Category: cupcake photos

“Choco-LOTS of chips” chocolate chip cupcakes.

It seems like 2014 is the year of the ‘recipe redo,’ does it not? First the bagels (even though that was technically a different recipe), then the chocolate pudding, now these. Yep, I’ve posted this recipe before. Many years ago when I was a newbie blogger & my photography left a lot to be desired. So I’ve decided that when I’m bored & I want a snack/treat, I’m going to look first here at my own blog. I’m going to find things I haven’t made in a long time & make them again- then post about it!

‘Cause that’s really one of the coolest things about being a (food) blogger: it’s like having your own virtual cookbook slash diary right at your fingertips. You can go back & find cupcakes or pizza recipes that you thought were amazing but took crappy photos of, or recipes that you thought sucked but you might want to give them another go. Oh- the beauty of technology!

Chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate chip buttercream!

One night a few weeks ago, Jay was working late. Well he always works late; but this time he wasn’t expected home until 12 noon the next day as opposed to 2:30 a.m. It was about 11:30 p.m., I was sitting on the couch watching Walk The Line, Indy at my feet, when I got a craving for something super sweet. I had two opened bags of chocolate chips in my cabinet & just enough butter for cupcakes & frosting. So I thought some chocolate chip cupcakes would be just the thing.

Chocolate chip cupcakes.

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Linzer tart cupcakes.

Ohhh, Valentine’s Day is here. Time for hearts. Hearts everywhere. Heart-shaped everything! And of course, here that includes… cupcakes.

I go batty for holidays ’round these here parts, in case you didn’t know notice.

These particular little cupcakes are inspired by Linzer tarts, or Linzer tortes. In America, you low them as the cookies with a hole cut out of the top piece… its filled with a red or pink colored jam or jelly and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. However in Austria those are considered Linzer sablés (Linzer Augen or “linzer eyes”). They’re also a riff on the cupcakes I posted last year; which were chocolate cupcakes filled with pink frosting, all in a heart-shape.

Linzer tart cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

There are a few ways of doing this neat little heart-shaped hole trick, but I just use the method I find easiest: I push the cutter down into the middle of the completely cooled (preferably refrigerated for a few hours) cupcake. After some wiggling, the heart-shaped piece should pop out when you remove the cookie cutter. Another way: cut the top of the cupcake off, add a layer of jam, then cut the hole out of the top and stick it back on.

Linzer tart cupcakes filled with strawberry jam.

Whatever way you choose, the end result is adorable. And sweet.

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Double chocolate bourbon cupcakes!

A new year, and a new recipe! And for cupcakes, no less! I haven’t made cupcakes in forever. I know. I’m an asshole, what can I say? I’ve been neglecting the very thing that got my blog any attention when it was a newbie. It’s downright horrifying of me. I’m ashamed & embarrassed. But I’m back in the game!

It’s pretty cold out, so it’s baking time. It’s been baking time since October,  late September even… so who am I kidding? But it’s serious baking time now.  A high of 11° F? I think that means it’s time to bake. And cook. Hell, I’ll use any excuse to have the oven on when it’s this cold. Plus… I got a new oven… now I’m REALLY using any excuse! Yup- on December 26th, Santa Claus brought me a late Christmas present: a new gas stove, refrigerator & dishwasher. I have no backsplash yet, and my new counters are far in the future, but I can finally cook & keep butter cold. It’s pretty sweet. So yeah, I’ve been busy breaking in my new range & getting used to it. It’s beauuuuutiful!

And really, for me, what better way to break that baby in than with cupcakes?

Chocolate bourbon cupcakes with vanilla frosting & a chocolate bourbon ganache.

Everybody loves cupcakes. Except Duff Goldman. I mean, right? How can you hate a mini-individually-sized-cake? What could possibly be SO BAD about having a small cake, all to yourself? Oh. I get it. Anything “trendy” is awful. Mmm hmm. So I guess you don’t use an iPhone, a mason jar or eat kale either, correct? ANYWAY….

These are cupcakes WITH BOOZE. Oh, yes. So there’s even more to love.

Chocolate bourbon cupcakes! With chocolate bourbon ganache!

I think anyone who hates cupcakes is nuts, personally. But I digress…

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Spinning a web of sweetness.

BOO!

 

Not sure what your day is going to consist of come the 31st, but mine? Candy, candy, and more candy. Maybe candy corn vodka. Maybe trick-or-treat Halloween candy cupcakes. Maybe none of the above- maybe just handfuls upon handfuls of chocolates & bubble gum & sugar. These cupcakes here are just an early treat!

Oh and pizza. There will most likely be pizza.

See, I’m determined to enjoy this Halloween. Being that it’s my favorite holiday, I am DETERMINED to not let anything ruin it this year. So determined, I made these JUST to snack on in anticipation! Last year my Halloween was ruined when that bitch Sandy blew in here & wrecked everything- knocking out my power for a week. So this year I am sitting on my ass, eating junk with my TV playing all the horror movies I want… but anyway, let me get back to the cakes.

Easy spiderweb cupcakes for Halloween!I know, the cake stand rocks…

 

These cupcakes are just vanilla cakes with vanilla frosting, topped with black “spiderwebs” I made from Wilton Candy Melts. See? You don’t have to go crazy or over the top to make cute Halloween cupcakes!

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Happy 6th birthday, Cupcake Rehab.

Happy 6th birthday, Cupcake Rehab!

Wow. I’m a terrible, terrible blogger. It almost completely slipped my mind that my blogiversary was coming up, & I almost let it go by without a word. Isn’t that awful? It’s pretty awful. It’s like a mom forgetting her kid’s birthday. Or a wife forgetting her wedding anniversary. And if you don’t understand those comparisons- you’re definitely NOT a blogger. All the work that goes into this. Six years of doing this blog… the least I can do is mention it’s birthday!

So I made a giant cupcake & lit some candles. Isn’t that what everyone does for their blog’s birthday?

Well… I do.

Every year, I make it a point to thank all the people who have helped me with Cupcake Rehab since the beginning. It may sound cheesy to you, but I appreciate a thank you for being there for someone, so I always a make a point to do the same for others: thank you Jay & thanks to my parents who made baking requests that challenge me & who have eaten more than their fair share of treats (I know, what torture!). Thanks to my friends who have promoted my blog as if it was their own. Thanks to those who sponsor me & provide items for reviews & giveaways throughout the previous; like Yoyo, Sourpuss Clothing, the Washington State Stone Fruit Commission, Milton’s Craft Bakers, Duchy Originals, etc. And of course… my readers! You’re the reason I’m still going after 6 years! Despite Google changing things in favor of big business & despite blog hits going down across the board because of it, you’ve been there from the jump & I love you for it. And those of you who haven’t & who are new? I love you too. Anyone who reads my posts, repins my stuff on Pinterest, comments on the Facebook page, or answers me on Twitter- you’re all amazing. I love you. I appreciate each & every one of you, whether you read the blog regularly or just popped in once for a recipe. I swear I do.

Things around here have changed so much since that first post! My photography has gotten much better, thanks in (major) part to Canon’s EOS Rebel t4i. My writing has definitely improved, as has my recipe-writing. Also? I’ve expanded my repertoire so much; it used to be cupcakes 24/7, now it’s canning, cooking, candy-making, etc. I’ve enjoyed it all so very much, I can’t even tell you. I’ve grown so much, & in some ways a lot of you have grown with me. I love that I can look back at those old posts. I can cringe, or laugh, or maybe even get misty-eyed. It’s like having a big ol’ journal slash recipe book out there for the whole world to read.

SIX YEARS of recipes, laughs, questions, failures, successes, giveaways, reviews, and deliciousness. And some sadness. But mostly happiness. Filling our bellies & making lemonade out of lemons. Birthdays, deaths, engagements, celebrations, holidays. Six years of life at it’s most lived. Because really, isn’t the kitchen the heart of any home?

Let’s keep it going, eh?

I’m not ready to leave yet!

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It’s my birthday & I’ll make cupcakes if I want to.

HOLY FRIGGIN’ BALLS. Tomorrow I turn 32 years old! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! And more importantly, who the hell is in charge here, because somewhere along the line, I got shafted. Time went too quickly, and I’d like to file a complaint.

Hello? Anyone?

Me, as a baby.

How things change. Not so very long ago, I was wearing pink Osh Kosh overalls & making scrunchy faces at people. Actually, scratch that; I still do those things, except I only have regular ol’ blue denim H&M overalls now, not pink. Jay will tell you (& my family will attest to the fact)… I still make that face. Frequently. And my bangs still separate like that no matter what I do.

Some things don’t change. Nevermind.

Anyway… uh… cupcakes.

Happy 32nd birthday to me- funfetti cupcakes!

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Chocolate bunnies are always a good fall-back plan.

Just in case you aren’t aware, I’ve been busy lately. Really busy. And on top of that? I got wicked sick last week and I was in bed for about 6 days with something way worse than your average cold but just short of bronchitis. It was gross. Jay had a milder version of it the week before, and try as I might to avoid getting it, I was walloped. And boy was it a fucking doozy! Even when I could finally get out of bed after 6 days, I was still a mess & a half. And it really set me back; blog wise, too. There just wasn’t enough time this year between St. Patrick’s Day & Easter for me to plan anything unique, not to mention then I got hit with this stupid germ-fest. Really- I had no energy at all, I was still coughing & my nose was running like a faucet (and still is as I type this) and I just couldn’t come up with anything original or fun. I was at a loss. I was like a zombie.

I had just enough inspiration when dying my Easter eggs to come up with this: HTML hex code eggs! (for those of you uninitiated into the world of HTML, here’s an explanation as to what the hell that means).

I know, I know. I’m a geek. And it was very easy; just dye half your eggs. You can use any type of dye you want: natural dyes, food coloring dyes, Kool-Aid dyes, Paas or Dudley… there’s an HTML hex code to match any shade & any color. When they’re dry, find the HTML code that matches from this very comprehensive chart and write it with a thin black Sharpie, or if you’re more anal-retentive, print out decals on decal paper to stick on. Ta da! It’s a spin off of those Pantone Easter eggs that are everywhere right now. So anyway- that was my lone inspiration this year. The only spark that came to me.

But as far as baking goes? I had no idea. Even the almighty Pinterest wasn’t helping.

Then I saw a little bag of chocolate bunnies I had bought and never opened, and I figured, hey- those are always a good thing to fall back on! Who doesn’t love itty bitty chocolate bunnies? Especially when on top of cupcakes?

No, it isn’t very “different” and it probably isn’t going to go viral on Pinterest. But you know what? I DON’T CARE. Maybe it’ll give you an idea, or at the very least reassure you that a regular ol’ cupcake is just fine for Easter. Or maybe not. Maybe you can commiserate. Or maybe you’ll click the x in the corner & travel on over to a blog with better, cuter, more “original” ideas this year. Lord knows there are plenty.

Whatever you do, I hope you see that that’s pretty much the entire point of this blog. That you don’t have to be perfect or come up with “the next big thing” in order to have fun in the kitchen.

Who cares if you make 16 pints of plain ol’ strawberry jam just because it’s your favorite? No, it isn’t glamorous nor will it garner collective oohs & aahs from the blog world. But it’s your thing. Who cares if you like pound cake, and you make it 6 billion times a year? It’s nothing new but does that mean it isn’t delicious? Hell no! So what if I can’t come up with anything better than cupcakes with tiny chocolate bunnies on top. Who’s going to bitch about it? Nobody, really. Except me.

But see, this is my dilemma. I want to encourage you to cook, bake, experiment, eat homemade when you can, and to put effort into your meals. I want you to not be afraid of the kitchen. I want you to feel good about what you put on your plates, both visually and taste-wise, and create something NEW. Because you deserve to not be ashamed that it’s shriveled up overcooked chicken & instant microwave rice for the fourth night in a row. I want to empower you to bake from scratch & not feel that you can’t do a fancy frosting technique because it’s too hard. I want you to know that you can make a cake from scratch and not have it take ALL DAY. I want you to try making cake pops or canning and not feel like it’s beyond you. But on the other hand, like I said above I feel as though I’m part of a culture (food blogging) that’s pushing people towards perfection… and perfection that can never be achieved, at that. Which is why I will never have fake backdrops, or photographers backgrounds, or light boxes or professional lights just to take photos of cake. Never. You can count on that. Yes, I have a “fancy shmancy” brand-spankin’ new DSLR. And yes, I love it & I love the photos it takes. But trust me: you’ll always see my real house in the background. My real stove. My real counters, etc. Maybe a pet running around (if my photo editing skills are particularly lousy that week). The pots are mine, purchased by me. It will always be real. I will never phony it up just for a good photo op. All of those plates, napkins, tea towels, cake stands, etc? They’re really mine. Not just a one-off bought for a photograph. This is my real life. I buy plates because I use them. I buy tea towels because they’re pretty & I always loved them, even in my pre-blogging days. I like pretty napkins & cake stands & that hasn’t changed. My fresh flowers? I buy those because I like having them in the house, not just for pictures. And as far as plates or cutlery? Most of my things are vintage, anyway, and from my family… so they’ve always been here. I didn’t go out & buy them to impress anyone on the internet when posting a photo of food. But most importantly- it’s real in that it’s what I do because I love it. Not because I’m rolling in dough from it. I genuinely LOVE doing this blog.

So, see, I want to empower you with all of that knowledge, but at the same time deliver you content that you deserve, and show you that you do not have to be perfect or have the perfect kitchen. So when I fall behind or when I don’t meet those standards, I feel bad. When I shouldn’t. Because I know you’re all grown-ups and you understand that blogging does not equal my job or my entire life. I know you understand that I’m a human being, I get sick & I have other obligations & other things going on… that maybe this blog would have to take a backseat to. I’m not a blogging machine or a baking machine. I know you understand all that. It does make it sting a little less when I get “stuck” to know that you all get it.

And that also you understand that sometimes, a simple dark chocolate cupcake with a store-bought chocolate bunny on top will just have to do. Recipe for the cupcakes can be found here, recipe for the frosting can be found here (I colored it violet).

Happy Easter, Happy Eostre, Happy Passover, Happy Spring or happy whatever it is you celebrate.

All you need is love. And cupcakes.

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

- Julia Child

Just a short & sweet post today.

Nothing new. Nothing groundbreaking.

Just some good old fashioned Valentine’s stuff: red velvet cupcakes, little red hearts, etc. But with a twist… a black & white twist! And of course even the frosting had to have a little bit of black in it… so I made it a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Very simple: make a regular cream cheese frosting, and add the seeds from one half of a scraped out vanilla bean to it.

Black & white liners from sweet estelle’s baking supply, solid black liners from Layer Cake Shop. Cherry-flavored heart candies are from the drugstore, no idea what brand.

Tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d tell you all how much I appreciate & love you. You readers of mine make me blogging worth it. Your comments, both here & on my Facebook page & Instagram, and your tweets make my day. Every time. You’re all incredible. I say it all the time but it’s true- you make it worthwhile! I’ve met so many great people just through them commenting or following me on Social Media. It’s amazing.

So thank you, my hundreds & thousands of Valentines.

Fill your heart with frosting.

I wish I could say I love surprises, but I really don’t.

Deep down inside somewhere, I kinda do; I kinda do get excited about being surprised. But more often than not, it’s just an overwhelming sense of “What am I missing out on?!” and it drives me bananas. I hate not having control over things. I like knowing what’s happening, what time it’s happening, and where it’s going down… I like being dressed appropriately & I like being mentally prepared. Jay can tell you numerous times when I almost ruined birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or trips with this twisted way of thinking. I think the problem is when I know I’m going to be surprised. If you just spring a surprise on me, then I don’t have time to over-analyze or try & figure out what it is. Yeah I know- I’m a f#%!ing wack job who ruins everything. It’s not that I’m a control freak, though, not at all. I’m extremely laid back when it comes to most things. You can plan anything, take me anywhere, give me any gifts, etc, and I’ll be totally cool with it. I just really prefer to know ahead of time.

All that said, however, a cupcake surprise is a different story.

See, these cupcakes aren’t frosted traditionally. Instead, they’re filled with a surprise. And by that I mean they’re filled with a light, fluffy pink-colored vanilla buttercream through a convenient little cut-out heart shape. I used a little heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table that cost me a whopping $.76. I know, it almost bankrupted me.

Just bake your cupcakes, whatever kind you want, and when they’re all cooled cut out the shape using a small cookie cutter. I went down pretty deep so the entire cupcake would be filled, but you can just do a bit from the top. Then fill the cut-out shape with frosting using a piping bag & small round tip (for the size of my cookie cutter, Wilton’s 2A tip was perfect). Donesky. If you want to do the confectioner’s sugar thing, just dust them AFTER cutting out the shape but BEFORE filling with frosting. That would look awesome with a red velvet cupcake, too. Any & every combination works: chocolate with vanilla filling, red velvet with chocolate filling, red velvet with cream cheese filling, vanilla with strawberry filling, chocolate with strawberry filling, vanilla with chocolate filling, strawberry with chocolate filling… etc, etc. The sugar dusting just won’t be very visible on a vanilla cupcake, though. But that’s okay… it’s pretty without it, too. On that note, I’ve seen it done as a vanilla cupcake with lemon curd filling as well, which would be nice for spring.

*heart cake stand also from Sur La Table

You can use any flavor cupcake, any flavor or kind of frosting, and any shape cookie cutter. Stars, snowflakes, shamrocks, etc. Even just a circle! Here are some recipes, if you need them:

I used Wilton’s heart-shaped silicone baking cups to bake the cupcakes in. Any kind of shape will do, you don’t have to use hearts, nor do you have to use the same shape as your cookie cutter. A round cupcake with a heart cut-out is just as cute! Another excellent idea: letters. Cut out letters on top to spell out a message, or someone’s name, or just use one letter; maybe your kid’s initial for a birthday party. I’m partial to hearts, and the color pink, so obviously I was going to make ones like this for Valentine’s Day. But of course, this idea can extend far past Valentine’s Day.

I like the spelling out of a message idea, myself. Like maybe…

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Just a thought.

printable-valentine-cards-cupid-inside-red-heart

Santa Claus is coming to town…

AND HE’S COMING IN 21 DAYS.

(Better pick up that phone…)

;

Wow. So it’s really December! Holy crap, right? Thanksgiving has come & gone. Black Friday is over, as is Cyber Monday (which sounds very dirty to me, sorry I’m a child of the ’90′s when “cybersex” was the big parental fear, not “sexting”). The pumpkins are gone & being replaced with lights. ‘Tis the season of Christmas cookies, Hanukkah recipes & gifts of all shapes & sizes. ‘Tis the season of peppermint everything & mistletoe, snow & fireplaces, Christmas lists & long lines. Toys & sleds. Snow & red noses.

I love Christmas time, but really, it’s enough to make you want to crawl under a down comforter until February. So let’s ease into it all, shall we? How about easing into it with some polka dot cupcakes, and some hot cocoa? Sound good to you? Vanilla cupcakes, with little green dots made from the same vanilla batter. So easy!

(Mugs & plates from Target. And yes, the mugs & plates are small… the cupcakes aren’t huge!)

;

It’s so simple. Here’s what you do:

  1. Just pick your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, make it, then take about 1/2 cup of the batter, maybe even just 1/4 cup, and put in in a separate bowl.
  2. Tint it whatever color you want (you can also do a few different colors by dividing the batter further).
  3. Pour the plain vanilla batter into cupcake liners, as usual.
  4. Then take the colored batter & spoon it into a disposable pastry bag, snip off the very bottom and carefully pipe “dots” on to the tops of your unbaked cupcakes. Or, you could use a very small round piping tip if you have one. My dots were uneven… what else is new, haha- but once they were baked you couldn’t even tell anyway.
  5. You can do red & green dots on vanilla cupcakes, plain vanilla dots in red velvet cupcakes, chocolate dots in vanilla cupcakes, vanilla dots in red velvet cupcakes, red dots in chocolate cupcakes, etc, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless!

I didn’t frost mine so the dots were visible. If you want, you could probably pipe the dots in layers so that you get polka dots all the way through the cupcakes. Never done it myself, but it’s worth a shot. The liners are from Michael’s, not sure what brand they are. You can definitely get similar red/white polka dot liners at any number of places, though: sweet estelle baking supply, Layer Cake Shop, Bake it Pretty, The Cupcake Social, Sweet Cuppin Cakes. Wherever you like to shop. I think dotted liners in a contrasting color look so cute, but stripes would be adorable too!

And of course… the cupcakes wouldn’t be complete without some hot cocoa!

;

CUPCAKE REHAB’S HOT COCOA*

Makes about 6 servings, depending on the size of your mugs *wink*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you can use dark, too)
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Candy canes, mini marshmallows, whipped cream & peppermint schnapps/peppermint syrup (all optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir in the hot water & bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in milk and heat, but do not boil. Remove from the heat & add vanilla. Pour into mugs.
  3. Add a dash of peppermint schnapps, if desired, then add whatever you like on top: whipped cream, mini marshmallows or both. Add a candy cane stirrer (or crushed candy canes on top) & enjoy!
*this hot cocoa also works well with a dash of cinnamon sugar & a pinch of cayenne pepper instead of peppermint schnapps & candy canes.

If you’re caught without candy canes (hey, it’s only the BEGINNING OF DECEMBER!), some hard peppermint candies will, when smashed, work the same way. Or, you can use a squirt of peppermint syrup in the cocoa and skip the crushed candies on top. The peppermint is optional altogether, however, so don’t sweat it. I personally like a little peppermint in my hot chocolate, but this cocoa happens to be good enough on it’s own to stand up without any fancy stuff.

On that note, I look forward to spending another holiday season with all of you. Sláinte!