This category contains 24 posts

Birthday Portrait Cupcakes!

Oh yes. This could be you.

Your face, on a cupcake.

It’s.. the future of cupcakes! Hehe. Ok maybe we aren’t that far evolved quite yet.

While yes, this might seem just a little um, bizarre.. you could surprise that special someone by requesting literally any image on a cupcake (or even a cake, or a cookie) — and give them something very sincere, and original! And trust me, you’ll always get a fantastic reaction. Even if that reaction is shock, when seeing a dozen cupcakes with your face on them.

Now, let me tell you about these cupcakes (which have earned a place on my top-favorite-flavors-ever list) — these were a white cake, filled with passion fruit buttercream, with a macadamia-nut buttercream frosting. Both of which were new flavors for me (special request), but whoa — if you have not tried macadamia-nut butter before, first let me recommend that experience, which is pretty amazing in itself. Dry-roasted macadamias, Vitamix for 60 seconds, that’s it. A heavy-duty food processor could also probably do the job. From there, add the macadamia-nut butter to your buttercream (I used a lot, I love the flavor), blend to perfection.. yes, I ate this with a spoon. The entire flavor combination was just perfect. Very tropical, Hawaiian themed. Which reminds me.. need to think up some names for our cupcake flavors, but for now I’m happy calling it “White Cake with Passionfruit and Macadamia-nut Buttercream” — simple! You don’t have to get fancy with the name when the cupcakes themselves are fancy. This is a fact.

I particularly love the angry-face cupcakes. Because really, if someone is about to eat your face, that’s the kind of reaction you should have — “grr, don’t eat me.” Pretty fierce.


Happy Memorial Day! — with S’mores Cupcakes


First, a belated Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you! As you might have noticed, I fully took the weekend off, paying very little attention to anything baking, internet, or computer related — yes it was magnificent, and now I’m refreshed and ready again for anything. We took the weekend down in Oregon in Cannon Beach, had a fantastic time, I took some great photos which I might share (not food or baking related but gorgeous nonetheless!) ..

.. but speaking about gorgeous..

These cupcakes.

Let me present… S’mores cupcakes! A rich, super-moist chocolate cake, with a graham cracker crust, topped with melted chocolate pieces and more graham cracker crumbs, with toasted meringue to complete it all — ahhhh. Can you imagine these as minis — too perfect.

I can see these cupcakes in my future.. any BBQs coming up? 🙂



Birthday Sprinkles

Ahh.. yum.

The full sized-versions from this post.

I love birthday sprinkles.. especially on beer-flavored cupcakes. Adds a bit of childhood joy to an adult treat.

Cupcake Minis — Chocolate Stout Edition

I will call these — “extras.” Or no, wait — “trials.” No, “testers.”

Yes. Yes. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I wanted to see how much batter was best for minis (for this recipe specifically — my chocolate stout cupcakes), but I didn’t actually have enough left to make any more normal sized cupcakes (a surprise order for the birthday boy) — and ok, I needed an excuse to take a photo of my new cake plate (nice, huh). I just love miniature-sized desserts. So sweet.

Hurrah for tiny sweets! (Yes, I ate two of these.)

Gender Reveal Cupcakes!

So one of my best friends is expecting her second child, and although none of us were patient enough to throw an actual gender reveal party (having to withhold that information from their friends, the grandparents, maybe even themselves — impossible!), we did want to do something a little special to announce the news!

We made two batches of cupcakes — one with a pink, raspberry cream cheese filling, and another with blue, blackberry cream cheese filling. Both of the batches were a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, a clean crisp white to hide the reveal! This way the new parents-to-be would have both colors available, and could share the news as quickly as they could get to the grandparents house! Brilliant!

So.. the big question — did they get to find out what they’re expecting??

Yes — it’s a…

Boy!!! We’re so excited to meet you, baby Nieman!


(Sorry, pink! Maybe next time! Hehe.) —

Congrats you two!


Happy Cinco De Mayo! — With Margarita Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Let me introduce Margarita cupcakes — a lime & tequila cake, with more tequila brushed on top, topped with a tequila lime buttercream and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt — now, this is heaven! Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, so you can make some for your weekend celebrations too. Killer recipe, you must go try it. It’ll make your entire house smell like tequila.. and this is a good thing, trust me.

Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 TBSP Patron Silver tequila
¼ tsp pure vanilla
½ cup buttermilk

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 TBSP lime juice (about ½ lime)
2 TBSP Patron tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; line a standard cupcake tin with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed with the paddle attachment, until pale, light, and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed low, adding the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Mix only until just incorporated.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling just more than 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes. Cupcakes will be lightly browned and will bounce back when touched lightly in the center. Once done, allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Generously brush the tops of the cupcakes with extra tequila — this will add a kick of that great tequila flavor! Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium-high speed using the paddle attachment until light and pale (approx 3-5 minutes). Reduce the speed to low, gradually adding your powdered sugar, until incorporated. Scape the sides, mix again on medium for about 1 minute. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt on low speed; mix on medium-high speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes, adding a sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

Tips and tricks:

  • Do not open the oven until after 15 minutes, allowing the cupcakes time to set (otherwise can fall and become flat, dense cakes).
  • Use a star tip to get the frosting in the above design, swirling from the center immediately outwards, and then back inwards and up.
  • Use the best tequila you have, the best butter and vanilla, fresh squeezed limes for this recipe; makes a tremendous difference.
  • Make a family friendly cupcake — just omit the tequila. These will still taste much like Key Lime Pie cupcakes, amazing!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Super Why Cupcakes!

 Super Why! Cupcakes — our grand finale of the week!

These were so much fun to make — as someone who had never heard of Super Why before this party, I couldn’t have been happier with the end result! I made these cupcake toppers two nights before the big party, to give the fondant time to dry so that they would be stable enough to place on the cupcakes the day of the event. I dedicated an entire night to these guys — making 24 toppers in total, 6 of each of the main characters:

  1. Super Why
  2. Alpha Pig
  3. Princess Presto
  4. Wonder Red

I actually had the best luck figuring out the designs — I found a coloring book at a Half-Priced Books (by accident) — and right inside was a growth chart with the characters images in color; this is what I used to base my images. This was my first try at detailed fondant toppers, the first time (at all) being for the Elephant Baby Shower (and those were just simple cut outs, with the mini-elephant cutter already available — punch and go).

I should have taken some action photos — I apologize! But these are much more simple than you’d think, and really the only tools you need are some basic cookie cutters (or even tools available from your kitchen) — the fondant, and some parchment paper for drying.

I colored my fondant into the four background colors, using food gels (blue, pink and purple — red was purchased colored), rolled out the fondant (to about 1/8th inch), cut out all of my rounds (about 2 and 1/4 inch), and put those aside to start drying. Next I started with Super Why — deciding how detailed I wanted to get, and then jumped in! I made a list of all the colors I would need for the details; did all of the coloring at once (Lee helped with this step — strong hands!) — then cut my details, starting with the eyes (using a standard icing tip for perfect circles), and finally the surrounding details. I used cookie cutters I had available to make small cuts and adjustments, to transform into the shapes I wanted. And once I was happy with my first version — I would copy those steps for the remaining 5 rounds, and then move onto the next character.

I used the tiniest food-safe paintbrush to paint on the black and white details (using black and white food gel coloring — yes, white!), used disco dust to sparkle up the Princess’ crown, and used a little bit of water to attach the details (once the fondant started drying). I used Satin Ice fondant — which is my favorite to work with, and best tasting (like marshmallow). (Tip – I do have a gumpaste flower kit, which has many odd shapes and curves cutters, which I used for a lot of the cuts — just making adjustments with a sharp knife or another cutter to get the shape I wanted).

We ended up with 50 cupcakes, and 2 dozen Super-Gage themed cake pops! (Actually we ended up with much more cupcakes than that — at the end of the weekend, my math skills were failing — I took the extras over to my parents, who then took them to work — thank you mom).

P.S. — A fun (ok, hilarious) fact: By accident, each character had an “evil” version. Just look at the above pics — you can spot them, I’m sure. Wonder Red is the most obvious. I think it had to do with the eyebrow placement (I don’t have tweezers, so it was all by hand — sometimes things ended up where they were dropped, whether or not it looked.. evil). Here’s the cheat sheet, in case you didn’t believe me.. (and let’s just say, a few more might be working for the dark side).

Birthday Boy — Blue & Green Cupcakes!

Part I in our two-part series.. these really are just the sneak peek — the real fun is next! These were the cupcakes that went along with the Super Why cupcakes I made last weekend, for the cutest little boy’s 3rd birthday party! I loved how bright these colors turned out (and how cute — especially with the birthday party sprinkles) so I snapped a few pics, and wanted to show you these first!

Will be posting the next cupcake pics in just a few moments — just wait and see!

Pink And Glitter Birthday Cupcakes!

These cupcakes went along with the super sparkle cake pops and the pink girly sparkle cake pops we posted earlier — and so sticking with that theme, we did the sweet pink flower cupcakes, and another purple sparkle cupcake! I just love these. And I don’t know how well you can tell, but I (accidentally) matched the colors to the flowers I already had — so perfect! (Check out the pink flowers in the last photo — they matched the flowers of the pink cupcakes too, nearly perfectly, totally by accident!).

These were for a 13th birthday for a beautiful young girl who loves everything pink and sparkles, and I couldn’t have been happier to do them! We did a dozen Dark chocolate cupcakes and a dozen Vanilla, both frosted with a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream. Two of my favorite flavors, with my all-time favorite buttercream frosting. Yum!

Happy Birthday girlie!

Part II: Northwest Face Logo Cupcakes

First rule of business (or so I’ve heard) — when you make money, invest.

Which is just another way of saying — yes, I bought some new toys.

Wait — I mean tools. Yes, tools.


Baby Elephant Shower — The Cake!

Well, and the cookies too..

And the cupcakes — Red velvet, yum…

And just one more sweet detail shot. Aww.

Ok, maybe one more.

But now — the cake!

( .. and — the back of the cake, also cute) ..

With the flag banner I made the night before, announcing the new baby boy..

Finally — the sweet baby elephant baby-shower cake, in all its glory.

You’ve seen me hint about this cake, and maybe caught a couple of the earlier detail photos, but now here are the last quick details: it was 100% edible, carrot w/ cream cheese frosting + white cake with vanilla buttercream; fondant decorated with a 50-50 gumpaste/fondant ratio for the elephant and the standing leaves, both of which I made a few days in advance so that they’d be solid enough to stand on their own. This was my first cake using fondant decorations, and my 3rd cake using fondant in general.

Other than the elephant, those simple roses might have been my favorite touch to this cake — just cake it a bit of charm and sweetness!  The cake plate was just purchased days earlier from Pier 1 — and let me tell you, I love this cake plate. It made the entire presentation look so much more professional, than using a disposable cardboard cake plate. Sometimes you have to use what you have, but for 14.95 I am definitely going to go buy more (they have a smaller size too — but my cakes were 8″ and 6″ and the size I bought was perfect).

Hope you like! I have events every weekend this month, including two bridal showers and three children’s parties — so wish me luck, and I’ll have more to post soon!

Hello St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I love this holiday — hope everyone has a great weekend!

Hello Spring Colors

Hello Spring colors — plus bad lighting, and soft focus for the save. Hello, learning how to take decent photos at evening, lol. But thank you, Daylight Saving! Now I have better lighting for longer into the evenings, which is when I’m most often baking.

I bought these pastel sprinkles at Target, great multi-pack combo (back in their seasonal aisles) — I mixed them all together with a light pink colored sanding sugar I already had, and went to town. The hot pink sprinkles we already had too. I’m a bit of a cake-decoration hoarder, and usually I have to order online, so it was fun to find something I liked on accident.

I love Spring — pastels, more occasion for cupcakes.. and yeah, it’s not quite Spring yet.. it was snowing this morning actually — but soon, soon it will be Spring!

Hello Gray + Pink

Beautiful. Vanilla cupcakes are my favorite. And right now, I’ve got this thing for pink and gray. Just so gorgeous together. Very simple, elegant.

P.S. Celebrating 1000 views in one month — thank you.

Hello Minnie

Minnie mouse cupcakes — to match the Minnie Mouse cake.

For a perfect little girl’s 1st birthday.

It was sweet.

More to come…

Hello Spooky

So simple. So ghoulishly delightful.

I love Halloween.

Yes, it’s a little early. My bad.

Hello Boston Cream

Boston cream cupcakes.
Chocolate ganache.
Vanilla bean pastry cream.
Toasted walnuts on top.

Yeah. It’s supposed to look dreamy.

Hello Sweetheart Cupcakes

Now, I could call these Valentine’s day cupcakes — but then I’d be very late, right?

These were part of the series I posted earlier, but left out a few photos, so thought I’d give you a little more. I adore these cupcakes. Who needs an occasion for cupcakes, for your sweetheart especially.. that’s what I thought.

Hello (Baby Shower) Cupcake!

Who knew red velvet & vanilla would go together so well.

You guys are so great looking. Sheesh.

Hello Chocolate Stout

.. and Chocolate Stout caramel.

And Chocolate Stout caramel buttercream.

(Made from beer made in Seattle.)

With just a touch of pink glow. You know, to give you the warm and fuzzies.

May you have a very Happy Valentine’s day! I dedicate this to all of the men out there. Especially mine. Or, the girls who like beer too (which, is me too). So what I really mean is.. happy Valentine’s day, everyone!!

Err — at least, all of you beer lovers. If you don’t love beer, this probably isn’t for you.

But it is delicious.

Hello Vanilla

Ahh.. you are my one true love.  Vanilla. Who’d have known.

You’re not as simple as everyone thinks.

And really, so beautiful. And tasty! Yum.

Hello Red Velvet

Oh Red Velvet.. you are so sweet. Actually, you aren’t my favorite. But you are such a smooth talker. And so handsome. We could get to know each other. My husband won’t mind.

Hello Valentine

I love you.

And by you, I mean cupcakes.

These cupcakes.

Ok, I love you too.

Hello Cupcake

Actually, I could call this post Hello Procrastination and that would be more applicable.

Mission baby shower — stalled. But just for lunch. And blogging. I can see this might be a problem. But nice cupcakes, right? I’m going to play around with the blog format and photos, etc — which is why you might see a few of these “cheater posts” with a handful of photos I’ve taken of things in the past weeks. So.. don’t judge too harshly! Just look at the pretty foods.. yum.