Cute Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery

You’ll find lots of wonderful baked goods at the Magnolia Bakery in New York City, but they are pretty famous for their cupcakes! :)  This well-known bakery opened in 1996 in Greenwich Village and, according to their website, “It was envisioned as a cozy, old-fashioned shop where people could come for coffee and something sweet. With its vintage American desserts and decor, customers often remark that walking into the Bakery is like taking a step back in time.”  They have about six locations now–none by where I live, unfortunately–so I admire their cupcakes from afar on their site (all photos shown in this post are from magnoliabakery.com). Their Vanilla Vanilla cupcake, “a buttery old-fashioned vanilla cupcake with a light crumb and vanilla buttercream,” is their most popular cupcake. I actually found the recipe for these on the web and made them this past Christmas–they were really good! In addition to their Vanilla Vanilla, other cupcakes included in Magnolia’s “classics” collection include these popular flavors…

  • Vanilla Chocolate (vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream)
  •  Chocolate Chocolate (cupcakes with a smooth velvety texture and dark chocolate flavor, chocolate buttercream and assorted sprinkles)
  • Chocolate Vanilla (chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream). 

You just can’t beat classic chocolate and vanilla–and they’re decorated so cute with the sprinkles and edible flowers on top!

Magnolia Bakery also has a Baker’s Choice Specialty Cupcake Assortment…

…which includes red velvet, lemon, caramel, hummingbird, pumpkin, and pistachio cupcakes–yum!

Here are some other ways they decorate cupcakes for various occasions like birthdays, baby showers, holidays, and other special “themed” events…

Magnolia Bakery has special Easter cupcakes and other treats featured on their site now, too…you’ll have to visit magnoliabakery.com and check them out!

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Frosty Vanilla Cupcakes

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Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Especially if they’re frosted with rich, swirly buttercream…now that’s pretty hard to resist! If you’ve heard of the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City, well, this is the recipe for their most popular cupcake. They call it the Vanilla Vanilla–a yummy vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream (pink is their most popular-selling frosting color). I found the recipe at FoodNetwork.com. If you’re a cupcake-lover you will want to try this! Or, according to the Food Network site, if you’d rather make a cake, you can divide the batter between two 9″ round cake pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Even though I haven’t tried making the cake version, I would recommend checking the cake at 30 minutes, because when I made the cupcakes, they were done at the lower baking time. They would have been too dry had I let them bake any longer.

These cupcakes look really festive, wintry, and Christmasy with the white buttercream and pearly sprinkles I used. You could also tint the frosting green or red if you wanted it to be more colorful for Christmas. The white frosting would work great for New Year’s Eve or Day, too. These cupcakes would also be fun with silver or gold sprinkles. I also thought the white frosting with white pearl sprinkles would be nice for a wedding shower or wedding…so you see, these delicious cupcakes are really versatile!

There is a chance you might need to make extra frosting, depending on how heavily you frost these cupcakes…just wanted to point that out. I frosted some heavy and some not-so-heavy because not everyone likes lots of frosting on their cupcakes (being a frosting-lover, I do find that hard to believe :) ). So, I had enough frosting for my cupcakes. But had I frosted all of them heavily, I think I would have needed to make more frosting.

Enough talk about the cupcakes…here’s the recipe!

MAGNOLIA’S VANILLA CUPCAKE  very slightly adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Makes 24 cupcakes

CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over-beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean (Note: mine were done at 20 minutes, so be sure to check your cupcakes then to avoid over-baking!).

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

(A note from the bakery: “The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.”)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar (I used 8 cups because I wanted a thicker frosting)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I substituted half and half for the milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk (or half and half) and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly (use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled). Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. NOTE: if you like to frost your cupcakes with lots of frosting, you may want to double the frosting recipe so you have enough!

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The recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes or one 9″ layer cake. Enjoy trying this out!

Linked to Sweets for a Saturday, Sweet Indulgences Sunday, Foodie Friday.

A Trip to Altanta

Recently I went to Atlanta with some co-workers to attend the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) and the Atlanta Gift Show. Our hotel was right by the Centennial Olympic Park (photo above by David Henry). While at ICRS, in addition to seeing new books, card, and stationery products, we had the opportunity to view a special preview showing of a new film that will be coming out in September called CourageousIt’s a touching, inspiring movie that will make you laugh and cry, so bring tissues! You can learn more about it and watch a trailer of it by clicking here. The group Casting Crowns has made a music video for the movie, too–click here to see that.

The gift show was at AmericasMart® in the huge Atlanta Convention Center, with floors and floors of the newest items in stationery, giftware, home accessories and furnishings, jewelry and fashion…you name it! One of my favorite showrooms was Natural Life. I loved the colorful, unique, handmade look of their products.

Another showroom I liked was Gabby Home. They had great home accessories and furniture with a rustic and weathered look. It made me want to do some redecorating! :)

Of course, we had to eat, too, and found some great places in downtown Atlanta. We had some delicious breakfasts at the Landmark Diner and enjoyed several lunch and dinners at the Cafe Intermezzo. This cafe has so much to choose from, and if you’re wanting dessert they offer over 100 different tortes, tarts, cakes, pies, and cheesecakes!

It was fun seeing everything in Atlanta. Now I have to do some not-so-fun stuff like laundry…

Ghirardelli Luxe and a Hot Cocoa Recipe

If you like milk chocolate, then I’m sure you’d like these chocolate bars as much as I do! I received some samples of Ghirardelli Luxe milk chocolate as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and enjoyed savoring the rich and creamy squares of milk chocolate in three different flavors…classic milk chocolate, hazelnut, and almond. I liked all of them, but if I had to choose a favorite I’d go with the almond…I love almonds and a chocolate/almond combination is pretty hard for me to resist! :)  These chocolates are so smooth and creamy…they just melt in your mouth!

While I was taking this Ghirardelli chocolate taste-testing break, it reminded me of my two visits to San Fransisco and the stops I made both times to the flagship Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Ghirardelli Square. It’s a great place to visit if you’re in the area…the square is also home to many other unique shops and restaurants and is located in a beautiful spot right on the San Francisco waterfront. Here’s a photo, courtesy of GhirardelliSquare.com

It only seems right to include a Ghirardelli recipe in this post and since the weather is getting cooler, I thought this hot cocoa recipe (and photo), slightly modified from Ghirardelli.com, would be the perfect choice…

GHIRARDELLI HOT COCOA

(Makes 4 servings)

  • 4 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

In saucepan over low heat, bring chocolate and half-and-half to simmer, whisking constantly. Simmer 1 minute or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat; whisk in almond or peppermint extract and vanilla extract.

Pour into four 1/2-cup demitasse or coffee cups. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons whipped cream; dust with Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa (if desired). Serve immediately.

Sprinkles: The First Cupcake Bakery

I had heard about the wonderful cupcake cafe in Beverly Hills called Sprinkles, but had no idea that it was the world’s first cupcake bakery! The owners were sure on to something when they opened in the spring of 2005…the cupcake craze continues to grow and so do the number of cupcake bakeries. Sprinkles itself has 7 locations nationwide (Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Newport Beach, Phoenix and San Fransisco) with plans to open more soon.

These photos, from the Sprinkles website, give you an idea of how they decorate their cupcakes. Like the Sprinkles logo, the cupcakes have a clean, fresh look that is very eye–catching. You can imagine just by looking at the pictures how creamy and yummy the frosting must be!

The made-from-scratch cupcakes are described on the website as “simple and satisfying desserts handcrafted from the best ingredients.”  Ingredients like “sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests.” Yum! And the cupcakes are decorated in a variety of ways: with the Sprinkles trademark modern “dots,” rich chocolate sprinkles from France, or seasonal sugar decorations.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Sprinkles cupcake cafe, you probably know how good they are. I have not been to a Sprinkles yet, but the next time I’m near one, I’m going! :)

Iced Tea on a Hot Day

I’ve been drinking a lot of iced tea during this hot summer weather. I’ve tried some herbal teas by Twinings of London and really like them. The three flavors that I’ve enjoyed so far are African Honeybush with Mandarin and Orange, Lemon and Chinese Ginger, and Cherries and Madagascan Cinnamon.

With flavors like that, you really feel like you’re drinking something special!

When I was on the Twinings website checking out their other tea flavors, I discovered that Thomas Twining, the founder of Twinings, opened the very first known tea room in 1706, in London. What’s even more interesting is that it’s still open today, after three centuries! It was called Tom’s Coffee House back then and it was the custom at the time for men, not women, to gather there to have coffee and tea while they socialized and met on business. Tom’s was the only coffee house that sold tea, and tea was growing more and more in popularity at that time, so Mr. Twining did very well with his shop. Today, the shop is still in the same location at 216 Strand, serving and selling tea, coffee, hot cocoa, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, and tea accessories. There’s also a little “museum” with antique teapots on display, highlights about the history of tea, and old photos of the Twinings family.

There are all kinds of teas and tea flavors you can check out on the Twinings website, www.twiningsusashop.com. You’ll even find instructions for brewing tea. Here is their recipe for making Iced Tea:

So have a nice tall glass of iced tea and keep cool this summer! :)

Linked to Tea Time Tuesday.

The Primrose Bakery

While I’m on the subject of baking and cupcakes, it seemed like the perfect time to tell you about the Primrose Bakery, a quaint little place I discovered on the web. There are two locations in London, and they make some really delicious–looking cupcakes. They have a cute, clever little logo, too!

It looks like just the sort of cozy place you’d expect to see in London. I found some photos on the Primrose Bakery website of the bakery itself and their cupcake creations that I thought I’d share with you.

The owners founded Primrose Bakery in October of 2004 and their cupcakes quickly became a hit. In addition to their marvelous-looking cupcakes, they also offer cakes, biscuits, handmade croissants, and other breakfast items. Wow, I’m ready to go! It looks like a wonderful place to take a coffee break or enjoy a cup of tea with a special sweet treat.

And now, what you are probably really interested in seeing are those yummy cupcakes! We’ll just have to settle for imagining how good they are…

Customers of the Primrose Bakery include U2, Kate Moss, and Jude Law, who is quoted on the website as saying, “I defy anyone to find a better cupcake.” So it sounds like they have some pretty satisfied customers! :) They have even come out with a cookbook called Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, and you can order it on Amazon. I don’t have it myself, but I think I’d like to add it to my cookbook collection!

I’m having an irresistible urge to eat a cupcake right now…that’s the downside of blogging about food! :)

For more on cupcakes, check out Cupcake Tuesday.

If you’re looking for inspiring ideas for your home, check out Inspired by Friday.

 

More Cupcakes by Naomi

Naomi, the creative cupcake decorator I blogged about a few days ago, has a website set up for her baking business. I really like the design of the site–it’s simple and it showcases her cupcake artistry very nicely (she also bakes yummy-looking cakes and cookies). I especially like her cupcake line art in the logo.  If you visit the Hello Naomi site, you’ll see more cupcakes very artfully decorated. Here are a few that I couldn’t resist posting…

Unfortunately, Naomi has her baking business set up in her homeland of Australia…so unless you’re planning a trip there, you will not get to see these wonderful cupcakes in person. But the photos are still fun to look at!


A Cute Little Cupcake Bakery

A few days ago, I did a post about some fun ribbons with polka dots. I did a search to see if “polka dots” was one word or two (it’s two), and came across this cute little cupcake bakery! I think their logo is really nice–I like the way they put a little cupcake in the “o.” :)   The inside of the bakery looks really inviting–here’s a picture they have posted on their website–it originally was a house built in 1908.

Now this place is in Austin, which is quite a drive from where I live, but if I’m ever in Austin, I definitely want to go there–especially after seeing some of their yummy cupcake creations! Here’s a look at a few of them…

I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, so I know I would love these. If you live in or near Austin, or if you’re there on a visit and craving something sweet, this looks like a good place to try!