Category Archives: Foodie Files

Best Cupcake Idea, Ever.

meri-meri-pirate-party-cupcake-decorating-kit While popping in and out of adorable little boutiques and bakeries in Napa and San Francisco (read about it at Stylish Soiree), I stumbled upon a bakery selling the most fabulous cupcake idea I’ve ever seen.  I know I already blogged about the stylish, modern couture cupcake wrappers from Cupcake Wrapture, but this idea really takes the theme of couture cupcakes to a whole other level. meri-meri-baby-shower-cupcake-decoratin-kit

Stationary company Meri Meri is selling the cutest line of pre-packaged, coordinating cupcake decoration kits.  The stylish little cupcake kits include the cutest cupcake wrappers and matching cupcake toppers that revolve around a particular theme.  Here are my favorites:

– An Easter Fun Cupcake Decorating Kit (with pale yellow and blue cupcake wrappers and smartly-dressed paper bunny toppers)

– A Baby Shower Cupcake Decorating Kit (can you say baby animals? seriously, so cute I want to squish it.)

meri-meri-twinkle-toes-ballerina-cupcake-kits– A Pirate Party Cupcake Decorating Kit (three years ago I spent 2 hours handcrafting a pirate scene on a cupcake tree for Mike’s birthday, and would have killed for this modern, stylish pirate kit)

Princess Party Cupcake Decorating Kit (just perfect for a little girl’s bday)

Twinkle Toes Cupcake Decorating Kit (no joke, the pretty paper ballerina cupcake toppers have real tulle ballerina skirts. It takes me back to the days of ballet class and my obsession with Angelina Ballerina 🙂 )

If you can’t already tell from my gushing, I’m rather obsessed with these kits. The best part about them is that you can buy them online for only $11.95 for a kit that decorates 24 cupcakes. Such a stylish steal, I’m seriously contemplating buying one (or four) of each kit.

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I Can Haz a Cupcake Recipe

citrus-cream-cheese-frosting-cupcakes-3 So, this post is a week (or two)  late, but I promise it is well worth the wait.  If you like cupcakes, or cream cheese frosting, or citrus flavored goodies – this one goes out to you. Without further ado, I present to you my famous Vanilla Kahlua Ginger Cupcake recipe with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting { just writing that makes me drool…}:

Recipe for the Vanilla Kahlua Ginger Cupcake Base {makes 48 mini cupcakes} :

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger zest
  • 1 small shot bottle of Kahlua liqueur
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (I’ve used everything from whole milk to nonfat to soy – it turns out fine every time and just depends on your own personal preference)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites

Preparation Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Cookies {or maybe 3… or 4…}

image by Laura Ferroni

cookie porn by Laura Ferroni

A year and a half ago I came up with the idea that I was going to perfect my own famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. Sidenote – If you don’t know me personally, you might not be familiar with my {borderline frightening} obsession with chocolate chip cookies. Well, you know the Cookie Monster? Yeah, it’s kinda like that, minus the blue fur. – end sidenote.

Armed with a few bags of Ghiradelli chocolate chips, the finest organic flour and brown sugar Whole Foods can offer along with a whole slew of other ingredients, I began my quest. Every Sunday I made a point of tweaking a recipe I’d found to create and perfect my own chocolate chip cookie recipe. This left me with 24 golden, delicious cookies every week that were wonderful – but not yet perfect. Though I hadn’t hit the recipe jackpot, I couldn’t possibly throw my little goodies away. They were, after all, part of my brainchild, a journal page ripped from my recipe’s path to success.

I thought that taking them to the office would be a swell idea, until the reality of working with only 3, insanely fit and/or dieting women became clear – these women, with the mental willpower of Superman, would only eat one cookie each – and I was left with another 21 cookies for my own illicit weekly consumption.

As the weeks rolled by, my recipe got admittedly better. I had nailed the flavor, but was painstakingly attempting to perfect the texture – crispy on the edges, gooey on the inside {‘cuz that’s how I roll} – when I took time out from baking to step on the scale.  The number I saw between my feet, though I should have seen it coming, was seriously disturbing.

I had gained seven pounds in six weeks. Seven. In six weeks. Oh, s**t. And that, my friends, was the day my perfect cookie quest came to a screeching halt. Had I succeeded, perhaps I would have lived out my dreams of granduer by opening a quaint little cookie shop selling nothing but the most delicious chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tried. What would I call it, you ask? Why, milk + cookie, of course (all lowercase, written in a typewriter-esque font and joined by a plus sign in an effort to jump on that minimalist style bakery bandwagon).

Each cookie would have come with a cup of milk from a local, organic dairy farm, and 10% of all proceeds were to go to an animal rescue charity. But instead of dedicating my life (and waistline) to this noble cause, I held onto my vanity, put away the bags of sugar and admitted defeat. Perhaps some day I’ll pick up where I left off on my recipe to perfection, but for now I’ll pull on my skinny jeans with a smile. I suppose, in this case, my love for fashion trumped my love for food.

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Engagement Party Cupcakes

citrus-cream-cheese-frosting-cupcakes-2citrus-cream-cheese-frosting-cupckakes-1I realized this morning that I never posted on the adorable little mini cupcakes I concocted from scratch for our good friends’ engagement party. The Mister and I planned the engagement party at a local boutique hotel called the Mosaic that was the perfect size to accommodate the guest list, and had the most delicious food. However, I had this vision of creating beautiful little bite-sized cupcakes for guests to nibble on for dessert that I was intent on carrying out. And by intent, I mean obsessive-compulsive.

Armed with my newly acquired KitchenAid Mixer and mechanical piping tools, I began my ambitious journey to create the perfect mini cupcakes. Blind optimism carried me into my cupcake quest, but it took sheer determination, sleep deprivation and tears of frustration to get me out of it. Tweaking old recipes, adding new ingredients and learning how to use a mechanical frosting piper definitely took its toll.

Mike begged that I stop staying up until 1 am to perfect my citrus cream cheese frosting recipe, and we got in more than a few tiffs over massively important things such as overbuying mini patisserie cupcake wrappers from Sur La Table. He, rightfully so, argued that it would have been easier and cheaper to just buy pre-made mini cupcakes from Sprinkles or Crumbs. I turned my nose up at the suggestion, since a.) I’ve never been that impressed with their cupcakes, and b.) reasoned that homemade was far more special store bought.

In the end, I won out – and I’ve never seen cupcakes incite so much enthusiasm or disappear so fast. The final from-scratch recipes included a raspberry chocolate souffle base and a ginger Kahlua vanilla base, both topped with the same tangy citrus cream cheese frosting. After the tremendous success of the cupcakes, the Mister acquiesced that I was right all along, and the cupcakes were worth every ounce of time and every dime spent. 🙂 (see Mike? I am always right….)

Above are a few pictures I took of them after the fact – I overestimated the size of the batch I needed for the fete and made an extra two batches for Mike to take to work. Those too, disappeared quickly, but not before I had a chance to set up a mini photo shoot to commemorate the cupcake slavery.

Have you ever been driven mad by the pursuit of a perfect pastry, or is it just me? 🙂

*UPDATE: Cupcake Recipes will be posted the week of March 10th….stay tuned.

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