Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bringing Cupcake Wars to Work- June 2013


Velvet Princess - Rosanna




The Nugget - Jackie and Pam



Hydrangea Lemon - Julie


 Some workplaces host standard potlucks and gatherings…but not my workplace; we do Cupcake Wars…in true Cupcake Wars fashion! Official rules and all! Employees were encouraged to submit a cupcake entry as an individual or a team. Cupcake contestants were asked to bake 14 cupcakes; 12 for tasting, 1 for presentation; and 1 for final tasting. Cupcakes were judge 50% on taste and 50% on presentation (sound familiar?) by fellow colleagues on an official Cupcake Wars Scorecard. Eight cupcakes entered our workplace Cupcake Wars: Hydrangea Lemon, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Red Velvet, Salted Carmel, Vanilla Bean/White Chocolate Ganache, Bourbon Apple Pie, Meyer Lemon, and Firecracker! Roll out the red carpet! The event was amazing, unlike any other workplace activity…truly original! The room was decorated with incredible detail…cupcake pictures with recipes, cupcake lights, and the real “VIPs”… the cupcakes themselves. Cupcake War judges were greeted with a display table showcasing all the cupcake entrants with identification/description cards. Judges tasted each cupcake, and in the end, we had ourselves an official CUPCAKE CHAMPION…RED VELVET (pictured), submitted by our culinary expert Rosanna! My team cupcake, THE NUGGET, a vanilla bean cupcake with white chocolate ganache frosting topped with a pretzel, peanut butter, toffee crumble, was awarded second place (pictured). Hydrangea Lemon took third (pictured). I took the winning cupcake home with me that night and enjoyed it with a glass of Red Velvet Wine from Cupcake Vineyards (I know, I know, a perfect pairing). Rosanna’s baked goods have always been very special. She bakes with love and passion, and it shows. She always graciously shares her delicious, decadent desserts with colleagues. Rosanna named her cupcake VELVET PRINCESS. The Velvet Princess was “dress-up” in a purple and pink crown with sparkling jewels, coated with purple sugar and white pearl sprinkles, and adorned with a single white chocolate pearl…very elegant! The red velvet cake was a vibrant red color and was wrapped in a purple cupcake holder with yellow stars. The Velvet Princess was frosted with a buttercream icing with bits of pecans, which added a unique, and tasty surprise! Now if only every workplace had a Rosanna...that would be amazing! The Cupcake Wars event was fabulous, unique, and inspiring...a true crowd (and taste bud) pleaser! I encourage others to try it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cupcake a la Mode - Stuffed French Toast and ChocoLatte


Stuffed French Toast

ChocoLatte Cupcake

It’s officially Spring! Many of my Spring weekends are spent with family…Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bridal showers, baby showers, and weddings…these celebrations are full good food, good drinks, and good times! It’s a time where many of us enjoy Sunday brunches, with made-to-order omelets, waffles, bacon/sausage, and fresh fruit/veggies; and not to forget the all important mimosa or bloody mary…YUM! YUM! My next cupcake, and in this case, CUPCAKES (woot! woot!)recommendation comes to you in a timely fashion to help you celebrate all that is Spring. Drumroll, please…Stuffed French Toast and ChocoLatte cupcakes from Cupcake a la Mode! Originally from Kansas, I first wrote about Cupcake a la Mode in a September 2012 blog post. Since that post, Cupcake a la Mode opened up an additional location in Roseville, CA (off Eureka, next to Paul Martin’s American Bistro)…and I am so thankful! Seems like cupcakeries are starting the follow the “Siukola Girls”…what do you think Jenn?!...they definitely know their market! The Stuffed French Toast Cupcake is a vanilla cupcake filled with cream cheese icing, topped with a swirl of maple cinnamon buttercream icing, and dusted with powdered sugar. I love to dual icing on this cupcake; not only is this combo visually stunning, the taste is incredible…the cake is so moist and buttery. Like the Stuffed French Toast cupcake, the ChocoLatte cupcake also showcases dual-frostings – it’s a chocolate cupcake topped with mocha java buttercream and a swirl of French vanilla buttercream icing (like the milk foam of a latte), and a chocolate covered espresso bean on top (my nephew Jax always orders the ChocoLatte cupcake). Together, the Stuffed French Toast and ChocoLatte cupcake sounds like the perfect breakfast to me! During my most recent visit to purchase cupcake for my birthday celebration, I scored an amazing shirt that says “I run because I eat cupcakes!” Each cupcake is regularly priced at $3.25; however Cupcake a la Mode offers its cupcakes for $2 on Mondays! Also, this cupcakery is open late night (‘til 9pm) Thursday through Saturday…perfect for an after-dinner/after-movie treat. Check out the website for more details…http://www.cupcakealamode.com 


Beautiful Birthday Cupcakes
 



Friday, March 22, 2013

TreyBcakes - Sacramento, CA

TreyBCakes - Carrot Cake Cupcake
My next recommendation is in…and it’s a local Cupcake Wars finalist – TreyBcakes (http://treybcakes.com/cupcakes). TreyBcakes is a gourmet bakery and eatery located in midtown Sacramento. The first time I tried a TreyBcakes cupcake was at my best friend’s wedding in July 2012. At that time, I sampled one…and then two, mini carrot cupcakes. Immediately, I knew this cupcake was one to share…its hard to resist a creamy, buttery cream cheese icing! The smooth, slightly tangy cream cheese icing sprinkled with crumbled walnuts is a perfect, satisfying compliment to the texture-filled carrot cake. The golden-brown carrot cake contains warm spices, a nutty crunch, and vibrant orange shredded carrots. A definite must for cream-cheese/carrot cakes lovers like me! Want to sample a cupcake featured on Cupcake Wars? I recommend the Hawaiian German Chocolate cupcake. The moist chocolate cake is topped with a yummy, shredded coconut and macadamia-nut frosting! Delicious! Sorry….I wasn’t able to capture a picture of this cupcake; I was too excited, and maybe even star-struck, that I missed this opportunity…maybe I have to go back! My husband enjoys the LuLu cupcake - a rich chocolate cupcake dipped in chocolate ganache and filled with a fluffy marshmallow cream. TreyBcakes cupcakes are $2.75 and can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio or indoor lounge with lunch, a cup of coffee, or a friend.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

GiGi's Cupcakes - USA

Kentucky Bourbon Cupcake
Midnight Magic Cupcake
When it comes to cupcakes…some people say “It’s the CAKE!”…others say “It’s the FROSTING!” This next cupcake recommendation is specifically geared toward those on TEAM FROSTING! On work travels to Atlanta, I was “tasked” to locate a cupcakery near the hotel/meeting location….I know, I know, tough gig! Upon my Goggle search I came across Gigi’s Cupcakes. Aside from the fact that Gigi’s Cupcakes was located about a mile away from my meeting location, I also learned that several locations exist nationwide. Keeping in mind that I want this cupcake blog to expand to cupcakeries beyond my hometown, I thought visiting Gigi’s Cupcakes would be an exciting opportunity to provide a cupcake recommendation that would cross several statelines! Gigi’s Cupcakes can be found in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin…bummer no California!

Gigi’s Cupcakes (Sandy Springs, GA location) provided a very vibrant, energy-filled environment. I was immediately drawn to the “GIGI’S CUPCAKES” t-shirts…and of course purchased one and plan to wear it during my workouts! The cupcakery’s walls were decorated with oversized, yet elegant and fun cupcakes photos…even the cupcakery’s business hours were etched on glass within a cupcake-shape (this just made me smile…it’s the little things that can truly make the difference).

Now back to addressing those on TEAM FROSTING…With my enjoyment of cream cheese frosting, I ordered the Midnight Magic cupcake - White (offered everyday); a dark chocolate cake with chocolate chips, topped with a white cream cheese frosting sprinkles with mini chocolate chips. Immediately the Midnight Magic cream cheese frosting was a hit…the frosting’s texture was perfect and provided a nice balance of sweetness with cream cheesiness. The frosting’s creaminess was further complimented by the mini chocolate chips melting in my mouth…YUMMY! Yes, the frosting to cupcake ratio is about 2:1 on most of Gigi’s Cupcakes…but for those of you who sneak a spoon full of frosting out of a jar, and you know who you are, this is the place for you! Also tasty is Gigi’s white buttercream frosting…basically you be a kid again and lick the frosting like an ice cream cone!
 
Taking it one step further, I recommend trying the Kentucky Bourbon cupcake (offered Thursday and Saturday). This is a chocolate pecan pie cake spiked with bourbon, topped with a bourbon cream cheese frosting swirl and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips, pecans, caramel and ganache….is your mouth watering yet!? As I unwrapped the cupcake it stuck to the wrapper with caramelious goodness…the texture of the cake, with  pecan pieces and mini chocolate chips, was perfection. Just in time for Fall and the Holiday Season, this cupcake is very warm and cozy. ENJOY!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

CUPCAKE A LA MODE

Connolly's and Tompkins at Cupcake a la Mode!
Well I must first apologies to my followers…I have not posted a blog in several months, but please know that it has all been for a good cause: I have been out “field testing” or should I say “field tasting!” There are just too many cupcakes/cupcakeries and not enough time. Seriously, I have about 5 pending posts to share with everyone and I promise to make it all happen! The best advise I have received and can give is “Be calm and have a Cupcake!” My summer has been jammed packed with travels, work, and wifey/mother duties…Kennedy and I escaped Cali and headed for Kansas in July to spend time with the Connolly’s. My blog is intended to not only capture the best cupcakes but also the best cupcakeries…this includes cupcakes and cupcakeries outside of my hometown and outside of California. During my travels to Kansas, Jenn, Jax, Dane, Kennedy and myself went to Cupcake a la Mode (http://cupcakealamode.com/home) in Leawood, Kansas. The cupcakery is perfectly situated in a high-end, outdoor shopping plaza (similar to The Fountains, for you Roseville folks…ps I do think if any cupcakery opened a kiosk in The Fountains they would do really well…hint, hint)! What’s better than, shopping, outdoor concerts, great dining, and cupcakes?! Upon arriving at Cupcake a la Mode, I did do some research (yes, I am calling what I do research…there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make the blog happen)…I simply go to the cupcakery’s website and learn a little bit about it, like the owners, the history, the menu, and the overall vibe! In doing this, I learned that Cupcake a la Mode focuses on taking a simple vanilla and/or chocolate cake and transforming it into a cupcake masterpiece with a variety of toppings and signature frostings…I really love that about this place! Simple, yet irresistible! Cupcake a La Mode is a chic boutique-style cupcake cafe. They serve 20 different flavors of fresh-baked gourmet cupcakes as well as a variety of signature blended coffees and teas. As soon as you walk in to this cupcakery your senses will be positively overwhelmed with the scent of sweetness and freshness. The cupcake eating experience always goes beyond the cupcake itself , and extend to the environment in which you are enjoying the cupcake…Cupcake a la Mode provides that true cupcake experience! Each cupcake is regularly priced at $3.25, but if you go on a Monday, like I did, you can taste these delectable treats for only $2. I tried the Humming Bird and Gold Digger…I was absolutely impressed with the moistness of each cupcake and the texture…YUMMY! So if your travels ever take you to Kansas or you are a dedicated Cupcake Connoisseur like me and are ready to hop on a plane now…make sure you stop at Cupcake a la Mode!

The Humming Bird Cupcake

Look at all the Flavors!




Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cake Batter Delux - Cold Stone Creamery

Cake Batter Delux - Cold Stone Creamery
With summer approaching, it only appropriate that I inform you of a cupcake you can enjoy even in 100+ degree weather...it's the Cake Batter Delux cupcake from Cold Stone Creamery. Yes, from Cold Stone Creamery, which means it's an ICE CREAM cupcake! Check out these beauties at http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/cakes/cupcakes.html. Aside from ice cream being a favorite "food" of mine, when it’s combined and transformed into a cupcake...well, let's just say that makes for a very happy cupcake connoisseur. While Cold Stone offers other cupcake flavors (see below), I specifically encourage you to try the Cake Batter Delux! The cupcake transported me back to my childhood when my sister and I would wait for our mom to finish whisking the cake batter in the bowl and would hand us each our own whisk to lick-off...YUMMY! There is nothing like cake batter! The entire cupcake is edible, even the crunchy outer-shell chocolate cup. I am definitely a fan of this chocolate cup and think it’s quite ingenious. Taking a bite into the chocolate cup releases a smooth, refreshing, "melts-in-your-mouth," cake batter flavored ice cream, on top of a layer of red velvet cake, and fudge (also a bonus for this cupcake connoisseur).  The cupcake is topped with a bright, fluffy, not-overly-sweet pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles to make you smile and feel like a kid again. With the combination of cake and ice cream, the Cake Batter Delux is the perfect treat for summer and beyond! As with all other cupcake recommendations, let me know what you think! These cupcakes are a steal at $12.00 a six-pack (ps...they only come in a six-pack).

Other flavors you may enjoy:
Sweet Cream Cupcake: A rich Chocolate Cup filled with a layer of Yellow Cake, Fudge and Sweet Cream Ice Cream topped with fluffy White Frosting and Milk and White Chocolate Curls

Double Chocolate Devotion: A rich Chocolate Cup filled with a layer of Devil's Food Cake, Fudge and Chocolate Ice Cream topped with fluffy White Frosting and an OREO Cookie
 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Caramel Crunch - Smallcakes Cupcakery


Caramel Crunch - Smallcakes


Maybe a Cupcake will Help? Of course it will...especially this one. My next cupcake recommendation is the Caramel Crunch from Smallcakes Cupcakery http://smallcakescupcakery.com/ This little cupcakery holds a special place in my heart because the first cupcakery I visited under the "Smallcakes Family" was in Kansas (love the Connolly's)! In Kansas is where my sister bought me my "peace, love, cupcakes" t-shirt...and yes I wear it while I workout! The cupcakery is now open in partnership with Freshberry in Roseville, CA. In being linked up with Freshberry, this means Smallcakes cupcakes can be picked-up into the late evening...so I guess at this time, this is the closest alternative Northern California has to a "cupcake vending machine!"...hey I will take it! Caramel Crunch is one of Smallcakes core flavors. But, as you know from previous postings, these "core/everyday" flavors often require advance planning...so call-in and have one  (or two!) set aside! Visually, the cupcake is stunning...I love the simplistic elegance of the single, braided chocolate-covered pretzel gently placed on top of the crystallized sea salt, caramel frosting. The sea salt crystals SPARKLE! The Caramel Crunch cupcake is layered with flavors (chocolate, butter, caramel, and salt), each taking the stage at separate, yet cohesive times. This cupcake reminded me of one of my most favorite childhood candies...ROLOS! The chocolate cake is extra soft and the richness of the caramel frosting comes in the texture and form as the caramel found on candy-dipped apples. The pleasant, stickiness of the caramel frosting and crunchiness of the pretzel really  launch this cupcake to stardom! Try one today! PS...Caramel Crunch cupcake was a recommendation from a friend I followed up on...so please keep them coming!  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cocoa Velvet - Esther's Cupcakes

COCOA! COCOA! COCOA! ...Okay, now that I've got your attention, it time for my next cupcake recommendation....Cocoa Velvet from Esther's Cupcakes in Sacramento, CA (http://www.estherscupcakes.com/). After many years I hearing about Esther's Cupcakes. I finally made it in to bakery for a "little sample" (would you consider 4 cupcakes a sample?...I do)! The cocoa velvet is a chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese buttercream frosting. The cake itself is, if this is at all possible...light, moist, and dense! You can taste the freshness of the cocoa...imagine fresh cocoa being sifted and folded into the cake batter. The pleasant cocoa flavor provides a warmth...like hot cocoa...and remains with you even after the cupcake is gone! The cupcake is decorated with a simple, yet elegant edible chocolate flower on top of a nicely balanced cream cheese buttercream frosting (and not too soft...I think you already know how I feel about soft cream cheese frosting). I look forward to "sampling" more of Esther's Cupcakes including: savory sweet corn, peanut butter, strawberry shortcake, and coconut! Cupcake cost is $2.75.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Red Velvet - Icing on the Cupcake

Red Velvet - Icing on the Cupcake
My first cupcake recommendation is the RED VELVET cupcake from Icing on the Cupcake (IOTC) (http://icingonthecupcake.com/). Simply put, this cupcake began my cupcake obsession. Following the birth of my first child in 2009, I had cupcake cravings for this specific cupcake (yes…cravings even after pregnancy)! At that time IOTC had a single store in Rocklin, CA…since then this cupcakery has expanded to four separate locations in the greater Sacramento area…in fact their headquarters are only moments away from my residence…I know, dangerous! Even more convenient, Red Velvet is one of IOTC’s everyday flavors…but please be forewarned, if you wait too late in the day or do not call in your order, you may miss out. Okay, so back to the actual cupcake itself…really in one word it is AMAZING. The cake itself is always so moist and delicious with a subtle chocolate flavor. The cake really gives makes a sound like a sponge (squeeze it...and you will see). And WOW the red color of teh cake is strikingly beautiful and rich! The cupcake is topped with cream cheese frosting…absolute perfection…trust me. The frosting goes beyond perfection in taste and extends to perfection in texture as well. I have come across several cream cheese frostings that are way too soft and that is a flaw this cupcake connoisseur cannot overlook; IOTC has created a frosting that is creamy, yet is coated with a slight, delicately balanced sugary crunch. One of my favorite features of this specific cupcake is the tiny red sprinkles that are embedded in the cream cheese frosting…the sprinkles (and also the precious candy heart on top) truly put this cupcake over the edge. So whether you are new to the cupcake world or an experienced cupcaker, the Red Velvet cupcake from Icing on the Cupcake is an absolute must! Cupcake cost $2.75...also comes in babybites! LOVE IT!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to CONFETTI

I have decided to take my liking towards (or better yet, my obsession for) cupcakes to a whole new level and start a cupcake blog. Yes, you read that right, a CUPCAKE blog! Very appropriately I have named this blog “CONFETTI – a cupcake party” because that is exactly the true essence of a cupcake…a PARTY! CONFETTI will celebrate and honor the best of the best cupcakes. Not only will I share my absolute favorite cupcakes/cupcakeries and reasons for them getting my formal “stamp of approval,” I also invite you to tell me where I should visit and what I need to taste! CONFETTI is like “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives meets Cupcake Wars!” CONFETTI’s recommendations will extend beyond my hometown and will comment on taste, texture, and decorations. Let the fun begin!