Monday, May 31, 2010

cupcakes in San Francisco - That Takes the Cake

Last week Brett and I went to San Francisco for a friend's wedding. The wedding was on a Sunday so we arrived a few days prior to allow time for sightseeing, shopping and eating! While reading up on where to visit and eat in San Francisco, I read about That Takes the Cake, a cute cupcake shop located on Union Street. During our visit I made sure we stopped by to sample a cupcake from the cute little shop. Brett and I split an Opposites Attract Cupcake (chocolate with peanut butter frosting). I must say, it was delicious!

red velvet cupcakes and a cute cupcake apron... as seen on Sex and the City 2!

That's it, I've decided... red velvet is my favorite cupcake flavor. I LOVE red velvet cupcakes, especially when they're paired with cream cheese frosting! It's also my favorite flavor to make - not only because I love the taste, but they always turn out perfect and beautiful!

This past Friday I went to a friend's birthday soiree which involved drinks and appetizers, followed by a viewing of Sex and the City 2! It was a fabulous girl's night, and I think the birthday girl had a wonderful time. In honor of the birthday girl, I made my favorite cupcake, red velvet! From what I observed and later heard, they went over well. It was a great pre-movie treat!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I had just returned from a week long vacation, I took the easy route and made the cupcakes using the never fail Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcake Recipe. Basically, it's an adaptation of a box mix.

Here's the cream cheese frosting recipe - for a typical batch of cupakes (approximately 28 cupcakes), I double the recipe and usually have a bit leftover to freeze.

Cream Cheese Frosting
*Makes 3 1/4 cups
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (tip - don't use fat-free or lowfat cream cheese, the frosting won't be thick enough)
1 stick (8 Tbsps) unsalted butter, softened
1 box (16 oz) powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the cream cheese and the butter in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar and two tablespoons of the milk and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, and the remainin one tablespoon milk if the mixture is too thick.

One more tip... put one tablespoon of milk in when you're mixing the powdered sugar. Wait to put the remainder of the milk in toward the end, sometimes you don't need more than one tablespoon of milk. It all depends on the consistency you're trying to achieve. When using an icing tip to decorate, the thicker the better.

Cupcake Apron - as seen on Sex and the City 2!
During SATC2 I got excited when I saw Charlotte making cupcakes and wearing this super cute apron I recently spotted at Paper-Source. How cute is this apron? In the movie, Charlotte's daughter Lilly is wearing the children's version.

Love it... I think I need one! The apron retails for $30 and is available from It's also available at Paper-Source, but for $34.95. On iVillage Food I found this article, which provides you with a discount code for a 20 percent discount on the apron if bought from Unique-Vintage. The offer is good through June 15.

Monday, May 10, 2010

happy mother's day

In honor of Mother's Day my dad grilled steaks and shrimp for my mom. We had a wonderful dinner and I contributed by making a delicious chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I also made a salad, but it paled in comparison to the cheesecake, and the rest of the dinner! The cheesecake recipe is from my Aunt Bonnie, who is an amazing cook and baker. I've used many of her recipes before, but this is one of the few that turned out like Aunt Bonnie's version - so I was extremely excited. She gave me the cheesecake recipe, and many other recipes, as a wedding gift. Actually, her recipes are a chapter in Kitchen Klutter, a book of recipes my mom's best friend put together for me. I think there are 100+ recipes in that book, and I've barely broken the surface. So, shout out to Ann for compiling all the wonderful recipes, and to Aunt Bonnie for the fantastic cheesecake recipe! Here it is:

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Chocolate wafers, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups light cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (processed in a food processor until smooth, this is an important step to get a creamy cheesecake)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup raspberry syrup or raspberry liquor
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
Fresh raspberries

Sprinkle chocolate wafers in the bottom of an 8" spring form pan. In a food processor mix the cream cheese and next seven ingredients until smooth. Add egg and process until just blended. Slowly pour over crumbs in spring form pan. Bake at 300 for 45-50 minutes until set. Turn off oven and prop oven door open with a wooden spoon. Let cool in oven (this will keep your cheesecake from cracking - I let it cool for about 45 min). Cover and chill for at least eight hours. Remove the sides of the pan and garnish with fresh raspberries.

I paired the cheesecake with a raspberry sauce, which was excellent and brought out the raspberry flavor.

Raspberry Sauce
One package fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water

Press raspberries lightly in sieve over bowl to extract juice. Transfer juice to small pot; add sugar and cook over medium-high heat until hot, about three minutes. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch with water until combined. When raspberry mixture is hot, slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture. Bring to boil and cook two minutes, or until slightly thickened. Chill well.

Here's my Kitchen Klutter cookbook... such a great gift and cookbook! Thank you Ann!!

pretty in pink

I recently made cupcakes for a friend of mine who was hosting a bridal shower. I made two different types of cupcakes: white cake with buttercream frosting and strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. The bride's colors are pink and silver, so I used two different shades of pink for the frosting - light pink for the cream cheese and bright pink for the buttercream. I sprinkled both sets with silver glittery sprinkles. Here are a few pictures: