Minnie Mouse & Lemonade Make a 2 Year Old Happy!

LeahsBirthday_Table

My ideas for a lemonade stand themed party began brewing shortly after Leah’s 1st birthday last year (I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about it!). I love the color yellow and the idea of lemonade for a summer party with all the lemon-themed treats and cupcakes we could have.

LeahsBirthday_DIY

As the year progressed and Leah developed a love for all things Mickey and Minnie, I thought it would be cute to include touches of her favorite characters. I knew yellow would be a dominate color, but after adding Minnie into the mix, I also included pink…which worked well for pink lemonade too. Some of the DIY items included the invitation and party signs, Minnie/Micky paper lanterns, bunting, and party favors for the girls. We also collected “change” for No Kid Hungry, which totaled $54 at the end of the day!

LeahsBirthday_Cake

Some of the items I decided not to do myself this year were the cake and cupcakes. I splurged on cupcakes, deciding to allow the experts to do their thing. Since I splurged on the cupcakes, I kept the cake inexpensive by purchasing an $8 cake from BJs Wholesale, which was the perfect color right off the shelf.

LeahsBirthday_Minnie2

Kupcakes & Co. has created Minnie Mouse cupcakes for clients in the past, so I knew their capabilities to make them look good. I used one on top of the cake, to jazz it up, along with a glittery candle and cake bunting that matched the window bunting.

LeahsBirthday_Desserts

They also began offering Pink Lemonade cupcakes earlier this year. It’s a sweet cupcake, but kids like sweet (and some adults, like my husband). With those facts in mind, I was swayed to let someone else take this task off my plate.

Kupcakes & Co. Specialty Flavor – New Twist on Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
The cupcakes decorated like Minnie Mouse were a special flavor, made just for Leah! Well, sort of.

LeahsBirthday_Minnie1

Their Strawberry Lemon cupcake is lemon cake with strawberry frosting, but I love their strawberry cake and lemon frosting (the reverse), which I’ve tried from other cupcakes, so I asked if they could put those together for us instead of the usual, and they did! The flavor combination differed from their standard and everyone really liked it. The lemon frosting isn’t too sweet and the cake is light. It was the perfect summer cupcake.

LeahsBirthday_OreoPops

In addition to sugar cookies (some with a lemon glaze), rice krispie treats, and candy, we also had Minnie Mouse Oreo Pops for dessert. This gave our guests another fun, non-lemon flavored, personal-sized treat to enjoy (they were fairly easy to make, after a test run earlier in the week—let us know if you want to see more about how to create these pops).

LeahsBirthday_Flags

One thing we forgot to pull out were the cupcake flags. A few of the Pink Lemonade cupcakes would have been cute with some little flags in them, but the table didn’t really need the extra decoration in the end.

LeahsBirthday_Leah

Leah loved all the Minnie Mouse touches, the candy that was within reaching distance, and of course the cupcakes (or at least the frosting). It was a great day, filled with love from family and friends that came to celebrate my little girl!

If you’d like to see more from the party, you can check it out on Catch My Party, where we were featured again on their homepage, and Fizzy Party, where we more about the party details.! Also, the party designs (without Minnie Mouse – just lemonade themed) will be available on our new Etsy Shop, Eye2Eye Design, so keep an eye out for that!

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

Catch My Party

Kupcakes & Co.’s Grand Re-Opening: Unveiling Their Boutique Celebration Room

GrandRe-Opening_Brochure

Just a little over a week ago, we mentioned that Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) would be debuting their new Boutique Celebration Room during a Grand Re-Opening. This past Saturday, the Crusaders were there to show our support, sample some new items, and get the full scoop on what the new space looks like and has to offer.

GrandRe-Opening_Room

Kupcakes & Co.’s Boutique Celebration Room has three large tables, plus buffet tables and benches along the walls for additional seating, with natural light pouring in from the front windows and small chandeliers (fit for a boutique) hanging from the ceiling. For now, the space will be available for adult parties only, with table settings, various food items, and staff provided for your event. Their brochure outlines some great options, ranging from the “Standard” (which provides the basics: 1 staff member and 1 cupcake per person, while you bring in the rest of your needs), to “Brunch” (which includes: 2 staff members, place settings, non-alcoholic drink options, and a selection of brunch offerings). On the day we visited, each table was set up with a different theme to give the guests an idea of how they could use the room:

Bridal Shower Brunch

GrandRe-Opening_BridalShowerTable

The Bridal Shower table showcased the brunch offerings, which included cupcakes and cookies, ready to eat or take as party favors. Champagne or wine can be brought in by the host to add to the celebration!

GrandRe-Opening_BridalShowerDetail
(Close-up of the packaged cupcake and provided place settings.)

The brunch package would also be great for a baby shower, tea party, or small family reunion.

Cupcake Decorating Class

GrandRe-Opening_DecoratingTable

I think most of us can agree that an afternoon of eating and learning how to professionally decorate cupcakes sounds like a lot of fun. I was surprised to see that the guests don’t just decorate one cupcake each, but are given six! Kupcakes & Co. even provides a cupcake for nibbling on while you decorate, that way you aren’t too tempted to dig into your creations before showing them off to your friends and family.

GrandRe-Opening_DecoratingDetail
(Close-up of the decorating techniques that will be taught and goodie-bag.)

When you book the Boutique Celebration Room for a decorating class, you not only take home six cupcakes, but also a goodie-bag filled with tools and decorations so you can continue to practice embellishing your own cupcakes at home.

Cupcakes & Cocktails

GrandRe-Opening_Cupcake&CocktailTable

Cupcakes & Cocktails…the ultimate girls’ night! You bring the booze, and Kupcakes & Co. will provide everything else.

GrandRe-Opening_Cupcake&CocktailDetail

In addition to fabulous sweet treats, Kupcakes & Co. will also provide a selection of cheese, crackers, olives, bread, and mixers to pair with your drinks. I asked if they had any plans in the works for hosting their own Cupcakes & Cocktails night and it sounds like it is a possibility, so we’ll be sure to share any information we get on future events.

The Grand Re-Opening was also the perfect platform to debut a couple of new items. We Crusaders sampled EVERYTHING that was offered (would you expect any less from us?), some of which is tried and true, and some of which was new to us, like the Cinna-bon-bons. They were amazing. But the (non-cupcake) stand out for me was the new Bliss Bar.

Bliss Bar

Kupcakes_BlissBar

Appropriately named, the Bliss Bar is a cereal bar, with marshmallow, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and white chocolate. It’s light in texture and yet still rich in flavor.

Pink Lemonade Cupcake
The Pink Lemonade cupcake also made its debut. I’m very excited about this cupcake for a couple of reasons. One, it is perfect for summer! And two, it will be making an appearance at my daughter’s second birthday party (there will also be a new combination, never before done by Kupcakes & Co., so you’ll have to look out for more to come on that next month!).

Kupcakes_PinkLemonade

The Pink Lemonade cupcake is a lemon cake with extra zest and topped with a pink lemonade frosting, then sprinkled with lemonade crystals. It definitely has a different “zing” that a lemon cupcake. I only had a bite, but Stacy was able to elaborate, saying that the frosting was very sweet and tart. Maybe too sweet for her, because she couldn’t eat it all. However, the cake was perfectly pink and citrus-y. We both loved the simple, festive, and cute decorations.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcake
Earlier in the month, Kupcakes & Co. also added their summer seasonal cupcakes back on the menu. There was one we hadn’t tried, the Orange Creamsicle, so Crusader Stacy added it to her cupcake collection (she had also purchased the Pink Lemonade above, Peach Cobbler, and Key Lime).

Kupcakes_OrangeCreamsicle

Stacy really liked this cupcake and said it was, “much more subtle than the Pink Lemonade cupcake, with a nice orange flavor.” She added that the, “cream flavor balanced it really well.” Sounds like one that I need to try this summer!

If you’d like more information about the Boutique Celebration Room, you can visit Kupcakes & Co.’s website or Facebook page. They have more photos on their Facebook page, so you can see additional details of the beautiful decor. I’d love to host a tea party for my friends in the new space, with cheddar chive biscuits, scones, and biscotti. The tough decision would be: Which cupcake to serve?! If you could throw a party at a cupcake bakery, what type of party would you like to have?

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

Our Westminster, MD Cupcake Picnic Recap

Sunday’s Westminster Cupcake Picnic was another successful gathering, with help from Joel of Josie’s Confections. More cupcake lovers were able to make it out to the Westminster Community Pond and the cupcakes were plentiful! We scored a great spot under the pavilion, next to the playground, which worked out well for some of our youngest attendants.


(Crusader Elisa, Guest Crusader Beth, and myself hanging out while others arrived.)

Although sitting on blankets at our DC Cupcake Picnic made it really feel like an old-fashion picnic, it was nice to have the tables this time. The breeze felt great sitting in the shade. It couldn’t have been a better day for a picnic!

We were admiring the cupcakes that had already shown up, but holding off digging in. It seemed like it would be more polite to wait until some of the others arrived. But then our little niece Lylah said, “I want a cupcake.” With that, the cupcaking began and didn’t stop, as more people showed up with their picnic contributions.

Cupcakes that were in attendance:
1) Joel brought some of his new Josie’s Confections’ boozy flavors, including Tiramisu with a Kahlua filling. Look out for a full review of Josie’s Confections coming later this week.
2) Josie’s Confections’ Mango Passion Fruit and Rum & Coke.
3) Josie’s Confections’ Ciroc Red Berry Lemonade.
4) Robin and Camille came with homemade marble cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache.
5) Beth brought an assortment from Fresh Bakery. We’ve reviewed Fresh a few times but this was the my first time tasting their Creamsicle and it had the perfect Creamsicle flavor.
6) Rachael brought her homemade Snickers cupcakes, which I also tried at her daughter’s 1st birthday and are always a hit!
7) Crusader Elisa made Honey Grapefruit cupcakes, two ways. One had a grapefruit curd filling and the other had a honey filling. Keep an eye out for a full recipe review soon!
8) I brought these store bought cupcakes that came from Walmart. Flavors included Lemon, Vanilla Bean, and Triple Chocolate. For those curious about how these full-size Walmart cupcakes tasted, I’ll be doing a review next week.
9) Crusaders’ Dad brought Golden Snitch cake pops, extras from a Harry Potter birthday party he hosted the night before. Guest Crusader Beth was very excited to see these there!
10) I think these Pink Lemonade cupcakes also came from Robin and Camille’s group. So many cupcakes, it was hard to keep track! After tasting and complimenting them, I found out that they were made with Pillsbury’s Pink Lemonade cake mix.
11) Another candy bar themed cupcake came from Guest Crusader Kim, who wrote about her first experience making these for her 30th birthday party.
12) Crusader Stacy made Lemon Blueberry cupcakes and jazzed them up for the summer with some fancy decorating. She’ll be featuring these in a post coming soon!


(With so many cupcakes, we learned that there would be a lot of cupcake-exchanging going on. This time the Crusaders provided a “to-go” option for our guests.)

At the last picnic we had a cupcake eating challenge and thought maybe we’d see if anyone wanted to take on “The King” and try to beat his time of 5 cupcakes in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. There was one brave lady, Simone, who stepped up to the plate (or in our case the picnic table…we ran out of plates that could fit all 5 cupcakes).


(Simone with the 5 cupcakes she selected. We admire her courage in taking on The King!)

She attacked those cupcakes with gusto, but in the end Joel gets to keep his reigning title as the real “Cupcake King.” We were very proud of Simone’s attempt and she left with a prize pack as a thank you for participating.


(My cupcake carnage…Those cupcakes didn’t see what was coming to them.)

We hope that everyone had a good time and thank our guests, especially those who drove over an hour from DC and Northern Virginia! It was great to meet other enthusiasts and enjoy the nice day talking about baking, cupcakes, and getting to know one another better. After two great Cupcake Picnics, we are even more excited for our final Baltimore picnic next month and are already getting requests to have a 2013 picnic series! If you are interested in attending the Baltimore Cupcake Picnic, check out more details and RSVP here.

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

Guest Review | Frosted Robin Cupcakes | San Diego, California

We are so excited to have our first guest review from California! Our good friend and new Guest Crusader, Julie, is a San Diego resident who loves cupcakes as much as we do! After lots of subtle hints (okay, I may have nagged her a bit… but just a little bit…) she finally agreed to write up a review for us from one of her many cupcake adventures. I hope that this is the first of many, as she always seems to be trying new and fun cupcakes from her region. Thanks Julie!

For the Fourth of July this year, my friends and I headed down to the Embarcadero in San Diego for the Big Bay Boom fireworks show. (Yes, THAT fireworks show. The one that made headlines all over the world because all of the fireworks went off at one time and before they were supposed to, but I digress.) There are lots of places to spread out in the park areas or along the sea wall with a great view of the synched fireworks displays. We arrived mid-afternoon and decided to kill some time walking around Seaport Village, a little touristy area with shops and restaurants. As we wandered, we stumbled across a cupcake, coffee, and tea cafe none of us recalled seeing before, Frosted Robin.

The store fronts at Seaport Village are more or less the same, but Frosted Robin had their doors wide open and the interior draws you in. They say on their website that the decor is designed to make it feel as though you are hanging out in your kitchen at home, and it does just that. The robin’s egg-colored walls and white countertops set a relaxed tone and the large wooden table makes you feel right at home. But of course, what really caught my eye was the display case full of cupcakes.

Frosted Robin had about a dozen flavor options that day, each with the frosting applied in the shape of a flower. Available flavors included chocolate fudge (with a red star on top for the holiday), chocolate peanut butter cup, cinnamon roll, and blue vanilla, but the one that really caught my eye was lavender. Not only was that the color of the cake and butter cream frosting, but the cake itself was infused with lavender flavor. I’d never seen that before, so I knew I had to try it. And since I was buying that one I might as well get a few more to try.


(Cupcake selection – flavors listed from left to right, top to bottom: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Lavender, Pink Lemonade, Cayman Spice, Cinnamon Roll, and Chocolate Fudge)

The lavender cupcake lasted all of 5 seconds once I was out of the bakery. The cake was light, sweet, and moist with just a hint of lavender. Not “perfumey” at all, as one of my friends thought it would be. The frosting was a buttercream, which I’m usually not a fan of, but this frosting was very light and used somewhat sparingly, so it complemented the cake very well. I would definitely get this pretty and tasty treat again.


(Lavender cupcake from Frosted Robin)

My other favorite of the batch was Cayman spice, with a coconut milk infused, cinnamon, and nutmeg cake and coconut buttercream frosting, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. As with the lavender, the cake and frosting were light and tasty. I often find spice cakes to be on the drier side, but this one was perfect. I was concerned that the coconut milk might make both the cake and frosting too sweet, but it was a light, subtle flavor that blended well with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Heaven!


(Close up of Cayman Spice and Pink Lemonade from Frosted Robin)

The best presentation, however, was the pink lemonade cupcake. The lemon cake, which tasted like most other lemon cakes and was on the heavier side, with pink buttercream frosting, was topped with a little straw as though you are going to drink the cupcake. A very cute touch!

Not a cupcake fan? Frost Robin also serves a variety of loose-leaf teas and coffee, including cold pressed coffee and specialty drinks, which we returned later to try. I indulged in their lavender white mocha. The lavender was a bit more prominent in the mocha than it was in the cupcake, but it was delicious. Next time I will have to try the macadamia nut white mocha.

And yes, there will be a next time. Frosted Robin just may be my new go-to place in downtown San Diego. I wouldn’t mind visiting their second location in Camana Bay, Cayman Islands, either, especially if they have fireworks that function properly…

 – Review by Guest Crusader, Julie (San Diego, California)

Roland Park Bagel Co.’s new Spring and Summer Flavors!

Just to make sure there is no confusion, yesterday we reviewed Roland Park Bakery and Deli, but today we are reviewing the new cupcakes at Roland Park Bagel Co. I promise we are not trying to confuse you, but we couldn’t wait any longer to share with you their spring and summer cupcake flavors – and the new baker. We review Roland Park Bagel Co. last August on our blog and then again in November on KimberlyLoc.com. Prior to hiring a new baker, their cupcakes could be a hit or miss. Sometimes they were great, while other times left us a bit disappointed. Hopefully their consistency has improved with the new bakery, but until we find out, we are loving their new flavors!

Since Crusader Jenn is a stay at home mom, she often comes to my office (where she also used to work) to visit with the other employees and to have lunch. Everyone always enjoys seeing her and her daughter, Leah, and of course I love any excuse to get out and eat cupcakes with one of my best friends! Despite the curt demeanor of the women who runs the front counter, we often find ourselves at Roland Park Bagel Co. for a tasty panini, a cup of coffee, and obviously, cupcakes. Don’t let her attitude fool you though, she is actually quite nice, but is trying to run a tight ship with the busy lunchtime crowds.

On this day we decided to share 3 of their new flavors: Pink Lemonade, Banana Split, and Piña Colada.

The Pink Lemonade was pure bliss with our first bite. The cake was moist and the frosting was very tart and sweet, just like you are sipping on a real pink lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. This cupcake is a perfect warm weather treat!

Next we tried their Banana Split cupcake. For us, it was good. Not the best I’ve had, but not bad either. The cake on ours was a bit squishy in the center. We think this was because there may have been a fresh banana slice placed on top of the cake either during the baking process or after. So, while the flavors were there, we were having some issues getting over the strange texture. Before trying this cupcake we had already bought a 2nd one to bring back to my co-worker (who is also an extreme sugar-holic). She didn’t waste anytime diving into it after we gave it to her, but her cake strangely didn’t have the same texture problem. So maybe ours was just a fluke?

Jenn and I are both coconut (and piña colada) lovers, so we saved Roland Park Bagel Co.’s Piña Colada cupcake for last.

Boy am I glad we did! With it’s rum glaze, soft cake, and strong coconut flavor, at first it was tough to decide which was better, the Pink Lemonade or this one, but then we hit the pineapple puree filling. The pineapple filling took this cupcake to a whole new level! I might as well have been sitting on the beach eating this cupcake with a little umbrella sticking out of it.

I’m really excited to see what other new flavor combinations Roland Park Bagel Co.’s new baker creates. Hopefully they will be consistently good and creative, which will definitely keep these crusaders going back for more!

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

Cupcake Disaster.

Well, again, I am a week behind in posting, but that’s okay becuase I’m still working on my logo for this blog, so I haven’t started promoting it yet, which means I’m allowed to be behind. Also, I think I’ve been a little hesitant to post this becuase of the utter failure it made me feel like. See these cupcakes and their pretty little packaging that I made for a birthday present for a dear friend:

They look harmless, don’t they? Maybe even cute, frilly, and tasty looking, right? Well, these lucky 5 cupcakes and their packaging actually ended up being just that, but what about the rest of the batch? The other 19 that didn’t make it?

Well, lets just say never rush while baking. Never. Lesson Learned. Major Fail. The first problem that occurred was overfilling of the baking cups. Now, while I don’t fancy myself a baking pro, I’m actually very far from that, I do know my cupcakes. And I know how much the cups should be filled. But in my rushed state, I decided that I didn’t want to remove any batter from the first cup, so instead, I would fill the rest of the cups accordingly and see what happened. I don’t mind a large cupcake, so I really didn’t see any problem with this. Stupid, stupid me.

The second issue I had was that I was working on a new oven and I somehow canceled the entire baking process when I only wanted to turn the timer off and restart it. So then, I spent about 20 minutes waiting while nothing was baking. After that, I attempted to salvage them by trying to continue to bake them, but they were a lost cause.

Luckily I had just enough cake batter for 5 more cupcakes. 4 for my friend, and 1 for me. I have to admit, they were pretty good. I think I went a little overkill on the lemon flavor becuase I decided to add more than the recipe called for, but overall, I was happy with the results.

I’ve decided that in an effort to try more cupcakes and start going through all the many recipes I save, I will make a new recipe every month. While this blog is mainly to focus on tasting cupcakes from existing establishments, I think that sharing recipes and my experiences with them definitely fits under the scope of this blog. Again, it’s my blog and my choice.  😉

If you would like to try out this recipe, click here.

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