A Baking Adventure: Mocha Brownie Cupcakes

Up until the week before our DC Cupcake Picnic I still didn’t know what I should make. There would be other bakers there, so the idea of baking from scratch had me nervous but then again, could I make a box mix impress? While at the grocery store, I planned to redeem my coupon for Duncan Hines Frosting Creations and decided on their Mocha flavor. Perusing the isle, I also found some brownie mix on sale: Mocha flavored! The wheels in my head started turning…if I did a brownie instead of a cake, maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about too much scrutiny from the pros. And I always know how brownie mix turns out. Rich, fudgy, delicious.

After making my purchases I gave more thought to my creation. I decided to use brewed coffee instead of water in the brownie mix, just to be sure the coffee flavor really came through, make a dark chocolate ganache filling, and top with shaved dark chocolate.

One of the tricky things about baking brownies in cupcakes sheets is the bake time. I didn’t want to over cook them, so I put it on 18 minutes to start and added 2-3 minutes as needed until they were done. They ended up coming out perfectly, though!

As with most of my other baking experiments (like these Lemon Raspberry cupcakes) I cut holes in the center for the filling. Then, using a small pot and glass bowl (my homemade double boiler), I made the dark chocolate ganache with dark chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream (I learned to do this with my Orange White Chocolate cupcakes and assumed the whipping cream would work in the same way with dark chocolate as it did with white chocolate). I didn’t measure anything out, just eyeballed it. After filling the cupcakes, I decided to also spread the ganache on top so that you could see some of it after frosting the cupcakes.

After mixing up the Duncan Hines Frosting Creation I tasted it and was pleasantly surprised! The base is really sweet, but the flavor add-in toned it down and created good coffee kick. I piped the frosting on top of the brownies and sprinkled the shaved dark chocolate on top. I made regular size cupcakes and minis, thinking that the minis might be nice with a lot of cupcake tasting going on at the picnic.

The brownie bites and cupcakes ended up being a big hit at the picnic! No one seemed to think a brownie was out of place and they were so easy to make. And, since the Mocha Frosting Creation worked well, I’m curious to try some of the other flavors!

Do you think baking a brownie in a cupcake liner makes it a cupcake? What unique recipes have you turned into a cupcake?

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

Our DC Cupcake Picnic Recap!

Enjoying cupcakes, relaxing in the beautiful weather, and gathering with people who share a similar interest was what our first ever cupcake picnic was all about. This past Saturday the Crusaders, with the help from Joel (AKA: the Cupcake King) of Josie’s Confections, organized a cupcake picnic in Georgetown Waterfront Park. It was only a small gathering but it was filled with TONS of cupcakes and good times.

We were lucky enough to land a spot in the shade under a tree, and slowly everyone arrived. The group included us three Crusaders, my dad, Joel, Lamorea from That’s So Morie Cupcakes and her family, and fellow cupcake lover, Danielle, and her boyfriend.


(Candid shot of our some of our attendees. From the left going clockwise: my dad admiring Lamorea’s to-go wrapping for each of her cupcakes; Lamorea’s little girl (she’s so cute!); Lamorea going through her photos; happy cupcake eater, Charles; Crusader Jenn; and our youngest Crusader, Jenn’s daughter, Leah.)

After chatting for a few minutes, it was time to dive into the cupcakes! Joel, from Josie’s Confections, brought his signature Chicken N Waffle cupcake, as well as Salted Caramel minis, Strawberry Lemonade (which won the 4th place for People’s Choice at the NCACS’s Cupcake Challenge), and Maple Bacon.


(The AMAZING Chicken N Waffle cupcake! For information on ordering this cupcake call Joel at 301-541-7046, email him at joelegill@gmail.com or visit Josie’s Confections Facebook page.)


(Strawberry Lemonade with strawberry filling and candied lemon peels! For information on ordering this cupcake call Joel at 301-541-7046, email him at joelegill@gmail.com or visit Josie’s Confections Facebook page.)

Lamorea, from That’s So Morie Cupcakes, brought a big assortment of cupcakes all individual wrapped up and tied with a ribbon. She came totally prepared for people to take cupcakes home with them! Among her flavors were Pina Colada, Simply Strawberry, Chocolate Chocolate, and Citrus in the City.


(Alcohol Free Pina Colada all wrapped up! For more information on this cupcake call Lamorea at 443-603-8060, email her at Thatssomoriecupcakes@yahoo.com, or visit her Facebook page or website.)


(Citrus in the City! For more information on this cupcake call Lamorea at 443-603-8060, email her at Thatssomoriecupcakes@yahoo.com, or visit her Facebook page or website.)

Other cupcakes present included another Strawberry Lemonade, a variety from Red Velvet Cupcakery, an assortment from the Giant Bakery, and the Crusaders’ contributions: Mojito (me), Mocha Brownie (Jenn), and Strawberry Basil (Elisa).


(From top center moving clockwise: Strawberry Lemonade from Josie’s Confections; Chocolate Chocolate from That’s So Morie Cupcakes; Mocha Brownie from Crusader Jenn, Mojito from me; and Maple Bacon from Josie’s Confections.)


(Cupcakes scattered all over the place!)


(More cupcakes! They were everywhere!)

While we always enjoy eating cupcakes and chatting, the fun really started when Danielle said that she would still like the challenge of eating five cupcakes for the cupcake eating competition. She was the only one who stepped up in advance so we told her the prize was hers, but she was determined to earn her prize fair and square.


(It’s all smiles before you reach the 5th cupcake! She did a great job and was such a good sport!)

About halfway through Danielle’s challenge, the Cupcake King, Joel, decided he wanted to see what he could manage. Since he helped us put together the prize pack, he was entering the contest purely to take his title of Cupcake King to the next level.


(Joel smiled most of the way through, before hitting the more challenging chocolate cupcakes. But he still came out on top and decimated all 5 cupcakes!)

It was like witnessing an episode of Man Vs. Food in person. They both did an amazing job! Danielle put down 4.5 cupcakes is 5 minutes (at first she wasn’t focusing on her time so much, but picked up the pace as soon as Joel decided to join the fun) and Joel ate 5 cupcakes in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. He truly has earned his title, Cupcake King.

We couldn’t have asked for a better first picnic and we are really looking forward to the next two in our series. Sunday, July 29th we will be meeting at the Westminster Community Pond in Westminster, MD and on Saturday, August 25th we’ll meet in Patterson Park in Baltimore, MD. For more information click here. We hope you can join us and make those cupcake picnics just as memorable as this one in Georgetown Waterfront Park was!

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

We want to give a special THANK YOU to Joel, The Cupcake King, from Josie’s Confections for helping us organize this month’s Cupcake Picnic. He searched for the perfect location, helped us brainstorm activities, and even contributed nice Wilton products for the prize pack. Thanks Cupcake King! 🙂