cupcakes for the cause

Growing up is hard to do. Emotions run high, you undergo some major physical changes and there’s that constant feeling that no one understands you. Unfortunately for kids these days, what used to be thought of as a “phase” has taken a deadly turn.

This week, I had my cupcake creation all planned out… that was until I came across this story, which just broke my heart.

So for this week, and in memory of all those kids who feel like there’s only one way out, I’ve created cupcakes featuring a teal ribbon – the official ribbon colour of anti-bullying.


In fact, from October 1st – 31st, we’ll be selling these cupcakes with half of all proceeds being donated to Kids Help Phone, a service that enables kids to reach a professional counsellor from any community in Canada, online or on the phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Details*
Cupcakes (your choice of chocolate, vanilla or red velvet)
Icing (your choice of vanilla or chocolate)

6 cupcakes – $12 ($6 to charity)
12 cupcakes - $22 ($11 to charity)

To place your order, e-mail me at: simplysweetcupcakes@hotmail.ca and be sure to include your name and contact information**. Although these donations won’t bring back any of these kids, hopefully it will help increase awareness and educate people on the effects of bullying – reaffirming that it’s definitely not okay.

*Please allow 3 days advance notice for orders. Cash only.
**We offer free delivery to Brampton and Mississauga – additional delivery charge applies to outside of these areas.

a spoonful of (cinnamon?) helps the medicine go down

After putting my cupcake skills to the test during Cupcake Week, I wanted to go in a totally different direction for this week’s selection. After all, when I started this blog in January I wanted it to be about creating yummy treats that could be enjoyed by all, as well as experimenting with unique recipes I came across.

And this week I did just that with this Cinnamon Roll Cupcake recipe, courtesy of La Fuji Mama. Unlike other cupcakes I’ve tried, this one required covering, rolling and forming by hand. I have to be honest, I made a gosh darn mess on the counter – but I love cinnamon rolls so I figured it was worth it.


So what was the end result? The hubby tried one without the cream cheese icing and said they were really good, if not for being left in just a smidge too long. In the end it was a fun experiment – and props for fuji mama for having the patience – but for a baker who likes to whip things together, the covering and waiting to rise took up a lot of time, most of which I kept thinking about how many other cupcakes I would have been able to make.


But as the saying goes, you don’t know unless you try. And so, the next time I have a craving for cinnamon rolls, I'll take the easier route and visit Cinnabon for one of their sinfully sweet treats. 

Day Seven: oh my...apple pie

The only thing I love more than the change of season (sorry summer) is the sweet smell of cinnamon and baked apples. So for the last day of my National Cupcake Week challenge (tear), I searched for the perfect apple pie cupcake recipe and I’m happy to say I found it right here.

The cupcakes themselves were simple to make – the whole mixing of the dry ingredients in one bowl and the butter/sugar/eggs in another, the combining the two. The fun part was that it was the first time I gave caramelizing apples a go. Really it’s just a matter of melting butter and sugar in a saucepan then adding the apples, but I felt like a professional baking with my wooden spoon in hand. Then, after they cooled, I added them to the top of the batter so they would actually bake into the cupcake. 


After topping them off with the called-for cinnamon frosting, I decided instead of turning to others for their feedback, I’d have to take one for the simple sweet team on this one.


All I can say is… oh my gosh awesome! Although I don’t think I’ll be making them again anytime soon – only because I think that eating two dozen cupcakes by yourself means you actually have to admit you have a problem!

Day Six: on the road again

Willy Nelson sang about it, Jack was told to hit it, and although it might be rocky some days, people rarely mention how sweet it is… until now!

For Day Six of the cupcake challenge, I whipped up a batch of rocky road cupcakes. I started with my chocolate cupcake as a base, then topped each one with chocolate buttercream and a mish mash of chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and chopped peanuts.


My only regret is that I didn’t actually bake the marshmallows into the cupcake batter and then top each one with peanuts and chocolate chips. But you know what that means – an excuse to make them again?!

Day Four: mocha-licious

Café mocha, mochaccino, café macchiato… just when you thought coffee couldn’t get any better, they add chocolate into the mix. By definition, a café mocha (its longer name being mochaccino) is similar to a café latte in that it’s one third espresso and two thirds steamed milk. The delicious difference is that a portion of chocolate is added, typically in the form of sweet coca powder.

For Day Four, and for a little pick-me-up to get through the week and into the blessed two days we call weekend, I whipped up a batch of mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream, courtesy of browneyedbaker.com.

Upon sharing the cupcake love at the office today, I received more than a few thumbs up from the tasters who had enjoyed these caffiene-infused treats before the clock struck 9. If that doesn't get you through the day, I don't know what will!



Day Five: mmmmmmmmmm-mango

One of the best parts of travelling to the tropics (which would be a welcome change as we experience an inevitable descent into fall) is the cuisine, more specifically the fresh array of fruit. Kiwis, pineapples, mangoes… they never taste as fresh as when you’re lying on a lounge chair under a straw hut with the warm breeze carrying the smell of the ocean across the sand.

For today’s cupcake entry, I wanted to recreate that fabulous feeling of being on vacation. And so, I topped my basic vanilla cupcake with mango buttercream. Cutting a fresh mango in half, I pureed it enough to garner the six tablespoons called for in this recipe. Unfortunately, I might have added too much mango (like there's such a thing!) so I had to thicken up the consistency with more icing sugar.

Once again I called in my husband to taste test the cupcake combo. He did say the mango could have been a bit stronger, so I'm thinking I might have to travel to the tropics to pick up some authentic ones. 

Which leads to my question... when are we leaving?!


Day Three: when the moon hits your eye...

If you’re Italian, you know that every pasta holds a different property. Penne differs from rigatoni that differs from ravioli that differs from fusilli. But I’m sure we can agree there’s nothing as yummy as spaghetti with meatballs – especially when it’s nonna’s.

And so, for Day Three’s cupcake creation, I decided to combine a little decorating fun with an Italian classic. With a lemon cake base, I used a #4 Wilton tip to create the spaghetti-like icing, plopped a Ferroro Roche chocolate in the middle and then topped each one with raspberry jam.

Now that’s amore!

Day Two: orangina dreama

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials around Christmastime time – the gift receiver takes the round ball and smashes it against the wall so he/she can enjoy the delightful combination of a Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange Ball.

And so, for today’s cupcake, I wanted to recreate the delicious combo. I started with my standard chocolate cupcake base and topped it with orange buttercream (the same one used for my creamsicle cupcakes a few months ago).

Since I’m not a huge fan of orange (the fruit, not the juice – go figure) I turned to my husband for his taste-testing expertise. As he bit into the mini sweet treat, I got nervous – usually his praise comes fast and furious. But when he said, “Meh, I don’t know hun… I think you need to make another batch so I can try them again”, I knew they were a winner.


Day One: can i offer you a spot of tea?

When I sat down to plan my homage to National Cupcake Week, it was pretty obvious how to kick off the festivities – with a spot of tea! And so, I searched for a unique recipe for Earl Grey cupcakes topped with lemon buttercream – and found just the right one.

Being a diehard cupcake batter taster, I was worried that the mixture had somewhat of a strong taste. But once baked and topped with the Wilton lemon buttercream, this cupcake captured the same essence as the centuries old tea. 

Pardon the pun, but it hit the spot!


let the (cupcake) games begin!

The British have given us a lot of things – Shakespeare, The Beatles, bangers and mash. But perhaps the most delicious contribution is British Baker magazine’s National Cupcake Week. This year’s competition has attracted more than 100 professional bakers who will vie for some sweet titles, like Best Decorated Cupcake, Most Innovative Cupcake and, of course, National Cupcake Champion.

In honour of this 3rd annual event, I have challenged myself to bake a different cupcake recipe (are you ready?!) every day of the competition. That’s right, from September 12th – 18th, I’ll be creating a different cupcake and posting the results on my blog. 

So buckle up, enjoy the ride and be sure to check back for the latest cupcake update. 
It's going to be brilliant!

espresso yourself

A few months ago I tried my first Starbucks iced drink thingy – a Caramel Frappuccino Light. While enjoying this tasty beverage I thought, why not capture the rich flavour in a cupcake. So once again I relied on my old friend google to find a decadent espresso cupcake recipe. I found something even better - a recipe for chocolate espresso cupcakes!

Using this as the base, I topped each one with my caramel buttercream (check out the
Turtles cupcakes I whipped up in May) and a caramel swirl. While you can taste the espresso in the cupcake, the chocolate adds a richness while the caramel adds a sweetness. Another option - and possibly to try at a later date - is topping each cupcake with vanilla buttercream and cocoa powder.


But for right now, it's a decadent explosion of flavour that I'm looking forward to sharing. I think it will be the perfect pick-me-up for that 3 o'clock craving for something sweet.

double the (cupcake) fun

Chocolate or vanilla? It’s the age old question pondered for centuries (well, maybe not that long – but it is a source of debate for some). But don’t despair, there is a solution… wait for it… marble! That’s right, the marble cupcake features both the subtlety of vanilla and the decadence of chocolate.

So in my quest to find the perfect recipe, I got to googling. Thanks to bakingbites.com, I decided to give it a whirl. Although some cupcakes were less marbled than others, the end result turned out better than I thought.


These marble cupcakes were the first time I also gave two-toned swirled buttercream a go. After splitting a simple vanilla buttercream recipe in half and adding cocoa powder to the latter, filling the bags – although a somewhat messy endeavor – turned out to be simpler than I thought. 


After all, it’s no fun unless you get a little dirty, right?