big dog, little dog

Whether you like to dip ‘em, split them to eat both sides separately or scrape out just the creamy middles, Oreo cookies are always fun – and tasty.

And so, I introduce the Cookies and Cream Dream cupcake. I used a Devil’s Food cake as the base and a little elbow grease to crush the Oreos and make homemade buttercream. The topping on the cupcake? Why half an oreo, of course.

And since there’s nothing cuter than anything mini (I mean, who doesn’t love kittens, puppies, etc.?), I made a dozen minis for those who just want a little taste. Any takers?


a picture = a 1,000 words

A big thank you to photographer extraordinaire Michelle Haurilak for so kindly taking some great pics of her little man, Thomas, who seemed more than willing to be one of my cupcake taste testers. But don't take my word for it, check these out!

The Reveal

Mmmmmmmmm... cupcake

The End Result


choc-a-holic

“Well, that’s real swell, but it still doesn’t get the cream in the cupcake.”
- Kim Cattrall, Samantha: Sex and the City

If it’s one thing that almost every woman has on her must have list, it’s chocolate. (What did you think I was going to say?!) As cougar extraordinaire Samantha Jones believes, it’s what’s inside that counts. And so, this week, I decided to dive into the Molten Lava Chocolate Cupcake – Devil’s Food cake, a warm chocolate centre, topped off with rich chocolate icing and dusted with icing sugar.

Normally I would serve this with fresh strawberries on the side, but I’ll have to wait until strawberry season to get the full effect. Although even without them, I think this cupcake still does the job. This is the second time, after taste testing, Armindo has looked at me and said, “Don’t change a thing”. Hopefully the rest of the cupcake crew will feel the same way.

Until next week…


there’s a first time for everything

There’s nothing quite like experiencing something for the first time – your first day of school, your first date, your child’s first steps.

Today was a definitely exciting first for me – and Simply Sweet Cupcakes. It was our first sale! Thanks to Jackie McClements for purchasing half a dozen Cookie Monster cupcakes for a party on the weekend.

The exchange took place earlier this afternoon and not only did I get a chance to chat with her wonderful husband, Sean, I also met little Maddie for the first time – who’s even cuter in person! Thanks guys, for passing on the sweetness of Simply Sweet Cupcakes.

And now, it’s off to make this week’s entry – Molten Lava Chocolate Cupcakes.

the verdict is in...

So far I’ve received a great response to the Cookie Monster cupcakes I posted last week. Thanks to everyone who tasted, loved them – and can’t wait to see more!

Perhaps one of the Cookie Monster’s biggest fans was little Joseph, who completely devoured his cupcake upon sight. I think the before and after says it all:

Before

After

As dad Peter said, “That muffin didn't stand a chance! Joseph wanted me to say thanks – it was very tasty.”

Joseph, you are very welcome! And that’s really what it’s all about – pure and simple enjoyment of the sweet life.

Stay tuned for this week’s cupcake addition, coming Friday…

it’s alive…. alive!

Cupcake Friday is finally here and this has to be one of my favourite creations, which I originally saw online. Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid – aside from my #1 guy Grover (near….far) – the Cookie Monster was my favourite.

He bucked social convention and remained true to himself, as well as unabashedly passionate about one thing – cookies! Of course that was years before the controversy about how his sweet addiction was to be the downfall of a generation of children… but I digress.

The cupcakes were pretty simple to make – chocolate chips and white chocolate baking circles for the eyes, blue-dyed coconut for his fur and, of course, cookies. 

I can’t wait to share the love with my loyal "batch" of cupcake testers to get their input... And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I am taking orders. :)




what's up for this week

“All I really need is love, but a little cupcakes now and then doesn't hurt!"

Cupcake Friday is quickly approaching - and I'm so excited about this week's creation.
I'll give you a hint: C is for Cookie.

 

Yodel-ay-ee-hoo

Perhaps it was my co-workers reminiscing about the Sound of Music (Note to self: Don’t book AV reviews on a half-day Friday) who inspired me to make Streusel Cupcakes, which the Martha with the Mostest suggests serving for “brunch or as an after-school snack”.

Her three-step recipe turned out to be pretty simple. With a little whisk here and a little measuring there, the batter was done and then it was onto Step 2. In addition to it being the first time I’ve ever “cut” butter into a recipe, I ended up elbow deep in flour, brown sugar and vanilla to create the crumbly topping. As for the milk glaze, it was a simple combo of icing sugar and milk that I drizzled on each cupcake with a teaspoon.

A tip if you’re going to try this recipe, because the batter is so thick, you’ll want to use a piping bag or a plastic sandwich bag with a small hole cut into one corner to sub as a piping bag.

I have to say that the end result was a pleasant surprise. You know a cupcake is good when the hubbie walks in and exclaims “Wow hun, it smells like a bakery in here. Holy smoke!”

So aside from sharing them at home, I’m going to bring these into to work where the inspiration began to serve as the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up. 



These are a few of my favourite things…

When You Wish Upon a Whisk
A funky Christmas gift from my knick knack-addicted sister. This colourful whisk adds a little fun into the mix… cupcake mix, that is. Makes whisking the obvious winner over one of those electric hand blender do-hickey things.




A Spoonful of Sweetness
Another fab Christmas gift, these adorable measuring spoons are sure to spruce up any baking experience.




Kitten with a Cupcake
Someone once said a cupcake is just a muffin dressed up pretty… I found these grrrrrreat pink leopard print muffin cups at Michael’s. Sure it’s what’s inside that counts, but these Samantha Jones-inspired cups definitely makes a mini cake even more delicious.




good ole pb & j

If it’s one thing that takes me back to my childhood, it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… back when they were still allowed in school, that is. This love of PB&J led me on the hunt for a cupcake recipe of the same name.

I found a peanut butter cupcake recipe (sans the called for chopped peanuts) and took the easy way out by combining whipped vanilla frosting with creamy peanut butter (1/2 cup pb to 1 cup frosting), and topped each one off with a dollop of yummy homemade strawberry jam I received as a Christmas gift.

A special thanks to the hubby for helping me mix the ingredients, work a spatula to scrape the side of the bowls so that every ounce of cupcake batter made it to the waiting tins and, of course, being my trusty taste tester.

I’m happy to say that this is the first cupcake that required no further adjustments. In fact, when asked how it was, I was pleasantly surprised with “It’s perfect just the way it is!” Now that’s what I call delicious.


the year in review

when the clock strikes 12...
There's no better way to ring in the new year than with some tasty treats. These chocolate cupcakes with french vanilla icing were very simple to make. For the roman numerals I melted two squares of bittersweet chocolate and used a plastic ziplock bag to pipe them. Next time I'll try using chocolate icing, as the melted chocolate was a bit runny. But overall, and thanks once again to Martha Stewart, these cupcakes were a hit - and a sweet start to the new year.



it's a sunshiny day
Being European I've been conditioned that throwing food out breaks the 11th (and unwritten) commandment. And so, I used the remaining yellow icing from the leopard print cupcakes to pipe yellow leaves (starting on the outside and working my way in, about 3 lines deep) on a few leftover chocolate cupcakes. Top with chocolate chips for the centres and you've got a few sunflowers that are good enough to eat.



a delicious gift worth giving
Rich chocolate cupcakes with french vanilla icing topped with red bows fashioned out of cherry candy strips make for the perfect present.



here comes the coug...
For my brother-in-law's 30th birthday I wanted to do something really special, since he started bugging me about turning 30 on my 27th birthday. And so, I made his favourite cupcake - red velvet - topped with yellow icing and piped leopard-print spots using black and brown decorating gel. Not only did he absolutely love them (by the next day the six left behind were gone) everyone appreciated the cougar cupcake stylings.



vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream
Sweet and simple, these vanilla cupcakes came from the wonderful Betty Crocker, with the strawberry buttercream coming from an online recipe. Although next time I'll use a bit more strawberry than called for in the buttercream recipe, this cupcake was still a winner with those willing taste testers who offered their expertise. And really, who can resist a cupcake with sprinkles?



chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes
On its own the brown butter cupcake is nothing to write home about, but topped with the chocolate cookie dough icing its a tempting treat reminiscent of those slumber parties where you'd eat raw cookie dough right from the roll. The best part? You really can do that with this icing because it doesn't contain eggs.



boston cream cupcakes
I like to call this one the "Wicked Awesome" cupcake, paying homage to its roots in Boston in the 1850s. This recipe calls for a soft yellow sponge cake, pastry cream in the centre and chocolate ganache drizzle on top. The pastry cream recipe I used was runny, but overall the cupcake was well received, especially with the rich chocolate topping.



oreo cheesecake cupcakes
Another Martha Stewart creation, this oreo cheesecake cupcake calls for an oreo cookie as its base and a rich and creamy oreo-filled cheesecake for its filling. A big thumbs up from both my husband and brother-in-law, so you know they have to be good.



how it all began... the snowman cupcake
Chocolate cupcakes, french vanilla icing, a few marshmallows, orange chocolate-covered sesame seeds for the nose, chocolate sprinkles for the eyes and a Junior Mint hat complete these winter-themed cupcakes. That Martha Stewart knows what she's doing!

stay calm… and have a cupcake

Who would have thought that this quote on a bookmark I received from my sister this Christmas would be the catalyst for what I hope will one day become my home-based business – Simply Sweet Cupcakes.

With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s hard to find the time to just relax and enjoy. As a kid, pulling up a chair to the kitchen counter, putting on an oversized apron and helping bake up a storm made for some of the best memories. A time when everything seemed to move in slow motion - where you really could stop and enjoy each moment.

And those memories are what awakened my passion for baking last year. Why baking? It enables me to work a little magic in the kitchen (who would have guessed?) on my own terms – no approval process, deliverables, excel spreadsheets or deadlines.

And in the end, along with a cold glass of milk, I – and for the most part the ones I love – can enjoy a little bit of heaven on my (or their) own terms.

Now that's what I call...Simply Sweet.