Monday, July 27, 2015

Fun Ingredients: Biscoff Spread and Bada Bing Baba Boom Chocolate

I spent part of the weekend watching the Netflix show, 'Bo Jack Horseman'. One of the characters of the animated series is a dog named Mr. Peanut Butter and he can never get the expression right, "We go together like chocolate and peanut butter". I am allergic to peanut butter, so I ate Chocoley's Bada Bing Bada Boom Chocolate Melts with Biscoff cookie butter spread instead. It is delicious. I know people loved Nutella, but Biscoff cookie spread is my favorite.  I have loved Biscoff cookies since having them on a Delta flight many years ago. Here's a recipe for Biscoff cupcakes.

By the way, the Bada Bing Bada Boom chocolate melts don't require any tempering. You can melt chocolate in the microwave or using a saucepan.  The Bada Bing Bada Boom chocolate melts are great for making ganache for cupcake frosting or use for cake pops.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: A Pair of Austin, Texas Cupcakeries

On a recent trip to Austin, I was determined to visit one of the pioneers of mobile cupcakes, Hey, Cupcake! and not only did I manage to do that, I also stopped into Delish!, another cupcakery that just happened to be within walking distance as well.

First, Delish!

It was a cute hole in the wall in downtown Austin, with an industrial feel.  Greeting us at the door was an incredible goth style Willy Wonka display cake.  They must have amazing decorating skills!

There weren't many cupcakes to choose from, but it was late in the day.  What worried me more than that was that none of them looked very "special", especially after seeing that cake.

We chose Lemon, Red Velvet and Mexican Vanilla and bought a macaroon for good measure.


Unfortunately, these cupcakes were basically inedible.  After one taste, we threw them away.  Sticky icing, dry, tasteless cake.  Not worth the calories or the price. (The macaroon was good). In the end, we spent about much time trying them as they did decorating them.

Now on to Hey, Cupcake!  They have several locations, and although I'm not sure if we made it to the original one, I did make sure we went to one with their signature silver airstream with the huge rotating cupcake on top, located in an eclectic, artsy neighborhood in downtown Austin.

My daughter is the model :)

Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen!?  I didn't get a picture of this, but the biggest, burliest man you could imagine was inside that hot airstream slinging cupcakes. We found that juxtaposition hysterical.  I even felt a little funny ordering from him!

These cupcakes were gorgeous and looked very promising, except they came from a refrigerated case.  I suppose that's practical in the Austin heat, but never makes for a very tasty cupcake experience.  Luckily, we could wait until we brought them back to our hotel for dessert.  We got Red Velvet, Orange Dreamsicle, Strawberry and Carrot Cake.  These were better than Delish, but still nothing I'd make a return visit for.  I was very disappointed overall since I've followed this cupcakery from the beginning.  The carrot cake had good flavor, but the other three tasted artificial and they were all dry, with almost a non sweet bready consistency.  The icing was again sticky, so maybe that's how they like it down there, but we prefer light and fluffy most of the time.  After a single taste (two tastes for the carrot cake), these also went into the trash :(.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Multiple Cupcake Wars Champion - Cupcake at The Mall of America

On a recent trip to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I finally had the opportunity to try multiple Cupcake Wars Champion, Cupcake.

The store was cute and inviting and the displays looked delicious. 

All the cupcakes had adorable names and there was even one named the "Michelle Obama".

I was also impressed that they had an extensive selection available everyday, including half a dozen gluten free.

Their prices varied widely depending on how elaborate the cupcakes were, which you don't usually see, so it ended up being more expensive than I expected for Minnesota.  However, we selected Strawberry Shortcake, Red Velvet, Wedding Cake and Dulce de Leche, and a couple macaroons.

I am sorry to say that none of them were very good.  The icing was sticky and kind of gooey, the cakes were rather tasteless and there wasn't much filling when it was supposed to be present.  However, the macaroons were delicious!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amazon Delivers Cupcakes

You heard me!

 According to, "the online shopping giant has offered immediate delivery of its own stock through Amazon Prime Now for a few months, but this is the first time it's added local stores to the roster."

"...orders must through the Prime Now app. Customers who truly can't wait will have to pay $7.99 for delivery in an hour, but if a two hour wait is manageable, delivery is free. Amazon plans to expand the straight-from-the-market service to Brooklyn and to other cities – like Baltimore, Miami, Austin, and Atlanta – where it already offers Amazon Prime, but it's only available in parts of Manhattan for now.

I wish I lived in Manhattan now...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Edible 3D Art!

Just announced! Next year, the first professional-grade culinary 3D printer for bakers and pastry chefs will be available, according to an article in the May 2015 issue of Bake magazine. Just imagine all the amazing and intricate cupcake toppers you could create with that.  No word yet on a price.

"Showcased at the National Restaurant Association Show 2015 in Chicago, the ChefJet Pro from 3D Systems (3DS) can create full-color bespoke confections for an unlimited array of applications, such as sculptural, ornate cake and cupcake toppers, candies, delicate latticework or logo sugar cubes."

"To add specific flavors to any 3D food piece, you can dehydrate whole fruits or vegetables and add to the base ingredients, which are typically sugar, salt, oil and water."
"The CIA collaborates with 3DS, which constructed the first 3D sugar food lab in the world, to enable culinary professionals to explore 3D printing capabilities for pastry chefs and bakers and to empower new and exciting ideas.  To advance the project, 3D Systems is developing the world’s first culinary innovation center in Los Angeles near the corner of Melrose and Highland, which is regarded as the influential epicenter of the city’s culinary community. The 3DS Culinary Lab will open in summer 2015 as a cooperative learning, collaboration and exploration space where industry professionals can experience the ChefJet Pro professional food printer firsthand.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ice Cream Cupcake Contest

Cupcake Project and Cuisinart are having an Ice Cream Cupcake Contest! This is your chance to showcase what you can do with ice cream cupcakes and be seen by our 3 AMAZING judges: Julie Thompson, editor @huffposttaste, Faith Durand, editor @thekitchn, and Julie Resnick, founder of @thefeedfeed! There's a sweet prize pack of goodies from @cuisinart for the grand prize winner, plus you get a shot at prizes just for entering. All of the entry details are on the blog, Cupcake Project.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gigi's Cupcakes' Summertime Flavors

I am ashamed to admit that I have never had a chance to try Gigi's Cupcakes, but I will remedy that omission now that I am living in Savannah.

Founded in 2008 as a local boutique bakery in Nashville, Tennessee, Gigi’s Cupcakes has grown into America’s largest cupcake franchise with more than 90 locations in 23 states.

Gigi’s Cupcakes, offer a wide variety of high-quality, freshly baked goods, including cupcakes, cakes, pies, cookies and more.

From Bake Mag:

This summer, Gigi’s Cupcakes wants customers to eat dessert first. Four delicious summertime cupcake varieties, including Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy, Pink Lemonade and Merry Margarita, are available now through September 6. The summer flavors are available now as individual cupcakes, as well as the new Summer Mini Dozen and Summer Mini 4-Pack. The Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy and Pink Lemonade cupcakes are also available gluten-free. “We’re thrilled to bring back customer favorites for summer as well as adding delicious new cupcake flavors that are nostalgic and just plain fun,” said Gigi Butler, founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes. “Guests can really taste our love for baking in every bite and we hope these cupcakes will add to summertime festivities.” In addition to a wide range of gourmet cupcakes, Gigi’s Cupcakes also offers a variety of other gourmet desserts, including gluten-free cupcakes, pies, stuffed cookies, cheesecakes, mini cupcakes and custom cakes including wedding cakes.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Cupcakes: Pina Colada and Pink Lemonade

It's hot, but that should NOT stop you from baking some cool cupcakes. Pina Colada and Pink Lemonade are great for summer. Nicely Made Cupcakes made these yummy summer cupcakes.
Wilson wedding.pina colada cupcake
PINA COLADA COCKTAIL CUPCAKE- Coconut and rum infused cake, pineapple filling, coconut-rum cream cheese frosting garnished with toasted coconut.
Strawberry Lemonade cupcake
STRAWBERRY LEMONADE CUPCAKE - Lemon cake, homemade fresh strawberry puree center, strawberry and lemon zest buttercream frosting.