Back from an awesome girls birthday trip in Vegas and now I’m officially in a new age decade…I guess I’m going to have to change my profile from 20-something to 30-something now!
Since I had been in Vegas for my 25th birthday there have been tons of changes. There’s a whole new area called The Linq over by the Flamingo. It has lots of shops, restaurants, and the world’s largest observation wheel….which is basically like a giant ferris wheel that takes you up in a pod and you can see amazing views of the Strip. Definitely a fun thing to do at night to see the lights.
To my delight, they also have a Sprinkles cupcake shop! I had passed by a Sprinkles in Chicago last year but didn’t have time to make a visit so I was excited this time I could. Now, the best part about Sprinkles is their cupcake ATM. That’s right, I said cupcake ATM. You can go up and choose from several different flavors, swipe your card, and the door opens up to a cupcake. It’s pretty cool because there’s a camera inside that shows your cupcake being retrieved. And the best part is no lines! All those suckers were waiting in a huge line to go into the shop but it’s so much more fun to say you got your cupcake from an ATM!
As far as the cupcakes go, they’re pretty good but I’m not sure they’re worth waiting in line for. I got a peanut butter chip cupcake which was a chocolate-chip studded cake is made with all natural peanut butter and topped with rich peanut butter frosting and sweet milk chocolate sprinkles. I love peanut butter and chocolate together but I felt like it was a little heavy on the peanut butter side and that there wasn’t enough chocolate. It was pretty sweet but the cake was light and fluffy which I always appreciate because I hate a dry cupcake! My travel buddy went for the classic vanilla cupcake which was a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, and white sprinkles. She also enjoyed her cupcake but said that it was piled a little too high with frosting for her taste.
Bottom line? Sprinkles is good but I wouldn’t wait in line for a chance to eat one of their cupcakes. I love the novelty of the cupcake ATM and it’s definitely a fun thing to do if you are ever around one but be prepared for a sugar rush when you eat your cupcake!
When my friend Kristin asked me to make cupcakes for her son Micah’s first birthday of course I was super excited about it! My cupcakes were going to be the first sugar baby Micah would get to eat! Then, when she decided on a jungle theme for the party and asked if I could make monkey cupcakes, I was even more excited. I had the perfect cupcakes that I had pinned oh so long ago and I knew they’d be great for this occasion.
Kristin and I decided on half chocolate cupcakes and half banana chocolate chip cupcakes because, well, how cute is it to have banana flavored cupcakes that look like monkeys?? I went with one bowl chocolate cupcakes since they are my ultimate favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. They always come out perfectly, it’s a no fail recipe if you’re looking for a good chocolate cupcake. And for an extra bonus, you only have to use one bowl so less to clean!
For the banana chocolate chip cupcakes I went with a recipe I had made very early on in starting my blog. But instead of the butter, I used canola oil since I think it makes for a moister cupcake. I also used about half the amount of chocolate chips because I didn’t want them to be too chocolatey. Blasphemy, I know. But I figured since I was making chocolate cupcakes already and both kinds were going to have chocolate frosting, I didn’t want to go too crazy.
Decorating the cupcakes were super easy. I just used large and mini Nilla Wafers for the face and ears. It did become a little ridiculous when I decided to pipe little white chocolate rounds for the eyes. After I had piped about a hundred of them I realized that I had basically made white chocolate chips. It would have been a lot easier had I made them but what can you do. The last step is to use black gel frosting to pipe on the eyes, nose, and mouth. I liked positioning the eyes differently so that the monkeys look like they have different expressions. Some silly and some serious. I’m not going to lie, I like my cupcakes better than the original ones I pinned!
The monkeys definitely fit in with the jungle theme of Micah’s birthday and he had a huge monkey balloon tied to his highchair so it was perfect! Can I tell you how chillaxed little Micah is? I mean that boy almost never stops smiling. And it’s so adorable how he loves driving his little car around with his arm hanging out the window. Parents hide your daughters!
I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the cupcakes as you can see from the picture. He seemed a little reluctant at first and unsure but once he got a taste, he really dug right in. I was so happy to see that mess all over him but I don’t think it was as exciting for mom and dad to clean up! Micah definitely had a good birthday and we loved celebrating with him!
Back at it after some WordPress problems that have kept me quite delayed. And first up now that I’m back up online is the long over due post of my biggest baking adventure to date.
When I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for a 40th birthday celebration, I’m not sure I realized what an adventure it would be. I was thinking maybe two dozen each of two different flavors like chocolate and vanilla. When I got to talking to the hostess she said there would be about 75 people at the party…wow, I knew this would be the biggest haul of cupcakes yet. And then once we ironed down flavors, I realized that it was going to be a little more complicated than I thought.
The hostess decided on a few flavors, some of which I had made before and some of which I hadn’t. Cookie dough, Hostess, and red velvet I had made before and peanut butter and white chocolate were completely new for me. And even thought these weren’t particularly tough recipes, I didn’t realize what making nine…that’s right nine dozen cupcakes was going to entail.
It look three days and possibly some tears and meltdowns. Because I’m never overly dramatic or anything (sense my completely sarcastic tone), I definitely didn’t flop down in my bed and cry to Boy Cupcake that I wasn’t going to finish them. Our conversation may have looked something like this:
Me: “I can’t do it. Whaaaaa”
Boy Cupcake: “What are you going to do, give them a hundred unfrosted cupcakes?”
Me: “Yes. Whaaaaa”
Boy Cupcake: “You have to finish them so get up and I’ll get you more ingredients for the frosting you messed up.”
Me: “Fine. Humph.”
See? Not overly dramatic at all. But in the end it was totally worth it all and our hostess was so extremely grateful and I was happy to make her happy. Besides, then I got to listen to her praise my cupcakes to other people at the party which I definitely don’t hate.
In my dream of opening a cupcake shop, I thought it would be the cutest idea to make cupcakes for dogs and call them pupcakes. Apparently lots of other people thought that would be super cute because there are already multiple bakeries around with pupcakes. I guess I’ll just have to stick with cupcakes for people. Besides, dogs can’t eat chocolate which would mean I’d have to make them out of carob, and no one really likes carob anyway.
After years of talking about our love of puppies, my friend/coworker Kristin got herself a golden retriever puppy named Bodhi. GAWD is he just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! I mean I’m serious when I say he’s so cute you want to die. You have to see him, so I went and stole a picture from her Facebook page. This is my absolute favorite of him because he looks a little like he’s in a fisheye lens and he has a little grass stuck to his lip.
Kristin and her husband had a puppy party to introduce little Bodhi to all of their friends (and to drink some sangria on a Sunday afternoon). I was more than excited to go and spend some time with her cute little man (the puppy, not her husband). Of course I have to bring cupcakes to the shindig because well, that’s what I do.
Again, I made the one bowl chocolate cupcakes but topped with with Kristin’s favorite frosting. This is a mousse-like frosting and always gets compliments from people.
- 1 package instant vanilla sugar free pudding (you can use any flavor but this time I used vanilla. Chocolate is really good too)
- 1 cup milk (I always use skim)
- 8 oz. thawed Cool Whip (I usually use the Cool Whip free or light)
Make pudding according to the directions with the 1 cup of milk rather than the 2 cups the package states. Fold in thawed Cool Whip. Mix in food coloring if desired.
The cupcakes had to be garnished with a white chocolate bone because they would be puppy celebration cupcakes without some kind of dog relate thing on there. I had printed out some clip art of bones and covered with wax paper to I could pipe the melted white chocolate on. Since the bones look the same on both sides, unlike letters, you can just turn them over when you put them on the cupcakes so the smooth side is facing up.
The cupcakes were a hit. I absolutely love the frosting on these cupcakes, and everyone else will too. Don’t even tell them it’s made with instant pudding and Cool Whip. You have to fake it and say that you made mousse for the frosting. Trust me, they’ll believe you.
What happens when someone has a birthday and another runs the Boston Marathon? They get cupcakes, obviously. My friend who I like to call Nipkins (yes my friends have weird nicknames, you’re going to get a lot of crazy ones through the course of this blog) ran the Boston Marathon this year. Fairly close to marathon time, her boyfriend D-Train had a birthday. Clearly they both need cupcakes to celebrate these momentous occasions. D-Train had requested mint chocolate chip cupcakes for his birthday so I figured lets make a dozen of these and they can share them in celebration.
They were pretty easy cupcakes. Because I like the one bowl chocolate cupcakes so much, I used this recipe and added some mint extract to it. Only about 2 teaspoons though because I didn’t want too much mint flavor in the chocolate cupcakes…I was saving that for the frosting. The frosting is where the mint lived. It was a basic buttercream:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon mint extract
All we’re doing here with the frosting is combining the above ingredients and adding just a few drops of green food coloring. Not too much now, just enough so it looks like the color of mint chocolate chip ice cream. That is what we’re going for after all, isn’t it?
I like to pipe on the frosting in a pretty swirl. I used to do this with my #194 tip, but as you might remember it went down the drain, literally, so from now on it’s going to be hard. Until I get another one that it. Anywho, it is a must to finish off the cupcakes with a chocolate chip garnish because they are mint chocolate chip cupcakes, aren’t they?
So what was the verdict on these cupcakes? Well Nipkins told me she liked them but D-Train wasn’t all that excited about them apparently. I guess they weren’t exactly what he was looking for but he did request them, remember? If you’re reading D-Train, I shed a single tear over this. We’re going to have to have a long talk about this because I never got a good answer on why they weren’t great, but Nipkins did tell me that you ate a bunch of them. Sooooo, I’m guessing they weren’t nauseating. Next time maybe chocolate chips in the actual cupcake? I promise to try harder.