Bakery Review – Wicked Good Cupcakes

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I was recently contacted by the lovely ladies of Wicked Good Cupcakes and asked if I’d care to sample their cupcakes in jars.  Now I will be completely honest and admit that I had never heard of Wicked Good Cupcakes but OF COURSE I’d never pass up on opportunity to try cupcakes!  I will however admit that I had my reservations—cupcakes in jars??  Seemed slightly gimmicky to me and how fresh and delicious could these cupcakes possibly be?  Well, I was about to find out!

To start off, the jars came packaged neatly and securely in a box with four spoons.  They were adorable little mason jars which I was actually excited about because I realized after the cupcake is gone and they are thoroughly cleaned, they are reusable–yay!  So that was an immediate plus.  Now, on to the cupcakes!

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I was sent the three new spring flavors, Strawberry Lemon, Neapolitan, Tiramisu and a bonus flavor, Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter.  I’m just going to get right to the main point–these cupcakes in jars were DELICIOUS.  Even my husband who is not a big cupcake person was loving them and my three year old daughter wouldn’t stop asking for bites!  An amazing combination of the most moist and flavorful cake and creamy, not-overly-sweet frosting in a tiny jar.  They actually tasted fresher than most cupcakes I’ve had from bakeries which was shocking to me!  These were really, really hard to not eat all of each and every jar.

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My absolute favorite was the Strawberry Lemon which is lemon and strawberry cake layered with strawberry jam and lemon buttercream frosting.  Tangy, sweet and just divine.  My second favorite was the Neapolitan which is chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake layered with vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkled with some cute chocolate jimmies on top.  Third favorite was Tiramisu which is vanilla cake with layers of coffee syrup, and tiramisu butter cream frosting.  And my least favorite (and my daughter’s new cake obsession haha!) was Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter which was yummy cinnamon cake layered between homemade caramel and cookie butter buttercream frosting topped off with a dollop of Biscoff cookie butter in the center.  Don’t get me wrong, this one was super yummy just not my favorite.  If you love cinnamon it would probably be your top pick though!

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The only thing I noticed about the jars was that there was no description of each flavor like there is on the website and I think it would be nice to read what’s inside the jar when you open it up.  Kind of get your taste buds going before you have that first bite. 😉  As for price they are a tad pricey but you are getting the equivalent of two cupcakes in ONE jar plus a jar to keep!  In my mind totally worth the cost and they would make a fabulous gift for Mother’s Day or just about any special occasion…Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas…or just treat yourself!  Don’t wait, order some today!

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St. Patrick’s Day Dessert 2015

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a recipe roundup and thought St. Patty’s day would be the perfect time to share some goodies from around the web!  These all look SO good to me and I wish I could make every single one!  Hope they give you some inspiration!

Thin Mint Puppy Chow

 

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Surprise-Inside St. Paddy’s Day Cupcakes

 

Suprise Inside St. Patricks Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

 

Mint-Chocolate-Chip-Cheesecake-Brownies1

St. Patrick’s Day Rice Krispie Treats

 

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Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

 

Thin-Mint-Brownie-Ice-Cream

Leprechaun Hat S’mores

 

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Mint Chocolate Fudge Recipe

 

Mint-chocolate-fudge

Thin Mint Truffles

 

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Mint Chocolate Cookies

 

Mint Chocolate Cookies

Thin Mint Brownies with Bailey’s Buttercream

 

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Bakery Review – The Sweet Tooth in Blue Springs, MO

The Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Inside

The Sweet Tooth Bakery Case

Recently the hubby and I went to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for our fifth anniversary and came across this little cupcake shop in Blue Springs, MO called The Sweet Tooth.  When we were there they happened to be remodeling so the place was in a bit of disarray but their cupcakes still looked fabulous and that’s all that matters, right?!  I had read online that their cheesecake was good and cupcakes were REALLY good so I was excited to try both!

Silly Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakse

I chose a plain, mini New York style cheesecake and four different kinds of cupcakes:  Lemon cake with lemon filling and frosting, white cake with white chocolate filling and raspberry buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white cake with chocolate frosting.  I will be totally honest and say….that I loved them all!  I don’t know what it was about their cupcakes but they were just soooooooo good.  I can usually take one or two bites of a cupcake and be done but I wanted to eat all of each and every  one of these!

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

The cakes were super moist and the frosting wasn’t overly sweet and the fillings were perfect.  I will say they were some of the best cupcakes I’ve had which I definitely was not expecting!  The cheesecake was also very good.  Highly, highly recommend this little shop!  A must if you are wanting some really delicious cupcakes.

Chocolate Mint Cupcake

 

Black and White Cupcakes

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42 Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

I started pinning things for Valentine’s Day on Pinterest and couldn’t stop.  Thus, this blog post.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make everything I was pinning so I decided to just put them all into one massive blog post and let you decide what to make!  In my opinion, anything pink, red, strawberry, raspberry, cherry or chocolate says Valentine’s Day!  And that’s pretty much what you’ll find in this post.  Lots of pretty, delicious, Valentine’s Day-perfect treats and ideas!  How to choose?!  I hate making decisions.  Especially when it comes to dessert.  They all look amazing.

Enjoy!

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

Berry Banana Smoothie

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

Frozen Cherry Limemade

 

Cherry Limemade

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

 

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

 

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

 

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

 

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

 

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

Hershey Heart Pretzels

 

Hershey Heart Pretzels

Love Potion #9 Drink

 

Love Potion #9 Drink

Mini Chocolate Cake

 

Mini Chocolate Cake

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

 

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cake

 

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

 

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Coconut Scones

 

Raspberry Coconut Scones

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

 

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Party Punch

 

Raspberry Party Punch

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Reese’s Cupcake Topper

 

Reese's Cupcake Vday Topper

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

 

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

 

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

 

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cake

 

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Cream Pie

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

 

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Strawberry Tiramisu

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

 

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

 

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

 

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

Valentine’s 5-Layer Finger Jello

 

Valentine's 5-Layer Finger Jello

Valentine’s Day Fruit Pizza

 

Valentine's Day Fruit Pizza

Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfait

 

Valentine's Day Pudding Parfait

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs

 

VDay Fruit Kabob

 

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Love is Sweet

My last and final post about our trip to Illinois in August!  I’ve covered chocolate, pie and cupcakes and now the grand finale—the wedding!!!  Jeremy and Lisa worked together at the church we went to in Rockford and when we left a mere 2.5 years ago she wasn’t even dating anyone but before we knew it she was engaged to Adam and it was wedding time!  Lisa is a very detailed oriented person so I expected alot out of this wedding and I can honestly say I was not disappointed!  It was totally a gorgeous, picture perfect wedding.  Seriously.

The ceremony was at 1, with a dessert reception immediately following outside on the front lawn of the church.  There was a white tent with the most amazing spread of mini cupcakes, cheesecakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, hand pies, mini brownies and chocolate dipped pretzels.  I LOVE mini anything, especially desserts, so it was a feast for the eyes!  And her colors were some of my favorites…pink, grey, black and white.  Loved it.

A few hours later there was a dinner reception at the Rockford Art Museum.  The venue was awesome but even more awesome was this candy buffet!  It had gummies, Jordan almonds, Circus Peanuts, lollipops, gumballs, jelly beans and taffy.  So fun!

Lastly, the wedding cake!  Isn’t it so sweet??  To my surprise this was a strawberry shortcake cake!  The frosting on the outside looked like buttercream but was actually a whipped cream frosting and the inside was layers of yellow cake with strawberries and more whipped cream in between!  Loved it.  Definitely different and memorable!

We were so happy we were able to share in Lisa and Adam’s special day and wish them all the best!

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Sugarjones in Rockford, IL

Alright, third sweet stop on our whirlwind trip to Illinois is Sugarjones in Rockford!  Now if you’ll recall we already got our chocolate and pie fix so naturally it was time for some CUPCAKES.  Honestly I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to this place or not since we had to be at a wedding fairly early that day but lucky for us Sugarjones opened at 10 a.m. so after we got in our free out-of-towner workout on at the local YMCA, we headed over to Sugarjones to get ummmm…breakfast (I mean really, how many degrees of separation are there between a muffin and a cupcake?!  Yeah, not many.)

So we got there and the place was hoppin’!  They obviously had a ton of special orders that day…boxes were flying out the door!  The place was really cute and I loved how the kitchen was open and you could see everyone working away.  The owner herself was there and I actually got to meet her and tell her that I had a blog and would be doing a review on her place.  Fun!

The cupcakes themselves looked beautiful.  So simple and elegant.  I was sooo excited to try them.  We bought three different kinds:  Churro, Black & White and a Chocolate cupcake.  So how did they taste?   To sum it up in one word:  PHENOMENAL.  I am not joking when I say these are possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had  (aside from Red’s Cupcakes, of course!).  The cake was perfect, moist and tender and just divine.

The frosting was another thing altogether…I LOVED It.  The moment I tasted it, I was in heaven!  It was silky smooth and not at all sugary or greasy.  It reminded me of a Swiss or Italian buttercream but not quite the same.  I couldn’t put my finger on it so of course I had to ask the owner what it was!  Sure enough she said it was her version of a Swiss buttercream but without the egg whites.  So, her own recipe.  I TOTALLY wanted to ask her for it, but refrained.  But I still might.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we did rank the cupcakes.  Honestly, it was almost a three-way tie because they were all soooo good that it was hard to choose but for me, my favorite was the Churro.  It had swirls of cinnamon and sugar in the cake and a dreamy vanilla frosting…it was beyond scrumptious.   The Black & White was my second favorite and then Chocolate was third.  But like I said, ALL were excellent.  I’m only sad that they are 8 hours away.

If you are in the area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking this place out.  Or if you have already, I’d love to hear your feedback!

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Treetop Friends Baby Shower

A couple of weekends ago I had the extreme joy of hosting my little sister’s baby shower.  I am beyond thrilled that she is having a baby…it’s just her and I in our family and she is the first to have a baby/grandbaby, so this is pretty exciting for us and our parents!  In just a little less than a month we’ll be welcoming baby Micah into the world and you can bet he will be spoiled to death.  And I will probably spoil him the most!  At least I’m gonna try.  Haha.

The shower was a brunch and held at my parent’s church.  We did a delicious breakfast casserole and fresh fruit, along with a dessert table that I planned months ago.  It all came together perfectly and everyone had a great time.  So wonderful having the opportunity to bless the parents-to-be.  Great memories.

The shower was themed after the nursery, which is going to be Treetop Friends.  Think trees, bird’s nests, owls, etc…

Here is the AMAZINGLY detailed cake by Celebrations by Sonja.  It seriously looked just like the invitation.  This is all buttercream, no fondant and I can honestly say her cakes not only look fabulous but are probably some of the best tasting I have every had.

Now for the dessert table…

“Treeknot” Mini Cinnamon Rolls

 A close-up of all the yumminess.

The macaroon “bird’s nests” were delicious and it was the first time I’d ever made them.  I got the recipe here and just tweaked a little by omitting the Nutella, adding some almond extract and filling them with blueberries and drizzling melted white chocolate over the top.  Yum.

Such a fabulous time…now we wait for baby Micah to make his grand entrance!

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Crazy About Key Lime

After making my Key Lime Pie last week, I was inspired to search out some more key lime recipes.  I just love the tart and sweet combination so much!  Any of these would make a great summertime treat…enjoy!

Key Lime Bars

Key Lime Bars by myrecipes.com

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting by myrecipes.com

Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Cheesecake by Mangio de Sola

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes by The Repressed Pastry Chef

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream by Desserted Planet

Key Lime Shortbread Cookies

Key Lime Shortbread Cookies by Land O' Lakes

Key Lime Tarts

Key Lime Tarts by The Repressed Pastry Chef

 

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Chocolate, Cupcakes and….Dehydrators?

My birthday weekend has come and gone.  I ate some good food, opened gifts and had quality family time.  Oh!  I even managed to see a movie–The Amazing Spiderman.  It was…ok.  Lots of action, some suspense and no girly, mushy, lovey, dovey romance junk, so that’s good.  I even got to indulge in my favorite concrete creation of vanilla custard, Oreo, brownies and cherry juice (courtesy of my hubby’s genius) at Andy’s.

As for the gifts, here’s a quick little roundup of some fun things I got…

A dehydrator!!!!  We’re getting into a raw food diet in our household and upon further research, I’ve discovered dehydrators are used in a LOT of recipes.  Unfortunately, this one gets a little too hot to be considered “raw” so I’m getting another new one!  (and yes, I do see the irony in posting about our new raw diet on my dessert blog).  Oh and a new cookie spatula!  Very exciting since mine went missing a couple months ago.  Yes, these are the things I get excited about.

Fun little mug and some Russell Stover raspberry cheesecake filled chocolates…yum.

Ice cream books!!  I am so excited about these.  I’ve had a huge urge to make my own ice cream the past couple of months and cannot WAIT to try out some of these recipes.

Technically not food but how could I not share these with a name like Pink Sugar?  This is my favorite perfume/body wash/lotion ever.  I get compliments on it every time.

And thanks to my in-laws and parents, I’ll be purchasing a bigger, badder food processor in the near future so no picture of that yet, but soon, very soon.

It was truly a great weekend and I wish I could do it all over again….every weekend!  Haha.  I’m blessed to have such great family and friends to celebrate with and thankful for all the love they showed me!

 

 

 

 

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Baking with Zucchini

Hi friends!  To follow up my majorly delicious (and healthy!) zucchini bread recipe, I thought I’d share even MORE recipes for baking with zucchini!  Just in case your garden overfloweth like so many people I know.  If you see more than you can bake at the moment, not a problem!  Just freeze your grated zucchini and thaw it out at a later time.  And I’ve included a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes so there are options for everyone!

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread by Bittersweet Blog

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache by the Repressed Pastry Chef

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins by Florida Coastal Cooking

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting by My Baking Addiction

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches by The Hall Family Blog

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting by Brown Eyed Baker

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins by Eating Clean Recipes

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries by Two Peas and Their Pod

 

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Bakery Review – Pinkitzel in Oklahoma City

Warning:  This post contains many pictures.  I apologize in advance.  However, I originally had 50 and managed to narrow it down to 20.  And yes, I know you’re dying to see ALL 50 so I have a slideshow at the very end of this post with every. single. photo.

Ok, so I’ve talked about the little trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City and the bakeries we visited, here and here.  But I have saved the best for last.  Pinkitzel is the sole reason I wanted to go to Oklahoma City.  Ever since finding them online a few months ago, I have been absolutely DYING to visit.  And I finally got to!  Since I have ambitions of opening my own candy shop one day, Pinkitzel is a MAJOR inspiration in my book.  I was so excited to go.  Probably too excited.

From the moment we walked in, I tried to contain myself but it was hard!  I’m sure the employees thought we were nuts…Jeremy taking pictures, me jotting down notes…yeah, we looked crazy.  At least I felt like I did.  But I didn’t care!  I was in candy heaven and no one was raining on my parade.  First off, the decor is AMAZING.  Totally my style and pretty dang close to what I’d choose for a store of my own.  It was black, white and hot pink with a rococo/baroque feel to it.  The party rooms were out. of. this. world.  There is a black and white one that could be accented with the colors of the person’s party/event they are having.  I believe the room was set up for an engagement party when we were visiting that day.

And then you have a red/pink room that is very girly and a little smaller, probably more for a young girl’s birthday party or even a bridal or baby shower.  Both of the rooms were so neat and over the top, pretty much like everything in the store.

There were also tons of fun merchandise and nicknacks and novelty gifts.

And the candy.  Oh, the candy.  So much to choose from.  I tried to be really picky but still get a good variety–at $3.75 for 1/4lb, this stuff wasn’t cheap!  But I can honestly say, it was totally worth the price.  A million times better quality than the stuff you’d get somewhere else (like our local shop in Springfield, Mr. Bulky’s) and the selection was just phenomenal.

My only regret about this place was spending $9 on three, yes THREE, cupcakes that were horrible, instead of using it on more candy.  Yes, you are doing the math correctly…$3 each.  I had read reviews that people posted online saying the cupcakes were from somewhere like Sam’s Club and just frosted different colors and sure enough…that’s what they were.  Except I like the cupcakes from Sam’s Club (shocker, I know) and I definitely did NOT like these.  They were even smaller than a regular size cupcake (if you can imagine that) and so loaded with artificially flavored frosting they were nearly inedible.  Let’s just say it was a good thing we were sitting right next to a trash can.  They also had a selection of chocolate truffles that were decent.  Not the best, but definitely ok.

BUT, the candy more than made up for the cupcakes and truffles.  I think it’s clear that the main product focus is the candy and it’s worth every penny.  I truly wish I’d just stuck with candy but I have no doubt I’ll be back to this place.  It’s sensory overload in every way and I love it!  Definitely make sure you stop in if you’re ever in the area!

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July 4th Cupcake Inspiration

I just love these patriotic cupcakes from a few of my favorite blogs.  So creative and soooo tasty looking!  Makes me want to grab a sparkler and get the party started!

Enjoy!

Red, White & Blue – Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Photo by Love From the Oven

Color Swirled July 4th Cupcakes

Photo by Bake at 350

Blueberry & Raspberry Cupcakes

Photo by the Cupcaketologist

Berry Patriotic Cupcakes

Photo by Kitchen Daily

Cute Star Candy Cupcakes

Photo by Grey Luster Girl

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Photo by Bakergirl

Bomb Pop Cupcakes

Photo by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

 

 

 

 

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Cupcake Wars Watch Party!

Robyn and I--ready for the show!

One of the best things about being on Cupcake Wars??  The huge, insanely fun watch party we got to throw!  Of course we HAD to make cupcakes for everyone to eat while watching so we made three of the four kinds of cupcakes that we made on the show (Red Velvet, Take 5 and Bananas Foster).  And we did not make just enough for everyone to have one measly little cupcake…no, no we made 750 cupcakes…enough for every person there to have one of EACH cupcake.  Insane!

Here are some fun photos from the night…

Frosting the Bananas Foster with that AMAZING brown sugar buttercream.
The Take 5 Cupcake--chocolate cake, salted caramel filling, peanut butter buttercream, topped with pretzels, peanuts and chocolate bark! The clear favorite of the night.
Doesn't she just look so cute and innocent?? Don't be fooled! Caught her red-handed (pawed?) chowing down on a box of Red Velvet cupcakes!
The BIG cupcake display!
More cupcakes!
Crammed into the living room....
...and the bedroom...and a few other rooms. Hah!
Hmmm, which one (or five) do I want???
The big, blow-up outside screen didn't quite work out. There was too much sunlight to see the screen! Bummer. 🙁
Another angle of the living room.
There we are!! Go Red's Cupcakes!

All in all, I think Red’s Cupcakes definitely brought it and yeah, TOTALLY should have won.  But hey, you can’t win ’em all and in the end I think our cupcakes were beautiful, our display was amazing and we gave it our all so we’re proud of what we did!  Robyn will forever reign as Cupcake Goddess and I, the Candy Queen!!  Hah!

Thanks to everyone who watched and cheered us on and for all your support!!  Love and appreciate each and every one of you!

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Dad’s Like Cupcakes Too

And cookies.  And cake.  And brownies.  And…well, you get the idea.  Sometimes dad’s even like to get in the kitchen and show-off their baking skills!  If your dad falls into any of these categories, may I suggest some of the following gifts and ideas, perfect for Father’s Day?

I think every dessert-loving dad should own this shirt.  Ok, scratch that–every REAL MAN should own this shirt.

Real Men Can Bake apron.  Says it all.

These beer themed sugar cookies are soooo cute.  Oh, maybe cute is the wrong word…probably not very manly.  Oh well.

He likes pancakes?  And bacon?  And beer?  No problem–he can have all three for breakfast!  Nothing says “love ya, dad” like Beer and Bacon Pancakes.

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Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes

I’ve got your dessert for Father’s Day.  Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes.  Also known as, the manliest of manly cupcakes in the history of mankind.  Ok, at least that’s MY take on them.  And I think my husband would agree also.  And any other man that has the extreme pleasure of tasting one of these amazing cupcakes.  They combine what I understand to be essential manly ingredients such as peanuts, pretzels and beer and turn a cupcake into something a REAL man is not ashamed to eat.  ‘Cause really…cupcakes are cute!  And what man eats something cute??  I know of none.

I will be honest–you could just stop with the chocolate stout cake.  The cake recipe makes a little more batter than is needed for the cupcakes so I ended up having five cupcakes that were only chocolate cake and uuummmm, yeah…AH-mazing.  I topped one with some simple homemade whipped cream and it was out of this world.  Just an idea if you don’t want to bother with the peanut butter cheesecake.  But may I suggest you bother??  Because it really is worth it.  The combination of the whipped chocolate ganache buttercream, chocolate stout cake and creamy peanut butter cheesecake is just out of this world.

Really, truly the PERFECT treat for any dad on Father’s Day.  Make them.  You will automatically become his favorite child.  Promise.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious 

Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Stout Cake
  • ¾ c. Guinness Extra Stout
  • 1 T. Instant Coffee Granules dissolved in ¼ c. Warm Water
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 c. White Sugar
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Sour Cream
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
  • 1 lb. (2, 8 oz. pkgs) Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¾ c. Firmly Packed, Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1½ T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1½ c. Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened
  • ½ c. Crushed Pretzels
  • ½ c. Chopped, Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 35 regular size muffin tins with cupcake liners.
For the Chocolate Stout Cake
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout, coffee and butter to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sour cream just until blended.
  3. Add stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just combined, taking care the stout mixture is cool enough that it will not cook the eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
For the Peanut Butter Cheesecake
  1. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, heavy whipping cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined.
  2. Place a scant 2 T. peanut butter cheesecake in the bottom of 30 of the muffin tins. Top with 2 T. of the chocolate stout cake. Bake for 20 minute or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
  1. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate chips and let set for one minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is smooth and melted completely. Stir in vanilla. Beat the chocolate mixture on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.
  2. Frost each cupcake with a VERY generous amount of frosting (I did a very thick layer of frosting) and top with crushed pretzels and chopped peanuts. Refrigerate overnight and let set out at least 5 minutes before eating.
Notes
Makes 30 chocolate stout and peanut butter cheesecake cupcakes and 5 chocolate stout cupcakes. Note: I made the chocolate stout mixture first, then the cheesecake and then finished the cake, just so the chocolate stout mixture had time to cool adequately.

 

 

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Bakery Review – Sara Sara Cupcakes in Oklahoma City

Jeremy and I took a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City this weekend.  The original purpose of the trip was to visit a little candy shop I have been eyeing online for what seems like forever called Pinkitzel.  From what I had seen of their website, this place seemed like a candy lovers dream and their decor was right up my alley–pink, white, black and Rococo everywhere!!  I was absolutely in love.  I had to go.  NOW.  So we decided to do it and after realizing it would take nearly 5 hours to make the drive, we booked a hotel.  Well, at least I thought we had booked a hotel. Jeremy surprised me by booking a B&B just outside of the Tulsa area.  It was so sweet…I think I’ll keep him. 😉

So knowing that we didn’t have to rush back and could just do whatever on Saturday, I immediately looked up other places around OKC we could get our sugar fix at.  I found a few cupcake places and narrowed it down to one and then also discovered another candy shop and a chocolate shop.  Fun!

We set out early (5:30!) Saturday morning and made it just in time for our first destination to open up.  Sara Sara Cupcakes is located in an old, historic party of Oklahoma City…and it is SO ADORABLE.  The house is quite aged, probably built in the early 1900’s which of course only adds to the charm.  They’ve painted the doors pink and the inside is totally white and clean/modern looking.  I loved it.

 As for the cupcakes, they were HUGE which made sense since they were $3.59 each.  I kind of freaked out about the price (however would I be able to try  my regular half dozen?!), but then I was informed that on that day they were 3 for $9…not bad!

So it was decision time…I hate this part!  I am HORRIBLE at making decisions, especially when it comes to dessert and I was struggling.  I can’t tell you how many times the employees at these places stare at me like I’m crazy while I stand in front of their bakery cases looking constipated and Jeremy is flitting around taking pictures.  Yeah…we probably look insane.  But oh well, all in the name of research!  So I managed to decide, with some input from Jeremy, and we came up with the following delightful cupcakes:  Coconut Cream, Crimson & Cream and Judge Joe Cannon.  I will say up front that these cupcakes are delicious and straightforward.  They were all homey and just good.  Nothing fancy or over the top.  Cake and frosting.  That being said, here’s the breakdown of each one.

Our least favorite was the Crimson & Cream.  And not because it was bad!  It definitely was not bad, it was just not our favorite.  The red velvet cake was the perfect buttermilk, red velvet cake…so moist and the cocoa was just barely noticeable.  Like red velvet should be.  Topped with a delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings.  We liked it a lot.

Our next favorite was the Judge Joe Cannon, a banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chunks of Snickers.  I personally LOVED this banana cupcake because it was actually a super thick and dense banana bread.  Oh, it was soooo good.  However, the frosting was totally a let down…it was not a buttercream but more like a whipped topping that was greasy and slightly grainy.  I was really bummed about it because I loved the cake part so much.

And our absolute favorite was the Coconut Cream.   A delicious and moist chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate frosting and yummy toasted coconut.  Loved it.

 

 Such a great start to the weekend!  If you are in the area, definitely pick up some cupcakes from them!

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Cinco de Mayo Cupcakes

Hey guys!  In case you didn’t know, Cinco de Mayo is this Saturday!  I know the day is typically celebrated with LOTS of alcohol and good food but may I suggest a cupcake?  I’ve got a few drool-worthy options and yes, even a couple with a bit of alcohol thrown in!  The Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake is my top pick to make…anything with cayenne and chocolate is a MUST make for me.  It’s one of my favorite flavor combinations!

How do YOU celebrate Cinco de Mayo??

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Photo by cheekykitchen.com

Margarita Cupcakes

Photo by browneyedbaker.com

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Photo by bakersroyale.com

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Photo by kokocooks.blogspot.com

Churro Cupcakes

Photo by dishingthedivine.com
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The Next Big Thing…Pudding?

Banana Pudding Photo by Bakerella

So, the word on the street is that pudding (yes, pudding) is going to replace cupcakes as the next big dessert trend.  Now in the past, predictor types have also foreseen pie, whoopie pies and macaroons dethroning the almighty cupcake but so far…hasn’t happened.  This article mentions a couple of new pudding restaurants that have popped up in New York where alot of trends start.

Don’t get me wrong I do love pudding, ESPECIALLY totally-from-scratch butterscotch pudding, but I really can’t imagine saying to my girlfriend during girl’s night out, “Hey!  Let’s go get some pudding!”  I mean, it’s going to either be ice cream (if we want something cold) or a cupcake.   And I really don’t see mom ordering a big ‘ole bowl of chocolate pudding for little Mary Sue’s birthday party anytime soon.

Chocolate Pudding Photo by Smitten Kitchen

But hey, what do I know?  Do you think it could be the next big thing?  Should cupcake shops start diversifying now and slap pudding on their menus??  Something to think about…

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