Monday, April 20, 2009
It was a rainy cold day today and I was feeling a little down. I saw this card at Target and it made me happy :) So I bought it for myself. I just thought it was SO cute - the little Asian girl brings out my inner Asian and the fact she's on all those cupcakes, I just had to buy it. Is that weird? Have you ever bought yourself a card?! This was a first for me... <3 Cara Lee
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Adapted from Southern Cakes
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, slightly softened
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 12-cup cupcake pans with liners.In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, & salt.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture, alternating with the milk & almond extract, add cherries. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 of the way full & bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
For the icing we used Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Butter Cream recipe and then added our own modifications.
Cream Cheese Butter Cream Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy, about 30 seconds.
With the mixer on low, slowly add sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowls as necessary. Add vanilla and increase mixer speed to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy, about 1 minute.
Our modifications: For the cake, we had bought one 16oz. jar of cherries instead of the two 10 oz jars, so we cut the cherries into 1/4ths (instead of halves). Next time, I will add more cherries and I like to keep the cherries cut into 1/4ths. Then we soaked the cherries in about 2-3 tbls of amaretto. Next time, I want to soak them longer :) We also threw in a few splashes of the extra cherry juice. We baked the cupcakes in both regular and mini sized cupcake tins. For the icing, instead of vanilla we folded in a few splashes of the extra cherry juice, some amaretto, and 1 drop of pink food coloring. We added these ingredients to taste and not sure about the exact measurements, but you can make it to your liking. Then we made our own "piping bags" for the icing by putting them in ziploc bags and then cutting off a corner - note to self: do not put too much icing in the bag! We started icing them and then icing started coming out of the top of the bag while other parts of the bag started to tare. It got pretty messy (ahem...ASH). We topped the cupcakes with pink sugar crystals.
Result: We really loved this recipe! The cake turned out firm and moist. The frosting was smooth and creamy. We could not stop licking the bowls and spatulas (good thing we both went for a run before hand lol)! This recipe is very simple to make and great for spring (or anytime really!)
Any requests for our next cupcake?? <3 Cara Lee
Friday, April 10, 2009
Multiple Locations throughout DC/MD/VA
$3.25 per cupcake/ Buy 6 and get one free
My very first "cupcake experience". Of course I've grown up eating cupcakes my mom would bake from the box or buy some at the grocery store - you know those ones with the super sugary icing you have throw half of it away! Anyways, I kinda heard about this guy Warren Brown on the Food Network. Then I found out he was from the DC area and was opening up his own bakeries with cakes and cupcakes! I just had to try them out. I have since been three times. At first I was impressed - since this was my very first gourmet kind of cupcake. I really enjoyed the strawberry and coffee flavored icings. It light and not too sugary, but after being their 2 more times, I've realized the the icing can be a bit waxy if you don't wait long enough for the icing to come to room temperature. It like you wait in line, you're starving to eat a cupcake, and THEN you have to wait at least 15 or more minutes for it to come to the right temperature. It's like torcher! Also, the past few times I've gone the cake has been quite dry. I have not counted this bakery out just yet as I do want to try some of their actual cakes and pastries. But as for cupcakes, I've found a few other places that I enjoy.
Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia PA
1351 Connecticut Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20036
So today we randomly decided to check out Hello Cupcake. While coming home from my grandparent's house in Ft. Washington, the traffic on 95 was horrendous. Since we were were not pressed for time, but did not want to sit in traffic, we decided to cut through DC. I was also craving a cupcake, and at first wanted to go back to Gtown Cupcake. We were driving through DuPont when I remembered Ash telling me about Hello Cupcake, so I figured it was a great time to try a new place since we were right there. Aaron typed the address into his iPhone (that thing is amazing I will admit) and it pointed us into the right direction. We had no idea what this place looked like and just kept an eye out. Pretty soon I see a brown van with pretty flowers on it and there was Hello Cupcake. I jumped out of the car and Aaron went to find some parking. Hello Cupcake definitely has more room than Gtown cupcake - a bathroom and tables to sit. When it came to ordering there were a lot that were out, but luckily it was just a few more minutes wait for a new batch. I was a bit overwhelmed with some flavors since I wasn't sure what they were and asked the lady to describe like all of them to me, but hey it was my first time - sorry lady. I ended up ordering a half dozen: chai, tiramisu, coconut, vanilla, carrot, and lemon. After I finished paying for my half dozen, the cherry blossoms came out - and of course I had to get that one too, so I can compare it to Gtown. I did notice the box was not as pretty as Gtown cupcak (but as my friends would say, only I would notice something like that!! lol) Then Aaron came in and we split the tiramisu and the cherry blossom right there in the store. They were very good! The tiramisu was a espresso flavored cake with a sort of cream cheese/mascarpone icing topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean. I was a bit let down by the cherry blossom though. It was prepared differently than Gtown's - lemon cake with cherry preserves in the middle and white chocolate icing. It was not bad at all, but I just liked Gtown's version much better. Overall, Hello Cupcake was good and I'd go back if I was in DuPont and in the mood for a cupcake.
So that has been my cupcake experience so far! There are still alot of cupcake places in the DC/MD/VA area I have to try:
I'm excited to explore more cupcake places soon. I'm headed to Seattle for a week and I will be scoping out the cupcake scene there for sure! I did a little googling and here are a few in Seattle I hope to check out:
That's my cupcake update for now. Stay stuned for more cupcakeness! My next obsession: frozen yogurt! <3 Cara Lee
Thursday, April 9, 2009
As some of you know I do love to travel and you can find some of my travel blog from Asia here. A blog takes a lot of time, especially when traveling overseas and all you have access to is random smokey internet cafes. Maybe I'll try to update it sometime down the road :)
For now, my new blog will be filled with random things... cupcakes, travels, funny videos and links, gift ideas, food and drinks, my bulldog ....who knows! For now, I'll leave you with Rocco as the Easter Bulldog! <3>Cara Lee