Wrappin Up the Holidays

Every Christmas we tend to be bombarded with invitations to holiday parties. The parties are a lovely way to see friends, have great food, and celebrate the season. This year the first holiday party I attended was the first week of December, and from there I had one to go to pretty much every weekend through the New Year (including one I hosted).

The last official Christmas party was actually 2 & 1/2 weeks AFTER Christmas! My mom hosted, and she likes to call it her “Wrap up the Holidays Party”. For this year’s party she asked me to make cupcakes since she’s always telling her friends about my creations. She figured this was the perfect time for them to actually try them! There was a crazy amount of food at the party though, so most people ended up taking their cupcakes to go.

My mom loves chocolate, so of course the cupcake needed to be chocolate based.. I decided on a cocoa apple cupcake with a cream cheese frosting. The cake features chocolate chips and shredded Fuji apples. I made a similar cupcake for Thanksgiving a few years ago, but that one had a sour cream frosting. The chocolate and the apple make the cupcake quite sweet, but the frosting only has one cup of sugar which makes for a nice not too sweet topper.

I stuck to fully edible decor for this one. Red and green Christmas tree sprinkles, and a chocolate dipped apple slice!

Unfortunately, there was a little too much wine consumed at the party by yours truly, and I didn’t  get to snag a nice picture of the cupcakes at the party. But, my mom was kind enough to send me a pic of the leftovers the next morning!

Cocoa Apple with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cocoa Apple with Cream Cheese Frosting


Happy New Year – 2014?!

WOW! I can’t believe I managed to go two whole years without a post on this site! I was actually thinking it was only one year, but my last Happy New Year post was for 2012! My, how time has flown…

Needless to say, I haven’t been baking with the regularity of 2011, but I’ve done a few special requests here and there. Even with the typical craziness of the holiday season I managed to do two holiday cupcakes.

The first one was to kick off the holiday season at my sister’s Christmas cocktail party in Brooklyn. I figured since there’d be a lot of alcohol being consumed, it was best to keep the cupcake flavors simple. I did a chocolate chip, vanilla cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting. The cupcake was made festive with a two-tone swirl frosting, red and green Christmas tree sprinkles, and a Merry Christmas non-edible topper. I do try to avoid toppers that can’t be eaten, but I had these in my pantry and thought they were pretty cute!

photo 2

photo 1

I’ll save the other Christmas cupcake for another post. With these long breaks I’m going to need to get a few post in reserve!


Happy New Year!

After a flurry of holiday activity & a storm of holiday eating, I couldn’t bring myself to make another cupcake this year. For our New Year’s Eve celebration, I passed the dessert reigns to my mom & she made us a mean brownie!!

Here’s a peek at the 2010/2011 cupcake though!

It was a champagne cake topped with champagne buttercream, edible gold stars & a working noisemaker! It was a perfect combo for ringing in the new year (last year!)

Happy New Year!!!

Merry Christmas!!

As suspected, my Eggnog cupcakes are back for an encore! I used a little less rum in this batch, tripled the recipe, and frosted them with a wide star tip this time. I used the sugar holly leaves again, to maintain their festive feel!!


Christmas Cupcakes!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here’s two of my creations from this holiday season! They were created for my annual holiday gathering, and both went pretty quick, despite my fear of having made too many!!

The first was a Peppermint Bark cupcake, inspired by the famous holiday treat! It featured a chocolate, peppermint cake, and was topped with a white chocolate buttercream. As a garnish, crushed candy cane pieces were sprinkled on top, and the cakes were then topped with a candy cane Hershey kiss!

Peppermint Bark Cupcake

My second cupcake (which may make an encore appearance tomorrow for Christmas) was an eggnog cupcake. Eggnog was used in both the cake and the frosting. There was also a healthy dose of nutmeg and rum to spice things up. The cupcakes were topped with sugar holly leaves and one, tiny red sugar berry, a few shimmery white sprinkles, and a bit more nutmeg!

Eggnog Cupcake

Custom Order!

Last night I had the pleasure of creating cupcakes for a co-worker who wanted to gift a personalized, strawberry/vanilla cupcake this holiday season.

The cupcakes were for a friend’s younger sister, so there was also a request for lots of pink, and I was happy to oblige! The strawberry cake was tinted pink, as was the vanilla buttercream frosting, which was then garnished with pink sugar glitter, and shimmery white sprinkles.

This was my first request for a personalized cupcake, so I invested in funky letter cutters & got to work making some gum paste!

Happy Holidays Janina!!

Happy Birthday Kristin!

This past weekend we went to Brooklyn to my friend Kristin & her hubby’s place to celebrate her birthday and for their housewarming party. Naturally I couldn’t come empty handed so cupcakes were in order. These were going to be different though because Kristin has a special love, and it’s not chocolate! (She’s actually the only person I know who doesn’t like it!)

This love is that of BACON, so I decided it was time to try out a bacon cupcake recipe! There were equal amounts of surprise, confusion, and  delight going around the room when the cupcakes were announced and there were a variety of reactions as well. Some comments included: “Bacon cupcake = strange and wonderful”, followed by “Wonderful and wonderful”,  “I just ate a BACON cupcake. My life will never be the same… At first I said eww. Then I had a bite. Un-freaking-believably delicious!”

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous about their reception, but fortunately it was all positive! I’m sure alcohol helped loosen up anyone who may have been hesitant to try them too. The cake portion was a maple-bacon combo; it’s main ingredients being dark amber maple syrup, bacon fat, a full pound of chopped up bacon, and brown sugar. Despite all the bacon in it, the cake didn’t have much of a bacon-y taste. Some people actually thought it may have contained cornmeal, and I think that’s because it was so dense, and biscuit-like. The next time I make these (if there is a next time!) I have a few adjustments to make, which I think will make the cake a bit lighter.

The frosting was a unique creation. A maple buttercream is suggested to top a maple bacon cupcake, but knowing my audience, I really wanted to make sure I had a full bacon punch. To get that punch, I mixed bacon fat into the butter, and that definitely got the flavor across! I did a mix of milk and maple syrup, so the frosting wouldn’t be too sweet. Each cupcake was then topped with coarse sea salt crystals, sugar in the raw, and real bacon bits!

In conclusion, bacon cupcakes go great with beer, and might also be a nice eye-opener for breakfast!

Thanksgiving 2011

Before being totally swamped with all the baking and festivities associated with the upcoming holidays, I had to post about my Thanksgiving creations! This was the first Thanksgiving Jer and I hosted in our new home, and no holiday is complete without cupcakes…

Of course having hosted Thanksgiving Italian style (antipasto course, pasta course, turkey course, THEN dessert), there wouldn’t be  much room left for cupcakes, so these cupcakes were packaged to go. That’s not to say we went without dessert on Thanksgiving though – my mom made her famous apple pie, Jer’s mom made brownies, and his brother made pumpkin pie!

Pumpkins and apples are two great traditional flavors of Fall, and I wanted to incorporate them both into the cupcakes. The first cupcake was a Pumpkin Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream, topped with orange sugar. The cake itself was made with pumpkin puree and a variety of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. It was moist like a pumpkin bread, but not as dense. The vanilla buttercream was a nice topper, as well, but a cream cheese frosting would have been great too!

The second cupcake was a Cocoa-Apple Cupcake with Sour Buttercream, topped with chocolate sprinkles. The cake was made with cocoa power, shredded organic Gala apples, and studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips. The Sour Buttercream is similar to a traditional buttercream, but is made with sour cream and is not as sweet, so it paired very well with the cake!

I packaged two of each cupcake in a festive box and gave them to our guests as they were leaving – just in case they got hungry on the car ride home 😉

A Special Birthday Visit!

Happy Birthday Fahad!!

This post is a little behind in wishing my friend Fahad a Happy Birthday, but fortunately his cupcakes were right on time! His being in NYC on the day of his birthday, at the beginning of November, was quite fortunate timing as well. Currently living in Dubai, it’s been probably over a year since we had seen Fahad, so it was great to see him again and celebrate his birthday with him

For the occasion, I whipped up a batch of vanilla, chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I tinted the frosting yellow, and topped the cupcakes with candy-covered mini-kisses. They looked quite festive & went over quite well, hopefully well enough that it won’t be another year before Fahad is back visiting in the Big Apple!

photos taken with Hipstamatic for iphone.

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year, and in celebration, today’s cupcake is a Chocolate Pumpkin Ale with Pumpkin Buttercream frosting! I was a bit pressed for time this year, as we’re in the midst of a bunch of home renovations, but I managed to whip up this batch on one side of the kitchen while paint was drying on the wall on the other side!!

I started with my recipe for Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (great for St. Patty’s Day) and gave it an autumn twist. I substituted the stout with Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewery, and added in a little pumpkin pie spice.

The buttercream is made with organic pumpkin puree, in addition to ground cinnamon and ginger.

The cupcakes are topped with orange sugar, green sprinkles, and a mini sugar pumpkin!

Happy Halloween!!