Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes, Oh My!

This cupcake definitely caught my eye when I found it on the Food Network web site...I just had to try this. And, it was no small effort! First, you need to make extra-large cupcakes to get that strawberry in there. In fact, I used my new "Texas"=sized (XXXL) Cupcake tin! I was pretty sure that no one would actually appreciate eating a cupcake that large, at least in my family...except maybe James or John.

So, I only made two of the jumbo cupcakes and the rest I turned into the mini-byte-sized cupcakes. With these I just used the frosting on top and a small piece of strawberry on top of that. This the so is only confectioner's sugar, lime zest, fresh-squeezed lime juice. It was sooooo good, we ate it out of the bowl!

It was such a beautiful day today that we ate lunch on the deck for the first time this year. Layla joined us, of course. I haven't told you yet, but Layla, Nigel, Harry and Chuck had a photo session with Amanda Jones. She was here in the DC area for three days and we went on Friday morning. Here are some photos I shot of the photo shoot. It was awesome and we can't wait to see the proofs.

The recipe for the Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes is below. Have a great week and don't forget to eat a cupcake every day!

FLASHBACK: Last year at this time, we were making Chocolate Caramel Walnut Cupcakes.

Rock On!


Here's the recipe from the Food Network Kitchens:

Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes
makes 6 jumbo cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk


1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 drop green food coloring

6 large ripe strawberries, hulled

Green sanding sugar

Fresh mint leaves or candied leaves

Equipment: 6-cup jumbo muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then the vanilla.

While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients, then add all the milk, and follow with the rest of the dry ingredients. Take care not to over mix the batter. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared tin.

Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove. Cool on the rack completely.

For icing: Mix the confectioners' sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and mix with an electric mixer to make a firm but pourable icing. (If needed, add up to 1 teaspoon more juice, but take care if the icing is too loose it doesn't set properly.) Add food color to make a pale pastel green icing.

To assemble: Remove cupcake from its liner. Cut and remove a strawberry (coned) shaped portion of cupcake from the top of each cupcake, leaving about 1/2 to 1-inch of cake in the bottom. Stuff each cake with a strawberry and cover with a little bit of cake. Spoon and spread icing over the top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle with green sanding sugar. Top with small mint leaves or candied leaves.

Happy Virtual Birthday: Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Two birthdays on March 16 inspired these nephew... Chris... and John's girl friend... Kate... they don't know each other... but they both know me! Chris lives in Pittsburgh and Kate lives in Washington, DC. Kate actually got to eat some of these... unfortunately, Chris did not...sad face...but Chris did get a TMX Elmo from the Cupcake Queen and her peeps.

These babies ... from a recipe in 125 Best Cupcake Recipes, by Julie Hasson... do taste like brownies...same chew-ee-ness and everything. I knew they were going to be chocolate--ee, so I made lots of mini cupcakes and ony 6 regular sized ones for the guys. The girls loved the mini ones...just byte-sized! I frosted mine with her Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Frosting. I find that some peope love the chocolate/chocolate cupcake and some love the chocolate/vanilla cupcake. I prefer the chocolate/vanilla one most times.

Hasson says of this recipe: "How could I have a cupcake book without a brownie-inspired recipe in it? I couldn't, so here's a deliciously chewy and chocolaty cupcake that I am very pleased with. They'll disappear off the cooling rack faster than you can say, "Chocolate brownies." And, she was right!

Can you see who is in the shadow yearning for a cupcake? She didn't get a cupcake this chocolate for doggies...but she did get to have a tiny taste of the vanilla frosting. She's such a good doggie!

Cool Washington Post Article About Online Cupcakes!

Fun Article about buying cupcakes online In today's Washington Post Food Section!

Cupcakes That Click
The Obstacle for Online Bake Shops: Selling Customers on a Leap of Faith
By Kelly DiNardo
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 14, 2007;

Chocolate cupcakes, topped with a deep brown frosting and dotted with sprinkles, crowded one platter, alongside vanilla cupcakes covered with cloudlike swirls. Filling a second were large yellow cupcakes that had malt balls tucked into their ribbons of icing, and more chocolate cupcakes, this time with three-inch mounds of spun sugar crowning their tops. A rainbow of cupcakes with light brown, bubble-gum pink and crisp white buttercream overflowed off a third plate.

As each plate emerged from the kitchen, a chorus of oohs rang out. As each platter was set down, a jumble of observations -- "It looks like matted hair." "Oh! They're so pretty, I want one of each!" -- poured forth. And as each taster took another bite, the din of commentary grew.

"The frosting tastes like chocolate pudding." "It's like eating a stuffed animal."
"I like how dense and moist this one is."I had lured four friends, all online food writers, into an unofficial taste test. Nycci Nellis, 37, of; Amanda McClements, 28, of; Melissa McCart, 34, of CounterIntelligence; and Adam Bailey, 27, of had indulged in this sugary bacchanal to see whether they could taste the difference between online and storefront bakery products.

Such Web-based purveyors as,, and even have long offered a plethora of foodstuffs, from olive oils to cheeses to bonbons, online. Of-the-month clubs have delivered wine, bacon and potato chips to doorsteps every month since Harry & David started their Fruit-of-the-Month Club in the 1930s. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that U.S. online food and beverage sales will reach $7.2 billion in 2007, up from $6.2 billion in 2006. Food sales, though, are the smallest percentage of online commerce; in 2006 computer hardware and software topped the list, with projected sales of $16.8 billion.

Shipping speeds and plastic foam containers with ice packs have made it possible to send even perishable items. Shipping ice cream, however, still remains drastically different from mailing a dessert with a delicately whipped topping. Yet even for bakeries hawking fragile, frothy confections and wary of the "smushed" factor, selling their wares online is a growing business. For some, an online bakery is preferable to a traditional bricks-and-mortar shop.

"I can't imagine how much money it costs to have a storefront," says Krishna Brown, owner of, a Silver Spring-based online bakery. "I didn't have the funding to support an actual infrastructure, but I didn't think that should stop me."

Brown, 32, began selling her baked goods at the Arlington Farmers Market last May and had so much success she quit her full-time job doing Web design for the Peace Corps to open ShoeBox Oven in November. Now, each morning at 2 she takes over the kitchen at Ray's the Classics restaurant in Silver Spring and whips up desserts for wholesale and individual retail patrons. In the months she has been open, individual sales have fluctuated between four orders a week and more than 30 a week. The desserts are delivered the same day they are made, and pickups are available at both Ray's restaurants (the other is Ray's the Steaks in Arlington). While 85 percent of her business is for pickup or delivery, she has shipped by two-day mail to destinations as far away as Albuquerque.

ShoeBox Oven is one of the few solely online bakeries in the area, but other shops with traditional storefronts are looking to expand in that direction as well.

Within months of opening five years ago, CakeLove took phone orders and delivered buttercream cupcakes around the Washington area. In 2003, the U Street bakery began shipping other desserts, but it quickly discontinued the operation until about a year ago, when it began offering Box-O-Luv, a package containing brownies and a vanilla poundcake.

We don't have the facilities that are really required for shipping," says owner Warren Brown, 36, who plans to expand CakeLove's shipping business by midsummer. "When you go to a place that does ship, you see how much room they use; it's the size of two or three CakeLoves."
Teresa Velazquez, owner of Baked & Wired in Georgetown, has considered adding online ordering but remains cautious for different reasons.

"There's always that factor of not stretching yourself too far," says Velazquez, 43. "I don't want to lose the quality of the product in mass producing things. If I can do it and not sacrifice the quality, I would."

There are challenges besides shipping logistics and growing a business too quickly. Getting customers to make the leap of faith about buying an item they haven't seen or smelled might be the biggest hurdle for an online bakery. In fact, Forrester Research found that the main reason people don't like to shop for food online is that they like to see or touch food items before they buy them (the report didn't mention taste).

For just that reason, owners of the new Alexandria bakery Buzz have thought about adding online ordering but decided against opening an exclusively online bakery. The bakery is part of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, a local chain of restaurants that include Tallula, Vermillion and Rustico.
"Part of the bakery experience is to see and smell the products being made," says co-owner Michael Babin, 39. "We have a kitchen that allows that. We have things out to taste. That's all part of the experience."

Taking that leap of faith was the biggest hurdle for our Web-savvy tasters, who all agreed they would order online -- but only from a storefront shop they already knew, liked and trusted. Nellis, the only one to have ordered from an online bakery before, epitomized why. She bought something sight unseen -- well, unseen in person -- and got burned.

"I ordered these beautiful cupcakes for my son's birthday," Nellis says. "They looked just like they did on the Web site, but unfortunately they were tasteless. To spend that kind of money on cupcakes that didn't taste good wasn't worth it."

ShoeBox Oven's Brown has found most of her sales are by word of mouth: Customers she met at the farmers market or who made the leap tell their friends about their experience. Not having a storefront does pose challenges for Brown, who says she plans to return to the Arlington Farmers Market again this year.

"I can't wait for the market to open up again so I can gauge my customers' responses," she says. "It's a test kitchen of sorts. We use them as guinea pigs. We were able to see what worked, what didn't work."

As for what worked and didn't for our four tasters, well, they all knew which desserts had come from ShoeBox Oven. Our tasters thought the exaggerated presentation, the slightly crushed spun sugar topping and a "prepared" flavor gave ShoeBox Oven away. The group sampled cupcakes -- something everyone carried, which made comparing easier -- from Baked & Wired, CakeLove and ShoeBox and thought Baked & Wired was tops for its moist cakes and cream cheese frosting.

After tasting the cupcakes, the group looked at the Web site for ShoeBox Oven and thought the "over-the-top" cupcakes made sense because they needed to make a visual impact. In person, the cupcakes were "impressive initially" but came off as "overdone." For now, all four prefer to wander into a traditional bakery, press their noses against the glass cases, take a whiff and see which decadent confection calls out to them.

White Mountain Chocolate Cupcakes...and One Turtle!

Inspiration smacked me right in the face...not once but three get me to make these cute cupcakes from Elinor Klivans' cupcakes! book: her photograph of the cupcakes she'd made, the thought of chocolate and sour cream together, and, finally, the challenge of making Seven-Minute Frosting! As if that weren't enough...I got inspired about what to put them in. So, I rummaged around for the little flower pots that I just knew I'd seen somewhere on some shelf in my house somewhere! I managed to find 5 of them. Ok. That was a start. Then I remembered that I had those pink mini-cups...made out of paper. I ended up with 20 of those guys. Then what? I found 1 of the smallest little flower pots...smaller than the rest... and used that, too.

The Seven-Minute Frosting (SMF) turned out to be pretty easy, but it really takes SEVEN minutes to beat it up! I was beginning to doubt that it was going to "happen"...I checked the timer and it said that 6:34 minutes had gone by and it was still not as thick as I thought it should be. But, in the last thirty seconds it all firmed up. Then I added the vanilla and almond, whipped it a little bit more and there it was....nice and puffy AND thick!

Layla really wanted a bit of these...she was stuck to my side the entire time I was baking. She's really amazing...she stays completely focused on the task of first making the cupcakes and then making the frosting and then putting the frosting on and then taking the photos. She's extremely patient and doesn't carry a grudge because she can't eat chocolate! Ok. I did give her some of the fluffy meringue-like frosting!

Surcie made me go to Target and spend more money on this Turtle...just kidding....she knows that I love the the TERPS...and, I only needed a little push to head over to Tar-shay as we like to call it.

These were a big hit at the office...the turtle is made of individual cupcakes. You can buy it in the baking section of Target!

Rock On!


Painting the Amy Sedaris Tattletail's Vanilla Cupcakes!

Somehow those little guys got out of the box last night and I found them this morning adding another color to the Amy Sedaris "Tattletail's Vanilla Cupcakes" I'd made earlier in the day. They are from her book I Like's so funny. I also made her "Tattletail's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting" to go along with them and frosted some white and some lilac. When I woke up I found the painters at work adding a spot of green...hmmmmm...the must have had some left over paint from their last job!

I don't know if you have her book or not, but it is really hysterical...I received it for Christmas from my good friend, Meg, who loves to try out new things and is into knitting beautiful scraves. I have never read a recipe written the way Amy wrote hers. It's a bit of a guessing game, but as she says "I like to take chances." Me, too!

The cupcakes were a huge success! They are a little bit crunchy around the top edges and the rest of the cupcake is moist and dense, as opposed to some others I've made that are very light. These cupcakes have authority! They practically scream VANILLA! VANILLA! Next time I'm going to try them with her Dusty's Chocolate Buttercream Frosting....maybe I won't be able to wait until next week to do it!

I found these little pots at Ikea yesterday and thought they would make cute cupcakes...I sprayed the inside with PAM w/ flour before I put the batter in and they fell right out when it was time to pop one in....your mouth...that is! The frosting was, again, a pretty funny recipe. Pour everything in a whip it up. It tastes divine!

I can see why Amy's cupcakes were voted second in New York City by New York Magazine...they are delish! More photos are on my flickr place: photos by the cupcakequeen.

Here are the recipes for both the vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting as quoted from her book:

Tattletail's Vanilla Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. You will need: Unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, flour, milk.

Put 1-1/2 sticks of butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in 1-1/2 cups of sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. I like to crack the eggs on the side of the bowl while it is moving, which can be really stupid. I like to take chances. Yes, I have had to throw away my batter because I lost eggshells in the mix. Yes, it was a waste of food and yes, I know how expensive butter is, but what can I say? I'm a daredevil. Mix well. Add: 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla, 2-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 21/2 cups of flour, and 1-1/4 cups of milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 24 cupcakes; I get 18 because I'm doing something wrong, although my cupcakes were voted second best in the city by New York magazine.

Tattletail's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

In a bowl, combine 1 box (1 pound) of confectioners' sugar, 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of milk or light cream and beat for a while. Really whip it, don't be afraid to get in there. I occasionally add food coloring and sometimes substitute pure almond extract for vanilla.

If you do choose to add pure almond extract instead of vanilla, you're on your own. I don't know the measurement for it, but I do know it's less than the amount of vanilla you would add.

Hope you enjoy them!


Cupcake Queen Makes Cake! Terps Beat Duke..Again!

All I can say is "Let Them Eat Cake"....I don't know whether to write about the cake or the win...hmmmmm. Okay, it's the cake first! So, the Wilton cake decorating class we were taking is over :( ...last night was week four. We all brought cakes to decorate in our last class. We've enjoyed the most awesome teacher. Her name is Jalaika. She'll be teaching the second class we're taking in April. I decided to make my vanilla cake have two frostings...chocolate on one side and vanilla on the other...the only problem became was that then you have to eat two pieces, because you just can't decide which flavor you want...and, guess what? You don't have to just eat both!

Last night we finished learning how to make the's a three week process we built up to. And, we also learned how to make the ribbon bow and some leaves! It was a great class.

And, the other great thing that happened last night...the Cupcake Queen's Terps beat Duke...we were soooooo happy. So, I just had to post a couple of photos of our guys! They are so "red hot" right now. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that they keep winning. The contributions came from everywhere. Ibekwe also scored 17 points, freshman point guard Greivis Vasquez scored 13 points, had 12 assists and nine rebounds in 37 minutes! Go Terps...and don't forget to FEAR THE TURTLE!

Rock On!