Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Anatomy of an ‘Upcake

Here’s a helpful little diagram illustrating what goes into each of our 21 & ‘Upcake cupcakes.


Friday Movie Night: Nacho Libre

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So we’ve decided to start a new weekly post: Friday Movie Night. Each week we’ll suggest a new movie (since we are total movie buffs over here) and a snack/dessert to go with it. Of course, we’ll have to add our own 21 & ‘Upcakes twist to it, but sometimes you need a night in, a good movie, a few friends and tasty treat to bring it together. This week’s movie: Nacho Libre.

Nacho Libre, if you haven’t seen it, came out a few years ago and stars Jack Black in one of his true-to-form comedic roles. Basic plot-line: Berated all his life by those around him, a monk follows his dream and dons a mask to moonlight as a Luchador (Mexican wrestler). It’s sure to brighten your spirits this weekend if you find yourself not at theatres watching the Avengers, not celebrating Star Wars Day (May the 4th), or recovering from Cinco de Mayo.

And what goes better with a Mexican themed movie than churros, a Mexican fritter that’s fried and coated in cinnamon and sugar. We’ve found this recipe from our friends over at All Recipes, but if you don’t feel up to frying your own churros you can always buy frozen in a pinch. In any case, you can make it your own by pairing it with some Mexican Hot Chocolate. Granted it may be a little warm down here in Florida for hot chocolate, but once you have churros dipped in hot chocolate, you’ll never want to go without again.

Mexican Hot Chocolate is given it’s name by the type of chocolate that is used to make it, it’s generally infused with different spices such as cinnamon, almond, and vanilla. Often times you can find these in your local market or even Walmart will sometimes carry it, look for the Ibarra or Taza brands. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, you can substitute it with one ounce semisweet chocolate, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 drop almond extract for 1 ounce Mexican chocolate. We also like to add a little chili powder to it for that added kick, and it really helps to bring out the flavors in the chocolate. To make this whole evening a 21 & ‘Upcakes evening though, we suggest adding a little tequila to your hot chocolate.

Once you’ve cooked up your churros and Mexican hot chocolate, it’s time to sit back, relax, and let Jack Black provide the laughs.

Churro Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.

Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. If this is too much, you can also turn them into little dough balls, less authentic, but also less intimidating for those of us afraid of scalding hot oil. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces Mexican chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 oz silver tequila (to taste so you can always add more “1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, floor”)
  • Dash of salt
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients and 1 cup water over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot but not boiling, about 8 minutes (the mixture should be smooth). Pour into 4 large mugs and dip your churros as you go. If you have a milk frother, this is a golden opportunity to try it out as well. Enjoy!  

 

Celebrate With Cake

Wonder Woman Cake

We have some great news fellow revolutionaries, our very own Sydney is now certified as an EMT in the state of Florida. And what better way to celebrate than with cake? So that’s exactly what we did. As a surprise we made her favorite cupcake (chocolate raspberry) into a layered cake with the ganache in between the two layers and decorated with Wonder Woman. Since, you know, EMTs save lives just like Wonder Woman. That, and we’re all total geeks over here.

We may have added a little something extra too. If you know Sydney, then you already know her obsession with peanut butter and putting it on everything, so we couldn’t make a cake and not include peanut butter, right? So we tried adding a Reese’s peanut butter “ganache” layer to the chocolate raspberry one. Now I may be biased, but I think that this turned out to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tasted. Imagine the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had, then combine it with the most decadent PB&J you’ve ever had, and you’d be getting close to this cake. Though I am also quite partial to peanut butter and basically anything that has peanut butter in it.

You will have to forgive us slightly on the overall “prettiness” of the cake seeing as SOMEONE kept trying to come into the kitchen when we were making it. This same person was supposed to be testing for 2 hours, but instead was done in an hour…. Silly over-achievers, always messing up surprise parties. We did manage to make the stars around the Wonder Woman symbol “shine” with use of candles, though – hoorah for last minute thinking.

Tip for those of you making layered cake with a gooey layer in between, make sure EVERYTHING is cooled completely (cake and ganache centers). When you try to hurry and just throw it all together, against your better judgement, you end up with the ooey gooey layer spewing out the side like a squashed, over-stuffed PB&J sandwich. And believe me, you do NOT want to waste that much chocolate and peanut butter goodness.

Nevertheless, we still managed to surprise her and I think she liked the cake, maybe too much, if that’s even possible?

So remember fellow revolutionaries, there’s always a reason to try something new and always celebrate with cake!



What Will You Do In 5 Years?

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Since posting our latest update about the History of Cakes, we’ve been a bit reflective ourselves. In recognizing the importance of knowing where you came from and how it relates to how far you’ve gone, we also understand that there has to be a goal or end point as well. We started thinking, if this is from where we’ve come, where do we want to go to?

So we came up with our own 5-year “bucket” list, to freeze this moment in time as a starting point to look back on in 5 years. To see how far 21 & ‘Upcakes will go and our own personal lives as well. Since isn’t the point of a revolution to change how we see and interact with the world? Below you’ll find Danielle’s list, it’s simple and brings home the point of how precious our time really is and what’s important in life. Have a look, we’re not shy, hopefully it will inspire you to consider doing the same.

So we challenge you with this: What would you do in 5 years? Do you see yourself the next Betty Crocker or maybe just one to your kids? Do you see yourself living in some far off place, experiencing new adventures every day? Or maybe you just want to start as simple as taking time to curl up on the couch with that book you’ve been meaning to read. Take today as opportunity to reflect on what you really want out of life. And remember, no one ever did anything extraordinary by being “realistic”.

Now that may sound like a lot to ask and it can be daunting at first, but you may just find that what you really want isn’t that far off. And to help get the ball rolling, we’re offering any piece of 21 & ‘Upcakes merchandise of your choice from our store for free. Just submit your goals for the next 5 years either below in the comments or email us at 21andUpcakes@gmail.com. We’ll select one winner at random from all the submissions on May 1st. We’ve also included a blank template for you if you’d prefer to print and write out your own goals. Happy contemplating.

Be sure to check out http://www.leapyearsresolution.com/ if you want to have some help for the first 4 years too.



History of Cake

They say you can’t know how far you’ve gone, unless you know where you came from. So we thought we’d take this moment to reflect back on just how far desserts, and in particular cake, have come in the past century or so. And now that we know a starting point, how far do you think desserts can go?

Originally designed by Jay Layman

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.



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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