Oh No, Mr. Bill! Is This the End of 52 Cupcakes??

The answer is not really! It's clear to me that I have lots to learn more to learn about cupcakes! And, I love them so much that I just can't stop making them. I would have thought that after one year I would be tired of those little cakes...but I'm not.

However, I do need some sort of closure to this particular project at the 52nd cupcake. I've decided to have a contest of sorts to honor the end of one year of cupcakes!

The winner will receive a dozen cupcakes to be chosen from one of the previous 51 cupcake recipes I've made during the year (the winner decides which one). I will fedex overnight them...unless it's overseas...then it may have to be a two-day delivery.

Week 52 is April 24th. The deadline to enter is 9:00 p.m. (EST), April 23, 2006. The morning of April 24, at 7:00 a.m. (EST), I'll announce the winner of the contest. All you have to do is respond to this posting why you want to win a dozen of my cupcakes. Anonymous postings won't be entered in the contest.

Also, that morning I will be launching a new web site called 52 Cupcakes that will have all 52 recipes, photos, blog entries, etc on it.

The contest starts NOW!!

Week 48: Chocolate, Caramel and Walnut "Turtle" Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting for the TERPS!

I made these cupcakes in honor of the University of Maryland Women's Basketball team making the elite eight in the NCAA tournament last night...now they play Utah tomorrow night...and hopefully they'll get to the final four!

The cupcakes are based on a vanilla cupcake recipe. I made turtles (you know...the caramel, chocolate, walnuts (usually pecans but I don't care for them) candies). Then I made the batter. I put a couple of tablespoons of batter in the cupcake liner and then put i the turtle and then covered the turtle with more batter. They turned out really well. The caramel and chocolated melted a bit but stayed together as a unit. I made Milk Chocolate Frosting for them. I picked up the candy turtles on top at the LIttle Bits Cake store in Wheaton. At the time I didn't know what I would use them for, but then the tournament began and the women's team just keeps winning...so the timing seems perfect!

Take a look at the entire process HERE.

Fear the Turtle, Baby!

Week 47: Gingerbread Cupcake Pots with Lemon Drizzle

Week 47: Gingerbread Cupcake Pots with Lemon DrizzleThese cupcakes are from the new 500 Cupcakes "compendium" by Fergal Connolly (a chef and food stylist in London who tested all the recipes for the book). The cupcakes are dense and sticky from the lemon drizzle...but they are so cute in their little pots (which I found at Michael's for $.39 each.)

Week 47: Gingerbread Cupcake Pots with Lemon DrizzleThe pots are a little tricky because you have to cute parchment strips to put in them and sort of press the strips into the pots...two strips each, overlapping. That was a little time consuming since I still have my cast on from my operation...the other problem was that the recipe doesn't say how much batter to put into the pots..so my first batch overflowed and didn't work at all. Tried it again and put in just a 1/3 cup of batter in each pot (i just measured and the pots are 2-1/2 inches high and at the widest point 2-1/2 inches). It doesn't look like much when you put it in, but the recipe uses self-rising flour and baking powder so they do pop up. In a couple of the pots, the batter fell back in which gave it a craggy sort of look...cool!

I did have one fun shopping experience related to this week...the recipe calls for "unrefined brown sugar"...hmmm, I was stumped. Googled it and found into on the Whole Foods web site which led me to Balducci's and the "India Tree Dark Muscovado Natural Cane Sugar....which is milled on the island on Mauritius off the coast of Africa. It has a moist texture, high molasses content, and a strong lingering flavor that goes well with ... gingerbread, etc." You can find it on the web at India Tree...it's in Seattle at 4240 Gilman Place West #B. The fun thing is that when I was in school in London for my senior year abroad, I was friends with a woman who was from Mauritius.

More photos on my flickr account at Week 47.

Oh Boy, Get Out the Credit Card...New Cupcake Books Galore!!

Now this is going to be fun! There are several new cupcake books on the horizon in the next few months! Take a look at these....
  • Cupcakes Galore (paperback) by Gail Wagman..due April 2006
  • Super-Duper Cupcakes : Kids' Creations from the Cupcake Caboose (Hardcover) ($9.95) by Elaine Cohen...she's the owner of the Cupcake Caboose Company...due out June 28, 2006
  • Betty Crocker Decorating Cakes and Cupcakes (Betty Crocker Books) (Paperback) ($19.95) by Betty Crocker (Editor) (is that a joke or what?)...due out May 1, 2006
  • Crazy About Cupcakes (Paperback) ($17.95) by Krystina Castella...due July 28, 2006
  • 500 Cupcakes (Hardcover) ($14.95) by Fergal Connolly...just released!
  • Week 46: Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

    These are really Happy Birthday, Chris cupcakes...if you live in Pittsburgh, PA, and you see Chris on Wednesday, tell him Happy Birthday! He's a great guy (very cute) with a beautiful wife...Steffi...and two adorable little girls, Samantha and Alyson. Anywayz, HB Chris!

    Okay...what makes these cupcakes extra special is that there's cookie dough in the middle! They are from the Cupcakes from the Cakemix Doctor book. Here's what's cool...you actually put some frozen chocolate chip cookie dough on top of each cupcake just before you put them in the oven. The chocolate buttercream is to die for...light and fluffy and very chocolate!

    More Week 46 photos HERE.

    Download recipe HERE.

    Yay! Today is Happy Terp Day!

    I won't bore you with all the details....but WE WON!!!...picture me doing the Happy Terp Dance around the kitchen table!!!

    But wait...we have to go thru the same thing tonight....FEAR THE TURTLE TERPS VS BOSTON COLLEGE...Oh Well...I'll take my cue from Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind: " I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

    Here's a fun concentration game you can play today: Terp Concentration. Have a great day...I know I will!

    Happy Terp or Sad Terp??

    This is the LARGE question of the day....Will I be a Happy Terp or a Sad Terp tonight after Maryland plays Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament? Will we win? Will we make it to the NCAA's? This is almost as important to me as my cupcakes!

    I can't help it...I love Maryland basketball...even when they are losers. But, I don't talk about the losing part...just go into denial. In fact, if we lose, I'll just ignore this post tomorrow...pretend it isn't here. I allow only for happy or sad. I turn on every tv in our house to the game just in case I have to move around....I really concentrate on the game and would rather watch it on tv (sometimes I put a chair right in front of the tv) so that I can REALLY concentrate. If I start yelling at the tv...or start cheering too loud, Layla runs and hides. She doesn't get basketball...or football for that matter. But, she is cute!

    And, I heart Gary Williams. Lucky for me that I don't have any cupcake bets on this game...I'd be too nervous to bake! FEAR THE TURTLE!...know what I mean?

    Week 45: Happy 150th Birthday, Maryland...Vosges Chocolate Currie Coconut Cupcakes

    Today is the University of Maryland's celebration of it's 150th birthday! I think most of you know that's where I work (and play!). It's a great place...and today is Charter Day. So, I decided to make my cupcakes this week a birthday-type cupcake. I received some Vosges truffles for my birthday from my sister, Robin...OMG! they were awesome and the packaging was so beautiful.Then Catherine gave me some of the Vosges four 4-ounce packets of their chips. I used the Naga chips which contain curry powder, coconut flakes, and milk chocolate to make these cupcakes.

    I am so into chocolate right now. Yesterday, when I went to Safeway to get some stuff to make these cupcakes, I paid extra attention to the types of chocolate chips they had. I had to store up, you know? Needless to say, about $80 later, I was home with seven bags of chocolate chips: Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Guittard Choc-Au-Lait (so cute!) Chips, Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips, Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate (2 bags), and Nestle Mini Morsels (I love these)...chocolate bars: Scharffen Berger Bittersweet (70% cacao) and Scharffen Berger Semisweet (62% cacao), and cocoa: Scharffen Berger Cocao Unsweetened Powder. The aroma was devine. It's like being overwhelmed by nirvana! I'm telling you...this cupcake stuff is addicting!

    I Own 24 Boxes of Screaming Yellow Zonkers!

    A few days ago we found some info mentioning Screaming Yellow Zonkers being sold at Walgrens...which we don't have around here. That brought back memories of when we used to find them at...of all places...CVS (aka People's Drug Store)...as they say on the box...crispy light butter-glazed popcorn...the taste that speaks for itself! I immediately headed for the web and proudly typed in Screaming Yellow Zonker in the Google box and waited anticpating nirvana. And, there it was...second one down...Lincoln Snacks Company...right where they've been all this time. [Very satisified sigh]

    So, of course I had to order some, right? I just wasn't sure how many or what size...decisions, decisions...4 oz box (the box points out that this is "one eight thousand eight hundred fifty of a metric ton') or 8 oz box? I decided after much thought to get the 4 oz box because that sounded littler...what can I say? I've always had math anxiety. Next, how many? Oh Boy! The minimum order is 12 boxes. Okay. If they were small, then that wouldn't be very much for everyone. I order 24 boxes! What the heck!

    When I got home from work today there were two cartons on the front porch. Hmmmm. They were pretty big, too. Hmmm. Hauled them in the house and sure enough SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS! Awesome! And the 4 oz boxes? Very nice size...like a box of cereal size. Oh Man! 24 boxes. I was so excited to see them I took them out of the cartons and lined them up on the table...just like an old friend...24 of them.

    Here's some of the funny stuff on the side of the black box:

    1. Don't put them in a room with a beast. (How'd they know about Layla?
    2. Don't ignore them. (I really can't)
    3. Don't paint them blue.
    4. Don't lie to them. (Never)
    5. Don't leave them in a store.
    6. Don't buy them shoes.
    7. Don't let them talk to strangers. (I love that one)

    There's a note on the bottom of the box: This might be the bottom of the Screaming Yellow Zonkers box! There is one way you can check this. Open the top and turn the box upside down. If the zonkers fallout, this is the bottom. If they fallup, this is the top. If nothing happens, this box is empty.

    This is zonkers history from the web site, written in true zonkers form: Hey dudes! The outlandish spirit of the 1960's lives on with Screaming Yellow Zonkers®, the light, crunchy popcorn snack with the sunny yellow glaze. Zonkers became a favorite among those who craved sweetened popcorn but didn't dig nuts. ***so true ***The first item in the food industry to be packaged in black, Zonkers created a sensation because of its comical graphics and zany text. The spirit of the '60's lives on today in the updated version of the black box.

    Anyway, at this point there aren't 24 boxes any more. We've been raided and now we're down to 16. Make that 15...the one I have in front of me is almost empty. I'm heading for the basement with what's left. Have to find some place to stash these puppies....On second thought maybe I should hide them at my office...no, no...they eat anything there. I know, I'll just have to work the zonkers into some kind of cupcake! Screaming Yellow Zonkers: get zonked!

    Show Us Your Cupcakes, Cupcake!

    The good...the bad...and the ugly....we want to see them all on the new flickr group I've started called It's Your Cupcake, Cupcake. This one was posted by angineer. My idea for this group is that we would just have photos of cupcakes you yourselves make...no bakery cupcakes, no store-bought cupcakes, no friend's cupcakes...just your own cupcakes! So far we have 45 photos and 36 members. Pretty cool!

    So, come on Kim, Laura, Mom, Tom, Brian, Ellen, Mira, Kate, Surcie, Sandy, Melissa, Deb, Kevin, Sap, Autumn, Sue, Nancy, Sherri, Brodie (are you baking?), Kristi, Monette, Margaret, Corie, Jeff, Meghan, Catherine, Terry, Dianne, Marie, you too, Charlie, and all you others you are downloading recipes, baking those cupcakes and simply eating them...lay it on us. I know you're out there baking cupcakes...I really hope you're not spending all your time reading about them! Before they're snapped up by your family, friends, and/or co-workers, snap a couple of shots for us...use your cellphone, if you have to. We want to see your cupcakes!

    Here's all you have to do to post photos if you're not a flickr member: go to flickr.com and sign up as a member. It's free and you can upload all your photos for no cost and tell your family and friends to come and check them out! You can also have cool things made from your photos, like calendars, books, posters and stuff like that. Once you join flickr, you can join the cupcake group and post your cupcakes to it. If I can learn how to do this, so can YOU! If you are a member, just join the group and post away!

    In other words: You go, Gir! (I love Invader Zim, but heart Gir, because Gir loves (and misses) his cupcakes!