Friday Fuck-Up: Cupcake Turds


Ya’ll know I am bakingly challenged, but I decided to give it a go this week and help in making cupcakes for a friend’s birthday. I must have been watching too much Food Network lately or something, because  I thought I was cool enough to get fancy and try that thing where you pipe the frosting out of a plastic bag.

This is what happened. How the eff do you do this properly?!?

Also, did you guys know that frosting is just butter and sugar?!? OMG that is NOT healthy!

Lemon Green Tea Cookie Sandwiches

Matcha is one of those things that most people either love or barf up. It’s strong, pungent, and unmistakeable. I love it on its own, I extra-love it paired with sweet lemon.  I had the opportunity to try a couple matcha samples from Rare Tea Republic, and I couldn’t help but make frosting out of it. The tea lends the most spectacular green color to the buttercream. And this is a flavor combo you won’t soon forget (whether you’re loving it or barfing it up).

Lemon Green Tea Cookie Sandwiches

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Cinco de Baking: Loaded Corona Cupcakes

Editor’s Note:  Snebbu will be bringing you more of his 100 ways to use beer in food and drinks shortly, but first: a brief holiday interruption. With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, longtime ES reader Pyrles joins us with a holiday recipe that combines two of our favorite things: cupcakes…and beer!

When people think about beers to include in baked treats, I’m guessing Corona doesn’t often come to mind. In fact, I cannot myself explain why I thought this was a good idea in the first place. Even making the batter, I had my doubts. The first whiff of what a friend deemed “skunk beer” when I opened the bottle nearly made me scrap the idea entirely. But for whatever reason — in this case, love of a good challenge and desire to turn a favorite drink into a dessert — I made the cupcakes. And they are wonderful.

As I’ve come to expect from throwing beer into my cake batter, the cupcakes’ texture is fantastic: moist, but not dense. The Corona flavor comes through, but it is muted enough under the citrus. I may not have identified the beer if I didn’t bake these myself! The Bacardi Limon in the frosting compliments the cupcakes well and undercuts the sweetness of the buttercream.

This recipe is modified from Ellie Delancey’s Blue Moon Cupcakes. Enjoy!

Corona Cupcakes

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Back to Basics: Wonder Year Cake

What’s your cake preference? I don’t have one. I like my cake made and served any way.  If you have seen any of my other cakes or cupcakes you know spare and austere are not my usual cake carving way. But on occasions I also like a quiet, unassuming cake in design and flavor.

That said, this is a traditional yellow cake paired with, of course, a traditional chocolate frosting.  It’s the kind of cake that will remind you of your wonder years, when you drank milk out of a straw and a second serving wasn’t accompanied by any caloric contemplation.

So . . . yeah, go ahead and lick the frosting off the plate.

Wonder Year Cake

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Bacon Streusel Maple Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Stats, spreads, percentages…um, let’s talk about what really matters during the Super Bowl. Commercials, the half-time show and of course — food! All the other stuff is extraneous, unless of course you win the pool, in which case football is great.

As for the food, the Super Bowl calls for a dessert sophisticated enough to bring to an event, but crowd-pleasing enough to…well, please a crowd. Enter the Super Bowl Cupcake.

The streusel on top framing that thick cloud of maple cream cheese frosting is not your everyday streusel. That my friends, is crushed bacon wrapped in some cayenne and brown sugar for a sweet and spicy flavoring, then paired up with some crushed almonds for added nutty goodness. This is the kind of killer combination that will make you glad you publicly declared to eat better for your New Year’s resolution.

Bacon Streusel Maple Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Kumquat Cupcakes


Like most of us here, I’m no baker and don’t particularly enjoy the restrictions it brings. Exact measurements are not my thing. I like to experiment with ingredients, which is why I leave desserts alone. But, the purchase of a new Kitchen Aid mixer has propelled me into this unknown world, for my first true (not from a box) baking experience.

On a recent Sunday afternoon I was sitting at the bar of Café Atlántico when I came across kumquats soaking in St. Germain elderflower liquor.  Coincidentally, later in the day I spotted some kumquats at Whole Foods, which is a rarity. It was one of those situations where you never hear or see anything for a long time and then it all comes at once. I love those moments so I bought two quarts of the fruit, not having any idea what I was going to do with them until the walk home.

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Cupcake Rampage: Frosting 101

o minis
Mini vegan orange vanilla cupcakes with orange buttercream, adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Even though I’m only a recent arrival to the home baking scene, I’m an even more recent convert to the merits of frosting. Like any newbie fumbling and grasping about for a culinary bra clasp, I started out with a battery of failures, but once I got the basics and the wheels came off, an iconoclastic cockiness set in. Paper liners? We don’t need no stupid cupcake diapers! We’ll bake these bad boys commando! Sprinkles? Say “sprinkles” again! I dare you! I double dare you! Frosting? Pah! Frosting is the opiate of the baking world! People’s tongues have become numb with sugar and can no longer appreciate the subtlety of pure, unadulterated, naked cupcake meat!

Of course, I learned my lesson. Paper liners don’t just ease cleanup, they can provide a color accent and give people that Christmas morning feeling of unwrapping a gift just for them. Sprinkles and other garnishes may be little more than pieces of flair on the uniform of a baked good, but remember, half of your score comes from presentation. And frosting? Well, if cupcakes make the world go around, then frosting is the axis upon which it spins.

Making your own frosting is one of the easiest things in the world to do. While it isn’t necessarily cheaper than store-bought frosting, it does allow you to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients that go into it. My basic guide, after the jump…

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