Kupcakes & Co. New Summer Flavors & More!

Kupcakes_SummerFlavors

Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) is always experimenting and adding new things to their menu, especially seasonal and holiday flavors. While we missed their special Father’s Day flavors, like Jake & Coke and Old Bay & Sam Adams, we made sure to check out the summer flavors that are new this year. Specifically, the Strawberry Lime-a-Rita and Peach Margarita. Both of these contain a tiny bit of booze, so they are for the grown-ups, but we like it that way. Cocktail cupcakes with the right touch of liquor are so much more authentic!

Strawberry Lime-a-Rita

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This cupcake features a strawberry cake brushed with tequila and topped with a keylime tequila buttercream. I love the added touch of the cupcake being rolled in sugar. We’ve tried Kupcakes & Co.’s strawberry cake and we’ve also had their key lime frosting (which has always been one of my favorites), but the two together, with the addition of tequila was new and I have to say, it’s a winner.

Peach Margarita

Kupcakes_PeachMargarita

Since everything about this cupcake was new to me, it was the one I was most excited about. The cake has fresh peaches and is brushed with tequila, then topped with peach buttercream. I would have liked more tequila flavor coming through, but the fresh ingredients and moist cake still made this cupcake great.

Piña Colada

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(Photo courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

The Piña Colada cupcake is considered a new summer flavor, however you may remember that we have seen this one before. Kupcakes & Co. ran a special “Happy Hour Cucpakes” back in 2012 and Piña Colada was on the menu. But we are happy to see it back for a little longer! This cupcake is filled with coconut and topped with piña colada icing, with an added piece of pineapple and cherry on top. My daughter saw this cupcake and it immediately became the “pirate cupcake” that she had to have. Luckily this summer flavor does NOT contain any rum or other liquor, so it can be enjoyed by the little ones. And it was. My daughter even ate the cake, which is a big deal! Normally I’m left with the remnants of a frosting-less cupcake.

French Macarons

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(Macaron flavors pictured, from top to bottom: Lemon Blueberry, Neapolitan, and Vanilla Bean Berry)

With the full-time addition of Amanda Kupiec, who perfected her French Macaron recipes while attending the Culinary Institute of American (New York), Kupcakes & Co. is now offering macarons throughout the week. You can follow their Facebook page to see what innovative flavors they have.

The macarons are the perfect consistency, with a thin crunchy shell and soft and gooey center, filled with a complementing cream. They go fast and take time to replenish, so I recommend calling ahead of time if you have your heart set on grabbing some.

Do you have a favorite summer flavor that you’d like to try as a cupcake? Let us know!

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

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Summertime: Time for An Old Favorite

Summer is always a jam-packed cupcake time for the Crusaders, due to all the birthdays, picnics, and cookouts. With so many cupcakes all the time, I ended up neglecting a neighborhood favorite of mine, Starry Night Bakery. We’ve reviewed many of their rotating flavors, but I’m always excited for new and seasonal options. After a wellness visit with my doctor, she prescribed me with, “doing something nice for myself before heading home,” to take advantage of not having the little one with me. I’m not sure cupcakes would have been her exact solution, however Starry Night is right across the street from the office, and when I think of treating myself, obviously cupcakes come to mind.

Cherry Limeade

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Starry Night’s summer flavors are brightly colored (sometimes a warning sign for me), but they all smelled summery and refreshing. The first one I tried was the Cherry Limeade, and it tasted similar to Fruit Loops cereal. Despite the appearance of real cherries in the frosting, the flavor was on the artificial side. However, I personally like Fruit Loops so I thought this cupcake was fun (and surprisingly not overly sweet).

Mai Tai

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The Mai Tai cupcake had me the most excited. I haven’t seen many (if any) this year, so originality plus adult drinks turned cupcakes is always a win for me. Perfectly summery in flavor, Starry Night’s Mai Tai was like sipping a fruity beverage on the beach. The pineapple compote filling added a nice touch and a lot of flavor. There was a mild citrus punch and I’m almost certain there was rum cooked in the cake or filling because it replicated the drink too much not to have it.

Raspberry Lemonade

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Just like the Cherry Limeade, the Raspberry Lemonade also tasted like fruity cereal. So, if you are looking for fresh, real fruit flavors this cupcake may not be for you. But if you are like me and love sugary breakfast cereal as a special treat, then you just may love it!

Root Beer Float

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Having tried a few Root Beer Float cupcakes this season, I was curious to see how Starry Night’s would differ from the rest. The cake was made with root beer and the cupcake got its ice cream touch with the vanilla “cream” frosting. I thought this cupcake had a very authentic flavor, with a little spice from the root beer (just like those root beer barrel candies). The frosting was super light and smooth and all together the cupcake was balanced and not overly sweet.

Starry Night also has a new website, so if you haven’t seen it before you should check it out. And, if you’ve had some creative, fun, and tasty cupcakes this summer, tell us about them!

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

Potluck Perfection: Pillsbury’s Key Lime Cupcakes

KeyLime_Box

We see them in the grocery stores; the brightly colored seasonal boxes with cakes and cupcakes that make your mouth water. For some of us there’s a voice in our head that says, “But it’s a box mix!” and that means artificial flavor and color, and therefore a lack of quality that we might have become accustomed to. And then there’s the rest of us who say, “OMG those would be perfect for that picnic, cookout, or potluck we’re going to this summer!” knowing that the summer months are going to be busy and we just need something easy.

I’m a mixture of both. As much as I crave a nice, gourmet quality cupcake, I haven’t outgrown my roots in boxed cake mixes. So, succumbing to the bright summer colors, I bought Pillsbury’s Key Lime cake mix and frosting (as well as their Pink Lemonade, which is still in my pantry  you may remember that we also tried their Orange Creamsicle earlier this season).

I battled with the urge to doctor up the cake and frosting, to customize them in some way. I originally wanted to pipe the frosting, but knew that I wouldn’t have enough in the tub for two dozen, and it wouldn’t set properly. And I really wanted to be able to give you an honest review of what you get straight from the box.

My solution? To make a homemade white chocolate ganache filling.

KeyLime_Filling

For the filling I used white chocolate chips and, instead of butter (which can discolor the white chocolate) or heavy cream (which I just didn’t have), I used 2% milk. I had to let the ganache cool first because it was too runny when warm, but it worked beautifully even with milk.

I kept the decoration simple and the frosting minimal since it’s so sweet. Topped with some shaved white chocolate pieces, I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty they were in the end!

KeyLimeCupcake

The cake and frosting were both tangy, but there was definitely an unmistakable “fake-ness” to the key lime flavor. It actually made my tongue tingle a little (like when you eat too many Pixie Sticks or sour candies…I know I’m not alone here, right?!). But the cake was super moist and fluffy, one of the reasons I come back to box mixes time and time again. The white chocolate was the PERFECT pairing for this cupcake. It brought down the artificial tang (and tingle), and added that custom, high-end quality I was looking for.

I brought the cupcakes to my calligraphy guild’s pre-summer social. There were so many treats, all homemade of course. My cupcakes looked amazing, but the real test was: How would they stand-up to these people who clearly appreciate family recipes? Well, people literally gawked when I told them it was a box mix. So, they either agreed with me and the white chocolate ganache added the needed pizazz, or they just aren’t as picky as I worried they might be. Either way, if you are in a bind and need a quick dessert this summer, I think you’ll be safe picking up this box mix.

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

Summer Seasonals at Kupcakes & Co.

This summer has been full of vacations, weekend getaways, and birthday parties. One of those birthdays just happened to be my (and Crusader Jenn’s – we’re twins) 30th Birthday. Our birthday landed in the middle of the week this year, so before our big joint celebration, my fabulous husband surprised me with half a dozen cupcakes from one of my favorite cupcake shops, Kupcakes & Co.

The flavors he chose were Salted Caramel, Chocolate Covered Pretzel, Elvis, Cotton Candy, Strawberry Milkshake, and Root Beer Float. The three flavors I was most excited about were Cotton Candy, and two of their new summer flavors: Strawberry Milkshake and Root Beer Float.

Since I had been eating cupcakes all day (my coworkers know how to celebrate birthdays!) we decided to split the Cotton Candy. It seemed the most festive for the occasion so my husband lit a candle and sang happy birthday to me. I’ve always been apprehensive about trying any cotton candy flavored cupcakes for fear they would be too sweet or artificial tasting, even though for some reason I actually love cotton candy. While Kupcake & Co.’s Cotton Candy cupcake was very sweet, it luckily was not artificial tasting. I still don’t think I would get it again for myself, but I know that my super girlie little niece would think this was the perfect cupcake with its pretty pink frosting and sugary sweetness.

The next day, after I recovered from my all day cupcake eating sugar overdose, I decided I was ready to try the summer flavors I have been pining for ever since Kupcakes & Co. announced them. Not able to choose a flavor I cut each in half and dove in.

The root beer float was incredible. It didn’t have the typical mountain of frosting on top like other cupcakes from Kupcakes & Co., but instead just a smear of strongly flavored root beer frosting with a dollop of vanilla buttercream to act as the ice cream portion of the “float.” Even the cake had a subtle root beer flavor and of course, was soft and moist as always (I’ve never had a dry cupcake from Kupcakes & Co.).

Growing up I wasn’t a huge fan of strawberry milkshakes. Crusader Jenn and our mom always chose them while I shadowed my big sister and went with a chocolate milkshake. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve learned to appreciate the taste of sweet strawberries balanced out by a nice creamy vanilla and this cupcake represented that perfectly. A cake filled with fresh strawberries and a simple vanilla buttercream frosting was all they needed in order to create this summer classic.

I was so excited to have some tastiness from Kupcakes & Co. to help me celebrate my 30th birthday. They have yet to disappoint me and I look forward to trying more new flavors and continuing to enjoy my already established favorites. Hopefully I’ll be able to get there in the next month or so to try more of their summer flavors and even their new cupcake parfait.

If you find yourself craving a cupcake, you can visit their shop located in Elkridge and try the above flavors as well as any of their regular rotating flavors. Some others that have a summery feel are Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Key Lime, Creamsicle, and Cherry Limeade. Make sure to go to their website to see their cupcake calendar so you know what flavor options will be available when you stop in. When you visit, tell them the Crusaders say “hi!”

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

Summer Cupcake Picnic Series!

Hey Cupcake Lovers! We are excited to announce that we are planning 3 cupcake picnics this summer. This is the first year we have done this, but thought it would be a good way to get to know some of you and share something we all love… CUPCAKES!

We want this to be a fun, casual and relaxing summer gathering so the only request we have is that everyone brings cupcakes and is ready to share! You can bake them or buy them, that is totally your choice.

We are still working out some details, but we thought it would be nice to send out a save the date so you mark your calendar and hopefully join us for one (or all) of the picnics. Here are the details we have so far:

Saturday, June 23rd, 2pm
Washington DC

Sunday, July 29th, 2pm
Westminster, MD

Saturday, August 25th, 2pm
Baltimore, MD

We’ll be setting up in a local park for each city above and might even have some fun events planned in conjunction with Josie’s Confections.

Stay tuned for more details and in the meantime, start brainstorming what you want to share! We hope to meet you all soon!

– The Cupcake Crusaders