Everyone Wins with La Casa de Sweets!

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This year the Crusaders were unable to host a Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry like we did last year. However we still wanted to help out Jackie, from La Casa de Sweets reach her goal. When she posted the menu for her pre-order bake sale, we couldn’t resist. First, a dozen cupcakes were only $20. Wow! Secondly, the flavors sounded amazing. I decided to throw a dozen cookies on top of my order, because those also sounded too good to pass up.

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I’m so glad I followed my instincts with these cookies. All of them were chewy! I’ve told Jackie before that it seems like magic when a baker makes a cookie that stays chewy for days. The Peanut Butter Oatmeal was gluten-free and I never would have guessed it. Neither did my daughter or husband who gobbled them up. The Fudgy Brownie cookies had a thin crunchy exterior, but were very soft on the inside and just melted in my mouth. And the Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies, which I first tried when Jackie donated a couple dozen to our Passionately Pink Bake Sale, were the most perfect chocolate chip cookies you could imagine.

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La Casa de Sweets’ cupcakes can all be summed up by a quote from my husband after trying the Chocolate Salted Caramel, “La Casa de Yum.” The chocolate cake was moist and even with a generous drizzle of caramel, the cupcake wasn’t overly sweet. For me, it was a harmonious balance of flavors.

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Have I mentioned before that I LOVE lemon cupcakes? I’m sure I have, but if not, well…I LOVE lemon cupcakes. And La Casa de Sweets’ version sits at a high ranking. The cake on the Lemon Mascarpone cupcake was on the dense side, but not dry. I found the lemon flavor to be refreshing (not artificial), not overly sweet, and perfectly tart.

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I have a secret about the last cupcake, Chocolate Peanut Butter: I didn’t tell my husband that it was egg and dairy free. He still doesn’t know (well, maybe now he does). Chocolate and peanut butter combinations are his favorite, so I wanted to get an unbiased review from him. All I got was a bunch of caveman like sounds, that resemble, “MmmHmmm.” With that, I’d have to say he was completely satisfied. The chocolate peanut butter cake was more moist than the Chocolate Salted Caramel, which was hard to believe. The cupcake was rich, decadent, and bursting with flavor, even though from its appearance it seemed like a simple cake with just a glaze on top.

Even though I felt like I was the winner, with these cupcakes and cookies as my prize, La Casa de Sweets met their goal, raising over $1,000 in one week for No Kid Hungry, through bake sale purchases and donations. That’s amazing!

It isn’t too late to donate. If you’d like to help out, please visit La Casa de Sweets’ donation page. Thanks!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

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From Baking Memories to Cupcakes for Gayle King: Q&A with Michelle Kupiec, Owner of Kupcakes & Co.

If you follow us, you already know that Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) is one of our favorite cupcake spots. Not only do they produce a consistently delicious cupcake, the employees are friendly and helpful, the selection is beyond amazing, they are always looking for ways to expand their offerings and improve, and they take every opportunity to give back to the community.

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(New cupcake flavors: French Toast in the back and Black Cherry in the front.)

Our first visit was back in the winter of 2011, during their Cupcakes with Santa event, and it was love at first sight. During our frequent visits since then, we’ve gotten to know the “family” including Michelle, whose hands on approach, kindness, and enthusiasm is no doubt one of the reasons that we are always greeted with a smile from the Kupcakes’ team.

We wanted to get to know Michelle a little better, so she agreed to answer some of our questions. We hope you enjoy getting to know her and Kupcakes & Co. better too!

Michelle_wGirlsYou are very involved in organizing fundraising events throughout the year. What are some the organizations you support and why do you think it is important give back to the community?
We support the Blossoms of Hope Foundation of Howard County. This is a foundation that helps women who are struggling and coping with breast cancer. We have created a special, Blossoms of Hope cupcake that we give back 50% of the sales to during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. We also help out at their Pretty in Pink event in April as well. Another foundation we support is Team Fight, The Ulman Cancer fund for young adults. We have created a Team Fight cupcake that we bake for them for their Blue Jeans Ball and give back a portion of the proceeds to that as well. We also have a huge fundraiser called Kupcakes with Santa when we donate 100% of the profits back to the Howard County General Hospital, where one of my twin daughters spent 5 years. Our weekly donations of cupcakes go to the Route 1 Homeless Shelter, The Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and the Love Mission of Howard County. These people would never have the opportunity to try our cupcakes, so it feels wonderful being able to give them some of our sweet treats each and every week! We feel it is so important to give back to our community and help those in need. There is always going to be a time in our lives that we need the support from others and at Kupcakes & Co. giving back is a huge part of what we are all about.

On your website, you talk about baking with your mother while growing up. What is one of your favorite baking memories with her?
My mom is my inspiration, my hero, my best friend! She and I always had so much fun baking in the kitchen together.

My most memorable experiences with her are baking our famous pound cake. It was super delicious, from scratch and we always had fun, laughing and carrying on in the kitchen! We used to say that no matter what, if we were in the kitchen together, we could get through anything! She also used to let me experiment with ingredients all of the time and never minded if some of my creations turned out a little crazy! She was super supportive of me then and continues to be everyday!

You also mention that you began baking with your daughters from an early age. What were some of the first things you taught them in the kitchen, and can you offer any tips for other parents who’d like to start baking with their children?
Allie and Amanda always loved being in the kitchen baking with me! We baked Christmas cookies together from scratch and I used the same recipes that my mom passed down to me. Sugar cookies were their favorites because they could be so creative and make such a mess. They would spend hours making and rolling out the dough, then cutting out the cookies and finally decorating their masterpieces. We also loved to bake sweet treats for all of their teachers – it was such a tradition that the teachers could not wait for their gift from Allie and Amanda each holiday because they knew they were going to be baked with love! The tips I would recommend would be to have PATIENCE, allow for lots of creativity, don’t mind the mess and by all means…have FUN 🙂

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(Wedding cake and cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

What is your favorite tool in the kitchen?
My favorite tool is my cupcake scoop. The reason is that we have tried hundreds and hundreds of cupcake recipes and my scoop is just a daily reminder of how far we have come! Each time we try out a new recipe, the same excitement is there for me: How will it turn out? How can I make it better? How will everyone like it?

You recently began expanding the line of baked goods you offer at Kupcakes & Co. Besides cupcakes, what is your next best seller?
Our gourmet cookies are huge sellers at Kupcakes & Co. My daughter, Amanda, who attends the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) shared with us one of their secret CIA recipes for Sweet & Salty cookies and we can’t bake then fast enough. Also, our Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies are great sellers as well – that recipe was given to me from my very best friend, who lives in Maine. It has been in her family for years! Biscotti, coffee cake and scones are also yummy treats we sell. I also have to mention that we are selling so many cakes now. We have such talented bakers/pastry chefs at Kupcakes & Co. and we are getting more and more calls everyday for cakes. We average about 8 cakes a weekend – some very simple and some very elaborate!

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(Fun and beautiful decorated cakes. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

Do you have any other goodies you are working on that you can give us a sneak peek of?
We are coming up with seasonal goodies all of the time. We just introduced our spring Lemon Wedding cookies and our cupcake clients seem to love them. Also, for Easter we made sugar cookie sandwiches, shaped liked bunnies and filled with ganache. We just had a client ask us to make cannoli for her wedding this summer, and we said, “No problem!” We are really expanding our sweet indulgences and are proud of the feedback we get from our customers.

With so many wonderful flavors already, how did you come up with the idea to offer an additional boutique line of cupcakes?
We have almost 70 signature cupcake flavors that we are very proud of. Our customers have been asking for filled cupcakes for a while now. We really worked very hard on this concept and decided that a Boutique line of filled cupcakes would be a perfect complement to our signature line. Since we use only the finest ingredients, we knew they had to have the WOW factor and we could not be more thrilled by the comments and feedback we get from our customers! We try and surprise our clients right before our newest 3 flavors come out and have them guessing the flavors. Our newest 3 Boutique cupcakes debuted last Friday and Saturday, right before Easter and the theme is PIES! Oh yes, they are going to knock everyone’s socks off! We are super thrilled about this.

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(Current line-up of Boutique Cupcakes including Coconut Cream on the left, Key Lime on the top right, and Boston Cream on the bottom right. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

We have to ask…what is YOUR favorite cupcake flavor?
Well, I have a few for sure… but my most favorite vanilla based cupcake is our Keylime. I love the tangy and fresh key lime buttercream and I have such fond memories creating it with my dear Amanda! My most favorite, chocolate based cupcake is Salted Caramel. The sweet & salty taste complement one another so well and I love the richness of the chocolate cake! My most favorite Boutique flavor is definitely, Brownie Batter – one taste and you will know why! The gooey brownie center and brownie buttercream is pure bliss!

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(The retired previous line-up of Boutique Cupcakes, including Michelle’s favorite: Brownie Batter in the front.)

Lastly, you’ve had a lot of neat things happening at Kupcakes & Co. Can you share with us some of your favorite or most exciting orders?
Some of our favorite orders include all of the baby reveal cupcakes and cakes we do! The parents to be come in so super excited to give us a sealed envelope with their sonogram in it and we wait until they leave, then open it and scream…BOY or GIRL! We then stuff their cupcakes with either blue or pink buttercream and we are also so thrilled to be a smart part in all of this excitement.

We have had two very thrilling deliveries in the past two weeks. One was to NYC for a Premiere Party for Andrew Jenks, an amazing young filmmaker who produces and is on his show, “World of Jenks.” He showcases the lives of teens struggling with something and gets real with them on each episode he does. He also just wrote a book on his amazing life and it was his birthday as well. He ordered our cupcakes to help celebrate at his party and we were thrilled to be  part of it all! We made custom cupcakes for him in his favorite colors (ORANGE AND BLUE FOR THE NEW YORK KNICKS!) with his favorite NYC sayings!

Last weekend we did another delivery to NYC, this time a special secret delivery to Gayle King, Oprah’s bff. Her assistant editor of O magazine is the daughter of the doctor that delivered my twin daughters, Allison and Amanda! Dr. Davis came to Kupcakes & Co. and asked if we would deliver cupcakes to Gayle, thanking her for all that she does for his daughter, Arianna. We of course said, “SURE!”

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(Photos taken by Kupcakes & Co. during their most recent delivery to Gayle King in NYC. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

We got to meet with Arianna and she was very interested in “our story” and how much paying it forward we do. She texted me later to say that Gayle LOVED all of the cupcakes (we brought her 4 dozen to share with her staff) and her favorite was the Pancakes & Bacon! She also mentioned that she would definitely like to keep us in mind for stories that may fit into one of O’s magazine articles one day on Women in Business!

We want to thank Michelle for taking the time to answer our questions. We always love seeing a business who genuinely cares about the community and their customers grow and succeed. If you stop in, please tell them the Crusaders say hi!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Quaint Little Bakery in a Quaint Little Town | Roy’s Bakery, Williamsport, PA

Crusader Jenn shared the details of our most recent annual girls’ camping weekend trip, in her post for Campfire Cupcakes, and like her, it’s something I look forward to every year. I mean, good friends, tons of food, a decent amount of wine, and lots of laughter. What’s not to love? Due to some last minute changes (hurricane damages to the cabin we initially rented), we happily found ourselves in the same town, and the same cabin, as two years ago in Williamsport, PA. One difference was that this year I came prepared with some research on where we could get cupcakes (I’m sure this shocks you. No?).

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Roy’s Bakery is a “mom and pop” bakery that was highly recommended by one Yelp reviewer. It has been around for over 60 years, so they must be doing something right. Right? Well they are, but unfortunately it wasn’t their cupcakes that impressed us.

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(The newest members to our girls’ trip, Freya and Leah, ogling the goodies at Roy’s.)

With so many treats available it was impossible for us to just try their cupcakes. Collectively the three of us ended up leaving with the following bounty: three cupcake-shaped sugar cookies, a chocolate and peanut butter cookie cup, two peanut butter cookie sandwiches, two whoopie pies (red velvet and pumpkin), and three cupcakes (chocolate/chocolate, vanilla/vanilla, and a jumbo-sized red velvet).

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With a small town bakery I was hoping to get cupcakes that had a nice homemade quality, but these just didn’t live up to my expectations. Overall the flavors where bland and Crusader Elisa said the cake on the red velvet cupcake was really dry. They were a big disappointment, but with that disappointment came delight over all the other treats we selected.

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Crusader Jenn said the chocolate peanut butter cup and peanut butter cookie sandwich were both really good (still not as good as La Casa de Sweet‘s or Kupcakes & Co.‘s, but good nonetheless); however, Elisa really loved the sugar cookies and her peanut butter cookie sandwich, and she and I couldn’t believe how good the whoopie pies were. They were the complete opposite from the dry lackluster cupcakes. The moist flavorful cake seemed to add more dimension to the sweet frosting which appeared to be the same used on their cupcakes. How the two products, made of the same components, could be so vastly different is beyond me, but I’m glad they were because they redeemed this sweet family owned bakery located in a pleasant little town along the Susquehanna River.

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

Passionately Pink Bake Sale Success!


(Crusader Stacy and myself at our bake sale table. Look at all that pink!)

For Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Cupcake Crusaders wanted to do something to help the cause. You may have noticed that we decided to “Go Pink” on our Facebook and Twitter pages, but that’s not all we wanted to do. On October 28th, we held a bake sale at Horizon Church in Reisterstown, MD, to raise money for Susan G. Komen’s Passionately Pink, which encourages fun ways to get the community involved.


(Full view of our table with all our baked goodies.)

After our last bake sale to raise money for No Kid Hungry, there was a lot of excitement to have the Crusaders back, which made us feel really good. There was a nice variety of treats, including cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and Rice Krispie treats.


(Some of our bake sale items included: brownies – some with M&Ms, pecans, and peanut butter chips; mini chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla buttercream frosting; and pumpkin spice cookies with white chocolate chips.)

Jackie from La Casa de Sweets was kind enough to donate 2 dozen chewy chocolate chip cookies, and they were some of the best cookies I’ve ever had! Our mom also made 4 dozen brownies!


(Cookies from La Casa de Sweets, which sold out!)

Crusader Stacy made her (now famous) Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes, and dressed them up with pink wrappers and sugar crystals for the occasion.


(Crusader Stacy’s Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes.)

I tested out a new recipe, Sprinkle’s Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream, which we’ll be posting a full review of soon.


(My Strawberry cupcakes with naturally pink cake and frosting.)

The bake sale was a huge success and we nearly sold out of everything. We raised much more then we anticipated: $132 in sales and $65 in donations, for a total of $197.00! We would like to give a big thanks to our Horizon friends and family who were so generous in their support. In total, we raised $254 dollars thanks to donations to our Passionately Pink page! If you’d like to help out, it’s still not too late to donate. Check out our Passionately Pink fundraising page…every little bit helps.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!