Healthy Cupcakes: Italian Wedding Cake Re-make

Continuing with her healthy crusade, Rebecca has another recipe for cupcakes with fewer calories and less guilt then their original recipe.

One of my favorite cupcakes, that I have not had in a while, is the “Italian Wedding Cake” cupcake from IcedGems bakery. This pineapple almond shortening cake with cream cheese frosting is light, fluffy, decadent, and flavorful. I knew I wanted to recreate these flavors for my next “lightened up” recipe, so I decided to try a few new substitutions to recreate the almond, pineapple, and coconut flavors of the Italian Wedding Cupcake.

To make the cake, I started with a basic white cake mix and used a can of crushed pineapple in juice (not heavy syrup). The additional moisture from the pineapple was going to be my oil substitute. I did include 2 eggs in this recipe to ensure that the cake would rise. For added texture, I included ¼ of a cup of coconut flakes and ¼ of a cup of crushed pecans. Once it was well mixed, I added 2 tablespoons of almond extract, to really give it that almond kick I was looking for!

I recently found new cupcake baking cups that wouldn’t “fade” after baking and was very excited to test them out! So while the cakes were baking in the new StayBright baking cups, I moved on to the frosting.

IcedGems’ cream cheese frosting is rich and thick, like cheesecake, so I wanted to try and create a cheesecake flavor, without the added sugar and cream cheese. I used an 8oz. container of Whipped Weight Watchers Cream Cheese, mixed with sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix that had been dissolved in 8oz. of skim milk. The texture was similar to very thick pudding, but it had a nice cream cheese flavor. The pudding mix served as a wonderful, alternative to sugar in this recipe, cutting back on the calories and WW points!

This recipe made 24 cupcakes and remained at 4 Points, which is very reasonable for a dessert. I was very pleased with the flavors and texture and would make this recipe again, though the next time IcedGems is featuring their Italian Wedding Cake, I will be sure to stop by the truck for one!

– Recipe by our Healthy Guest Crusader, Rebecca (Baltimore, MD)

Advertisements

Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Kupcakes & Co. | Elkridge, MD

Every Tuesday through the month of March we began counting down our Top 5 favorite cupcake places outside of Baltimore City and today, we are finally at #1! In order to make sure we did the proper research and included places that would “qualify” we decided that any place that was within a 45 minute drive from the Baltimore City boundary would be included. If you don’t see a place that you think should have been featured in our Top 5 let us know! We do our best to research where the cupcakes are, but there is no better way to find out than a recommendation!

We can’t say enough great things about Kupcakes & Co., located off Meadowridge Road in Elkridge, MD. Their little shop (which you can find around the back of a small shopping center) is stylishly decorated in their signature pink and black and features a custom built cupcake display case.


(Love the black and pink colors with the polka dots!)


(I’ve never seen a cupcake display quite like this!)

We instantly fell in love with Kupcakes & Co. during our first visit to their shop for Kupcakes with Santa. Not only did they “wow” us with their amazing cupcakes, but their hospitality was, and has always been, top-notch. It’s no wonder you often find a line going the entire length of the store, or even out the front door. But don’t let that deter you. They’ve got a great system down and you won’t have to wait long!

While none of us have ever tasted a cupcake we didn’t like, we want to share with you just a few of our favorite flavors:

Fluffernutter

This cupcake represents the classic fluffernutter sandwich that combines marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. You can actually see each of those components swirled in the frosting. It is also topped with a marshmallow dipped in peanut butter, which is a cleaver addition. Trying to slowly savor this cupcake was no small feat because it was so good it had me rushing to get to the next bite.

Blueberry Danish

Breakfast flavored cupcakes may not be a new concept in the cupcake world (Anyone familiar with the maple-bacon craze? Kupcakes & Co. has that too!) but this twist on a standard breakfast favorite has me wishing it was okay to eat cupcakes everyday for breakfast. The blueberry cake blends with their amazing cream cheese frosting to perfectly represent an actual blueberry danish.

The Elvis

I haven’t had the opportunity to try this peanut butter banana cupcake, but Crusader Jenn recommends this one and says that it is, “So moist and delicious.” I’ll definitely be getting it on my next visit!

Lemon Meringue

This cupcake has a lemon curd filling with a meringue topping and tastes just like a slice of lemon meringue pie, but with the added bonus of deliciously moist cake. My husband loves lemon meringue pie, so I’ll have to pick one of these up for him on my next visit too!

In addition to their stellar customer service and incredible cupcakes, there is one thing that truly seals the deal on Kupcakes & Co. taking our number one spot for favorite cupcakery on the outskirts of Baltimore City and that is their commitment to giving back to the community. Whether they are hosting events to raise money for pediatric units or creating special cupcakes that support cancer research and awareness, Kupcakes & Co. is always helping out with a great cause. So, if you haven’t already been to their shop, make sure to stop by and be blown away by their cupcakes and their service. And tell them the Crusaders say “hi!” 🙂

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

We are working to help end childhood hunger!
Together we can make a difference!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

LuLi’s Cupcakes – St Augustine, Florida

Traveling without eating cupcakes is a no-no when it comes to the Crusaders; so on a recent trip to St. Augustine Florida I knew I had to find some cupcakes to review! Luckily my sister knows of my love of cupcakes and told me about LuLi’s Cupcake  and how much she loved their Tiramisu cupcake called “The Godfather.” She’s not a huge sweets person, so if she likes it, I knew it would be really good. We took a trip down Rt.1 and stopped in for some cupcakes.

The sweet shop was easy to get to and adorably decorated! The staff were very friendly, and on top of cupcakes, they serve ice-cream, gourmet coffee and other sweet treats. The glass case that housed the cupcakes was well organized with pink polkadot signage to explain each flavor. I settled on four cupcakes, below are their reviews.

Lemon Twist

Lemon with a real twist! This lemon cupcake had a ginger flavor to it that was exciting and packed a bite. The sweet buttercream icing was a great complement to the cake, whose complex flavors fully developed after you were finished. The cake was light, moist, airy and delicious. There was a very generous layer of icing on top and the Lemonhead candy garnish was a treat too!

Fire Engine Red Velvet

This classic red velvet had a twist with crunchy pecan bits on top! The cake was FLAVORFUL and rich – and definitely the color of a fire truck! This is a red velvet cake done right! The cream cheese icing was everything it should be, creamy, cheesy, sweet (but not too sweet) and married well with the cake. The pecans on top added a layer of texture to this cupcake that I haven’t seen in many red velvet cupcakes. Definitely a red velvet I would like to have again!

Blueberry Fields Forever

Blue and yellow sugar sprinkles delicately danced on the top of this very interesting cupcake. The lemon, blueberry, and poppy-seed cake tasted a bit like black licorice to me – which isn’t a great thing, as I dislike black licorice immensely. The dried blueberries in the cake saved it a bit, as they added texture and much needed blueberry flavor. The cream cheese frosting (the same that was found on the red velvet) was delightful. This was a “special” cupcake for the day, and while it was not my favorite of the four, it was very interesting… so much in fact that I wouldn’t mind trying it again.

The Godfather

“The Godfather” Tiramisu cupcake with mascarpone cheese frosting reminded me of the movie quote, “take the gun, leave the cannoli,” except I would flip that statement around and replace cannoli with cupcake. I would “go to the mattresses” for this cupcake! WOW! The cake had a fantastic coffee flavor, but wasn’t soggy from being drenched in it as it was not dipped into espresso, but the coffee flavor was incorporated into the batter. The icing was smooth and tart – this pairing of cake and icing was simply perfect, as was the icing to cake ratio. I love tiramisu, but this cupcake really is the Godfather of the traditional dessert.

Visiting LuLi’s was a perk to an already wonderful trip to Florida that included some great weather and even better company. I can’t wait to taste more flavors next time! If you’re ever in St. Augustine, stop by and say hi to “The Godfather” for me – well, order one at least.

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

Healthy Cupcakes: Carrot Cake!

Continuing our healthy crusade, Rebecca has another recipe for cupcakes with fewer calories… and less guilt.

Carrot cake has vegetables in it, so it must be healthy, right? The average carrot cake recipe can include upwards of 1 cup of oil, not to mention ounces of butter and cream cheese. This vegetable based cake can be worse for you than eating chocolate!

This recipe makeover has a low Weight Watcher Points+ value of 4 per cupcake and is a flavorful substitute. Who doesn’t love pecans, coconut, golden raisins and a moist spiced cake, topped with cream cheese? Once again I turn to a box cake mix, but step it up a bit by adding additional texture and flavors.

Cake Ingredients:

1 box Carrot Cake Mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

8oz crushed pineapple in juice

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup shredded carrot

¼  cup shredded coconut

¼ cup Pecan chips

Frosting Ingredients:

4oz. Neufchatel Cheese

¼ cup fat free sour cream

¾ cups powdered sugar

¼ cup shredded coconut

1/8 cup Pecan chips

To start, mix the cake mix and canned pumpkin in the mixer for 2 minutes on #2. While that is mixing, drain the crushed pineapple and use the liquid to rehydrate the raisins. Add the pineapple, carrot and coconut to the mixer and let it continue to mix for another minute. Stop the mixer and fold in the Pecan Chips and raisins by hand. Fill the cupcake wrappers ¾ of the way and bake for 18-19 minutes at 350 degrees.

While they are baking, fold the softened cream cheese with the sour cream and then stir in powdered sugar. It will be a thicker sour cream texture, but comes out best when stirred by hand. Stir in ¼ cup of shredded coconut.

Once cupcakes are cooled, frost and sprinkle pecan chips on the top for texture and enjoy!

– Recipe by our Healthy Guest Crusader, Rebecca (Baltimore, MD)