Cupcake Camp Boston!

For those of you in the Boston area and who have a sweet-tooth, come on by to the first ever Cupcake Camp Boston! It will take place Thursday April 15th at 7:00pm at PA’s Lounge in Somerville, MA. Come by to enjoy cupcakes from well-known bakeries around Boston as well as homemade ones from cupcakes lovers… like me!

Click here for more information and to register. Click here for the main Cupcake Camp site.

What better way to celebrate (or console yourself) on tax day! Hope to see you there!


Cupcake Tea at the Ritz-Carlton

I read a lot of cupcake related blogs but I hadn’t been keeping up with them over the holidays. So when I got back to them in mid-January I noticed an old post from November about the Ritz-Carlton doing their Cupcake Tea for the holidays. I had never heard of it but since it involved cupcakes I had to investigate. I thought it had ended in December, but it turns out their website shows it as ongoing with the cupcake selections varying. So I immediately made a reservation, which are recommended and sometimes required if it’s a busy time. Cupcake Tea is simply five mini cupcakes served with a variety of tea selections. The cupcake flavors are chosen by the Ritz, so you can’t substitute any if you don’t like the flavor.

It is set in the lobby of the hotel, which seems a little weird at first but the set up is so nice that you feel like you are sitting in a living room. Our table was set up before we arrived with everything minus the tea and cupcakes.
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All the utensils were made of silver and made especially for the hotel.
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I’ve never seen a lemon squeezer before, but then again it is the Ritz.
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My tea was delicious and the pot was on a silver stand with a tea light in it to keep it warm. The only issue was that the tea leaves stayed in the pot, so with each cup the tea got stronger and eventually over-brewed. Fortunately, the tea is unlimited.
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The cupcakes were small, but after five of them I was stuffed. They were so delicious. I’m sure they are one-biters but a frosting-on-the-face situation would have occurred if I attempted that. The flavors from left to right: Raspberry Ginger, Apple Pie, Peppermint Patty, Boston Cream, and Eggnog.
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I ate them in reverse order starting with the Eggnog which I thought I would like the least next to the Ginger one. Surprisingly it was delicious. The frosting was light and fluffy and had a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. Boston Cream was as expected, same for the Peppermint Patty which I did eat in one bite just to see if I could…
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The Apple Pie one was probably my favorite even though it didn’t have any actual frosting on it. The apples on top were like pie filling, so good. The Raspberry Ginger one I think I liked the least probably because I am not a fan of ginger, but the cake was a spice cake and there was a small center of raspberry filling which was a nice surprise.

Needless to say, I did finish them all. I will definitely be going back to try out the other flavors.
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Beet Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Butter Cream Frosting

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These will definitely have a Take 2. First off, the recipe called for one beet. WTF is that? Since when do beets all grow the same size? So it’s safe to say I got a beet that was too big so the cupcake tastes more like beet bread and it didn’t rise like a cupcake should.

As for the butter cream, I think I still screwed up with it, but it didn’t taste too bad. I got a tip from a co-worker to make the dulce de leche at home putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk, submerged in water, into a pressure cooker for 45 minutes. Although, I was afraid of it exploding, it didn’t and almost like magic I had a can of what looked and tasted like thick caramel. Next time, though, I will put it in for 30 minutes instead of 45 since the longer it is in there the thicker it becomes.

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Problem with the butter cream was that the sugar-water reduction didn’t incorporate properly with the egg whites for some reason and I ended up having a cooled solid clump of sugar stuck to the bottom of the mixer bowl. I decided to forge ahead anyway and mix in the dulce de leche and it actually ended up tasting pretty good. Since my dulce de leche was a bit thicker you can see small dark dots since it couldn’t incorporate completely.

You can find the recipe here. I will definitely be making these again very soon and using what I learned this time, I think I can make them much better. Stay tuned….


Fruit Loop Cupcakes

I stumbled upon a recipe for Fruit Loop cupcakes and definitely had to try them out. Of course being absent minded as usual, I forgot to put the orange and lemon zest into the batter, so they were probably not as great as they could have been but they definitely were delicious. I substituted the all-purpose flour for cake flour which I think made for a softer cake.

Since they passed the test, next will definitely have the zest!


Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

For the Super Bowl I got a request to make cupcakes with Nutella frosting. I had used Nutella as a quick frosting previously, just gooping it on straight from the jar. This time I decided to take a peanut butter frosting recipe and substitute Nutella instead. The recipe called for combining butter, confectionary sugar and peanut butter (Nutella) in a mixer. This created a more smooth and creamy frosting rather than a spread out of the jar. Since chocolate and peanut butter go together so well, I figured chocolate and Nutella can’t be too far off the mark. And what better form of chocolate cake than devil’s food?


The Silver Lining

It’s been a crappy week, I have to admit. The final project for my Ruby on Rails class is due today and I’ve been working on it for what seems like forever. The past two nights have been near sleepless and this past weekend I slacked off more than I should have. While I continually edit my application as it seems like I find a problem with it every time I look at it. I just count the hours until I pass it in and breathe a sigh of relief.

Then I was met with the most pleasant of surprises.

This morning, as I grogily pulled open the door to the Starbucks on my walk to work, the only thing I could think of was how much espresso can actually fit into a venti cup. I was standing in line to order, and the woman in front of me stepped away from the glass case that held all of those delicious sweets and I saw it. Four of them actually. The Starbucks Vanilla Bean Cupcake, in all its sugary glory. Suddenly, I was filled with energy and fully awake. I could taste them almost immediately. I promptly order 4 along with my ventri skinny vanilla latte and darted off to work so I could eat one immediately.

A little back story on my history with this particular cupcake… Over a year ago when I was still working in Back Bay, I was a regular at the Starbucks around the corner from my office. When these cupcakes first appeared, I immediately tried one and loved it so much I’d get it almost every afternoon. Then sometime last summer they didn’t have them anymore, and when I asked them why those delicious bits of heaven were gone they told me that they weren’t selling. Of course I knew this was complete BS since I personally purchased half of their inventory daily. But alas, I couldn’t find a Starbucks in eastern Massachusetts that had them. A dark cloud has followed me ever since.

Back to the present. Yes, I had a 400 calorie sugar dripping (literally) cupcake for breakfast at 8 a.m. but you would too if you only knew. It tasted just like it did when I unknowingly had my last one oh so long ago. It was just the pick-me-up I needed to get me through this day, pass in my assignment and relax.

It looks misshapen because I have already eaten the backside :)

It looks misshapen because I have already eaten the backside :)


Cherry Pie Cupcakes

I made these a few weeks ago, but was too lazy to get the picture off of my camera. I saw a picture online of a cupcake that looked like a cherry pie, it even had the pastry latice made out of icing. Although, when I tried to recreate the latice it didn’t go so well. I think I still need to work on my shaky hand. So I skipped the latice and went for an open top cherry pie. Basic yellow cake recipe and cherry pie filling. They were delicious!


Peanut Butter Devil’s Food Cupcakes

These were the first cupcakes I made from scratch about a year ago. They are devil’s food with peanut butter frosting. This time I added a sesame oil twist to the frosting. It was actually a good twist except that I could have put some more sesame in, I guess I was afraid of overpowering the taste.


Cupcake Camp!

I’m looking for someone to send me to Cupcake Camp in Sydney, Australia this February… any takers?? The plans are still in the works by the organizers, but they recently had one in San Francisco and it went great. I would love to attend the next one…

I guess in the meantime, I’ll keep practicing.


Vegetarians – An ABCD Point of View

For those of you who don’t know, ABCD is an acronym for American Born Confused Desi. Which apparently I am. I am a meat-loving Hindu. Yes we exist.

I recently read a book called ‘Skinny Bitch’. I have to say that by reading this book I feel like I was unknowing led down a dark ally and beaten with a gluten-free soy burger. The book is marketed as a guide for a better way to lose weight and feel better and it was a New York Times Best Seller, so I figured it had to be decent. By chapter 2 I was clearly aware that this book was just a front for brainwashing you to be a vegan. I mean, subtlety went out the window. I understand the authors were using a “no-nonsense” approach by being “straight up” with the reader about their weight problem, so I expected a bit of hard language as proven by the title. But wow. The authors go as far as making you want to cry in the corner and never leave your house.

Basically, what I got from the book was everything you eat is awful for your body and the planet and you are a horrible, heartless person if you eat meat, dairy or any by product of animals. They go on to say that humans are not meant to eat meat, that since the caveman, we have evolved to be vegetarians. If we were meant to eat meat our nails and teeth would be as strong as a tiger’s such that we could hunt, kill and eat the prey with our bare hands.

I received this definition, which pretty much sums up my feelings on the topic:

Vegetarian:
A bad hunter. Someone who survives by consuming not food, but the stuff that food eats.
The vegetarian was forced to subsist on slower prey, such as the broccoli and carrot.

And here’s my answer to the authors: Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes – Eggs, Butter and Pig Flesh…mmmm.