Friday, December 31, 2010

Cuppy's and Beans Review

Since I am never home to bake cupcakes, I might as do the next best thing! Eat cupcakes! Tony and I decided we were going to venture to New York City to watch the ball drop for New Years.  So, for our snack during our 4 hour drive we stopped by Dulles Town Center (again) to pick up Sweetz Bakery Competitor's cupcakes for a cupcake showdown.  We were greeted by a snowhat wearing, Jamaican sounding guy named Zach (he wasn't really Jamaican but we got that warm welcoming Jamaican feeling just talking with him..Hey maun!).  Tony ordered the chocolate coconut and I ordered the chocolate ganache.  Tony really liked the taste of the chocolate coconut cupcake.  The vanilla frosting was not too sweet and it had a nice amount of coconut mixed in. However, we both thought the chocolate cupcake was a little dry.  The chocolate ganache cupcake was also dry.  The ganache was a bit more thick that I am used to.  I must admit it was at the end of the night when we ordered these cupcakes, but I do believe the cupcakes were more than a day old (the chocolate ganache cupcake anyway).  If I had to choose a place based on character and friendliness, I would pick Cuppy and Beans, but taste goes to Sweetz Bakery.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sweetz Bakery review

I was walking through the Dulles Town Center today watching all the after Christmas shoppers and I remembered there was a cupcake kiosk in the food court.  Tony and I had visited them once before but it was so long ago that I had forgotten which flavors we ordered.  Sweetz Bakery had a nice variety of cupcakes and a good selection of gluten and dairy free ones too. They have a huge selection to pick from on their online ordering list on their website.  All the neatly lined rows of individually packaged cupcakes looked delicious and flavor combinations sounded so good.  I was greeted by a smiling, friendly girl. I asked her what her favorite one was and she immediately said "the chocolate peppermint".  I am not a big fan of peppermint but, she seemed pretty confident about her choice.  I decided to take her word and order the chocolate peppermint.   The chocolate cupcake was very moist.  It had a vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with crushed peppermint.  The frosting could have had a hint of peppermint in it.  I couldn't tell if I was tasting the frosting or the crushed peppermint.  The frosting was delicious either way.  I have to admit I was afraid the peppermint was going to take over the entire cupcake but it didn't. The crushed peppermint was mixed with crushed candy melts I think. That made all the difference in the world. It was a perfect combination.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was even a cream filling inside the cupcake as well.  The chocolate cupcake was so moist it really didn't need a filling.  Sweetz also has a really neat cupcake club that you can order a dozen of cupcakes each month to be delivered to a loved one. They have a 3, 6, and 12 month program.  I thinks its a great concept.  The only downfall is that it's local delivery only.  If you are ever in the area I would definitely recommend you to stop by and grab a cupcake to go along with your starbucks coffee
Sweetz Bakery
Chocolate Peppermint

Monday, December 20, 2010

Craves 2nd review!

Tony and I were driving around the streets of Houston looking for...I forget what we were looking for BUT we discovered another Crave's location in the Houston area.  The first Crave's we went to it was the Uptown location.  This time we visited the West University location.  I'm very glad we did! Tony ordered the key lime (he was very upset they did not have his coconut (we went on a Tuesday - they only make coconut cupcakes on Sunday, Monday, and Friday...Our luck!) and I ordered the chocolate peanut butter (I really liked the chocolate chips inside the cupcake).  We didn't feel rushed to make a choice and the counter girl was helpful in answering all of our questions.  Both cupcakes were moist and tasty.  We had a very different experience at the West University location than from our first visit at the Uptown location. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cake Balls

This year for Christmas we made about 10 different types of cookies to send out to our friends and neighbors.  I also sent a big brightly decorated Christmas care package to my son (his first year in college - I'm so proud of him).  I asked him what his favorite cookie was and he said without hesitation "those cake ball thingys" So if you haven't seen or heard of these so-easy-to-make delicious treats I have given you the no fail recipe. My 14 year old daughter makes them for her friends all the time. 

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/cakepoplady/4205440877/

Cake Balls

1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix (any flavor)
1 (16 ounce) container prepared frosting (any flavor)
Melting candy coating  or almond bark (any color)

Make cake according to directions, in a 9X13 pan. Let cool .

Tear up cake and put in a bowl. Add 3/4 tub of store bought frosting. 
(chocolate w/ chocolate, white w/ white, etc.) Be creative. 

Mix cake & frosting until evenly mixed.

Make the balls with your hands and place on wax paper.  Place in freezer until almost frozen firm

Melt candies or almond bark in medium sized bowl in the microwave or on a double boiler.

Dip cakeballs into melted bark & set on wax paper to dry.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Philly Cupcake review!

Wow! I cannot believe it's been 3 months since my last post.  My time has been stretched due to my job and my relocation.  I am happy to say I have the cupcake bug again! Tony and I went to Philadelphia for a day trip to see who has the better cheese steak in Philly -  Geno's or Pat's. After stuffing our bellies with cheese steaks (we preferred Geno's-not only because of taste but because of the atmosphere), we prowled around for a perfect Philadelphia cupcake.  We accidentally found this cute corner cupcake shop.  Philly Cupcake, 1132 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 P: 215-625-4888.  Philly Cupcake was more of a quaint Paris cupcake boutique. It was very girly girl!  They had antique glass hutches cases with shelves of gourmet cupcakes. Tony opted for a more pricier coconut snowman holiday cupcake ($5.00).  I opted for the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Massacre cupcake ($4.25).  We really did not mind spending a little bit extra for a cupcake that not only looks delicious but tastes how you expect it to taste.  These are not the actual pictures of the cupcakes but they look pretty close to the cupcakes we ordered. 
 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cupcake Tasting in Chicago!

Bleeding Heart Bakery
Tony and I were in Chicago for a 20 hour layover.  I grabbed my computer and found 6 shops (Bleeding Heart, Molly's Cupcakes, another shop that is now a yogurt shop, Swirlz Cupcakes, and More Cupcakes) that were close to public transportation.  I mapped out our route and off we went! After an hour long train ride and bus ride.  We walked into Bleeding Hearts Bakery, which could possibly pass for a tatoo parlor.  This place was really cool. I was  welcomed by a friendly girl behind the counter.  After looking at all their brownies and cookies and all sorts of sinful desserts,  I asked the girl what flavors they had because none of the cupcakes were labeled.  They all looked delicous, but I couldn't tell what flavor each one was.  I then asked her what her favorite flavor was. 

Bleeding Heart's Red Velvet and Veruca Salt
She said without hesitating "Veruca Salt".  Taking her opinion, I ordered the Veruca Salt and a Red Velvet cupcake.  The Red Velvet was moist and flavorful.  The Veruca Salt on the other hand was a bit on the dry side. One of the bites I took had so much salt in it I almost spilled the glass of milk in my efforts to wash the salty taste away.  The Veruca Salt cupcake was just a different tasting cupcake that I wasn't used to.  Very nice atmosphere and lots of other goodies to choose from.  Our second stop turned out to be a yogurt shop (I should have checked the website before I put it on my cupcake list).

Molly's Cupcakes
From that shop, we headed to Molly's CupcakesMolly's Cupcakes was such a cute shop.  They had real swings to sit in at their bar and a designated sprinkle station.  All their cupcakes were labeled and looked exceptionally delicious.  There were lots of people buzzing behind the counter and people were constantly coming in the shop.  It was so hard to decide what cupcakes to get.  We ended up getting a Mint Chocolate cupcake and a Tiramasu Cupcake.  We first dug into the Mint Chocolate cupcake.  One word  "WOW"! We were blown away by the texture and taste. All we kept saying is MMMmmmMM, oh yea, MMMmmm.  I hope we weren't moaning too loud! Then we tasted the Tiramasu.  Again "OH WOW"! We had never tasted a Tiramasu.  I am so glad we had our first one at Molly's Cupcakes.

Molly's Mint Chocolate Cupcake
We practically rolled out of Molly's Cupcakes.  We were so stuffed!  I still had 2 more stops on my map! Swirlz was next on my list and during our painful walk, we decided to make it our last.  When we arrived at Swirlz we were immediatly welcomed by an enthusiastic guy behind the counter with his also enthusiastic co-worker (They could easily pass for cheerleaders..("Give me an S give me a W give me an I give me an R give me an L give me a Z SWIRLZS woohhooo") The guy's name was Jamie or James (We were so tired and stuffed I'm surprised I remembered even that) and the girl's name was Laurie or Lauren.  Jamie or James was so incredibly helpful.  He totally went out of his way to help me decide which cupcake to pick.  He described each cupcake as if they all were his favorite.  Laurie or Lauren was also extremely helpful.  She helped me narrow my decision down to 4 cupcakes and assured me she would pack them so careful that they would make it home unharmed. There was no way I could have eaten another crumb at that moment.  I chose Key Lime, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lemon Berry, and Red Velvet.  All were made with a buttercream and were buttermilk cakes.  When we got back to the hotel after our 20 minute bus ride and our hour train ride and hotel shuttle ride I opened the cupcake bag and as Lauren or Laurie promised they were all intact and still perfect looking.  We couldn't eat another cupcake until the following afternoon.  The frosting on the Key Lime tasted like butter and I didn't taste any of the tartness of the Key Lime until I bit into the cupcake.  The Chocolate Peanut Butter was moist and had the perfect peanut butter taste in the frosting that I love. My favorite of the 4 cupcakes was the Lemon Berry which was vegan.  My only complaint was the berry filling, it tasted like grape jelly.  The Red Velvet was moist and tasty.  They were all very good.  I so cannot wait to go back to Chicago.  I will definately be stopping by Molly's Cupcakes for their Peach Cobbler cupcake and venture to More Cupcakes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Gloater and His Heiny Cupcake


Tony's Red Velvet
 After we received our very mixed reviews from Julius and his friends in regards to my Red Velvet and Boston Cream cupcakes, Tony decided he was going to come up with a new and improved recipe for my beloved Red Velvet cupcakes.  I pulled out yet again all my baking stuff from my neatly packed moving boxes and began following his drill sargent-like instructions.  Twenty minutes later, out came a dozen of beautiful red velvet cupcakes.  As they were cooling, I snuck a bite from one that was still very warm.  I realized at that moment, I would now be listening to Tony gloat for the next few hours, or maybe days or even weeks about how his special recipe is THE recipe of our future cupcake corner shop. I waited till they were completely cooled and then frosted them with the cream cheese frosting that Tony also came up with (we are still perfecting this recipe). I reluctantly handed Tony his prized creation and waited for IT to begin.  I believe the gloating began the moment he touched the cupcake.  I admit that it was a damn good cupcake and I will pay dearly for admitting it, but it is what it is as they say.  Now that I have baked Tony's recipe, I now had a platter full of beautiful red velvet cupcakes and no one to eat them because I was leaving on a 4 day trip.  I packed those babies up and off to the airport I went to pass them out to all my Air Wisconsin friends.  On the way to the airport Tony just had to take a picture of his prized cupcake on the dash of his jeep.  Doesn't it look like a heiny?   I was walking into the terminal pulling my rollerboard in one hand and holding an armful of neatly frosted cupcakes in the other.  From the look on the people passing by you would have thought I was holding the Holy Grail.  Peoples faces just lit up upon seeing the cupcakes.  A TSA agent even asked me if they were from DC Cupcakes.  That was totally way cool.  I reluctantly said "no" and offered him one before sending the cupcakes through the x-ray machine.  He accepted and said they were awesome.  I made my way to my gate and handed off my box of treasures to one of my friends and in less than 2 minutes they were gone.    I now have new guinea pigs!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

If I have a will...I will find a way!

It's Sunday evening, after being on home reserve for yet another day, I am climbing the walls.  All my baking supplies are packed except for the basic wooden spoon and cupcake tin.  I decided to go for it and make our new friend Julius and his coworkers the cupcakes I promised them.  I pulled out my Red Velvet and my Boston Cream recipes and began making my babies.  I can honestly say these cupcakes are totally homemade being hand-stirred and everything (I didn't dig out my mixer until I got to the frosting).  Half way through my baking adventure, I thought I would text Julius and let him know that tomorrow would be his lucky cupcake day!  He texted me back and said he was at the Redskins game (lucky dawg).  If only the Redskins would have gotten that field goal and won! Then my cupcakes would have been the frosting on the cupcake day for them!  
Red Velvet
SOUTHERN RED VELVET
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Fill cupcake pans with papers.  Fill 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Boston Cream Cupcake
I will post the Boston Cream in the near future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mom's Apple Pie Bakery Visit

We stopped here on our way to a casino in West Virginia (why Tony thought that bringing a girl with the WORST luck in the world to a casino would actually bring him luck is beyond me). Although this is a pie shop, the yelp reviews said they had cupcakes.  Before we entered the shop, we could already smell a wonderful aroma. Inside, we saw rows of pies and piles of cookies and 1 tiny row of cupcakes. I first ordered buckeyes...because as you know I am a chocolate peanut butter fanatic and of course, Tony ordered a coconut macaroon. I also ordered a piece of Texas cake since we are moving to Texas, I thought I should know how a Texas cake should taste. As we were checking out we seen Mexican wedding cookies so we ordered one of them for good luck.


As soon as we got in the car I took a picture of the cupcake and the buckeye.
Chocolate Cupcake

The cupcake looked like a supermarket cupcake with the bright orange frosting and store bought fall sprinkles. When I bit into it the frosting crunched (not a good sign)! I then peeled back the cupcake paper and broke off a piece of the cake. The cupcake was well past it's prime as well as were the Texas (which was the size and weight of a brick seriously) and the mexican wedding cookie. All three ended up in the trash with just a small taste bite taken out of them.

Buckeye
The buckeye, on the other hand, was a different story (ya just can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter). The peanut butter was perfectly sweetened and was dipped in just the right amount of sweet chocolate. Even though it wasn't a cupcake, it rates high on the taste scale as well as the macaroon did.

The people working there were very friendly and helpful and the place smelled absolutely wonderful! We will stop by again and maybe try a slice of pie and of course stock up on buckeyes and coconut macaroons.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bad Service in Syracuse, NY

Tony and I came here on the second overnight of my 4 day trip.  We stopped by this place to check out their cupcakes (only because it was across the street from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  I didn't even yelp a cupcake place today). When we walked into Mimi's Bakery and Cafe, we could almost hear the lady behind the counter grunt "oh great another customer" we should have walked right out the door right then and there, but I thought she could be having a bad moment. We soon realized, no she was just plain rude we asked a her few questions about some of her pastries and cupcakses and she gave us a snippy answer each time. We quickly ordered 2 cupcakes and walked out the door. When we opened our bag, the lady had put my cupcake in the bag upside down totally ruining the cupcake. Save your money and take your business to someone that actually appreciates it.

We went to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for dinner. Awesome food! We will visit again on my next overnight.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Canadian Cupcakes!

Isobel's Cupcakes Storefront
Since my cupcake pans are packed up and ready for the move, I am suffering from baking cupcake withdrawal.  The day I decide to have a garage sale, I get a call from crew scheduling sending me on a 4 day trip.  Starting with the first overnight in Ottowa, Canada! Last time I was in Ottowa I search the general area for cupcakes but could only find pastries.  This overnight was a very long overnight.  I brought Tony along to keep me entertained (or visa versa). I yelped cupcakes again and found a place...about a mile and a half away from the hotel.  I am too cheap to get a cab and would prefer to walk anyway.  Tony on the other hand would rather cab it anytime, anyplace, or anywhere.  I won, but not without a price. The entire time we were walking Tony entertained me with the reasons why we should try to hail a cab.   His whining was quite comical.  We finally arrived at Isobel's Cupcakes.  It was a cute little house on the corner.  Inside there were two rows of cupcakes neatly organized and well labeled.  There were about 12 different flavors.  On the wall there were decorated sugar cookies and on the counter there were miscellaneous brownies and sweet treats.  I must have been totally impressed because I bought 6 cupcakes.  I never buy 6.  Tony also bought a homemade toasted coconut marshmallow.  It was very good. 

Toasted Coconut Marshmallow
I am sad to say that the impressive store and display were the only things impressive about this place.  The cupcakes were very dry and the frosting was made with shortening.  I did like the fillings.  The strawberry filling in the strawberry shortcake, the lemon curd in the lemon cupcake. 

Lemon Curd, Strawberry Shortcake, Expresso, Cappachino, Coconut Lime, Chocolate Ganache
Of the 6 cupcakes we ordered the coconut lime was the best.  It had a coconut frosting with a cream filling similar to a canoli filling but unfortunately the cupcake was past it's prime and was very dry as all 6 cupcakes were.  I can't wait till winter comes in Ottowa and I can skate my way to a cupcake shop!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SuzyBeez Cakez n Sweetz

I honestly was going to try and stay away from cupcake shopping during our recent visit to Houston in our quest to find a place to live.  I only had one day and I had to stay focused! As you can see I am not very good at staying focused.  We were stopped at a red street light and after looking at what seemed like the 100th place to live, the SuzyBeez sign just seemed to have had this neon glow to it (it was 2 in the afternoon) and I know I just heard this cupcake shop call out my name (for those of you who don't know me - I am legally deaf). We did a "right turn Clyde" move (we squealed the tires and everything in our little rental car) into the parking lot of SuzyBeez.  The shop was nice and bright with a cute little bee signature symbol.  A  friendly gentleman behind the counter described their cupcake shop process and that they have four flavors they keep on a regular basis and the other flavors are special flavors.  I must have looked tired and confused because the man offered his cupcake suggestion (I'm so glad he did!).  He said the Mexican Vanilla Cream is phenomenal (I think that was the name I was so tired I didn't even get to take a picture). How can you go wrong when the owner offers his personal favorite, so I ordered his special vanilla, cookies n creme, and a tres vanilla cupcake. They also had cake truffles. We ordered two truffles (they tasted ok, but I will stick to cupcakes).  I am so conflicted with this review.  The customer service was great, the shop was very cute, but I have issues with the cupcakes.  Of the three cupcakes we ordered we got one was just so so, one that was so stale if I dropped it on a tile floor it would have cracked the tile, and one that was so *&%@$# off the chart good, on a scale of 1 - 10 this cupcake was a 15.  

The awesome of awesome cupcake was the owners suggested Mexican vanilla cream cupcake (I think that is what it was called), this cupcake will haunt me! It was so good and I don't even like vanilla cupcakes! It had a creamy filling that I had never tasted before. The frosting was just the perfect fluff of sweetness topped with what I believe was white chocolate.  You must try this cupcake! I must go back and eat this cupcake!

The bad cupcake was the tres vanilla cupcake.  I don't know if it was just because I had just tasted the most perfect vanilla cupcake or what, but this cupcake was just blah, it really didn't have a memorable flavor it was just a plain vanilla cupcake to me. 

The ugly cupcake (not ugly looking just ugly tasting), this cupcake must have been lost for about 3 days (stiff happens).  I'm sure that this cupcake would have been tasty had I bought it the day it was made.  I knew this was not a newborn cupcake the moment I peeled back the cupcake paper.  This cupcake looked beautiful with its swirled oreo cream frosting.  There was even a half of an oreo cookie in the cupcake.  

Even though 2 of the 3 cupcakes did not meet my expectations, I will definitely be going back to Suzybeez for the hypnotic vanilla cupcake in the near future.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nostalgia and Lavendar Moon Cupcakery Visits

It was Labor Day weekend and Tony and I were looking for something to do on a beautiful weekend day.  Off to Annapolis, MD we went to see all the new "plebes" as Tony calls them.  The "plebes" are the new freshmen at the Annapolis Naval Academy.  They can be seen a mile away dressed in their bright whites walking among all the proud parents and the awe inspired tourists along with the dog walking locals.  We are not much for crowds, but the weather was just too beautiful to pass up.  After our blue crab dinner and our dessert of a handipped ice cream we walked to main street and noticed a cupcake shop tucked inside another building.  It almost looked like an ice cream shop.  Nostalgia Cupcake shop was an ice cream looking shop with eight or so different cupcakes to pick from.  I chose (as always) the chocolate peanut butter cupcake and Tony chose (as always) chocolate coconut.   Because we were so full from dinner and dessert, we saved our petite sweet treats for a late night treat.  On our drive home from Annapolis, MD, we ran into traffic on I95 so we made a detour into Alexandria, VA.  to kill some time and we Yelped "cupcakes" and found Lavender Moon Cupcakery.  Lavender Moon is a cute little baby doll style cupcake shop.  It had a big front empty room with one little table and in the back room there was a little glass covered table with an assortment of about 6 or 7 different flavors of cupcakes. The names all sounded so delicious I couldn't just pick 2.  I chose (Tony stayed in the car as parking is a nightmare in this area) S'mores, Pina Colada, Belgium Chocolate, Mexican Chocolate.  After we left Lavender Moon, we decided to drive to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, VA to watch the jets land at DCA and enjoy the afternoon weather.  Even though I am around airplanes all day long, I still am awe struck at the massive pieces of metal flying in the air and enjoy the afternoon weather while nibbling on our sweet treats.  We sat at a picnic table next to a cyclist named Julius who was also enjoying the view.  Somehow or another we struck up a conversation and we found out he and his colleagues like cupcakes, so Tony volunteered Julius and his colleagues to be my new cupcake tasting guinea pigs. I will be making them Red Velvet and Boston Creme.  Wish me luck!

Lavender Moon Cupcakes
Lavender Moon cupcake taste review: The S'mores, Belgium Chocolate, and the Mexican Chocolate cupcake all tasted the same.  They were average tasting cupcakes with a very commercial sugary tasting frosting, other than the different toppings on top of the frosting, we couldn't tell the difference from each cupcake. We were not impressed with the taste.  The Pina Colada tasted like an angel food cake with a coconut frosting sprinkled with coconut, nothing wow about it.

Nostalgia Cupcakes
Nostalgia Cupcake shop: The Chocolate Peanut Butter was very rich and chocolatey, with a very rich tasting ganache that tasted just the way I like it.  Tony's Chocolate Coconut cupcake had the perfect amount of coconut flavor in the fluffy frosting. Tony is not a fan of chocolate but he did say the cupcake was very good.  The pictures were takin after we arrived at the picnic table so they aren't picture perfect, but they tasted awesome!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crave vs Sprinkles Cupcake war in Houston, TX

On my quest of job and apartment hunting in Houston to relocate...we of course I just HAD to check out the local cupcake shops! My yelp locator said there were 2 cupcake shops worth visiting; Sprinkles and Crave. I was very excited to be going to one of the original Sprinkle cupcake shops. We plugged in the address in my niftly little Tom Tom and we drove...around and around and around we drove. We had a difficult time finding the little cursive sprinkle sign in the middle of a massive building still under construction. On the wall before we entered the shop were 3 tv screens viewing the original owner on various shows. Once inside, we were surprised at how small the area was. The actual customer ordering areas was about as big as walk-in closet. The decor of the shop was brown, very brown with an occasional splash of color spots. I suppose that represents "sprinkles". There was a large window of cupcakes each marked with wooden pegs of their flavor. We chose Red Velvet, Chocolate Coconut, and Chocolate Marshmallow. The Girls behind the counter were very friendly and made a point to say my name at least 3 times in like 2 minutes (Can I see some ID April? Here are your cupcakes April. Have a nice day April!). Seriously 3 times in 2 minutes.
Crave Cupcakes
Our next stop was Crave. Crave was only a few blocks away from Sprinkles and appeared to be brighter in atmosphere and in color (key word "appeared"). The girls behind the counter were very friendly. Let me rephrase that, extremely friendly. We wanted to just stand there and marvel at all the cute cupcakes, decorations and busy bee workers making cupcakes, but we had 3 girls each asking us incessively if we needed help, or what could they get us or do we need help choosing a flavor. I'm glad they were friendly, but we really felt rushed. We ordered; Red Velvet, Lemon, Nutella, Chocolate Creme, and a coffee. Crave was very cute, bright and open. The coffee was pretty good too. We took our cupcakes home and began our cupcake war! Based on appearance, both cupcakes from both shops had the same appearance; very simple, with a spot of candy on top and both shops charged the same price for the same sized cupcakes. Craves won the originality only because their candy spot had a shape of a sunbeam mixer on top. I have a sunbeam mixer but have been wanting a kitchen-aid mixer for like FOREVER. I have been telling Tony that I need a kitchen-aid mixer (everybody on Cupcake Wars has them!) to make cupcakes. Craves use a sunbeam mixer as their signature decoration and in fact uses a sunbeam mixer to make their actual cupcakes totally blowing my chances of getting a kitchen-aid mixer any time in the near future. Thank you, Craves! Now on to the most important part of our Houston cupcake wars! Taste! I would have bet money that Crave was going to win and that I was going to get to say the Cupcake War's infamous words "I was just under-whelmed" about Sprinkle Cupcakes. I couldn't have been more wrong and the queen of cupcakes can shove a cupcake in my mouth because their cupcakes were AWESOME! The Red Velvet was super moist with a bright red color, the Chocolate Coconut was chocolatey. The frosting was not too sweet and had just the right amount of coconut on top. The Chocolate Marshmallow had a very dark chocolatey taste with the perfect amount of filling covered with a rich chocolate ganache. All 3 of Sprinkles cupcakes were "Wow" cupcakes. Crave Cupcakes on the other hand were all "underwhelming". The Red Velvet cupcake was not very red and could not be differentiated from the chocolate cupcake other than by the frosting. The Lemon cupcake was sugar-shock sweet and could not be tolerated after the first bite. The Nutella cupcake tasted like a bland coffee cake. I was so wanting Crave to beat Sprinkles, but Sprinkles hands down won the taste part our Houston cupcake war! The final part of our Houston cupcake war is the cupcake shop's appearance and welcoming factor. Both cupcake shops employees were equally friendly and informative, but Crave was brighter and more welcoming. I have to say even though Crave won the presentation (only by a candy impression) and shop appearance, Sprinkles won the taste portion by a landslide, and taste will bring us back to a cupcake shop faster than any presentation or shop decor. So, the winner of our Houston cupcake war is: SPRINKLES!

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Did Somebody say BACON?

I don't know why I wanted to do this cupcake, I suppose because it is 7:00 in the morning.  I had tasted an experminental  maple cupcake a few years ago from Cupcake Heaven in Haymarket, VA but it really didn't have the big bacon flavor that I was looking for.  I am now craving a cupcake that taste will like pancakes, bacon, and whipped cream. So, what I came up with was a Maple Bacon cupcake with Apple Filling and a Maple whipped cream topping.  Tony was the official taste tester.  He put on his best French Cupcake War tester opinion hat and (he can actually speak French) said...."You said you wanted a big bacon flavor, I don't taste it.  I just don't taste the bacon at all.  The apple flavor takes over the entire cupcake.  The cupcake tastes good and I like it but I don't taste the bacon".  Wow, I was crushed. I put 1/2 cup of bacon in the cupcake mix and bacon grease.  Maybe the bacon needs to be doubled.  The density of the cupcake was good and I really like the apple filling. The two lessons I learned from this baking experience are; one, that I have a tendency to overfill the cupcakes making them sink back in the middle therefore destroying the edibility of the cupcake and two,  if all the cupcake spots are not filled with batter in the pan it will cause uneven baking in the other cupcakes.  I am so proud of the cupcakes that sacrifice themselves to teach me to be a better cupcake baker! 

 Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Makes 10 / 350F oven

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon of bacon drippings (left in the fridge to become solid)
1 egg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/4 cup of self rising flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
tiny tiny pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of minced bacon, cooked and drained

1) Cook some bacon in a fry pan. Reserve the drippings and place in the fridge to solidify. Mince 1/2 a cup of the bacon.

2) Cream butter and solidified bacon fat 'till light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat well until combined.

3) Add the egg and beat.

4) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together.

5) Add some of the flour and mix, then some of the milk, then continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the bacon. Taste and add more maple syrup, flour, or milk if needed for desired taste. Keep in mind the maple frosting is very sweet, and to add in very small increments for alterations as maple syrup in large amounts can break a cake batter.

6) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes for even baking. Once cooled scoop out middle and add diced apple pie filling.

Maple Syrup Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/4 cup of powdered sugar for thickness

Whip whipping cream in cold metal or glass bowl until thick, slowly add maple syrup and powdered sugar to desired thickness and sweetness.

Good luck and let me know if you are the ultimate baconator cupcake maker!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Asian Inspirations

Banh Mi
Today we went to Little Saigon or China City.  The place is a mini Asian city in Falls Church. You can find anything and everything Asian there.  Tony and I like to go there for sandwiches called Banh mi.  I love Cilantro and this sandwich is loaded with it.  We also get a sweet pork bun (which never makes it out of the store before it's eaten) and my daughters favorite coconut bun which inspired me to attempt to make a vanilla bean cupcake with the same filling that is inside the coconut bun.  I found the perfect vanilla bean cream cupcake Recipe.
Coconut Bun
Vanilla Cream Cupcake 
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream 

Cream Sugar and eggs in a bowl, add sour cream, oil, and vanilla. In a seperate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  add to creamed sugar mixture and combine. 
I found the recipe for the coconut bun and made the filling. 

Coconut Bun Filling
1 1/3 cups coconut flakes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1 large egg yolk

Process coconut and sugar in blender or food processor until very fine. Turn into small bowl.
Stir in margarine and egg yolk until paste-like consistency. After I filled the cups 1/2 full with the cupcake batter, I made a small ball (like a jawbreaker size) and placed it in the center of each cupcake, depending on how full each cup was after the coconut filling, I put a dollop of additional batter to cover filling if space was available before I placed them in the oven.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until center comes out clean with a toothpick.

Coconut and Vanilla Bean Whipped Frosting
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons cream cheese
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 tablespoons coconut extract
1/2 canilla bean scraped
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, and beat to combine. Add whipping cream, coconut extract and vanilla bean,  beat until well combined.

The result was not what I was hoping for (I really don't know what I was hoping for). but it was something different. Tony is the coconut contisseur and he said it was very good.  Maybe I am just being over critical of myself.  If you try this cupcake please give me your feed back. Now off to play tennis and get my butt kicked by Tony.








Another Home Reserve Day...Another Cupcake Shop

Today we tried Natalia's Elegant Creations.  The decor of this little restaurant is so warm and inviting (If I ever have a cupcake place, I would want it decorated just like this one). We tried the vanilla cupcake and a red velvet cupcake. I must say we were so disappointed. The red velvet was more brown in color rather than the more modern red. If my eyes were closed when I tasted it I would have said it was a vanilla cupcake. The red velvet was very moist and the cream cheese frosting was very heavy. The Vanilla cupcake was very dry and not appealing after the first bite. However, the vanilla cupcake was topped with a delicious whipped cream frosting. I am sure that if this cupcake was fresh it would have tasted much better. Our visit was at the end of the day so we will give this place another try and maybe even try a sandwich and a specialty coffee.

On our way home we stopped by Wegman's to get some cupcake baking items and we walked by the bakery and noticed a few cupcakes. I swore I wouldn't ever buy grocery store cupcakes. But, come on, this is WEGMANS can it really be classified as a grocery store! so I cheated and bought 2 cupcakes a strawberry vanilla and chocolate peanut butter. 

They looked real good.  We tasted the vanilla strawberry and it was moist and tasty.  The frosting was a whipped cream and had a hint of strawberry.  It was very tasty. The Chocolate peanut butter was light and fluffy.  The frosting again was a whipped topping with a hint of peanut butter. A chocolate peanut butters dream.  They were everything we expected coming from Wegman's, they tasted nothing like a grocery store cupcake and at $2.00 a cupcake the price was the cheapest from ALL the gourmet shops and tasted great if not better then some of the overpriced delights.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cupcake Sailing!

So we were sitting at home waiting for crew scheduling to call me out for a flight and Tony said "let's go cupcake sailing!" Ya know like garage sailing but instead of prowling for garage sails we were gonna prowl for cupcake shops! OK. Tony didn't really say that, he kinda said it in his own manly-macho way. Sort of like "yo, lets go eat some cupcakes!" I said "I'm so there, let's go!" Our first stop was Edibles Incredible in Reston, VA. Based on the Yelp reviews that I read, I decided to get a Lemon cupcake and Tony ordered an Almond Joy cupcake.  The lemon cupcake was huge compared to the almond joy cupcake but both were priced at a hefty $3.95 each.  Also as a Yelp review warned us, we were watching  the counter girl eagerly trying to package our 2 cupcakes in a fancy ribbon and a Chinese box so we kindly interrupted her and asked to carry our cupcakes out of the store as to not be charged an additional "packaging fee" to the already hard to swallow hefty cupcake price. The lemon cupcake was flavorful and moist.  The lemon frosting was little to be desired for but the delicious cupcake made up for the frosting's short comings.  Tony's cupcake on the other hand looked deflated and tasted very dry.  The coconut flavor that you associate an Almond Joy with was non existent other than in the few coconut flakes on top.

Our next cupcake shop stop was Bakeshop, Arlington, VA.  Although this shop did not have a big selection of cupcakes (there was about 7 flavors to choose from), all the cupcakes looked delicious.  I ordered a red velvet (I was still looking for THE perfect red velvet) and Tony ordered a Chocolate Toffee Crunch. The price per cupcake was $2.50 and they were packaged in cute individual boxes.  This red velvet is probably the BEST tasting red velvet I have tasted so far! This cupcake was moist, bright red in color, and had nice soft chocolate flavor. The frosting was a light fluffy whipped cream frosting.  I was expecting a cream cheese frosting but the whipped frosting was pleasantly different.  The Chocolate Toffee Crunch cupcake was flavorful, moist, chocolaty and very tasty as well.  This cupcake also had a whipped cream frosting. If you do not like sweet frosting this cupcake shop would be the best place for you to go. 
Our next and last cupcake shop of the day was Best Buns Bread Company, Arlington, VA. Based on the  name of the shop you can guess that cupcakes are not their specialty.  So much so that when we got there the selection was very slim, so slim that there was only one flavor to pick from, Chocolate Peanut Butter.  Can you guess which cupcake we picked?  The cupcake was jumbo sized and priced at $2.95.  The chocolate cupcake was moist and chocolaty however, the peanut butter frosting tasted chalky.  I think that this shop has the potential to have tasty cupcakes when the selection is available (there were placards, but no cupcakes).  I would have been curious to taste their red velvet.  Next time we have dinner at Sweet Water, we will stop by Best Buns Bread Company again to see if they have different cupcakes available.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cupcake Therapy

The past few weeks have been crazy.  I spent a much needed week in Texas with my kids, I got to see my oldest off to college (he will be getting cupcake care packages soon),   and on my only day off in the next 12 days, I went on a wasted trip to Milwaukee in the hopes of getting transferred to Houston to be closer to my kids (only to find out they no longer operate out of Houston).  So I thought today would be a good day for CUPCAKE THERAPY!! Recently I found a recipe on another blog acupfullofcake@blogspot.com of a delicious looking Oreo Cupcake.  I loved the cupcake but I didn't like the frosting.  I don't know if it was the merengue or what but I just expected a thicker richer frosting.  Next time I make it I will use a basic buttercream frosting.  This is my mini version of the original recipe.

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever

Makes 12-16

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup whole milk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled (cooled for about 15 min make sure it’s still melted though don’t want it to harden back up)
1/4 cup water, heated to boiling (have a kettle of water on the stove boiling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg room temp
1 tablespoons vinegar (not wine vinegar)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 package of Oreo cookies


Instructions

This can be done with a stand mixer or by hand with a hand mixer or whisk but it is more of a 2 bowl method than one if going the hand mixing route.  Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the center.  Place paper baking cups in regular sized muffin tins, spray lightly with cooking spray.  Carefully twist off one side of the oreo and place the half with the cream filling down, filling side up in the bottom of each liner.  
Whisk together the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt) in a large bowl.  In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer whisk eggs till slightly thickened and a pale color.  Add in the milk, vanilla, oil and vinegar and whisk/beat well.  Add in the melted and cooled chocolate and whisk/beat until combined well.   Either add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients OR the wet into the flour and mix just to combine. Add in the boiling water and mix again just to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way with batter.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs or the cupcake tops bounce back when lightly pressed. Mine baked for 18 minutes.   Let cool for 5 min in pans and then remove carefully to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.  This frosting is a basic buttercream frosting with oreo crumbs added.

Oreo Crumb Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough frosting for 12-16 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup shortening
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Oreo Crumbs (make sure fine crumbs and no large pieces)

Directions
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening until fluffy. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.  Add salt, vanilla, whipping cream. Blend on low until moistened. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy. Fold in crumbs until blended.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Visit to Fluffy Thoughts Cakes




Tony and I stopped by this cute little cupcake shop while running a few errands in the area.  We usually buy an assortment of cupcakes to see if each store has a "signature" cupcake.  However, we have been making quite a few stops recently with each stop running at least $15.00 a pop not only leaving us very unsatisfied but also a little light in the checkbook.  So, today we decided to only choose one cupcake each.  I chose a red velvet (I am still looking for the "aha" moment or the "aha" red velvet cupcake) and Tony chose a german chocolate cupcake (only because it had a huge dollop of coconut on top).  When the girl handed us the cupcakes we immediately noticed how fresh they were (they passed our squishy test).   Both cupcakes we were tasty.  We did think that the frosting tasted similar to that of the frosting you would buy in the cake section of a grocery store (I can remember eating this frosting by the spoonfuls straight out of the tubs on a bad PMS day). All in all, this shop was all a shop should be.  We will definately be visiting again when we are back in the area.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Visit To Crumbs Bake Shop

I found this cute little shop on my 10 block walk to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.  I had read the Yelp reviews and they were 50 / 50.  The shop was very neat and the cupcakes were clearly marked.  The music was upbeat and the staff were friendly.  I ordered the peanut butter cup cupcake. This cupcake just looked too good to pass up.  WHAT? $3.50 for a cupcake?? Are they serious? This cupcake must be made out of imported chocolate and range free chicken eggs!! I bought the cupcake anyway (thinking to myself..this better be worth it).  I open my overpriced cupcake and took off one of the peanut butter cup sections that decorated the top.  After my first taste of the peanut butter cup, I knew this cupcake will be dissappointing. The peanut butter cup wasn't a good quality it wasn't even a Reese peanut butter cup! I have to say the chocolate cupcake by itself was not all that bad.  The frosting was way too sweet.  Talk about sugar shock! I felt like I was just eating pure sugar.  The cupcake was filled with the same sugary frosting.  Totally ruined the cupcake.  I think had a lighter fluffier frosting been used, this cupcake could have been edible.  Very disappointed.

Cupcake Frosting Tips

I finally found the cupcake decorating tips that give the cupcakes the big POOF! I went to Michaels and all they had was a # 12 which clearly was not big enough.  So Tony suggested Williams and Sonoma (he doesn't do malls or chick flicks, but he does like my cupcakes).  We went to the Williams and Sonoma store in the hoity toity mall on the way back from our trip to DC.  We found a set of six decorating tips for $18.50 (ouch).  This small fortune for pieces of metal was more than I was willing to spend.  I only wanted one tip.  As I was walking out of the store without the tips, Tony said, "you did not drag me in this gawd awful mall for nothing" and handed me $20.  Woo Hoo!  So for you Tony, I made you my very first cupcake with my overpriced, poofy decorator tip.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Visit to Carlos Bakery

My sweet few moments at Carlos Bakery will be a memory I will never forget.  It cost me $19.50 for a round trip ticket to and from my hotel, a 10 block walk (I got off at the wrong stop), and $8.50 for my prized pastries!

I arrived at Carlos Bakery at about 8:00 am on a hot humid Wednesday morning.  There was already a line of about 50 or so people (they open at 7:00 am).  Everyone in line seemed to be in good spirits as we all waited excitedly to enter the maroon and gold bakery.  A father and daughter left the bakery all bouncy and bubbly with their white box secured with the red and white striped string.  The father announced to all that was waiting that Buddy was in the bakery.  We all seemed to smile a little wider with excitement.  As I waited patiently in line (everyone in line had to wait on the far side of the sidewalk to let the locals pass by).  I noticed a homeless man walk up to the bakery door, open it and spoke to the doorman.  He then closed the door, and stood outside to the side of the door.  What happened next blew my mind.  A few minutes later, the doorman opened the door and handed the homeless man a cup of coffee (I am thinking   OMG!).  Here we are at a now famous bakery that has just opened its doors for the day and already they have a waiting line of an hour or so long and the establishment still takes the time to help the less fortunate.  How awesome is that! I was truly blessed by the simple moment of what I had just witnessed.  Once inside, the bakery is a very cozy place that can pack in about 30 people. 
 As I was drooling over all the pastries to pick from, I was blessed yet again by another simple moment. Madeline Castano, Buddy's sister was behind the counter helping with all the orders. Now this bakery is busting at the seams with customers and everyone behind the counter is rushing around helping everyone as quickly as they humanly can.  I noticed a bunch of kids asking Madeline a zillion questions about the bakery and Buddy.  Madeline was filling a customer's order and answering the children's questions as best she could.  I didn't hear any of the questions, but I noticed Madeline had finished the customer's order and walk over to the children and their family and took the time to sign autographs and take pictures with them.  She talked with them as if they were the only customer in the store.  They had her undivided attention.  All this took only a matter of moments but was a simple act of kindness that this family will never forget and neither will I.  Such a gift this visit was and I hadn't even tasted my prized cannoli purchase! Even if the cannoli doesn't meet my taste bud expectations (I have no doubt that it will be delicious!), I wouldn't have traded this last hour and a half of blessings in for any cupcake or Italian pastry.  I knew from the first episode of Cake Boss that the Valastro family were very special and now I know why.  I wish them years of happiness and success. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cupcake Withdrawl

I am on day 3 of a 4 day trip for work and I can honestly say, I am suffering from cupcake withdrawal.  I have gone 3 days without baking a single cupcake or eating a cupcake (the not eating part is probably a good thing since my belly is starting to form a swirl similar to the swirl on top of a cupcake).  I did go to Barnes and Noble and drooled over all cupcake books they had there that I couldn't afford to buy.  Tomorrow will be my day though! I am overnighting in Newark, NJ and I am going to make the trek to (can you hear the sound of angelic music) Carlos Bakery! It will take me 2 buses, a train, AND a mile of walking to get there.  The effort will be so worth it.   I want one of EVERYTHING!

How perfect is this! Buddy and his family on Oprah now as I write this! Oprah made the comment, "can you believe all these people want to watch you make cakes!" We don't watch just for the cakes (they are pretty awesome though) we watch Buddy and his family with all their family drama and comradery. I don't think the show would be what it is today without them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Visit to Baked and Wired

After Tony and I visited the nationally televised Georgetown Cupcakes, we just had to try out their competitors Baked and Wired! So I drug Tony out yet again (I do not attempt to drive the maze of roads in DC) to find this cute little cupcake/coffee shop on a dead end street. We were very happy to see that there was no line extending out the door as with Georgetown Cupcakes. They were extremely busy but not overwhelmed.   This place was exactly how I envisioned a little bakery/cafe and the cupcakes were jumbo sized with unique cupcake papers.  We ordered 4 cupcakes:
.
1.  Chocolate Peanut Butter - A very moist cupcake with the perfect amount of peanut butter frosting, we  gave this cupcake a 5 out of 5. 

2.  Lemon Blueberry - I don't remember ordering this cupcake, but I am not that upset because it actually was quite tasty.  This cupcake had a ton of blueberries in it, but did not have a big blueberry taste. The frosting had a wow of a lemon taste. We gave this cupcake a 4.5 out of 5. 

3.  Carrot Cake - Again, another great tasting moist cupcake with bits of carrots and walnuts.  The frosting was not overpowering or too sweet.  We gave this cupcake a 5 out of 5.

4.  Red Velvet -  I am not sure if this was an old cupcake or what but the cupcake was very dry compared to all the others and it really did not have much of a flavor to it.   The frosting was a very tasty cream cheese frosting with just the right amount.  We gave this cupcake a 3 out of 5.

My ONLY complaint was that all the cupcakes were lined up at waist level and the labels were very hard to read making it very hard to stand back and ponder which cupcakes you would like to indulge in.

All in all...We believe Baked and Wired cupcakes HANDS DOWN beat Georgetown Cupcakes cupcakes.

I would seriously like to see a showdown between Georgetown Cupcakes and Baked and Wired!

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Visit to Georgetown Cupcakes

I was so excited to visit the famous Georgetown Cupcakes! I couldn't wait to taste the much hyped and Washington Post's top cupcake pick...the Chocolate Ganache cupcake.  Tony and I arrived in Georgetown around 7:30 pm on a rainy, humid and hot Thursday evening in August. We walked up to the corner of Georgetown Cupcakes and there was a line..a line out of the building and down the sidewalk of like 35 people! I couldn't believe it.   I really should have expected it because all the comments and reviews I had read talked about waiting lines going out the door of the store.  Tony hates waiting in lines, so we decided we would go have a light overpriced dinner of appetizers at J. Paul's (I love their soft pretzel basket) and wait till it was closer to when Georgetown cupcakes closed at 9:00 pm. in hopes of not having to wait in a long line. We headed back to Georgetown cupcakes around 8:50 pm and there was STILL a line, not as long as earlier but still a line! We only had to wait in line for like 15 minutes.  We ordered a half dozen; Peanut Butter Swirl, Chocolate Ganache, Cherry Cheesecake, Key Lime, Coconut and Red Velvet.  We rated them from best to worst.

1.  Chocolate Ganache - The absolute best one out of the bunch.  So rich, moist and chocolatey! Yum!   

2.  Peanut Butter Swirl - Same chocolate cupcake but with a peanut butter ... Heaven!

The 3 remaining we really didn't like at all...infact...all we needed was a bite out of each one and then we trashed them. We did take into consideration that it was the end of the night and that the cupcakes were most likely baked over 12 hours ago.

3.  Cherry Cheesecake - Cheese cake part was very good but the rock hard graham cracker crumbs on the bottom could have chipped a tooth.

4.  Red Velvet - Being a newby cupcake connoisseur ...I am not sure what a really good red velvet cupcake is suppose to taste like but I don't think this is it.  The color was very red though.

5.  Key Lime - It pretty much tasted like the recipe was not followed correctly. The frosting was nice and fluffy with a hint of key lime taste but too sweet for our tastes.

6.  Coconut - Same cupcake as the key lime but with a funny coconut aftertaste in the frosting and so much coconut on top of the frosting to make even a coconut fanatic say "no thanks".

Even though my review of Georgetown Cupcakes was not as good as I anticipated.  They have a super support group in town and DC loves them! I think they have a great reality show and look forward to watching them every Friday.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Perfect PMS Cupcake

Today I made a Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache. Heavenly!

This cupcake is so light and fluffy and rich, you can only eat 1. This was my first time I made chocolate ganache.  I was very surprised at how easy it was.  I watched a clip of the DC Georgetown gals whip up their 3 minute chocolate ganache before I began my ganache adventure.   

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Triple Citrus Cupcakes

I was so excited to make these cupcakes! I am not much of a lemony-orangey type person, I am more of a chocolate peanut butter person.  But these cupcakes were a nice change from the cupcakes I have been making lately.  The recipe was fairly easy.  They tasted absolutely wonderful! I only had to make one batch and they came out perfect! They were super moist and flavorful!