautiful inside as she is outside. Love her. ♥

Results will be posted on Eat:Drink:Play’s website on Tuesday. I will update with winners!

Everything was delicious! But you know how I know it was a success? My friend walked out with frosting on her arm. It had been there so long that it had crusted over. LOL

Wanna see who I voted for? I think I only gave out one or two 5/5 rating. –> CLICK HERE

A special shout out and THANK YOU to Rolling Stones Restaurant and Bar for letting us sneak in for Happy Hour at the last minute. After that 40 cupcake sugar rush, my belly needed the salt!

The double slider was to-die-for! (Not pictured b/c I ate it TOO fast!) And I could eat those garlic and parsley fries with spicy ketchup everyday!

[Insider spoiler: Dan mentioned to me that he's not sure if there will be an LA Cupcake Challenge 2013. Super sad face. I suggest that all my IHC minions bombard his facebook page with sad faces. Ssshhhhh. You didn't hear it from me.]

I could really go for a few more of those buffalo chicken wing cupcakes by [Desi]gn Cakes. How perfect would that cupcake be for today? I might have to see if I can recreate their recipe from memory. Until then… Here’s a recipe from Stephanie of Cupcake Project for Buffalo Chicken Wing Cupcakes for your Superbowl party.

Happy Superbowl to all my cupcake minions.

We’re a house divided. But that makes it more fun.

GOOOOOOO PATS!!

White Russian Cupcakes v.2

November 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Posted in crunkcakes, cupcakes | 12 Comments
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Me, Scott and Husband

Today is my friend’s birthday! (Well technically it’s on Tuesday but who’s counting?)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT!

My husband and Scott have been friends since high school. He’s the 6’3″ guy in the middle. Even though he’s actually bending down and I’m on my tippy toes, he’s still WAY taller than me! lol

His girlfriend, Laura, planned a fun filled day at the local park complete with Star Wars theme, bounce house, boce ball, nerf guns, kickball contest, pinata, pizza and ice cream cake. What every 32-turning-33-year-old needs to FORGET he’s turning 33 years old. HA HA!

Of course I was asked to bake cupcakes by special request of the birthday boy. When I asked Laura what flavor she replied with “BOOZE!” *fist pump* I have few different kinds of crunkcakes in my blog but I’ve been wanting to try a new version of my White Russian cupcakes. I knew this was the PERFECT time esp when I mentioned “kahlua?” and Laura said “You read my mind!”

Obviously Laura and I get along really well. Scott is a lucky man.

Pssst Scott. I’d love to bake some wedding cupcakes soooooon. No pressure. hehe

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Oh and before I get more than a few emails about the weird white thingamabob I’m using to sift the flour in the picture below… It’s a battery powered sifter!! My new favorite kitchen gadget. I LURVE it so much. No more carpel tunnel trying to get the last bit of flour or powdered sugar threw my sifter. And guess what? I’m giving 2 of them away! Courtesy of Amazon.com. More details tomorrow!


White Russian Cupcakes v.2
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 large egg + 2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream*
1/4 cup Vodka (I used Absolut vanilla vodka)
1/4 cup + 4 tbsp Kahlua, divided

* I’ve substituted whole milk with good results. You could probably substitute half-and-half too but I can’t guarantee results since I haven’t tried it in this recipe yet.

For Kahlua Swiss Meringue Buttercream**
5 large egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2-3 tsp Kahlua, to taste (I used 3 tsp)

** SMBC recipe makes a good amount. You could probably 1/2 the recipe if you use it sparingly for each cupcake but I’m a frosting whore so I like having more vs less.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating on low. Then add vanilla, Vodka and 1/4 cup Kahlua. (Be careful of splashing!) Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with heavy cream in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.


Fill each cupcake liner about 1/2 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While cupcakes are still warm, poke holes with a toothpick and brush cupcake tops with leftover 4 tbsp Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make Kahlua Swiss Meringue Buttercream–
Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8- 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add Kahlua and beat just until combined.


Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on the low to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.

-If using SMBC within a few hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature in a cool environment.
-If not, then store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring SMBC to room temperature. Beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes—
Using a Wilton 1M (or favorite star tip), pipe buttercream on each cupcake. I garnished mine with chocolate pearls and silver dragees for some extra bling!

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
He will always be a cream cheese frosting man but his second favorite is the swiss meringue buttercream. Crunkcakes aren’t really his favorite b/c of past bad booze memories but he really loved this one.

Wifey rating: A+
Holy yum! I’m so glad I decided to make these again with swiss meringue buttercream. I like my whipped cream version but the SMBC turns it up a notch and really punches the “white russian” flavor though.

Other rating: A+
Everyone raved about this cupcake and so many people asked me about the frosting. I’m telling ya! Once you go SMBC, you never go back!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats

September 5, 2011 at 2:58 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 6 Comments
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HAPPY LABOR DAY
… to ALL my dear cupcake freaks.

Labor Day always signals the end of summer for me. So the holiday is a little bittersweet. But it’s Husband’s 3rd most favorite holiday (besides #1 Thanksgiving and #2 Halloween). He loves any reason to get together with family, eat hamburgers from the grill and swim in Aunt Katie’s pool.

Aunt Katie is Todd’s aunt but even before we were married I was calling her Aunt Katie. When Aunt Katie told me that she loves chocolate+peanut butter (Who doesn’t??), I knew EXACTLY what I was making for her combination Labor Day-Birthday party.

I got the idea from my friend, Stef’s super delicious blog.

But you know me. I never follow directions. I always make changes. You can see Stef’s recipe (here). You know it’s bound to be delicious too.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats
Recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Martha Stewart and Cupcake Project

Makes 18 cupcakes

For one-bowl chocolate cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used E. Guittard unsweetened red dutch process cocoa)
1-1/2 sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water

For peanut butter cream cheese frosting
2-8oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used Neufchatel 1/3 less fat instead)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For chocolate coating
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate)
3 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking power and salt. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract and water.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the peanut butter, butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar 1/4 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency and taste. Add vanilla extract.

Using a Magic Tip 9ST round tip, pipe cream cheese frosting onto cupcake. Freeze to set frosting while making chocolate coating.

To make chocolate coating—
In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and oil and melt over a saucepan of simmering water.

Stir until chocolate melted and smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes—
Holding the cupcake upside down by the bottom, dip the cupcake into the chocolate until all the frosting is covered. (I think it’s easier to take the liners off.) Let excess chocolate drip off.

Then let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes so the chocolate firms up.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He’s a huge fan of chocolate+peanut butter like his aunt so I knew he’d love this one too.

Wifey rating: A
The chocolate and peanut butter combination is so classic and decadent esp in this cupcake. Yum!

Other rating: A+
All of my husband’s family raved between chocolate+peanut butter bites. The birthday girl loved them!

Cupcakes For Cousin Carrie

August 28, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 16 Comments
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My cousin Carrie is getting married on October 1, 2011 (Eek!) Actually she’s my husband’s cousin but we’re very close (she was a bridesmaid at my wedding!) so we always introduce each other as cousins. Not cousins-in-law. That sounds too forced. Just cousins. We’re use to the confused look. I can tell by peoples’ 15 second pause that they are debating if it’s rude to ask if one of us is adopted. lol

Carrie and me

So when her mom called me to ask if I’d bake cupcakes for her bridal shower, I said “OF COURSE!”

I got her bridal shower invitation and it had an understated bee theme. I remember talking to Carrie on the phone and loved when she said “I wanted a bee theme for my bridal shower b/c [fiance] is my honey!” She pretty much gave me creative license on the cupcakes. The only thing she requested was “cream cheese frosting”. So I took that idea and ran.

I immediately thought of my favorite cupcake cookbook, What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I consider Alan my cupcake mentor. I wish he lived closer so I could do more than just talk on the phone with him. (Hi Alan!!) So I knew their honeycomb cupcakes would be PERFECT for the bridal shower.

But you know me. I had to change it up a little.

Alan and Karen use canned frosting and cake mixes. Unlike other cupcake-ers, I have no beef with cake mixes and canned frosting but since I haven’t baked in a LONG time I decided to dig out my favorite vanilla cupcake, cream cheese frosting and sugar cookie recipes. But I don’t like black jelly beans. Blech! So I used chocolate covered almonds (bees) instead. Mmmmm!

Oh Ginger Spice, I’ve missed you…

Two days later. My kitchen is still a disaster zone.

No biggie. Oh honeyyyyyy! Your time to shine. ♥♥♥

Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson, Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski and Bake at 350

Makes 36 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For vanilla cupcakes
5 cups AP flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cup sugar
24 tbsp (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 large egg + 4 egg whites, room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I used half-and-half instead)

For honey cream cheese frosting*
2-8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted plus extra if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup honey** plus more for assembling honeycomb

* Depending on how much frosting you pipe on each cupcake, you may have some leftovers.
** Use the amount to desired honey taste.

For honey comb cookies***
3 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold (I used unsalted butter)
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp light corn syrup
yellow sprinkles (I used Cakemate from my grocery store baking aisle)

*** Cookies can be made up to 2 days advance and stored in a air tight container.

For “bees”
chocolate covered almonds
yellow gel food coloring
almond slivers

INSTRUCTIONS

To make honeycomb cookies—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl. Make sure you get everything that settles on the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly (That’s ok!). Knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl until it comes together.

Roll dough to 1/4″ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into hexagon shapes. If you don’t have a hexagon cookie cutter, you can print out the template I used (here). Place on baking sheet and let chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and lightly golden. Let cool completely.


Place yellow sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Microwave the corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl for about 10 seconds. Using a food dedicated brush, coat the cookie with corn syrup and dip in the yellow sprinkles to coat.

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low.

Then add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract and honey. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until you get desired consistency. Add yellow gel food coloring to desired shade. (I added about 5-6 drops)

NOTES: I reserved 2 cups of frosting for honeycomb cupcakes but in retrospect I really didn’t have to. Who cares if the center of the honeycomb is white frosting right? It gets filled in with honey anyways.

CUPCAKE 1: Honeycomb cupcakes
Spread the top of 13 cupcakes with frosting. Adhere 1 cookie on top of each cupcake. Arrange 5 cupcakes on a serving platter and 4 cupcakes on each side. Position the cookies to form a honeycomb.

Pipe frosting in random places along the honeycomb and attach a chocolate covered almond. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

Add 1 tbsp of honey in the middle of each cookie right before serving.

CUPCAKE 2: Beehive cupcakes
Using a Magic Tip 9ST (or your favorite round tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Add 1 chocolate covered almond on top of frosted cupcake. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with yellow frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: A+
Is there anything BETTER than a cupcake garnished with a sprinkled decorated cookie? I don’t think so! Since I’m a frosting girl, I loved the honey cream cheese frosting but I might up the honey quotient next time to really get the honey punch of flavor.

Other rating: A+
Cousin Carrie and all guests RAVED about the honeycomb cupcakes. But the BEST compliment came from my Niece Allison (age 18 months).

I told you. lol

Breakfast of Champions Cupcake

August 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 8 Comments

Good morning my dear cupcake freaks!

Now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve committed a cupcake sin. I’ve concocted a cupcake that has no actual cake in it. Lemme give you some background. While I was trolling around the internet last night for a meatloaf recipe (I just really wanted mealoaf last night!), I found the famous meatloaf cupcake and then I had an ephiphany! I want to create a breakfast cupcake. I mean if meatloaf and mashed potatoes gets it’s own cupcake then GOSH DARN IT, breakfast should too! So that’s what I did!

I found Julia’s Bacon and Egg Cups recipe and “cupcaked” it. You know me. It’s not a cupcake without some “frosting” and “sprinkles”. The frosting was inspired by my Husband’s mom, my Mother-in-Love. (Mother-in-law sounds so stuffy and formal to me. She’s so much more than that!)

Every Christmas morning, my husband and I open presents with his family and have breakfast. I love Christmas morning breakfast. Scrambled eggs, monkey bread, cinnamon rolls, french toast, fruit, omelets… The first year I ate breakfast with them there was this pink-ish dip and everyone was eating their scrambled eggs in it. I remember whispering to my Husband “Umm… what’s that?!” He replied, “You have to try it with your eggs! You’ll never go back to ketchup again.” Oh baby. He was right.

PS- Check out my nifty new SHARE buttons below. You can find the new print button there too!
PPS- I really appreciate all my fans’ support when I joined Weight Watchers. Since many of you have emailed me questions about Weight Watchers and asked about my progress… Please check out my weight loss+running blog –> http://seecupcakerun.com


Bacon and Egg Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Salsa “Frosting”
Recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body <– Don't we all wish we had THAT problem? lol

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
For “cupcakes”
12 slices bacon (I used thick cut maple bacon)
8 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and extra for garnish
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

For “frosting”
2-8oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel instead)
1/2-1 cup salsa (I used 1 cup Pace Picante chunky mild salsa)

1 slice of bread, toasted (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
To make “cupcakes”–
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat cupcake pan with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, whip the eggs, salt, pepper and cheese with a fork. Wrap 1 piece of bacon around the inside of each cupcake tin.

Fill each bacon lined cupcake tins about 3/4 full with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the egg cups are golden brown and don’t jiggle. Use a knife to remove from each tins.

Let cool slightly while you make the frosting.

To make frosting–
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, add cream cheese and salsa. Mix until well combined.

Using a Magic Tip 9ST or your favorite round tip (just make sure that the tip opening is big enough for the salsa chunks to fit through), pipe frosting onto each cupcake.

Garnish with shredded cheese and piece of toast.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A+
He said they are good without the “frosting” but GRRRRREAT with the frosting.

Wifey rating: A+
I love breakfast foods and when you make it a cupcake, it’s EVEN better especially when this self-proclaimed cupcake liner addict is using bacon as an edible cupcake liner. Is there nothing bacon can’t do?? Yum!

Bird’s Nest Peepcakes

April 24, 2011 at 7:28 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 12 Comments
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Happy Easter to all my cupcake freaks!

Now I know what you’re thinking!
“How the heck can you be eating cupcakes when you JUST told us that you started Weight Watchers?”
Am I right? I knew it. I must have been a mind reader in a former life.

But these aren’t just any cupcakes. These are WW approved cupcakes! But before I give you the recipe, if you are anti-cake mix, you best just move onto another blog right now b/c there’s cake mix involved.

Hey… Wait! Come back! Gimme a chance. It’s bound to be delicious…


Bird’s Nest Peepcakes
Recipe adapted from Dinner With Danielle

Makes 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1-18.25oz of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate)
1-12oz can of diet soda (I used diet A&W cream soda)
1 large egg or 2 egg whites* (I used 1/3 cup egg white substitute)
12 chick peeps
36 Robin’s egg whoppers
favorite butterceam recipe or 1 can of pre-made frosting
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted**

* You can omit the egg(s) if you want and it should still work but I decided to keep the egg(s) to have a fluffier “cake”
** I toast coconut in a skillet over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes.

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with liners.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater (or a large bowl with hand mixer), combine the cake mix, egg(s) and diet soda. Mix until all ingredients are well combined, about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

Using a Wilton 1M (or your favorite star or round tip), pipe a small mound of frosting on each cupcake. It doesn’t have to look perfect since you’ll be covering it with coconut.

Style 1. Top with chick peep and add toasted coconut around the chick peep.
Style 2. Coat cupcake with toasted cupcake. Add 3 Robin’s egg whoppers on top.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He said he couldn’t even tell tastewise I’d done anything different to the “cake” recipe.

Wifey rating: A+
I’m really surprised at how yummy the diet soda cake mix turned out. Obviously b/c there’s frosting and candy on it, the whole cupcake isn’t WW friendly. But I was making it for our family Easter party so I didn’t wanna make it too “diet-y” for them. Don’t worry! I scrapped off most of the frosting (blasphemy!) so it wasn’t too bad for me. Next time I make this I’ll probably do a fat free whipped cream instead of frosting to make it really WW friendly. Check out Danielle’s blog for tons of other flavor combinations! I wanna try the white cake+diet orange soda next. I”m told it’s suppose to taste like a creamsicle! Yum.

Other rating: A+
All our family and friends LOVED the cupcake. When I told them it was made with diet soda they were totally surprised. Even my 15 month old twin nieces loved them. I have proof.

Choo Choo Cupcakes

April 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 24 Comments
Tags: ,

Good afternoon dear readers. I’ve missed you.

(But I’ll update you on my absence at the end of the post.)

I have so many things on my honey-do list today but I choo choo choose you instead! <– I can't take credit for that line. Credit is due to the amazing writers of The Simpsons (my husband has loved that show for the last 21 years!). I hear that line often in our house. *cheesy alert*

Get it? B/c I’m talking about train cupcakes today… Oh come on. That was an awesome segway.

So let’s talk cupcakes facebook.

Many ppl say that facebook is a very impersonal way to keep in touch with family and friends but I disagree! Life happens and I don’t have time to call all my friends and family every day to chat for hours at a time about what’s going on in their life. (Another reason why I love text-ing too.) But on Facebook I can get online for an hour between cooking dinner for Husband and him inevitably asking me where he left his keys and frantically searching for them, to catch up with my “friends”, their life, their pictures, their daily statuses (or is it statusi?) etc. Honestly it’s win-win for me. I promise this tangent has a point.

My best friend from high school and I keep in touch via Facebook mostly. She has a new baby girl and as all new moms out there know… she’s busy all the time. But we try to get together often to catch up face-to-face too. When she asked me if I would bake some cupcakes for her friend’s son’s 3rd birthday via a Facebook message, of course I said yes. I haven’t baked in 5 weeks! (Again I’ll explain why at the end of the post.) She gave me a few criteria. Boy’s name, his age, 1/2 chocolate 1/2 funfetti and his Thomas The Train love. And I was off.

First I cut out fondant circles for each topper. Blue=2-1/4″ circle cutter. Red=1-3/4″ circle cutter. White and Gray=1-1/2″ circle cutter. I adhered the circles together with clear vanilla extract and small food designated paintbrush. You can use water too. (Easy enough so far right?) Then I cut out the letters with my mini alphabet cutters. I think I got the set from William Sonoma. But don’t quote me.

To make the Thomas The Train face, I cut out the eyes with the smaller end of a Wilton #2 tip. The mouth was made using the larger end of Wilton #2 tip and then cut in half in a crescent shape with the same tip. (Gosh I hope that made sense!) Then using all my artistic prowness (yeah right!) I drew the eyeballs, nose, eyebrows and cheeks with thin tip Americolor food markers in black. (I recommend Americolor markers over Wilton markers. They seem to have a more vibrant color and easier flow IMO.) Then I used a pink Americolor marker to color in the mouth but dabbed it with a tissue to make it a little muted before it dried. (That’s about as technical as I get. lol)

I love that picture that my BFF sent me of the birthday boy seeing his birthday cupcakes for the first time. If you look closely you can see him licking his lips. <– That's about the best compliment a baker can get!

Alrighty so reason I haven’t been baking lately. My dirty little secret.
Continue Reading Choo Choo Cupcakes…

For my birthday boy.

February 28, 2011 at 7:56 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 27 Comments

Today is my hubby’s birthday.

He’s 32 years old. That means I’ve celebrated 12 birthdays with him. Man we’re getting old!

Every year I’ll ask him what kind of cake he wants.

And EVERY year like clockwork its… R-E-D-V-E-L-V-E-T.

The man is so predictable. (So help me. I love this man.)

So this year I gave him what he wanted with a little something extra.

In case you were wondering…. Yes. It’s as delicious as it looks.

I also wanna wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Stephanie’s husband too. How cool is it to have birthday twin husbands?


Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake Bites
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Serious Eats & A Tiny Kitchen via Steamy Kitchen

Print this recipe

Makes about 150 bites*

INGREDIENTS

red velvet cake mix, baked & cooled as directed on box for 9×13 cake (I used Duncan Hines)
graham cracker crumbs
2 package of chocolate candy melts** (I used Wilton)
2 package of vanilla candy melts** (I used Wilton)
3/4 can of cream cheese frosting (I used Duncan Hines)

* If you don’t need 150 bites you can just quarter the 9×13 cake, wrap unused quarters in plastic wrap and freeze for another time. Just remember to adjust the amount of frosting accordingly depending on how much of the cake you do use. Each quarter is approximately 36-38 bites for this recipe.

** You probably won’t use all the candy melts but I like to melt more than less. But don’t worry! It won’t go to waste. After it cools, you can save it and melt it for another time.

For cheesecake***
Four 8-ounce boxes cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Neufchatel instead)
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combo of the two**** (I used all heavy cream)

*** This is my absolute FAVORITE cheesecake recipe but if you want to make this recipe easier, you can use a no-bake cheesecake mix or buy one already baked from your local grocery store/bakery instead.
**** I’ve tried all sour cream, all heavy cream and a combo of both and I can’t pick a favorite. They are all good. So use whatever you have in the frig. Personally when I use Neufchatel it tends to be more dry so I like to use all heavy cream.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cheesecake—
Grease a 9″ x 2-3/4″ spring form pan and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Put the spring form on a roasting pan. Set aside.

Boil some water. You will use this for the water bath later.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle (or with a hand mixer in a large bowl), beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light.

Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition. This will give you a well aerated batter.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream. Pour batter into the spring form. Put the spring form and roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the spring form. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and maybe cracked. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake sit in its water bath for another hour. After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let come to room temperature. When it is cool, cover the cheesecake in saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (overnight is better).

To assemble cupcake pops—
Crumble the baked and cooled cake with your hands (or food processor) into a large bowl and add cream cheese frosting.

Form the cake mixture into 1/2″ diameter balls. Or if you are OCD like me, weigh each cupcake ball at about 0.2 ounces. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes until firm. (If you are short on time, you can put in the freezer.)

When the red velvet balls are firm, scoop out about 1 tsp of cheesecake and mold it around the red velvet ball. (Be prepared for messy, sticky, gooey hands! I think I rinsed my hands after every.single.cupcake.ball. No joke!) Roll each ball in some graham cracker crumbs until it coats the whole ball. Return to the refrigerator and chill until firm while you prepare the candy melts.

Fill a disposable piping bag about 1/2 way with chocolate candy melts. Don’t seal so that warm air can escape and nothing explodes. Melt in 20 sec intervals until chocolate melts. Snip a small hole at the bottom of the piping bag with scissors and fill the peanut butter candy mold about 1/2 way.

Grab your cupcake balls out of the refrigerator and slowly push them into the chocolate candy melt so that the chocolate goes up the sides of the mold. This may take some trial-and-error to get it right but be patient and you’ll get it after a few practice runs. Chill the peanut butter molds in the refrigerator for a few minutes so that the chocolate can harden. To remove them from the mold gently squeeze the bottom of the mold until each cupcake bite pops out.

In a separate microwave safe bowl, melt the vanilla candy melt in the microwave on 20 sec intervals. Slowly dip your cupcake bite into the candy melt to the edge of the chocolate candy melt. Swirl it around a few times so that the top 1/2 is evenly covered. If your candy melt gets too thick to dip, pop it back into the microwave for 10secs.

Garnish with graham cracker crumbs and/or sprinkles.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
Initially when I told him what was inside the cupcake bite, I think he was in shock about combining his 2 favorite desserts together. Even though I didn’t actually get any words, if his facial expression was any indication… I think he loved it.

Wifey rating: A+
Oh so sinful but oh so worth it.

Other rating: A+
I made the cupcake bites for his students and fellow teachers to celebrate his birthday with him and he said everyone raved. Many were upset they couldn’t have more than 1. I think that means they were a success!

I kinda love this and needed to share it with you.

February 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 9 Comments

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you’ll know I was in Boston this past President’s Day weekend visiting my bff. We laughed, we cried, we baked (I’ll share what in the next blog post), we shopped (oh boy did we shop!), we ate, we talked, we watched movies, we shivered in the snow and wind (Ok maybe *I* was the only one shivering), we crammed as much as we could into 4 days. Now that I’m home, I’m beyond pooped!

But I just had to share one thing with my cupcake minions* before I succumb to jet lag and let my pillow console me.

At first I thought it was a simple little ol seen it before ceramic cupcake box** but I literally giggled from delight when I lifted up the top. Seriously. Like a kid in a candy cupcake store.

I knew I had to have it.

Wouldn’t you?

* I watched Despicable Me with my bestie and now I feel I need to add “minion” to my vocabulary. haha
** Vanilla Cupcake Measuring Cup set via Urban Outfitters. I haven’t seen it at my local Urban Outfitters here in CA and it doesn’t seem available online anymore which is why it was probably on sale for me at the Boston store. Sad for you but kinda awesome for me. But if I do find another, you better believe I’ll have to buy it. Can you say giveaway? *fist pump*

Happy Year of the Rabbit

February 3, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Posted in cupcakes | 9 Comments

Chúc mừng Năm mới –> Translation: Happy New Year!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love January 1st New Year with champagne, dropping crystal ball, Times Square, Dick Clark, Tournament of Roses parade etc… but I adore eating my mommy’s yummy home cooked Vietnamese food and the little red envelopes filled with lucky money just a teeny tiny bit more.

Ah memories… One year I ate so many eggrolls that I didn’t eat for 2 days! But it was so worth it. My mom’s eggrolls are so friggin’ tasty!

I would have come baring rabbit inspired cupcakes for ya’ll but my sore throat still isn’t up for… ahem… quality control. But here are some of my favorite rabbit cupcakes from blog’s past. Which one is your favorite?

If you’d like to see how I made these radical rabbits, click (here). Hmmm… do people still say “radical” these days? Does it make me sound old to even have to ask that question? On second thought. Don’t answer that. I’m afraid of the answer.

Happy Vietnamese New Year cupcake monsters.

Hope your 2011 is filled with carrot tops, wealth, health and happiness.

No Shadow. Spring is here!

February 2, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 6 Comments
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Isn’t Groundhog day such a great holiday?

I love that furry little rodent. Especially his name. Punxatawney Phil. Pronounced (punks-a-tawn-e). At least that’s how I say it. And according to Phil, spring is here! Although I’m not sure that my snowed in East Coast friends agree. Maybe he was just trying to avoid the groundhog stew pot eh? You can see the video (here). Isn’t his little twitching nose so cute?

I had a couple ideas for a groundhog day cupcake but I’m on a vicious cycle of sick right now. Last week was stomach flu and this week is probably a cold. Sore throat, coughing, congestion, headache… no fun. I blame my nieces. They are germ factories! So I’m pretty sure that no one would wanna eat cupcakes baked by a sicky mcsickerton. Would you? But I couldn’t let this fun holiday go by without some cupcake inspirations. Enjoy!


1. Dozen Flours 2. Cake Mix Doctor 3. Family Fun 4. Brownie Points 5. Junior Society 6. A Baked Creation

Do you have a groundhog day cupcake creation you wanna share? Link me in comments!

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to celebrate the holiday with a box of tissues, 2 dayquil horse pills, a 32oz bottle of Gatorade (gotta keep those electrolytes up!) and my Groundhog Day DVD for the rest of the day. I heart Bill Murray. Bill+Rita forever.

PB, Banana and Bacon Cupcakes (aka The Elvis)

January 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 8 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

Hello to all my cupcake lovelies.

Really! It is. (PROOF)

What better way to celebrate than with THE KING’S favorite peanut butter concoction?

No I’m not talking about King Tut, Don King, Martin Luther King Jr., Stephen King or King Kong (although that big skyscraper climbing primate might love this cupcake too).

I’m talking about The King of Rock n Roll.

He loved his peanut butter, banana and bacon… honey optional… sandwiches.

Now I have a confession. I had no idea who Elvis was until well into high school. Are all of you staring at the computer screen in disbelief with your mouth agape? Trust me. I get that a lot. But think about it. Where did you get your music history from? Your parents right? Well I’m a first generation Vietnamese so my parents didn’t have Elvis vinyls sitting around the livingroom or have stories about how they saw Elvis coming out of the bathroom at X airport and almost fainted. *waves at MIL*

So when I met my husband in college and he found out how little I knew about music history, he took it upon himself to school me. And that’s when I [couldn't] help falling in love with that hunka hunka burning love. Oh yeah. And Elvis too.


The Elvis
Recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Martha Stewart

Print this recipe

Makes about 12 cupcakes (I got 16 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS

For the banana cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups mashed* bananas (I used 4 ripe bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* I don’t mash up the bananas too much. I leave it more on the chunky versus the mushy side of mashing. Is that instruction too technical? haha

For Peanut Butter cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used creamy Jif peanut butter)
1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

bacon, cooked** and cooled, cut into 1″ strips (I used thick cut honey glazed bacon)
honey, drizzle

** I cook my bacon under the oven broiler. Set at high for about 5 minutes. If I remember I’ll flip after 3 minutes. You might want to adjust time depending on how thick your bacon is or how crispy you want your bacon.

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes–
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Create a well in the flour mixture and add melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla. Switch to a flat beater and mix until just combined. Try not to overmix.


You can use your hands to form a well but I used a plastic red cup. Easy peasy!

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the peanut butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract.

Using a Wilton 1M (or your favorite star tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake, drizzle with some honey and garnish with a bacon strip.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He liked the banana “cake” and he liked the pb frosting but I can’t convince him that the bacon is suppose to be there. LOL

Wifey rating: N/A
I’m a self proclaimed banana hater so I didn’t rate this one since I’m obviously biased. But I’ll take all the leftover PB frosting!

Pimp my mailbox, cupcake!

January 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Posted in cupcakes, decor | 8 Comments

Happy Tuesday cupcake monsters,

I’ve lived in an apartment from age 19 until I (and my husband) bought our first home last November. I couldn’t wait to have a washer+dryer in the same place (so I wouldn’t have to wear a bra and walk outside to wash my clothes), a garage to park our cars, be able to paint the walls, ya know… a place of our own. One of the things that I didn’t get buying a townhouse was my very own mailbox. Poo! But that doesn’t mean I can’t make it my own with a little vinyl, my Silhouette cutting machine and some creativity.

I just used the cream vinyl that came with the machine but I plan to order some black outdoor vinyl for the final product. And add our address at the bottom.

But I thought I’d share the idea with my fellow apartment-living-cupcake-freaks in the rough draft stage anyways…

When I get the real stuff, I’ll post the step-by-step tutorial. Stay tuned.

PS – Don’t forget about my **GIVEAWAY** sponsored by Spice Islands. T-minus 5 days left!

Doh I knew I should have bought the trademark!

January 9, 2011 at 4:32 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 3 Comments

Pictured emailed to me by Alanna of The Vanilla Bean taken in Carlsbad, CA.

Do you have a cupcake related picture you wanna share? Email me.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, readers. Try not to think of tomorrow just yet.

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