Archive for the 'cupcakes' Category



A friend asked me to make some cupcakes for her brother’s graduation a few weeks ago.  I made chocolate cupcakes topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and whipped caramel ganache.  H and I ate the extras and they were delicious.  I think I finally have a few recipes down that I can rely on every time.  It’s kind of scary to think how fast the time is flying by these days; another round of graduations come and gone.  Graduation…one of those major life transitions where I thought, “What now?”.  Well, another one of those major life transitions is coming up for me again in a few weeks and the same question keeps popping up in my head.  I just keep reminding myself that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  It’s for not being stressed out and tired all the time.  It’s for hopes of finally expanding our little family.  It’s for an opportunity to do what I’ve always been passionate about.  It’s for the best.


cupcakes and mini bundt cakes

Here are some photos of recent cupcakes and mini bundt cakes.

These are some cupcakes that H and I got at Joan’s on Third in LA.  I think the one up front is the snickers cupcake and the one in the back is the cream filled chocolate cupcake.  I didn’t get to try the snickers cupcake; H probably finished it off in 3 or less bites.  The cream filled cupcake was ok; the filling was very sweet.

Joan’s on Third cupcakes

I brought red velvet cupcakes to work the week before Valentine’s Day.   They had cream cheese frosting and were sprinkled with lip-shaped sprinkles.

red velvet with lips sprinkles

The banana bundt cake I posted before has become one of my favorites.   I’m one of those people who will only eat bananas with very few or no spots.  Once they become spotty, I just leave them alone on the counter and let them get uglier and more rotten looking.  Ugly bananas don’t go to waste in this house.  The uglier they get, the more I look forward to baking something with them.  H knows that I will only eat bananas with very few spots, so when he sees me buying a big bunch of bananas, he knows that I have an ulterior motive.

I finally decided to try out my mini bundt pan that I received as a wedding gift (almost 4 years ago!).  I registered for the pan, but never knew what I should make in it.  Go figure.  I wasn’t sure how much batter to put in each mini bundt and ended up slightly overfilling each one.  I was shocked when I checked on them at the halfway point and saw cupcakes!

they look like cupcakes…

…but they’re not!

Fortunately, their little bottoms weren’t so puffed out that they couldn’t stand on their own.  A nice thing about overfilling them slightly was that instead of having a hole in the middle of each bundt for the lemon icing to run through, there was a small cavity to hold it all in.

drizzled with lemon icing

I recently made chocolate cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  I made a last minute decision to make the caramel ganache frosting from the book Baked.  I really liked the caramel ganache and it was so easy to make!  I also got to use the Valrhona chocolate pearls that I recently bought at a restaurant supply store in LA.  I was having trouble piping nice round swirls and was too lazy to squeeze out all my frosting just to change tips so I ended up just piping out small mounds of frosting.  It’s not the prettiest because the frosting wasn’t smooth enough; next time I’ll use a star tip.

chocolate cupcakes w/ caramel ganache frosting and crunchy chocolate pearls


where to begin?

It’s been so long since my last real post that I don’t really know where to start.  I’m still working on a new header and it looks like I might have to go back and fix some of my previous photos to work with the new template (yeah…we’ll see if that happens).  Unfortunately, since it’s been so long, I can’t remember what some of the stuff is that I made and took photos of.  Oh well, I’m going to post them all anyway.

I’m planning on posting recipes now – not all of them, but a few here and there to make things more interesting.  H said that people don’t want to just look at food photos, they want to know how to make them, too.  True.  I look at a lot of baking/food blogs and I love it when I can get some recipes.  My first one, which I’ll post later, will be of some chocolate chip cookies I made a few weeks ago.

Well, I have tons to show you, so I better get started. (I promise, this ‘months of recapping’ won’t be a yearly thing…)

June 2009

pineapple upside down cupcake

vanilla cupcake w/ chocolate glaze and sprinkles

July 2009

This is a birthday cake I made for one of the older ladies at church.  I can’t remember what kind of cake it was or how I made the buttercream :(.  The flowers look kinda funny because this was my first time trying to make roses this way (not the way I learned at my Wilton class).  For these flowers I took a small ball of fondant, pressed it into a petal shape and layered it.  It wasn’t the best time for me to experiment, but I thought it would be easier than it turned out to be.  My fondant was way too soft for this.

happy birthday!

banana bundt cake w/ lemon glaze

the lemon glaze was a surprisingly nice contrast to the banana flavor

My friend asked me to make some bridal shower cookie favors for her friend’s bridal shower.  The theme was orange and purple.

T + J cookies

pile of wrapped favors

Since it was a bridal shower, my friend also asked if I could make a cake just for decoration.  Well, between the two of us, H is usually the designer/sculptor so I left it to him.  His idea was for an open gift box overflowing with bras and panties (geez, I’m embarassed to even write those words on my blog, but just remember – BRIDAL SHOWER!).  The idea seemed ok.  I imaged some classy/elegant lingerie spilling out of this box…and then I saw his creations starting to come to life and my eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.  They were more like Frederick’s of Hollywood than Victoria’s Secret.  Ahhh!!!!!  I am laughing as I write this, but I vividly remember how mortified I was.

Be warned that the following photo may be considered PG-13.  I tried to take the photo from the most “conservative” angle.   I don’t want to explain this cake, but I’m afraid if I don’t you’ll just be examining everything and getting the wrong idea.  Up front is a stacked heart G-string (I never imagined I would be writing that word), to the right is a white one, and the shiny orange thing on the right is supposed to be some leather thing.   I wanted there to be something (anything) classy on this cake so I had him make the pearl necklace.  Are you blushing yet?

H is GREAT when it comes to things he knows about (cars, kung fu panda, thomas the tank engine, etc.), but let’s just say that next time there’s a request for a bridal shower cake, I’ll be doing the designing.

Rated PG-13

Continue reading ‘where to begin?’


salted caramel

I’ve been wanting to make salted caramel cupcakes ever since I saw this recipe on cupcakeblog.  This past Christmas one of my friends gave me a jar of fleur de sel so I made some salted caramels and salted caramel cupcakes for her birthday.

salted caramel gift

I originally planned to make the salted caramels in Chocolate Obsession which are covered in tempered chocolate and splinkled with fleur de sel.  Then I saw this recipe for chocolate salted caramels on Gourmet.  These had the chocolate mixed into the caramel and I could avoid trying to temper chocolate for now.  I read through a lot of the reviews, trying to make sure I didn’t end up with caramels that were too soft or too hard.

making caramelIt seemed like most of the reviewers had different temperatures that worked for them so I decided not to rely on temperature alone.  In addition to temperature, I also spooned small amounts of the caramel mixture into an ice water bath to see how it set up.  I’m glad I did it this way because the temperature at which I stopped the caramel was different from the temperature in the recipe.  The caramels were perfect but then hardened a few days later so I had to put a warning on my gift tag that the caramels needed to be microwaved for a few seconds.

salted caramels I ended up with an extra treat after making the salted chocolate caramels.  Instead of filling the caramel covered pot with water to get all the gooey caramel off, I filled it with milk and enjoyed a salted caramel hot chocolate.  I couldn’t waste all that good stuff!

When it was time to make the cupcakes, I couldn’t decide on what kind of chocolate cupcakes I wanted to pair with the salted caramel frosting so I made 2 batches: one batch of the chocolate cupcakes from cupcakeblog and another batch from a different recipe.

chocolate cupakes

In the end, I decided to go with the darker, more delicate chocolate cupcakes.

salted caramel cupcakes

I froze and cut up some of the extra salted caramel to place on top of the cupcakes just like chockylit had but after a few minutes it was melted and runny.  I didn’t want to leave it like that so I cut up some of the chocolate salted caramels and stuck them on.  These cupcakes were really good – I can’t wait to make them again!


Best Wishes Cupcakes

We had a potluck at work for one of my co-workers who’s moving on to be a stay at home mom.  I signed up for dessert (of course) and made some strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream.  I know I shouldn’t, but I always feel bad when I sign up to bring dessert.  I feel like I’m hogging dessert or something.  (Of course I wasn’t…there was 2 other people bringing dessert, too.)

strawberry cupcakes

I made some fondant cut-outs to top the cupcakes.  I was glad to use these.  It’s been so long since I’ve used any of my fondant flower cutters.  I keep telling myself that one day, when I have time, I’ll practice my flower making with fondant/gumpaste and royal icing.  It’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve attempted to make flowers.  Maybe one day I’ll finally sit down and do it.

flower cupcake

I also cut out some circles and piped a little message:

Best Wishes


Kung Fu Panda Cake

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to make a cake and 3 dozen cupcakes for her nephew’s 1st birthday.  She wanted either a Kung Fu Panda cake or a Cars cake.  Well, when it comes to sculpted cake toppers, H is the one with the talent (and patience).  He wanted to do something new so he chose Kung Fu Panda.   I had almost no part in the cake (it was a fake cake b/c they were just going to serve the cupcakes).  All I did was make the fondant and help color it.

the evolution of Po
the evolution of Po

H is such a good sculptor.  He’s gotten more comfortable sculpting rice krispies and working with fondant.

the artist at work
the artist at work

He even made the little punching bag character to stand behind Po.  I think he did a great job with the details – the peaches, the hat, the belt, and even the patch on Po’s pants.  And the bamboo was such a good idea.  I love how Po is doing the splits and that his big belly touches the ground.  He was so cute!

the details

H was sad when my friend picked up the cake.  He got attached to Po and missed him.  I understand…they did spent quite a few hours together. 🙂

the final cake
the final cake

The cupcakes were supposed to be the peanut butter chocolate cupcakes I had made a few weeks before, but this was at the same time the peanut recall was going on.  Even though the news kept saying peanut butter was safe, I was too paranoid and wanted to avoid it altogether.  Instead of using peanut butter in the buttercream, I used nutella and added a little salt.  I didn’t have anymore toffee or chocolate shards so I decided to use cut up Heath bars at the last minute – similar flavors in a different form.

nutella cupcake
nutella cupcake

We’re both looking forward to the next cake.  Maybe I’ll actually get to bake a cake next time. 🙂


january – a recap

I didn’t think I’d have to do a January recap, but it somehow flew by too.  Here’s what I was up to the first half of the month.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  This was before the peanut scare.  (These were perfectly safe by the way.)  I think this is my new favorite.

look at how dark that cocoa powder is
look at how dark that cocoa powder is
black chocolate cupcakes
black chocolate cupcakes
peanut butter buttercream
peanut butter buttercream

topped with chocolate shards and english toffee
topped with chocolate and english toffee

Mixed Berry Cobbler

H and I had some friends over for dinner and I made this mixed berry cobbler for dessert.  It had a biscuit topping and used frozen berries – raspberry, blueberry, and blackberries.

mixed berry cobbler


Vanilla Cupcakes

These are yellow cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.    I just felt like baking one night and trying a new recipe.  I’m still looking for my favorite vanilla cupcake.  I made pink and white buttercream because I ended up topping them with frosted circus animal cookies (hence the nonpareils).

white frosted cupcakes
pink frosted cupakes

Kara’s Cupcakes – Trip 2

H and I stopped at Kara’s again.  We were in San Jose to pick up my MIL from the airport so I scheduled a trip to Kara’s since it’s only a few minutes away.  We were in a hurry and didn’t think of picking up coffee first. The caramel fleur de sel was good, but super rich.  We went to Peet’s after to wash it down.

Kara's Cupcakes
lemon, coconut, fleur de sel
lemon, coconut, fleur de sel
caramel fleur de sel cupcake
chocolate fleur de sel cupcake