G and I went to NYC last weekend after my cousins wedding. We were there for a whopping 20 hours but, we did hit a few great random food spots. I’m going to talk about all of them, but I feel that Magnolia deserves it’s own post and it’s not necessarily a good thing.
G has quite the sweet tooth so we bought a broad sampling of more than just the cupcakes, but I of course had to sample the cupcakes. For a bakery whose website labels them as a cupcakery I was really let down by their cupcake selection. They had red velvet, chocolate and with vanilla, chocolate with chocolate, vanilla with vanilla and vanilla with chocolate. Can we get any more basic and boring?
I figured that with that limited of a selection they had to be good. Right? Wrong. As we walked back to our car on Bleeker Street I immediately snapped pics of the cuppys I had hand picked then I tried my vanilla cuppy with chocolate frosting (aka my favorite kind of cuppy). Can we say gross? First off, the chocolate frosting was so sickeningly sweet that I couldn’t even taste the cake. The only thing I knew about the cake was that it felt nasty and gritty (if you can even believe that) in my mouth. I tossed 99% of the frosting and still I could only taste the chocolate. WTF? So I took a bite of just the cake and quickly figured out why they frost them with so much super sweet frosting. They don’t want you to even taste the bland nasty ass cake. That’s right I said it, the cake was foul. It had a horrible texture and it was FLAVORLESS. A quick search online of their recipe explains why. In a regular home batch you only use 1 tsp of vanilla. No wonder I couldn’t taste the vanilla, you need at least 1 tbsp of vanilla for vanilla cupcakes. Geeze is this their first day on the job? The chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting were equally disappointing.
My text msg convo with CB because it still makes me giggle
Me: Um ya magnolia’s cupcakes suck
CB: Haha. Yeah? What’s wrong wit it?
Me: First off chocolate vanilla and red velvet are their only options … boring. (yada yada I tell her what I already told you guys about my cuppy) Worst cuppy I’ve ever tasted. Boxed mix is far superior.
Me: Their pumpkin cheesecake on the other hand is to die for
CB: Boxed mix better? Dang that must mean u really thing it sucked
Me: Oh you have no idea how bad it was.
If you know what a huge anti boxed mix snob I am you would understand that me saying anything was better means it was really bad. On the other hand, their non cuppy baked goods were absolutely delicious!
Their pumpkin cheesecake was … well … perfection in a mini cheesecake. I can’t say one thing bad about it, everything was amazingly perfect. G and I ate that down in no time flat and it definitely made up for the cuppy suckiness.
Their swirl cheesecake wasn’t quite as good and was a little lacking in cheesecakey flavor, but was still good enough to eat.
Their mini flourless chocolate cakes were chocolaty deliciousness. Really rich and chocolaty but, not too sweet.
Mini chocolate pies. These little chocolate pudding pies with a yummy graham cracker crust (a family Thanksgiving fave) were delish. They chocolate pudding was really chocolaty which was perfect! MMmmm good.
So … if you’re going to Magnolia skip the cupcakes and get the pumpkin cheesecake. You won’t be disappointed!
I love s’mores. I adore them, they’re just delightful. I heard marshmallow and thought mmm s’more cupcakes. Then cupcake hero entries started showing up in my google reader and guess what, everyone else likes s’mores just as much as I do. Time to rethink my plan of attack.
I spent up until the last day procrastinating of figuring out my new plan of attack. At first I was going to do chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow swirl and PB frosting, but then I remembered that I have a bunch of ripe bananas that were just waiting to be made …
I’ll be taking a new pic of the middle tomorrow because this one is ugg-o, but it’s late and not happening now
Turkey sandwiches are good, but they will never compare to my absolute favorite sandwich, the beloved peanut butter and banana. I don’t remember the first time I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich, but I do know that from the time I first tried them I knew they would be my friend forever (yes I’m friends with sandwiches :P). And when you think of sandwiches that involve peanut butter, second to jelly you think of fluff. Even though CB was disappointed in my change of plans because she doesn’t like bananas (little whiner) I wasn’t changing my mind.
These really reminded me of PB Banana and fluff sandwiches and I couldn’t be happier. MMMmmm
Recipes after the break
For awhile now I have put red velvet cake in the same category as pancakes. Things I want to like so badly, but not matter how hard I try I don’t. I can be a bit of a picky eater sometimes and usually that doesn’t bother me, but with pancakes and red velvet it does. I mean really, who doesn’t like pancakes. Growing up I always felt so bad when my friends moms expected my eyes to go wide with delight when they said they were making pancakes. Do you know how embarrassing it is to either not eat them or have to meekly ask for cereal instead? Talk about traumatizing.
I went 24 years without trying red velvet. I have no idea why, but you can’t find them in boxed mixes (the only thing my mom knows how to “bake”) around here and no one else had ever made them. Then, when I went for my wedding cake taste testing I was delighted when they let me choose cakes I would like to sample. I jumped at the opportunity to try red velvet. To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement. Half of New Hampshire uses this particular bakery for their cakes so you would figure they know how to make red velvet, but it was a disgusting soggy mess. There was literally a pool of some sort of red watery left over yuck on my plate next to my cake. Needless to say we didn’t choose red velvet, but I was sure that wasn’t how it was supposed to taste. So, I made my own, but something went wrong because they weren’t liquid, but I swear they tasted like corn muffins. I have a feeling it’s because I couldn’t find buttermilk and used powdered buttermilk instead. Being my first time using the powdered junk I accidentally incorporated it wrong because I didn’t think I needed to read all the directions. I saw 1 packet of powder plus 1 cup water … I miss the section where it said to put the powder in with the dry ingredients. ooops
When Joy posted her red velvet cupcakes I was again saddened by the fact that I had never liked red velvet and tonight I decided to give them one last try. I’ve tried pancakes at least 100 times so the least I could do was give red velvet a third try. w00t we have a winner. They were delicious and the brown sugar CCF was awesome. I’m giddy as a school girl. This folks is why if at first you don’t like something, try it again and again and maybe you will. In my case operator error was to blame the first two times. I’m glad the third time was a charm!
Thanks Joy, I owe my newfound love of red velvet to you 😛
Recipe after the break
The cupcake calendar that a few people got for Christmas this year (CB) has information about the origin of the cupcake on the back …
“Cupcakes have been around since the late 18th century. The term “cupcake” is mentioned in E. Leslie’s Receipts of 1828. The name is said to come from the amount of ingredients used to make them – a cup of flour, cup of butter, cup of sugar and also because they were originally baked in tea cups or cup shaped molds.”
I thought it would be fun to try to make the “original cupcakes,” but I was sure that there needed to be a few more ingredients in the recipe. So I went out in search of the actual recipe. There’s a nifty little site out there called Feeding America. The group has scanned a massive number of old famous cookbooks. Check it out because it is the coolest site ever. I kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to find the recipe and that Feeding America would come to my rescue.
Sure enough I was able to find Eliza Leslie’s ‘Seventy-five Receipts For Pastry, Cakes, And Sweetmeats.’ It was the 1932 edition, but editions that close together rarely change too much and there were still 75 Receipts (if anyone can tell me why they called recipes receipts I would greatly appreciate it) so it had to be close.
I got through to the table of contents and saw Cup Cakes. The fact that it was two words seemed to encourage the little myth that has been floating around. Then 61 pages later I got to the recipe I was looking for, but this recipe is a far cry from what that little blurb would have you believe.
First, there isn’t a (which I take to mean 1) cup of anything, except milk.
Second, it uses 2 cups of BROWN sugar and two cups of butter.
Third, 5 cups of flour are nowhere near close to 1 cup of flour
Fourth, even though a few ingredients are measured with a tea-cup, they weren’t supposed to be baked in tea cups. The directions said tins.
Fifth, well there is no fifth, but five is a better number to stop on.
While I don’t doubt that Ms. Leslie was the original cup cake master (or at least the first to put it in a cookbook), I do doubt just about everything else in that little blurb. You would think people would do some RESEARCH before putting stuff like that on a calandar that people are going to see and believe. What is even worse, is that now cupcake companies like Cupcakes in Chicago are adding that little blurb to their site (is it me or are the two blurbs almost identical?) People please do not believe everything you read!
I’m still going to try the recipe, but I don’t have any tea cups and I don’t have enough molasses to make them tonight so this tasty little tidbit of info will have to do for now.
As many of you know CB and I have been on a quest to figure out how to ship the perfect flawless frosted cuppy for a few months now. Unfrosted cuppys proved to be fairly easy to ship, but frosted have been a challenge. Initial tries were unsuccessful to say the least.
Then we brought engineers in to help. We had drawings that I still don’t understand 🙂 courtesy of April’s hubby.
This week CB figured it out and I got the most perfect frosted cuppy in the mail. You’re going to have to stalk her blog to find out … she should have it up in a day or so. I will tell you this much, it was beyond easy and worked perfectly! Congrats CB you rock my socks for figuring it out!
When I set out to make my CH cuppys I knew exactly what I wanted to do from day one. I wanted to make Slow Comfortable Screw Cuppys. I wanted to turn my favorite mixed drink into cuppys. The recipe for the drink is simple … equal parts sloe gin, southern comfort, vodka and orange juice. Notice how it works with the name. Anyway … it sounded like a great idea until I went to the liquor store last week. I got nips of southern comfort and vodka, but couldn’t find the sloe gin. I figured it was just me or that liquor store didn’t carry it so I sent G out Friday night. He actually asked at two different liquor stores and no one had it. wtf? Now what was I going to do?
On to plan B. Wait. I don’t have a plan B. Rut roh. Time to think of plan B. Then it hit me like a load of bricks after seeing CBs chocolate covered strawberries. Strawberries and Champagne. Hehe I had to outdo her strawberries.
I found a recipe for champagne cake on all recipes. Some people said it was a little dense, but others fixed it by using a little more champagne. The recipes that got the best reviews were ones that used a boxed mix and we all know how I feel about boxed mixes. I figured I would just have to give the champagne cake a shot and hope for the best. I have too much baking to do this weekend to have flops because I tried to wing it and make my own.
Originally I was going to fill my cuppys with strawberry and champagne sorbet, but after tasting the strawberries I was using for that I knew I wanted to make some filled with strawberries cooked in champagne and sugar. OMG delicious I could eat them all day long.For the frosting I went with a basic buttercream with chopped strawberries inside.
All in all they make one delicious cuppy. They were a teeny bit on the denser side, but once you put it all together they’re fantastic! You’ll see another post with the strawberries and champagne sorbet and you may even see some more cuppys filled with it, but that’s another post.
Champagne Cupcakes (adapted from allrecipes.com)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup champagne (I used 1 cup)
- 6 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
- In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (I obviously put in cupcake pans … they took around 15 minutes to bake
Because I used a box of strawberries on sorbet and wanted to use some strawberries for the frosting and G only bought two boxes I didn’t make enough for all the cuppys. So I’m going to guess at the amount that would work for a whole batch. Basically the equal parts champagne and sugar are what matters. Just make sure there is enough liquid for all the strawberries to soak in
16 oz strawberries (aka 1 “box” or whatever you call those plastic thingies they’re in)
2 cups sugar
2 cups champagne
Chop up the strawberries into smallish bits
Put on stove and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes until the strawberries are soft and tasty. Drain strawberries from the champagne juice and put them in your hollowed out cuppys.
1 cup shortening
1lb confectioners sugar sifted
approx 1/4 cup milk
approx 1/2 – 3/4 of a box of strawberries chopped
Mix sugar, shortening and milk. Then add in the strawberries. Make sure to mix on low once you add the strawberries so you don’t blend them into mush. Also not that the strawberries will add a little extra moisture so you may need to add in some extra confectioners sugar.
Good luck piping this stuff, you’ll need a huge tip and i was too lazy to cut a new bag that would fit my large coupler and large tip.
I think most of us have heard about Sprinkles cupcakes. They claim to be the original cupcake bakery. For some reason I doubt that, but they may be responsible for some of the recent hoopla surrounding cupcakes. I like cupcakes, I always have, but on some level, I feel the cupcake craze is just that, a craze, a fad, something that will be replaced by the next “in” baked good.
Lets be honest with ourselves, if it weren’t cool to like cupcakes, they couldn’t get away with charging $3 a cupcake.
Do you know how many donuts or even muffins you can get at Dunkin Donuts for that price? I can get a muffin and donuts to satisfy my cakey craving and my sweet tooth and my tummy will be far more filled up for the same price.
I can buy a whole package of Oreos at the grocery store for less.
I can get a small cake at the grocery store for the cost of two cupcakes.
I can get 3 boxes of cake mix. While I may not be a fan of mixes, I would still rather use them than pay $3 for a single cupcake.
As ridiculous as I find cupcake costs to be, when I noticed the Sprinkles Cupcake mixes at Williams-Sonoma (aka my home away from home) I almost broke my jaw when it dropped to the floor after seeing the price … $14!?!?!?! I really thought it must have been a joke, there had to be something amazing in those little tubes. Diamonds, gold, $10? There had to be something more than cupcake mix, or that mix had to be one amazing mix. I refused to pay that much for a mix of all things so I relegated myself to never knowing if they were worth it.
Then it happened. The after-after Christmas sale. You know, that table of the very last things, at 75% off, just hoping that someone will take them home. There was one lone box of sprinkles cake mix. $3 and change. Sweet, I can finally see if these things are worth it. The lone container was Mint Chocolate. Not what I would pick as my favorite, but it was my only choice.
I bought my mix, brought it home and opened it up. I looked for my diamonds, but was sadly disappointed. There was a standard looking bag of cake mix and some crushed peppermint to put on top. I pulled out the directions and, as expected, they were similar to standard boxed mix directions. Then I saw the frosting recipe. Here is where I got annoyed. I actually have to go out and buy good chocolate on top of paying $14 for a mix (we’re ignoring the fact that I got it on sale here)? Are you kidding me, these mixed cupcakes would cost about $20 to make. At the very least they should include the chocolate. That would make it a little bit more worth the $14 price tag, but no, I just got a bag-o-mix and some crushed peppermint candy. LAME. These better be amazing cupcakes.
The mixing and baking process is pretty standard as was the frosting making. The cupcakes looked pretty when they came out of the oven, but I had my doubts about them being $14 worth of good. The frosting, on the other hand was very yummy. You don’t actually think I waited to frost the cuppys before tasting, do you?
Greg and I got the cupcakes frosted and it was time to taste. Ehhh they were ok. I’m more of a light and fluffy kind of girl, these are on the denser end of things. They were moist, but I would take a box of betty crocker any day over these cupcakes. The peppermint candy was so meh, that I added jimmies to a bunch of them. They were good, just not spectacular. If they were priced correctly they would cost about what I paid for them, $3 and change. How did I come with this amount? I’ll break it down for you
$1 – regular cake mix cost
$1 – the cute packaging and Sprinkles name
$1 – the wider variety of flavors than is typically available in boxed mixes
and change – the lame crushed peppermint
Total: $3 and change
I think Greg said it best when I asked him what he thought.
N – So what do you think?
G- They’re good
N – Are they $14 worth of good?
G – Why do you need to spend $14? You already have the frosting recipe right here (as he picks up the recipe).
Haha. G was addicted to the frosting and clearly the cupcakes didn’t impress him all that much.
So, in an effort to save you $14 on a mix that is no tastier than a $.99 box I bring you the frosting recipe …
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
In a stand mixer beat the butter and salt on medium speed until fluffy
Turn to low and slowly add confectioners sugar
Mix in vanilla
Turn to medium and add chocolate.
Last week my favoritest person in the whole wide world, CB, who has even been known to call herself my “girlfriend on the side” 😛 , asked for applications to become a taste tester. This is one of Clara’s typical fun and creative ideas that she thinks up purely for her own amusement. How could these applications not be funny?
The other girls were funny, but come on, I spend more time talking to her than anyone else, I certainly know how to beat out the competition. So what did I do? I wrote it up in food. Not actually food, but food pictures aka a food font. CB is the only one with the code so my silly ramblings are a mystery to the rest of the world. Want to see my application?
In the end CB decided that everyone who applied aka her bestest buddies were going to get to taste test. She says she’s going to narrow down the field, which I’m not sure she’ll do, but I do know that I can beat everyone else’s butts. I know how to suck up like it’s no ones business.
I’m a little behind with my posts, but last weekend I was craving vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. We were on our way over to my ILs. I had my vanilla cupcake recipe and all my supplies. I had even mixed up my dry ingredients because I knew there was no chance my MIL had cake flour even if she had restocked her regular flour supply after using every last drop during her Christmas Baking Extravaganza.
G and I were in the car and then it hit me. I wanted chocolate frosting, but what kind? Ut oh. Luckily, my trusty CB was at her computer and my Mom had just bought me my trusty iphone. I’m going to copy CB here and post our conversation.
Nikki: Do u have a fave chocolate frosting. I’m making cuppys tonight and forgot to find a frosting recipe.
Sent from my iPhone
CB: here’s 2 of them! don’t you wub me?? 🙂
6 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powder sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
Cream butter and vanilla with mixer on low/med speed. In separate bowl combine powder sugar and cocoa powder. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Slowly add milk until you reach desired consistency (may not use all of milk). Beat until creamy.
1 cup white or dark chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream
Place chocolate in bowl. In saucepan bring whipping cream to boil over high heat. Pour hot whipping cream over chocolate and stir until choco melted.
Nikki: You’re wonderful!!!!
Sent from my iPhone
CB: I know 😉
Now that I had my recipe I was ready to bake. Now this is the coolest part of my baking experience. My MIL has her mothers old Kitchenaid mixer. Based on the little bit of research I’ve done, I believe it’s a 3-C and was produced sometime in the 1950’s. Now that means the mixer is somewhere around 60 years old and it still works like a champ. I will say that it can’t mash up my almost room temperature butter quite as well as my current KA, but it’s so cute with it’s glass bowl and dainty whip. I love it and it was tons of fun to get to play with a piece of cooking history.
In the end my cuppys were yummy as can be, but frosting with a butter knife wasn’t the ideal too for beautiful frosting, but who cares, they tasted good and that’s all that matters.
Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes (aka my current go to vanilla cuppy recipe)
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix the dry ingredients.
Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients 1/3 at a time to the dry ingredients
Bake for 17-22 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean
For the frosting I choose the standard Chocolate Frosting above. Thanks CB
I won I won! Well, I kinda sorta snuck in as a winner because of my fabulous idea, but whatever I still won. Buttt, my wonderful CB almost got a beating for taking so long to make my cupcakes. It’s a good thing I love her because if I didn’t I would have … I don’t know … done something really bad 😛
Clara just got new boxes to ship cupcakes in and I convinced her to experiment with my cuppys. We discussed a number of ways to get the frosting covered cupcakes to me without getting smashed. I have to say I love being a guinea pig!
All in all I would say our little experiment and the boxes didn’t exactly work out the way it was supposed to. She sent me cuppys with and without frosting (hehe I convinced her to send me lots because I’m cool like that).
My rating of the boxes for shipping is an F. Um both sets of cuppys were tossed around the box like you would not believe. They even ended up out of the wrappers. The most disappointing part was that the boxes let too much air get to the cuppys. Clara had said they were dry, but they were a whole new level of dry when they got to me. Try rock hard. I did taste test them and I tried to ignore the dry part, but they were just dry. 🙂 The taste was ok, CB had already received my vote to get rid of the 500 cupcake cookbook because she didn’t like any of them and I have a feeling I would feel the same way even if they hadn’t had too much air exposure. I’m not going to rate the cuppys because it’s not CBs fault, BUT Puddles thought they smelled like an A+. She even got a little taste of frosting.
Now it wasn’t all bad. I was actually pretty excited because the fondant survived perfectly. They had a little frosting on them that was easily scraped off and they look perfectly wonderful. I love my fondant. I’m not a fan of the taste, so I think I may do my own experiment and see just how long I can make them last because I don’t ever want to throw them away! I love my CB!
Before Pic Courtesy of CB
I also got a pretty box and my cuppy ornament! Honestly, with all that good stuff who cares about the cuppys. Oh and did I mention that the buttercream was still yummy. I’ll just eat the buttercream and admire my other goodies 😛
Wub you CB!