Ode to Creme Brulee

August 5, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Posted in non-cupcake | 8 Comments
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Aaaww… Please don’t give me that look.

I feel guilty enough already.

I know. It’s been a while. *smacks hand*

Hello my name is CB … [crowd chants Hello CB] … and I’ve been on Weight Watchers for almost 23 weeks. Yup! I’m doing still it. Trust me. You aren’t the only one surprised. Unfortunately that doesn’t leave me much wiggle room for baking. B/c I can’t be trusted with 12 cupcakes innocently sitting on my granite countertop. But last night I REALLY missed it.

The smell of vanilla extract.
The tickle of flour up my nose.
The sound of my KitchenAid mixer creaming the butter and sugar.

I couldn’t bake just anything though. I was craving one of my favorite desserts: Creme Brulee. So I started googling as fast as my little fingers could type. And came up with a combination of 2 dessert favorites. Twofer! And you all know how much I love a 2for.

But of course. This is a cupcake blog. I couldn’t leave you without a cupcake. It’s an oldie but a goodie. (Click here)

Oh and PS.

My cousin’s bridal shower is at the end of August so I’m already brainstorming cupcakes for her. Hang tight. I’ll have cupcakes to share with you soon!

Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 36 bars (I cut it into 20 b/c 36 is WAY too tiny in my opinion!)

INGREDIENTS

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 box (1 oz) French Vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix (I used Cheesecake flavor instead)
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used unsalted butter)
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs + 3 egg yolks
2- 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese instead)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use 0% Fage greek yogurt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup toffee bits, finely crushed (I used Heath toffee chips)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, combine cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough into bottom of pan and 1/2 inch up sides of pan. [Notes: I totally missed the part about pressing the cookie dough "1/2 inch up the sides of the pan". Oops! But it still turned out delicious despite the lack of cookie "wall".]

In a large bowl, (I wiped out the same bowl I made the cookie dough in) beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Combine until smooth. Spread over cookie crust in pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until set in center. Take pan out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Let come to room temperature before cutting into bars. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. [Notes: These freeze really well too!]

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He’s loves cheesecake but not a huge toffee fan so I wasn’t sure he’d like this one but I heard lots of “Mmmm…” while he was eating.

Wifey rating: A
Cookie base – Good. Cheesecake filling – great. Creme Brulee – fell short. Don’t get me wrong. The bar is DE-LISH-OUS but I can’t really say it tasted like a creme brulee. At least not enough for my tastebuds. Maybe next time instead of the toffee bits I’ll top it with brown sugar and brulee with my torch for that authentic creme brulee taste.

Other rating: A+
Husband had a meeting with a few coworkers and brought these as a dessert. He said everyone raved and there were no leftovers. Many of them asked for the recipe!

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
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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*

How-to: Make a fondant rose

February 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM | Posted in how-to | 11 Comments
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This how-to is brought you by the letter V and the number 14.

(Sorry I think I’ve been watching too much Sesame Street with my nieces. haha)

When you think of Valentine’s Day what comes to mind? The color red, roses, hearts, I love you… Now me? I’m a sucker for roses. When I got married I wanted roses everywhere. So I thought a rose tutorial would be appropriate to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my readers.

Now before you start telling me that you don’t have the skills to make anything from fondant, I’m here to tell you PSSSHAAHHH! My tutorial is really simple. It doesn’t require fancy equipment or previous fondant knowledge like some other rose tutorials. Trust me. If I can teach my husband. I can teach you.

Ready?

Here’s what you’ll need:

ziplock bag
red fondant*

* You can find pre-made fondant at Michaels, Joanns or your local cake supply store. If you are feeling ambitious you can make your own fondant! I’m partial to red roses but if you like yellow roses (like my MIL), white roses, pink roses, feel free to use whatever color fondant you want.

That’s it!

Let’s begin. (Please ignore my hideous nails. I am desperately in need of a mani.)


Pinch off 7 balls of red fondant all about the same size. The bigger the balls, the bigger the rose. (LOL. I’m so immature!) Roll one of the balls into a cylinder. Fold a corner of the ziplock bag down over the cylinder.


Using your index finger gently flatten the cylinder. Start at one end of the flat cylinder and roll one end towards the other end.


This forms the central bud of the rose. Set aside. To make each petal, fold a corner of the ziplock bag down over one of the fondant balls.


Using your index finger, gently flatten the ball into a circle. Don’t worry if the edges look cracked. I think it makes the rose look more realistic IMO. But if you are a perfectionist and need perfect petals, use your index finger to flatten the petal slowly. The faster you flatten the more likely to get cracks. Fold the “petal” around the central bud.


You can sculpt the “petal” by pushing down on the tips to make it look more 3 dimensional. Repeat the “petal” step for the next 5 petals.


Alternate the petals around the central bud as you add more petals. You can add as many or as little petals as you like depending on how big you want the rose to be.


As you sculpt the rose you may create an elongated stem.


You can either keep it or pinch it off. I tend to pinch the excess off so it’s easier to place on top of a cupcake. Leave the finished roses in a cool dry place for a few hours or overnight to firm up. TADA! And you thought roses were hard.

XOXOs to all my cupcake monsters

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!” ~Lucy Van Pelt
via Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz

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
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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!

Who’s a winner? You’re a winner!

January 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Posted in giveaway | 6 Comments

Well… if you’re #102 that is.

CONGRATULATIONS Ange! Please email me your shipping address and I’ll forward it to our friends at Spice Islands. If there is no response in 7 days, I’ll choose another winner. Goes to show you, just because you’re one of the last comments doesn’t mean you can’t win, eh? That’s how randomness works!

Quick etiquette question for my readers.

Background story first.

I was sick. I’m still sick. I blame my BIL. He was sick with the stomach flu. I came over to take care of my nieces since he was sick. And then I got sick. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Since I was laid up on the couch all weekend, I trolled around the internet and read (of course now I can’t remember which blog b/c I was half delirious so forgive me) that it’s against blogger etiquette to apologize all the time? Uh oh. I’m a procrastinator. So procrastinating and apologizing go hand in hand. I’m sorry! *smacks hand* Eesh. Old habits die hard.

Now my question. Does it bother readers to see “sorry” on blogs? B/c I don’t get that “rule”. Gimme a few days. I bet I could come up with some rules of my own.

If anything that I wrote above doesn’t make sense, I blame the revolt in my tummy that won’t go away peacefully.

Too bad chicken noodle soup doesn’t come in cupcake form.

Hey… now there’s an idea!

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.

Calling all Lemon Heads!

January 7, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 7 Comments

[UGH! Apologies but my images don't seem to be working right now. I added a picture of the cupcakes from Spice Islands as a placeholder until I can knock some sense into my image host.]

Are you a fan? I mean a TRUE fan. Would you wear a foam cheese wedge on your head and prance around in freezing weather with your chest painted with a big ol letter b/c you are part of a group of friends that spell out your beloved football team’s name? Now that’s a fan. But if that’s the precedent then I’m a wussy fan. I grab my Snuggie when my house temperature gets to 70F. And forget putting anything that resembles food on my head.

(Right about now you’re wondering what the heck is CB talking about. Bare with me. I’m getting there!)

These cupcakes are for the TRUE lemon heads out there. The ones that would wear a big ol oblong foam lemon on their head and write their name in buttercream on their chest. Now that’s something I could get behind.

Sorry Tom Brady. You’re almost as delicious as a cupcake. Almost.

(Pssst. Tom. Call me. *making the hand phone to ear gesture*)


Triple Citrus Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Spice Islands

Makes 12 cupcakes (I got 14 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchâtel instead)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp orange zest (I used a navel orange)
1 tsp Spice Islands vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup whole milk (I used half-and-half instead)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Spice Islands vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (I used a Meyer lemon)
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice (I used key lime juice)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, orange vest and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then beat in oil. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Try not to overmix.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 25-30 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, combine all frosting ingredients, until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency.

Using your favorite round tip, frost cupcakes. Garnish with a orange, lemon or lime zest. Or what about a zesty trio if you are feeling overindulgent!?

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He really enjoyed the cupcake but since he’s a red velvet man at heart, citrus flavors don’t get the A+ rating. lol

Wifey rating: A+
I love citrus. No, I mean. I LOVE citrus. If you LOVE citrus, you’ll love this cupcake. The “cake” is so moist from the addition of cream cheese. And the frosting… Oh baby. Pucker up!

Other rating: (will update later)

Cupcakes are the Spice of Life **GIVEAWAY**

January 7, 2011 at 1:32 AM | Posted in cupcakes, giveaway | 109 Comments

Even though I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to figure out how to begin this blog post, the only thing I can think of is…

And there’s no one that could say it better than perfect strangers, Cousin Larry and Balki Bartokomous. Who’s feeling me? These past few weeks have been crazy. Ya know. Thanksgiving, Christmas, California got 10 inches of rain in 14 days so my downstairs bedroom flooded (ugh!) but I think things are finally back to normal being flood-less.

Ok now that that’s off my chest, let’s talk midget cakes.

Cupcake friends, if you didn’t wanna be my best friend before, you will now. It involves emails and vanilla extract.

I love getting emails. Especially the ones that begin with “We love your blog” and end with “We wanna give you free stuff.” So I won’t lie when I got an email from Spice Islands about giving away (THIS) Spice Gift Pack which includes a variety of their most popular spices including pure vanilla extract, ground Saigon cinnamon (omg so good!), dill, rosemary and bay leaves to one lucky IHC reader, I squealed and maybe threw in a *fist pump* or two. I always feel like I pulled one over on my sponsors b/c they can’t possibly think I’m THAT cool right? Lil ol me? *evil laugh*

Now I know that vanilla extracts are a dime a dozen at the grocery store but this one is used by my idol, my hero, my mentor, the person that I wanna be when I grow up…

MARTHA! MARTHA! MARTHA! (You know you wanna say it like Jan Brady. Or is that just me?)

We’ll just overlook her past discrepancies with the insider trading thing. Or if you are delusional like me, you can justify it in your head by saying she was framed. Whatever floats your boat.

Also check out one of my favorite food-tographers/bloggers, Matt Armendariz featured on the Spice Island blog (HERE).

Here’s how to win.

FINE PRINT:

(1) Only those who live within the US and Canada eligible to win prizes. (Sorry my international peeps!)
(2) Please make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.

To enter answer this question via comments:
What was your favorite tv show from your childhood?
- Obviously Perfect Strangers is on the short list. But I think I will always have a special place in my heart for the Winslow family and Steve Urkel. I met Mr. Urkel on UCLA campus once. He’s taller than he looks on the show. But his bodyguards wouldn’t let me get too close. I guess I look like a crazy deranged fan. Go figure. *shrugs*

Want an extra entry?*
– Check out IHC’s NEW Facebook page! It’s still in the initial stages (ie I have no idea what I’m doing yet) but click the button and leave me a separate comment with your FB name so I can matchy matchy with the “People Like This” list. (+1 entry)
– Twitter (@ihcuppycakes) about my giveaway and leave me a separate comment with the link. Click “x time ago” under your tweet for the direct link. (+1 entry)
– Bake any IHC recipe and leave me a separate comment with your blog post link. Past recipes work too! Your post must mention my blog somewhere to be valid. (+1 entry)

* If I don’t see a separate entry, I will not count it. B/c I said so.

Deadline: January 16th @ 11:59pm EST

Winners will be chosen by Mr. Random Generator on January 17th.

Citrus3 Cupcakes recipe coming up next!

My New Year’s Resolutions 2011

January 4, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 4 Comments

Well I can see the first resolution will need some work on my part. Even the faux blog snow is still falling. I know I could have changed the blog post date but then I started to feel all sketchy. Let’s just pretend that I’m posting on January 1st. Indulge me mkay?

Even though my motto is: I work out only to eat more cupcakes, I figure I should just cut out the middle man. Who needs working out?! But no matter how hard I try to resist, #3 always makes the list. Even if it’s just for show. Ugh! Da man. Always raining on my cupcake binging parade.

So… What is/are your New Year’s Resolution(s)?

Come back Friday for a delicious and refreshing TRIPLE Citrus Cupcake recipe! Orange, lemons, limes oh my! And a … GIVEAWAY sponsored by Spice Islands! *fist pump*

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