1 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

We are so excited to announce that Saturday, July 7th, we celebrated our 1 year blogging anniversary! A year has gone by so fast and we’ve had so many fun and tasty adventures. We look forward to many more and want to thank you for following along and joining in the fun. The best way we can think to say “Thank You!” is by hosting a giveaway for 1 lucky person to win a prize pack full of cupcake goodies. Some of the fabulous items included have been donated by some of our cupcake loving friends:

– A cupcake recipe cookbook donated by Pink Rhino Cupcakes
– A set of cupcake thank you cards donated by Poundcake Press
– 2 jars of homemade jams donated by Sweetness Follows (perfect for a cupcake filling!)

Other fun items we are adding to the package are stay bright cupcake liners, a cupcake scented candle in a cupcake tin, and cute cupcake plates!

Look out this week as we share photos of the items you could win! The contest will close on midnight next Tuesday, July 17th 2012. A winner will be drawn at random and announced on Wednesday, July 18th 2012. There are several ways to enter and each entry counts:

– Comment below telling us your favorite cupcake shop
– Like us on Facebook*
– Follow us on Twitter*
– Follow us on Foursquare*
– Follow us on Pinterest*
– Sign up to follow our blog via email or WordPress (sign up located in right column on homepage under Cupcake Picnic photo)*

* Please comment below after you sign up to follow our blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Foursquare, and/or Pinterest. Your comment below will act as an entry into the content. If you already have connected with us via social media, please make note below for your entry.

Please let us know if you have any questions. Good luck!

– The Cupcake Crusaders

NOTE: We are only able to ship within the USA. Sorry to those who don’t qualify!

** This contest is now closed.**

Cupcakes AND Books? A Perfect Combination!

As you may already know, we Crusaders love it when some of our favorite things collide. We’ve been able to mix theater and cupcakes, but we’ve never had the opportunity to mix books and cupcakes. So, when we were contacted to review The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes, a new series written by mother-daughter team Sheryl and Carrie Berk, we jumped at the opportunity! Not only have I reviewed the book below, but we also interviewed the authors and have a giveaway!

The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes is geared towards “tweens,” but this almost-30-year-old also found it entertaining. The protagonist, 9-year-old Kylie, is easily relatable to, in that she just doesn’t seem to fit in. After arriving at a new school, the “popular” girl quickly decides that she’s going to make things very difficult for Kylie. Luckily, Kylie has a good teacher and supportive parents. With their help she starts a new club at school and finds a few other “outcasts” to join. As the girls overcome baking obstacles and bullies, while learning to manage a growing business, they begin to realize that they aren’t so alone after all.

The subject for the book was a natural selection for 9-year-old Carrie Berk, cupcake blogger for Carrie’s Cupcakes Critiques. She has a passion for cupcakes, so when she approached her mom about writing a book for her age group, they both agreed it should be about fun, friendship, and cupcakes.

Some of the trials that Kylie encounters and feelings of not belonging, reminded me of the Judy Bloom books I read growing up.  There are moments when I wanted to say to Kylie, “Don’t take that from them! It wasn’t even a good insult!” but then remembered what kids can be like. This book series is one that I would love for my daughter to read when she’s in the target age group. There are some valuable lessons about confidence, friendship, and what it means to be the bigger person.

We had an opportunity to interview the authors, Sheryl and Carrie, to find out more about their inspiration for the book and how cupcakes and writing fit in to their lives:

Crusaders: Carrie, do you have a baking club at school? If so, did you help get it started? If not, are you thinking about starting one with your friends now that the book has been released?

Carrie: We had a cooking club during lunch clubs at school with Taste Buds, who is also my recipe developer (Jessi Walter). We made all sorts of things, not just cupcakes. It was fun! But I don’t really bake cupcakes with a club. I bake with my mom and my friends and we share them, not sell them.

Crusaders: When I was growing up I was lucky to have great teachers who made school fun, so I related to Kylie in that aspect. Carrie, have you had similar experiences with teachers as Kylie? Do you have a favorite teacher at school?

I love all of my teachers at PS 6, but it was really Ms. Schottland, my second grade teacher, that first taught me about realistic fiction and got me writing reviews of cupcakes. The name of Kylie’s teacher in the book is Ms. Shottlan–that’s for her! And my teacher Ms. Levenherz is into cupcakes big time and is a great baker. So we’re always talking about them.

(Mother and Daughter writing team, Sheryl and Carrie Berk.)

Crusaders: Carrie and Sheryl, can you give any examples of characters that may have been inspired by people in your own lives?

Carrie:  I used a lot of the names from my friends, family and teachers in the book, because they support and inspire me so much. Like my principal is Ms. Fontana, and Kylie’s principal is Ms. Fontina. Sadie, Abby and Ava are names of my BFFs, Saperstone is my cousin’s last name, and Mr. Ludwig, the gourmet shop owner, is actually the last name of my BFF Jaimie Ludwig.

My friend Darby’s birthday is around Halloween, so she’s really into watching cool monster movies, and that gave me the idea for Kylie liking monster movies.

Everyone loves trying to find themselves in the book. My Uncle Charles says, “It’s like Where’s Waldo!”

Sheryl: I think there’s a little bit of Carrie in each of the four main Cupcake Club girls in the book as well as her besties. As for where the book takes place, New Fairfield, CT, that’s where I spent my summers as a child with my BFF Pam! Lots of great memories of bake sales on Frisbee Street! And Greenwich is where my husband grew up.

Crusaders: Sheryl, what would you say to other parents who might be hesitant to let their child start their own time consuming business?

Sheryl: I think it’s so important to support your child when they have a passion. In Carrie’s case, that’s cupcakes as well as ballet. So we divide our time between her hobbies and her school work. If your child is creative, ambitious and motivated, these are all great qualities that you should embrace. When Carrie said, “I want to write a book about a cupcake club,” I didn’t say, “No, you’re too busy. You have too much homework.” Instead, I said, “Let’s figure out how to make this happen for you.” I think it’s been a great lesson for her in time management and following your dreams. I always want her to dream big!

Crusaders: Carrie, how did you manage to juggle school, with the blog and then the book?

Carrie: I love reviewing cupcakes. My mom and dad take me on vacations and holidays to cupcake places all over the country and the world. We just did four in Boston. I really like posting cupcake pics and news on our Facebook page, site, Twitter and Pinterest. And my mom and I worked together on the book. We talked about how the story would go, then she wrote a rough draft and I edited and changed it, and she put in my changes. I think writing the book has made me a better writer in school-my teachers really like my essays.

Crusaders: As Cupcake Crusaders, we obviously love cupcakes! Carrie, what is it about cupcakes that you love?

Carrie: I like that there are so many more elements to them than other desserts like brownies or ice cream. There’s the cake, the frosting, the decoration. Cupcakes taste good and look good…hopefully! I also like that they’re small and unique. You never run out of ideas for new cupcakes.

Thanks so much to Carrie and Sheryl for taking time to answer our questions!

One of my favorite things from the book is that it includes recipes for some of the cupcakes mentioned. So, after reading mouth-watering descriptions of cupcakes, like their Eco-licious Chocolate, you can make them yourself! The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes is available now. If you can’t find it at a bookstore near you, it’s also available on Amazon.

And for our giveaway, we want to know what YOUR favorite cupcake is! The winner will receive a signed copy of The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes and a Cupcake Club measuring spoon. All you have to do is tell us below, in the comments section, where you found the recipe, who the bakery is, or where you had your favorite cupcake!! The contest ends on Sunday, April 29th and we will post the winner on Monday, April 30th. The winner will be selected at random. Enter now! We can’t wait to hear what some of your favorites are!

** This contest is now closed.

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

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Last Day to Enter! 100th Post Giveaway!

Don’t forget to enter our 100th Post Giveaway for a chance to win this awesome prize:

(2 of our favorite Cupcake-2-Go containers, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book, and a set of Duff’s Sprinkles)

All you have to do is click here and follow the instructions! It’s fun and easy, but today (Monday, Feb 26th) is your last day to enter! Good luck!

100th Post Giveaway!!!

We are so excited to have reached our 100th post last week!

This is a big milestone for the Cupcake Crusaders, so to celebrate, we decided to have a small giveaway for our followers!

The prize consists of 2 of our favorite Cupcake-2-Go containers, Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book, and a set of Duff’s Sprinkles.

To win the above prize, all you have to do is leave a comment below with one word you would use to describe cupcakes. This could be one word that references a good cupcake memory, your perfect cupcake, or even just all cupcakes in general. The deadline is next Monday, February 27th, 2012 (you can enter until Midnight that night). Then, one lucky winner will be drawn at random on Tuesday, Feb 28th and announced via this blog, our Facebook page, and on Twitter.

We look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Disclaimer: Prize will only be sent to a United States postal address. Only one entry per person will be counted. Must enter via this blog. Entries via Twitter and Facebook will not qualify. The winner will have 48 hours to contact us at cupcakecrusaders@gmail.com with their shipping information before a new name is selected.