A Cupcake Occasion

Hi Everyone! So it seems as if I’m getting in a pattern of a blog post about once every month. Not great but its a start and I still run into something related to cupcakes nearly every single day, they really are everywhere and I love it. Tiny cakes, BIG smiles. 😀

This week I ran into one of my very favorite people, Scott Q. while walking up the mall to class. Scott is one of those people who has friends everywhere he goes, and always manages to brighten my day with one of his famous bear hugs. Beyond being an absolutely awesome individual, Scott also works, of course, at a cupcake shop, Cupcake Island here in Omaha.

Nearly every time I run into Scott, I bring up the cupcake shop, and my great intention to actually get out there sometime to try some of their cupcakes. Scott was quick to mention all of the great St. Patrick’s day cupcakes they were selling this week and that sealed the deal, I decided I would officially make the trip out Friday afternoon.

With me living on 19th street, and the cupcake shop being located on 119th street, its a bit of a hike, but I was excited as John and I rolled out with the windows down in anticipation of cupcake bliss. With temperatures up close to 80 degrees and full sun, it was the perfect day to escape to Cupcake Island!

The yellow awning drew us into the shop with doors wide open as if they had let the essence of the island escape into the day. Inside the shop was exactly what one might have expected, with a full cupcake display of all kinds, from your classic vanilla to pistachio (in both regular and miniature varieties).

After a bit of debate we settled on the seasonal flavors Luck of the Irish (Irish Cream based) and the Drunken Leprechaun (Guinness cake with chocolate whisky filling) both appropriately adorned for the occasion. I proudly and carefully carried my treasure box home on my lap just to make sure they didn’t get away of course.

After a dinner date out and a good walk around Con Agra park we were ready for cupcakes, and I personally couldn’t wait to see how they stacked up! While John likes to poke fun at the way I eat cupcakes these days, slowly analyzing each bite, he’s come to appreciate that now and has even joined in on the critique!

I started with the Irish cream cupcake, a vanilla based cupcake that turned out to be very good but lacking in much of the advertised flavor. While I did get a chance to have a Cupcake Island pseudo preview back in February at the Startup America event, I was happy to see that although their frosting was different, the ratio was still spot on. Just enough to get some with each bite, just the way I like it!

Luck of the Irish (left) and the Drunken Leprechaun (right)

The Guinness cupcake, in contrast, was chocolate based, and the chocolate whiskey filling came as a pleasant surprise to us! Although we didn’t know it was there, it was just the right amount, a perfect addition but overwhelming. Once again, the cupcake was absolutely great but mostly just a chocolate cupcake, neither John nor I could really taste the supposed St. Patrick’s day tributes. Maybe we got one of the rare sober Leprechauns? 🙂

All in all I was very happy with the experience, and glad I finally got a chance to get out that way! Even though it took me over a semester to get there the first time, I hope to escape to Cupcake Island at least a couple more times before I graduate in May.  MmM yep, its true, cupcakes may be tiny cakes but they lead to some super big smiles.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Love,

The girl who cried CUPCAKE.

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Posted in Spring 2012 | Leave a comment

Sharing the love today and everyday!

I love Valentine’s day. I love the colors, I love hearts everywhere,  love all the cheesy slogans that market all things Valentine. I love the idea of having a day dedicated to showing others how much we care. Yup, I’m a sucker for the Hallmark Holiday.

To me, Valentine’s day isn’t just for lovers. It’s for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, best friends, and even for the stranger you see everyday on your way into work. In John 13:34 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Valentine’s day is a great way to experience the joy of loving others the same way He first loved us, and hopefully a great jumping off point to showing others that same love every single day. 🙂

This week was a crazy one, but there were definitely moments where God was reminding me to slow down and make time to remember the most important things in life. Here are just a few of those moments.

Top: My Gamma Phi dot, Ellie, with her Giant Valentine’s day card from the whole chapter 🙂 as well as my roommates coffee mug with a surprise message left behind.

Bottom: My sweet kitten Rascal, who I can’t wait to be home with again, as well as some homemade Valentines for family and friends 🙂 Of course they had to include cupcakes!

What did you do to celebrate Valentine’s day this week? Better yet, how are you going to keep celebrating it after this week is over?

Keep on keepin’ on, and when all else fails… bake something sweet!

– Amy

 

 

Posted in Spring 2012 | Leave a comment

Happy Unofficially Official Prairie Dog Day!

Hear Hear! I, Amy Engle, do here by declare February 3rd to unofficially be known as official Prairie Dog Day, a day just for Prairie Dogs to get all the attention they have been deprived of due to the overwhelming amount of unwarranted attention given to the tomfoolery of Groundhogs just one day before. It has been stated that Kira Olson and Brittany Mascio second this notion. Okay, okay so this maaaay have something to do with my current internship at the epicenter off all things hip and cool, Silicon Prairie News (SPN).

I have to admit something. I’m a little bit jealous of Analog the Prairie Dog, SPN’s official spokesrodent. I just not cool enough to keep up with his witty remarks that clearly get him places like DQ and sweet meet-ups with the SPN crew.  Failing in the wit category I decided to go for something I knew I could trump him in… baking. Ah the joys of opposable thumbs. Alas I knew I had to take a strategic angle on this one, not giving away my secret love/hate relationship for Sir Spokesrodent. For that reason (and potentially a Facebook post from aforementioned BMAS) unofficial Official Prairie Dog Day cupcakes were created!

Prairie Dog Assembly line 🙂 Chocolate Chips for eyes and ears, Mike n Ike noses, sprinkles for teeth.

Analog and friends in the making! -- I used a simple powdered sugar/milk frosting to assemble.

Up close and personal with our favorite "furry" friends 🙂

Our fearless leader Danny Schreiber digs in to celebrate the worthy occasion.

I used my favorite Black Magic Cake recipe for the cupcakes with the suggested frosting recipe except that I used powdered cocoa rather than unsweetened chocolate squares. Beware if you make them that these cupcakes are quite moist so be careful not to over-fill the cupcake liners or they will all run together on the top of the pan. (Lesson Learned… Oven Cleaned…)

While I often remind people that I have perfected eating cupcakes versus making them, I was very happy with the way these little guys came out. Shoutout to Brittany Mascio (BMAS) for the awesome inspiration and Kira Olson (KO) for her enthusiasm for all things Prarie Dog. And… I guess I should give some props to Analog the Prairie Dog, you know what, you aren’t too bad in my book. Maybe you can teach me a thing or two? 🙂 Peace, love and prairie dogs.

Love, y

Your favorite cupcake and animal inspired cookie enthusiast – Amy

Posted in Spring 2012, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunshine… What a wonderful thing :)

Hi friends!

mh

I know it’s been a LONG time coming but tonight I’ve decided to write another post.  🙂 I’ve been wanting to come back to my cupcake blog for some time now but haven’t found the right inspiration until tonight, after spending a little time with the girls I love so much. For most of you who know me, I don’t know that sorority girl would be the way I would describe myself. Yes, I can have my crazy moments (especially after midnight) and yes, I can be a bit girly at times (really though brothers, comparatively I’m not bad!) but for the most part I’m pretty quiet, independent, and definitely not into the drama that girls have a tendency to dwell on. For the past month, however, I’ve been in full-fledged sorority girl recruitment mode, spending more time with girls than I ever imagined. And, I still love it.

On Wednesday nights we have Chapter, a time for all of us to get together for an hour, hear from one another about upcoming events and listening to presentations by our sisters challenging us to grow. One of my very favorite parts of chapter is when we do SUNSHINE 🙂 Sunshine is a chance to send some love to one of your sisters for really any reason, usually just to make them smile. Best of all, along with those smiles comes a delicious BAKED GOOD. Of course that would hook me in, eh? 🙂 But I swear I love it for more than just that. I love the way it brings girls together, the way that Adie (our Sunshine chair person) reads through the messages and the pictures she choses to place with them each week. Sunshine is about girls recognizing one another in a way that we are so rarely willing to do, and I absolutely love it.

Tonight, Adie’s treat for all those who received SUNSHINE was Red Velvet Cupcakes … And thus began my inspiration for writing this post tonight 🙂 Adie has such an incredible personality, and as we all found out tonight, her family is just as amazing as she is. Fun Fact: Adie’s family owns Don Carmelo’s Pizzeria — which is where she is able to mass produce the baked goods needed for the amount of sunshine shed in these dreary winter months! Trying to wait tables/create her powerpoint/stalk awesome pictures of all of us to put with said powerpoint left Adie scrambling until without hesitation, her father (Owner of Don Carmello’s) and brother decided to take on the task at hand! They lovingly frosted each cupcake and even scouted out sprinkles from the cookie company next door, pretty good for some guys who usually make pizza pies!

Of course I tried one of Adie’s cupcakes and they were absolutely delicious. I love a subtle red velvet covered in classic vanilla frosting and a couple sprinkles to complete thatsatisfying birthday-cupcake memory. Best of all was the story behind the cupcake, picturing the chaos that ensued, the joy of a family working together, and the smiles on all of my sisters faces as our SUNSHINE encouraged and uplifted each other. It’s nights like these that remind me why I love cupcakes so much. They’re small and yet so special, always ready to make someone’s day. 🙂

I really am going to try to get back in the swing of things, writing up posts regularly whether I visit a new cupcake shop or find something interesting cupcake related online. I did visit 4 cupcake shops while I was in Europe so I should definitely get on the ball and write about all of those soon! Until then, don’t forget to smile at the SUNSHINE in your life 🙂

– Crazy About Cupcake Love

Posted in Spring 2012 | Leave a comment

The Cup: St. Louis’ BEST Cupcake

Okay, so I’ve been holding out on all of you … I should have told you sooner, I know, I know, but I think I’ve told a fair number of you via Facebook… Twitter… obsessive comments … cupcake centered conversations … I mean, if you’ve talked to me at all this summer, I’m convinced you couldn’t miss it. So what is this that I’ve been holding out on you, you ask?

This blog has taken me farther than I ever could have imagined. It started off pretty average. Sure, I was going to talk about cupcakes, anyone could do that, but I was going to go above and beyond, trying every single cupcake shop in DC that I could find. I was going to rate each shop based on my personal preference, whatever weight that could possibly hold. From there it has been an incredible adventure. I’ve met amazing people, tried an obsessive number of cupcakes, got an insane number of page views and at the end of it all, landed an incredible internship with The Cup Cupcake Bakery in St. Louis for the summer. (Formerly known as The Cupcakery for anyone curious) Who knew you could intern for a cupcake shop?? Leave it to me  to come up with something so crazy and perfect for me.

The Central West End is the perfect place to walk around and grab dinner and a cupcake!

Before I started at The Cup (okay, ONE day before) I twisted my friend Kristin’s arm to go down and try out a cupcake with me, so I could officially say I had tried them before I started trying to market them! Ironically, Kristin was headed off to DC for the summer just a couple days later, so it was appropriate to send her off to the cupcake capital with the lingering taste of sweet cupcakes. Walking into the shop I was so excited at everything I saw. Not having actually been to the shop before this summer I was immediately tickled by the calm yet inviting atmosphere, in which you were given adequate time to survey and contemplate your ever important cupcake flavor decision. With free wifi and a great seating area I wish The Cup had a location in Omaha! (hint… hint…)

Real plates, Real forks, Real Happy 🙂

While I really wanted to try every single cupcake, I decided on the Grasshopper because I have always been a huge fan of chocolate and mint combo, especially when it includes an Andes mint on top! The fact that I was even craving cupcakes at all was huge because after leaving DC I couldn’t bare to look at another cupcake, nonetheless crave one. I tried a couple grasshopper cupcakes in DC and wasn’t quite satisfied with either one, so this was a personal test that I was putting The Cup up to … would their grasshopper cut the cake? (te he) Would it be up to snub? (Or snob if you want to call me that in regards to cupcakes…) Grabbing a fork and knife (KUDOS to The Cup for knowing exactly how I like to eat my cupcakes!) we headed OUTSIDE into the sunny warm summer day to sit under super cute green and blue umbrella tables.

Me and Kristin outside The Cup

I discovered something incredible that summer morning … The Cup does not produce anything but absolutely irresistible cupcakes. Seriously. Having worked for over 8 weeks now I can say I’ve tried nearly all of our cupcakes and not a single one has left me disappointed. Despite telling myself that I only needed a couple bites of the Grasshopper, I kept going back and finished it by mid afternoon. Going over each flavor and what makes it incredible would make this already long blog post into another short novella so I won’t do that, but what I WILL tell you is what stands out to me about The Cup’s Cupcakes.

The SIZE of a Cup Cupcake is perfect, bigger than anything you would make a home, but small enough to manage on your own 🙂 More importantly is the TASTE and TEXTURE of these cupcakes and their frosting. It is impeccable. After the grasshopper, I tried a peanut butter cup cupcake with John’s Aunt Angela at our Springfield location and I was overwhelmed at how well they had perfected the combination. All of their frosting flavors are buttercream based, making them light and perfectly flavored with other accoutrements. The peanut butter frosting is beyond expectation, so light, so fluffy, so perfectly peanut buttery in combination with the perfectly moist dark chocolate cake…are you in the car driving to get one now? 🙂 (Oh yeah, and to top it off are pieces of real Reeses’ Peanut Butter cups…#winning)

Just to taunt you some more ...

One of the most important criteria in my judging this past semester was based on the CAKE TO FROSTING ratio, a crucial part of the experience of course. Once again, I don’t know how they do it, but The Cup has absolutely mastered it. Each cupcake is perfectly swirled just like their logo would indicate but instead of a mountain of frosting, it is a flattened swirl, creating what I believe to be the perfect 4 parts cake to 1 part frosting ratio. I later learned that this is very intentional, and that the bakers will indeed pull cupcakes off the front display if they have too much frosting (We can’t be messin up our reputation!) I also learned that the extra accessories on top of each cupcake are used to give it that satisfying cupcake taste without having it be made out of a leaning tower of frosting! Love it.

So there you have it, I have officially gushed over my #1, hands down FAVORITE, cupcake shop. Beyond the cupcakes themselves, I have been shown once again that cupcakes are about more than just the cake. The people behind these cupcakes are what make them even more incredible. Everyone who I’ve gotten the chance to work with this summer has been an absolute blessing, and I cannot wait to see where they take The Cup in the future!! If you want more information about The Cup or score awesome exclusive deals, check out our Facebook page! (I may have created the fan gating logo… 🙂 )

Still Cuckoo for Cupcakes …

Love,

The Cupcake Girl

Okay so … I may have had these just a couple times this summer. 🙂 Of Course … Here are a couple more pictures to tease you just in case I haven’t adequately convinced you yet.

Gotta love a boy who matches his shirt to his cupcake 🙂

Claiming me as a bad sister for never bringing home cupcakes, I satisfied my brother's craving wth a whole assortment of my favorites, decorated with patriotism for the 4th of July

We decided we wanted to try them all 🙂

Posted in Summer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Cupcake Negligence

Hello Friendly Followers!

I know I’ve been terribly negligent lately, giving you guys nothing new and interesting to read. (Or ways to distract yourselves from doing the things that need to get done… trust me, they can STILL wait) But! You have been so loyal, so I really am going to try to give you something fun to look at 🙂

This semester while I was in DC and became so obsessed with cupcakes, they soon appeared nearly everywhere I turned ! From a greeting card in the dangerous Paper Source store to packages from friends and family, cupcake paraphernalia quickly became yet another source of smiles thrown into my daily routine. So now, I will share just a few of those smiles with you!

Cupcake Shaped Easter Eggs -- Hunting for Cupcakes? I've mastered that!

One day, my truly one of a kind adviser Carol Zuegner sent me an e-mail asking for my GWU mailing address, saying she had something I wanted to send my way, “Nothing big,” she said and left it at that. Little did she know that she would make my ENTIRE week by sending me these adorable cupcake containers. They are the perfect way to transport your cupcakes anywhere you want to go!

Cutesy Cupcake Containers Courtesy of Carol 🙂 Oh... alliteration.

Peace. Love. And Cupcakes. What a great motto to live by.

While an obsession with cupcakes may be a ridiculous thing to be known for, I was so tickled to receive fun packages with all things cupcakes inside from John’s mom!

Mary Engelbreicht Cupcake Liners -- Almost too cute to use!

You can never go wrong with a cupcake 🙂 -- Starting a card making stamp collection!

Life's Short -- Celebrate with Cupcakes!

Even since coming back to St. Louis I’ve seen a great deal of cupcake love! Last week Sarah’s Cake Stop truck posted a picture of a little girl who stopped by with a t-shirt that said “I’ll trade my brother for a cupcake.”  I could not agree with her more 🙂 4 cupcakes seems much more reasonable than 4 brothers 😉

If you find any pictures of fun cupcake things please feel free to comment and leave a link!

Until next time…

3 cheers for cupcakes!

– Negligent Ninny

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Cupcakeapalooza Cupcake Crawl 2011 : St. Louis Edition

If the past couple months have been my time off from cupcakes, flour hit the fan today for sure. The day began with a blitz cleaning, a banana and a prayer that I wouldn’t OD on sugar by the end of the day. The agenda had been set, my friend Elizabeth and I were off on an adventure, but not just any adventure, an adventure in pursuit of CUPCAKES of course!

You might marvel at the idea that there are indeed others out there as crazy about cupcakes as I am, but yes indeed Elizabeth was up for the challenge, er cupcakes with me 🙂 We started off the morning bright and early, with a stop at Sarah’s Cake Shop and Catering in the Wilson/Clarkson shopping center. I’m sure they all thought we were a bit crazy coming in at 9:30 bright eyed and ready for sugar but there we were, ready to pick out our favorites.

Clockwise from top left: Tiramisu, Chocolate Chocolate, Vanilla Vanilla, and Chocolate Caramel Pretzel

We tried 4 flavors: Tiramisu, Vanilla Vanilla (With 4th of July decor), Chocolate Caramel Pretzel, and Chocolate Chocolate. The Tiramisu was by far our favorite with a delicious caramel frosting that was different than the others which were more oily than we preferred. I was excited about the Chocolate Caramel but unfortunately the caramel pastry filling inside was lacking much caramel goodness at all…But the idea is brilliant!

Create Your Own Cupcake

Next we headed out to Wildwood to hit up a local hot spot Elizabeth heard some buzz about called Celebrating Life Cake Boutique. Little did we know that we were headed into the cupcake bar where you get to build your own cupcakes! This was a great unique idea, especially for kids because you got to pick the cake, the filling (if you wanted), frosting and then a topping to pull it all together.

Clockwise from top left; Yellow cake with mocha frosting, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with fudge frosting and red velvet.

We chose a classic red velvet, a yellow cake with Mocha frosting and chocolate crumbles on top, a vanilla cake with fudge frosting and mini marshmallows, and a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and oreo crumbles on top. What fun! The yellow cake was by far the best, with a great texture and taste that made it such a birthday classic. While the other cupcakes were good, the small bites we took to sample each one was enough, and I wasn’t tempted to finish any of them.

The adventure continued to Whipt Cream, a shop in The Valley we’ve wanted to try for awhile but haven’t been able to hit the day and time right before today. While the location of the bakery isn’t exactly on the main drag, we managed to find it and wander in. The actual set up of the shop is neat as it is entirely open to the back making it so that you can see cakes and cupcakes being decorated as you make your selection. We chose four cupcakes again, Turtle, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chocolate and Lemon Coconut.

Cupcakes Sunny side up with a side of sunscreen!

I liked the way that Whipt Cream put their name on the small fondant circle on top of the chocolate chocolate cupcake, it was a great simple way to brand the cupcake so that no matter if it was in the box or not, the person eating it would know exactly where it came from. I really enjoyed the milk chocolate cake that was the base of the Turtle cupcake as it had the satisfying sweet chocolate taste that reminds me of a homemade cake my dad used to make. While I am usually a big big fan of coconut, I wasn’t thrilled with the lemon coconut combination, I blame the makers of sun screen.

Next we traveled much farther east to a shop that has quite the reputation around town, Jilly’s Cupcake Bar. Lucky for us, Jilly’s Cupcake Bar was the winner on Cupcake Wars, a tv show on the Food Network. The atmosphere made it clear that things were a bit hectic with lots of people wanting a chance to try the cupcakes they saw on TV. The shop had been remodeled since I was there  just a month or so ago so  I can guess what their winnings went towards!

Of course we went for the winning cupcakes named, Meringue-a-tang, Space Monkey and Raspberry Fizzon. Unfortunately they tray of “Island in the Sun” cupcakes weren’t out at the time we ordered so we didn’t get the last one, but wow, the three we ordered were certainly plenty. Jilly’s big thing is over the top cupcakes and these cupcakes followed suit. The Space Monkey cupcake cake base was Banana-Toffee, a combination that really tasted like spice cake but it was oh so good! I liked the dolce-de-leche filling inside but after eating just the few bites we took it was overwhelming. While I’m not a big fruit and chocolate fan (I love them both, just not put together…) Elizabeth really liked the Rasberry Fizzon cupcake which was chocolate raspberry cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache with more raspberry buttercream on top of that. I don’t think they could have possibly stuffed anything more into that cupcake! While each element was tasty in itself, put together I felt overwhelmed and consequently underwhelmed by how I felt after wards.

Now at this point you’re probably thinking we really are insane going to this many cupcake shops in a day, but if you can believe it, we went to a FIFTH shop to end our adventures. After all the sugar from the morning we needed some real food, and luckily our last stop offered it! We headed to Sweet Art Bakeshop and Art studio, known for their vegan and vegetarian options as well as their CUPCAKES of all things. Yep, they know what’s good.

Atmosphere Inside Sweet Art

After finding ourselves some wholesome nutrition we took the plunge once again, into this time, some darn good cupcakes. We picked only two this time, a Boston Cream Pie and Red Velvet, knowing our heads and stomachs would thank us later. Despite having tried at least 16 different cupcakes at this point, we (embarrassingly so) started eating and didn’t stop eating either cupcake in time to realize we had forgotten to take a picture! Oops. #ConfessionsofaCupcakeaholic The Boston Cream Pie had a delicious filling and just enough richness to really make the Boston Cream Pie experience, but without an overwhelming sweetness that made you want to set down your fork between bites. The Red Velvet was a big hit with Elizabeth who appreciates cream cheese frosting much more than this girl here.

A slice (or crumb...) of Boston Cream Pie

 

 

Wow, at this point I have written a short novel, but that’s what you get for going on such extravagant adventures! By the end of the day we could not possibly look another cupcake in the eye (or place another sugar filled fork in our mouths) but it was well worth it to check out what St. Louis has to offer! At the end of the day, it is clear that there are many types of cupcakes in the world which is a great thing because if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 21 years of life, it’s that there are a lot of different people in the world. My critique overall is the use of Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting that was used on nearly all of the cupcakes we tried (except for those from Sweet Art). While I know its a personal preference, I am much more inclined to eat a cupcake with a traditional buttercream frosting. In the end, a natural and wholesome cupcake (yes, such a thing exists) will always win my heart.

This ridiculously long post should make up for my lack of posting anything in the past 2 months :/ sorry!! If anyone knows of any other cupcake shops worthy of our critique I would LOVE to hear it, just let me know! I’m always up for trying someplace new 🙂

As always, 3 cheers for cupcakes! (And hoping I can sleep tonight!)

– The Crazy Cupcake Girl and her Accomplice

 

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