Year of Cupcakes
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This month, I violated my number one directive for the monthly goodie project---I used a mix and pre-made frosting!!!!!!  Actually, this was a scientific "control" for the experiment.  Does homemade really taste better?  Is it worth the effort?  I can say unequivocally that these cupcakes were better than most of the homemade ones I've done this year.  They were a little bit "wet," but that's much better than dry and crumbly!

The recipe for these is here:

The only drawback is that the cupcakes were VERY sweet, and had a slight chemical aftertaste, I thought. 

Oh well, back to the homemade drawing board next month!

Sent from my iPhone
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 12/13/08 10:13 AM)

Today I made this month's entry in the Year of Cupcakes.  The original recipe (from called for cranberries, but we made a family decision to use cherries instead.  The cupcake part came out a little bit more muffin-y, but still good.  The frosting is's cream cheese mixed with dulce de leche and toasted chopped pecans.  I think these will be like a bite of Thanksgiving.  More after I taste them later...
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 4 (Last: Guest · 10/27/08 5:51 AM)

Catching up with the monthly cupcakes, we have a unique and complex one this month.  For October, I went all out with the Fall flavors.  The cake part is apple ginger, with tiny bits of candied ginger that explode with spiciness and tiny bits of chopped granny smith apple for tartness.  The result is very moist and non-crumbly....yummmmm.  The frosting is orange clove flavored buttercream (orange isn't my favorite flavoring, but it kinda goes with the other flavors pretty well).

This cupcake tastes like a bite of Fall!

Here's the recipe, from (one of my favorite foodie websites).

So pull up a comfy seat, take a bite, and enjoy a cup of tea!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 12/13/08 10:14 AM)
Goodness gracious. The Year of Cupcakes is badly off track now, with two loser recipes in a row.  This one:

...was July's cupcake, and it was GROSS!  Under no circumstances should you make this one.  The recipe is defective (missing some information), and the results (as you can see) are hideous. They are mini-cupcakes, your eyes aren't deceiving you.

It's really weird, because I have always trusted Epicurious implicitly.  THis makes me question the very meaning of life.

Oh, and as a bonus, this recipe makes you dirty every single dish in your cupboard, including the food processor AND mixer.  In short, a ghastly mess.

Let's just keep our fingers crossed for the August cupcakes!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 8/1/08 2:47 PM)
Sadly, this is a photo of June's cupcake of the month, from a recipe by Sprinkles Bakery (via Martha Stewart).  Granted, I had some distractions, but this frosting is GROSS.  The cake part was delicious, but the buttercream frosting "broke," and looks like (in the immortal words of Gordon Ramsey) "a dog's breakfast."

Oh well, ya win some, ya lose some.  I might scrape the frosting off and put some whipped cream on top as a temporary fix.
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 6/13/08 10:02 AM)
This month's cupcake was a complete surprise for me.  An avowed chocoholic, I look askance at any dessert that contains no cocoa.  However, from the first heavenly bite, this one had me besotted.  It tastes like the best stack of blueberry pancakes, with butter and maple syrup on it.  The maple sugar in the frosting was a genius touch.  My recommendation....make these for someone you love.  Bonus: they're ridiculously easy to make.

Excuse me, I have to go eat another one now...

Here's the recipe:

The flowers in the background are real---I like to keep fresh flowers in my kitchen whenever possible, and I love Gerber daisies!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 5/30/08 9:05 PM)
This month's cupcake is a doozy, particularly if you missed out on the Girl Scout Cookies this year (which we did).  The cake part is like graham cracker, there is chocolate ganache in the middle, and it's topped with a gooey coconut-butter frosting, and (just for good measure) crispy toasted coconut and squiggles of chocolate.

550 calories, according to the recipe.  But I can attest that they're worth saving up for Smiler

Recipe is part of the Cupcake Cravings article linked in my original post on cupcakes:
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 5 (Last: Guest · 5/1/08 12:33 AM)
I might call these "disaster cupcakes," although I haven't tasted one yet.  The recipe called for a delicate integration of the dry and wet ingredients, and I think I overbeat them in the process.  Then I didn't trust that they were done, so I overbaked them by about 3 minutes. 

Oops, then I noticed I was out of confectioner's sugar (how can that happen????), so I substituted very fine baker's sugar.  It tastes alright, but the consistency is more grainy than it should be.  Finally, for the crowning blow, I missed an instruction for the frosting (which I've now made several times, and should have noticed), so it didn't come together perfectly.

The chocolate shamrocks aren't as precise as I'd like; I think the cardboard template I used was too thick...

Anyway....I'll let ya know how they actually taste later!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 6 (Last: Guest · 3/18/08 9:54 AM)
All I can say after eating one (okay, two) of these is WOW.  Seriously this is one of the best cupcakes I've ever had...the cake part turned out fluffy and light, the hidden chocolate dollop was excellent, and the cream cheese frosting was out of this world.  This recipe is from the "Cupcake Cravings" article I referenced in my original Year of Cupcakes post....

If you like the banana/chocolate combo, I strongly urge you to try this one.  The recipe is a bit time-consuming, but totally worth it!!!!
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 4 (Last: Guest · 2/19/08 11:51 AM)
I thought I'd jazz up my cupcake pictures this year with action in the background, instead of trying to stage Martha-worthy photos.  When we decorated the coconut cupcakes, I had a few special requests to accomodate: we did make a chocolate chip covered one special for Tina, and the little guys wanted to shake sprinkles on theirs.  I guess I can leave room for experimentation in the Year of Cupcakes Smiler

This was a Martha recipe, and I have to say it was very simple.  Like simple enough to make instead of using boxed cupcakes for my next cupcake occasion.  Really.

I'll post a taste-testing update later, after I have one of the cupcakes myself (or two).
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 14 (Last: Guest · 2/3/08 9:30 AM)
Groupees who know me have followed along for the last two years as I made it through the 2006 Year of Cakes with Martha Stewart and the 2007 Year of Pies (just for my own amusement).  It's been a fun-filled ride, creating havoc in the kitchen, adding pounds to everyone I know, and learning new techniques along the way.  I've had so much fun, in fact, that I've decided to launch 2008 as the Year of Cupcakes.

Anyone who'd like to participate, feel free to come along and post your efforts here (or on your own Groupee page).  I've collected recipes from around the web and my cookbooks/magazines, and I'll come back later to post links where they're available, so everyone can have the recipes.

In the meantime, here's the schedule:

January - Coconut-topped vanilla cupcakes
February - Banana cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling and cream cheese frosting*
March - Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream frosting*
April - Samoas cupcakes*
May - Blueberry Hill cupcakes
June - Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry meringue buttercream
July - Dark chocolate mint cupcakes
August - Brownie cupcakes with peanut butter frosting
September - Apple ginger cupcakes with orange clove cream
October - Cranberry cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Pecan frosting
November - Libby's Quick & Easy Pumpkin cupcakes
December - Martha's Christmas Tree cupcakes

*From an article entitled, "Cupcake Cravings."
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Blog Entry CommentsComments: 17 (Last: Guest · 1/24/08 11:11 AM)
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