Pretty Portland Cakes

I'm kicking myself because I've gone and lost my notes on the above Red Velvet cupcake. I bought it at New Season's on aFriday night. I'm fairly sure it was from Joseph's but their online menu doesn't offer Red Velvet, so I can't be too sure. The presentation was beautiful, clearly, a perfect red, nice piped frosting with a fabulous lavendar flower (that was so well done it even had a green stem), and extra special shiny and sparkly flakes for a little added flare. Unfortunately the presentation was much better than the actual cake. It was incredibly dry, with a good mild chocolate taste, but not at all moist or buttermilky as it should be. The frosting was sweet and pastey and not yummy at all. Oh well, at least it was photogenic! That evening we also sampled a carrot cake from New Seasons that was absolutely to. die. for. Again, I lost my notes so I've got no idea who made it. It was super moist, with a perfectly perfect cream cheese frosting. Oh and they added pineapple just like I do! I couldn't have eaten more of those.

Now for the others, please forgive the crummy camera phones photos. My husband and I were out buying more pickets for our new fence at Home Depot when we realized it was time for lunch. We went to Zupans on Hayden Island for sandwiches and I decided we needed cupcakes as well (it
was our anniversary after all!). The Triple Lemon Cake (above and below) was from Joseph's and GOOD GOLLY it was SO good! The cake is a lemon buttermilk cake, and it is dense and moist and absolutely perfectly lemony and perfect all around. BUT the best part is that the cake is topped with a thick layer of lemon curd. Ohmygawd why hadn't I thought of this?!! On top of the curd is a nice thick pile of lightly lemony buttercream. Geeezus, this is by far the best cupcake I've had out and about in Portland. Yum yum yum yum yum! And pretty too (they also used the sparkly shiney flake things)!

The carrot cake was for the husband - it was actually called a Carrot Muffin and was from a place called Ruth's that I've never heard of. It was moist and yummy, with a good cream cheese icing (though a little too sweet for me). The cake wasn't very spicey and didn't contain pineapple, coconut, nuts, or anything else special. But it was perfectly good. I think I'm finding that carrot cake is the hardest to scew up.

Ok, time for lunch, I've gone and made my self starved!!!


Garden Party Cakes

1 box white cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
4 egg whites
butter instead of oil
1/3 c. Ameretto
1 c. milk

bake, cool, serve with whipping cream and berries
and look out for bees!

"A+ #1 Best Ever!"

peanut butter cups

My husband's favorite sweet treat is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup so for his birthday I decided to try and make a cupcake version. I used Clare Crespo's brilliant book Hey There, Cupcake! and only made a few changes (Iadded chips and changed the frosting/presentation).
My husband proclaimed these cupcakes "A+ #1 Best Ever!" and the other party goes seemed to feel the same way. They were a smashing success, much more than I'd ever expect something peanut butter to be. And so much so that they've made it onto the cupcake menu for an upcoming wedding I'm baking for (more on that later).
Try them yourselves...

35 cakes for 35th birthday
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour 6 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 2/3 c. unsalted butter, softened 2 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar 4 eggs 2/3 c. salted peanut butter 1 c. whole milk 2 tsp. vanilla 1/2 - 3/4 bag Reese's chips
Preheat oven to350
Line cupcake tins with liners
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl In a seperate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar Add eggs one at a time beating each until light fluffy Add peanut butter and mix until smooth and creamy In small bowl combine milk and vanilla To butter mixture, add about 1/4 of the flour mix and mix well
Add about 1/4 milk mixt ure and mix well
Continue, beating after each until smooth
Pour batter into tins and bake for about 18-23 min,
until they cakes bounce back when touched
Remove and let cool about 10 min before turning out of tins and onto rack to cool completely Chocolate "Dip"
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
3 sticks unsalted butter 1-2 c. confectioner sugar 1-2 tbsp godiva liquor (or other liquid as needed)

Melt chocolate in double boiler until melted, remove and let cool but not re-thicken
Beat butter and 1 c. confectioner's sugar
until smooth
Add chocolate slowly, beating lightly
Add more sugar if needed, and liquid if needed
Dip cupcakes into chocolate slowly, refrigerate before serving

I decorated with mini beer can picks found at the Decorette Shop
(see post below for more on them)


Delicious Fishes

Another brilliant idea from Martha Stewart (or rather, one of her minions) - how will I find time to try them before this summer is over?


Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 pints sherbet in assorted flavors, such as pineapple, lime, raspberry, and orange
  • 24 jelly fruit-slice candies in assorted colors, for decorating
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 24 small round white candies, for decorating
  • 1 store-bought pound cake, (10.75 ounces)


  1. Wrap a rimmed baking sheet with plastic, pulling wrap taut over top of sheet. Scoop desired flavors of sherbet using a 2 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, gently dropping them onto the plastic wrap as you work. (Scoops should not touch the metal; this will help them keep their round shape.) Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make decorations: Stand jelly candies upright on a cutting board. Cut candies lengthwise (vertically) into 3 thin slices. Cut outer slices in half for the fins and tails. (You should have 6 halves of the same color for each fish.) Cut long, thin strips from middle slices (12 strips total); pinch ends together to form circles for the mouths. Using the blunt end of a skewer, dot melted chocolate onto the white candies for eyes; let stand until set.
  3. Cut cake into 3 layers. Cut out 4 rounds from each using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place each in the bottom of a double layer of paper muffin liners.
  4. Working quickly, place 1 scoop of sherbet on top of cake in liner. Gently place 2 jelly pieces on sides of scoop for fins, 3 in the back for a tail, and 1 on top for fin. Add candy eyes. Return fish to freezer. Repeat with remaining scoops,working with 1 at a time. Freeze until set, 1 to 5 hours, before serving.


i want...

I could say that I've just been terribly busy and also distracted and consumed with a very exciting task (wedding cupcakes - promise to report back after Labor Day). But really I'm just a bad blogger. I love reading other peoples blogs and am disappointed when they aren't updated daily. It is true that I can't possibly bake cupcakes daily (if only!) but I'm weeks behind on blogging cakes I've already baked and photographed. So why would I even consider starting another blog? Oh I don't know. I'm just thinking it'd be fun to blog about parties I throw, attend, create crafts for. Good gifts. Lipstick. Madonna. My sister.
My cat. Sugar-free popsicles and other things I love. We'll see. Does anyone who doesn't know me personally read this blog? Would you read/look at another? Leave comments, and we'll see what I feel like in a few days.

For now I'm posting a couple cupcake related things that I love and think are fabulous, and one sweet, but not cakey, thing I desperately want but so don't need...

The Cup-a-Cake. You know, for lunches and stuff.

Cup-a-Cake Set of 2

Sili-Cups Jewel

Reusable, non-burning, colorful, I think I need them, no? They come in pastels, white, mini and jumbo. Sweek!

Ooooh, and leave it to those wizards over at Crate & Barrel to make them in brown (and cheap!)

Ok, and quite possibly the only thing that could replace my obsession with chocolate fountains is this super fabulous soft serve ice cream maker from Cuisinart!!!!! I want one so much, but it is so silly. And we don't have the kitchen space. And I'm "allergic" to dairy. But damn! I love soft serve, even more than I love regular hard ice cream and almost as much as I love Ralph's Italian Ices. I especially love the sprinkles and cone holder. So cute, so sweet, so soft...

Read more about this wonder contraption here, or better yet, buy one (only $129!!!) and report back to me. Look, it puts the sprinkles right into the ice cream for you. Wouldn't it be the perfect wedding/birthday/anniversary gift?!!!


Amy Sedaris Test Kitchen

I finally made it to the Decorette Shop on SE Foster street and my only disappointment was that I hadn't been there before. Well and that they didn't have a huge variety of cupcake cups. But they made up for it in their enormous selection of cake toppers, picks, and candies! I bout all the goofy things you see in these photos, as well as beer can picks and candy hot dogs (I haven't used those yet). Clearly I was in a silly mood that day, but they have quite the variety of non-silly toppers as well (beautiful candy flowers, fruits, animals, and holiday themes) and picks (ballerinas, boy scouts, babies, kitties) and commercial themes too! They also have all kinds of baking goodies, cake stands, candy making goods, icing dyes and glitters. I could have spent all day there!

So I decided to test out Amy Sedaris' famous vanilla cupcakes the next day, because I'd heard that Ms. Sedaris loves to use silly picks. I was both delighted and disappointed with the recipe. The cakes themselves were better than Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cakes. Really. Perfect texture, flavor, sweetness, truly the perfect vanilla cake. But the frosting was simply powdered sugar and milk (and vanilla) and tasted just like that - a sweet vanilla paste. I willing to accept that I got something wrong in my recreation, but I won't attempt it again. I think the next time I have to make a vanilla cake I'll make Amy's cakes and Magnolia's vanilla buttercream. Or maybe Warren Brown's, or the Cupcake Cafe's, there are so many options.

PDX Cakes!

Cupcakes from Sweet Pea Bakery (served at Extracto), Vita Cafe and New Seasons.
Quick summary:

Extracto/Sweet Pea - Chocolate with Vanilla "Butter"cream was dry but tasty. It was early in the a.m. but I'm thinking these were day old. The vegan buttercream was great, it had a nice thick texture and wasn't greasy or too sweet. My favorite thing was that they looked like little purses!

New Season's (I don't know what bakery they came from)- Carrot cake was dry (why?!!) but the cream cheese frosting was very yummy. Chantilly was ok- I didn't think the chocolate cake was chocolatey enough and I thought the buttercream was ok but too sweet. Pink frosted chocolate cupcake was dry and yucky with a fake raspberry flavored frosting, one was really bland and greasy and the other was too sweet. Why did too matching cakes taste so different?

Vegan and Wheat free cakes from Vita Cafe -
ok, first of all, cupcakes shouldn't be $4.00 each.
Ever. We tried three flavors: Orange with cranberry, chocolate raspberry, and Irish oat. The orange cran was yummy but much more muffin like than cake like. The frosting was tart and tasty.
The chocolate cake was dry, topped with raspberry jam (ok) and an incredibly delicious chocolate ganache (I don't know how they do it without cream). This ganache could challenge any dairy-filled ganache any day. Superb. But the best cake was the Irish Oat - yummy sweet oaty cake (not muffin like, more carrot cake like, with oats instead of carrots) and topped with fake cream cheese frosting that tasted just like the real thing. I wouldn't buy these again because of the price, but they were definitely the tastiest of the three places I've been to in the past few weeks.

Irish Oat

Care Bears are Back!

I loooove a theme! I tend to be "too matchy" and I over-do everything, so when I heard that the theme for Miss Imani's first birthday was Care Bears I went for it completely! Pink cake with pink cream cheese frosting in Care Bear papers with Care Bears on top (and a Care Bear candle too!).

I bought Care Bear papers and candy toppers at Michael's.
All was perfectly pink and matchy, but as it turns out, the birthday girl doesn't like sweets!