The Cupcake Experience

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Hey ya’ll! I’m in such a fantastic mood right now, so I thought I would post about one of my favorite things in the world: Cupcakes. Why am I in such a good mood? Well I got an A on my first midterm in graduate school. For me, it is just reinforcing that I am in the best field for me. I’m so excited. So cupcakes. My favorite thing in the world. Well I have many favorite things, but this is just one of the top 3. I obviously had to go to the iconic cupcake shop in the city: Magnolia Bakery. Funny thing is my dad and I tried to go here many years ago, but it was so hard to find that we just gave up and ate Crumbs (not that I’m complaining). When Carrianne and I were over in West Village over by Bleecker street, I was like we HAVE to go to Magnolia just for the experience because it is on one of my favorite shows, Sex and the City.

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This place is so cute. The location on Bleecker is a very tiny shop, so the line wraps around in the inside and it can get really crowded. However we went at a pretty good time, so the line wasn’t bad at all. Plus there were tons of beautiful cakes to look at while we waited to place our order. A woman came around in the line to ask if we wanted any cakes or other things besides cupcakes, so she would get them packaged. It was a really good method to make things more efficient. We were in and out of the shop in 10 minutes, so that was really nice because this is such a classic place for tourists to go.

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The cupcakes are so cute. It is super simple, but I think that is what makes them so classic and wanted by everyone. Not to mention the association with Sex and the City. People that come to NYC to visit have some weird love with doing things that are related to their favorite tv shows. Anyways the cupcakes come in a few flavors. There was just the simple ones such as the vanilla vanilla or chocolate, but then they had options like red velvet, coconut, and s’mores. I think the special cupcakes change every day or week, but I’m not completely sure.

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I wanted to have the classic Magnolia Bakery experience, so I went with the vanilla with vanilla buttercream. The buttercream came in different colors, so you got whatever one they gave you. I thought this one was really cute. I like that they put sprinkles on top of it too. Sprinkles makes everything better. I was a little worried before I ate this because the reviews on yelp were iffy, but they were wrong. This was a good cupcake for what it was. Do I prefer Crumbs? Well yes, but this wasn’t bad. The cake was moist and the icing was sweet, but not overly sweet.

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What I enjoyed most about this place was probably the experience. It was a pleasant time with some sweet treats. The icing was the best part of the cupcake. I have weird cupcake eating habits, like sometimes I lick all the icing off the top before I even eat the cake. Or I will rip the cake in half and make a cupcake sandwich. However I prefer to just eat all the icing. I have a passion for icing. It is my favorite part, so I love when cupcake places stuff the inside of the cake with icing too (hello Crumbs, I see you got me there).

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The main reason to go to Magnolia is for the cake! Yes, you heard me right. Go for the cake and skip the cupcakes unless you want the experience of the whole Sex and the City thing. This cake is mind blowing. I got the hummingbird cake. It was incredibly moist and packed with a ton of flavors from all the spices and pineapple. The icing was so delicious. It was a sweet cream cheese. Cream cheese isn’t my favorite icing, but this one was pretty great. I was so happy that I had gotten this slice of cake to go. It took me a few days to eat it all because they give you massive slices. It is definitely worth the money.

Have you ever been to Magnolia bakery?
What places on TV shows have you wanted to go to?

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A Sweet Treat – Petit Fours

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a fantastic day. Today is a very special day. Two of my best friends, since high school, have the same birthday, which is today. I’m very sad because this is the first time in 9 years that I haven’t spent with them. So I thought I would give them a very special shout out on the blog and share a recipe that can be used for birthdays and birthday parties – petit four cakes.
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This is us watching Harry Potter at the alamo drafthouse. They had butter beer, which was really delicious.  We always have the best time. Happy birthday Isa and Shayna! I love you guys so much. So now time for the more delicious part of the post. A petit four recipe. I love to bake. It is such a stress relief for me, so anytime I can bake I am a happy person. These petit fours are not your traditional ones that are extremely tedious, but instead they are pretty simple to make. If you want to do a meticulous version, you can bake them on a jelly roll sheet and cut them into little square, but who wants to do that. No one.

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Petit Four Cake

8 oz unsalted butter (make sure it is at room temperature)
8 oz of sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
8 oz of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Get a silicon baking pan that are in small squares such as one for brownies or fudge. Then grease or spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Sift the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Then place that mixture aside.

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4. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter. Then add in the sugar and vanilla. Add the 4 eggs into the mixture one at a time until thoroughly blended.

5. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture until mixed well.

6. Spread into the silicon pan up to 3/4 of the square.

7. Bake for 15-18 minutes until you can touch the top of the cake and it bounces back.

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This is just a plain vanilla cake for the base. However you can make a ton of variations of cake to make as petit fours. To make a lemon cake, you can add 2 tbsp of lemon zest and 2 or more tsp of fresh lemon juice. I’ve made them and they are quite delicious. I think if you want a stronger lemon flavor, I would add more lemon juice. You can also make an orange cake using the same ingredients, but oranges. So orange zest and orange juice. Also chocolate would be a delicious cake to make. Just add 2 oz or more of unsweetened cocoa powder. A raspberry cake would be good too. I have all kinds of delicious flavor combinations in my head. Yum. Next comes the hard part of all of this.

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For the filling part, which comes after the cakes cool off, you will need pastry bags, tips, and filling. For the first time we made these, we ended up buying round tips, which was such a bad idea. You need a sharper tip to stab into the cake. For the filling, you can either make your own or buy pre-made filling. We ended up buying pre-made filling from this super cute bake shop in Austin, Make it Sweet, where we bought all of the baking tools at. This store is fantastic. They offer tons of classes and have all kinds of baking supplies. It is awesome. So for this part, you take each cake one at a time, poke in the tip, and squeeze your pastry bag to insert the filling into the cake. Sometimes it is hard to tell, so I would practice on one cake and then cut it in half to see if you got enough in there. We ended up filling our cakes with lemon and Bavarian cream. Delicious.  Now it is time for the icing.

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Petit Four Icing
2 lbs of confectioners’ sugar
2 oz of butter, melted
8 oz of heavy cream
1 tsp of almond or vanilla flavoring
food color if you would like to color your icing

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1. Place all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler over hot water. You can just use two pots in this method. Place water in the bottom pot and then place another one on top of this. Although if you have a double boiler, props to you for having awesome cookware.

2. Stir the mixture until it is smooth.

3. Divide the icing into smaller groups and color each if you want to.

We ended up making our petit fours hot pink and aqua. These were for our volleyball players, so that is why we choose those super girly colors. These were okay for our first attempt at them. We are going to perfect them now today for my mom’s friends engagement party for her son and his fiance. We made notes as we baked them about all the things that we needed to edit, so now we can make perfect petit fours. Although they were not the prettiest of cakes for our first time, they were still extremely delicious.

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Be careful if you dye them a darker color like the aqua. It can stain your mouth for a little while like eating a blue piece of candy. You will certainly enjoy these treats though. They are cute little cakes to have at parties or at tea time. While they aren’t very healthy for you, they are nice to have as a sweet treat every once in a while. A smart thing to do is bake them and then place them in the freezer. You can take one out at a time to enjoy when you are craving that sweet treat. One batch made about 40 cakes.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day, especially my two best friends!

Have you ever had a petit four?
What is your favorite thing to bake?

Blueberry Donuts (Healthy/Low Cal Recipe)

Hey ya’ll! Hope everyone is having a good Monday. I have been pretty busy today. So far I have run some errands with my mom, got a travel guide for my trip to Spain, did some computer stuff, and now I’m posting on the blog. Later I get to start studying for my biochemical nutrition exam (fun, but not really). I have an awesome recipe for you. I sort of based this off a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but I did some epic Lindsay changes to it.

DSCN0189Whole Wheat Blueberry Donuts

Ingredients:
1 c of Whole Wheat Flour
6 tbsp Splenda (I may have added an extra two or three to this)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c + 2 tbsp of Chobani 0% Blueberry Greek Yogurt
2-3 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp margarine (melted in microwave)
DSCN01941. Preheat the oven to around 315-330 degrees and spray your donut pan with non-stick spray.
2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and sugar).
3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (yogurt, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter).
4. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry bowl and mix until fully combined. Make sure that you do not stir the mix too much.
5. Pour mixture into donut pan (if too thick, you can add some more milk or yogurt in order to make it more “pastry” like).
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven.
7. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
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For the topping:
1/2 c of fresh blueberries
1 tbsp blueberry jam
1 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
1-2 tbsp of confectioners sugar (if you want it to be an icing use 1-2 cups)

1. Mash the blueberries with jam until mainly juice and crushed skin (or use food processor to puree).
2. Add in milk.
3. Slowly add in the sugar until you reach a blue color and the right thickness for your icing (I used little to none because I wanted more of a syrup).

DSCN0188In my opinion, these were more like snack donuts. To make them more breakfast like, I would probably switch to all purpose flour. That doesn’t mean that these aren’t good because I actually thought they were quite delicious. They weren’t overwhelming in the way that donuts normally are. No sick or full stomachs. They weren’t oversweet either. It was a more natural version of a donut in my opinion. I’m definitely going to be messing with this recipe to make some crazy donut concoctions because I am a big fan of breakfast foods (in case you couldn’t tell from my many pancake posts).

Have a good rest of the day! I’ll be studying and finishing up some graduate application stuff. During my breaks I’ll probably be looking up things about Spain (yes, you can all be jealous).