Cupcakes: The new cookies & milk for Santa

Taken by Alayna

What: Candy Cane

Where: Cupcake Royale in Ballard…Click here for directions.

Tis the season for more seasonal flavors! As if Halloween and Thanksgiving weren’t exciting enough, cupcakeries around the U.S. have enthusiastically unveiled collections of scrumptious holiday flavors like Candy Cane, pictured above. You can only imagine our glee at the discovery of December delights like these.

I cannot lie: the mission to acquire a holiday cupcake from Cupcake Royale didn’t go as smoothly as planned. My goal was to taste their Eggnog flavor but unfortunately for me, they had sold out by the time I arrived at the shop on a Saturday at around 7:30pm. Candy Cane would have to do…

The frosting was festive and satisfying—all you cupcake fanatics know how much we adore a green mint, of all flavors. This particular green mint was a frosty buttercream, perfectly balanced in all manners: texture, amount, distribution, butteri-ness, sugariness, and minty refreshment.  A dash of crystal red and snow white sprinkles along with a classic starlight mint were the perfect accessories to decorate this holiday treat.

At Cupcake Royale you can devour one of these Candy Cane cakes with your preference of either vanilla or chocolate cake.  I prefer a dark, silky cocoa flavor to accompany anything minty (Junior Mints, Peppermint Mochas, Cool Mint Oreos, etc.) It just seems to ground and stabilize what would otherwise be an overwhelmingly bright and cool flavor.  Chocolate and mint, to me, are the epitome of holiday flavor. Moving on, I was privileged enough to be graced by the presence of one single remaining Candy Cane with Chocolate Cake.

Hoping for the best and expecting visions of sugar plum fairies and jolly snowmen to fill my head, I was slightly disappointed with the results. The cake was crumbly and devoid of truly caramelized sweet, roasted, and seductive flavor that chocolate bolsters.  This chocolate cake was regrettably was dull, flat, dry, floury, and incomplete. It was a shock to me; Cupcake Royale has always treated me well with their cake cooking abilities. Perhaps chocolate is not their forte.

Candy Cane will be available at all Cupcake Royale locations until the end of December! Otherwise, this flavor is available under the name of Peppermint Party all year round. The only difference, is that this Christmas treat is adorned with a cheerful mint at the top. 🙂

This cupcake deserves 3.5 NOMS out of 5. It’s drawbacks: the cake flavor, or lack there of. With that said, however, I’m absolutely willing to give it another chance….You never know—cold weather can do crazy things to a baking experience and its products.

December 10, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reviews. 1 comment.

Summary of our Cupcake Crusade

December 7, 2009. Tags: . Housekeeping. Leave a comment.

No More Mr. Brown Eye..

Well if you have a love for cupcakes but no love for “Mr. Brown Eye” boy do we have a solution for you! Introducing Rear Gear for your pet!  Of course our Pacific Northwest neighbors down in Portland are the brains behind these little decals that hang from your pets tail and cover up their unsightly backsides. They can be purchased here.

December 7, 2009. Tags: , , , . Fanatics. Leave a comment.

The 5-Minute Cupcake

Well, you’re either going to love us or hate us for this post.  Most likely both.  But it’s totally worth sharing.  We have the answer to your uncontrollable, out of nowhere, craving for cupcakes; and it all lies within your pantry! Most likely.  With a few simple ingredients that are generally stashed in the average cupboard and only FIVE MINUTES you can instantly have a delicious home-made cupcake!

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug (microwave safe)

Ready, Set, Bake!

  • Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well
  • Add the egg and mix thoroughly
  • Pour in the milk and oil and mix well
  • Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again
  • Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts

Note: The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!  Allow to cool off a little and tip it out onto a plate.  Use ready-made frosting and decorate if so desired.  We found that splitting the piece of cake in half made for two perfectly-petite cupcakes. Enjoy!

December 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Recipes. Leave a comment.

When Opposites Attract

Taken by Lauren

What: Vanilla + Chocolate

Where: The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co. in the Belltown Neighborhood.. Click here for directions.

Another scrumptious creation from Yellow Leaf Cupcake!  This cupcake comes with a twist incorporating both vanilla and chocolate into one cute package.  The vanilla cake is topped with a creamy, rich chocolate ganache that has hardened around the top of the cake.  The ganache was a great touch, not too rich and caked on but just the added depth that one would need to fully acquire the “chocolate vibe” in this cupcake’s chocolate-vanilla equation.

On top of the ganache was chocolate frosting that again had a very buttery taste and texture.  Refer back to our previous reviews for an more in-depth sadness revolving around our distaste for Yellow Leaf’s buttercream frosting. Are we the only ones here? If you’ve tasted Yellow Leaf Cupcakes before please leave a comment and let us know about YOUR experience, because frankly with just the two of us our blog is biased.

I liked the combo idea for vanilla and chocolate but there was nothing that stood out about this creation.  I was almost convincing myself not to say it but hey, we are writing reviews here!  This cupcake tasted like the one’s you can buy at any local grocery store. EEK, I said it.  I took the adventure to Yellow Leaf with the intention of visiting a CUPCAKERY.  Or, a bakery thats SPECIALIZES in excellent cupcake goodness!  This one just didn’t take the cake.

The lack of inventiveness and the dreaded butter as frosting has landed this cupcake 1.5 NOMS out of 5.  The chocolate ganache was a good start and I will admit to being a fan of the little chocolate beads on top however when I think of vanilla I find myself craving much more… possibly incorporating vanilla bean would be a nice touch?

December 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Reviews. Leave a comment.

When I’m older, I want to be…

A CUPCAKE!

Okay, so clearly we can’t just.. be a cupcake.  But we can sure have fun   dressing up as one!  It’s never to early to start planning next years Halloween costume either!  I found awesome step-by-step instructions to share for recreating the awesome costume you see pictured on www.wondertime.com

Or simply take this as inspiration to create your own custom cupcake couture fashion statement (oh, and if you do this, PLEASE send us pictures of your fabulous creations). Now, get sewing!


December 7, 2009. Tags: , , . Fanatics. Leave a comment.

What I am Thankful for this Thanksgiving

Taken by Lauren

What: Sweet Potato + Maple Brown Sugar

Where: The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co. in the Belltown Neighborhood.. Click here for directions.

Yum yum.  I thouroughly enjoyed this rather light, petite cupcake but also the environment in which I found it.  Yellow Leaf is a cute little cafe offering full service coffee drinks as well as cupcakes with flavors changing throughout the day.  Although they offer their regular flavors, Yellow Leaf also makes small batches randomly of other speciality cupcake flavors so you never exactly know what you’re going to get until you get there!  The cupcakery also has a bookshelf full of fun board games which I found very endearing.

The sweet potato flavoring wasn’t too apparent but tasted more like a spiced cornbread, which was pleasant.  The frosting however was different then what Im used to.  It honestly tasted like straight butter (and had the consistency of butter as well).  I must say though, paired with the sweet potato cake, the butter frosting was the perfect accompaniment.

If your a fan of cupcakes but don’t like the overpowering sugary taste then I would definitely recommend Yellow Leaf.  They’re menu also contains unique flavors like tomato soup, pumpkin spice creme brulee, or pistachio.  I find myself gravitating more to flavors that aren’t sugar based but rather cake based with a spice component.  However, altogether the cupcake itself was a little bland and if someone were to eat the cupcake and have to guess the flavor there would be no indications of sweet potato or maple for that matter.

This cake deserves 3 NOMS out of 5 for lack of flavoring and the thick, butter-like frosting.  Although I did enjoy the cake at the time I wouldn’t seek out this flavor combination again.

November 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Reviews. 2 comments.

A MUST-HAVE if I’ve ever tasted one….

Taken by Alayna

What: Chocolate Hazelnut

Where: Trophy Cupcakes in University Village….Click here for directions

If I were told I could only eat 5 things for the rest of my life, they would be as follows: 1) Sushi, 2) Tortilla Soup (avocados included), 3) Nectarines, 4) Dim Sum, and 5) Nutella. So it’s no wonder that when Trophy Cupcakes announced a seasonal flavor of Chocolate Hazelnut (which is made with Nutella) would hit their bakery shelves, I nearly jumped in jubilation.

For those of you who are sadly uninformed about the goodness of Nutella, let me describe it to you best I can. Imagine a chocolate spread with the creamiest of textures that leaves your mouth watering excessively in unbelievable satisfaction. So smooth, palatable, and sensuous, you can almost feel the rose petals showering from above and champagne bubbles tickling your nose.  Now with that chocolate spread, wildly infuse it with the ultra silky, and decadently rich flavor of the hazelnut…it’s warm, honeyed arms squeezing your tightly. Oh hazelnut, you are a gift from the gods and a blessing to my tummy.

Yes, Nutella is truly divine as was Trophy’s Chocolate Hazelnut cupcake. Just look at it! The perfectly fluffed hazelnut buttercream frosting evenly encompassing the top of the cake, the magical dusting of candied hazelnuts on its edges…my god, it was a masterpiece.

But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. I leave the rest of the review up to my eager, eager tastebuds. The first bite was….heavenly. The frosting tasted just as ALL buttercream frostings should—like the intended flavor, not like butter! Too many times I’ve had cupcakes with lemon or chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting only to taste whipped butter. Trophy Cupcakes sure knows how to craft one hell of a buttercream and I cannot think of a more genius buttercream than this Nutella frosting.  It was strong, but not overpowering, rich, but not heavy. The added texture of the candied hazelnuts on the side was too nomlicious! I could eat candied hazelnuts dipped in Nutella buttercream ALL day after this experience. They added a true nutty flavor and an edge that most cupcakes lack—the creamy crunch of the hazelnuts.  It can really jazz up your cupcake devouring experience.

The chocolate cake was almost too good. Moist and succulent while at the same time airy and dainty—like a true delicacy. The cake, oddly enough, served as the accessory to the frosting; it was a celestial combination of balance and satiation.

This one, UNQUESTIONABLY, deserves 5 NOMS out of 5. A true masterpiece of cupcake design, engineering, and craftsmanship. Bravo, Trophy…I’ll be sad to see this seasonal flavor inevitably disappear. But I’m thankful as ever that I got to taste it while I still could.  HURRY and try yours today!! They’re available at all Trophy Cupcakes locations everyday for the rest of November, and on Sundays and Wednesdays for the rest of December 🙂

November 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Reviews. 2 comments.

Flickr Favorite

Bev, from Sugarbloom Cupcakes located in Western Australia, has a flickr account that could double as a photography portfolio.  We are talking masterpiece cupcakes with beautiful colors, designs and backdrops.  Her artistry work extends cupcake decorating to a whole new level.  Just recently, Bev found one of her photos being used on the front page of flickr, so clearly she is a cupcake queen!  Check out all her past cupcake designs by linking over to both her Flickr account and blog and be prepared to be blown away!

November 21, 2009. Tags: , , , . Fanatics. Leave a comment.

Looks Can be Deceiving..

Once you bite into that juicy cheeseburger you’ll fully realize that well… it’s a decadent cupcake!  Or is it a vegetarian cheeseburger? Or a patty cake?  You decide once you bake your own!  KateDW has created an entire step-by-step collection of photographs on flickr demonstrating…

“How to bake cheeseburger cupcakes”

These would make the cutest Superbowl snacks. 🙂

(especially paired with these tasty treats)

Photo Credit: KateDW

November 20, 2009. Tags: , , . Recipes. Leave a comment.

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