Starbucks…Who doesn’t want cupcakes with their coffee?

On a recent trip to Starbucks, I finally broke down and got a couple of their mini cupcakes to go along with my decaf Americano (cream and sugar, please!).  They had two options, chocolate peanut butter and carrot cake. I was a little disappointed when the employee couldn’t confirm for me that the carrot cake was carrot cake, but this particular location also got my drink order wrong…twice…which is always a disappointment when going into a place that is suppose to be the most popular coffeehouse for a reason. However, I still left happy to have sweets in one hand and a grande hot coffee in the other on a cold rainy day.

As you can see from the photo, the peanut butter frosting on the chocolate cupcake had an almost translucent appearance. My only thought for this was, butter! The frosting tasted like straight peanut butter, which was very pleasing, however the texture wasn’t what I prefer on a cupcake. The cake had good chocolate favor, but wasn’t very moist. My guess is that this is because their treats are trucked in.

Carrot cake is usually one of my favorite cake flavors.  I love a spiced cake that you can get all year round. However there was nothing memorable about this cupcake…maybe that’s why the employee couldn’t tell me what it was?

Despite my lack of enthusiasm over these mini cupcakes, I still love Starbucks. They specialize in coffee and don’t pretend to be a bakery. I appreciate that they offer fun sweet options, including bite-size minis, to accompany their beverages, should their guest like to indulge a bit more. I still think their Rocky Road Cake Pop is amazing and I’m looking forward to trying their seasonal treats, such as their Chocolate Crème Whoopie Pie and the Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop (Crusader Stacy will be posting her review on this, and other cake pops, tomorrow)!

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

Can “Skinny” Taste Good? Oh Yes It Can.

I hope everyone had a very tasty and happy Thanksgiving! I wanted to take a few moments to share a fantastic recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes that I made for Thanksgiving. They even claim to be “skinny,” so it was an added bonus to this minimal ingredients and easy-to-make recipe.

To make the cake, you start with four simple ingredients:

  • Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes.

See? Super easy.

I decided to make mini pumpkin cupcakes. I find that a small scoop like this one here, works really well to make the perfect size mini cupcakes that are all about the same size. After baking for about 15 to 20 minutes (25 seemed to be a bit too long in my oven), out came these beautiful little gems:

I even decided to add some fall fun with these cute mini cakes:

Next up, the deliciously simple pumpkin cream cheese frosting. That actually required a few more ingredients, but was still easy to make:

  • 8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tbsp packed brown sugar

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. I had to use my hand mixer (since I don’t have a standing mixer) to get a smooth consistency on this. If you don’t have one, you may have to make sure the cream cheese is extra soft at room temperate and blend for a while. Good luck. I hope you succeed though, because the results were fantastic:

A army of mini cupcakes that pack a big pumpkin punch. Yum.

Click here to read the full recipe from SkinnyTaste.com.

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