Archive for October, 2010

Ghosts, goblins, witches, Lady Gaga—are just a few of the top scary costumes I’ve seen this Halloween. Who would want to be something scary, when you can be something sweet?! Naturally, I chose be the sweetest thing I could imagine, a cupcake!

I searched far and wide to find a place that had this costume in stock. Apparently, this costume was a popular item this Halloween. Lucky for me, I finally found one at Costume Express and lucky for me again, the costume arrived just a few mere days before Halloween!

Well, I couldn’t come dressed up as a cupcake without cupcakes in hand! I decided to try my hand at bakeitinacake’s pumpkin pie cupcakes. Boy, were they a hit! It was my first attempt at baking cupcakes from scratch, so I was a little nervous about the reviews. After I heard great raves one after the other, I could breathe easy. Then, I decided to try the fruits of my labor, and yes folks, they were delicious!

Besides just making cupcakes, I had to schedule a visit from Kansas City’s very own mobile cupcakery! 3GirlsCupcakes made a special stop to check out my “sweet” costume (pun totally intended). I never knew I was going to become a “cup-a-vore” (a cupcake eating a cupcake).

Does anyone have any other great Halloween costumes to share? Tell me about them!

Happy Halloween!


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Made with Love

Early one morning last week, I was excited to see a picture message of a pan full of cupcakes come across my phone.
I know that the sight of cupcakes excites me, but the joy is even greater when others remember my love for them. After receiving the message, I jokingly replied, “Are you bringing those to the office”. To my great surprise, I get a call later in the day, saying that my cupcake is awaiting me! Nothing excites me more than knowing I’m about to have a cupcake!

My friend and co-worker, Casey brings up the Halloween cupcake that she and her two little girls, Taylor (7) and Riley (4) made the night before. Taylor and Riley, my “adopted” nieces specifically picked out one of their homemade, hand-decorated, Halloween cupcakes for me. Just for me!

The cupcake was a delicious vanilla cake with Halloween sprinkles dotted throughout. Orange vanilla frosting topped off the cake, and Halloween ghosts and bats completed the look.

Taylor (top left) and Riley (top right) , proudly displaying their work. Casey (bottom center), their mom, presenting my hand-picked cupcake

There’s no doubt in my mind that this was the best cupcake I have ever tasted! It was made with love. Nothing can ever top that.

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Cupcake Tour de Vegas

My first stop on my Cupcake Tour de Vegas was to Cupcake Café. As I mentioned earlier, this place was a bit of a distance away from the strip, but I didn’t think it would be too horrible. So, after satisfying by burning desire to hit up the outlet mall, I jumped a cab over to the Meadow Mall. My wonderful cab driver took the time to be patience with me as we attempted to find its location (well, of course she was going to be patient. I was buying her patience). After circling the block and with the help of technology, we realized the place was inside the mall. Hmm, very intriguing.

This was your typical suburbia mall. I wouldn’t normally peg a mall as a place to have a cupcake place, but then again, it makes sense. High traffic, lots of young folk, hungry shoppers, etc. Well, I was definitely in the same boat as most of the other shoppers. By the time I finally found the place, I was in a dire need of a cupcake. Quickly, I scanned the selection and, of course, chose the Vanilla-N-Cream cupcake.

They put too much cake batter in each of the cupcake liners. The cake was spilled over the sides and just looked sloppy. The cake itself was spongy and sticky. I immediately didn’t like its taste. After a few more bites, I realized that the cake tasted like a store-bought cake, and didn’t feel “fresh”. It was almost as if it had been frozen at one point and then thawed. Not cool (no pun intended)

I sampled the frosting first and was met with a rush of sweet goodness. The frosting was so light and fluffy that it tickled my tongue. I couldn’t help from smiling and laughing while eating it! I’m sure the worker thought I was some crazy girl, but its velour, smooth sensation was great!

The cupcake was just a bit subpar in this department. If it wasn’t for the overfilled cupcake, I would have thought it was very cute and nicely done. However, the cake looked sloppy and the frosting looked inadequate on top. The gummy bear was darling though!

Sweet Endings
Would I ever make the trip back to Cupcake Café? Well, let’s just start with the fact that places in Vegas appear to be very close together. But in true Vegas fashion, this is just another allusion. As the soles of my feet can testify, this was indeed the truth today. I ended up walking back the four miles to the strip on my “already burning with sharp pain feet” in my “wooded sandals with no support”. I’m positive that I could find sweeter things much closer to the strip.

Also, with a name like “Cupcake Café”, there are so many creative things you can do. I would have thought it would have had that “coffee café” feel… oversized couches, soft lighting, chill music, etc. Instead, this place was in the center of the food court at a shopping mall. Not really what I would consider “café-i-ness”, and it really fell short of its potential.

On to round number two—Gigi’s Cupcakes!

Cupcake Café
4300 Meadows Lane Suite 5150
Las Vegas, NV 89107
(702) 870-2500

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There are two things I really love— Vegas and cupcakes. I usually don’t get both at one time, but lucky for me, work sent me out to Vegas and I’m going out to find me some cupcakes. My initial search of a cupcake shop was disappointing. There are just not many cupcake places off the Strip. And, for those who have been to Vegas, unless you have a car it can be difficult and expensive to get around. Nonetheless, I continued to search until I found a few feasible options.

1. Gigi’s Cupcakes
This shop originated in Nashville, Tenn. Gigi has tremendously expanded her business and has several locations throughout the country. I have some great friends in the Tennessee area that were gracious enough to pack some cupcakes with them and bring them all the way to Philadelphia this past summer. My goodness, those were good. But, the other half of the experience is visiting the shop. Fortunately, Gigi’s shop in Vegas is the closest—only 2 miles away from my hotel. Heck, I could get my daily workout by running there, eating a cupcake, and running back. Sweet.

2. Retro Bakery
I’ve heard so much about them and was introduced to this place via Cupcake Wars. To my great disappointment, they are located 25 miles north of the Strip. That would be a ridiculously expensive cab ride. However, to my great joy, I discovered that they deliver, no order too small, for a flat rate of $20. Beautiful.

3. Cupcake Café
This place was a little further away, almost not within walking distance. After sitting with the Google Map, I learn that 4 miles isn’t that horrible. Even if I needed to catch a cab, it wouldn’t be that expensive. Check.

After narrowing down my options, I’m ready to paint the town red. I’ll be back next week with my full report!

Ready or not Vegas, here I come!

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As many of you may know, National Chocolate Cupcake Day was this past Monday. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how many of the local cupcake places that are closed on Mondays. Yes, I do understand that most shops are open during the weekend, so they need their “day off” too. But, nonetheless, I was disappointed I couldn’t get my fix.

So, instead of celebrating the holiday on the actual day, I decided to pull a non-traditional move and celebrate it a few days late. I mean, not everyone celebrates Christmas on December 25th, so why should this be any different?

Then, my next dilemma was should I order a chocolate cupcake in honor of its holiday? Or, should I stick to my favorite, good ol’ plain vanilla. After much deliberation, I opted for my favorite, a vanilla cupcake. Besides, not everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving…

To celebrate this holiday, I choose to try Cupcake A La Mode. Well, I guess try isn’t the appropriate word. I have been to Cupcake A La Mode before, however, I have not put their vanilla/vanilla to the test. So, for today’s challenge is the French Vanilla OOH LaLa.

The cake very fluffy at first, but once lingering in the mouth, it formed together as a doughy ball of cake. It started to stick to the roof of my mouth and teeth. Not an enjoyable feeling. I believe the cake was overcooked. I didn’t see too many signs on the cake (no abnormal browning edges, stood tall and firm), but something was just off with the overall texture of the cake.

For starters, there was too much frosting on this cupcake. And, that’s saying a lot coming from me (I’m the biggest fan of frosting out there). The French vanilla flavor was different from what I was expecting. Most of the vanilla frostings I have tasted have been pure vanilla. I’m not completely sure what makes vanilla “French”, but it was different to say the least. I tasted no butter in their buttercream, only sugar. I could have easily mistaken this frosting for a cream cheese frosting rather than buttercream. The frosting was waaayy to sweet. (again, that’s saying a lot coming from me)

I adored how they decorated each cupcake. However, I do not like the idea of sugar sprinkles. I believe there are more clever ways to decorate, and I personally don’t like the crunchiness in my frosting. Nonetheless, the cupcake was adorable and definitely looked the part.

Sweet Endings
The combination of the cake and frosting doesn’t shy too far away from what I could do with a boxed cake mix and tub of pre-made frosting. I was really disappointed. After reading many other reviews, and having a cake from them previously, I expected more from the vanilla. The last cupcake I tried was the Bella Nutella. Anything with Nutella on it is going to taste delicious, and indeed it did. But, I cannot say the same about the French Vanilla OOH LaLa. Not sure what it was, but I don’t agree with all the rave reviews saying “it’s the best cupcake in Kansas City”.

I will agree that the shop itself was one of the most adorable shops in Kansas City. If you are looking for a fun place for a birthday party, the West Plaza location is closed on Sundays just for reserved birthday parties. Little young girls would eat it up! (I know, cheesy pun)

The staff there was so nice and considerate to sit and answer many of my burning questions. She explained to me the small shelf of retail items they sell all from local artists. The owner has passion for supporting the local community, which is something both her and I share. One of my favorite things available was these adorable cupcake frames from FreshBatch.

For Cupcake A La Mode, I suggest you be the judge. Accordingly to several of the review sites, it’s a favorite among Kansas Citians. However, if you want my expertise, go somewhere else.

Cupcake A La Mode
West Plaza
1209 West 47th Street
Kansas City, MO 64112

Park Place
11529 Ash Street
Leawood, KS 66211

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What would be the best way to start the day? Having a cupcake, of course! So, on a gorgeous Saturday morning, I ventured down to Dolce Baking Company in Prairie Village, Kan., to satisfy my early morning craving.

As I walked in, I was overwhelmed with the delicious smell of cinnamon rolls. I almost had to forgo my cupcake for one of them! Apparently, I wasn’t the only one interested. Most of the people in the shop were carrying out their delicious cinnamon rolls. But, as soon as I saw the cupcakes sitting in the glass case, I couldn’t resist! My eyes immediately found the Vanilla Crème cupcake.

The whole thing was cold. It was almost too hard to eat it at first, and I couldn’t get a good read on the taste and flavor. However, as the cupcake began to warm up, the flavor intensified with each bite. The cake was thick and I was a little weary of how I would like its texture. But, the cake had a unique way to just melt in your mouth.

The buttercream was extremely creamy, but thick as well. The thickness could have affected by the temperature of the cake, but got even creamier as it warmed. The frosting wasn’t overly sweet, which balanced well with the cake. Each bite had a great burst of vanilla flavor, and once it hit the tongue, the butter in the frosting just dissolved in the mouth.

Each cupcake looked perfectly made and sitting happily in the glass case. There was a just right amount of frosting on each cake, again giving it a great balance. For this one, they did top it off with a few fun Halloween sprinkles. Just enough for the presentation, but not too much to take away from the cupcake itself.

Sweet Endings
Once this cupcake warmed up, it had a way to just make me go “mmmm”. I was very impressed by their ability to make the vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream a perfect complement for each other. I was a little worried at first since the cupcake was very chilled, but I wasn’t disappointed as I continued to eat the cupcake. Even though the cake was dense, the buttercream somehow melted into the crevices of the cake. It was a magical experience.

I know this
made sound a little weird, but I was really impressed how their color scheme was spread throughout the store, even into the bathroom. Not too many people would really pay attention or even notice it but it was such a nice little touch. Also, the dark, chocolate-mahogany rich color of their furniture was absolutely gorgeous!

I can’t wait to go back and try their other goodies. Everything in the glass case, plus the amazing smell in the shop, tells me that everything I try will be delectable.

Dolce Baking Co
6974 Mission Road
Prairie Village, KS 66208

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Baking Attempt #2

What better way to make your house smell delicious on this crisp October evening than to make BANANA BREAD! For my second baking attempt, I have pulled out my mom’s great recipe. Scroll down to the bottom and check it out!

Do you have a favorite recipe passed down from your mom? I wanna hear about it!

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