Category Archives: Birthdays

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!

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 Birthday Melinda!!!

September is a big month for birthdays, especially for me! My two favorite people in the world have their birthdays a mere two days apart, so I’ve been quite busy in the kitchen!

Today we’re celebrating the birthday of my sister, Melinda! Her birthday was yesterday, and tonight she’s hosting her “Second Annual Wine and Cheese Birthday Celebration.” Naturally, I had to make her a wine and cheese cupcake to go with the theme!

A Cupcake Vineyard!

A Red Wine and Chocolate Cupcake with Mascarpone Frosting has become my annual wine and cheese cupcake.  I used a port wine for this batch, and it really enhances the chocolatey-ness of the cake. The mascarpone icing is wonderful too. It’s not too sweet, and is a nice compliment to the chocolate-port cake.

Chocolate-Port Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing

The second cupcake I made is a Riesling cake, topped with a white chocolate, Riesling buttercream. The cake itself is nice and light, as it’s made with egg whites. The frosting is very smooth and creamy, with a unique sweetness from the white chocolate.

Riesling Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Riesling Buttercream

And, for the occasion I created a card so her guests would know what their dessert options were!

Happy Birthday Jer!!!

Happy Birthday Jer!

Today is Jer’s birthday, and to celebrate the big day I baked him a Hostess-style cupcake! He’s been hinting for a while that he’d like one, so I figured his birthday would be the best time to give it a whirl.

Jer is my biggest supporter when it comes to cupcakes, or really any wacky idea I come up with, so I was very excited to finally make a cupcake specifically for him, especially after all the cupcakes he’s sampled that would never have been his choice (namely one particular cream-cheese topped cupcake – he does not like cream cheese, but he tried it anyway!)

I spent the day cooking Sunday in honor of his coming birthday, and he helped too. The day started with a nice egg breakfast, followed by a shrimp and grits lunch. Next it was on to cupcakes and ribs! (I did the cupcakes, Jer did the ribs.) Dinner was the ribs with hush puppies, and a mess of collard greens!

The cupcakes almost took as long as Jer’s ribs!! They’re pretty labor intensive with four different components, which is why I made them over the weekend. I had to make sure the cupcakes were just right, as he is a Hostess expert – the creamy filling could certainly not be used for  the signature Hostess swirl, must be different!

The first component was the cake. I have several chocolate cake recipes in my arsenal, and I’m not totally sure the one I picked was the best for the job, but Jer liked the cake. Personally, I thought it should have been lighter and fluffier!

Next came the creamy filling from the other recipe. It’s a combo of marshmallow fluff (a VERY sticky, odd substance), confectioners sugar, butter, and heavy cream. It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a Hostess cupcake, so I didn’t remember what the filling tasted like, but Jer said it was a pretty good match!

Then came the ganache. Instead of the traditional bittersweet chocolate used for ganache, which I find too bitter, I use semi-sweet, and it was perfect! It had a nice glossy shine and color, and was neither too sweet, nor too bitter!

Lastly, the signature Hostess swirl… I planned on making the swirl with royal icing swirl, but instead made a buttercream. Honestly, I was more concerned about getting the look of the swirl right, as I don’t usually do fine lines, and the swirl is so distinct! But, I managed to get all seven swirls on each cupcake! (some were definitely better than others!)

All in all not too shabby for a first try, and most importantly my birthday guy enjoyed them!!!

Happy Birthday to…

ME!

Shiver Me Timbers!

Back in elementary school, when we had a birthday, our mom would bake cupcakes for us to bring in and share with our classmates. I thought I’d revisit this tasty tradition for my 32nd bday today! So, I baked cupcakes to bring in to work tomorrow to share with my co-workers!

There was some other motivation in baking these guys today in addition to revisiting the tradition. For one, I had these cute pirate cupcake wrappers I’ve been wanting to use. Also, I really wanted to try baking cupcakes with the oven at our new house. (Check out the report at our home blog Titus Road!)

So, I opted for Coconut Cupcakes with a Rum Buttercream Frosting (I used sweetened coconut milk instead of whole milk), and did some pirate-themed decorating. The cupcakes cooked great in the new oven. I used the convection setting, and they were done in 18 minutes. The rum buttercream is VERY boozy! The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of rum!! One would definitely suffice!

UPDATE: Yesterday, I thought there may have been too much rum in the buttercream after sampling it. But I just tried a full cupcake today, and I retract the statement! 3 Tbs of rum works out just fine for the frosting, it’s not overpowering at all.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday!

This past Friday, the 18th, was my mom’s birthday!

She’s a self-professed chocoholic, so I wanted to make her a super-chocolatey cupcake. The “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake” from the Cook’s Illustrated website fit the bill nicely. You have to be a member to access the recipe on the site, but I was able to find the recipe elsewhere, and linked it for you here.

The chocolate cake was amazing! You’re supposed to add ganache to the batter before cooking, which I did, but it’s not necessary. The cake would also be great for a filling, perhaps for use in a Hostess-style cupcake. (coming soon!)

The frosting included with this recipe is a Swiss-meringue chocolate buttercream. Next time I make this cupcake I am going to instead use my mom’s chocolate frosting recipe. It’s the best, and nothing comes close to it’s greatness!

To top it off, I used a chocolate mold filled with milk chocolate to make the “Happy Birthday”. The one pictured above is the only one that survived!!

Make a wish!