Family Date to Snickerdoodles Bakery

What would a family date night be without cupcakes? Probably still fun, but cupcakes make everything better, right? When my husband and I heard that the shopping center where Snickerdoodles Bakery is located would be celebrating their anniversary and offering special deals from the tenants, including free cupcakes between 5pm and 7pm, we decided that it was time for a family date. It had been almost 8 months since we’d taken our daughter, Leah, out to dinner with us. We were still scarred by an attempt to have dinner out when she was 2 months old, which ended with my husband and I eating separately while we tried consoling our screaming baby in the kids’ play area of Chick-Fil-A. But, with her eating more “grown-up” foods and being on a solid sleep schedule, we thought a family date night was long overdue.

Baby in tow, we headed to Hampstead, MD. During dinner Leah behaved brilliantly. She smiled at the staff and other patrons, ate her food and ours, and chatted everyone up like she owned the place. We left with smiles on our faces because we were so proud of our daughter (and maybe, just a little, because it was cupcake time).

Prior to leaving for our family date, I saw on Facebook that Snickerdoodles had a margarita cupcake (for Cinco de Mayo) and Java Chip, a flavor I hadn’t tried before (which is hard to believe after the 12 or so flavors we’d already sampled). We picked up those two flavors, as well as our free Vanilla-Vanilla cupcakes.


(I couldn’t resist taking a peak at our selection on the way home. The free cupcakes were normal size, but one of the things we love about Snickerdoodles is their super-sized cupcakes!)

Vanilla-Vanilla
Snickerdoodle’s vanilla cupcake with vanilla American buttercream frosting is the perfect birthday cake cupcake. The sweet frosting took me back to birthdays growing up, and the moist cake packed ample vanilla flavor. I rarely purchase the classics because I’m so intrigued by fancy flavors, but this is one I’d go back for!


(Don’t be fooled by its unassuming looks. This cupcake was anything but ordinary!)

Margarita
Since this was a margarita cupcake, I was really hoping to taste the flavor of tequila…and I got it! There was plenty of tequila in the lime filling. It complemented the lime cake and whipped frosting, giving the true taste of a well mixed margarita (minus the salt). The green cake was also very festive for the occasion. My husband and I really wish this cupcake was a summer offering, but it was just for a limited time. However, Snickerdoodles does have a key lime flavor for the summer, which I was told is pretty much the same, without tequila in the filling.


(I wasn’t sure if they rimmed the cupcake in salt, but it was actually sugar.)


(Tequila lime filling…yum!)

Java Chip
Margaritas may be one of my favorite cocktails, but I love anything that is coffee flavored. Add chocolate and it’s a winning pair! However, the java was a little lost amidst the chocolate in this cupcake. While I did miss the coffee flavor I’d been looking forward to, it was easy to forget once you were submerged in decadent chocolate. The java chocolate chip cake was filled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate covered espresso beans.


(My husband told me I should have eaten the chocolate covered espresso beans with the cupcake, but I opted not to, otherwise I’d be up all night!)


(I’m speechless. All I can think is, I want another one.)

Leah has been on many, many cupcake excursions with me, but this was the first one that occurred after 5pm, and it was a success. I have no doubt that she’ll become used to all family date nights ending with cupcakes!

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

Elisa’s “From Scratch” Baking Experiment: Margarita Cupcakes

Happy almost Cinco de Mayo! In honor of tomorrow’s holiday, I decided to take on the challenge of making a margarita cupcake for my next “from scratch” baking experiment.

After running the idea by the other Crusaders, they loved it and really helped plan out the cupcake, including a lime curd filling, tequila cake, and a salted buttercream frosting. Finding recipes for these pieces to the puzzle was not easy, in fact I took recipes and changed them to suit my needs – which is very scary and breaks my first rule of baking: follow the recipe.

For example the cake recipe is actually for Grand Marnier cupcakes – I just figured I could substitute the GM with tequila and leave out the orange zest. Then came the frosting. I settled on a vanilla buttercream, all the while knowing I would not be adding vanilla, but tequila and lime juice in its place. The lime curd was the only thing I knew I wouldn’t need to look up as I had much success with this lemon curd recipe and knew substituting lime for lemon wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

Once I had all the ingredients I was ready to start! This time around making the curd was first on the list, as it needs time to cool before it can be used as filling. Just as last time, there was a moment of panic when the mixture hit the stove and created an odd consistency – luckily I knew to just keep stirring. Presto, the lime curd was complete and tasted great!

Then came the cake… While I did follow the recipe, I changed the Grand Marnier to tequila… both being clear, but brown alcoholic liquids, I didn’t think it would make a difference. While the recipe was very easy to follow I didn’t realize that the recipe was for 24 cupcakes, luckily my friend Sami at work recently gave me a cupcake pan/case, so I could cook all 24 at the same time! Following the recipe I cooked them for exactly 18 minutes and then set them to cool. I’ll admit, right off the bat they seemed to have large bubble holes in them, unlike most cakes I have made, but I trekked on…

The frosting was a very standard recipe, except when it called to add the milk, I added tequila and lime juice instead, and added an extra pinch of salt. I also only used 3.5 cups of confectioners sugar instead of 4 cups, as it was stiff enough and I didn’t want the frosting too sweet.

Once I began cutting the “plugs” to fill the cupcakes with lime curd, I knew something was wrong with the cake. Sadly, it seemed oily and oddly textured. There isn’t any oil in the cake ingredients, so I am not sure why it would seem oily. I tried one of the plugs – ok, I ate about half of them – and didn’t think the cake tasted bad, just not great, and didn’t give me as much of the tequila flavor as I was hoping for. I filled all 24 with the lime curd and after tasting it I thought, “That curd might just save this cupcake cake disaster.”

I whipped out my fancy pipping tools – thank you again Stacy – and loaded the pipping bag with the very yummy frosting… I cut straws and lime wedges to really add some character to the cupcakes: one of my other goals is to keep trying new ways to decorate, and I also added some pink sea salt for taste. (Side note: In fact, I was going to make candied lime peels to decorate these cupcakes with, but I was afraid the sugar would over power the salt in the frosting, so after buying 4 limes I didn’t need, I decided against it.)

While these cupcakes may look great and very festive, they only taste so-so. The lime curd is fantastic, even the icing is finger licking good… but the cake failed. Oddly oily and weirdly textured, I am not sure what went wrong. It isn’t a matter of too much time in the oven, or disregard for following instructions, it just didn’t turn out quite right. Together they really do taste a bit like a margarita… it’s just a shame the cake is so odd, otherwise these cupcakes would be a huge hit on May 5th!

Not everything can be perfect, and I knew it was only a matter of time before something wouldn’t go the way I wanted it to during one of these baking experiments. What’s most important is that I tried something new, made a new curd and frosting that I would eat again and again, and got one more baking experience under my belt!

Now I just have to decide what to try baking next month! Any suggestions or requests?

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