Category Archives: Cupcakes

Pumpkin Soup and a Kitchen Farewell

About a year ago Serious Eats reviewed an instant pumpkin soup by Maggie and Mary, so I jumped at the chance to buy it. Yes, it took me a year to do so, but I finally tried it. Being our last real night in our soon to be old apartment, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so along side the soup we had grilled cheese. I sautéed some leftover red onion from the Spicy Quinoa we had, but that was the extent of my culinary adventure for dinner.

The soup was okay. I’m not sure if it’s because of how long it sat in my cabinet, or if it’s really just because it was powdered soup. It would probably be a whole lot better if there were some veggies thrown into it (maybe carrot, celery, even potato). But for something so quick and easy (add 4 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes) I can’t complain too much!

My co-worker and bridesmaid’s birthday is Friday (happy birthday Kierstin!), and she absolutely loves pie. So, I figured instead of doing my typical cupcake, I’d make her a pie! I went ahead and dug up an easy favorite – Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie! I made it on Pi Day this past year, and being it requires no baking and the mixing of only two ingredients, it was perfect. Hopefully she shares, so I can enjoy a sliver after we have our celebratory Thai birthday lunch!

My Coworker and I in our Best Friends Costume!

After we finished up with dinner and dessert, it was time to finally pack up the kitchen. All that’s currently left is our coffee maker (like we can move boxes without coffee!) and some perishables in the fridge. My parents have been kind enough to help us out, so they’re bringing over a cooler Saturday morning that we can put our refrigerated items in for the move. That’s the great thing about moving only 15 minutes away – we didn’t need to completely clean house in the food department. I have to say, our new kitchen is A LOT smaller, but it also has a dishwasher, which will be great for my fiancé. It’s overall a nicer place, too, so I have to take that into consideration. In the end I don’t think I’m really losing any counter space, though, which for me seems to be the most important anyway.

My next post will be from the new place, and I’m so excited to share it with you! It’ll take a few days before I’m fully settled to get cooking again, but I’ve got some really yummy recipes queued up!

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Blogiversary!

I totally missed the one year anniversary of my blog! I’m so embarrassed! Here I was thinking the anniversary was some time in October, but oh I was wrong – my first official post was on August 27th, 2009!

I’ve always been in love with writing; when I was younger I used to play with different programs that would let you make mock news papers. I kept journal after journal, and you could always find me writing notes to friends. I’m still the ring leader when it comes to group e-mails, and you can ask my fiancé – I’m a big proponent of hand written notes. I’m a word nerd and proud of it. I may not always follow the proper MLA or APA writing styles, but I do try my best to write fluidly and in a way that anyone reading would enjoy.

I don’t think I have a huge following, but that’s okay. I’m writing because I love it. Sure, it’d be a great job either full time or on the side to rake in some extra moolah, but that’s not the point. I’m here to share with you my love for cooking and eating through writing! So what’s gone on this past year? I don’t even know where to begin.

Since starting the blog I created a Twitter account that was used pretty sparingly at first, as I already had a personal account as well. Since then, though, after finding so many great reads when it came to cooking, eating, blogging, and running (and some virtual friends, too!), I’ve almost completely abandoned my personal Twitter and stuck to good ‘ole FoodosaurusRex. I’ve also had the opportunity for three giveaways (one is going on right now – so go enter!). I’ve become a runner and completed my first half marathon and am training for two more. I took a trip to Chicago and fell in love with the city. I started school again this past Spring. And most importantly, on an amazing trip to Disney World, I got engaged!

There has been a lot of deliciousness consumed in the past year, and a lot of miles run. I have no intention of slowing down any time soon, so keep reading! And thanks for everyone that does read – it’s nice to see my blog stats and know that there are people out there reading what I’ve got to say, even if it is just about food (nomz).

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Filed under Beginning Food, Cupcakes, Food Blogging, Giveaway, Running, Wedding

More Cupcake Jewelery

Juicy Couture and RueLaLa have yet again played a mastermind part in my cupcake obsession.

A few weeks ago Juicy Couture was featured on RueLaLa with, as always, awesome clothes, handbags, shoes, and accessories at sample sale prices. Last time they were on the site, I scored this cupcake bracelet. Well, sure enough, they had more cupcake fun to tease me with.

This time it was a cupcake charm which can go on their famed charm bracelets or necklaces, or be used on something else. I actually got a variation of their charm bracelet for Christmas in 2008 with a cute martini charm, so I used this as my excuse to add to my collection.

So my collection of cupcake paraphernalia is growing, and slowly taking over my dresser, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight!

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Reese’s Chocolatey Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Sometimes you need a relaxing weekend where you don’t do much. That’s exactly what my fiancé and I did this past weekend. Saturday included sleeping in, a solid 6 mile run in the middle of the day (outside, without sweating to death, mind you!), some more delicious pizza, and cupcakes!

I hadn’t made cupcakes since our wedding party BBQ (a whopping two weeks ago), so I figured it was time to make another batch. I found this recipe on Something Shiny’s blog, which was linked to by Cupcakes Take the Cake. I’ve always wanted to make a stuffed cupcake, but have been wary since I don’t have the right tools. This was the next best thing – shove a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup inside a yummy chocolate cake – sold! Considering I love chocolate and peanut butter, this was a no brainer – I knew I had to make them.

The recipe also has a pretty awesome chocolate magic shell, but I tried to keep it basic. And considering I still haven’t replaced my pastry bag, the frosting was less than stellar. So if you want to see really awesome and delicious looking pictures of these cupcakes, I suggest looking at Something Shiny’s. While mine aren’t the most visually appealing cupcakes I’ve ever made, they sure did taste great!

Per the usual I didn’t have all of the ingredients necessary when I first started getting ready to make the cupcakes. So, I had to put the perishables back in the fridge, and run out to the store to pick up some more cocoa powder and sour cream. Mind you, this was after just literally walking in the door from a three mile walk. Oh well, turns out I walked about 4 miles that day – no biggie! I also love hitting up this particular Stop & Shop for items here and there, because they seem to be the only grocery store around me that has Amy’s Organic Breakfast Burritos! Every other store I’ve been to offers some of their other variations, but not the breakfast one. So I’ll be enjoying one of those later this week.

Back to the cupcakes. The recipe was super easy, and the batter was light and fluffy so I knew it was going to be decadent. I popped the little Reese’s cups into the center of the cupcakes, and into the oven they went! After a mere 15 minutes they were done baking and ready to cool. We waited a few hours before enjoying them with the peanut butter frosting (which calls for a creamy variation, but I went chunky). The recipe only made 12, which was perfect for my fiancé and I; we’ve enjoyed one every night after dinner, and they’re keeping well in an air-tight container in the fridge (cupcake and frosting are separate).

Now that I’m a little more comfortable with putting things into the middle of my cupcakes, I’m probably going to experiment a bit. It’ll probably stay pretty basic, but I might come up with a super sweet combination – we’ll see!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (With Reese’s PB Cup Center)
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
– Makes approx 12 –

Ingredients:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1/2 cup (1.5 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (or regular if that’s what you’ve got handy)
3/4 cup (3.75 oz) All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream (you could use reduced fat, but really…why bother)
12-15 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line tin with cupcake liners.
2. Combine butter, chopped chocolate and cocoa in a small bowl. Microwave 30 seconds then stir. Microwave at 15 second intervals until smooth. Don’t overheat! Alternately, you can get fancy and use a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water.
3. Cool until barely warm.
4. In small bowl, combine flour, soda and powder.
5. In a medium-ish bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in the sugar and salt. Add the cooled chocolate mix, beating until smooth and well combined. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Whisk until fully combined. Add sour cream, mixing well, then add remaining flour mixture, whisking till flour is fully incorporated and batter is thick.
6. Scoop batter into lined tins using you preferred method—spoon, ice cream scoop, measuring cup. Place a mini Reese’s cup in the center of each cake. Press into the batter until nearly level with the top.
7. Bake 15-20 minutes (15 was enough for me).
8. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then move to a wire rack to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from
browneyedbaker.com
Easily covers 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter (like I said, I used chunky)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 – 2/3 cup whipping cream (heavy cream) adjust as necessary – add more if it looks like it needs it. Go wild.

Directions:
1. Beat peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Add cream and beat until light and fluffy. Give it a few minutes to get nice and pale and lovely. Lick the beaters. No, really. Do it. It’ll make you feel like a kid again.
2. Spread onto cooled cupcakes or pipe with your preferred decorating tip.

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Alcohol Infused Cupcakes: Do I have a problem?

This has now been the sixth alcohol infused dessert I’ve made this year. First there was Guinness cupcake with Bailey’s buttercream, another cupcake with just the Bailey’s, jello shot cupcakes, Kahlua and espresso chocolate chip cookies, and rum & coke brownies. And now? Pina Colada cupcakes! I actually got this recipe off Betty Crocker’s website, but made some tweaks to turn the rum extract into, well, regular rum.

Making an alcohol infused dessert really works well when you’re going to a party, I think. Most people bring either a food item, or some type of alcohol. So, why not bring both, together?! My fiancé and I decided to have a wedding party BBQ, so everyone from both of our sides could get together, hang out, and get to know each other more. The wedding isn’t until next September, but we figured since we recently procured a grill (thanks mom & dad!), and hadn’t had a party in a few months, it was the perfect opportunity. I also made a batch of regular chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and a layer of chunky peanut butter in between the cake and frosting. Yeah, they were good too.

They wound up being a little smaller, just below the cupcake liners. So, I had to load on the frosting, which everyone at the party appreciated. Since my pastry bag broke, I’ve resorted to using a smaller and regular sized spoon to do my swirling. Not bad, but not great either. I also had some leftover crushed pineapple, so I threw that in some Tupperware with regular and flavored rum and let it soak together for a few hours. It came in handy later in the night for a wedding party toast/shot!

For now, I’ll just chalk my love of boozy desserts up to being Irish 😉

Pina Colada Cupcakes
– 24 cupcakes –

Ingredients:
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon rum extract*
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
3 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract*
1 teaspoon rum extract*
1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped vanilla frosting
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, water, 1 teaspoon rum extract, the pineapple and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
2. Bake 14 to 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3. Stir coconut extract and 1 teaspoon rum extract into frosting. Spread frosting on cupcakes. Dip tops of frosted cupcakes in coconut. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

*instead of using rum extract and coconut extract, I substituted both for some Admiral Nelson coconut rum. I’d imagine any flavored rum would work well!

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Cupcake T-Shirt!

As you already know from my cupcake earrings and cupcake bracelet purchases, I’m drawn to anything with cupcakes on them, and will likely buy it.

My fiancé is a huge fan of t-shirts. I mean to the point where his side of our closet is 90% folded t-shirts. We’ve actually found ourselves with a serious closet storage issue, mostly due to his t-shirts, and well, all of my clothes. He actually posts each of his new t-shirts on his blog.

His love for a good t-shirt has rubbed off on me a bit, and I’ve purchased a few for myself. I never realized it, but there are a TON of daily t-shirt sites! One of my favorites is Woot, who also has a section for a regular daily deal, and a kid’s deal. I actually already have two foodie shirts from them, one of which is the Hot Dogs! shirt I have on in my Twitter picture. I check their site when I remember, and two weeks ago I happened to check on the way to work (fiancé was driving), and they had a cupcake shirt!! I gasped, and immediately clicked the “I WANT ONE!” button. I mean, look at this thing – how could you not want it?!

After anxiously awaiting, it arrived over the weekend, so I rocked it at work on Monday. And because I’m completely outrageous, I thought to myself, “what a better way to show it off to your blog readers than via a ‘Girls with iPhones’-esq photo,” taken in my office’s bathroom?!

And that my friends, is your reward for reading this blog. I promise to get back to what you’re here for, the nomz of course!

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Pelican Bay Key Lime Cupcake Mix: Refreshingly Delicious

One of my birthday gifts from a co-worker included a box of Pelican Bay’s key lime cupcake mix. Since I was going to a barbecue at her place on the 3rd, I figured it’d be nice to bring the cupcakes along with me, so she could enjoy some of my present. I was also able to transport them in my cupcake carrier, which was so convenient!

The mix itself was super easy – there were just two bags inside the box, one for the cake, and one for the frosting. Aside from the mix, I only needed some eggs, milk, oil, cream cheese, and butter. After combining all the ingredients I was able to sit back and relax; something that was more than welcomed in Saturday’s heat! I decided to add a little pizzaz  to the cupcakes by adding some sprinkles I had left over.

Everyone really enjoyed the cupcakes, and it was nice to have minimal work in the kitchen. I love baking, don’t get me wrong, but I always feel like I make a mess; so many bowls, spoons, and measuring cups, followed by the waiting (I’m very impatient). I haven’t been a fan of cream cheese based frostings since I got sick from a red velvet cupcake at Phoebe’s in Chicago, so I’m wary about making them. However, these had just the right amount of cheese and sweet ratio, and the lime was potent but not over the top, leaving the cupcakes on the lighter-side which was nice since Saturday was so warm.

I’m interested to see what other mixes they have, and not just cupcakes but cakes and cookies, too! Unfortunately I have a few left over that I was forced to bring home because they still had so much food at the barbecue, and I then on Sunday after our four mile race, I started on some rum and coke brownies for the next barbecue (post coming soon!). Oh, and I still have birthday cake left over. Looks like I’ve got some serious eating to do!

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A Foodie Birthday!

Ahh yes, birthday time. Monday (6/28) I celebrated the big 24 (boooooring!), and received a lot of foodie (specifically baking) prizes. Yes, you read that correctly. I do not call gifts presents, rather prizes – it sounds more fun!

Most of the food related gifts actually came from my co-workers, and they’re smart; hopefully their prizes will get me in the kitchen, and therefore bringing in left over goodies to share with them. Good thinking! Anyway, in addition to the amazing MacBook from my fiancé that I’m currently using to type this up, an awesome new Coach bag, Forever21 gift card, shirt and earrings from my parents and sister, I got the following foodie items:


– A sweet set of baking dishes, and a Pyrex measuring cup, which we somehow don’t have. This is going to come in handy!


– I’ve been eyeing this cupcake recipe book for awhile. Everything is SO cute. I hope my lack of artistic ability will some how not transfer over to these cupcake decorations


– I’ll be making these cupcakes this weekend to bring to a 4th of July BBQ. Hopefully they are yummy!


– How can you go wrong with this?! Now I have an extra cupcake pan (having only one is annoying), a mini cupcake/muffin pan, AND a carrying case? SCORE!

So as you can see, I was spoiled with my foodie (and non-foodie) prizes! By the end of the week I’ll hopefully have used the pie dish, cupcake mix, and cupcake carrier. I’ll definitely be reporting back on those!

As for the eating aspect of my birthday, that was equally delicious. It started off before work with some Dunkin Donuts (iced coffee and a jalapeno bagel twist to be exact). It was later followed up with a junior homewrecker with tofu burrito from Moe’s Southwest Grill. Then, going for a double-dose of Mexican (how could I resist?!) the family took us to Jose Tejas, one of my favorite Cajun Creole/Mexican joints (you can read about the restaurant here)! After that we had some cake – a chocolatey moussey ganachey coconutty slice of heaven. Needless to say I had to roll myself into bed after eating all that!

Stay tuned for the results of all my awesome prizes, and happy nomzing! Oh, and thanks to everyone that made my birthday special!!

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Filed under Baking, Cupcakes, Food Review, Restaurant, Spanish Food

Cupcake Bracelet!

My obsession with cupcakes continues!

As the cupcake trend is still very much en vogue, I’ve recently been able to stock up on cupcake related jewelry. Aside from food, I’m pretty obsessed with fashion.  I tend to split my time between perusing food related websites, and fashion/clothing sites. If I could find myself a job combining food and fashion, you’d never hear a complaint from me again! Well, maybe…

A few months ago, I snagged myself a pair of cupcake earrings from Forever21. Last week I was on the hunt for a birthday present for my sister, who turns 18 on Sunday! I belong to quite a few sample sale websites, including RueLaLa (if you want an invite let me know!). While I didn’t find anything for my sister there, I did find something for myself (typical). One of their sales last week was for Juicy Couture jewelry. I’m a big fan of their jewelry because it’s usually big, shiny, and outrageous.

So, when I saw this bright lime green bracelet with an adorable cupcake charm hanging from it, I just had to get it. Yes, it was a get-or-die situation. So I ordered it, and got it today! I can’t wait to wear it!

Now that I’m outfitted with cupcake earrings, a necklace, and a bracelet, I suppose a ring is next!

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Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Cupcakes

I decided to get adventerous with the making of these cupcakes. I took a base recipe from Recipe Girl and kind of ran with it. I think the hardest part was coming up with a name for my creation that wasn’t miles long!

I’d been holding off making baked goods for a few reasons. One, being in super-saver mode I didn’t want to buy ingredients I didn’t have and all of the cupcakes on my to-do list had extra ingedients. I also hate baking when I don’t have somewhere to bring the goodies because some always go to waste.

So, since we saved a ton of money in groceries last week and were heading to a BBQ on Monday, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make some cupcakes! While I made the cupcakes, my fiancé got started on his second batch of beer from the kit I had gotten him for Christmas. We had quite a nice little domestic Sunday afternoon.

The chocolate cupcake recipe I found actually mixed all of the ingredients together in a blender. As someone that still doesn’t have a stand mixer (hello wedding registry!), the idea of not having to do it by hand was amazing. I literally poured all of the ingredients into the mixer, turned it on, and waited. I did assist with the mixing a bit, but that’s really just because I’m impatient.

I decided to snazz up the regular chocolate recipe by adding espresso and hazelnuts. I was a little unsure at first if I should have just used hazelnut coffee, but I’m glad I went with the espresso and mashed hazelnuts. I didn’t brew the espresso, I just threw it in as a dry ingredient.

For the frosting, I decided to tackle a buttercream again. This time the hand mixer was a little nicer, and only spewed a bit of butter. All was well until I got to the actual icing of the cupcakes. I must have misplaced a piece of the pastry bag I just bought, so it’s basically unusable. We picked a tip and used a rubberband to hold it in place, but the tip was definitely too small to ice the whole cake. So I wound up just using a spoon and doing my ugly version. I really need to take a class or some lessons to get better at that!

I found the frosting recipe from a blog called Ming Makes Cupcakes, that has a ton of numbered cupcake recipes, and I seriously want to make them all. But I figured I’d do just one at a time.

They are definitely decadent cupcakes. I made them normal size and the batter only produced 10 cupcakes, so I made two batches and the icing was able to cover all 20 cupcakes. I definitely think they’re a one and done type cake, which I’m more than okay with!

Everyone at the BBQ that tried them was really impressed. It’s always nice to hear “oh man, these are awesome! Who made them?!?” when you’re at a gathering. My fiancé made a point to say he really enjoys when I deviate from the recipes and make them my own. I’m definitely becoming more comfortable with the idea of my own(ish) recipes, and I love it!

The base cupcake recipe is great if you’re pressed for time. You can pretty much add anything to snazz them up from regular chocolate. As for the icing, we all know buttercream can be made into pretty much any flavor, so get creative!

Go-To Chocolate Cupcakes
– makes 10 cupcakes –

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup hot water
½ cup canola oil
1 large egg
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of espresso*
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts*

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blender. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-speed until blended. Pour in the water, oil, egg and vanilla. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-high speed until smooth and well-blended, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice.
3. Pour into prepared pan/cups, dividing evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of one cupcake comes out clean, 15-17 minutes.
4. Transfer to rack to cool for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove cupcakes from the pan and set them on the rack to cool completely before frosting

* are my additions to the base recipe!

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp coffee (I used espresso)

Directions:
Blend all ingredients together
Frost cupcakes!

So happy nomzing!!

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