Category Archives: cupcakes

Copycat Easter cupcakes


This Easter, there was only time for one dessert. So I split a batch of yellow cake cupcakes three ways and proceeded to blatantly copy some cute ideas from…



Martha Stewart Cakes and Cupcakes…


and Parade Magazine from last week…


Happy Easter!!!


Filed under cupcakes

Believe in pink cupcakes


Sometimes you have to believe in something.aurdey-hepburn-i-believe-in-pink

Today, it’s pink and one sweet little cupcake recipe.  This recipe truly makes just a little batch of cupcakes.  12 standard sized cupcakes and 24 minis.


Perfect for a pink soiree or when you just feel like making cupcakes.  Like it just must be done for your well being.  I kinda feel that way everyday, so this recipe is perfect.  Pinkalicious perfect.


Small Batch Pink Princess Cupcakes
(adapted from The Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes)
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon LorAnn Princess Bakery Emulsion (According to the bottle, this adds a “rich bouquet and a light, nutty taste.”  I agree)
2/3 cup whole milk
a few drops red or pink food coloring (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2.  Line 12 muffin tins cups with cupcake liners.

3.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

4.  In an electric mixer or large bowl, beat the butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes) and then gradually add in the sugar and mix well on medium speed.

5.  Beat in the egg on medium speed until well blended and then beat in the extracts.

6.  Add the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture alternatively in 3 steps, beginning and ending with the flour.  If using, add the food coloring and blend on low speed until smooth.

7.  Pour the batter into the lined cupcake pan, distributing the batter equally (I use a large ice-cream/cookie scoop).

8.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotate and bake for 12 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9.  Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.  Frost as desired.


I used a cream cheese frosting for these pink beauties, working from another miniature recipe from the the Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes.  Believe me, the small batch will save you from yourself.  At least that’s what my autobiography will say!


Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt (it’s an addiction, I admit that….)

1.  In an electric mixer or large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy.

2.  Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the butter mixture.  Blend on low speed until the sugar begins to incorporate into the butter mixture.

3.  Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed until fully incorporated.


When all is said and done, sprinkle with whatever sugar morsel your little pink heart desires and gift (or inhale) away!


Filed under cupcakes

Holy Batman birthday!

Who knew if you pressed the matte photo editing button enough times, you could make a cookie look like it appeared out of the darkness, like a beacon to the masses looking for a hero? Not me. Until now:

My son Ty spends many of his waking hours trying on different superhero identities. This week – the week he happened to turn five years old – Ty is Batman. Sending signals into the night, rushing off to the Bat Cave, and requesting an all-Batman birthday party.

For his party favors, I did a simple yellow oval cookie and added the Batman symbol with the help of my new Kopy Cake projector. This is the second time I’ve used the projector and I’ve got to say, it truly is like a beacon in the night, shedding light on those shapes that simply must look like they came off of an assembly line. It’s kind of fun to stay within the lines with icing.  It almost makes me feel like I’m five years old again, only now I can eat the coloring book.

I also made some cupcakes for the party. Because he is the son of a sweet treats freak, it really was no surprise that Ty skipped plain vanilla or chocolate and instead asked for orange flavored cupcakes and frosting.

To accommodate the man in black, I made a basic vanilla cake and added 4 teaspoons orange zest and 2 teaspoons LorAnn Oils’ Orange Bakery Emulsion to the batter. I also added 6 drops of LorAnn Oils’ Bavarian Cream flavoring oil. For the frosting, I made a basic buttercream but swapped the butter out with full fat vegetable shortening. Not my first choice, I know, but the party was at a park and pool in 90 degree heat, which is just too hot for butter’s delicate disposition.

Besides, the shortening was completely transformed (trans fats and all) with a little orange zest (2 teaspoons) and 1/2 teaspoon orange bakery emulsion. When all was said and ate, the Orange Dreamsicle vibe was delightful. And if you look closely, you can see the little flecks of orange zest in the frosting, peeking out all natural like….

Finally, to attempt that fresh-from-the-bakery-feel, I made little cupcake toppers out of fondant, just like Georgetown Cupcake, but with a nod to our hero. The process was easy and born of necessity around 2:00 a.m. While sugar covered and a little delirious – mere hours before the party – I saw something shiny and started cutting…

By the time the morning alarm clock buzzed, the toppers were dry and ready to pop on the cupcakes. Which is just what I did before speeding off to the party. A hero and his butler, er, mother, can’t be late now, right?

Here’s the kid Batman in action (with a twist of Hulk):


Filed under cakes for kids, cupcakes, decorated cookies

Fresh water nautical cookies

Vrrrrmm, vrrrrmm, vrrrrrrr…. That’s the sound that’s gently brought my sleeping darlings up on sweaty summer mornings this past week, as I whirred out my latest spinach and apple juice concoction, all in the name of de-thickening the midline. I’m at day 8 of a 30-day “juice fast,” inspired by the movie, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” I’m 5 pounds down and relatively treat free. Yay! But also, Boo! Hiss! I miss my treats (and my wine, and my bread and my salt…did I say treats?)

In support of my liquid diet, I instituted a “baking moratorium,” with one yummy exception. Before locking the oven door for the remainder of July, I made some nautical themed cookies for a party to kick off a wedding weekend. Also some cupcakes.

I did vanilla and chocolate, topped with little fondant do-dads.

The cookies were a nod to the nautical themed wedding that occurred a few days later on the edge of a charming northern Idaho lake hemmed with pine trees and made all the more charming by that enveloping blanket called mid summer sun.

While we (I) don’t go crabbing in northern Idaho, up here the wind still blows sails and other stuff around.

People still need saving, we all need an anchor in our lives, and everybody dreams of finding something special and sparkly in the sand. Fortunately – thanks to Sugarbelle – you don’t need a metal detector to locate that last little beach treasure.


Filed under cupcakes, decorated cookies

Ben & Jerry would love these cupcakes!

I’ve always been a batter girl.  As a kid, I couldn’t resist tasting silky white cake mix batter, before it was poured into the pans for baking.

And cookie dough, ahhhhh, it brought another kind of precooked delight.  Tasting the tang of baking soda with the sweet pop of chocolate chips against the grit of brown sugar crystals was – and remains – divine.  We weren’t afraid of a little raw egg back then, and to be honest with you, when no one is looking over my shoulder, I still eat raw dough of all kinds, with only slight hesitation.

No worries, however, the object of this post – cookie dough filled cupcakes – do not contain raw eggs.  In my opinion, no dessert should induce anxiety, just pure satisfaction.  I’ve tinkered with these cupcakes a bit and they have since become my favorite “party treat.”  When eating them, I am brought back to the party days of college, when a party could simply mean sharing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream with a roommate.  That stuff was revolutionary, I tell ya.

To make these cupcakes, I start with a moist white cake and lace the batter with a few mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Mini chips are key to these cupcakes, because you don’t want to overwhelm the palette with a big bite of hard chocolate.  Trust me, I’ve tried the regular chips before, and they’re plain distracting in both the cake and dough.

It’s crazy, but we’re going for nostalgic subtly here; a reminder of that tub of “study break” ice cream, or the taste of cookie dough ribbons before the mixing bowl went into the sink for soaking.  Not a bag full of post holiday Hershey’s Kisses from the freezer that you really shouldn’t be eating anyway (no worries, I have plenty of “constructive” uses for those treats too).

Once baked and cooled, the cupcakes are cored and filled with a dab of chocolate ganache and then cookie dough.  I top the cupcakes with a swirl of ganache and sprinkle a few cake crumbs on top.  Otherwise, the tops are left bare.  This is primarily because ganache is the epitome of “rich dessert” and adding frosting can swerve the whole shebang to the sickening side of sugar intake, even if the eggs are fully cooked.  (:

So, without further ado, here’s the cake and (no bake) cookie dough filling recipes.  You can find my Chocolate Ganache Recipe here.  For this recipe, please double the ganache, ‘cuz there’s a lot of cake filling to do….

White Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
(makes approximately 24 cupcakes)

3 cups cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. vanilla bean paste (I love the specked “authenticity” that vanilla seeds add to the cake)
1 c. milk
8 large egg whites
1/2 c. MINI semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and two cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla and vanilla bean paste.  With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

4.  In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.  With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Do not overbeat.  With a large rubber spatula, gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined.  Gently fold in the remaining whites and the mini chocolate chips.

5.  Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

6.  Transfer pans to a wire rack and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from the pans and allow cupcakes to cool completely before coring and filling.

NO BAKE Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oat flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. coarse Kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 T. light corn syrup
2 T. water (replaces liquid from egg – if needed, add more to moisten)
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. MINI semisweet chocolate chips

1.  In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oat flour and granulated sugar.  I find a fork works best.

2.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt (dry ingredients).

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and corn syrup together on medium -low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the oat flour-sugar mixture gradually and mix for 2 minutes.  Add the water and vanilla and mix for one minute longer, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Reduce the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Add more water if the batter appears dry.

4.  Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the mini chocolate chips.

5.  Place the cookie dough in a pastry bag without a tip for filling the cupcakes, or fill the cupcakes with a spoon.


Filed under cupcakes

Spidey and the shoes birthday treats

Ty unknowingly spent his fourth birthday traveling home across the vast open expanse of northern Wyoming in a crowded minivan, speeding along on what he calls, “the big road.”  The big, boring interstate with no caffeine in sight, was no place to spend a birthday, in his mother’s humble opinion.  So I didn’t tell Ty it was his birthday.  For all he knows, all birthdays must occur when one’s feet are firmly planted at home.

Nari turned the big 0-2 two days later.  By then, we had arrived, but barely, and were still smothered in dirty laundry.  So we held off until the weekend and held a joint, impromptu birthday party at a neighborhood park.  Those who could make it on short notice, did, and it gave me a nanosecond to figure out the most important part of any party, the treats.

Originally, Ty requested a hybrid half Spiderman/half Star Wars cake.  Since I couldn’t handle that kind of commercialized detail after 20 hours on the open road with only my children and Raffi to entertain me, we settled on Spiderman cookies and cupcakes.

Nari was easier because she can barely talk.  But she can muster a mean swagger up and down the upstairs hall with a purse and my heels.

I don’t yet have a purse cutter, so heels it was, in the style and color of my choosing.  Mother’s prerogative, at least until she’s three.

For the cupcakes, I dabbled in melted chocolate fondant, to achieve a smooth finish.  I adapted Peggy Porchen’s technique from her book, Pretty Party Cakes, for the fondant icing for these cupcakes (detailed below).

Melted Chocolate Fondant Icing (for 24 cupcakes)

1 lb. ready-made chocolate fondant
1 to 2 oz. sugar syrup (1/3 c. sugar in 1/3 c. water, boiled and cooled)

1.  Unless freshly made, place the fondant in a large microwave-proof bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soften for 15 minutes.

2.  Pour away the water and add the sugar syrup.

3.  Heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes at medium power.  Stir to combine well, then heat for another minute.

4.  Dip and drain the cupcakes in the hot fondant.  Periodically reheat the fondant for 10 to 20 seconds on high heat to retain a smooth consistency.  If the fondant feels thick and heavy when dipping, add a little more sugar syrup until the fondant runs smoothly.

5.  The fondant icing will be sticky.  Allow the cupcakes to dry for a few hours before handling too much.

All and all, the fondant definitely delivered on the sheen, but I think I still prefer the taste and fluffiness of butter cream.  I know, I’ve got to get out more.  Because the north side of interstate 25 doesn’t count.


Filed under cupcakes, decorated cookies

Raspberry and chocolate swirl mini cupcakes

These sweet munchkins were made for my dear friend, Elise, who celebrated a birthday with red wine last week.  For her birthday, Elise requested chocolate cake and a “little bit of raspberry.”  She, like many people, are particular about their fruity desserts, so I tried to accommodate with a little cake of joy that was not too overwhelmed by anything.  Sort of like Elise.

Hey girl, youre lookin good!

I’m really becoming attached to mini cupcakes – for all celebrations – kids and adults alike.   For kids, the size cuts down on the mess and waste (when they inevitably leave big chunks of cake behind in favor of present opening or wrestling, or whatever else kids do that keeps them from appreciating my desserts).

For adults, cupcakes work because they are the cookies of the cake world.  It’s easier to eat three – or eight – little mini’s because they don’t require the commitment that a piece of four layer cake requires, or even the top heavy yummy-ness of a standard size cupcake.  In my experience, people will take one regular cupcake and a while family of minis.  Ultimately, I want people to eat my treats, and the mini cupcake appears to serve as the gateway drug (of sorts).

Honey, I was made for you!

These babies started out as tiny chocolate cakes, filled with an almost too sweet raspberry meringue butter cream frosting and topped with a swirl of chocolate ganache and raspberry frosting.  Fortunately, the Dutch processed cocoa in the cake and the semi sweet chocolate ganache tempered the sweetness of the frosting.  I added the fresh raspberry because they’re pretty and a perfect balance to the chocolate and meringue decadence.   The berry buttercream and ganache recipes are here and here.

Pink from jam alone!

Adding a little corn syrup shine!

This was one of my first experiences with chocolate ganache and I’m positively in love.  Waiting for ganache was certainly worth the wait.  I could eat the stuff like pudding!  But I must say, it looks better on a mini cocoa pedestal.


Filed under cupcakes