Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes



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?’


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


catching up…

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last update. I was so excited when I started, but lately I haven’t had any motivation to do anything. I’ve just been tired and blah. I’ve still been baking, but I’ve even lost the motivation to take pictures. I do most of my baking at night after work and it’s hard for me to get pictures I’m happy with, especially now that it’s getting dark so early. Oh, and of course I can’t forget the fact that my camera has slowly started going haywire and is now highlighting my pictures purple. I was really bummed at first, but now I have an excuse to get a new one :). I’m hoping not to stay in this unmotivated rut for much longer. In the meantime, here’s a short summary of what I’ve been up to.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

blueberry crumb bars

blueberry crumb bars

I think I made these blueberry crumb bars in August. They were delicious. Trader Joe’s was having an amazing sale on fresh blueberries – cheaper than the frozen ones. Of course I took advantage of it and ended up buying several packages. I tried to make these crumb bars a second time, using some frozen raspberries and blueberries. I wasn’t happy with the result at all – the frozen fruit made the bars too wet and soggy and I realized that I didn’t like the taste of the raspberries so much. The bad texture was most lkely my fault, for wanting to add extra fruit at the last minute in an attempt to make the center a little thicker. I probably didn’t add enough cornstarch and sugar to balance out the extra frozen berries.

Mini Vacation

chocolate peanut butter cupcake

chocolate peanut butter cupcake

My husband and I went on a mini vacation in Monterey/Carmel for our 2nd anniversary. We stopped by a coffee shop in Santa Cruz and I was tempted by this chocolate peanut butter cupcake. We did not enjoy it – the cupcake was dry and the frosting was chewy and oily (see the oil on the frosting?). It was the first time I’d ever had frosting that was chewy and oily. What made the experience even less enjoyable was the hefty price tag on the cupcake – $4 if I remember correctly!

Olallieberry Cream Cake

olallieberry cream cake

On the way home from Carmel we stopped in Cambria, the little town where we had our wedding. It would’ve been nice to walk around a little, but we were tired from our mini trip and only stopped to pick up a slice of this delicious Olallieberry Cream Cake from Linn’s. It is my absolute favorite cake. It was the cake we served at our wedding – where I had hoped that the small top tier would be leftover for me to eat all by myself :). Well, that didn’t happen, but I told H that as long as we live on the Central Coast, I want to get this cake at least once a year on our anniversary.

crushcakes cupcakery - peanut butter chocolate and coconut

crushcakes cupcakery - peanut butter chocolate and coconut

Labor Day Weekend

For Labor Day Weekend, H and I took a day trip down to Santa Barbara. We mostly window shopped and of course I had my “kid in a candy store” experience at Sur La Table. I just get so mesmerized at everything in there. Before we left we stopped at Crushcakes Cupcakery. They were closing in less than an hour so there weren’t too many cupcakes to choose from. We got peanut butter and coconut and I also tried a mini lemon. The cupcakes were a little dry, but I figured it was because it was the end of the day. The frosting on both cupcakes was awesome. They had a very light and fluffy texture that H and I both enjoyed. Next time we should each get our own instead of trying to split. 🙂

Birthday Cake

Chocolate Chiffon Birthday Cake

chocolate chiffon birthday cake

The following weekend, I made a cake for my pastor’s birthday. I tried to make something that wasn’t too sweet or rich and ended up altering a recipe to make a chocolate chiffon cake. It was the first time I’d made a chiffon cake and was surprised about how many eggs I needed to make a cake this size. I was a little nervous because I had never even tried the original recipe and here I was modifying it. The cake was delicious; it was moist and spongy and had a nice chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to finish it that I didn’t do a very good job with the frosting/decorating and then forgot to take a picture of the final product before H and I had to run out the door.

Royal Icing Cookies

A few weeks ago, there was a baby shower for one of my co-workers. I made some cute baby themed cookies (bib, onesie, bottle, pacifier, carriage), but was so upset because my royal icing didn’t set properly. I’m pretty sure I had added too much water to the icing and overmixed it in an attempt to get the right consistency. Afer a full day of drying, the icing was bubbly and soft, almost like marshmallow. The night before the shower, I ruined all but 2 of the cookies I had made for her just by accidentally touching the not-so-set icing. From all the cookies I had been decorating, all I was left with was 1 bib and 1 bottle. I was devastated, but there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t even get a picture of the 2 cookies that turned out ok.

soccer mania

soccer mania

Anyway, everyone at the shower thought that the bib cookie was really cute so I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. A different co-worker asked me if I would be interested in making 24 soccer cookies for her daughter’s birthday. I jumped at the opportunity just so I could practice with royal icing. Now, I don’t really watch sports and I don’t think I had ever REALLY looked at what a soccer ball looked like. I searched the web and found a picture I was happy with. I printed it out and traced it onto a piece of waxpaper using an edible ink marker. After I had all my circles cut, I TRACED the soccer ball design on each cookie TWICE – first with a blunt fondant tool so as not to rip through my template and then with a toothpick so I’d be able to see the line after it baked. I baked them on Saturday night and on Sunday night I piped the black outlines and filled in the black sections. I also needed to fill in the white sections that same night so I could package them on Monday night since she needed them on Tuesday. It was a very time consuming process and H ended up having to help me fill in the white sections b/c it was getting so late and I was exhausted. I hadn’t realized just how long this would all take me. It was a painstaking, yet fun, experience and I learned so much about royal icing, process, and time management. I was so happy with the results; the soccer cookies turned out really good and the icing set beautifully.

a satisfying ending

the fruit of my labor

End of Summer Cupcakes

Some of our friends hosted an end of summer bbq for which I volunteered to make a dessert. I decided to do 3 types of cupcakes and be extra organized to increase my efficiency since I planned to make all 3 the night before. What a difference it makes to have a plan and be organized! I made hummingbird cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and coconut cupcakes with 7 minute frosting. They were a hit!

red velvet, hummingbird, and coconut cupcakes

red velvet, hummingbird, and coconut cupcakes

I was excited to use my cupcake courier and have it be filled to full capacity. I love this thing!

coconut, red velvet, and hummingbird


Ok, so I think that ended up being a little longer than a short summary, but I think I’m caught up now. Recalling all the events and seeing the pictures made me excited about posting again. I should be updating sooner than later. It was H’s birthday on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to posting his german chocolate cupcakes.


s’more cupcakes

This was the third and final dessert for our dinner party 2 weeks ago. This was served as the first dessert while H and I “secretly” dealt with the peach cobbler fiasco in the kitchen. These cupcakes are very time consuming, but well worth it in the end.

chopped bittersweet chocolate
chopped bittersweet chocolate
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker topping
chocolate graham cracker topping
fresh out of the oven
fresh out of the oven
waiting for the final touches
almost done...
kissed with fire
kissed with fire
the finished product

The first time I made these, I attempted the frosting 3 times, each time with a new batch of meringue that would just melt and goop down the sides of the cupcake. It was probably too humid that day. They were delicious nonetheless and looked more like campfire s’mores with all the goop, but I have to admit that I was overjoyed about the meringue swirls staying in tact this time.


cupcake adventures

I have recently been on a mission to check out cupcake shops in every city I visit. I live in a small town that doesn’t have any cupcake shops, so visiting them is quite an experience for me – it’s as exciting as it must be for a kid to walk into a candy store. I love looking at all the different cupcakes, but am usually torn about which flavors I want to try.

I was lucky enough to visit 4 different shops this past month. The first was Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank, CA. I wouldn’t normally buy this many cupcakes, but H and I were on vacation with my family for the weekend so it gave me an excuse to buy a few more. We were a little disappointed because the cupcakes were somewhat dry, but on a high note, the cocoa cream cheese frosting on the red velvet cupcake was yummy.

yummy Cupcakes
Yummy Cupcakes

Two weeks ago, H and I drove to Colorado. Of course, I mapped out which cupcake shops I wanted to visit on the way there and in Colorado. I had planned to go to one in Las Vegas, but we were crunched for time and I surprisingly wasn’t in the mood for cupcakes – probably because it was 112 degrees out and all I wanted was a big glass of ice water.

We made it a point to visit the 3 cupcake shops I had mapped out in Denver. The first we went to was Lovely Confections. They only had vanilla and chocolate cupcakes left when we got there so the decision was easy.

chocolate cupcake w/ chocolate frosting
Chocolate Cupcake w/ Chocolate Frosting
vanilla cupcake w/ vanilla frosting
Vanilla Cupcake w/ Vanilla Frosting

These cupcakes were good! They were both dense, but still moist. I loved the vanilla frosting. I couldn’t figure out what flavor in the frosting made it different from other vanilla frostings I’ve tried, but whatever it was made it delicious. It was thick and creamy and the pink sugar on top added a nice crunch. The chocolate frosting was also good. It was rich, but not overly sweet. I think it may have been a whipped dark chocolate ganache. I loved the addition of the chocolate tiles on top.

After Lovely Confections, we drove around the corner (literally) and went to The Shoppe. The atmosphere of this place was pretty cool; it was very artsy and looked like a place to hang out. I had a hard time deciding because there were so many different flavors; luckily, they had mini cupcakes so I didn’t feel like I was overindulging too much. 🙂

german chocolate
German Chocolate
mint chocolate
Mint Chocolate
mini chocolate and mini vanilla
Mini Chocolate and Mini Vanilla

I liked the frosting on these cupcakes. They had a light texture and weren’t too sweet. I think they may have been some type of meringue frosting. I realized during our taste test that I shouldn’t have gotten 3 chocolate ones. Don’t get me wrong; I love chocolate, but it would have been nice to try another flavor.

Our last cupcake stop on our last day in Colorado was Happy Cakes. I was most excited to go to this one because one of their cupcakes was featured on The outside of the shop itself makes you want to go in.

happy cakes bakeshop
Happy Cakes Bakeshop

The shop was even cuter on the inside. They had so many different cupcakes, displayed on different cake stands. I just loved looking at them all and was definitely in a dilemma. In the end, we ended up getting 4 different flavors (2 of them being minis of course).

mini snowball and mini raspberry lemonade
Mini Snowball and Mini Raspberry Lemonade
the cosmo
The Cosmo

The Happy Cakes cupcakes were, by far, my favorite cupcakes from all the ones we tried. All four were delicious – moist cupcakes with frosting that complimented each one very well. I will definitely visit Happy Cakes again next time I’m in Denver.

Visiting 3 different cupcake shops in a week was exciting, but I have to admit that by the time I finished off my last cupcake, I felt a little cupcaked out. I love cupcakes, but I’ve never eaten that many in such a short span of time. Regardless, I will savor the experience – It’s going to be awhile before I go cupcake hopping again. 🙂