Category: cupcakes (page 1 of 44)

2015: What will be the ‘new cupcake’?

What's the new cupcake infographic


Thanks to the Will Write for Food newsletter, I came across the chart above from a July 2014 post on titled “Every Food That’s Ever Been Called ‘The New Cupcake’ in One Chart.”

I find it pretty fascinating that for the past 8 years, so many food writers have been calling for “the new cupcake.” From the article:

Since the mid-2000s, food journalists and publicists have announced new trends by calling various foods “the new cupcake” literally hundreds of times. What is “the new cupcake” according to all these trend stories? We searched news database Nexis for the phrase “the new cupcake” and tallied every instance of its use in English language publications, whether it was a writer declaring doughnuts “the new cupcakes,” wondering whether frozen yogurt was the “new cupcake,” or quoting someone else asserting that pie was “the new cupcake.”

How about this? What if we stop looking for “the new cupcake” in 2015 and simply recognize new and interesting desserts as they come along? Or acknowledge when a retro dessert makes its way back into the limelight?

Cupcake Friday Project’s 2014

Cupcake Friday Project's 2014 stats
2014 is drawing to a close … and I’m not sorry to say that I look forward to it ending. Now, I know that for many, 2014 has been a great year, and I’m happy for all of you and the joy that entered your lives. Sadly, that was not the case for me, and I can see that reflected here on my blog.

In 2013, I wrote 103 new posts, co-hosted an event, held fundraisers for She’s the First and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and did a lot of baking. But in 2014, I only wrote 43 posts. I didn’t bake for any fundraisers, I didn’t host events … and I stopped bringing in treats to work.

What changed? Well, I had a lot of things — both good and bad — going on in my life. But because I want to think of myself as a positive person, let’s look at some of the great stuff I achieved in 2014 … things that I may not have shared here:

Cookie Monster cycling jersey

My fellow cyclists LOVED my jersey! I earned the nickname “Cookie” and was asked often if I had cookies to share. Sadly, I did not.

I participated in my first Bike MS City to Shore Ride, biking 45 miles in late September and raising $1,601. I’ll be back next year, this time maybe riding 80 miles if I can get the training in, otherwise I’ll be riding a solid 45.

Working on Luscious Bakery's Food Truck

Vending at The Oval, right outside the beautiful Philadelphia Art Museum.

I’ve always loved food trucks, but in 2014 I got to actually work on one. Though I only worked on the Luscious Bakery truck a handful of times, mainly due to my 9-5 style work schedule, I consider the shifts Jamie offered me hugely influential. I got to learn another side of the bakery business, and learn directly from someone I consider a wonderful friend and mentor. I hope to spend more time on “Marcia” in 2015, and watch Jamie’s business grow and flourish.

My Table Matters Writing Portfolio

Maybe one of the main reasons I didn’t write as often here is due to the fact that from May-November, I developed recipes and wrote for Table Matters. In total, I wrote 8 articles, ranging from personal stories about family trips to CNY and shortcake to how to make best use of the bounty of figs in the early fall. I even pitched the idea of tackling my Grandma Betty’s Hungarian Chocolate Cake again, this time finding a quiet success in the deep chocolate layers of the cake. I shared 21 recipes during that time period, often using ideas I had put on the back burner, just waiting for a good reason.

Cookie and Caramel Corn Club goodies

Top, left to right: pecan pie caramel corn; blueberries and cream cookies; sriracha peanut butter cookies; Middle, left to right: peanut butter chocolate delights; salted caramel corn; matcha green tea cookies with crystallized ginger; Bottom, left to right: cacao nib and orange shortbread; chinese 5 spice snickerdoodles; peanut butter and jelly caramel corn

I also began a small, mail order cookie and caramel corn club in 2014, with a handful of dedicated customers. To date, I have baked more than 35 dozen cookies and over 13.75 lbs of caramel corn. I took November and December off, but will finish up my club offerings during 1Q of 2015. Then who knows what I’ll do next! Some of the recipes have been posted here, with more to come, and others to perfect.

By my counts, I developed 34 new recipes in 2014, though only a handful made it to this blog. They break down into:

  • 12 cookie recipes
  • 8 caramel corn recipes
  • 5 pie/tart recipes
  • 3 cupcake recipes
  • 2 cake recipes
  • 1 blondie recipe
  • 1 brittle recipe
  • 1 brownie recipe
  • 1 scone recipe

Looking at all of this, I can see that while I may have only published fewer than 50 posts in 2014, I did a lot. And sometimes you need to take a closer look before you throw your hands up in the air and say “I got nothing accomplished!” Because all of this is evidence that I did do a lot this year.

So what will 2015 bring? Jan. 28 will be Cupcake Friday Project’s 4th anniversary … it’s kind of amazing to look back at the last 4 years of blogging and see every I did. I hope to continue writing for Table Matters, and may begin pitching a few other food publications. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For all of you, I hope that 2015 brings you light and love, butter and sugar, and as many good things as possible. Until next year!

5 cupcakes to make with leftover Halloween candy

Halloween Cupcakes

From the top left: Milky Way cupcake, Butterfinger cupcake, NERDS candy cocktail cupcake with gin and lemon

Halloween is here! Do you have a plan for all the excess candy you bought (aside from slowing grazing on it at work for the next few weeks … oh wait, is that just me?).

Well never fear, here are 5 of my favorite candy cupcake recipes that use the leftover Halloween treats you have around the house. And if you don’t have any, then hit up your local grocery or drug store when it all goes on sale!

Butterfinger cupcakes
Junior Mints cupcakes
Milky Way cupcakes
NERDS candy cocktail cupcakes with gin and lemon
Twix cupcakes


Sugar cookie cupcakes with cookie butter frosting

Sugar cookie cupcakes with cookie butter frosting

Another month, and another cupcake taking its inspiration from a dessert. This time? The humble sugar cookie, which, when done right, is delightful on its own, with tea, or dressed with a simple icing.

For the cake, I kept it simple, using my tender and fluffy vanilla cake. This recipe bakes up beautifully and fills the entire house with the alluring scent of vanilla. Then, I used a secret weapon in the frosting: cookie butter spread. Some know it as Speculoos, or Biscoff Cookie Spread. I know some people who SWEAR by Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. “But what the heck is it?” you ask.

Speculoos/Biscoff/Cookie Butter is a spread made with Belgian cookies that have been baked, crushed, and then mixed with oils to create a spread. The flavor is a little caramely, with hints of cinnamon, and it’s delightful. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend picking up a jar.

As with most spreads, this whips into the buttercream beautifully. Definitely taste in-between sugar additions—you don’t want a sickeningly sweet frosting.

The garnish—in this case, actual sugar cookies that are about 1 1/2-inches wide, finish off the cupcake. You can either purchase your favorite sugar cookie, or bake some yourself, using this base cookie recipe. You’ll only use about 1/4 of the dough for the cupcake toppings, but you can easily freeze the rest of the sugar cookie dough for another time. Shape the remaining dough into a 1-inch disc, then wrap twice in plastic wrap—the dough will keep for at least 2 months if wrapped up well.

Sugar cookie cupcakes with cookie butter frosting

Yields: 12 cupcakes

  • Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/8 cup (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Cookie Butter Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter spread (like Speculoos)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cream (as needed for texture)
  • Sugar cookies as garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine.

Alternate the dry ingredients and milk, and mix until combined.

Add the vanilla extract, mixing to combine.

Divide the batter between 12 wrappers in the cupcake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

For the cookie butter frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar gradually, beating until combined.

Add the cookie butter spread and vanilla extract, then add the remaining sugar in 1/2 cup increments to your own taste. Check the texture ... if it's too stiff, add the cream, then whip until fluffy.

Cannoli cupcakes with ricotta buttercream and cannoli shell crumble

Cannoli cupcakes

I have had “cannoli” on my list of flavors to try for at least 2 years. 2 YEARS!!! Insane, right?

When thinking about this cupcake, I knew I wanted to make my own cannoli shells to top the buttercream with, and I wanted to play with the cake … a lot of recipes use plain vanilla, which is fine, but I decided to use some of the Marsala wine and nutmeg that I used in the shells. The outcome is an intensely fragrant and moist cake.

I adapted my shells recipe from Joe Pastry, adding the nutmeg and cinnamon and swapping in butter for vegetable shortening. Unfortunately, the shells didn’t crisp up as much as I imagined they should, so if you’re unsure, or don’t have the time to make your own, I think buying shells from your favorite baker is a wise idea.

Also, as I learned myself, when you make the buttercream, make sure you’re piping it onto the cupcakes the same day. I made mine in advance, refrigerated it, and when I went to re-whip it this morning at 6 a.m. before leaving for my morning appointment, I was met with a broken buttercream. Lesson learned.

Cannoli cupcakes with ricotta buttercream and cannoli shell bites

Yields: 24 cupcakes

  • Cannoli Cupcake Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp Marsala
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Ricotta Buttercream Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 oz whole milk ricotta, drained for at least 6 hours
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch, as needed
  • Cannoli Shell Bites Ingredients
  • 6 1/4 ounces (1 1/3 cups) flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 to 7 tbsp Marsala
  • Chocolate Drizzle

Before you get started, be sure to drain your whole milk ricotta in cheesecloth for at least 6 hours.

Start with the cannoli shell bites so they have time to cool before garnishing the cupcakes.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add the sugar, stirring to combine.

Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.

Mix on low until the butter is full incorporated (Additionally, a pastry blender would work well.).

Slowly add the Marsala, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to come together in a ball.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 2-3 minutes on a clean work surface.

Roll into a ball, then flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough sit for an hour at room temperature.

After the dough has rested, heat 2-3 inches of canola oil in a high-walled pot until the oil hits 350-360 degrees Fahrenheit (use a candy thermometer).

As the oil heats, divide the dough into 4 portions. Take 1 portion (keeping the others wrapped up) and roll it out as thinly as possible. Use a round cookie cutter at least 3 inches wide and stamp out as many rounds as possible.

Once the oil is heated, add the cannoli rounds to the hot oil, letting them fry for 45 seconds to a minute before flipping them over with tongs. Fry until golden, then remove and place on paper towels to drain.

Repeat until all the dough is used up (you'll have extras, which are good for snacking).

Once the rounds have cooled, chop them up into bite-sized pieces.

If the cannoli bites are not as crisp as you'd like, place on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure cannoli shell bites are fully cooled before garnishing the cupcakes.

For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.

Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine.

Alternate the dry ingredients and milk, and mix until combined.

Add the Marsala and vanilla extract, mixing to combine.

Divide the batter between 24 wrappers in the cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

For the frosting, beat the butter and ricotta together on high for 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, and continue to beat.

If the texture looks a bit off (this can happen if you didn't drain it enough), add the cornstarch and continue beating on high for 5-10 minutes.

Using an extra large French tip (or your favorite piping tip), pipe the buttercream on top of the cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with chocolate, and garnish with some of the crushed cannoli bites.

Cupcake Smash 2014 is almost here!

Cupcake Smash 2014

This Saturday is the return of the ever popular Cupcake Smash, benefitting Philabundance. The 4th annual Cupcake Smash ultimate baking competition will be held in the middle of The Piazza with Jessie, Radio Host on Radio 104.5 emceeing. Judges will vote on the best cupcake for the amateur and professional categories, while attendees will vote for the “People’s Choice.”

Like last year, there are 2 sets of judges … one for the pro group and one for the amateurs. The judges are:

Pro Division
Toni Johnson, Production Sous Chef/Kitchen Manager at Philabundance Community Kitchen
Jennifer Reed, Blogger at One Curly Fry in a Box of the Regular & SideTour/Groupon Dessert Tours
Patricia Smith, Owner/Pastry Chef at Foam Floaterie
Davina Soondrum, Owner of Sweet Intentions

Amateur Division
Gretchen Fantini, Owner/Pastry Chef at Sweet Box Bake Shop/Truck
Stephen Wilson, Pastry Chef at 10Arts Bistro & Lounge
Jennifer Zavala, Chef/Owner at Cherry Bomb Bus & Top Chef Season 6 Contestant

and …


Judges page

Exciting right? I’ve turned in my whisk and apron, and instead of baking my usual 150-300 mini cupcakes, I’ll be judging them. I’m super excited, but I’m also trying to figure out how I’ll make it through sampling 15+ mini cupcakes without going into sugar shock.

So, if you’d like to see me and the rest of the incredible bakers who are raising awareness about hunger in the Philadelphia area, make it out this Saturday to Cupcake Smash! You can get your tickets online, and help us smash hunger!

Event Details at a Glance
4th annual Cupcake Smash
Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Piazza at Schmidts
1050 N. Hancock St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
*Rain or shine!*

Advance Ticket: $25
On-Site Ticket: $30
Child’s Ticket (Ages 6-12, with parent): $10
Children Under Age 6: Free

Your ticket includes entry into the event, mini cupcake samples created by our professional and amateur bakers, complimentary cocktails (for those 21 and up) and more.

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