Crusaders Go Pink for a Cure!

You may have seen that the Crusaders have “Gone Pink” on our Facebook and Twitter pages to help support Breast Cancer Awareness for the month of October. We wanted to do more than just that, so we’ve created a team, “Cupcake Crusaders for a Cure,” on Susan G. Komen’s Passionately Pink website. For the remainder of the month we will be raising money for the cause.

Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure® supports life-saving research, education, screenings and treatment programs in the fight to end breast cancer forever. It encourages creative, fun ways to raise money, including wearing pink for a day to promote awareness. Their website provides some ideas for community, workplace, and family fundraisers, but being Cupcake Crusaders there’s only one thing for us to do here…a bake sale!

We will be hosting a bake sale at the end of the month at our community church. If you’d like to join our team, let us know! You can host your own local bake sale and donate the proceeds, or even start your own team! What’s important is getting involved and keeping in mind that no amount is too little and every bit helps. If you would like to donate to our team, visit our Passionately Pink page. Thanks for helping with our latest crusade!

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

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

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We did it!

Hi everyone! We just wanted to let everyone know that we surpassed our goal of $300 for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale to raise money for their No Kid Hungry campaign! We raised $340 dollars which was added to our team leader, La Casa de Sweets’, goal of $1,000. We committed ourselves to raise money and awareness throughout the month of April for this great cause and could not be more thankful to everyone who purchased sweets, donated money, and showed their support. Thank you!

Sincerely,
The Cupcake Crusaders
(Stacy, Jenn, and Elisa)

For more information on our bake sale please visit any of these links:
Info on Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale
Interview with Jackie from La Casa de Sweets, Our Team Captain
Bake Sale Success
Cake Pops for the Bake Sale
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes for the Bake Sale
Snickers Cupcakes for the Bake Sale

Snickers Cupcakes: As good as they sound!

Luckily, after all the struggles I had making the cake pops for the Great American Bake Sale, the cupcakes I decided to make were a piece of cake. (Please excuse the cheesy pun, but they really were SO easy – and tasty!)

When each of us were planning the desserts we wanted make for the bake sale, I knew right away what I would bake. A while back my big sister, Alissa, emailed me a recipe for Snickers cupcakes from Parents.com saying, “These look super yummy!!!” Knowing that she would be attending the bake sale and that these would be a huge hit, it was an easy decision.

The ingredient list was simple. For the cake: 1 box of devil’s food cake mix, 1 box of instant chocolate pudding mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, water, vanilla extract, and 24 miniature Snickers. The frosting was even easier: a tub of buttercream frosting, caramel sauce, and sea salt. Obviously, this was the perfect recipe for me.

I did have a temporary freak out moment, when I realized that the box mix in the recipe was 18oz and mine was only 15oz, and that it called for a 3.9oz box of pudding mix and I only had a 1.9oz box. Even though I was excited to try a new modification to a box mix, I decided to scrap it this time and just add the pudding mix to the cake mix and follow the rest of the directions from the back of the box. I have done this minor modification before (see here), knew it would work, and didn’t want to take any chances. I did decide to add chocolate chips to the batter though, after learning that my mother-in-law does this with her chocolate cake (and it’s amazing!).

Once the batter was mixed, it was time to add in the Snickers. The recipe requested that they be frozen, but cutting frozen miniature Snickers bars is not an easy task. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Instead, I would suggest cutting the Snickers in advance and then putting the halves in the freezer.

After those two small inconveniences, I was ready to mix the frosting. With only 3 ingredients, there was no way I couldn’t mess this up.

Despite using frosting from a tub, this is probably one of the best I’ve ever made. Normally tub frosting is overly sweet, but the caramel flavor blended really nicely with the butteriness of the frosting and the addition of the sea salt created a nice balance.

Once the cupcakes were cooled, I was able to pipe the frosting, add a caramel drizzle, and top with crushed Snickers. Easy Peasy.

Don’t you wish you could dive into your monitor and eat one of these? I wish I could. I only had a chance to try part of one while baking to make sure the cake and frosting worked well together, but since they sold out at the bake sale, that small taste was all I got. I know for a fact that I’ll be baking these again! They are a cinch to make and too delicious not too!

Do you have a favorite recipe you love that is almost too easy? If so, let us know! We are always looking for new cupcakes to try!

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

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

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

A Baking Adventure: Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

I’ve never really participated in a bake sale before. I’m sure that’s hard to believe since I’m such a sweets lover. My participation is limited to purchasing bake sale items for my own enjoyment. I have no idea about what the “rules” are. But when we Crusaders decided to host our own bake sale to raise money for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, I thought, “How hard can it be?” Then I happened to watch the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It. Sarah Jessica Parker’s character has to take something to her daughter’s school bake sale and, for fear of looking like a failure to the highly domestic moms, she doctors up (or destroys, depending on how you look at it) a store bought pie, hoping to pass it off as homemade. This put fear in me. Do bake sale items HAVE to be homemade? And if so, what qualifies as homemade? Does it have to be from scratch? And what if it turns into a TOTAL disaster?!

Deciding that as a stay at home mom I should have the time to do a recipe from scratch, I searched the internet for the perfect bake sale cupcakes. Stacy would be doing chocolate, so I wanted to something that would be more of an opposite, but still fun and seasonal. With these thoughts in mind, I came up with Lemon Raspberry cupcakes with a raspberry filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting. The problem with being a new baker and at the mercy of the internet for recipes is that if you haven’t tried it, you don’t really know if it’s going to be good. So, when I found LemonCupcakes.net, claiming that the recipe on The Little Red House blog was the best, I decided to trust them. The recipe is for Lemon Coconut, but the cake is purely lemon.

Lemon Cupcakes:
As soon as I saw that the recipe included using more than one bowl, I panicked. Anything using more than one bowl for a cake is bound to be complicated and I only had 40 minutes, if I was lucky! My goal was to get the cake batter done and in the oven before my daughter woke up from her morning nap. Well, that didn’t happen.


(Prep time included zesting 2 lemons, squeezing fresh lemon juice, and separating eggs.)


(One of the more unique steps: rub the sugar and lemon zest together in a bowl until the sugar takes on a yellow hue and becomes fragrant.)

At some point during my process of measuring dry ingredients and whisking the eggs and buttermilk, Leah woke up from her nap, only adding to my level of stress. How was I going to finish this complicated recipe (okay, complicated for ME) with a curious, mobile, and awake 9 month old? I prepped an area in the family room next to me, removing the dog’s water bowl, so that Leah could freely, and safely, roam around while I finished up the batter and kept an eye on her. Of course this would be the day that she learned how to turn the tv on and off…but the batter was much more important than the tv at this point!

After combining all the ingredients with a hand mixer, and having the spatula shoot straight through the mixing attachments twice, it was finally done and ready to go into the cupcake pans! A couple of adjustments I made to the recipe: I choose to use real lemon juice instead of lemon extract. Knowing that extract is more concentrated, I used at least 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Also, I didn’t realize the recipe called for cake flour, not all-purpose flour. Instead of going to the store, I looked up how to use all-purpose flour as a substitute (who knew there was a specific cake flour?!). After baking, I was surprised by how little the cupcakes rose. I thought, “Oh no! Something went wrong! I should have just followed the recipe exactly!”


(I filled the liners 2/3 full, like you are usually suppose to do, but it hardly rose while baking.)


(I did like that you could see flecks of yellow from the lemon zest.)

I cut out a part of the cupcake center, since I’d be filling them later anyway, to taste it. The cake was dense, but so moist! Relief set in. Only two more items left to make!

Raspberry Filling:
I found a recipe for raspberry cake filling on Food.com. It looked so simple and it was! I think it also helped that I waited until the next day, when someone else was home to keep an eye on Leah, so that I could put all my focus on making the perfect filling.


(Only 4 ingredients needed for this recipe! So easy!)


(The filling had an amazing color!)

Just as I’ve done before, I cut out the centers of the cupcakes so they’d be ready to spoon in the filling. One day I’ll experiment with my filling injector, but now was not the time to risk failure, especially after making it this far.


(I used a grapefruit knife this time, and it worked perfectly!)


(As I mentioned in my last baking experiment, baby spoons work perfectly for dropping in the filling. My favorite is The First Years’ Take and Toss spoons.)

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
When it came time for the frosting, I decided not to go with the option on The Red House’s recipe. I was worried that it wouldn’t be lemony enough. Instead I used a recipe from Annie’s Eats for their Blueberry Lemon cupcakes, which uses lemon juice and zest.


(Always be sure to have extra confectioners’ sugar, in case you need to stiffen up the frosting to get the texture you are looking for.)

After using the 3 cups of sugar the recipe calls for, I thought the frosting was the consistency that I wanted. However, when I got around to piping, it was very runny. So, I dumped the frosting out of my stainless steel piper and added another 1-2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. That seemed to help a little, but it still wasn’t the exact consistency I wanted. I went with it anyway, knowing that since it was warm in the house getting the consistency just right would be difficult and that the frosting would set up better as soon as I moved them to a cooler location.


(I added some yellow sprinkles, but felt it was still missing the splash of red to represent the raspberry.)


(I went to the store later that night for fresh raspberries. I think it really helped the look!)


(I like how the filling soaked into the cake.)

The lemon and raspberry came together in a perfect balance. I was worried that the filling wouldn’t bring enough raspberry flavor, but it was perfect. Despite all the hard work, I will definitely make these again! They were a huge hit at the bake sale and that’s what really matters!

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

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

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Bake Sale Success!

Yesterday, Crusaders Jenn, Elisa and I held our very first bake sale at Horizon Church in Owings Mills, MD. Our goal was to raise money for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale to support the No Kid Hungry Campaign, and thanks to the Horizon family, we did just that!

It was amazing to see how happy all the sweet treats made everyone and to witness the generosity of those who donated without asking for anything in return. We started with 2 dozen Chocolate Chocolate cake pops (which the kids LOVED!), 2 dozen Snickers cupcakes, 2 dozen Lemon Raspberry cupcakes, and 2 different kinds of blondies. By the end we couldn’t believe we had sold almost everything!

Even though we did really well and raised about $140, we still haven’t reached our target of raising $300 dollars for this wonderful cause. If you aren’t familiar with the Great American Bake Sale and the No Kid Hungry campaign, you can read more here or see our interview with La Casa de Sweets, a charity baker that is committed to raising money and awareness for hungry kids in America.

We are raising money until April 30th, so if you are interested, please consider donating! Even if you can only give $1, every little bit helps!

Throughout the week we will feature our recipe reviews for the Chocolate Chocolate cake pops, the Lemon Raspberry cupcakes, and the Snickers cupcakes. If you decide at any time that you would like to donate, you can find a link in the right column on our home page or at the bottom of all of our posts.

Thanks again to everyone at Horizon Church, and thank you to all our readers for your support!

– 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!

Charity Fundraiser Baker? What’s That?

As you may know by now, we have joined with La Casa de Sweets to raise money for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale to end childhood hunger in America. Jackie, from La Casa de Sweets, is a charity fundraiser baker which means that she bakes and blogs specifically to raise money and awareness to fight childhood hunger in America.

This busy blogger (and mom of two) took some time out of her hectic schedule to answer some questions about herself, why ending childhood hunger is so important to her, and why you should join in this fun and important event.

What made you decide to become a charity fundraiser baker?
I decided to become a charity fundraiser baker to raise money for hungry children. As a teacher and mom I know one of the worst things you can witness is a child going hungry.  My Masters course work focused on Child Health and Promotion around the world, so I have a pretty good understanding of what the problems are relating to hunger, and what needs to be done about it. I’ve always loved to bake, and when I decided to start my own baking business, I knew it had to be for a reason. So, I decided to help raise awareness and money to help end childhood hunger.

Why should people donate or join the Great American Bake Sale?
The Great American Bake Sale is such an awesome event! Bakers from across the country come together to raise money for the No Kid Hungry campaign, it’s just so inspiring! I feel so honored to a tiny part of such a huge event. Unfortunately not everyone knows that 1 in 4 children in this country face hunger every single day. That’s such a heart-wrenching number. But, the good news is, there is a solution. Raising awareness and supporting programs such as GABS will help people realize this is something we can fix. Every single donation counts. Every $5, $10, $100 donated will make a huge impact on the lives of kids around the country. If that’s not something worth doing, I’m not sure what is.

Has any charity event been extra special or exceeded any goals or expectations you set for yourself?
I’ve launched and advised several large fundraisers, and I’m always so happy after every one, because I’ve seen that people care. In a time where everyone’s circumstances are far from secure, I’ve seen people go out of their way to help, to raise money, to get the word out there. And that makes all the hard work worthwhile!

Crusader Jenn, the mom in our group, wanted to know how you manage to find time to raise your family, maintain your blog, bake, and raise money and awareness to end childhood hunger all at the same time?
How do I find the time? I’m not sure, really. I raise our two daughters (our oldest is almost 3 and our youngest is 16 months old), bake and sell for charity, organize fundraisers, work with companies and individuals to raise awareness, bake for my blog, make three all-natural vegetarian meals a day, go to church, and enjoy time with family friends, every single week. My prayers for strength are definitely being answered every single day!

And of course we have to ask: what is your favorite place to get cupcakes and what is your favorite cupcake recipe?
Cupcakes…umm…well I’m actually not a fan. Yikes!  It’s so strange, I make all these sweet treats, sample them to get the full flavor and all that, but I can’t remember the last time I ate a whole cupcake! If I am in the mood for a cupcake, or any treat really, I always go to Kupcakes & Co. Not only is everything they make absolutely amazing, but Michelle (the owner) is one of the nicest, hard-working, and giving people I know. They raise money for charity all the time and have fun doing it. And having fun for a great cause is exactly what I like to do 🙂

After we promised to forgive Jackie for not loving cupcakes as much as we do (Hehe! Just kidding Jackie!), we asked her what her favorite desserts were:
I love strawberry pretzel salad, mud pie, and you’ll never stop me from eating soft and chewy cookies!!!!!

The Crusaders want to thank Jackie for taking the time to answer our questions! If you would like to donate to the Great American Bake Sale please click here. Remember, every little bit helps and no amount is too small!

To visit La Casa de Sweets website and view her recipes click here. Thank you!

– 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!

Bakers Unite Against Hunger!

We  have decided to join with La Case de Sweets to raise money for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale to end childhood hunger.

Even if you can’t organize a bake sale or create your own team, consider making an online donation! Every dollar donated can make a huge impact. Here are some examples:*

$1 can help provide a hungry child with 10 healthy meals.
$4 can help provide a child facing hunger with a backpack full of healthy food over a weekend when school meals are not available.
$9 can help connect a child with healthy lunches during summer when school is out.
$35 can help a child care center provide free afterschool snacks and suppers to at-risk children all year long.
$65 can provide a grab-n-go breakfast cart to an elementary school so that every student starts every school day with a healthy meal.



* Gifts made to Share Our Strength represent a gift to our organizational mission and are used to reach the highest number of children facing hunger in America. Share Our Strength combines your gift with others to address child hunger community by community, state by state, all across America.

Please help us raise money or even share with those you think might be able to donate. Every little bit helps!

Together we can make a difference!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!