Yappy Hour with Cupcakes

MAS Rescue (Maryland Animal Sanctuary Rescue) is a volunteer and foster-based animal rescue that is very special to me because my husband, Ken, and I adopted our wonderful puppy (now almost two years old) from them. We can’t thank them enough for caring so much about her before she found her forever home with us. On the first Tuesday of every month they host an event called “Yappy Hour” where people can meet some of the dogs looking for new homes and purchase wine and/or beer to support MAS Rescue (a dollar of each sale goes directly to the rescue). Last week, in addition to beer and wine, they were selling Guinness and Baileys cupcakes donated by Honey Bee Delights.

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This flavor was very appropriate since St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner. Once I heard that this month’s Yappy Hour would have cupcakes, I knew I would be stopping by after work to try one and support my favorite rescue. The cupcake was made with a Guinness chocolate cake base, Baileys Irish Cream frosting, and topped with green sugar sprinkles. They were being sold for $2 each and a hundred percent of every sale was going towards the rescue.

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If I’m being honest, this wasn’t my favorite Guinness and Baileys cupcake, but the standards have been set pretty high. The cake had a nice stout flavor and was light and fluffy, but was a bit dry. The frosting seemed to have a cream cheese base and I was having trouble tasting any Irish cream in it.

Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I was happy to support MAS Rescue and try cupcakes from a new baker at the same time. I would definitely go to the next Yappy Hour for a drink and to buy more cupcakes from Honey Bee Delight, knowing that it’s going towards a great cause.

If you want to learn more about MAS Rescue and Yappy Hour, please visit their website or Facebook page.

– Review by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Green, Green, and More Green! Gotta Love St. Patty’s Day!

What could possibly make St. Patrick’s Day any better when you already get to wear green, act a bit crazy, drink lots of beer, and eat your weight in corned beef, cabbage and potatoes? You guessed it! Cupcakes!

Local bakeries and cupcakeries seemed to have a ton of fun this year with St. Patty’s Day offering everything from Chocolate Mint, Green Velvet, Irish Cream, Guinness, and even Corned Beef and Cabbage cupcakes. Below is a sampling of some that the Crusaders were fortunate to try!

“Car Bomb” Cupcake from Hamilton Bakery – Baltimore, MD

This cupcake screamed “GUINNESS” and “BAILEYS!” The cake was moist and rich, and the frosting was not sweet, but instead, it was buttery and very booze-infused. I’ve had several cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery, and this is my favorite so far!

Irish Cream Cupcake from Kupcakes & Co. – Elkridge, MD

Kupcake & Co. paired their amazing chocolate cake with a sweet and smooth Irish Cream frosting. The frosting was so flavorful that there’s no need to sit down with an after dinner Baileys on the rocks when you have this cupcake.

Green Velvet Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Crusader Jenn said that while the green cake on this Starry Night cupcake was really fun and festive, unfortunately it didn’t have much flavor that she could pinpoint. But her exact words about the frosting: “The chocolate ganache…oh the ganache! So good!” I’d say that she enjoyed it.  😉

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Some may argue that this is not a real cupcake due to its savory nature, but as always Starry Night stepped outside of the box and offered up something different. This Smithwicks cupcake was topped with corned beef in a Guinness glaze and finished with whipped potatoes & cabbage. Crusader Jenn said that it was the perfect pre-dinner appetizer!

We hope that you were able to enjoy some fun green-themed cupcakes this St. Patty’s Day! If so, share them with us!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Elisa’s “From Scratch” Baking Experiment: Car Bomb Cupcake

Who doesn’t love St. Patrick’s day? Wearing green, drinking beer, eating cupcakes? St. Patrick’s Day happens to be one of my favorite holidays, so in honor of it, this month I decided to create a Car Bomb cupcake. As I said in my previous post, all of the cupcakes I bake from scratch will include a filling, and this cupcake is no exception.

First I had to find a Guinness cake recipe; trusty Foodnetwork.com comes through again with this Chocolate Stout Cupcake recipe. Then came the icing – of course this had to be a Bailey’s liquor icing, and after searching a bit I settled on this Bailey’s Buttercream recipe. In my experience, Jameson Irish Whiskey is sometimes the ingredient that people forget is in a traditional car bomb, thus, I found my filling! But wait, how do I fill a cupcake with a liquor liquid? Jelly of course! While searching for a recipe, I stumbled upon this site and found everything I needed to know about making jelly! I decided I’d try it out (and figured if all else failed, I could make a Jameson ganache filling instead).

After gathering my ingredients, which included a $9.99 box of 24 packs of gelatin powder – ouch! – I was ready to bake!

The cake recipe was very tricky and seemed in the wrong order to me. I had to melt the stick of butter (what?!), add it to the stout, then mix in the eggs… only later did the dry ingredients come into play, and even then the batter seemed very runny. I followed it religiously though, as time and again, following the recipe has served me well. However, being so flustered, I completely forgot to take a picture of the batter! (Photo FAIL.)

While the cupcakes were baking I worked on the “Jameson Jelly.” Following the gelatin directions carefully, I realized that I would have to fill the cupcakes the next day because the jelly would need time to set. Urgh. I should really have read ahead and figured out the best order in which to do things. I did, however, figure out how to keep the alcohol in the jelly, which was exciting for me because I believe you lose some of the flavor when you boil out the alcohol. (The trick is to use the Jameson as the “cold” factor in the recipe, then use something else as the hot element. I cut the recipe in half, using only 2 packets of gelatin, 1/2 cup of cold Jameson and 1.5 cups of boiling water.) None of this was very exciting or pretty, so I decided to skip taking pictures of brown liquid in a bowl, thus no photo.

Even though I wouldn’t be able to ice the cupcakes, I decided to go ahead and make the icing that night as well. Easy and simple, this icing might be the best icing I have ever tasted! I licked the beater clean and even snuck a spoonful before I put it all in a ziplock bag, and put the cupcakes into tupperware, to wait for assembly the next day.

Sure enough the Jameson jelly set up… but was much more like Jell-o than Jell-y, but tasted perfectly like Jameson. Hum… I paused for a moment, thinking, “Well, this is where I am going to fail this cupcake test.” But then again, why couldn’t I just fill the cupcakes with bits of the Jameson Jell-o? It dawned on me: I was adding a Jell-o Shot to my car bomb cupcake! Ha!

After filling and icing the cupcakes I used my fancy icing knife/tool that Stacy gave me to flatten out the icing to make it look more like beer foam. Then I mixed up some of the leftover icing and green food coloring to create some St. Patty’s day themed decorations. This might be the failure of this cupcake. While I have a fantastic ability to draw just about anything (thank you creative ability), icing does not act like a pencil or even a paint brush. They weren’t all total disasters, but none of them were very pretty either. It just goes to show I need more practice, and maybe even a decorating class! (Stacy has been talking about going to one, and I now I am really set on joining her!)

Then was the taste test. WOW. I was afraid the jelly would cause a weird texture issue, but non of my co-workers or myself minded it! Each flavor stands out on their own and works together to create the perfect Car Bomb Jell-y filled cupcake! Another baking success! (I’m starting to feel as though I am on a roll!) And I think the cupcakes were so good that no one minded the bad piping job either! 🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone! I hope you all have the pleasure of toasting to the day and perhaps having a car bomb of your own!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa (Baltimore, MD)