Tag Archives: cupcakes

Baking Food

Cake Retrospective

As some of you recall, before this year I was cursed with the inability to bake (anything that wasn’t hideous, anyway). And as one of my New Year’s resolutions, I set out to address this fatal flaw. For some context, here is an example of the type of cake I used to bake. Don’t look  if you just ate.

Note the special type of two-layer cake where you can actually see from the outside that it’s two layers. And what is up with those strawberries?!? On a side note, my penmanship has gotten far worse over the years.

This next one is a little blurry, but just ask yourself when you look at it: does this look like an authorized Sanrio Hello Kitty product to you? (The cake, not the giant Hello Kitty in the chair.)

I had not yet discovered the round cake pan at this point in time. Nor did the internet have enough rich content on how to make an inoffensive cake. Cake pops weren’t even invented. And I thought it seemed wasteful to cut off bits of cake so that the layers could lie flat against each other. I call this the “Sloped Cake Style”. Other people call it “gross”.

As you may recall, I started off with cookies, which used to be a source of annual embarrassment for my neighborhood cookie exchange. I feel pretty good about my cookie progress. So it’s time to share some of what I’ve done with cakes.

Here is the very first cake that I’ve ever made that didn’t require me to serve people lots of alcohol ahead of time before unveiling:

I used marshmallow fondant to make the stars, letters and dolphin and piped the decoration on the edges. The cake was frosted in buttercream.

I also made some mini-cupcakes. They’re shown here on a cute little platter from Nora Fleming. It was for my husband’s birthday celebration so I put the margarita mini in.

I also found cute ways to dress up cupcakes, like sticking some plastic rock star rings on top of some of them:

And finally, I ventured way outside my comfort zone and baked a guitar-shaped confection:

So overall, I think I’ve made good progress! How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? (I can’t remember my other ones.)

Baking Cooking Food Popular

Double-Maple Cupcakes (and Cupcake Barf)

So I’ve basically lost my voice from screaming because Bakerella — THE BAKERELLA — commented on my blog.  As if I couldn’t love her more, she actually read my post and…her favorite color is turquoise.

Now that Danielle and I are all Hollywood and are basically just waiting for an invitation to bake with her, I decided to take a baby step toward cake pops and to bake some cupcakes on my own. If you’re training for a marathon, you build up to it.  Are you in fifth grade and would you like to read about baking? If so, this is the site for you!

The challenge: Double-Maple Cupcakes from Cooking Light. Except that I made them single-maple because I wanted to use buttercream frosting. I was first introduced to these cupcakes by my friend Christine, who is appropriately Canadian, and who baked them and brought them to work. They were the most fabulous cupcakes I had ever tasted, and I wanted to eat all 18 of them but had to just smile politely as co-workers passed them around and helped themselves to what could have been added to my portion.

Here is what I learned from this baking experience:

1. If you put a several cups of flour in the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer that you have used twice since you purchased it, and then turn the dial to High, you will distribute flour all over yourself and the kitchen. I also used a dough paddle which may have been wrong.

This would be an inappropriate picture for a food blog.

2. After you have done 1, you may no longer have the correct proportions of ingredients in your batter, and sometimes when this happens, your cupcake may actually throw up.

Cupcake barf. Unretouched photo.

Overall, though, most of the cupcakes that were not unwell turned out pretty normal looking.

Normal looking cupcakes
The ones that didn't throw up.

And they frosted up nicely.

Frosted cupcakes
I know there are gaps in the frosting. Don't judge me.

So if you want to try this at home, here are the recipes (with instructions on how to make barfing cupcakes above):


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cupcakes, beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.