Archive for Cakes

I think I need a moment

(Title is Actual Quote from today.)

Imagine a food. This is a food that you may enjoy various concoctions and flavors. You might even be a bit experimental.

Then, someone places something in your hand. It looks like this food. It even has the ingredients and components of this food. Yet, when you take a bite, your brain goes:


Your brain knows the components. They even sound good, if slightly on the experimental cutting edge of food.

Celery Root Carrot Cake. Okay, celery root isn’t all that traditional, but carrot cake is pretty good.

Blue Cheese Buttercream. Well, okay, kinda weird, but you had that pear olive oil cake with blue cheese buttercream that was pretty good, so you go for it.

Fried Chicken. Okay, unorthodox, but chicken and waffles is a southern delicacy, and you have even had the chicken ‘n waffle cupcake and it was good.

Citrus Buffalo Sauce. Which they should bottle and sell it was so good. Tangy and spice and I dont even like buffalo sauce.

Put it together? You have a cupcake that defies words, that is the bastard love child of an evil scientist and a high couture pastry chef.*

I give you, the Hot Josh.

“Celery root & carrot cake with Point Reyes blue cheese buttercream and citrus tinged Buffalo chicken.”

You take a bite. Your brain processes the cake. Not to sweet, very moist, very good. You bite into the chicken. Spicy, tangy, good. Yet, somehow, your brain refuses to process the combination of all of the components.

Seriously. My brain rejected this experience.


I can remember the taste of the buffalo chicken. And I kinda remember the cake. But even though I took several bites of everything together, I have no memory of that flavor.

They blew my brain. How many of you can say that a cupcake (or any food) did the same for you?

Read their post about the Hot Josh at

*Actually, it is a husband and wife team, and both parties embody both examples. :)

Leave a Comment


Yes, this is a cooking blog, but if you haven’t noticed, I am obsessed with Cupcakes.

Recently, Serious Eats did a ““Best Cupcake of New York City”. I was delighted to see Robicellis on the list. (Surprisingly, the cupcakes used in the taste test from Robicellis were over a week old! And they still placed 10th in the City!)

(BTW, if you have not seen it yet, go watch the Robicelli’s Cupcake War Audition Tape)

Number one in the city was Baked, based in Red Hook. For me, Robicellis were better than Baked. However, Baked Totally won over my heart with their Red Velvet Cupcake. Why?


Ahem, sorry for the caps. I have no idea where the whole “Red Velvet with Cream Cheese” craze started. The original, and correct, icing is Cooked Flour Frosting. This frosting can be tricky to get right, but it tasted oh so divine.

Surprisingly, I have done only a few cupcakes on this blog.

What type of cupcakes would you like to see?

Comments (5)

Mexican Chocolate Cupcake with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Frosting

Woohoo for Air conditioned kitchen! Boo for still melting my frosting!

I am kitten sitting for some friends of mine, and while I am here, I am taking full advantage of their air conditioned kitchen to play with baked goods. I also did not bring butter or milk over with me the first day, so I needed a vegan cupcake.

I found this Mexican Chocolate Cake recipe listed a few places online. I liked the fact that it didnt use any milk substitutes, and that it had balsamic vinegar for acidity (rather than white vinegar, which is also not in this kitchen.) “Mexican Chocolate” is typically spiked with cinnamon for a slightly spicy kick, and these cupcakes also have cayenne pepper. They do have a spicy after kick.

I wanted to try this Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream, because I think it may go well with my dulce de leche cupcakes. The frosting was great, except I think I overbeat it, and/or the kitchen was too warm, so the butter started to melt.

This is different than the buttercream curdling. Most meringue based frostings (as well as my Cooked Flour Frosting) go through a stage where they look curdled. This is normal, and the answer is to keep beating it. However, when it starts to look like tiny fat globules and shiny liquid, something happened and you need to start over. (Or, ya know, eat it, because it is butter and sugar and therefore tasty, just not smooth and not pretty.)

Spicy Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
(Recipe from
Makes 12 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup canola oil*
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

This is a one bowl cake. Put everything in a bowl, and mix it up. Do not overbeat, but stir until just smooth. You can leave out the cayenne pepper, or substitute chili powder for less heat. (Edit 7/25/2010: Since this is an egg and dairy free cake, you actually can agitate the flour a bit, because it is the gluten that holds the cupcake together. Making this a second time, i put in 1 tsp of Cayenne pepper, and I think the chili powder provides a slightly better taste. I also upped the Cinnamon to 3 tsp., as I think the cinnamon came out more pronounced. The downside was that many thought the chocolate flavor wasn’t there.)

*(Note: Serious Eats has made this cake without the canola oil, so it may be optional. I would think that the cake would be drier, and I tend to like moist cupcakes.)

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. You can also make one 8 or 9 inch layer, and cook for approximately 30 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when finished.

Top with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

A few notes on the swiss buttercream: when the eggs are at proper temperature, you can feel the mixture and it will no longer feel gritty. Make sure that everything is clean, otherwise the initial meringue will not fluff up. When adding the butter, “curdling” or it looking lumpy is fine, just keep beating. “Melting” is not okay. Make sure your kitchen is cooler than 75 degrees or so , otherwise the butter may melt. If you are really worried, watch this video on 123 Swiss Buttercream.

Comments (3)

Red Velvet Pumpkin Cupcakes

Rather, red velvet cake mix made with pumpkin. I took half a cake mix, 7.5 oz of pumpkin (half of the can), one egg, and a little bit of oil. (I did not measure it.)

It came out cakey, like an actual cupcake. The first pumpkin muffin attempt was just a spice cake mix and canned pumpkin. That was good, and had a distinct pumpkin taste, which was good. The texture was more of a muffin. So, I wanted to try out adding typical “cake ingredients” to see if they would come out. And they did!

Tomorrow, I will attempt (again) my grandmothers cooked flour frosting. Look for that later!

Comments (2)

Banana Cupcakes with (Attempted) Strawberry Frosting

I had a few older bananas, and faced with the choice of banana bread or banana cupcakes, I chose the cupcakes. I used Banana Chiffon Cake recipe. Chiffon cakes are made with oil, with most of the leavening coming from egg whites.

My egg whites did not whip up. I probably did not check the pan or the whisk to make sure that they were absolutely residue free, so I will have to do that next time.

The cupcakes browned rather quickly, but they rose with a nice dome top. The bananas did something funky, as the inside seems to have tiny dark spots, almost like threads. I assume they came from the bananas.

The frosting? Well, strawberry frosting still eludes me. I learned that my frosting does need some fat in it. I started with cream cheese, strawberry puree, and strawberry jam. I mixed in 1.5 lbs of sugar, and it was still quite runny. I mixed in some shortening, and it firmed up. Will mix in shortening at the beginning next time.

I played with the frosting. I am deciding what type of decorations look and taste best on cupcakes. These were made with just a disposable piping bag with a large part of the tip cut off. Pretty! Will have pictures once I figure out a photo editing program :)

Leave a Comment

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Orange Marmalade Frosting


I wanted to make a cupcake with a taste combination that is not normally seen. I think the taste combination was great! I think the cupcake was a bit dense, so I will play with it a bit. I topped these with candied orange peel, but those came out slightly crispy.

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Hershey’s Chocolate Cake Recipe.

2 1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup Cocoa (I used a mixture of Valhalla and Hershey’s)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk. (Next time, I may swap some out for orange juice, for more of an orange juice flavor)
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (I am never buying McCormick extract again. Go for the good stuff.)
2 tsp Pure Orange Extract
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp orange juice (I put this in the boiling water, because my orange juice was in ice form.)

Whisk dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add everything else, except the boiling water, into the bowl. Mix for two minutes. Add boiling water, and mix until combined.

This made 18 regular size cupcakes, 24 mini cupcakes, and a 6 inch cake. Cook until done. (I am horrible, and did not time any of it, but I watched it until it was done.)

Chocolate Orange Marmalade Frosting.
Adapted from The Cupcake Project

1 cup butter, at room temperature.
6 oz Orange Marmalade (I weighed this, or I think it is about 2/3 cup).
3 cups of powdered sugar. (I think I used more than this, but I wanted a stiffer frosting.)
2 tbsp Orange Juice (or use 1/4th cup for thinner icing for frosting a cake).
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz melted unsweetened chocolate. (I used Nestle’s pre-melted packets.)

Beat butter until creamy, then beat in the orange marmalade. Add in half the powdered sugar and mix. Scrape down bowl. Add the orange juice, extracts, and chocolate. Beat until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, scraping down the bowl once.

Leave a Comment