Alright folks, I'm officially going on maternity leave from this blog. I've been slacking on the cupcake blogging (and baking) for most of my pregnancy, but as of now I am officially done, until, you know, I feel up to it again, which will likely be in 2008. We shall see.
I was happy to discover this morning that the one true Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, is coming out with a new cookbook of quick recipes called Nigella Express one month after my due date. Thank you Nigella. If I do any cooking at all in the coming months, the recipes are sure to be quick and easy ones, so they may as well be tasty, and you know, accompanied by fabulous photos (as all Nigella recipes are). I've already placed a copy on hold at the library. Yay!
Maybe next year around this time I'll be crafting up a cupcake costume like the one seen above, but for now I'll leave you with the darling photo (she's so cute!) and article with instructions from Wondertime Magazine.
Happy Halloween, and all the holidays that follow until I return.
And, of course, happy cupcaking! xoxo
My husband picked me up from work on Friday with a trio of cupcakes from Portland's new Cupcake Jones and roses (!!) 3 days before our anniversary (I was having a bad pregnancy day). He really is the best.
The cupcakes were beautiful, unfortunately I dropped them as soon as we got home. I managed to get a couple of good shots of them anyway, but they really were much much more beautiful pre-drop.
Here's what we tried:
Mimosa: orange yogurt cake pastry cream, filled with orange champagne pastry cream, topped with champagne buttercream and a strawberry "floating" on top
Downtown Chocolate Brown: delicious devil’s food cake filled with sour cream chocolate ganache, topped with rich fudge icing and fresh grated chocolate
S'mores Please: rich chocolate cake with fresh made marshmallows melted in the center, topped with rich fudge icing, graham crackers, and homemade toasted marshmallows
I really really wanted cupcakes, but I probably shouldn't have eaten any. I was having a sick day and I should have avoided heavy sweets. But I didn't, I ate the Mimosa (how could I not?). Unfortunately it's hard to review a cupcake that made you sick (which it did), but I will say this, the cake was very moist and dense (which I love) and, different. I don't know how else to say it. It wasn't your standard fluffy cake, and I loved it. Just a hint of orange, and filled with a yummy orangey filling. Now the description says "topped with champagne buttercream" but I don't know, after nearly 8 months of not drinking I think I'd be able to detect champagne, and I didn't. The frosting was really heavy and possibly what made me so nauseas, so I probably shouldn't review it at all. It tasted like cream whipped to almost butter. I would probably love it as the normal me, but the pregnant me thought it was too rich and heavy. I didn't try the DTCB but Matt declared it "super chocolatey" and "yummy." It looked it. The S'mores sat in the fridge for two days until this morning when he decided to eat it. I sliced off a little bite and will say that the cake didn't have the chocolate cake problems I've discussed in past posts, it wasn't dry after being in our fridge for two days, and the creamy filling was the way you want a hostess filling to taste (really yummy, not gross-out yummy). The chocolate fudge frosting was perfect perfect perfect, just the kind you want on top of a homemade yellow cake, which unfortunately they don't make at Cupcake Jones! Like the hostessy middle, the fudgey frosting tastes how you think the frosting in a can should taste. It's the real version of that and it is oh so good. So yeah, I'll be going back to Cupcake Jones when I'm feeling better. They're fancy and expensive, but I'm impressed thusfar and I'm really enticed by their menu (especially the Almond Joy, Black Forest, Belmont Berry and most intriguing, rose-water flavored Rose City).
they were so pretty and then...
The Cupcake Heaven cupcake tree, by Wilton. It was anything but heaven to put this thing together - it took multiple attempts, three people (at once), and a hammer, but we got it! The cupcakes are peanut butter chip dipped in chocolate, always a crowd please. The recipe can be found here.
(photo: Getty Images)
As any Posy Party Cakes reader knows, my first visit to Saint Cupcake was disappointing, my second was much less so, I actually liked most of what I ate and started to turn the corner on my Saint Cupcake dislike (and jealousy). Well, as noted in the post below, I had a cupcake-mergency on Thursday that required an immediate cupcake injection. I met my husband at Saint Cupcake after work for a pre-dinner dessert treat. While there (sitting outside on a lovely evening) I had Pumpkin Spice, which if I've had before. The Pumpkin Spice is heavier on the spice than the pumpkin, but it's nice and moist (like all St. C cupcakes, they don't lack moisture). The Pumpkin Spice is topped with cream cheese frosting that is good basic cream cheese frosting. I think it was a little sour the first time I went there, but it's either been improved upon or I just hit a bad day (or started it with a sour taste in my mouth!). Because I was in such a state that one cupcake (full size!) would not satisfy, we got four more to go. I didn't taste my husband's choices (all chocolate based) so I can't report on those, but here's what I'll say about what I did eat (oh and how cute is that cupcake carrier?!!):
Fat Elvis: There's more to love than the clever name. This is their signature banana pound cake with chocolate chips (we at Posy's Party Cakes call them "flavor bombs"), topped with peanut butter fudge frosting. While I don't love peanut butter, and would prefer this cake without it, the peanut butter fudge is good. Again, I'd say too peanut buttery and that the pb flavor over powered the yummy banana, but I'm probably the only one with this complaint. Though I think I prefer a chocolate cream cheese on banana cake, this is yummy nonetheless.
Turtle: Perfectly described by St. C as "chocolate cupcake coated with gooey caramel, topped with a toasted pecan, then drenched in hot fudge," I have saved the best for last! GOOD GOLLY I could eat these all day. Maybe I've said it before, I don't think this is the best chocolate cake I've ever had, but who cares? This caramel topping is like a melted praline from New Orleans. It is the most perfect homemade caramel taste and is only made more perfect by drizzling that delicious hot fudge across the top. And those pecans? They just make it better. I am really in love with this cupcake and in awe of Saint Cupcake for creating it. I will def have to go back for another!
One note on the chocolate cake - why does it seem that often in homemade chocolate cake recipes you can taste the flour more than the chocolate? This is a problem, no? It is for me. Luckily the topping on the Turtle is so delicious it covers up that problem, and this isn't just a Saint Cupcake problem either, I've had this happen before and I don't understand it. Increase the chocolate!!!
Ok, but clearly, the bottom line is, I can't bad-mouth Saint Cupcake anymore, and now, I just want to try all the other flavors I haven't had. Like, um, now!
I heard this on NPR today and found it to be hi-larious! Based on the report, I'm lead to believe you could have one Magnolia cupcake and a slice of pizza and be A-OK! Just avoid the giant cupcakes at Crumbs, right? Oh whatever, we all know cupcakes aren't diet friendly, they're just cute and delicious. So rather than letting this sway me from cupcakes, it just made me hungry for them. And because I'm pregnant I can't just think "oh that sounds yummy." Nope. I have to sit here thinking about cupcakes all afternoon. AND because I'm pregnant, I'm too tired to even think about whipping up a batch, but not too tired to make a stop by Saint Cupcake on my way. Hope ya'll have a yummy evening, I know I will...
ps I didn't take this photo, it's by Mike Pesca and swiped from the NPR article linked above, it was just too fab not to re-post!
real monkey cakes these were not. i just made easy chocolate cupcakes with easy cream cheese frosting. however, i wanted to make the monkeys with banana cakes and chocolate cream cheese frosting, but i ran out of time. so on sunday i whipped up a batch (because i've been craving them since i went to tribeca treats) and they were deeeeelish! i used chockylit's recipe for banana cakes found here, but i didn't do any of here fancy additions. i just used the basic cake recipe and added a couple teaspoons of toasted cinnamon. and i used some defrosted chocolate cream cheese frosting that i made sometime last year. these cupcakes were so good i think i'll be whipping up yet another batch as soon as these are gone. i may add pecans, or chocolate chips, or both.
tribeca treats, a bakery and party supply store, hmmm... exactly what i should have done a year ago. i hear there's a place in seattle now that sells yummy flavored cupcakes and vintage party supplies. you know when you say "we should open a/start a/do a___" and then you don't do it. someone else does, they do it right, and you could just _____? well that's how i feel. but oh well, i have a much bigger project on my hands (or rather, in my belly) and can't worry much about couldawouldashouldas. so anyways, the treats:
red velvet, not fabulous, but tastyish. good density, moist, etc., just not the yummiest. but their cream cheese frosting was done to perfection. and though you might think that's easy, many places over sweeten. no sugarbitus here.
ok, so a little disappointed with the red velvet, but the banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting? perfection! the cake wasn't fakey banana, but delicious fresh banana cake, like banana bread, but not so dense, and topped with perfect (better than2 G's!) chocolate cream cheese frosting. oooooweeee, i'm going to have to replicate this one!
some flavors i didn't try - pbj (left) and chocolate caramel (right)
and they make the cutest birthday cakes! i hope jack enjoyed his rocket ship!
and the party supplies were fab too, though not a huge selection, what they did have was cute and clever, and they have a great selection of cards too!
I forgot my camera but swear mine looked
almost identical,without the
In honor of good ole Saint Patrick, I whipped up some drunken Irish cupcakes. Easy, tasty, and boozey, these cakes are a perfect way to celebrate.
Dark Chocolate Fudgey Guinness Cakes
1 box Dunken Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
1 box Jello brand Devil's Food flavor instant pudding
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cup Guinness
Mix it all up, put in it your cupcake liners, bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes.
Irish Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks cream cheese (I use the low fat)
1 stick unsalted butter
about 3/4 box powdered sugar (to taste)
1 little airline size bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream
Frost, decorate, serve, do a jig!
Lazy cupcakes here folks. I bought the Duncan Hines Red Velvet box mix, which turns your tongue, teeth and fingers red. I mixed up 1 pkg cream cheese, 1 c. sugar, 1 egg and 1/2 bag mini chocolate chips. Set it aside, mix up cake batter according to box, fill cups 2/3 full, drop a dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the center (or try, like I did, to make hearts, it didn't work out so well). Bake for 25 minutes. Sweet!
I thought this was the best part of the Oregonian article:
Five recent baking obsessions
Muffins: A staple of early 1990s coffee breaks with wide-ranging variations, from super-sized cakey monstrosities from warehouse stores, to pop-in-your-mouth mini sizes. Their popularity made big sellers out of special pans producing just the muffin tops.
Bagels: Though frozen bagels had been widely available since the 1970s, they reached critical mass only in the mid-'90s, when chains like Noah's and Einstein Bros. made freshly baked varieties widely available. Sales dropped significantly in 2002, as low-carb dieting became a national obsession.
Scones: Starbucks is directly responsible for the ultra-sweet updating on this Scottish biscuit. In the late '90s, the coffee giant began filling its bakery cases with dense cookielike pastries filled with cranberries, blueberries, nuts and what-have-you. These days, they're touting "healthy" multigrain versions with zero grams trans fat. Not surprisingly, they aren't very good.
Doughnuts: Oddly, while Americans were shunning bagels during the Atkins era, we were also obsessing about sugar-glazed rings from Krispy Kreme. When outlets arrived in Oregon in 2003, customers lined up for hours for the sweet treats. Interest waned in 2005 as the brand's cult following faded. In the end, it was a very good doughnut, but it was still just a doughnut.
Cupcakes: The recent return of these staples of the '60s and '70s inspired best-selling cookbooks, specialized baking equipment, even the popular blog Cupcakes Take the Cake on the Internet (http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com). The resurgence gave legions of home cooks new uses for all those muffin pans they bought in the '90s.
-- Grant Butler
Birthday bowls - set of three of these fabulous mixing bowls. They are perfect for mixing and pouring (love that lip). Thanks Dan!
Also these fabulous measuring bowls. No idea where my mom-in-law found them, but I adore them and have used them in every cooking adventure I've gone on lately. (I love that you can get two measurings out of one little bowl!)
Cookbooks galore! I got cookbooks from both moms. Some how I'd made it this far without owning Nigella's How to be a Domestic Godess;
Chocolate Obsession is so good I can't read it without a piece of chocoltae in hand, well, mouth. I'll let you know as soon as I've tested out some recipes!
The Amy Sedaris book is fabulous! The day after Christmas I made turkey pot pie with leftovers (her recipe calls for chicken, but I thought she'd approve of the substitute). Really, if you don't have it you must run out and get it now!
My husband stocked my stuffing with Sili Cups from Sur La Table. I've used them and they're superfantastic!
Miss Erin got me these stylin' rain boots that I love to pieces (they're so comfortable!)
and Gretchie gave me this super cute necklace and Tina made me the darlingest (totally a word!) cupcake tray bracelet...
I have very very good friends and family and I feel very loved. I also received all kinds of crazy fabulous gifts of the non-cupcake kind. Thank you, everyone.