Category Archives: Cupcakes

Key Lime Margarita Cake Shot

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It’s officially May and officially too hot down here in Florida. Our forecast for this week includes multiple days in the 90s, I think Florida decided to skip Spring along with Winter this year. Nonetheless, one good thing about Summer and warm weather, a whole new world of diversions, drinks, and desserts come to the forefront again. One of my personal favorites: sitting at the beach, or by the pool, with a margarita in hand, scents from the BBQ mingling with the scents of the warm summer air, and the hope of key lime pie for dessert. So we here at 21 & ‘Upcakes thought, why not combine these into one delicious dessert for summer? Well at least the margarita and key lime pie, we’ll save the BBQ for another time and place. We present to you the Key Lime Margarita Cake Shot.

This joyful little bite-size morsel is perfect for the first of May. It has the refreshing taste of citrus, is small enough you can still fit in that bikini next week, and has the added little punch of tequila. I also have to give a shout out to my friends Brent and Cynthia for this one. Brent is a friend who is actually on an R&D team for a major dessert company and he recently brought over a mini, layered key lime cake which started the wheels turning. Then my friend Cynthia challenged us to create something with key lime, whether it be cake or pie. We chose both.

We started with a layer of graham cracker crust soaked in a light key lime juice glaze, because what’s key lime pie without the crust? Next we topped it we moist key lime cake recipe we found that we of course tweaked and kicked up to ‘Upcake status by adding a dash of key lime margarita. (Which, by the way, is delicious and if you want the recipe for any goings on you may have in the next few days, it can be found on the Food Network site here.)

Then we added a layer of key lime margarita pie. That’s right, key lime pie and a key lime margarita met and created a beautiful bundle of joy that is a spiked pie filling. Once that re-hardened a bit in the freezer we topped it with another layer of cake and a lime twist to finish it off. We wanted to put a real key lime twist on top, but apparently it’s still too early here in Orlando for key limes to have found their way up here.

The result: a bite-size piece of joy that is key lime to the Nth degree. So what are your May and Summer plans? Any recommendations or requests? Or maybe even your favorite Summer drink? Submit your idea and if we turn it into a post, we’ll give you a shout-out too.



Mudslide Stix Recipe

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We’re going to institute a new Recipe of the Month program, where each month we’ll give out one of our recipes until the app and book are released. This way we give a taste of ‘upcakes to inspire our fellow dessert revolutionaries.

This month’s recipe is Mudslide Stix. What can be better than a Twix bar? A homemade Twix bar with Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream included. We can thank Pinterest for the idea of homemade Twix bars and the bottle of Friday’s Mudslide mix that’s been in our fridge for the alcoholic inspiration. This is also a surprisingly easy recipe for you to follow, so if you love Kahlua, Bailey’s, caramel and chocolate, read on.

We started with Stella D’Oro Italian cookie bars, we used the mix of chocolate and vanilla flavored to add some variety. Next we added a drizzle of Bailey’s and Kahlua chocolate ganache to each cookie and underneath. Then we rolled out some soft caramel chew candies using a glass or rolling pin and stretched them until they were the same size and contour of the cookies. This helps keep the ganache in place and from mixing with the outer chocolate shell.

So next time you want to bring someone chocolates, why not make them yourself and add an extra little kick to your treat.

Mudslide Stix Bars
- 12 oz Candy Chocolates
- 5 oz Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 oz Kahlua Cafe Liquor
- 1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 12 Stella D’Oro Italian Cookie Bars
- 12 Carmel Soft Candies (flattened out)

Heat the cream over medium-high heat until just before boiling. Once simmering, pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for two minutes. After two minutes, whisk chocolate until smooth then add the Kahlua and Bailey’s, set aside to cool.

Top the cookies with a drizzle of the ganache and cover with a flattened out caramel. Smooth the melted chocolate over the cookie, we used the piping bag method which proved incredibly helpful. Let them harden at room temperature and serve. If you are making them ahead of time, keep them in the fridge until a few hours before serving for optimal freshness. Just be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving again or else the caramel will be rock hard. Enjoy!




Heroes Assemble

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Sorry for the radio silence lately, fellow dessert revolutionaries, the flu rolled through our team last week and like Superman we were unable to withstand the kryptonite of sickness this time. Thankfully we were able to get some new inspiration before succumbed completely. We recently had the opportunity to attend a superhero-inspired party with a few of our caped-crusader friends. And by attend, I mean we hosted it.

Yes, our movie-buff nerd-dom extends to the DC and Marvel universes and beyond. Though in reality, who doesn’t love super heroes? I mean – Batman – ’nuff said.

But I digress, in planning said party we of course had to deck it out in as much hero gear as you’d find in Batman’s utility belt. We had the Avengers table cloths and party favors, Spiderman napkins, 3D plates and danglers, a 600+ hero sticker book, Batman cupcake liners, oversized BAM and POW signs for pictures, and of course lots and lots of candy – because what fun is it to be 5 again if you can’t eat all the candy you want?

As for food, among other things we had Phoenix’ Fire, which was a Buffalo Chicken dip. Now while there was no alcohol in this one, it was delicious and a lot of people were asking for the recipe. So if you’re interested, it’s super easy. Take 2 packages of chicken (either breasts or thighs, but we used a mix) and boil the meat till it’s fully cooked. Then after it’s all cooled, shred the chicken with a fork or your fingers, whichever is easier. Mix in 2 boxes of cream cheese, 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce, and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Pop it into the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until the mozzarella is all melted and serve with Frito’s Big Scoops. It’s that simple and everyone LOVES it. Credit goes to my coworker from a Super Bowl party a couple years ago.

Our party guests soon arrived dressed to the T and running the gamut of super heroes, from Wonder Woman to Green Lantern and Wasp to Phoenix, with a few villains finding their way in by way of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. There were those of course that found the DC and Marvel universes too small, so we had Freakazoid, Dave Lizewski, and Mara Jade (from Star Wars) join the party.

And we wouldn’t be 21 & ‘Upcakes without some boozy desserts, right? Right. So we took our Raspberry Crush recipe (chocolate cupcakes filled with a raspberry liquor ganache and topped with white chocolate frosting), used the Batman cupcake liners, dyed the frosting Bat Signal yellow with the help of the ever-helpful food coloring, and went to work on the designs made out of raspberry liquor-infused chocolate. Everything from knock-out-punch dizzy spirals, Avengers A’s, X-men X’s, Spiderman webs, and, you guessed it, the Bat Signal. May not be out best work, but I think everyone had fun helping out.

So even if you’re in the middle of an epic battle with Apocolypse or just trying to bring something different to the party, you can take any recipe and make it super heroic with little bit of creativity. Just to get the ball rolling, we’ve uploaded a couple of new printables that may come in handy if you should find yourself attending a party of the superhero caliber – Batman and X-men truffle boxes. And in the meantime, remember to be yourself and be awesome – like Batman.

Click to Download

Click to Download

Phoenix’ Fire Buffalo Dip Recipe
2 Packs Boneless/Skinless Chicken (dark or light meat)
2 Packs Cream Cheese
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Bottle Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Boil the chicken until thoroughly cooked.
Once it’s cooled, shred with a fork or your fingers.
Mix the shredded chicken with cream cheese, mozzarella, and buffalo sauce in an oven safe dish until sauce is evenly distributed.
Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.
Serve warm with Frito’s Big Scoops.



Cakes to Sip & Celebrate

Sip and Celebrate Lemonade On the Rocks

I recently had a friend ask me for help in designing an evite for a baby shower she was throwing. The only catch was that it wasn’t quite traditional, it was more of a non-baby-shower baby shower. So the theme was a lemonade party that celebrated the entire family, not just the new baby since they have another daughter that’s a little over 2 now. So we created a summer-y lemonade invite that had her baby room colors and designs (thank you Pinterest) included in the design.

Interestingly enough, it gave us a thought for a new cupcake – a lemonade cupcake. Conveniently, Sydney’s Dad makes the most amazingly delicious blueberry lemonade, which was the only thing I could envision when thinking blue and yellow lemonade party. So we combined a few different recipe ideas and came up with this little beauty of a cupcake: Lemonade On The Rocks.

We made up a batch of the lemonade, well a couple of batches so we had plenty of “leftovers,” and started incorporating it into our vanilla cupcake recipe. Then threw in a bit of Blue Curaçao, because what’s an ‘Upcake without the alcohol and what pairs better with lemonade than Blue Curaçao. Next added a heaping cup of blueberries and put them in the oven. We encountered a slight twist when they cooked because apparently, cooking blue cupcakes without QUITE enough blue food coloring makes for a blueish-green cooked cupcake. Still tasted delicious, just a mental note for next time.

Then got to work on the frosting: cream cheese frosting with standard lemonade and lemon drops (again, how could we resist?). To finish it off we added a splash of fresh blueberry juice and voila, the Lemonade On The Rocks was alive and well. Got to love the serendipity of one project inspiring another. It’s time to sip and celebrate with 21 & ‘Upcakes.





 

May The Odds Be Ever In Your *Cupcake* Favor

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Last night was the LA premier of The Hunger Games and it marked only 12 days until the opening of the movie next Friday. The Hunger Games phenomenon has seemingly sweeped the nation off it’s feet. Now whether your love for the series is real or not real, ours here at 21 & ‘Upcakes is quite real and no illusion of the tracker jackers.So in honor of the upcoming release, we’ve come up with a printable and step-by-step instructions for creating your own mockingjay pin cupcake topper. Perfect for you and your fellow tributes for the start of the 74th Annual Hunger Games.

First you’ll need the following:
- Yellow or White rolled fondant (available at your local Joanne’s or Michaels)
- Black food write marker (normally comes in a variety pack)
- Red and Yellow food spray paint
- X-acto knife or similar tool

Open the fondant roll out according to box directions. Once it’s rolled out to desired thickness (about an 1/8″), spray with yellow spray paint with an even coat. Then using the red spray paint about 5″ above the fondant, spray a light dusting level over the yellow fondant. Set aside to let the paint dry.

 

 

In the meantime, printout the PDF from here onto preferably thicker printer paper (thinner paper doesn’t tend to hold up as well). There are two options on the sheet, a simplified edges version and a detailed wing version. Either will work, it just depends on your level of determination at the time. Using an X-acto knife, very carefully cut along the solid lines of the printout.

Once the paint is dry on the fondant, place the stencil cutout onto the fondant. Using the dull end of a pen or paintbrush, lightly follow along the dotted lines making a slight impression onto the fondant. This will give the fondant some depth with shadows and highlights.

Then, using the food marker, fill in the blank spaces around the stencil. Be careful not to let the stencil move as you color in the blank space. Once everything is drawn on, remove the stencil and fill in any missed spots. If the paint wasn’t completely dry before putting the stencil dawn, there could be some water spots on the fondant. If this happens, you can spray some more of the yellow paint on top and smudge it with your fingers if needed.

 

Cut around the stencil to the desired size. We used a glass from Ikea that worked perfectly. Let the fondant dry completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) before placing as topper on your cupcakes. And there you have it, a mockingjay fitted for Panem’s favorite baker, Peeta Mellark. Be sure to check out our Flaming Dr. Pepper cupcake, pairs well as the cupcake on fire. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can try carving the same design out of fondant using the template for the 3D look to.

 


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An Improvisation on Chocolate Butterflies

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Sometimes we here at 21 & ‘Upcakes have a habit of getting ourselves into situations that need a little creative handling. Thankfully it pretty much works out in the end. For instance, a while back we had a woman come to us asking if we can do a special order for her baby shower, the theme was butterflies. We immediately said yes, because who wouldn’t love the chance to experiment with gum paste or fondant to capture the beauty of a butterfly. Well then she sends us a picture of the butterflies that she wanted on the cupcakes. They were beautiful, adorable and not made out of gum paste as we were thinking.

“Ok, we can handle this,” we told ourselves not really knowing what we were going to do. Cue the creative licensing. We combed the web trying to find a mold similar to her perfect little beauties, but nothing even came close. Now while there are a number of different chocolate molds out there for butterflies, they are mostly more realistic than we were going for. So we sat back and tried to think of a plan b, since there are always at least 2 ways to solve a problem. We started looking at the base shapes of the butterfly chocolate she had requested and couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance to two gradual hearts combined together. That was it! We figured we could find a heart mold and “tweak” it to look how we needed it to.

The heart search was on. We yet again combed the web searching for the perfect heart mold that could give birth to our little chocolate treats, and thanks to Amazon, we found the perfect one. Even better was that it was at a perfect price: $1.99! BITE SIZE HEARTS Valentine Candy Mold chocolate You can’t beat that, so we ordered it and within a week we were in the kitchen and experimenting.

We filled the little molds and then went to work cutting them in half, placing them on each cupcake, filling in the body section and adding the little details to make them look more like wings. In addition to cutting the hearts, we also took a warmed knife down the center (where the heart crease is) so that it looked like it went in more and looked like actual wings instead of a heart cut in half.

In the end they turned out both delicious and delightful to look at. The Mommy-to-Be loved the Raspberry Crush cupcake (sans the alcohol) topped with bright baby pink and the butterflies she had been expecting the whole time. As did all of her friends. So the moral of this one? Remember there are always two ways to solve a problem, you just have to look at it from another angle. You may be surprised what you can come up with.




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Funny Things Are Everywhere

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In honor of the release of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in theatres, which conveniently falls on the same day as his 108th birthday, we’re going to undergo an adventure in cake pops. Inspiration courtesy of Bakerella, we’re going to try and make Truffula Trees. We’ll be sure to post how it goes and of course, we’ll try to add our own twist to the flavoring.

We’ve also written our own poem for all those out there who say, “I can’t bake.” A baker’s a baker, no matter how small.

Baking is an art,
in which all can take part.
Whether you’re taller than a wall
or smaller than a doll,
we can all make a mess
and relieve some stress,
just start with the flour
and in under an hour
you may just have a cake
and a crowd in your wake
rushing with great haste
just to get a small taste.

And while we’re cake popping, enjoy 30 quotes by the Dr himself that are sure to brighten your day, no matter how gray.

[Via: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Live By]

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss quote?



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Just Monkeyin’ Around

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When all else fails, just have fun with it. Awhile back I had a request for 5 dozen chocolate cupcakes for a monkey-themed baby shower, but it was no monkey-business. Let me tell you, baking 5 dozen cupcakes after working all day, it can get rather tiring. You’re feet start to hurt, your back aches, you’re so tired you start grabbing pans out of the oven without the oven mitts. You start asking yourself, “what am I doing with my life?” Then you remember that there is a light at the end of that tunnel and at the end of the day, it’s still something you love. And the best way to remind yourself is to just try and have fun with it.

Thankfully, I had seen this design awhile back for Monkey Cupcakes in one of those magazines that are so carefully placed right at the checkout counter. These goofy little monkeys were just real enough to look like the real thing, but cute enough for a baby shower. It also helped lighten my mood as the midnight hour approached, how can you be mad when staring at these little things, right? So I began the process of breaking the Nutter Butter® (having to do the only rational thing and eat the ‘casualties’ that didn’t break quite right), placing the M&M® eyes ever so carefully, then drawing on some fanciful faces to bring them to life. In the end, the baby shower went great, the cupcakes were a hit, and I learned a valuable lesson to just sit back, relax and remember it’s not always a bad thing to have a monkey in the kitchen.

Want to know we made these? They’re not that hard. Start with your favorite chocolate icing, doesn’t have to be fancy, just smooth as you can. Then the ears were made out of Nutter Butter® cookies that were Oreo®-style split then cut down the middle. The mouth is a Nilla Wafer® with a crew cut, then the eyes are just M&Ms. I used red and black gel frosting pens to add the pupils, nose, hair curl, and mouth details. That was it! Feel free to add your own expressions to help give them some spunk.



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Why Cupcakes Are The Best

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We’ve compiled our list of the top reasons why we think cupcakes are the best:

1) They Make You Smile
Although the exact number is still yet to be determined, the average consensus is that it takes between 13 and 17 muscles to smile. So if eating a cupcake makes you smile and smiling takes muscle work, then eating cupcakes is kind of like a work out, right? And that’s not even including if your friend gets covered in frosting and you of course laugh. Laughing can potentially use up to 80 muscles. So go ahead, work out with a cupcake and share with a friend.

2) The Messier the Better
They always say the messier a food is, normally the better it is. Well cupcakes provide just the right amount of messiness that you can still eat with your hands, or a fork, or nothing at all if you feel so inclined. Between the moist crumbs and smooth buttery frosting, you’re sure to get a treat no matter how you eat.

3) Portion Control
Or at least their portion control. No more “I just want a bite,” since with cupcakes each person can have their own and you don’t have to worry about the dessert hog anymore. As for your own portion, well only you can decide just how many cupcakes you enjoy.

4) Versatility
Between cake flavors and and the variety of frosting colors available, there’s no end to the combinations you can come up with. Plus you’re sure to find one that fits any event you may be having: baby shower, bachelorette party, even a wedding. The possibilities are up to you.

5) Togetherness
Cupcakes bring people together. Well most desserts do really. There’s a sense of camaraderie and joy that takes over a room when everyone is enjoying a delicious dessert. Unfortunately that joy fades as one-by-one the pieces are cut and you begin to do cake-math in your head. Thankfully math gets easier with cupcakes.

6) Love At First Bite
Last, but not least, they’re delicious. How can you stare at an amazing cupcake and not take a bite? The answer: you can’t. Especially when you make them a booz’ert with that little extra shot of Amaretto, Frangelico or something along those lines. Either way, you can never go wrong with a cupcake.

We know that there are more reasons out there, these are just our top 6. So you tell us, why do you think cupcakes are so great?




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Inspiration Finds You

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Sometimes inspiration is  thrust upon you. I recently attended a “Geek Girl Extravaganza” and, as had been the recent norm, I was asked to bring a dessert. Now how could I let pass an opportunity to try out a new recipe idea and support one of my favorite shows of all time? A show that needs all the support it can get since it was cut down in its prime? Well I just couldn’t let that happen.

Enter Serenity Cupcakes stage left. These delicious little delights were chocolate cupcakes filled with a strawberry champaign cream cheese custard, topped with a strawberry champaign buttercream, colored in true Firefly colors thanks to edible spray paint, and topped with sinfully delicious chocolate-covered strawberries. Not sure how many of you out there are familiar with the show, but strawberries were a rare delicacy and personal favorite of the character Kaylee on the show. As an added touch, we stenciled on the Chinese character for Serenity, just like on the ship. Sure enough they were a hit.

So this lesson: never miss an opportunity to try something new. And why not aim for over-the-top, you might be surprised by what you come up with.





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