Sunday, December 27, 2009

The sweetest holiday wishes!


Hi friends,
I hope your holiday celebrations have been everything you wished for. We are now on the cusp of 2010 and New Year's celebrations! Wishing you health, love, happiness and the sweetest holiday wishes that come your way.
Best,
Wendy
(Photo Credit: Pottery Barn)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On a personal note and FINALLY Announcing Martha Stewart Cupcake and Cookie Cookbook Winners

Hi my dear friends! I know it has been over four months since I have posted anything. Four months - Oh. My. Gosh. How can that be? I am stunned quite so much time has passed. Have you wondered what in the world has become of me? Aside from missing you all very much and wondering what new recipes and creations I have missed out on - I will tell you I have been very sick.

I had a surgical procedure on my throat over the summer and in the process my vocal chords were injured which caused secondary and tertiary damage to my larynx and my lungs. Breathing is not optional and for me, neither is talking! I am, however, an optomist and I hope the road to recovery is not one I divert off of. It is all very involved but suffice it to say, I have missed blogging very much!!! I am beginning to feel better and will hopefully be back to a more regular posting schedule. Please know your emails and comments have meant everything to me! I promise I will not stay away so long!

Moving on to important business, I contacted my delightful winners of the Martha Stewart Cupcake and Cookie Cookbook contest I sponsored in JUNE!! Below are the winners, your parcels should be arriving very shortly. Many, many thanks for your patience!

Congratulations to my lucky winners and thanks to everyone who entered, shared your ideas, thoughts and checked back over the past four months! I will look forward to sharing some pictures and cupcake recipes with you very soon. Most importantly be vigilant about your own health! Do not forget to get your annual health and dental check ups and always wear sunscreen, everyday! There is only one you and I happen to think you are very special!

Best!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Get Cool for a Cause with Kelly Ripa & Electrolux: Lemonade Stands for Ovarian Cancer Research!

Hi friends! Kelly Ripa and Electrolux are at it once again with a really sweet way to make money for the Ovarian Cancer research Fund. When you open a lemonade stand, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund* to support research to find a cure, and you will be entered for a chance to win a new French Door Refrigerator with Perfect Temp Drawer™ from Electrolux - perfect for summer entertaining.

Plus, you can sell virtual glasses of lemonade to your friends to raise even more funds for this important cause. There are some really delicious flavors to choose from, like Marmalade Lemoanade, Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade, Raspberry Meyer Lemonade, Citrus Lemonade, or my favorite Sparkling Ginger Lemonade!
*As part of its lemonade stand campaign, for each stand opened, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF (with a minimum of 10k and a maximum of 15k).
Check out my stand here or open your own by clicking here! Don't forget to tell your friends about it by emailing them, sharing it on Facebook, Stumble it!, Tweet it! and of course, blogging!

Drink up! It's a great day for lemonade!

Best!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Martha Stewart's Cupcake Contest 2009: Share a cupcake photo for a chance to win Martha Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook!

Hi friends! I know, ANOTHER contest! This time I am not the one hostessing it. Regardless, I thought you would like to know about this sweet opportunity on Martha's website just in case you would like one more chance to win a copy of Martha Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook!

Martha Stewart's website contest could not be easier to win! Go here and upload a photo of your finest cupcake creation. Twenty finalists will win a copy of the book! It's as easy as, well a cupcake! So get to it friends!
Oh, and don't forget to enter my giveaway while you are here. I am giving away 3 copies of Martha's Cupcake Cookbook and 1 copy of Martha's Cookie Cookbook. Click here to leave me a comment AND your email. The Cupcakery giveaway for Martha's cookbooks ends on June 11th.
Best!

(Devil's Food Cupcake Photo courtesy of marthastewart.com)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Win it: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Cookbook & Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook

Hi friends! I must have gotten bitten by a "giveaway bug" or something because now I just want to give everyone a prize! But c'mon, you knew I could not resist giving away this one and you had to see it coming a mile away. And just for fun because I know I have been a bit neglectful in my postings for my lovely readers, I am going to make it really fun for all of you to have a chance to win.

Here is how we are going to do this. I am still doing the Sephora Sun Safety Kit Giveaway which ends on Friday, June 5th. So keep entering for your chance to win that because I want you all to have a healthy and sunburn free summer! I would be remiss if I did not send out a big, fluffy buttercream icing on top, sprinkle covered thank you to All Things Cupcake for posting my giveaway on their site. Thanks for sharing your time and little corner of webspace for me! I am certain someone came down and sprinkled fairy dust all over you ladies!! xoxo

Ok! On to our contest! Now that Martha's cupcake cookbook has FINALLY published and cupcake lovers all over the world have let out a collective sigh of relief as our flour covered fingers eagerly flip through each photograph and recipe on the glossy pages of this higly anticipated cookbook, (and the choir of angels come in here) we can all rejoice and plan our sleepovers, paint our toe nails, braid each others hair and bake all weekend long with this cookbook! Perhaps I am getting carried away!

But if you are among the people who have not yet been able to get your hands on the book, here is your chance to win. I am really excited about giving away the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Cookbook because I have 3 to giveaway! I also have as a runner up prize, which is really also a Grand Prize to me, the Martha Stewart Cookies Cookbook to giveaway.

Grand Prize: Martha Stewart Cupcakes Cookbook (3)
Runner Up: Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook (1)

Here is what you have to do:
I want to know what your favorite cupcakes or cookies are, or both, or maybe a cookie/cupcake combination. Whatever it is, I know I have creative readers. I like to hear what you have to say! Also leave your email address when you leave your coment so I can get in touch with you when you win.

This contest is open to everyone and winners will be chosen on Thursday, June 11th by Random.org. Good luck friends!

Best!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Win a FREE Sephora Sun Safety Kit!


Hi friends! In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month during the month of May, I am giving away 4 Sephora Sun Safety Kits. This year's version has a retail value of $110 ($23 more than last year's kit). The kit includes deluxe samples of 13 different sunscreens for you to try if you decide to buy more for the season from Sephora. The samples are tucked into a golden backpack made from recycled materials.

This set contains:
- 0.14 oz Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15
- 0.23 oz DDF Protect and Correct UV Moisturizer SPF 15
- 0.5 oz Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20
- 0.25 oz Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Defense Lotion SPF 30
- 1.0 oz Anthony Logistics Facial Moisturizer SPF 15
- 0.1 oz Clarins UV Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40
- 0.34 oz Korres Watermelon Sunscreen Face Cream SPF 30
- 0.33 oz Cosmedicine Medi-matte Oil Control Lotion SPF 20
- 0.08 oz Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++
- 0.25 oz Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Cream SPF 15
- 0.4 oz Philosophy Hope in a Jar SPF 20
- 0.25 oz Smashbox Photo Finish UVA/UVB SPF 15
- 0.01 oz Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Well-Rested for Eyes SPF 30
100% of the net profit from sales of this product will be donated to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Remember to check your skin thoroughly with the American Cancer Society guidelines here.

All you have to do is leave me a comment with your email address so I can get in touch with you! The winners will be chosen on Friday, June 5th by Random.org. Good luck friends!

Best!

*UPDATE!!! I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting the winners, so here they are according to the random.org's integer generator. Thank you to EVERYONE of you who took the time to enter and please know I wish I had 80 kits to give away! I will have other contests going on during the month of June so be sure to check back and sign up for your chance to win other contests! Thanks also for taking care of your skin, my own skin cancer journey has enlightened to me to the dangers of the sun. I hope you will have a safe and healthy summer!
So time to reveal who our first winner is!

It is...

Comment number 28! Vern & Amber Arnold! I am glad you are on board with just how serious skin cancer is! Your Sephora Sun Safety Kit is on its way.

Next we have....

Comment number 75!

Suzanne - I am happy you entered! A Sephora Kit has your name on it and is coming your way!

Up next...

We have number 64!

Veromichelle, you got your wish! Time to start testing out all the fun products. You will love the bag this comes in!


And last, but certainly not least! The final number to come up in the Sephora Sun Safety Kit drawing is....


is...


comment number 48!


Thank you Alexis for entering! I hope you will enjoy all the goodies coming for you!

To those who won the Sephora Sun Safety Kits, please email me your name and mailing address at the[dot]cupcakery[at]yahoo[dot]com. To those who did not win this time, please know I read every entry and if I did not say it enough yet, thank you for making me feel special. You do not know how much I look forward to hearing from you and knowing you are reading what I have to say. These giveaways are a fun way to reward you for being there for me! xoxo

Best!

Monday, March 23, 2009

On a Personal Note: Skin Cancer Product; Bethesda Suncreen Soap

Hi friends! I wanted to share this wonderful product and company which is making strides for not only skin cancer protection but cancer patients. I recently learned about Bethesda Skincare. I cannot remember where, but I am certain it was in a small blurb in a magazine at a doctors office. I went home and Googled the name. I was delighted to see what a nice website I had been directed to! The more I read, I could identify with how this company was formed. As with most companies, they are created out of necessity. The owner, Jamie Doss, created many products out of necessity due to family health issues. I like how Bethesda Skincare was created to heal a family and bring "healing" to your body through your skin - the mission for Bethesda is "to heal." They have spent over twenty years providing a valuable product.

As you know, my skin cancer battle continues. I am still crazy about slathering myself in suncreen, but I have to admit, there are days when even I get tired of rubbing it in and making sure I cover all of my exposed areas. It can be a chore, and sometimes it is a bit sticky...

Several weeks ago I bought several bars, around $8.00 each. I have used the soap every day and cannot recommend this enough! I have found the scent to be absolutely delightful. The soap is creamy and leaves your skin feeling very soft and supple. I like knowing I have SPF 10 protection IN THE SHOWER! It makes one less step when I am getting ready in the morning. The soap is a pretty sage green color and the scent is so light and clean smelling, almost citrusy! It does not get very bubbly, but it is very soothing and moisturizing.


Bethesda Suncreen Soap is a combination of healing and therapeutic properties that moisturizes as it protects the body from the harmful rays of the sun. The soap leaves behind an unnoticeable protective layer that provides daily sun protection.

In honor of Melanie, Jamie's sister who is fighting stage 4 colon and liver cancer, Bethesda Skincare is offering a FREE bar of soap to cancer patients! If you know of anyone who is suffering with cancer please send the name, address and the recipient's condition to store@bethesdaskincare.com and be sure to reference The Melanie Policy. Because chemotherapy and cancer treatment depletes the skin of it's nutrients and causes it to become fragile, Bethesda Sunscreen Soap was created with a combination of healing and therapeutic properties to strengthen, restore and protect the skin.

Please spread the word on this product! Maybe there is someone you know who is going through cancer treatments and can benefit from a special skin care treat. I can tell you my skin feels very good and best of all, protected from the sun with SPF 10. I know $8 is a bit pricey, but you really are doing yourself a favor with extra protection and you are worth every penny!

I hope this finds you well!

Best!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Week 25: Ahoy Mates! Rum Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Dollops and a Dark Rum Glaze and Piourette Straws

Hi friends! As I am sure I have mentioned before, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I have many wonderful memories growing up there. The constant sunshine, the beach and the rainforest. As a kid, who could ask for more? I am sure growing up on an island is where my insatiable need to be near the water and always searching for seashells came from. Ironically enough, my third grade teacher is today my son's Spanish teacher in the third grade, here in New York. Talk about a small world!!

I have an early memory of when I was in the second grade, my school had a class field trip to the Bacardi Rum Factory. I am certain we did not get "samples" but I seem to remember we all got little bags filled with samples to take home to our parents.

It was commonplace to eat rum cake around the holidays. I always remember how moist and dense the cake was with a slight crunch from toasted pecans. It was not until a few years ago when one of my co-workers began making it at Christmastime that it rekindled the lost memory. I recently made a batch of rum cupcakes for my aesthetician, Ruthie, who absolutely loved them! She contacted me before Valentine's Day and asked me to make a special batch for her.

Naturally, I have added a Cupcakery twist to the traditional Rum Cake recipe. It seems to be a hit. If you are not a fan of alcohol, remember the alcohol will evaporate in the baking process and you are left with the wonderful flavor of what rum truly is made of, and that is distilled sugarcane juice or sugarcane molasses. The most common raw material to make rum is black molasses which is a by-product of the sugar making process. When you make the glaze, you can make the buttered rum glaze and add the rum before taking it off the heat and allow the alcohol to evaporate. You will still be left with remaining flavor, alcohol free.

The finest rums in the world are produced in the West Indies but many of the best rums come from Cuba and the islands of Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Most of the factors responsible for making a good whiskey are common to making a good rum. These factors may include the type of yeast used for fermentation, temperature maintained, maturation process, and the blending skill that only years of experience can perfect. The result is often spicy rums, dark rums or the more popular flavored rums available today.

I have made this rum cake recipe so often, each time I think of a slightly different variation of how I would like to use it the next time. For example, when the rum cake is made in a Bundt pan which is a traditional way to bake the cake. I then re-created the cupcakes topped with butter rum glaze, vanilla buttercream dollop drizzled with remaining glaze and a vanilla pirouette. But how delicious would the leftover Bundt cake taste thinly sliced and served as French toast for breakfast with cinnamon syrup, or with a dollop of whipped cream? Or perhaps chunk the cake and add fresh whipped cream, fruit and create a trifle! The possibilities are endless, but so flavorful. Maybe you are looking for a recipe to send in a care package, look no further! Wrap it up in a double layer of plastic wrap and it will ship very well.

However you create it, rest assured, this is a crowd pleaser and you will certainly serve up a smile with this delicious confection!

Best!
Rum Cupcakes

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
1 1-3/4 ounce (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark rum

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Sprinkle toasted pecans on the bottom of liners.

3. Combine all cake ingredients in a large stainless steel bowl. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer.

4. Pour batter into prepared cups.

5. Bake for 27-29 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center completly clean.

6. Cool on a cooling rack. Prick top of cupcakes with toothpick.

7. COOL CUPCAKES COMPLETELY, then dip cupcakes into Buttered Rum Glaze.

Buttered Rum Glaze

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum


1. Melt butter in saucepan.

2. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Be very careful when adding the rum, it will cause steam, so you do not want to brn yourself on this step!

Buttercream Frosting

1 package(s) 16 ounces, confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp milk, plus up to 2 tablespoons more, as needed

1. Before starting, place your stainless steel bowl and the arms for mixer into the freezer, for about 5 minutes. The cold bowl and arms form stiffer peaks in your frosting.

2. In large bowl, with mixer at medium-low speed, beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons milk until blended.

3. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

4. Beat in more milk as needed for easy spreading consistency.

5. Once the cupcake is glazed, a dollop of of buttercream frosting added, drizzle remaining glaze over the top of the buttercream and insert a vanilla filled Pirouette cookie.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Week 24: Café Chocolada Cupcakes with Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting Topped with a Heart Shaped Brownie

Hi friends! I believe Mother Nature must have been reading The Cupcakery Blog since my last posting. Perhaps I made a slight complaint about the weather we have been having in New York. The month of March came in like a lion and we experienced yet another blast of winter weather! The storm which came through the Hudson Valley dumped over 12 inches of snow and you can guess what that meant.... more shoveling, more scraping ice and LOTS more hot drinks! More than ever dear friends, I am very much "over" this winter weather!

I was disappointed a blizzard decided to hit on the same weekend my Aunt and Uncle celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary. The roads were not condusive to travelling, so I had plenty of time to experiment and come up with a batch of cupcakes for their special occassion.

Now, for those of you who read The Cupcakery blog often, you already know I am going to be in hot water for posting the picture above, but I know I am forgiven for coming up with such a wonderful cupcake for such a special day. At least I hope I am!

You might wonder where I came up with all the flavors for this cupcake, well here is my train of thought: I was remembering a trip to Barcelona, Spain. I made a side trip to the Museu de la Xocolata to soothe my sweet-tooth. A museum dedicated entirely to chocolate. I had the Museums famous hot cocoa in which you can stand a spoon because it is so thick! I could not get enough of the Catalonian café con leche in Barcelona either. I love chocolate and I love coffee. Their creamy flavors gave me inspiration for this cupcake. When you take your first bite each taste bud will tingle with flavors then you will be amazed at how moist they are.

How to top them? Well, I am also a fan of a citrus and chocolate combination. I have been curious about pairing these two favorites with mascarpone cheese and a whipped cream frosting. I added orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice resulting in a tangy, creamy, not too sweet, just a perfect frosting. Next time I will add more juice because I prefer to have a bit more zing in my frosting which was very refreshing. To top off this treat I added a heart shaped brownie, because who doesn't love a brownie on top of all this goodness?

Some shaved chocolate would be lovely too, or shaved "chocolate orange" candy which has the essential components of this theme, but I did not have any in my pantry so I opted to use chocolate jimmies. You might think with this much chocolate it could be overwhelming, but it is not. In fact, it is quite a delightful dessert and you will savor every mouthful. Just be careful, you might want seconds!

Best!

Café Chocolada Cupcakes

24 cupcakes

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg


1) Preheat to 350°F and line cupcake pan with liners.

2) Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3) In a seperate bowl combine milk and brewed coffee.

4) In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5) Add the egg and beat until combined.

6) Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

7) Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

8) VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest

*This is the original recipe, but I doubled the recipe for a most zesty, orange flavor.

1) Before starting, put your stainless steel bowl and arms for the mixer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Cold stainless steel makes the mixture form peaks faster.

2) In the bowl, stir together the mascarpone cheese and orange juice until smooth.

3) Add the cream, powdered sugar, and orange zest.

4) Whip until the cream has soft peaks, about 1 minute.

5) Pipe topping onto the cupcakes.

6) Makes enough to top 16 cupcakes.

Bake a pan of brownies using this recipe. Cut out using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Ensure brownies have cooled completely before topping Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting. Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Week 23: Little Miss Sunshine: Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes with Butterchocoscotch Ganache

Hi friends! To all of my readers who have endured this awful winter weather.... I hope you have been inside with something hot to drink, or near a warm, toasty fire away from the winter elements. While I have no fire place to curl up to and I have had to shovel more snow than I care to think about, then chip more ice than I care to think about, my little guy and I have had our share of hot drinks to keep us warm! The pervasive winter chill has gotten to me this year. It must have been when we hit the -12° degrees F I decided I was done with winter! I am so over this weather! I hope the little groundhog was wrong and Spring hurries up and gets here.

I hope you will enjoy this delicious recipe combination of both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, topped with a creamy chocolate butterscotch ganache and a nice butterscotch morsel on top. This cupcake makes my mouth dance and complements any "hot" beverage really well! Without further delay, here is a wonderful winter treat. I think the butterscotch ganache looks like a little bit of sunshine and the chocolate ganache drizzled along with it, is divine!

Best!

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons table salt
2 large whole eggs plus
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pan with liners; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla; mix batter until mixture is smooth and combined, for about 3 minutes.

5. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway.

7. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 18-20 minutes. Rotate the pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack.

8. VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!

Buttercup Bake Shop Golden Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl on medium speed, cream the sugar and butter until fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.

4. Mix the milk and vanilla together.

5. Combine the flours and add in two parts, alternating between the milk and vanilla mixture, beat well after each addition.

6. Spoon the batter into the cups, about 3/4 full. The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Bake about 21-23 minutes.

7. VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!

Butterscotch Ganache

12 oz. (1 package) Butterscotch morsels
6 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1) In a double boiler combine the cream and butter together just before boiling.

2) Pour butterscotch morsels into the mixture.

3) Stir until mixture is smooth with no lumps.

4) Drizzle over completely cooled cupcakes.

For the chocolate ganache, replace butterscotch morsels with chocolate morsels.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How sweet it is: Kelly Ripa and Electrolux team up to help the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

Hi friends! I am sure by now you have heard the buzz on the circuit about the lovely Kelly Ripa and Electrolux teaming up to raise more than $500,000 to support a virtual bake sale which will raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). For every virtual cupcake sent from the Electrolux site, $1.00 will be donated to OCRF with a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $30,000 when a virtual cupcake is sent to a friend. Electrolux is proud to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

When you make your cupcake you can choose a variety of flavors from favorites like carrot cake and classic yellow to German chocolate, devil's food cake and angel food cake. You can pick frosting flavors like buttercreams and fondants, sprinkle different toppings on your cupcake, add candles, select a variety of baking cup designs and then personalize your cupcake for an extra special touch! It really is a fun way to raise money for a worthy cause. Click here to register and send your cupcake now! It's fast, it's fun and most of all, you are helping fund a research program to find a cure for ovarian cancer!

Cupcakes can do that!

The benefit to registering on the Electrolux site, is that when you log on every day and send a virtual cupcake you are automatically entered for a chance to win a new Red Hot Red Washer and Dryer from Electrolux. I don't know about you, but I have seen the commercial when Kelly Ripa rushes through her house multi-tasking after doing laundry and putting it away... and let me just say if she can do that, in heels! I want to win that washer and dryer and do that too, looking that cute!

And finally, because you know how much of an advcoate I am about cancer research after my own skin cancer troubles; you can also support research by purchasing a shirt Kelly has designed. A really sweet "wear your heart on your sleeve" T-shirt which can be purchased here. Kelly Ripa cares so passionately about raising funds to help fight ovarian cancer she helped design this new limited edition T-shirt, especially for Valentine’s Day. Her hope is that everyone joins her as she “wears her heart on her sleeve” to help raise awareness of this important cause. This beautifully designed, premium cotton T-shirt is available in fitted or relaxed fit. Quantities are limited so order soon. Purchase one now.

My hope is you and those closest to you always have good health. I am delighted to see a celebrity dedicated to using her influence to support a very worthwhile cause. You never know when a sudden illness will strike and we should never take our health for granted. Make someone's day a little sweeter and register to send your cupcake today while helping to support The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!

Best!

(Images courtesy of Kelly Confidential-Electrolux website)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies on a Stick

Hi friends! Aside from my cupcake devotion, I truly adore brownies. Mmmm. Brownies. Just the word alone makes me happy. I cannot even count the thousands of brownies, cookies and cupcakes I have made in my lifetime. Brownies, much like cupcakes, bring smiles.

I was trying to come up with something fun and different for my little guy to bring in for his classroom Valentine's Day celebration. I wanted something other than "Fun Dip" or "Tootsie Pops" to go with his Valentine cards. Last year my little guy and I made heart shaped cupcakes and while I think candy makes perfectly good treats, I was seeing something different this year! I was in Michael's Craft Store the other day replenishing my satin ribbon supply (it was on sale for 50 cents per spool). While peeking down a few of my favorite aisles, I noticed a really fun mold for brownie pops on a stick, and that my friends, is when I had my "A-ha!" moment. I thought how darling they would be with pink chocolate drizzled on them, rolled in red hearts, then wrapped in cellophane tied pink and brown ribbon. The possibilities were endless and so delicious!

The best part is this gooey recipe from Ina Garten which she adapted from a recipe for chocolate globs in the Soho Charcuterie Cookbook. Brownies are delicious and special. Once your treats are all dressed up and ready to be handed out, watch the face of the person you give them to light up! I love that feeling.

As always, treats taste better when you share them with a friend!

Best!


Heavenly Chocolate Brownies on a Stick
(Adapted from Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies)

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons instant coffee powder

2 tablespoons real vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups diced walnut pieces (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

2. For this project I am using the brownie pop mold pan. For regular brownies which can be cut out with fun cookie cutter shapes, grease and flour a 13 x 18 x 1 1/2-inch pan.

3. Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly.

4. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar.

5. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

6. Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt.

7. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts (optional) and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter.

8. Pour the batter into prepared mold (Be sure to spray mold with non-stick cooking spray).

9. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Do not over-bake!

10. I had to watch the brownie mold pan closely, my oven baked the molds at 28 minutes. When I make the pan of brownies it is 30 minutes. So keep an eye out! Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough.

11. Cool thoroughly!

Dressing Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

1. After the brownie mold yields the number of Heavenly Chocolate Brownies you want and they are cooled, dip them into melted Wilton candy melt.

2. Wait until the candy has cooled slightly, then roll the dipped brownie in different colored sprinkles.

3. Finally, inserted the lollipop sticks gently on top of the brownies and wrapped the pops in cellophane, tied with a satin ribbon!

Lovely!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentine's Day Cupcake Goodies 2009

Hi friends! This Valentine's Day will be a bit sad for my little guy. The girl whom he has had a crush on for the past few years will be moving a few days before February 14th. From the moment she walked into his 1st Grade class, he has been quite smitten with this lovely brown haired beauty. They are friends and spent the first summer swimming, going to the ice cream shop, movies, riding bikes, going to the park, we rode the train back from NYC after seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in the Christmas Spectacular. I made "Cupid's Pillow Cupcakes" last year as a Valentine surprise for the object of his affection and on and on it goes!

There is something about the innocence of a first crush that is almost too-much! Here are some of his expressions and questions he has asked me to clarify his love for her:

"Mommy sometimes I feel like little hearts are coming out of the top of my head."

"Mommy, do you know that feeling, like when your heart is too big for your chest? That's how I feel when I see her!"

"Mommy, do you think one day she will know that my heart feels like it makes my shirt move when she gets too close to me?"

Ohhhh!

I can only give him a hug and say, "Sweetheart, one day she will know."

Oh. My. Gosh. That is serious stuff!!

As you can well imagine, upon learning of the upcoming departure this past Tuesday, my little guy is crushed. You have never seen eyes get so blue. But he is his mother's son afterall! He is already planning on how to say good-bye to her so she doesn't get too sad. What tickled me was the way he said "Mom, I am sorry but I am going to need you to make A LOT of cupcakes here!" It was a very pointed statement. I smiled to myself and very seriously told him "You tell me what you need darling, and Mommy will make them!"

I am now feeling the "pressure" to make the world's best cupcake. I was searching for a few fun and different "pre-Valentine's" goodies, so I thought I would share my list, just in case you are searching for something similar!

Did you know Reynolds Wrap Kitchens has an area they call Cupcake Central? It is filled with delectable ideas for snacks, treat, desserts, seasonal fun and special occasions!

Last year my little guy made heart shaped cupcakes in Reynold's Heart Shaped Baking Cups. Then we individually wrapped them with clear cellophane paper and a pink ribbon.



I love Williams-Sonoma. I have for years enjoyed going in to the retail store and touching the textiles, looking at all the diverse spices and cookbooks, can I even begin to tell you how much I love to imagine the dishes and bakeware in my own kitchen! Over the years I have purchased so many gadgets, All-Clad cookware pieces, wreaths, candles... I am a kitchen junkie! During Halloween I got my little guy a personalized apron with the pumpkin and candy corns. Yeah... I am cheesy like that!

Well, this year for Valentine's Day I am going to get this set. It's fun and whimsical. The best part is being able to bake and decorate the homemade cupcakes with creamy frosting, topped with X's and O's, love, hugs and kisses out of fondant which comes with the kit.

Williams-Sonoma also carries Sprinkles Cupcake Mix (chocolate, lemon, red velvet, vanilla). Check that out! Once the cupcakes are baked, decorated and finished; you will need to box them up. I ordered several different sizes of these lovely pink single and double cupcake boxes and inserts from BRP Box Shop. They are excellent quality!! Sometimes I will add a pink and brown satin ribbon to tie around the boxes, depending on who I am giving the cupcakes to.






Another favorite place I like to haunt is Crate and Barrel. I am never disappointed and they always have fun and fabulous treats for the holidays! Valentine's Day is no exception. I especially like the darling Valentines Cupcake Wrappers at a very affordable $3.95. My other favorites are the decoratifs which you can sprinkle ontop of yummy cupcakes (or fun cookie-pops). There are three assorted varieties. Once everything is baked and dressed, it can be displayed on this delightfully playful Valentine Plate. And what about these pretty ruffled cake pedestals? (In two perfect sizes! Lovely!) I am an absolute sucker for hot cocoa and Cupid could not have done better himself with this pink hot chocolate batch!


Speaking, dreaming, wishing of hot chocolate...

One of my next lustful favorites for Valentine's Day are the homemade marshmallows from Baked NYC. At only $4.50 for delicious, soft, clouds of vanilla, chocolate or peppermint! You can also choose a marshmallow set if you cannot decide! Think of all the possibilities with these beauties... add them to hot chocolate, make s'mores, toast them over the hibachi, share them with your Valentine, or don't share them at all!!

Baked also has a delectable assortment of granolas, cookies (chocolate chip, ginger molasses, oatmeal, chocolate cloud, and monster cookies), brownies and bars are also available with delivery options! Perhaps if you love everything from the bakery you can purchase the new Baked cookbook "New Frontiers in Baking" You know how much I adore cookbooks! You can never have enough of a good thing. Trust me, you really cannot go wrong with anything from this delightful bakery!


I will have to wash my sticky fingers after all those marshmallows, and who could resist Sephora's Vanilla Cupcake Body Collection! Body Butter, Body Wash, Bubble Bath, Body Oil... attention gift givers!! What you need to know about this luscious product: The Sephora Brand Vanilla Cupcake Body Collection is a sweet mix of decadent French vanilla and almond, infused with honey and buttermilk that creates a lavish lather to clean, moisturize, and smooth all skin types. Each product contains deeply hydrating ingredients, such as aloe vera and jojoba, for delectably soft skin.

Well for now this are a few fun goodies I have found, I will let you know what my little guy and I come up with for the "World's Best Valentine's Cupcake!"
Best!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Share Our Strength: NO KID HUNGRY


Hi friends! As a member of the Foodbuzz community, I have seen many wonderful opportunities present themselves to anyone who has an interest or a passion in the food arena to participate and make a difference. I would be remiss if I did not share this program with you which I am certain you have heard of through newspaper and television advertisements. The program is called Share Our Strength: NO KID HUNGRY. If you have not heard of it, please read the following.

As a mother, I have an enormous soft spot for babies and children. Those babies and children will one day grow up to be the fine adults who will be making decisions which will affect me. As a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), I am all too well aware of how maternal-child health issues can affect babies growth and development. Then there are those precious little babies and infants who might come into this world under unfortunate circumstances. They too can have some impossible obstacles to overcome. As one person, it can feel overwhelming. I have said before feeling helpless, does not mean being hopeless. There is always an avenue to take in order to find an answer or to help. I am convinced one person is capable of making a difference. One person can be a catalyst in the wheel of change.

The following information is from Operation Frontline; a wonderful program which falls under Share Our Strength. The program helps surround kids who are at risk of hunger with nutritious foods where they live, learn and play.

Operation Frontline helps families with limited resources make healthy meals at home, using a wide variety of foods that are commonly available in stores and from emergency food providers.

All Operation Frontline courses promote making the healthiest food choices possible, even with limited resources.

Instructors teach lifelong cooking skills, practical nutrition information and food budgeting strategies that participants can use right away and take into the future.

Adult and teen participants receive groceries at the end of each class to practice the recipes they’ve learned at home.

Courses include information on available federal, state and local assistance programs.

Operation Frontline classes are popular with afterschool, summer food, Head Start and WIC programs.

Alas, I am a steadfast keeper of hope and determination. The pictures and text below come from the Share Our Strength website.
Share Our Strength® is a national organization that works hard to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. Working with the culinary industry to create engaging, pioneering programs like Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation®, Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale®, Share Our Strength’s A Tasteful Pursuit®, Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out™, and Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline®.

Why We Do It

We have all experienced hunger at one time or another: We’ve all craved a midnight snack, wanted something salty or needed some chocolate. But there’s a big difference between trying to satisfy a brief craving or stomach growl and wondering when or from where your next meal will come.

More than 12.6 million—one in six—children in America are at risk of hunger. These children will endure lifelong consequences as a result of having limited access to nutritious foods. In fact, they’re more likely to suffer poorer health, fatigue, hospitalizations, behavioral difficulties and impaired performance at school.

And hunger doesn’t discriminate. It can affect any child—even those you’d least expect. Most people don't realize that one in six children are at risk of hunger. Not one in six children worldwide; one in six American children.

How can you help?

Sometimes, all it takes is the act of lifting this veil of invisibility from hunger in order to motivate people to really take a stance and start to make a difference. That's why we're asking you, the bloggers and social media users of the world, to add your voice to this issue. By speaking as one on an issue of this much importance, we can mobilize a community much larger than by any other method.
Some ideas to help Share Our Strength:
1) Hold a Food Drive.
2) Find a local food bank in your area here. Also find the most nutritious foods needed!
3) Volunteer at a Food Bank/Soup Kitchen.
4) Hold a Bake Sale with proceeds going to Share our Strength.
5) Blog about Operation No Kid Hungry to bring awareness to this worthy cause!
6) Make a $35 donation and feed a child 3 meals a day for more than a month!
7) From now until March 1, 2009, donate by text: Text "SHARE" to 20222 on your mobile device to donate $5. AT&T will match all text donations up to $100,000. Find out more here.



There have been many places I have traveled in the world. What I know, is we are all the same. While our upbringing and beliefs might vary, our basic need for food, shelter, love and warmth is fundamental. In every country you can find beauty and elegance, as well as back alleys with dark secrets which would be better kept that way. I have looked into the faces of children who are hungry. Mothers and fathers who would steal simply to provide for their loved ones. I have seen the faces of poor mothers who want to feed their babies and protect them, just as any other mother would.

When I was in Egypt recently, there were so many children who come up to me to beg for money, some as young as one and two years old. One little guy in particular tried to take my wallet out of my purse and blast it, I was mad, but I understand why. It absolutely breaks my heart to see this. My little guy kept telling them "Please don't do that!! That's naughty!" So we went into a small market and bought a great big bag of oranges and I let my son hand them out to the massive group of children who began to gather around us in the souq. The smiles one orange brought to their faces is almost unimaginable. They held onto them as if they were a prize. I know an orange is not much, but nutritionally Vitamin C helps. I would rather see children eat a piece of fruit than hand them a quarter and not know what it would be used for. I wished I had more to offer, but it was what I could do.

Right here in America a hunger problem still exists. I know at the end of each day, I can provide my little guy with what he needs. Knowledge is power and Share Our Strength is providing a service in many ways to help this problem. One person can make a difference. The children are our future and deserve a chance!

Whatever you do, do it from your heart!

Best!

(Pictures courtesy Share Our Strength: NO KID HUNGRY website 2009)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes; 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat by, Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Hi friends! Good news! Just look at what is coming out June 2, 2009. Horray for cupcake cookbooks! I shared with you back in December when I went to have my beautiful Martha Stewart's Cooking School cookbook signed at Williams-Sonoma, Martha told me there was a cupcake cookbook in the works. Well here it is!

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes by Martha Stewart Living Magazine; published by Crown Publishing Group. You can pre-order yours and have it by the publication date. I cannot wait to see what 175 inspired ideas for everyone's favorite treat is like!

Best!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cupcake Wine

( The label is decidedly feminine and elegant, with a tiny cupcake,
celebrated in a pen-and-ink rendering much like a crest.)

Hi friends! While this is not a new item, I thought it was an interesting find to share with those of you who enjoy a glass of inexpensive wine. NO! It does not taste like cupcakes and I have not tried it yet, but it seems like a whimsical wine to try.

"A big, rich Chardonnay from California’s desirable Central Coast, where the sun drenched grapes create full and elegantly-textured wines. Decadent layers of butter, cream, bright citrus and vanilla melt into a balance of oak and subtle spice. In other words: Sinful."

Cupcake Vineyards sells for about $10 per bottle. You'll find a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from vineyards in California's Central Coast region, made by Adam Richardson, who has more than a dozen years' experience in Australia and California. Collectively, they offer a generous helping of intense, elegantly textured, complex fruit flavors and spicy oak for wines in their price slot.

I prefer Merlot and still think $3 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's is awesome, has anyone tried this Cupcake Wine? Thoughts?

Best!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CONTEST: 5 Blogoversary Winners!!

Hi friends! Due to an unfortunate circumstance of lost luggage with Egypt Air on my return trip from the Middle East last week, the winners for my Blogoversary CONTEST were delayed. Fortunately, I had the foresight to mail a good portion of the spices to myself. It turns out since there were only 5 cupcakes to enter, each one of you will now have an extra special cupcake fun spice prize pack coming your way! These are the 5 cupcakes to enter and my responses! Thanks for playing!


Spogden: Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are so comforting and what a burst of flavor! Cloves have such a distinct scent, combined with oranges is terrific too. I hope you get to Venice, Italy and Paris, France both cities are chocolate decadence destinations along with so much delicious food.


Jingle: Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is a classic! Great choice. You will be interested to know nutmeg is not a spice which is at all common in Saudi Arabia. I had difficulty finding it in the spice souq! South Africa is home to one of my favorite wines "Robertson Wine."


Jen: You chose two very different flavors! I would like to try lemon/blueberry/basil! Europe is wonderful... maybe this will be the year you get to see a European country! If you cannot get there through travel, the best way to get there is travel through cooking!


Karen: I love dark chocolate and what a great flavor combination with Mocha! Yum! Nutmeg seems to be the popular spice choice. I like nutmeg on pasta too. Italy, Japan and France are such lovely destinations with so much to offer. I have never been to Armenia, what a great selection! I have, however, had food from Moldova which was quite good.


Lisa Smiley: Salted caramel cupcakes! How savory! Coriander is a great choice. I like the way the scent lingers. Austria is a really beautiful country. Not only does Austria have gorgeous snow capped mountains but the wonderful treasure city of Salzburg, which I have eaten my way through, many, many times! :-) I hope you can get there.


Please email me your contact information the[dot]cupcakery[at]yahoo[dot]com and I will get the prize packs out to you! Thank you again for entering and I am sorry for my tardiness. I do, however, think you will love, love, love what I am sending your way.


Best!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year Friends!

Goodbye 2008 and a Cupcake Welcome to 2009!

Hi friends! Have you ever wondered when people say "Wishing you a very Happy New Year!" what those wishes really are? I do, so I found a little poem by an Unknown Author which I think wrapped up New Year wishes delightfully and I feel this in my heart for my dear friends. There is a small Cupcakery addition at the end because life really is good!

My New Year Wishes For You

I wish you Health
So you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family
And Peace within your heart.

I wish you the Beauty of nature
That you may enjoy the work of God.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities
For those things that really matter in life.

I wish you Generosity so you may share
All good things that come to you.

I wish you Happiness and Joy
And Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything
That you so well deserve.

Most of all, I hope you find sweet confections
And tiny moments to celebrate how good life can be!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!

Best!