Hot Toddy Cupcakes

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Well, we had our first real bit of winter here in DC. While it had gotten pretty cold in December and early January, the snow just kept missing us! (Definitely the opposite of what happened to my friends and family in the Midwest, who’ve been pummeled with snow almost every week…) It was nice to finally get some snow here , even if it does shut the city down for days… 😉

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One of the great things that comes along with cold and snow is the Hot Toddy. It’s the perfect drink to warm up, relax a bit, and fight off a stuffy nose. For those not familiar, a Hot Toddy starts with Earl Grey tea (or English/Irish Breakfast tea, depending on your preference) sweetened with honey. A shot of whiskey and a squirt of lemon are added, along with a cinnamon stick and a star anise.

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While drinking a Hot Toddy, I decided that I wanted to make a cupcake version. And the challenged lied in how to infuse the Earl Grey tea into the cupcake and how to marry all the flavors together without being too muddled or overwhelming.

I started off my infusing butter with loose tea leaves to flavor the cupcake base. I kept the cake pretty simple: sweetened by both sugar and honey with a small amount of cinnamon and anise extract added. The buttercream icing is flavored with whiskey (I used honey whiskey for just a bit of honey flavor) and lemon extract.

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And the result was a Hot Toddy cupcake! The flavors come together perfectly, with a great tea flavor that’s not too strong or bitter. Because the cake is sweetened with honey, it’s also not overwhelmingly sweet. Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

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I’m back!

For my friends and regular followers, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in a while! A few weeks ago, I experienced a pretty decent personal setback that left me reconsidering my love of baking and blogging, as well as my personal and professional goals going forward. And I fell in to a little downward spiral of depression and self-doubt, two things I generally struggle with…

So I decided to take a little time off and gather my thoughts. Unfortunately, running the blog started to feel like work, and it got really stressful instead of fun. And I have enough stress in my life between other personal and professional commitments!

Well, I’m happy to announce that I’m back and (hopefully) better than ever! I have new short- and long-term goals and have gained a most of my confidence back thanks to my wonderful friends and family, including the boyfriend. (Super thanks to him for putting up with my crazies!)

To make a long story short, I’ll likely be publishing fewer recipes, supplementing them with other things from my crazy life! I’ll have a new recipe up later this week, and I have a lot of really great things planned for this summer! But for now, a few pics of the last event/baking competition that I entered…

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The competition was for the National Capital Area Cake Show (NCACS), and the theme was Candy! I went a lot outside of the box, as I tend to do, and entered a Root Beer Barrel cupcake and a Licorice Allsorts cupcake. The Root Beer Barrel cupcakes are a root beer cake topped with a root beer-scented meringue and root beer caramel. The Licorice Allsorts cupcakes were a black licorice cake topped with coconut-almond buttercream, shredded coconut, and a little pie of black licorice. Both cupcakes came out amazing, tho I didn’t take home any blue ribbons this time. Hey, you can’t win them all, eh?!

I’m going to hold on to the Licorice Allsorts recipe because I intend to enter it in another recipe contest, but I’ll probably be modifying the Root Beer Barrel cupcake in to a cake to post on the blog later this Spring! So watch out for that soon! 🙂

As always, thanks for reading! Happy baking! 🙂

Basics of Cupcake Icing: More Icing Tips

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Pun definitely intended… 😉

In my first post about cupcake icing, I started organizing together the techniques I’ve learned for icing beautiful professional-looking cupcakes. I’m cobbling all of this information together because I’ve seen parts of it referenced in other pages around the interwebs, but I’ve never found a source with everything in one place. So that’s my goal: organizing all of the basics of icing cupcakes in easy-to-follow instructions with pictures!

Also, in my last post, I referenced the different types of icing tips that are typically used for cupcakes. I showed the one I use most often, Wilton’s closed-star 1M tip. I reference this tip most often because it’s the easiest to find (usually in stock at craft stores like Jo-Ann’s or Michaels).

But there are lots of other tips available, including the open star…

And the French tip and round tip.

Click below for more Tips on these tips! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below. And thanks for reading! Be sure to check back again soon for the next post about cupcake icing! 🙂

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Bunny Cupcakes

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This week, I’ve been on a bit of a decorating kick. And with Spring starting (even though it doesn’t feel like it in DC!) and Easter coming up, I decided to make some Bunny Cupcakes. The design is slightly based on my Beaver Cupcakes, as my original intent was to make them very similar. But they came out looking more creepy than cute, so I went back to the drawing board!

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And I think these guys came out absolutely adorable! I even used the opportunity to test out a new vanilla cake recipe. I had a lot of fun putting them together, and the boyfriend took great enjoyment in eating their cute little faces.

Click below for directions to assemble bunny cupcakes! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Basics of Cupcake Icing: Tips & Tricks

I’ve made a lot of cupcakes in the last few years. When I first got in to baking, I was icing each cupcake by hand, using a flat metal spatula. It got to the point where I dreaded icing the dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of cupcakes cooling on my counter-top. Thankfully, the boyfriend started pushing me to go the easier route of using decorating bags. When I finally conceded and invested in new tools, my life was forever changed…

I’ve posted the basic instructions for icing cupcakes with big, swirly tops a few times on the blog, referencing back to older cupcake recipes. But, with all the times I post about cupcakes, I knew I wanted to put together a post specific to just decorating cupcakes. I finally got down to putting all of this together and realized that I have way more than 1 post worth…

So today, I’m starting with the basics: preparing and filing decorator bags, dyeing icing, and icing cupcakes two ways (the big, swirly, pretty top and a basic rose top). Check back over the next few weeks as I assemble more tips and tricks! Happy decorating! 🙂

Click below for tips and tricks for icing cupcakes! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

For those of you familiar with my blog, you’ll probably recognize these cupcakes as on of my entries to the DC State Fair back in August 2012. Unfortunately I didn’t sweep both the pie and cupcake categories. (Although my Fig and Grape Pie did take home a first-place blue ribbon!!) While my Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream didn’t win Best Cupcake, they are definitely a favorite of many of my friends!

The brown sugar cake is a great alternative to a basic yellow cake, when you are looking for a cupcake with a slightly deeper flavor. And unlike many yellow cakes, they are not over-powerfully sweet. The whiskey caramel buttercream is a personal favorite, made with my Whiskey Caramel Sauce. The combination of the whiskey caramel with the butter and cream cheese leads to a sweet and salty icing, with a hint of whiskey! And the combination of the brown sugar cake with the whiskey caramel buttercream is absolutely divine…

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Despite the 80-degree temperatures in DC, Fall has officially set it. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing, the nights are getting colder, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING is here! As I mentioned yesterday, I spent my mini-vacation last weekend working on pumpkin recipes, so I have tons to make and post from now until Thanksgiving… Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

This cake recipe is the same one that I used for my friend’s copper and peacock-feather wedding cake, and it was amazing! The sweet and spicy notes of the pumpkin marry beautiful with the salty creaminess of the icing. This cake is absolutely to die for!

These cupcakes are perfect for a fall potluck or Halloween party and can be dressed up for a nice holiday dinner. In fact, I’m bringing a few to a pumpkin-carving party tonight! One thing to note though: if you plan to make the cupcakes a day ahead and decorate them with candy corn pumpkins like I did, wait to put the pumpkins on until right before serving. The moisture from the icing will dissolve some of the sugar from the pumpkins and they’ll “melt” on top of your cupcakes… If you’re looking for other decoration ideas, sprinkles are a simple alternative. Or you can dress them up with a fondant leaf .

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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