Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

Frosting for the Cause: Mango Lassi Cupcakes

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Today I’m honored to be posting on Frosting for the Cause — a 365-day baking project launched by Paula of Vanilla Bean Baker to raise funds for cancer research to honor the women in our lives who’ve been affected by cancer. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t had cancer touch someone in their family, so I liked that Paula’s project is about raising funds for cancer research, not just “awareness.”

My aunt, Donora, passed away a little over a year ago. Please visit my post on Frosting for the Cause to read about the Mango Lassi Cupcakes I created in her honor (and get the recipe).

frosting for the cause

I made my donation to Breast Cancer Action, which “is committed to reducing our involuntary exposures to toxins in the environment that are linked with breast cancer.” Moreover, BCA does not accept funds “from any organization that profits from or contributes to cancer.” Read more about BCA here — and of course, please consider making a donation to a cancer organization of your choice if you’re so moved. Thank you.

How to Host a Cupcake Playdate

Friday, March 4th, 2011

I mentioned last week that the boy was hosting a cupcake playdate to watch the season premiere of DC Cupcakes. (Oh yes, and if you watched the gorilla party episode really closely…in slow motion…you may have spotted the back of a blond head in the crowd — that was the foodie tot!) It was a lot of fun so I thought I’d share the details.

cupcake friendsStep 1: Cupcake Decor. I had the picture of the boy with the cupcake gorilla blown up and posted it on the front door to greet our guests. Then I made cardstock cupcakes with pictures of each of our guests and hung them from ribbons in the doorway leading to the dining room — at the kids’ eye level. They got such a kick out of seeing themselves on cupcakes.

I also made a cupcake stencil and painted cupcakes onto kid-sized aprons, then we set out fabric markers so the kids could decorate their own when they arrived. I love that one of the girls added a cherry on top.

cupcake kids apron

Step 2: Bake cupcakes a day in advance. I used very simple recipes from Martha Stewart, although it wasn’t my favorite vanilla recipe. (I’m not one to shy away from butter in my baked goods, but these were really greasy. Kept them moist, though.)

Recipes: Vanilla Cupcakes and Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes

After baking, let cupcakes cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Step 3: Mix up frostings, color (if desired), and divide into disposable pastry bags. Tie the bags shut with rubber bands, and place the bags in tall glasses to keep things neat. (If you make the frosting ahead of time, store in the fridge but remove about an hour before decorating time to allow it to come to room temperature.) Set sprinkles on a lazy Susan if you have one in the center of the table. (I just used my cake stand, and we passed them around.)

Recipes: Georgetown Cupcake’s cream cheese frosting (video) and Chocolate Buttercream. (I halved the chocolate frosting recipe and we still had way more than needed.)

decorating cupcakes

Step 4: Have savory, healthy snacks. I made plain, air-popped popcorn that we set out in little bags — this way the kids weren’t ravenous when they sat down to decorate the cupcakes, and all the sprinkles made it onto the cupcakes first instead of directly into little mouths.

Step 5: Decorate! I bought cupcake boxes at the craft store that each held four. We gave each kid two of each flavor, and set them loose with frostings and sprinkles. After they decorated them, they each picked one to eat and we sent the rest home with them for their parents and siblings.

Step 6: Let them eat (cup)cakes!

let them eat cupcakes

Step 7: Ensure an unseasonably warm and sunny day, so that sugar-loaded kids can play soccer/Clone Wars tag in the back yard before getting sent home. (I realize this may be out of your control, but it worked well for us.)

~

A note about food colors: Some of my family-friendly food blogging friends have recently written about artificial food dyes and their impact on childrens’ behavior. We try to avoid foods with artificial ingredients, but occasionally use artificial colors on special treats. If you prefer to avoid them altogether, look for India Tree natural colors, available at natural food stores. Their colored sugars are a nice alternative to sprinkles.

Gone Bananas with DC Cupcakes

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Do you watch cooking shows with your kids? I’ve managed to get the 4-year-old hooked on “DC Cupcakes,” so much so that his birthday morning we skipped our usual bakery (sorry, Buzz) to surprise him with a trip to the flagship store. Insider’s tip: the cupcakery’s real name is Georgetown Cupcake, but don’t try to tell that to the boy.

dc cupcakes birthday

When I heard they’d be supplying cupcakes for a gorilla birthday party at the National Zoo, I knew we had to go. We met up with one of his best friends and waited patiently for our free cupcakes — or as patiently as two 4-year-olds can, that is. There didn’t seem to be much of a plan (it is a “reality” show, after all), just a bunch of hungry people waiting for free grub. Eventually, a truck pulled up in front of the Great Ape House, trailed by a camera crew and, wait — two women in their signature pink aprons and rain boots!

dc cupcakes gorilla

They proceeded to unload the gorilla cupcake masterpiece and carry it right past us into the party. Needless to say, the boy was thrilled.

We then joined the mad swarm into the Ape House, and got to witness Kwame and Kojo’s surprise party — complete with presents and their own primate-friendly cupcakes. After the gorillas opened their gifts, we made our way to the cupcake table for our own goodies. (If you’re curious, the gorillas’ cupcakes were made of bananas, primate biscuits, unflavored gelatin and water, reports the Zoo. I think we got the better deal.)

gorilla dc cupcakes episode

Later, we came back to the building to take a closer look at the cupcake gorilla. We were surprised to see the show’s stars, Katherine and Sophie, still sitting inside — but the boy was too shy to say hello. (Next time!)

gone bananas cupcakesDC Cupcakes” season two premiere is tonight at 10pm Eastern on TLC — The gorilla episode airs at 10:30. We’re DVRing it for the boy’s cupcake premiere party on Sunday — check back for pictures next week!

And local peeps: head to either location of Georgetown Cupcake to purchase the “Gone Bananas” honey banana cupcake, and proceeds will benefit the National Zoo’s conservation programs. (Now through March 4.) Visit their website for locations and hours.

(Bottom photo courtesy National Zoo, all others (c) FoodieTots.com.)

Strawberry Cupcakes (and 5 links for Friday)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I probably don’t have to tell you it’s strawberry season — in fact, we’re getting down to the final weeks here in Virginia, and there were reports of the first cherries of the season at the FreshFarm Penn Quarter market yesterday. We had friends over last weekend and I wanted to make strawberry cupcakes for the kids. (Ok, for all of us.) I found this recipe using fresh berries from famed Sprinkles Cupcakery via Martha Stewart, and it turned out wonderfully. The frosting, a semi-cream cheese twist, is my new favorite frosting — the husband, who doesn’t typically like cream cheese or buttercream frostings, even approved. And of course the kids were big fans, too.

Recipe: Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from Sprinkles’ recipe; get the cupcake recipe at MarthaStewart.com.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package), room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)

Instructions: Cream cream cheese and butter in mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing on low at first, then medium until smooth. Add strawberry puree and vanilla and mix another minute. If your frosting is really soft (as tends to happen when working in a warm kitchen), chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so before frosting cupcakes. Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes. Enjoy!

And now, a few links for your holiday weekend … have a great one!

1.  I’ve spotted a few spring panzanellas around the food blogs. Typically made with late summer’s ripe tomatoes, these versions use what’s in season today, like asparagus and arugula panzanella from In Jennie’s Kitchen and spring panzanella from Sassy Radish – perfect side dishes for Memorial Day cook-outs!

2. Speaking of cook-outs, Borderstan has a round-up of bbq-ready recipes from DC food bloggers.

3. If you’re running out of ideas for all that spring asparagus, here are Five Ways to Eat Asparagus from Food & Think at Smithsonian.com (including my crustless asparagus quiche).

4. It’s officially soft shell season here in the Chesapeake Bay region, and Coconut & Lime has a helpful tutorial for cleaning fresh crabs if you’re brave enough to cook them at home. (Buster’s Seafood at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market usually has them for sale this time of year.)

5. If you’re staying in town this holiday weekend, catch Chef José Andrés and his daughter Ines cooking another giant paella at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market, 11am.

Banana Mini Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

Friday, February 6th, 2009

We were invited to a toddler pre-game playdate on Super Bowl Sunday and brought these mini cupcakes. The bananas added enough sweetness that I was able to reduce the sugar in the recipe by half; the frosting of course more than compensates for the not-too-sweet cake. I called it Nutella frosting, but I actually used an organic chocolate hazelnut spread from Whole Foods.

banana chocolate hazelnut cupcakes

Banana (Mini) Cupcake Recipe
From The Cupcake Project

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup raw sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas

Instructions: Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Mix in eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add sour cream, flour and baking soda and mix just until ingredients are combined. Add vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until smooth. Drop batter by tablespoons into lined mini cupcake tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean, but be sure to remove before they start to turn brown. (For full-size cupcakes, bake 20 minutes.)

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, melted
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, additional as needed

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to reach spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes and top with banana or chocolate flavored jelly beans. Enjoy!