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!
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!
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!
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 😉
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!
Labor Day is upon us friends. For many, Labor Day means the end of Summer. Not for me! I refuse to go with that mentality. We still have 3 MORE WEEKS of my very favorite season!
And to celebrate, I’ve made a festive array of summery cupcakes, complete with beach umbrellas, sea shells, and surf boards!
Really the only thing about this weekend that will be “The End” is the destination for these treats! As fellow Long Islanders may have already guessed, we’re heading to Montauk!!
These vanilla, chocolate chip cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream are for our annual company weekend out East. I stayed up late last night getting them done so we can get an early(ish) start on our roadtrip!
All packed and ready to go, we’ve got our Surfer Bears:
Our Sea Shells for the Sea Shore:
And last but not least, the Beach Bum Bears:
Happy It’s Not Yet the End of Summer Weekend!! (it’s not even really the weekend yet!)
Here’s a quick look at last year’s 4th of July cupcakes I made for a BBQ at my sister’s BF’s place! (which has a great vantage point for viewing NYC fireworks!)
The cakes were vanilla, and topped with vanilla buttercream. Last year’s 4th was a scorcher, and frosting these guys was a real challenge, if you look close you can see these guys were already a bit melty! But, they were quite a hit at the BBQ. They actually never got officially served. I was keeping them cool in a corner in the kitchen, and people kept grabbing them as they passed through!
Frosting & heat don’t get along at all, which is why you let cupcakes fully cool before frosting. This is one of my excuses for the lack of activity here at The Cupcake Files. It’s really been too hot to bake cupcakes as of late, however I have had a VERY successful cheesecake and blueberry pie emerge from my kitchen. Hopefully one day we’ll have central air and I can continue my cupcake baking in all kinds of weather.
Heat aside though, if you’ve been following my other blog, Titus Road, you’ll know I’ve been quite busy with home improvements, and haven’t had much time for cupcake making.
Excuses aside, I do have grand plans for some cupcakes for this holiday weekend.. If I can bring myself to make my plan less grand, there’s a chance they may actually happen, but we are in the middle of installing a sliding door in our dining room, and building rather sizable deck, not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze baking into this holiday weekend!
Happy Day After Easter! Hope your holiday was as enjoyable as ours was!! This year we celebrated with both family and friends, so we were a nice-sized group of 11!
As previously mentioned, in creation of the day’s cupcakes, I had a few requests to fulfill. Most of them came from my sister:
- She wanted a bunny cake (I obliged with bunny cupcakes)
- She wanted my mom’s chocolate frosted layer cake (I again obliged by using my mom’s recipes)
- Her BF has a coconut allergy, so I wanted to provide another option for him since the bunnies have coconut faces!
To start, I made all the cupcakes with the Betty Crocker New Starlight Cake recipe. The recipe dates back to at least the 1960s, and this has been my mom’s go-to yellow cake recipe for as long as I can remember. You can’t even find this on the Betty Crocker website anymore. The closest thing they have is a Yellow Cake recipe, and even that’s a bit different. The only change I made to the original recipe was using butter instead of the shortening, and of course I made cupcakes, rather than cake.
Then there’s the frosting. My mom’s chocolate frosting is the best around, and a closely guarded secret, and also dates back to the 60s! To emulate the layer-cake that my sister loves, I filled all the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Then half got frosted with vanilla buttercream, while the rest got frosted with the chocolate frosting.
I then proceed to decorate all the cupcakes with a variety of peeps, lambs, sprinkles, and colored sugar for a festive Easter display!
With Easter rapidly approaching, and me not yet quite sure what kind of cupcake I’ll be making for the holiday, I thought I’d revisit a few I have made in the past.
I made the cupcakes pictured above for Easter 2009. These were vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. I tinted the frosting a light green and topped it with green-tinted shredded coconut. The “basket” handles were rainbow-colored twizzlers, and they were filled with bunny & chick peeps, and I believe speckled egg M&Ms. (They’re definitely not the Cadbury Mini Eggs… but I do love those!!)
I’m not quite sure where I went with all those cupcakes! Usually our Easter is pretty small- just me and my sister at our parents’ house! Maybe I brought some into work the next day? Could have been what prompted my Secret Santa to get me a cupcake carrier for Xmas that year!!
We’re just starting a 4-day stretch of filming at our studio which means we’ll be relying on catering for breakfast & lunch. This tends to get a bit monotonous, especially when it comes to lunchtime dessert! There’s only so many cookies you can eat (or is there??)
Either way, to mix things up a bit, I baked cupcakes last night for dessert today. Not wanting to stray too far from the expected cookies (they really are among the best around!), I opted for cookie-inspired cupcakes.
The first, chocolate chip! I started with a Vanilla cake and added chocolate chips. They came out looking quite nice! Didn’t try them though. We have a good-sized crew and I didn’t want to be short. They were topped with a vanilla buttercream, mini chips, and a mini chocolate chip cookie.
I also made an Oreo cupcake. The cake itself is chocolate, it’s the frosting that’s full of Oreo bits. The standard frosting for the Oreo cupcake is a whipped cream with ground Oreos.
It’s a great frosting, but a whipped cream topping will not hold up well not being refrigerated! So I went with my trusty buttercream. I ground some more Oreos, mixed them into the cream, piped that onto the cupcakes, and topped them with chocolate sprinkles & half an Oreo.
Since these were my first officially commissioned cupcakes, I felt I needed an official sign or card to promote my services! So with my last remaining bit of energy and patience last night, I created these cards to display with the cupcakes!
Last night we attended a space-themed crafting party hosted by my sister’s boyfriend Alex, & my craft was space-themed cupcakes! It was a highly entertaining evening, and there were some truly amazing creations that emerged by night’s end!! (see below)
Before heading out for Brooklyn, I did my baking. I went with a basic vanilla cupcake, with vanilla frosting since the decorations (done on site) were the focus of my craft.
Still in search of a fantastic vanilla cupcake recipe, I wanted to try a new one I found that had some good reviews: Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes. He is the owner of Billy’s Bakery in NYC, and was featured in a segment on the Martha Stewart Show. I also used his Vanilla Buttercream recipe for the frosting. The cupcakes did come out great and got rave reviews, but a quick note… The recipe supposedly makes 30 cupcakes, I halved the recipe and ended up with 11! The frosting was good too, but just your basic buttercream.
Here’s some of the creations that emerged from last night’s festivities (pictures courtesy of Danielle!)