Hangin' with the Cake Boss at his new cafe!!!
I BROUGHT ZENDAYA CUPCAKES!
Book signing at EAST COAST USA NEW ENGLAND PAGEANT
REVIEW: Frosted Cupcakery, L.A.
Martha Stewart Pupcakes
Carrie's Cupcake Critique Goes to Glee!
REVIEW: Tate's Bake Shop, Southampton, NY
Disney's Electric Holiday Cakes at Barney's NY
Billy's Bakery at The Plaza Hotel
Cupcakes in Jamaica!
My 10th birthday!
carrie 10.jpeg 2012-12-17
Peace, Love and Cupcakes gifts for sale!
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Recipe for Trouble Book Launch Party
Cupcakes for a Cause: Hurricane Sandy Relief
Dance Moms and cupcakes!
REVIEW: Sugar and Plumm, NYC
Maddie Bird Bakery Chicago
Crazy Cupcake Stuff...I'm not making this up!
A $30,000 diamond cupcake
$25,000 Cupcake Car
Cupcake high heels
From CupcakeProject.com/The Daily Meal
From Urban Outfitters: http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=24915803&cm_mmc=Performics-_-Affiliates-_-Skimlinks-_-Urban%20Outfitters%20Shop%20Apartment&clickid=0004c5359d30532f0ae08917cd570c90
Cupcake Guitar $950 on Etsy
REVIEW: Sprinkles Ice Cream, Beverly Hills, CA
Sprinkles Ice Cream ships nationwide!
REVIEW: Watermill Cupcake Company, Hamptons NY
Watermill's choc chip
Watermill Cupcakes store on Montauk Highway
Super Saturday in The Hamptons
At The Crumbs DIY Cupcake Booth
With Crumbs CEO/Pres Jason Bauer
Gigi's in the Venetian
the Wedding Cake cupcakes are my fave
Mad Hatter Cupcakes in Vegas
DIY cupcakes: you pick cake, filling and frosting
Love the Alice cupcake art work
Live the purple edible glitter!
LICK candy in the Monte Carlo had lots of cupcake things
The Cupcakery in the Monte Carlo hotel
Carrie Q&A: Duff, The Ace of Cakes!
Cupcakes in Washington DC
The Sweet Lobby in DC
Baked and Wired
Sweet Lobby.jpg 2012-05-05
Alexandria Cupcake.jpg 2010-01-01
REVIEW: Boston Cupcake Crawl
Me with Lulu owner Sandy Russo
Lulu's famous "squiggle" cupcake
Piping at Lulu's with Cousin Jason
Love Lulu's salute to the Red Sox
Sweet's cupcake ferris wheel
About to taste at Sweet
Boston Red Sox Red Velvet
Chocolate Covered Pretzel
Writing up my reviews
Me and Cakeology owner Victoria
Cakeology's yummy cupcakes
Don't these look delish?
Carrie's Cupcake Critique Goes to Brooklyn!
The Little Cupcake BakeShop
The Little Cupcake BakeShop
Nichelle of Cupcakes Take the Cake Blogspot and me at Baked
NEW CUPCAKE PICS!
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Milk and Cookies cupcakes
Georgetown Cupcake's Shark Week cupcakes!
Class photo cupcakes
Baked by Melissa
Louise's Cupcakes in the UK
Bday cupcakes for Francis Patrelle
Sift's Lemon Cream
Cupcakes at Carlo's Bakery
Billy's Chocolate Cupcakes
Panda Bear Cupcakes
Fresh Direct's Memorial Day Cupcakes
Butter Lane's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
By Cupcake Bar in the UK
Harry Potter cupcake by Geek Sweets
Baby Shower bear cupcakes
Cupcakes by Madelaine
3 Girls Cupcakes
Jelly Belly Cupcakes
Mickey cupcakes by The Cake Mamas
Louise's Cupcakes in UK
Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes
Cupcake Bar in London
Iced Cupcakes by Cupcakes Galore in UK
Fluffernutter cupcakes by Treat Cupcake Bar, Needham, Mass
Georgetown Cupcakes SLICE OF BROOKLYN cupcakes
Katy Perry Barbie in Cupcake Dress
Auctioned off for Project Angel
Luck o the Irish Cupcakes by Magnolia
Chocolate glazed cupcakes for dad
Ganz cupcake measuring spoons
Red Velvet Ballerina cupcakes
Baked by Melissa's Cotton Candy and Daily Candy
Baked by Melissa's Cotton Candy and Daily Candy
taylor swift cupcakes
By Cake Central
carrie cupcake 2:11.jpg
carrie cupcake 2:11.jpg 2012-01-22
Wonderfully Made Cakes
Wonderfully Made Cakes
We Take The Cake, Orlando FL
We Take The Cake, Orlando FL
Magnolia Cupcakes shipment
Not too impressed! They came hard as a rock with the decorations not applied!
Magnolia's new shipping...
Cuddle Cupcakes from Chicago www.cuddlecupcakes.com
I gave them 4 1/2 CUPCAKES out of 5. Not bad; the cappuccino and the chocolate caramel were the best. Just a little too much frosting!
www.cuddlecupcakes.com They ship nationwide
Georgetown Cupcakes...with braces on them!
ringin' in the new year!
Mexico cupcakes! From the chef at the JW Marriott!
SEND ME YOUR CUPCAKE PICS!
By my teacher Rachel Stander for her son Jack's bday!
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
By Taylor McDonald
Teddy Bear cupcakes
By Regina, Simply Cakes By Z's
By Elizabeth Weiss
Cupcakes by Vickie, Rockford, IL
Cupcakes by Vickie, Rockford, IL
Cupcakes by Vickie, Rockford, IL
Cupcakes by Vickie, Rockford, IL
Cupcakes by Vickie, Rockford, IL
Personalized cupcake card
Valentine's Greeting from me!
Custom on tinyprints.com
Cupcake girl cards!
Cupcake Cards by Vera Wang!
Glittery cards from Papyrus
Personalized fold-over notes
Decorate with sprinkle stickers! http://www.amazon.com/Cupcake-Sticker-Cards-Potter-Style/dp/0307459616/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1327684801&sr=8-3
Cupcake Note cards
Pop up cupcake cards by MOMA
At Barnes and Noble
You can personalize these!
Just $8 for a pack
Paper Source cupcake card
Just ordered these! http://www.2preppygirls.com/preppy-papers-holiday-notecards-c-230_233/cupcake-flat-notecards-p-1232
Gave these to my principal for Xmas! http://www.amazon.com/Keep-Cupcake-Boxed-Notes-Stationery/dp/1441302905/ref=pd_sbs_op_6
Dolce glitter note cards
Cupcakes go tech! Ipads, Computers, Nook and phone cases
Valentine Iphone cupcake case
Nook Cupcake Case
Cupcake skin for Kindle
Ipad cupcake cover
Ipad 2 cupcake zip jacket
Iphone cupcake case
Ipad case personalized
Peace, Love & Cupcakes Iphone case
Iphone 4G cupcake cover
Cupcake skin for laptop
Cupcake Girls zip case for Ipad
Crystal cupcake case...for $139!!!!
Etsy Handmade Nook Cupcake case
MY FAVE CUPCAKES...IN HONOR OF NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY!
Custom Eleni's Cupcakes with my book cover!
barbie cupcake from Magnolia
barbie cupcake 2.jpg 2011-01-31
Georgetown Cupcake Gingerbread
www.georgetowncupcake.com Nationwide shipping
A Winter Wonderland dozen from Georgetown Cupcakes
Crumbs & Doilies, London
Berko Cupcakes Paris
The Cake Artist, Staten Island
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Jumbo Cupcakes at Big Daddy Diner
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My Ecolicious Cupcake for Crumbs
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SugarDaze Cupcakes from Paris
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Sticky Fingers DC
Georgetown Cupcakes in Baltimore
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Great for kids!
KIDROBOT Yummy Breakfast Keychains
Note the CUTE cupcake one! You never know which one you'll get in the box! Just $4.99. http://www.amazon.com/Kidrobot-Yummy-Breakfast-Keychain-Styles/dp/B0018NYQVW
Bakers of Oz Johnny Cupcakes Tee
It's like WICKED meets CUPCAKES! http://shop.johnnycupcakes.com/Shop/Details.aspx?ProdID=1354
$14 on www.amazon.com
Cupcake soap dispenser
Great for sleepovers
Personalized cupcake ornament
Collectible Disney Cupcake Pins
Vinylmation Bakery Series: Minnie in a cupcake!
Vinylmation Bakery Series: Tink
Sunbeam instant cupcake maker
At Sears: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM3569191701P?sid=IDx20101019x00001e&srccode=cii_125121617&cpncode=27-69448655-2
Mix and Match Cupcakes
www.toysrus.com and in stores
Cupcake Stress Relief
I have this on my nightstand...love to squeeze it when I'm stressed! www.amazon.com
Cupcake Paint by Number
I gave this to all my BFFs at a cupcake decorating party as a favor. They carry it at The Craft Studio (www.craftstudionyc.com) and on amazon.com.
My Little Pony Cupcake!
Cute book for little ones
So much fun to make! A mini cupcake shop!
at The Craft Studio (1657 Third Ave) or www.amazon.com
Awesome game for ages 4+
Cupcake kissable lips!
My friend Abby had this...
So cute and cuddly from KidRobot (www.kidrobot.com) or at amazon.com
A game for Pinklalicious fans
Cupcake mosaic made out of pebbles
Cool! At The Craft Studio (1657 Third Ave) or www.amazon.com
We got this for my teacher's newborn baby
Cupcake stacker at amazon.com
Color your own cupcake bag
It took me forever, but I love mine! At Dylan's Candy Bar (www.dylanscandybar.com) or www.amazon.com
Like an easy bake over...for cupcakes!
Make your own cupcake stickers
At The Craft Studio (1657 Third Ave in NYC) or www.amazon.com
Got extra cupcake wrappers? Make some crafts!
Love this kit! They have it on amazon.com
They look SO real...
just don't eat them! Whippies are awesome. www.amazon.com
Squinkies go cupcake
A cupcake house for your little Squinkie friends on amazon.com and at Toys r Us
OMG...am I too old to play with this???
From Little Tykes...a cupcake oven! For $39.99! www.amazon.com and at Toys R Us
GapKids cupcake purse
We bought this for my teacher's son Gavin
He loved it so much, he wanted to read it again and again! www.amazon.com
Alex Woo mini silver cupcake charm
Kid's adjustable cupcake ring
Alex Woo mini cupcake bracelet
$78 and sterling...so pretty! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GBSRFS/ref=asc_df_B005GBSRFS1814514?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=B005GBSRFS
Just $2! Get them while they last!
CZ Pave earrings
Juicy pink cupcake charm
Juicy Cupcake box charm
Betsey Johnson long cupcake necklace
Just $58! http://www.zappos.com/betsey-johnson-tzarina-cupcake-long-pendant-necklace-gold
Pandora silver and gold cupcake charm
Amore La Vita™ Cupcake and Candle Charm in Sterling Silver
Georgetown Cupcake charms--$30 each
www.tiffany.com About $200
Tiffany cupcake charm
Juicy Cupcake Toggle bracelet
Silver cupcake earrings
CHARM IT! Cupcake bracelet
Real gold and diamonds!
$129 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Diamond-Cupcake-Pendant-Clarity/dp/B000O1JE98/ref=sr_1_3?s=jewelry&ie=UTF8&qid=1323536539&sr=1-3
Cute cupcake necklace...only $16 on amazon!
HANGIN WITH THE CAKE BOSS!
Me and the Cake Boss!
Me and CAKE BOSS' SISTER!
Me and Buddy
Me and Buddy's wife Lisa
Me and MAURO from CAKE BOSS
Me and Buddy!
Piping cupcakes with THE CAKE BOSS!
My first trip to Carlo's
Carlo's in HOBOKEN baby!
Look who posed with me!
YUM! As good as I imagined!
Doran Petersan, Cupcake Wars winner and owner of Sticky Fingers
Me and Roshon Fegan
Brought the cast Sweet E's CUPCAKES!
Caroline and I share the same name--and a love for cupcakes!
Brought the cast Sweet E's CUPCAKES!
With Davis on Shake it Up Set
Cute couple, don't ya think? We're the same age!
On the set with Bella and Zendaya!
They really are as nice as they seem on the show! SO COOL, too!
With Adam on the Shake it Up set!
Brought the cast Sweet E's CUPCAKES!
On the set of SHAKE IT UP!
Brought the cast Sweet E's CUPCAKES!
Zendaya loves RV too!
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ICarly's Sam is a HUGE cupcake fan!
Me and the Cake Boss!
Me and CAKE BOSS' SISTER!
Me and Buddy
Me and Buddy's wife Lisa
Me and MAURO from CAKE BOSS
Cupcake Wars Judge/Sprinkles owner Candace Nelson
Sophie and Katherine of DC CUPCAKES
With the stars of DC CUPCAKES
WITH SOPHIE AND KATHERINE OF DC CUPCAKES
Me and Buddy!
Food Network Challenge Champ Elisa Strauss
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Staten Island Cake's Vinny Buzzetta
Food Network competitor CITY CAKES
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Cupcake Noveau/Cupcake Wars competitor
LA Sweets owner
Crumbs CEO Jason Bauer
With Chef Shea Gallant
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Piping cupcakes with THE CAKE BOSS!
TINA COCOLINA author Martin Howard
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CUPCAKE WARS competitors CUPCAKE NOUVEAU
Behind the Scenes (and cake decorating!) at Carlo's Bakery
Tea Cup Bake Shop, Emeryville, CA
I like to try cupcake shops that ship--I always want to know if they can figure out how to get the cupcakes to me without mushing them or making them taste frozen. So we ordered the Congratulations Cupcake Giftbox in the Taster's Collection: pink velvet, chocolate sour cream cupcake with coffee bean buttercream and Madagascar Vanilla with Strawberry. First of all, the cupcakes were super-dense. I thought the chocolate tasted more like a fudge brownie than a cupcake. The pink velvet weren't pink at all--and they weren't red. They were kind of a weird muddy-red color. I couldn't taste a lot of cream cheese in the frosting either (I thought it might even be vanilla!). I guess my favorite was the vanilla with strawberry buttercream, although the strawberry tasted kind of fake--like strawberry flavoring, not real berries. The decorations weren't very CONGRATULATION; just pink and blue dots and a green square that said CONGRATS on it. Kind of messy and unprofessional. I would give Tea Cup Bake Shop 4 out of 5 CUPCAKES on my rating scale. Not great, not bad...just okay. www.teacakebakeshop.com
Pink Cupcake Shack, Fairfield, CT
My friend Max Rothstein ordered these cupcakes for his Bar Mitzvah and insisted I try them! He was right...they are SO GOOD! I tried the Black Out first, a super rich chocolate cake topped with chocolate butter cream. Very chocolatey! The Cannoli Cream was really good--it tasted just like I was biting into a Cannoli in Little Italy. I think my fave was the Marble: a "swirled vanilla and chocolate cake with a swirl of chocolate and vanilla buttercream." It was a perfect balance. I give Pink Cupcake Shack 4 3/4 CUPCAKES out of 5 on my scale--nice job!
Wonderfully Made Cakes, NY (in Dean & Deluca stores)
These cupcakes were on display at Dean & Deluca. They didn't taste as good as they looked! First, I sampled the Cookies and Cream. It was dusted with gold and had an oreo on top. The cake was a dark, dark chocolate. My first reaction: "Ewww!" Everything was wrong! The cake was dry; the frosting was whippy and sugary; the Oreo was soggy. Then I tried the Coconut Passion. Again, dry cake, whippy frosting and really no flavor. I couldn't taste the coconut at all! My dad ate the Nutella and thought it was okay, and Mom tried the Raspberry and Lemon and spit it out (she said it was gross and kind of sour). I had the Toasted Almond left to try but couldn't bring myself to do it because the other cupcakes were a disgrace! I give Wonderfully Made Cupcakes 3 CUPCAKES because they're NOT Wonderfully Made. I would have given them a lower score, but they're decorations were impressive. Just make the cakes better!!!! Decoration is not all that matters. Nuf said!
We Take the Cake, Orlando Florida (ships)
A pretty pink and green box arrived filled with HUGE cupcakes the size of baseballs. They looked pretty, too: with lavender and pink shimmery flowers on top. I tasted the Golden Butter Vanilla first: it was way too sweet. The combination of the buttercream flower on top of the cream cheese frosting made me a little sick! Then I tried the Southern Red Velvet: the color was a nice, bright red, but it tasted too chocolatey and was almost sticky. The last one I tried was the Chocolate Buttermilk. Not bad; not great. The cake was moist, but again, too, too much chocolate cream cheese frosting and flower. We Take the Cake is supposed to be one of Oprah's fave things (she loves their key lime cake), but I just don't agree. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I give it 4 CUPCAKES.
REVIEW: CUPCAKE HEAVEN, WESTCHESTER NY (DELIVERY TO NYC)
My mom got a Groupon coupon to try a dozen of these cupcakes…so we gave it a shot! At first, they had so many people wanting cupcakes, they had to reschedule our delivery to two weeks later. When I first saw them, I thought they looked gross—kind of like supermarket cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting and confetti sprinkles. But when I took a bite…I was so surprised! The cupcakes were very fresh and moist and not too sweet. The chocolate was the best; red velvet came second and vanilla third. The vanilla was actually weird: one cupcake tasted dry, but my mom gave me another and this one was perfection. The cupcakes were a little sunken in on the bottom and a little dense—they probably overbeat the batter. And they could be a little more original with the frosting (all the same?) and the decorations. f they improve on that, they would really have a perfectly delicious cupcakes…and my vote!
MY RATING: 4 ¾ CUPCAKES
To order (they deliver to NYC and cater) www.cupcakeheavenny.com
REVIEW: LULU CAKE BOUTIQUE, NYC
This cake shop is in three NY locations: Scarsdale, Brooklyn and Chelsea. I tried the Chelsea one, and tasted some of their best selling cupcakes. At first glimpse, I thought they would be too sweet and whippy--there was a lot of frosting. But I was wrong. My faves were the Dulce de Leche, NY Red Velvet and Oreo. They looked whippy, but the flavor of the buttercream was amazing. I loved that they had crunchy little chocolate balls on top, too. It added a nice crunch to the creamy frosting. The cake was moist and light. They make an interesting Red Velvet called New York Red Velvet. This one has vanilla bean buttercream instead of cream cheese frosting. I loved it--it was nice and light and creamy. My least favorite cupcake was the Vanilla Truffle. It was a vanilla cake topped with a big lump of too-bitter chocolate ganache. I would give Lulu Cake Boutique 4 1/4 CUPCAKES. They're good bakers, they just need to make their cupcakes a little more decorated and try other frostings besides buttercream.
Carrie's Q&A: Jansen Chan, Pastry Chef at Oceana and Halloween Wars competitor
I never missed an episode of Halloween Wars on Food Channel. Imagine how excited I was at The NY CHOCOLATE SHOW to meet Jansen Chan, from Team Boo! He's an amazing baker and chocolate artist. I asked him to answer some questions for CCC: When did you become a pastry chef?
My first “Pastry Chef” title was for Oceana in 2007. Prior to that I was a Pastry Sous Chef and a pastry cook for nearly 10 years. I was a career changer – I used to be an architect and attend the University of California at Berkeley for my first degree. I later went to the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to receive my pastry degree. I’m glad to have gotten both.Did you like to bake when you were a kid?
Where did you study? Did you go to culinary school?
I always loved to bake, especially with my father when I was young. I used to love watching cooking programs on PBS (this was before the Food Network) and see dishes that I never knew being prepared. I missed a lot of cartoons because of this but never regretted it.What was it like to be on Halloween Wars? Halloween Wars was a great experience, and a humbling one. My group created the most spectacular (and spooky!) showpieces I could ever imagine. Working as a team was the toughest part. Each person had their specialty and we each had to understand each other’s abilities. In the end, I learned a lot about myself, my own talents, and the power of teamwork.What was your favorite cake challenge on Halloween Wars? My favorite challenge was Scary Places (Episode 1). I got to build a gingerbread house that lit up and had moving parts in 5 hours. I thought it looked great. It was the one showpiece I could have stared at for hours.Do you think you should of won? I’m happy for Team Bling Bats for winning the whole series. They demonstrated great teamwork and creativity throughout the competition. I will, however, say that our Team Boo created a truly scary, realistic Underworld in the last episode.Do you ever bake cupcakes? What's your favorite kind? I’m a restaurant pastry chef - so I create fancy, plated desserts and not cupcakes. As a recreational eater though, I tend to go for the carrot cupcakes or banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.What is your favorite kind of chocolate? I love dark chocolate. Being around desserts all the time, I tend to shy away from sweet chocolates. Any kind of dark, rich chocolate, such as a mousse or brownie, is the kind of chocolate I enjoy to eat. But, of course, I never say no to a chocolate chip cookie.What will you be baking at Oceana for the holidays? Anything special? The menu constantly changes at Oceana. This season we have created a special Holiday edition of our signature cookie plate. It has eight different holiday cookies from various cultures. We’ll also have an eggnog dessert and chocolate sticky toffee pudding.Who is your chef idol? All the chefs I have ever worked for are my idols. They all have been instrumental in my development. Beyond that, Julia Child will always be an idol for being a fearless cook.
FRONT ROW AT THE NY CHOCOLATE SHOW!
This is my second year going to The NY Chocolate Show at The Metropolitan Suite. I loved going to opening night: there was a fancy reception with food and (yay!) cupcakes by Tonnie’s Minis. I sat front row and watched the Broadway Chocolate Dresses glide down the runway. There was a Playbill dress by Martin Howard (he writes the Tina Cocolina books); a crazy Morticia Addams Family dress by Lauri of Cake Alchemy and an amazing Lion King Scar dress with a chocolate lion head hat by Food Network Challenge’s Deborah Pellegrino. The host of the show was George Duran from Ultimate Cake Off. My favorite dress was the finale one: a tribute to Follies. It was dripping in chocolate “beads” and had a huge feather headpiece. After the fashion show, I walked around the booths in the chocolate show taking about a million chocolate samples and stuffing them in my purse. I got to meet a lot of the cake artists, like Jansen Chan from Team Boo on Halloween Wars. He asked me if I wanted his team to win…or Team Bling Bats. Well….I kinda had to tell him a little white lie! I posed for pics on the Step and Repeat. Everyone was screaming, “Go girl!” and I got to talk to Tonnie Rozier from Tonnie’s Minis and ask him what it felt like to be on Cupcake Wars. He said Florian was actually not a mean judge; he was nice! But when I went to find Florian at his Mad Macs booth, he wasn’t there. I was crushed! The best part of the chocolate show every year is you get to taste so many kinds of chocolate. My mom tasted chocolate wine! My fave was a French “melt in your mouth” truffle. If you put it on your tongue, it becomes a chocolate puddle. At the end of this amazing chocolate show, I felt like I was in a chocolate coma! But it was so much fun!
CARRIE'S Q&A: INTERVIEW WITH THE CAKE BOSS!
I was so excited to hear that Buddy Valastro has a new cookbook out! It's called Baking with The Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets! (http://www.amazon.com/Baking-Cake-Boss-Recipes-Decorating/dp/143918352X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320682944&sr=8-1) He's running around on tour right now, but he was nice enough to answer my questions! Thanks, Buddy!
This is your SECOND cookbook--how is it different from the first?
My first book was a cross between my story and some of my favorite recipes. For this book, I wanted to take the reader through the steps of making some of my favorite cakes from start to finish. I took pictures of each step, and then put in little tips and tricks to help people making them at home.
What is your fave recipe you've included in the book?
That's hard to say- I really wanted to give people different recipe options for the cakes, like we do in the bakery. I think people are really going to like some of our fillings- especially the ganache!
How are things going with the new factory in Lakawana? When can we order some Carlo's cakes to be shipped nationwide?
Our new Cake Factory is great- there's so much potential to be able to serve our customers. We're currently testing out ways to ship our products- check out the Carlo's Bakery Facebook and Twitter for
(www.facebook.com/carlosbakery or twitter.com/carlosbakery or twitter.com/cakebossbuddy)
What is your BEST decorating tip you can share from the book?
I tried to focus on the techniques, so there is an entire section on handpiping and tools to create textures on the cakes. It's all in the hands and wrists.
Tell us about NEXT GREAT BAKER...what can we expect?
I brought in 13 contestant to compete to be the next baker in my shop, and we put them through the ringer "Hoboken Style" There's a lot of crazy stuff that happens this season- you gotta watch the premiere on November 28th!
REVIEW: Oh My Cupcakes! Sioux Falls, SD
These South Dakota cupcakes ship nationwide--so I gave it a try and ordered their cheesecakes assortment. These are not just mini cheesecakes. It's like a parfait of cheesecake and cupcake. Very unique; very yummy. Basically, they bake the cheesecake INSIDE the cake! I had never seen this before! My fave was the Little Red Dress (Red Velvet) and The Black Tie (Chocolate and Vanilla). The Cookies and Cream one was not as spectacular; the frosting tasted a little too whippy and Un-Oreolike. But overall, I really liked them and would recommend if you are also a cheesecake lover. They shipped in perfect shape and tasted fresh. MY RATING: 4 1/2 CUPCAKES! To order: http://ohmycupcakes.com/
Carrie's Q&A: Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes and Challenge winner!
Elisa is the owner of Confetti Cakes in NYC and an amazing cake artist! I’ve seen her on so many Food Network Challenges. She won with a cake called “Revenge of the Sock Monkey.” I was very excited to meet her at a Halloween cake decorating class I did with my BFF Darby!
How many Food Network Challenges have you done? Six.
What was your favorite Food Network Challenge? Extreme Cakes!
I actually won!
What is the hardest part about competing on Challenge? It is not the EXACT way you would do a regular cake. You have to prepare so far in advance and bring your entire kitchen with you to the studio! It’s much easier to make a cake at my own bakery.
What do you think of Kerry the judge? Is she really that mean? Kerry is a very sweet, caring person. I think she has to have a tough exterior for the show.
Did you like making cupcakes on the Today Show? Yes, it was so much fun and Al Roker was so much fun.
What are the most creative cupcakes you've ever made?
Wow, that is tough! We have made so many. I once made ice skates and sock monkeys, all hand-sculpted and then the sugar decoration sat on top of the cupcakes.
Why are you teaching cake decorating to kids now at MAKE MEANING? We are launching an experience where the guests can walk into the store and be able to decorate a cake. So I am using my experience as a cake designer (for over 10 years!) and as a teacher and I am helping them set-up the entire experience so people have fun, and can take home a delicious cake that they decorated all by themselves.
What baking do you like to do with your child at home?
Well, my daughter is not even two...so we are still limited to Play-doh. But she likes to watch me bake, and she plays with a bowl and wooden spoon. She stirs very well. And she loves cake and buttercream!
REVIEW: PERFECT ENDINGS CUPCAKES, Napa Valley
These Napa Valley Cupcakes are only available through Williams-Sonoma—and Oprah says she loves them. So I decided to try for myself! They arrived frozen by Fed Ex, so we had to let them defrost for about an hour. They were decorated with pumpkins and spider webs—very impressive. I bit into the pumpkin first. I wasn’t very delighted: it didn’t taste like anything! No flavor at all; it tasted like I was biting into a stick of butter! On the otherhand, the cake (a rich chocolate) was really good. Very moist. The Spiderweb Red Velvet had the same frosting—not cream cheese—which was very disappointing. The cake was very good—not too chocolatey. Overall, I would say these cupcakes were very…average. Not bad, but not great. I don’t know why Oprah loves them so much. My rating: 4 CUPCAKES.
CARRIE’S Q&A: CUPCAKE WARS WINNER LINDSAY ANN!
Lindsay Ann won the SeaWorld Birthday Bash episode during Season 1 of Cupcake Wars. She had to use seaweed and sea salt in her cupcake: “I almost died! I was afraid it would taste disgusting!” She made a honey cream cheese cupcake on top, and a seaweed star decoration. She also did a chocolate cupcake, a churro cupcake, and a pina colada cupcake. She put a little whale on top. In the final round, she had two hours to make a 1,000-cupcake display with Sumar the Whale on top. She won $10,000 and made Dollhouse Bake Shop a really big business!
Dollhouse ships cupcake kits that have
everything you need to bake in them:
Cupcake liners, batter mix, frosting
mix, a piping bag. I tried the Coconut
Cream. It was DELICIOUS! So I emailed
Lindsay to tell her, and I asked her to
answer some of my questions!
What's your favorite cupcake flavor?
Triple chocolate truffle
What is the most popular cupcake
at Dollhouse? Coconut Cream
How long has Dollhouse Bake Shoppe been open? Since 2009
What makes your cupcake different then anybody else's? They are all natural, award winning recipes, that I transformed into gourmet mixes, so girls around the world can bake and decorate like a professional right in their own kitchen, with my all inclusive, bake and decorate kits! We are coming out with an all new, very exciting, cake bakery kit very soon…
so stay tuned!
What was it like to win Cupcake Wars?
It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life! I was competing against people who have had established bakeries for years and years; some of the best in the industry! So, to be nationally recognized for my hard work and talents was pretty amazing. It is an experience I will never forget, and I am so happy I have the chance now to share my recipes and edible craft tutorials with the world!
Check out www.dollhousebakeshoppe.com
REVIEW: Molly's Cupcakes
Molly's are very famous in Chicago and were voted best cupcake--and they're now in NYC, too. My friend Victoria came over to help me do a tasting. My first thoughts when I saw the cupcakes were, "Well, they're whippy looking." We tried Confetti Vanilla, Cookie Dough, Oreo, and Pumpkin. My favorite was cookie dough. I liked the chocolate chips in the cake and the little cookie on top. Victoria liked the Oreo the best: "I love Oreos and it tasted just like one. It even had cream in the middle." I give Molly's 3 CUPCAKES. Sorry, but it just wasn't the best in my opinion!
BEHIND THE SCENES SPECIAL! A DC CUPCAKES WEDDING!
Katherine invited us to her wedding…at the beautiful San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara. They were filming it for a special one-hour episode of DC Cupcakes! It was surrounded by flowers and Katherine the bride looked beautiful! Her dress was a strapless white lace-wedding gown with a silver beaded waist.
The Welcome Gift: cupcakes, of course!
When I arrived at my hotel, The Canary, there were of course cupcakes! They were Katherine and Ben’s favorite Georgetown Cupcakes:Salted Caramel, Vanilla with K & B’s monogram, Peanut Butter and Coconut.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner was a cozy party the night before the wedding for family
and friends at the Coral Casino Club. It was so pretty! It overlooked the ocean!
They served BBQ and a sundae bar with tons of toppings!
Katherine was Greek but she converted to Judaism! So, it was a definite Jewish wedding. The chuppah at the ceremony was gorgeous! There were dozens of white roses on it! Everything was white in front of my eyes! After Katherine walked down the aisle to her husband, Ben Berman, she had to walk in a circle around Ben 3 times, then Ben had to circle Katherine 3 times. Finally, they held hands and circled together. There was lots of singing in Hebrew. Before they became husband and wife, the rabbi told Ben to step on a glass and break it. Then everyone clapped for the bride and groom, took the white rose petals on the back of their seats and threw them at them. What a ceremony that was! I had so much fun at my first wedding!
The Reception: a wedding cake made out of 5,000+ cupcakes!!!
After the ceremony, we headed to cocktails on the terrace, and then to a white tent. It was so far away, we had to take a shuttle there. Sophie was inside, working on a 9-foot-tall wedding cake made out of cupcakes. There was frosting on her dress to prove it! Later on, when everyone was dancing, I was shocked:the frosting had fallen off three cupcakes. I ran to tell Sophie and she covered it with a white flower. The room was warm, and it was melting! For dessert they had mini cupcakes in Maple, Red Velvet, Lava Fudge and Salted Caramel. At the end, I tried to catch the bride’s bouquet! But my favorite part of the reception was Ben & Katherine’s first dance. So romantic!
CARRIE's Q&A: Staten Island Cake's Vinny Buzzetta
Vinny is just 21 years old and has been baking since he was a little boy. His cakes are AMAZING, and I love his TV series on WeTV (http://www.wetv.com/shows/staten-island-cakes/cast/vinny-buzzetta). He owns a bakery called The Cake Artist and has done incredible cakes including a life-size dog and a cake for Billy Elliot on Broadway.
Are you going to open a cupcake store in NYC?
Yes! I'm looking at places on the Upper East Side. But it won't only be cupcakes--it will be creative desserts. I hate when you go to a restaurant and the desserts are always the same. I want to think out of the box and change things all the time.
What is your fave flavor of cupcake?
I love chocolate, but also lemon. I even like combining chocolate and lemon!
What's your most popular flavor of cupcake?
Vanilla or Red Velvet...with Oreo buttercream.
What makes your cupcakes different from everybody else's?
Everything is fresh, everything is from scratch. And my buttercream is really unique.
Tell me one of the most creative cupcakes you make.
A Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake--yum!
What else are you working on?
A book--and lots of other things, too. I can't tell all my secrets!
REVIEW: FAIRWAY UPPER EAST SIDE, NY
My teacher Ms. Levenherz asked me a favor: she wanted me to try Fairway's cupcakes and tell her if they were good and if she should buy them for parties. They were very cheap--only $1.49 each. But they tasted cheap! The chocolate buttercream frosting with the white cake tasted more like coffee (it was probably mocha but they labeled it chocolate); it was disgusting and I spit it out. The vanilla was awful: the buttercream frosting was too sweat and whippy and the cake was dry. I also tasted the chocolate-chocolate: bad. Sorry, but Fairway gets my lowest rating: 2 CUPCAKES and makes my list of worst cupcakes ever!
REVIEW: HILTON PARK LANE CHOCOLATE TEA, LONDON
Mom and I went to this “Afternoon Chocoholic Tea” because cupcakes were on the menu! I tried four cupcakes: Lemon, Raspberry, Chocolate and Chocolate-Mint. The cupcakes tasted a little dry and cold in my opinion—like they had been in the fridge. They were beautifully decorated though, with molded chocolate on top. And the tea—chamomile with honey—was really soothing and went perfect. I actually liked the other treats more: scones with cream and panna cotta. Yummy! MY RATING: 3 1/2 CUPCAKES
REVIEW: ELLA'S BAKESHOP, LONDON
This small store was also in Covent Gardens, upstairs from Candy Cakes. It was not half as good. They do regular and “couture cupcakes” and say they brush the sponge with a vanilla syrup to give it more flavor. I tried Brown Bottom and Cookies & Cream. The Brown Bottom had chocolate cake on the bottom and vanilla frosting on top. The icing was very plain and just tasted sugary to me. The Cookies & Cream had a hard, dry cake—maybe because they put mashed cookies in the batter. I thought Purple Elephant here in NYC does a better job with this. I thought the decorations on most of their cupcakes—rose piping and luster dust—were pretty, but they don’t taste as good as they look. MY RATING: 4 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: THE HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY, LONDON
I had heard a lot about these cupcakes—they even have a cookbook and are kind of the “Sprinkles” of London—the first big cupcake store. Everyone told me “You have to go to Hummingbird!” So I did—and I was a little disappointed. We tried three of their most popular flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate and Black Bottom. The Black Bottom was a little too rich and I couldn’t find much cheesecake in it. But the frosting was creamy and good. I didn’t love the Vanilla buttercream frosting—it tasted too plain. My favorite, believe it or not, was actually the Chocolate. It tasted like a fudgey brownie. The way these cupcakes looked—a simple swirl with crumbs or sprinkles and
pastel colors—reminded me of Magnolia, Buttercup or Billy’s here in NYC. But the taste was not as good. I know they’re supposed to be “simple and unfussy” cupcakes. But I think they’re a little boring. MY RATING: 4 1/2 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: CUPCAKES & DOILIES, LONDON
We arrived at our hotel in London super-late at night and these beautiful cupcakes were delivered and waiting. The decorations (tea pots, cups, British flag) were all hand-piped in icing and really impressive! They also used gold balls, hearts, sprinkles and flowers. I tried the Red Velvet first: it was very light, not too chocolatey which is okay by me. Then I tried the Vanilla. The frosting was whippy and a little messy. The cake and frosting just didn’t seem to go together. These cupcakes looked professional, but they didn’t taste professional—more like they were made at home. MY RATING: 4 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: CANDY CAKES, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON
This cupcakery is a small green and pink store in Covent Garden. I was wowed by how the cupcakes looked: bright frosting with candy on top! Some were regular looking, too—like the Red Velvet. The flavors I tried were, Blueberry Cheesecake, Red Velvet, Coconut, and Strawberry Cheesecake. First I tasted the Coconut. It was good…not flawless or perfect, just good. Next, was the Blueberry Cheesecake. It blew me away! It tasted like a blueberry muffin and the cake was very fluffy. It had a red melted frosting on top with M&Ms—it was delicious. Next was the Red Velvet: OMG! So creamy, simply heaven. The Peach had a nice fruity flavor that really came shining though, and finally, I tried the Strawberry Cheesecake. This was my fave, becauseI could taste both the cheese and the fruit, just like a real slice
of cheesecake. So delicious, my eyes were popping! MY RATING: 5 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: BEST CUPCAKE IN LONDON: LOLA’S
These cupcakes have a small stall in the Harrod’s Food Halls. They have four stores and this is the newest. The line was really long to buy cupcakes, and I found out why! They say their cupcakes are “hand crafted” with a “just out of the oven” texture. The flavors I tried were Red Velvet, Banana, Glitter Vanilla Coconut, Oreo Glitter, Chocolate Brownie, and Strawberry. First I tried the Chocolate Brownie. When I tasted it I was absolutely speechless! The frosting tasted like a milk chocolate candy bar! Next I tried the Glitter Vanilla Coconut. It was SO GOOD! It was my favorite because the frosting was creamy and tasted coconuty, and the cake was very moist. YUM! The Red Velvet was creamy and had a strong cream cheese flavor that tasted delicious. After that I took a bite of the Strawberry. I couldn’t tell: was it a strawberry or a strawberry cupcake, because it tasted exactly like the fruit! It was scrumptious! The banana was a creamy, “jolly good” cupcake that also tasted exactly like the fruit. The last cupcake I tried was the Oreo with some edible glitter on top. This was my second favorite cupcake because like an Oreo, you don’t only taste the chocolate part, but the creamy middle, too! Not a lot of cupcake shops I have tried do that with their Oreo Cupcake. I was really wowed by Lola’s. Not only are their cupcakes beautiful and colorful, but really full of flavor and super-moist. Can you please come to the USA???
Cupcake Decorating with THE CAKE BOSS!
I went to Pittsfield, Mass. to see Buddy in his tour--this is my second time. In his show, he calls up moms, dads, and kids to decorate cupcakes. I really wanted to be one of those stage and go up on stage, so I waved my arms like crazy--but I was in the 10th row and he didn't see me. I was really sad! I tried not to think about it and watch the rest of the show. It was a lot of fun, and Buddy tells stories about his family. The best story was about the times he lost on Food Network Challenge. The woman who beat him, sent in a tape of herself to TLC trying to score a reality TV show. They didn't like her, but then they said, "Who's that guy?" talking about Buddy. They called him and that's how he scored CAKE BOSS. He said he was glad he lost!
After the show, I went backstage to meet Buddy (as a cupcake critic, I was a VIP!). He remembered me, and called me The Cupcake Boss again, and he signed my program, took pictures and gave me a hug. I also met his wife Lisa who is REALLY pretty. After everyone left, I walked nervously up to Buddy doubting he would let me pipe with him but he said yes! I walked out on stage with him to where he decorated in his show. He handed me a piping bag, we held on together, and then we piped a cupcake in the shape of a flower. When I was piping with him I was thinking "OMG!" His cupcake was delicious and I inhaled it. When I left, I couldn't believe I had just had a lesson with THE CAKE BOSS! I couldn't wait to get home to write about it on my blog and post the pics! Thanks, Buddy!
Carrie's Q&A: Cat Beurnier, owner Sugar Daze Cupcakes, Paris
I am SO EXCITED to taste Sugar Daze custom cupcakes when I am in Paris! Cat, the owner, is originally from NYC, and she brings American-style cupcakes to France! She agreed to answer some questions for Carrie's Cupcake Critique:
What is you favorite flavor of cake/cupcake?
That's a tough one - I LOVE cupcakes! When I visit a new cupcake store, I almost always try either a red velvet or carrot cake cupcake. I really like cream cheese frosting! I make a cupcake called Cookie Monster which is also one of my favorites. It's a speculoos spice cake (a Dutch spice mix that includes cinnamon) with a speculoos cream center (like peanut butter only cinnamony), an Oreo cookie buttercream and mini Oreos and speculoos cookies on top.
What is your most popular flavor?
I offer over 30 flavors but you know what? The classic combinations of chocolate and vanilla are my most requested.
Do you have a special technique for making cakes? If yes, what is it?
Hmm, interesting question. Because I bake on a custom-order basis and my average daily output is only about 100 cupcakes, I pride myself on baking everything fresh, the day of the order, in small batches. I still hand-mix all my batter which I think gives the finished cupcakes a lighter, airier texture. Batter prepared in a mixer can quickly get overbeaten if you don't watch carefully which leads to a denser cake.
What is the best cake you ever made?
I have gotten to work on a lot of really great, really fun orders. Among my favorites were the two times I have made cupcakes to be used in wedding proposals! And I have an upcoming order to announce the gender of a couple's baby -- their doctor will tell me if it's a girl or boy and then I'm making cupcakes with either a pink or blue filling to reveal the sex of the baby to the parents-to-be -- which I am really looking forward to!
How long has Sugar Daze been open?
My very first paid order was for Halloween 2008. I started Sugar Daze as Little Miss Cupcake and used that name up until September 2010. In 2010, someone opened a cupcake store in Paris using almost an identical name and filed for a trademark (which I didn't have). A lot of people were confused and thought we were affiliated (and this other store's cupcakes were nothing like mine!). I decided to change the name of my company to protect my reputation.
Do you have any other locations besides in Paris?
No, Sugar Daze is run solely by me. I have two young kids and this business has grown out of a hobby which has become a passion. I currently bake in a shared commercial kitchen and am hoping to set up my own space sometime in the near future. One day, I'd love to bring Sugar Daze to my hometown of New York City!
Do people in Paris like cupcakes as much as in the US? Are cupcakes popular there?
The cupcake phenomenon just recently hit Paris and has become a pretty trendy dessert. I have a lot of customers who order without having ever tasted a cupcake before. You can now find them in such unlikely places as frozen food chain Picard, or famed French pastry institution, Laduree. While the cupcake has become popular, you need to keep in mind that there are so many pastries in a land like France. There are many French people who love cupcakes but for many others, a cupcake could never take the place of an eclair or macaron for example.
Carrie's Q&A: Benny Rivera of City Cakes, NYC
I first saw Benny Rivera the owner of City Cakes on Food Network Challenge Smurf Movie Cakes. He made an amazing subway cake with the smurfs stuck in the doors. So I had to interview him!
Hi, Benny! What is you favorite flavor of cake/cupcake?
My favorite cupcake is the Salted Caramel cupcake we sell. It is just ridiculously good! We make our own caramel and then we put it not only on the batter but also, on the buttercream as well so, you can imagine! Right after that our Lush Amaretto which is basically a vanilla cupcake in which we also add amaretto liquor on the batter and then, we also soak the cupcake with an amaretto syrup.
What is your most popular flavor?
Salted Caramel Cupcake. People come from everywhere looking and asking for this particular cupcake. We have had people coming from New Jersey and Long Island just to buy one single caramel cupcake. Can you believe that?
Do you have a special technique for making cakes? If yes, what is it?
Personally, I use different techniques to make and decorate cakes. I guess what set me apart from all the other cake designers is how neat and clean my work is.
What is the best cake you ever made?
OMG! This is a hard question. I have made so many cakes that I loved. To mention just a couple of them I will have to say a chessboard cake, a sushi board, a horse head, etc.......
How long has City Cakes been open?
We opened about fours years ago. City Cakes used to be by appointment only for wedding cakes, custom cakes, etc. The front store was open last summer.
What was it like to compete on Food Network Challenge?
Competing on the Food Network Challenge was a dream come true! Basically, this was my very first time on the Food Network Challenge. While the experience was a little overwhelming I also have to say that it was amazing. I needed to be exposed to that first time to realize the amount of work these type of competitions require. Now that I went once I know now what I have to do for the next time. I would do it again in a heart beat. The competition is as you see it on TV: they really give you only 8 hours to complete your cake. Actually, they do offer you lunch but, it is up to you if you want to take it or not because they are not going to stop the clock for you.....LOL! Anyway, I'm hoping they will call me again for the next season. We will see! I definitely have to redeem myself! I have to show the judges the quality of my work.
REVIEW: Ooh, La La! Cupcakery, Baltimore, MD
Ooh, La La is a little shop in a mall--so you would think it would be an average cupcakery. But it's not what you expect! I tried the Cookies and Cream, Chocolate-Chocolate, Strawberry and Caramel. My first bite was the Caramel: it was a Caramel Cake topped with a caramel frosting and drizzle. It was very caramely; caramel was used in ever part of the cupcake. I was also surprised that the frosting LOOKED like it would taste whippy--but it didn't. It had a nice, creamy texture. Next, I tried the Strawberry Cupcake topped with luster dust and a real slice of strawberry. The strawberry flavor was very strong--which is a good thing, not a bad thing. The Cookies and Cream was topped with a mini oreo--very cute! I tasted it, and my taste buds jumped! Wow! It was so creamy and rich, it tasted like a real oreo. The cake was perfection: moist, fudgey. And finally, the Chocolate-Chocolate. I am not a chocoholic, so usually chocolate cupcakes are too rich and sweet for my taste. But this one was light and delicious. The chocolate melted in my mouth. I gave Ooh, La La Cupcakery 5 CUPCAKES. I mean...what's wrong with it? NOTHING!
REVIEW: The Cupcakery, Las Vegas
First, they delivered us THE WRONG cupcakes—which takes off a point on their rating right there! Even though they were very nice about it and brought the right ones, I had to wait a LONG time… The cupcake names were great: Southern Belle, Oh, My Gosh Ganache, Tickle Me Pink, Orange Julius, Chocolate Passion and Coconut Bliss. The Orange Julius tasted like a creamsicle pop; I loved the Southern Belle—which is RV—and the Cookies and Cream the most. The frosting is very creamy, and they pipe them all differently. Some swirls, some lines, some just flat. They’re really delicious and would have gotten a 5…except for the delivery mess up! RATING: 4 3/4 CUPCAKES
REVIEW: Grand Lux Cafe, The Venetian/The Palazzo Hotels, Vegas
This diner in our hotel is owned by The Cheesecake Factory. And I LOVED their red velvet pancakes for breakfast with real cream cheese frosting topping. But the cupcakes were so-so. The frosting was a little too cold and hard. The chocolate cake was amazing and I liked the rice crispy balls on top. The vanilla cake wasn’t as good—didn’t have a lot of vanilla flavor. MY RATING: 4 1/2 CUPCAKES.
REVIEW: Freed's Bakery in Las Vegas
Freed’s is known for its fancy wedding cakes, so I hoped their cupcakes would be good, too! When I bit into the Chocolate Topped Marble, I was surprised to find whipped cream under the bump of ganache. The Strawberries and Cream cupcake was very good: creamy and I liked the little pink curls on the sides and the white drizzle. I thought the Chocolate Dunk was really good, too: the frosting was a little hard, but the chocolate cake was delicious. The RV was a neon red color! It was topped with red crumbs and white chocolate drizzle. The frosting was out of this world but the cake could be moister. Freed’s get points from me for their fancy decorating! RATING: 4 3/4 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: Best Cupcakes in LAS VEGAS! Gigi's Bakery
The lady from Sweet Surrender told us these were amazing cupcakes—so we went all over The Palazzo Hotel looking for them. First she said go to a restaurant bar—they have them there with the coffee. Nope. Then she said, “Try the shopping mall upstairs.” Not there either. Finally, we figured out they were at The Venetian at a small cupcake stand next to the theater where we were seeing Phantom of the Opera. It was worth searching for them! There were so many amazing flavors to choose from, I didn’t know which to try! I picked mini versions of Miss Princess, Scarlett’s Red Velvet, Wedding Cake, Top Hat, Birthday Surprise and Cookies and Cream. The Miss Princess was OMG! Moist strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting (just the right amount) and sparkling pink sugar on top. The cupcake decorations were really original: crumbles, sprinkles, chips. None of them looked the same. The Wedding Cake flavor was also delish: it’s white cake with buttercream vanilla frosting and white pearls on top. The Top Hat was very fudgy: my Dad liked it the best. And my mom thought the Coconut was nice and light. I love the names for the cupcakes—they’re also really original and fun. I was so impressed with these cupcakes—they were actually my favorites in all of Las Vegas! Perfection! RATING: 5 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: Sweet Surrender, The Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas
There was a cupcake store right in the lobby of my hotel—so you know I was really happy about that! Sweet Surrender’s cupcakes looked really pretty—lots of different colors and toppings and fancy sugar work. But I was worried right away they’d be too whippy—and I was right. Most of the frosting tasted BAD, although the cake was good. I tried The Sweet Surrender, The Red Velvet, and a Marble with gold edible balls on it and blue frosting. I liked the balls better than the frosting—it just had no taste. The Banana wasn’t too bad—it’s frosting tasted like banana pudding. I wish these cupcakes tasted as good as they look. My rating: 4 CUPCAKES.
OMG! I WORKED AT GEORGETOWN CUPCAKE!
Sophie and Katherine let me see what it’s like to really work in the bakery where they film DC CUPCAKES! It was the best day EVER!
I went on a trip to DC with my friend Jaimie. Since you HAVE to go to Georgetown Cupcake, we called Sophie and Katherine and they said we could work in the bakery with them! OMG!!!!! I worked at the fondant table. We cut out hearts, flowers, and WAY MORE made out of fondant to put on our own dozen. Then, we made tie dye fondant and really skinny fondant. It looked so cool! I also piped a cupcake with their signature swirl. The head baker Andres said, “ That’s pretty good!” People were also watching us through the window. One of them was very impressed with my signature swirl. I felt like a celebrity! The bakery was so busy. Everyone was literally bumping into each other! But they got so many cupcakes done and sold! I was working there for 3 HOURS, but it flew by so fast. I loved when Katherine helped me pipe and decorate a cupcake. But it wasn’t just 1 cupcake they gave us….we got 6 DOZEN PLUS SOUVENIRS to take home! I also was honored to see their lab where they do all their projects. Their dog Poochie stopped by to say hi, too!
Cake Boss Cafe opens in Discovery Center, Times Square!
I went to opening day of the Cake Boss Cafe at Discovery Center, Times Square with my friend Emily. We tried cupcakes and canolis, and bough Carlo's Bakery shirts for ourselves and our teachers. If you don't want to go all the way to Hoboken, this is great news! The Cake Boss Cafe has all of Buddy's famous Italian treats, even Lobster Tails, tiramisu, cookies and red velvet cake. Unfortunately, I got there in the afternoon and a lot were already sold out! Get there early if you want the best choices. Buddy ships them fresh every day, and they even fill the canolis in the kitchen at Discovery Center so they don't get soggy. How great is that?
Sprinkles opens in NYC! And I meet Candace Nelson!!!
I went to the opening of Sprinkles on 61rst and Lexington. We got to meet Candace Nelson, who is on Cupcake Wars and is my Cupcake Idol! She was so nice! The shop is amazing: there were colored dots everywhere, like there are on the cupcakes. I also loved the floor: it had Hollywood stars with names of their cupcakes. I love Sprinkles’ Strawberry. Candace said it’s her husband’s favorite, too! The line to get in at 9 a.m. was down the block. I am so glad that Sprinkles has arrived in NYC! It’s about time! I also love that Candace thinks of everything: she even serves her cupcakes with Sprinkles forks like I like to eat them!
Carrie's Q&A: Melissa Bushell, owner of Baked by Melissa
Baked by Melissa is one of my FAVE cupcakes in NYC! Their chocolate chip pancake ones are awesome! And they're tiny--so you can eat lots!
1. How did you first get into making cupcakes?
I LOVE cupcakes! I have always loved to bake, it's like arts n crafts that you can eat. :)
I started baking at a young age with my parents, but when I was in college I started taking it to the next level. I would bake layer cakes and special cupcakes for my friends when I didn't feel like going out at night. A couple of years later, when I graduated, I started baking the tie-dye cupcakes and everyone loved them, so I started making them for my friends' and family's birthdays.
2. What is the craziest cupcake you've ever made?
Hmmm... the first batch of tie-dye cupcakes I ever made... they were the muffin size and I put the Grateful Dead steal your face, peace signs, and other fun shapes on them. At the time, they were by far - the CRAZIEST cupcakes I had ever made ;)
3. What makes your cupcakes different/special?
The cupcakes at Baked by Melissa are bite-size and stuffed! There is no paper on the outside so you can just pop them in your mouth, one bite at a time!
4. What's your favorite flavor?
I have two favorite flavors. Chocolate chip pancake and peanut butter and jelly. I still can't get enough of them!
5. What's your most popular flavor?
Believe it or not, each of our flavors are very popular. Whenever I am in one of our stores people are always coming in and telling me what their favorite flavors are. We have a mini of the month that changes with each month. People come on the first of the month just to try it, and nothing makes me more proud.
6. How many stores do you own--and are you planning any more?
We just opened our fourth store in NYC on 7th Ave. between 38th and 39th St. We are working hard to keep growing our company and spreading smiles throughout the city. We also ship nationwide!
7. What celebs like your cupcakes?
I was very excited when Jeremy Piven came to our Soho location. I happened to be working in the booth the day he came, it was so cool! Jessica Biel, Cheryl Burke, Gayle King, and Owen Wilson are a few others who enjoy eating Baked by Melissa.
8. What's your fave cupcake shop besides Baked by Melissa?
I love ALL cupcakes. I can never turn down a cupcake. Before I started Baked by Melissa I ate at least one or two a day. Thank goodness we started BBM so now when I eat 3 or 4 I don't feel as guilty ;)
9. Did you bake when you were a kid? Who taught you?
I did bake when I was a child. I would stand on a chair perched up at the kitchen counter with my mom or dad and help them bake (and lick the bowl of course), they always told me that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
Carrie's Q&A: Daniellan Louie, owner IVY BAKERY, Brooklyn, NY
Ivy Bakery is also coming to SoHo this Summer! Can't wait!
What is the Craziest cupcake you ever made?
I wouldn't call it crazy, but my S'Mores Cupcakes were a lot of fun to make. Graham cracker cupcakes topped with Marshmallow Fluff and Milk Chocolate
What is your favorite flavor?
My favorite flavor would have to be Chocolate on Chocolate. I'm very classic.
What is Ivy Bakery's most popular flavor?
Ivy Bakery's most popular flavor at the moment would have to be Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese Frosting.
What is your favorite cupcake shop besides Ivy Bakery?
I honestly don't have a favorite cupcake shop. I wouldn't consider my shop to be a cupcake shop. I bake over 500 types of desserts, and cupcakes are just 1 category that I have. I personally am into savory foods.
I am on CUPCAKES TAKE THE CAKE BLOG SPOT!
My fave cupcake blog wrote about my Eco-licious Cupcakes for Crumbs!
MONDAY, MAY 02, 2011
8-year-old student gets Crumbs Bakeshop to sell limited edition earth cupcake to benefit school PS 6's Eco Center
These earth-friendly charity cupcakes are going to be for sale today and tomorrow (May 2nd and 3rd) at two New York City Crumbs Bakeshop locations, but the best part is that they came about because of an 8-year-old cupcake lover, Carrie Berk! She puts out a newsletter called Carrie's Cupcake Critique and talked Crumbs CEO Jason Bauer into selling this vanilla cupcake with a tie dye blue and green frosting resembling the earth and a green peace sign. It's on sale today through May 8 at Crumbs 78th and Third Avenue and 93rd and Lexington Avenue. Congratulations, Carrie, on her cupcake activism! "$1 from every cupcake will go to the PS 6 Eric Dutt Eco Center." Visit Crumbs.com for information about their bakeries.
If you want more background on it and Carrie's brainstorm and meeting with Jason Bauer, see the P.S. 6 school newspaper. From her piece:
Crumbs made a sample cupcake and emailed me a picture of it. It looked beautiful—they had swirled blue, green and white frosting to look like the Earth. Then they put white sprinkles on the sides. I gave it my thumbs up. They sent me a sample to taste, too. This one didn’t look as good—I told them it needed more work. The peace sign piped on top was a little messy and too big. They said, “Of course! We’ll fix it, and swirl the frosting some more.” I brought Ms. Fontana a sample to taste, too. She liked it…”
Carrie's Q&A: Jennifer Appel, owner of Buttercup Bake Shop, NYC
Buttercup is MY FAVE cupcake store in NYC! Jennifer was nice enough to answer my questions:
What is the Craziest cupcake you ever made?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: yummy chocolate cake, cookie dough filling, and gooey chocolate chip-filled icing! Definitely an indulgence!
What makes the frosting on your cupcakes so sweet?
Good ole' confectioners' sugar of course!
What is Buttercup Bake Shop's most popular flavor?
Probably our Red Velvet, it's irresistible.
What is your favorite cupcake shop besides Buttercup Bake Shop?
Two Little Red Hens is great, and close to home.
InStyle Cupcakes, Miami, FL
This cupcake place delivers anywhere in Miami. They will really do anything you like as a cupcake theme--from Sex and the City cupcakes to GLEE cupcakes. Which is what I asked for! The looked amazing when the box arrived: chocolate musical notes on cupcakes plus a beautiful GLEE fondant photo. I was was wowed! Then I took a bite... and my expectations dropped! The Red Velvet did not have cheese frosting. Major no-no. The Dulce didn't taste like anything; maybe a little pineappley, but I couldn't close my eyes and tell you what flavor it was. The Vanilla was the best; the buttercream was pretty good. The cake was a little dense on all of them; maybe too much mixing? Or maybe it needs some more baking powder in the recipe? I don't know, but I was dissapointed. I gave INSTYLE 4 CUPCAKES. The look is great; work on the taste!
Carrie's Cupcake Q&A: Christina, owner of Cupcakes Nouveau, Coral Gables, FL
I first met Christina and Shayrin last year when they delivered cupcakes to my hotel in Miami. I came back to their store this time to catch up and see what was new. I thought their cupcakes were so good, and they still are.
What's your most popular flavor?
A: It changes. I'd say, Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet or Guava.
What have you been doing since the last time I saw you?
A: A lot! We've been busy! We had some of our cupcakes published in a cookbook, and we had some very big orders.
What's your favorite flavor of cupcake?
A: 1) Chocolate Chip and 2) Pina Colada
How many cupcakes do you make a day?
A: A few hundred to a thousand. It depends on if we have a party or event to cater.
Who was your biggest competitor when you were on CUPCAKE WARS?
A: Chef Chloe! We get a lot of customers who saw us on the show and know us now.
What's your favorite cupcake store besides yours?
A: Crumbs! I tried them and thought they were really good.
FYI, I changed your rating to a perfect 5 CUPCAKES. I think your cupcakes have gotten even better since last year when I gave you 4 3/4 CUPCAKES. Congrats!
A: Thank you! Stay in touch!
Carrie's Cupcake Q&A: Letty Alvarez, owner and baker, LA Sweets, Coral Gables, FL
Letty came out of the kitchen to sit down and talk to me. I told her that I thought LA Sweets were the best cupcakes in Miami. She was thrilled! She even posted my pic on her Facebook page! She told me she has five kids, and is really busy. Her cupcake towers were huge, and she said she's always catering special events. I was very impressed!
Here's my interview:
What's your favorite flavor of cupcake?
A: Chocolate Raspberry
What's your most popular flavor at LA Sweets?
A: Number 1 is Red Velvet and Number 2 is Guava.
How many flavors do you have?
Wow! That's a lot! When did your store open?
A: Three years ago.
How many locations do you have now?
A: We will have two by next month, and we're working on our third. I'd also love to ship and franchise one day.
Thanks, Letty! We loved your cupcakes! Keep up the great work! I'll be back!
Buttercream Cupcakes, Coral Gables, FL
Buttercream is always mentioned as one of the best cupcakes in Miami. I had to see for myself. When I walked in the door, the shop was very small, but it had an autographed picture of Celine Dion on the wall. So I thought...this will be good. The owner, Kristine Graulich, was behind the counter. She was so friendly and nice. She let me interview her. I asked, "What is your most popular flavor?" She said: "Red Velvet." She told me HER favorite flavor was Triple Chocolate. She also said when she was a little girl, she loved to bake. And after just one visit to Magnolia Bakery, it inspired her to open her own cupcake shop! She said she loves Sprinkles and Cara's Cupcakes, too. I asked her if any celebs like her cupcakes, and mentioned Celine Dion and Jane Lynch from Glee. I screamed! I LOVE Glee! I tasted the Red Velvet which had a GIANT red fondant heart on it. It was okay; the fondant was my favorite part. The Vanilla Strawberry was GREAT. Pink and pretty, and it tasted like real strawberries. That's because they use real strawberries in the batter! We also tasted the Oreo Cupcake. Incredible! Big chunks of real Oreo in the frosting! I gave Buttercream 4 and 3/4 CUPCAKES. My only suggestion: a bigger store with more seats, and you will be as famous as your customers!
Misha's Cupcakes, Coral Gables, FL
Misha's has a great reputation in Miami! They even sell them at Books and Books on Lincoln Road. So I expected great things. When we walked into the store, there was no place to sit--which is a problem--and the displays of cupcakes were kind of boring. The flavors in the sample pack we got were Vanilla, Chocolate, Oreo, Red Velvet, and Dulce de Lece. The Dulce de Lece was amazing, absolutely amazing; I could taste a little caramel flavor. The Oreo was also very moist and good--it reminded me of Purple Elephant's Oreo Cupcake, which I love. Red Velvet: I wasn't expecting it, but it was VERY chocolatey. Almost too much cocoa powder for my taste. Vanilla was okay; not exciting. The decorations were simple: sprinkles and crumbles of cake, but my eyes lit up when I saw there was Easter eggs on some of them. Our faves: Mom liked Dulce; I was between the Oreo and the Dulce. I would give Misha's 4 3/4 CUPCAKES. My suggestion: improve your Red Velvet, make your Vanilla more exciting, and I will give you 5 CUPCAKES next time! I can always change my mind and my review!
Dots Treats, Miami Florida
I asked Dots to deliver to my hotel. They brought me the cutest Easter bunny cupcakes--but I was a little worried because 1) it looked whippy and 2) it looked so sugary! But, I was surprised: when I opened the box, the frosting smelled good. And when I tasted the frosting...it was not bad! It had a great vanilla taste! The fondant eyes, nose and mouth was pretty good (not dried out) and the cake...oh, the cake! 1) AMAZING; 2) Moist and 3) BUTTERY!!! Believe it or not, I gave Dots Treats 4 1/2 CUPCAKES. They are very talented bakers and fondant artists. Good job!
SoBe Scoops, Lowes Miami Hotel
SoBe stands for "South Beach" in case you were wondering! This ice cream/gelato store in our hotel also makes homemade cupcakes. So we had to try them! I liked the names of the cupcakes: like "Southern Delight" for Red Velvet and "Whoopie Cupcake" for Chocolate with Whipped Cream frosting. The Dulce de Lece was "whippy" but gets credit because it was nice and moist. The chocolate cupcake was my favorite and Mom's; it was rich but the frosting was nice. The Carrot cupcake...okay. Fun fondant carrot on top! The Southern Delight didn't delight me. It stunk! I'm sorry, but it tasted like a bad vanilla cupcake and the frosting wasn't very cheesy. They also made Sesame Street cupcakes, but I didn't want to try because the ones we sampled weren't too good. The store itself is really cute: pink stripes and polka dots, cute pink booths and a real soda fountain with displays of candy. It kind of reminded me of Dylan's Candy Bar. The decoration on the cupcakes was a little boring: just flowers and sprinkles. I would give SoBe Scoops 3 CUPCAKES. The ice cream was better than the cupcakes. Maybe they should stick to that?
LA Sweets, Miami, Florida
First, I wondered why a store called "L.A." would be in Florida and not Los Angeles. Then I learned why: L.A. stands for Letty Alvarez, the owner's initials! These cupcakes were AMAZING! We ordered a sampler box of 24 minis. My faves were Red Velvet (I licked the wrapper clean!), Pina Colada, and White Chocolate Raspberry. It tasted like cheesecake! The decorations on the cupcakes were chips, hearts and sprinkles--each one was very pretty. The Red Velvet cake was neon red--Letty called it "Ferrari red." It was very moist and the cheese frosting was not too sweet--just perfect. The vanilla frosting on one of the cupcakes tasted like Vanilla Extract--which is a good thing! The Guava cupcake was very different and delicious. Cinnamon had a lovely cinnamony taste, not too spicy. The chocolate chip in my mouth. It was delish. When I bit into the Pina Colada with pineapple buttercream, the first thing I said was, "WOW!" It was just...WOW! Left me speechless! Finally, the White Chocolate Raspberry tasted as good as Junior's Cheesecake. So smooth. I liked how Letty, who is also the head baker, does a flower-shaped squirt of frosting on each cupcake. She actually let me try my own! I would say that LA Sweets is the best cupcake in Miami; I give it 5 CUPCAKES on my rating scale. I would even say it's tied with Georgetown, in my opinion, for the best cupcake I've ever tasted. Letty said she is hoping to franchise her store--which means LA Sweets might be coming to another city (like NYC!) very soon. I hope so!
Cupcakes for a great cause!
The PS 6 Eric Dutt Eco Center needed money…fast! We needed to finish building it on the roof so all the kids could get a chance to use it. I had a great idea. Kids love cupcakes—especially me! So I met with Jason Bauer, the CEO and owner of Crumbs and asked him a favor.
“Would you sell in your stores a cupcake representing the Eco Center?”
Mr. Bauer smiled. “Do you have any ideas of what the cupcake would look like?”
I pulled out some sketches of designs I had made. The first one was a rainbow tie dye cake and frosting. And the second one—my favorite—was a green and white tie dye frosting and a vanilla cake.
“I like design #2,” he said. “I’ll try and make it happen.”
Two months later, I reminded him about his promise. I told him we were having an Eco Center fundraiser in May, and it would be great to serve everyone the cupcakes. Finally, Mr. Bauer called and said, “Yes, let’s do it!” They’re giving us 200 cupcakes at the Cupcakes & a Movie fundraiser April 30! He was so nice!
Crumbs made a sample cupcake and emailed me a picture of it. It looked beautiful—they had swirled blue, green and white frosting to look like the Earth. Then they put white sprinkles on the sides. I gave it my thumbs up. They sent me a sample to taste, too.
I felt really proud to be a Crumbs cupcake designer—and also to do something to help the Eco Center. The final cupcake is not only beautiful but so delicious! And when you bite in the middle, there’s a surprise…
If you go to Crumbs on 78th Street and Third or 93rd and Lexington May 2-8, you will find these Eco Center Cupcakes on sale! For every cupcake they sell, Crumbs will give $1 to the PS 6 Eco Center. So buy, buy, buy! Tell everyone: your friends, your family, to go get them, too. It’s a yummy way to help the Eco Center.
Treat Cupcake Bar, Needham, Mass.
Treat was not exactly a treat! When I was in Boston for my cousin Emily's Bat Mitzvah, my cousin Jason told me I had to go to this place because he loves it. The place is nice to look at it: it has giant cupcake pictures and a wall made out of cupcake tins. They also have a MAKE YOUR OWN cupcake bar, so you can pick your frosting, your cake, and your toppings. But the lady mixed all of my frosting and toppings together--and it was gross! My cupcake idea was titled "THE RAINBOW CUPCAKE" and it had marble cake, vanilla frosting, oreos and M&Ms. Picture all of that mushed together and piled on a cupcake (pictures are posted--it was a mess!). Jason made "BAD LIFEGUARD: THE CUPCAKE." It was vanilla cake and frosting, with chocolate sprinkles, Candy Legos and Gummy Bears. He had a few bites but it was too, too sweet! We also tried some of the cupcakes that Treat sells: Needham Cream Pie, Red Velvet, Vanilla Plain Jane, Sprinkle Me Silly, Chunky Monkey and Half-Baked. Well...big problem. We got there when the store first opened at 10 a.m. and all of the cupcakes were still frozen! I asked why they freeze them, and they said it keeps them fresh, but I think they need to get up at 3 a.m. and bake them fresh. Or at least, get up earlier and defrost them. I was really disappointed. These cupcakes...STUNK. I am sorry to say it gets my lowest rating ever: 2 CUPCAKES. I think they could really fix the problem easily, but it's too late for this critic! Maybe if I go back to visit my cousins I'll try Treat again and pump my rating up.
REVIEW: Zaro's Cupcakes, NYC
My neighbor, Lisa wanted to bring me a treat while she was babysitting me so she got me Zaro’s cupcakes. I tasted Vanilla Vanilla with M&M’S and Chocolate Chocolate with sprinkles. Both cupcakes have a strong flavor: the chocolate is SUPER fudgey. They’re also very big and too much for one person to eat. My rating: 4 1/2 CUPCAKES!
Dylan's Candy Bar's CANDY CUPCAKES
DYLAN’S CANDY CUPCAKES
I get the Dylan’s Candy Bar email newsletter, and I saw that they have solid chocolate cupcakes. When they came, I thought they were regular cupcakes but my mom told me they were solid milk chocolate! When I bit into this cupcake I had one word: “ YUM!” It was so chocolaty, my mom only gave me one tiny piece at a time! My rating: 5 CUPCAKES!
REVIEW: Stuffed Cupcakes, Nutley NJ
MY FAVE CUPCAKE OF THE MONTH…
STUFFED CUPCAKES, NUTLEY, NJ
Oprah really knows her cupcakes! She picked these for her magazine and I agree. They were AMAZING! Gaga liked Banana Blast that was filled with banana mouse; Mom liked The Cannoli Dream stuffed with cannoli cream and I LOVED the Butterscotch Hug. It was filled with yummy butterscotch mousse. The favors and the names of the cupcakes are so original—The Fandango, Outrageous Oreo, Cocoloco. The icing does taste a little like Pillsbury, but it’s still good. My rating: 5 CUPCAKES! Check out: www.stuffedcupcakes.com
REVIEW: Little Brown Chocolate & Coffee/NYC
This new store opened on 85th and Lexington—and they have cupcakes! They bake them in parchment paper which reminded me of Baked & Wired in Georgetown. I tried Lemon Sunshine first. The cake and the frosting was so lemony, it gave me brain burn! If you like lemon, you’d love it. The Red Velvet was moist and yummy and I could really taste the cocoa in the cake. The cupcakes are old fashioned and simple but delicious. My rating: 5 CUPCAKES!
Two Little Red Hens with Ms. Schottland
My friend Abby and I were BEGGING our second grade teacher from last year, Ms. Schottland, to meet us at her favorite cupcakery, Two Little Red Hens. We made a date, and she brought her two daughters, Celeste and Margarite. We ordered EVERYTHING and did a tasting. My favorite was the Banana cupcake; Ms. Schottland loved the Boston Cream and so did Margarite; Celeste liked the Brooklyn Blackout and Abby loved the Red Velvet. We had so much fun eating cupcakes and catching up. Ms. Schottland told us that it was a great way to start our February vacation from school! And I promised to make her famous in my newsletter and on my cupcake blog!
ILove Cupcakes with ICarly's Sam!
When I heard that Jennette McCurdy was going to be on our Nickelodeon Cruise and I would meet her, I thought of bringing her something that had to do with cupcakes because I know her character likes them.
I got her a “I CUPCAKE NY” shirt from my fave bakery, Buttercup. She loved it! She told me sometime she would bake me her famous coconut cupcakes. And when I saw her again, she said, “Hey, my buddy! Awww, you didn’t bring cupcakes!”
REVIEW: Cauldron Cupcakes at Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When I went to Honeyduke’s at Harry Potter World, I couldn’t resist having a cupcake (or two!) when I saw it. A man said it was the best dessert in the store. When I bit into the cake it was a chocolaty mess. It had fudge filling, and the cake was actually dipped in chocolate. The top had a chocolate handle like a cauldron. I washed it down with a frozen Butterbeer which was so good, too! It tasted like cream soda or butterscotch cookies. I loved the creativity of this cupcake…and the taste! I give them 5 CUPCAKES!
Carrie's WORST Cupcakes (so far...)...
7. Ballaboosta (Delivery) and Shari's Berries ( Delivery )
6. Make My Cake (NYC)
5. Ruthy's Bakery & Cafe (NYC)
4. The King of Cupcakes (NYC)
3. Soutine Bakery ( NYC ) and SoBe Scoops ( Lowes Hotel in Miami, FL )
2. Green Mountain Cupcakes (Burlington, VT)/Bella's Bakery (Milburn, NJ)
1. Treat Cupcake Bar (Needham Mass.)/ Fairway ( Upper East Side )
Carrie's TOP 10 FAVORITE CUPCAKES (so far...)!
Since everyone is always asking...
10. Cupcake Crew (Truck NYC )
9. Butterlane (NYC) and Candy Cakes (London)
8. Lola’s (London)/Sugar Daze (Paris)
7. Alice's Tea Cup (NYC)/Two Little Red Hens (NYC)
6. Purple Elephant (NYC)/ Oh La La Cupcakery ( Baltimore )
5. Cupcake Stop Truck (NYC)
4. Tribeca Treats (NYC)
3. Buttercup Bake Shop/Billy's (TIE) (NYC)
2. Les Glaceurs (Montreal)/Baked by Melissa (NYC)
1. Georgetown Cupcake (D.C.) and L.A Sweets (Miami, FL )
REVIEW: SAS CUPCAKES
SAS Cupcakes (www.sascupcakes.com) come frozen in a pink box, and I thought they would be very whippy because they looked like it when we opened the top. But I was surprised! They tasted pretty good. The Vanilla with Pink Butter cream was moist and creamy, and the Red Velvet cream cheese frosting was smooth (not too sweet) although the cake was a little drier and crumbled. I didn’t like the chocolate with strawberry frosting—the cake tasted like cocoa and I said to my mom, “This tastes more like frosting than cake!” and spit it out. The ganache cupcake was too rich and a little hard. The decorations were beautiful, especially the little flags that kept the cupcakes from getting smooshed in shipping.
I would give SAS 4 ½ CUPCAKES because they weren’t all perfect but they impressed me.
CARRIE’S Q&A: DANA HERBERT, WINNER OF THE NEXT GREAT BAKER!
On TLC’s Next Great Baker, Dana Herbert was the big winner! He gets $50,000, a cool car, and the chance to work with Buddy at Carlo’s Bakery! Buddy says, “Dana beat out 9 other aspiring bakers who competed throughout 8 weeks of grueling challenges that tested their baking know-how, decorating skills, and client & business skills. Dana proved he had the skills it takes to be a great baker - creativity, drive, and perseverance. Through the challenges, he showed he can overcome obstacles, create amazing cakes, and impress clients. He's going to be a great addition to the Carlo's Bakery family!"
I asked Dana to answer some questions for Carrie’s Cupcake Critique:
How does it feel to be the Next Great Baker?
It’s a wonderful feeling to be crowned the Next Great Baker. It was like a big cake endurance test. I got to meet some awesome cake decorators with all sorts of skills and we all learned from each other. The fans are the best and it’s inspiring to be a role model to so many of my little fans.
What was the hardest challenge Buddy gave you?
The two hardest challenges were the Christmas challenge where I had to cook, make sugar ornaments, and do cake (ie help with presents, make jewelry etc) and the other was the wedding where Buddy threw our cakes off the roof. We had to remake them in 4 hours!
What are you MOST looking forward to about working at Carlo's Bakery?
They make big and awesome cakes. That's my specialty. Plus I want to learn sculpting, flowers, and so forth.
What are you doing now at the bakery? Will we see you on the next season of Cake Boss?
Cake, cake and more cake. Working with Buddy is awesome and just getting to see what his days are like. You will see me on Cake Boss next season
Can people come to Carlo's Bakery and meet you in person (hint hint!)?
Today they can but then I head back home. My wife is having a baby in 2 weeks so I have to be there. It's so exciting. I will be back but I am unsure on what date!
REVIEW: Magnolia's Ken Loves Barbie Cupcakes!
Just in time for Valentine’s, Magnolia Bakery did Barbie cupcakes! I loved the wrappers—they were hot pink and shiny. On top of the pink frosting was pink sparkly sugar and a white chocolate love heart from Ken that said “You’re the only doll for me!” The cake (vanilla or chocolate) was good and moist, but the frosting was a little too sweet—it made my mouth pucker. Jaimie agreed! I would give them 4 ½ CUPCAKES.
CARRIE Q&A: Candace Nelson of Cupcake Wars!
Candace Nelson created the world’s first cupcake store: Sprinkles! I am counting the days till her store opens in NYC. I’ve already visited the one in Beverly Hills. I asked Candace to answer some questions:
What's your favorite cupcake flavor to eat and why?
My favorite Sprinkles cupcake is dark chocolate. Though I may stray from time to time (strawberry, salty caramel, banana), I always come back to my favorite Sprinkles flavor… dark chocolate! There is something irresistible about the fluffy dark chocolate cake, topped with rich, velvety dark chocolate frosting. And I always opt for the sprinkle-less variety so I can fully appreciate the smooth texture of the frosting. I had a baby three weeks ago and this cupcake deeply satisfied my frequent chocolate cravings through my pregnancy, and beyond!
What's the most popular cupcake at Sprinkles?
Red velvet, always!
On Cupcake Wars, what was the most interesting or unique cupcake so far?
An oxtail cupcake!
How do you come up with ideas for your Sprinkles flavors? How many flavors do you do?
Inspiration for Sprinkles flavors comes from all around. I am constantly poring through food magazines, cookbooks and trying new treats at bakeries across the country. Sometimes I will take flavors I like in other food or drink forms, like a Chai Latte or a Salty Caramel
and turn it into a cupcake flavor. Sometimes I just want to reinvigorate a flavor that has been somewhat forgotten, like German Chocolate. I'm even inspired by people, such as the banana and peanut butter King cupcake in honor of Elvis.
Why did you start Sprinkles? Were you nervous that a cupcake store wouldn't make money?
Traditionally, the baking industry spotlighted full-size cakes, and cupcakes were an afterthought. They were often made with leftover cake batter and had a reputation for being dry and saturated with artificial ingredients. After graduating pastry school, I started a custom cake business out of my house. I found myself asking, “Why can’t dessert be a daily indulgence made with the same care and detail that goes into a special occasion cake?’ And so the concept of Sprinkles was born…
Was I nervous? Absolutely! Everyone thought the concept of a cupcakes-only bakery was crazy, particularly one in the heart of Beverly Hills! My husband and I used all our savings to create Sprinkles so we were taking a huge risk. But it was something we felt passionately about, so we listened to our hearts instead of the naysayers and just went for it!
Why do you think cupcakes are so popular today?
I think cupcakes have always been an important part of American food culture. I mean, who didn't grow up eating cupcakes as a kid? But now that cupcakes are being made with quality ingredients they have an even broader appeal, extending beyond kids parties to elegant events like weddings! Cupcakes are literally perfect for every occasion.
What makes a PERFECT cupcake?
A good recipe made with the best ingredients and baked until just done, and not a moment more. The cake must be moist and the frosting creamy with the flavors and textures blending together harmoniously.
Thanks so much Candace! I’ll be watching you every week on Cupcake Wars!
REVIEW: AMERICAN GIRL STORE CUPCAKES
We were surprised to find these beautiful Valentine’s Day cupcakes at the sweet shop on the second floor of the store. They almost looked like Crumbs’ cupcakes—but they didn’t taste like them! First, they use hard sugar for the decorations. It’s a bad strategy. Fondant would have been softer and tastier. The frosting was just kind of plain and boring with no flavor, and there was just too much “stuff” on the cupcake: sprinkles, hearts, big hearts. I actually wound up just eating the vanilla cake part, which wasn’t bad. It was pretty moist. I would give American Girl 3 ½ CUPCAKES. They look nice…but they need to taste much better.
REVIEW: TRIBECA TREATS (WITH GUEST REVIEWER, BELLA!)
I had heard of Tribeca Treats but never tried them. They’re down on Reade Street and they’re famous for their cookies and brownies. But they also do cupcakes, too! My friend Bella came over on a rainy day afterschool to help me do a tasting. From the first bite, we said, “Wow!” We tried Red Velvet, Chocolate Chip, Devil’s Food, Chocolate Coconut and Vanilla Vanilla. First (of course!) I bit into the Red Velvet. The cream cheese frosting was not too cheesy, not too sweet and very creamy. It was perfect! The cake was really moist and delicious, too. Next, I tried the Devil’s Food. I love an all chocolate cupcake that is not too rich! I had the Chocolate Chip next, which was really good, too: it’s a golden cake with a few chocolate chips mixed in, and fudgy frosting with chocolate chips sprinkled on top. Bella said, “I am all about chocolate chip…” so I let her do the review. She said it was “really, really good.” My last cupcake was the Vanilla Vanilla Vanilla, and I have to say, it was my favorite. Bella said her favorite was either the Chocolate Chip or the Red Velvet. I let her take home one of each so she can decide! Here’s also her guest review of the Coconut Chocolate: “Cream cheese frosting isn’t my thing, but it’s still good. I like the coconut taste with the chocolate cupcake.” Overall, we give Tribeca Treat’s 5 CUPCAKES. Their cakes and frostings are perfect together, and every single one we tried was yummy!
REVIEW: BALABOOSTA'S BAKERY, NYC DELIVERY
Balaboosta’s delivers cupcakes to NYC. The word Balobaoosta is Yiddish and means “the perfect woman” who is great at baking. So I expected the cupcakes to be perfect. They look good: they really do great decorations and I love the mini size. But all of the flavors I tasted were not great.
First of all, the frosting was too whippy and sweet. I tried the Double Chocolate that was so fudgy, it was like biting into a chunk of gooey chocolate. It had a chocolate chip cookie chunk on top that was hard as a rock. Then I tried Cookies and Cream. It had a surprise cream filling which was nice, but the cream didn’t taste like the kind you’d find in an Oreo. It was just plain. Next, I tasted Ice Cream Sundae. It had a very impressive decoration: rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top. But again, the frosting was whippy and this time, the cake was a little dry. Finally, I had the Vanilla Sugar Cookie. I didn’t like the frosting at all—I actually took it off! But the cake was delicious, moist and buttery.
I would give Balaboosta Bakery 3 ¾ CUPCAKES. I think they’re flavors are very creative and they do a good job with presentation, but the taste just isn’t fabulous. Sorry!
TV REVIEW: CUPCAKE WARS SEASON 2
On every episode, four cupcake bakers from around the country compete to make the best tasting cupcake, the best decoration and the best 1,000 cupcake display for an event. There are three rounds, and with every round one baker gets eliminated—till there are just two left. They ask them to put crazy ingredients in cupcakes—like fish roe, grapefruit, beets, avocado, bacon or olive oil! That stuff doesn’t belong in cupcakes! They give them so little time to bake the cupcakes that they’re all going crazy trying to finish before they say, “Time’s up bakers!”
My favorite episode so far was The Hard Rock one. The special effects on the display—a light up guitar—was very cool. I think the judges are sometimes a little tough. Candace Nelson is the owner of Sprinkles, and she’s nice, so she’ll say,” Well, I can’t taste this flavor…” or “You could have done more with the decorations.” Florian Bellanger is a famous pastry chef and he speaks with a French accent and sometimes it’s hard to understand him. But he really wants the contestants to wow him! He’s a little meaner. He’ll say, “This was a total disaster for me!” The host Justin is really funny and really annoying to the competitors who are racing to get their cupcakes done in time! Like on the Winter episode, he tells the contestants, “30 minutes! Don’t get left out in the cold!” The contestants groan!
I think anyone who likes cupcakes like me should watch CUPCAKE WARS. You learn different cupcake recipes and decorating techniques and cupcakes that are not usual like half red velvet/half vanilla to make it look like a candy cane. I also love to write down all the bakeries so when I go to Miami or L.A. I have lots of places to try. I wish they would have more NYC bakeries on the show—so far, the only one was Tonnie’s and Bruce’s and they both lost! Cupcake Wars is one of my favorite shows and I never miss it every week!
PRODUCT REVIEW: BABYCAKES CUPCAKE MAKER
My BFF Jaimie got me The Babycakes Cupcake Maker for Chanukah—and I actually got one for both of my teachers! It bakes 8 cupcakes at a time really fast. If you leave them in longer than 5 minutes, the tops of the cupcakes burn. The trick is to bake them in the paper wrappers so they don’t stick. I also—all by myself—figured out how to make them filled with frosting! I used a star tip on a pastry bag and I made a tiny hole in the middle of the cupcake and squirted it. Then I frosted over it. When you bite into the middle you find a surprise: a little puff of frosting! I think it’s great that you can bake cupcakes anytime you want with any cake mix or from scratch. I give Babycakes Cupcake Maker 5 CUPCAKES because it’s super fast. And when I want cupcakes, I want them NOW!
REVIEW: MLLE CUPCAKE, QUEBEC
When you get to the front of Mlle Cupcakes (it stands for Mademoiselle Cupcakes) you see two colors, light blue and white. I could tell this place was going to be elegant! I thought they would have ordinary flavors…but oh, no! They have really unusual ones, like Chocolat Framboise (raspberry and chocolate swirl) on a marble cupcake, Chocolate Sea Salt and Crème Caramel. The Raspberry was filled with jam which I don’t like, but for people who do, it’s a treat. The chocolate wasn’t too sweet, and I could hardly taste the salt on top. The Crème Caramel was my favorite. At first, I thought it would taste like peanut butter because of the caramel color, but it was so good and moist. I give Mlle Cupcake 4 ½ CUPCAKES because I think some of the ingredients like salt or jam don’t work 100 percent in cupcakes. But they try!
REVIEW: LE GLACEURS, QUEBEC
If you want to taste the best cupcakes ever, then you are in for a treat at Les Glaceurs! First of all, the store is HUGE! And there are original cupcake paintings on all of the walls (if you ask, they will sell you one!). I went back twice to this store because it was so amazing. I tasted Vanilla, Red Velvet and Brownie Avalanche. The decoration on the cupcakes is gorgeous. The Red Velvet had pink cream cheese frosting and a sugar red swirl on it. The Brownie Avalanche was topped with tons of brownie bits. I give Le Glaceurs 5 CUPCAKES because it was perfect in every way! I wish they would come to the U.S.A!
OUR CLASS CUPCAKE CELEBRATION!
At my class holiday party we of course had to have cupcakes—two kinds! The first were from Cakes N’ Shapes who always does my birthday cake every year. But I decided to have Edie the baker make cupcakes with our class picture! I could not believe she could squeeze our whole class on the top of the cupcake! I would give Cakes N’ Shapes 4 1/2 CUPCAKES because I think the vanilla icing around the class picture was a little too messy—and they could have used that space for a bigger picture! The 2nd cupcake was made by a special baker….MS. LEVENHERZ!!!!!! I thought that they were so pretty and tasty, and they looked so professional, like Martha Stewart cupcakes! Abby and I kept taking more and more cupcakes because they were so delicious! I think Abby ate 5! They were all Red Velvet, my favorite! The best cupcake was the one with the dot on it because the cake was really moist!
I would give Ms. Levenherz’s cupcakes 5 CUPCAKES because they were perfect!
REVIEW: BELLA'S BAKERY, MILBURN NJ
When I went to Papermill Playhouse, I wanted to find a cupcake shop nearby. So I googled and found Bella’s. The cupcakes looked pretty and tasted sweet and good. Then, when my Dad said, “Let’s get back in our car and drive home,” I felt nauseous! I was surprised because on the store wall, it had a sign that said they have the best Red Velvet cupcakes in town. I think they put too much sugar in. I had to walk around the neighborhood for a few minutes until I felt better. I will NEVER eat there again! On a ratings scale, I would give it 2 ½ CUPCAKES. Sorry, Bella’s!
REVIEW: CUPCAKE STOP TRUCK
Every Sunday, I walk to the corner of 87th Street and Lexington Avenue for a tasty treat! Cupcake Stop parks it’s truck and sells the most yummy cupcakes. My favorite flavors are Red Velvet and Oreo Crumb. My mom loves the Crumb Cake ones because they have no icing (can you imagine?). The Oreo Crumb is a cookies and cream batter with a creamy frosting on top and Oreo crumbles. It comes in minis, too. The prices are really good---just $1 for a mini! The Red Velvet is one of the best Red Velvets I have EVER tasted!On my rating scale, I would give Cupcake Stop 4 ¾ CUPCAKES! They would be perfect except sometimes they don’t show up on a Sunday and I am MAD!
REVIEW: CRUMBS BAKERY
I have been going to Crumbs for years because my school and camp were close by. I love all the crazy cupcakes they come up with, like The Oprah cupcake, the Tony Hawk, The Goodfella, and Donald Trump's Apprentice. They make giant Colossal Cupcakes and I gave my second grade class one for out end of year party. It's the size of a basketball, and I would recommend it instead of a birthday cake. They also make itsy bitsy mini cupcakes you can eat in one bite. They are so delicious! My only problem: sometimes they just put too much frosting on the cupcake; it's like a mountain of frosting! But I guess some people would love that! I would give Crumbs 4 3/4 CUPCAKES on my rating!
REVIEW OF THE MONTH: BUTTERCUP BAKERY, NYC
The first time I learned about Buttercup Bakery, I was seeing Pinkalicious, The Musical on the Upper West Side at Vital Theatre. When I walked in the bakery, I thought the pink frosting on the cupcakes looked like cotton candy! They make cupcakes in so many rainbow colors: blue, green, pink, purple and yellow. My favorite is vanilla with pink frosting because it looks just like the cupcakes in Pinkalicious. The buttercream frosting is light and airy like a cloud. It’s so good, you can even buy a small cup of it to eat with a spoon (I did!). I take all my friends there, and I tell everyone Buttercup makes the best cupcakes in all of New York City. I would give them 5 CUPCAKES on my rating because they are perfect!
REVIEW OF THE MONTH: SUGAR SWEET SUNSHINE, NYC
We asked the ladies that own Sugar Sweet Sunshine to give us a dozen of their best cupcakes—and they delivered! My other BFF Jaimie and I tasted Red Velvet, Vanilla with Chocolate Fudge, and Vanilla with Pink Buttercream. The Red Velvet frosting was horrible—it tasted like air. It wasn’t cream cheese; it was just fluffy and plain. The cake, however, was delicious. The Chocolate with Vanilla was very good; but the chocolate was so rich! Of course, my friend Jaimie is a chocoholic, so she loved, loved, loved it. Finally, the Vanilla was the best of all. The frosting tasted like fresh buttercream, and the cake was delicate. I also loved the decorations: dots, sprinkles and colored sugar. I would give Sugar Sweet Sunshine 4 CUPCAKES because they need a better Red Velvet frosting!
REVIEW OF THE MONTH: TWO LITTLE RED HENS, NYC
When you walk into Two Little Red Hens it looks like you are on a farm because there is wood, red aprons, and toy hens everywhere. I asked one of the bakers what the store name means, and she said it got its name from the story of The Little Red Hen who has to bake cake all by herself. I tried two cupcakes: the Red Velvet and the Banana. I thought the Banana tasted just like you’re biting into a real banana! The Red Velvet was one of the best I have ever tasted—the frosting was so smooth and creamy. I would give Two Little Red Hens 4 ¾ CUPCAKES. The only thing I would change is to make more tables and seats inside so people can sit!
Carrie's Cupcake Critique Goes to Canada!!!
ITSI, BITSI, MONTREAL QUEBEC
We found Itsi Bitsi off of Rue de Notre Dame. It may be a small store but their cupcakes are delicious! I tried the Vanille and the Chocolat. The frosting was great, but there was zero decoration; just little puffs of icing that made it look like a white cloud. The Chocolat was such a rich chocolate. They really could do more to make it look fancy. They also sell cupcake jewelry there which was cute. I would give Itsi Bitsi 4 ¾ CUPCAKES because they need to work on making their cupcakes look prettier to match the fabulous taste!
Review of the month: Purple Elephant Cake Boutique, NYC
When I met my third grade teacher, Ms. Levenherz, for the first time, she told me something amazing: she loves cupcakes as much as I do! She asked me if I had visited the new Purple Elephant cupcake store on 83rd and Lexington. I hadn’t because they had just opened! So we raced over to try it out. The store is cute! It has purple and pink striped walls, a little coloring table for kids, cupcake paintings and all kinds of cupcake shirts and cupcake display plates. I tried four different flavors and asked my neighbors, Brynn and Dale, to help me out with my taste test. Here was our decision: The Red Velvet and the Chocolate-Vanilla were the best. Next came the regular vanilla and the Chocolate Caramel. I liked the caramel at first, but then I got a sweet syrupy taste in my mouth when I was done eating it. My mom thought it was the best, though. I would give Purple Elephant 5 CUPCAKES and I told the ladies who own the store I would be back soon with all of my school friends. They told me in two weeks they are making Cookies and Cream—I’ll be there!
Review of the month: Green Mountain Cupcakes, VT
Green Mountain says it’s the best cupcake maker in Vermont—but I think they have some work to do! They don’t have a store yet, but they deliver custom orders—so we asked them to come and bring us a dozen. I tasted two of their most popular flavors: Plain Jane which was a moist vanilla bean cake with Madagascar buttercream and Dark Chocolate Cookie Meet Cupcake which was chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and had a chocolate cookie in the shape of a flower on top. Both frostings were horrible! They tasted like whipped cream not vanilla. I thought the presentation was great, but that doesn’t make up for a yucky frosting. I would give them 3 ½ CUPCAKES because frosting makes the cupcake!
Review of the month: Alice's Tea Cup, NYC
Alice’s Tea Cup is a really fun place because all the decorations look like Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party! There is a big picture of the Alice statue in Central Park when you walk in, and a huge case filled with….cupcakes! The serve you tea or juice in tea cups. I’ve tried a lot of Alice’s cupcakes, but Red Velvet is my favorite, and I think one of the best in the city. First of all, it’s HUGE. And there is a lot of frosting on top in a pretty swirl. My friend Jaimie ordered the chocolate with chocolate frosting (because she’s a chocoholic). She loved it so much, she stuck her face in the cupcake and took a huge bite. I give Alice’s 4 ¾ CUPCAKES. I think a little more decoration would do it!
RECIPE: The perfect cream cheese frosting!
Here is the perfect recipe in case you want to try:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then slowly stir in the confectioners' sugar.
Book Review: It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder
Isabel’s mom is opening a cupcake shop called It’s Raining Cupcakes in Willow, Oregon. Isabel wants to be a flight attendant when she grows up so she can get out of Willow and see the world! About 3 days before the cupcake store opens, one of the most popular bakeries in the world, Beatrice’s Brownies, opens a block from it. Isabel’s mom Caroline is sad and worried they will take all her customers. At the same time, Isabel enters a baking contest so she can win a trip to New York and go on her first plane ride.
I loved this book for lots of reasons: it has crazy cupcake names (like Dr. Suess cupcake, Hawaiian Sky Cupcake, etc.) for each chapter; it gives recipes at the end for S’mores cupcakes; and there are lots of “big picture” lessons, like “Never, never, never give up!” and “You don’t need money or success to be happy.”
The only bad thing is you NEVER find out if Isabel wins the baking contest. She gets her mom to fly with her to NYC even though her mom is scared, and they have a great time—but we don’t know if her chocolate jam tarts win first prize. I hope the author Lisa Schroeder writes a second book very soon so I get to find out.
Review of the month: Dessert Club Chickalicious, NYC
My first word when I tasted these cupcakes was: “Mmmm!” I tried five flavors: Banana (with cheese frosting); Red Velvet, Chocolate, Vanilla Bean and S’mores. Red Velvet was amazing; the frosting was light and fluffy. My favorite cupcake was the S’mores because the marshmallow frosting really tasted like you were sitting at a campfire eating s’mores. I would give them
4 ¾ CUPCAKES because they have zero decorations. But the cupcakes’ taste is scrumptious! Can I have another PLEASE?
Review of the month: The Cupcake Cafe
When you walk into Cupcake Café the first thing you see is flowers! All the cupcakes are decorated with beautiful buttercream bouquets. The café is part of the kids’ bookstore Books of Wonder—so you can eat your cupcake and read great books at the same time. I tasted their basic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. When I bit into it, all I could think was “What a delicious little cake!” It really tastes like you’re eating a slice of cake. The buttercream is so creamy, flat and smooth, and the flowers even taste great. The cupcakes come in two sizes: large and mini. The store has great decorations, too. Outside is a giant pink cupcake and inside are dancing cupcakes on the wall. They move back and forth like they’re doing a kick line. I would give Cupcake Café
5 CUPCAKES for both great taste and beautiful decoration. Each cupcake is a work of art!
Review of the month: The King of Cupcakes
When these cupcakes were delivered from The King of Cupcakes, I looked in the box and saw they were the size of a ball I would play with in the school yard: Ginormous! Cupcakes just don’t need to be that big! I tasted three: The Red Velvet, the Oreo Cookie and the Rainbow Marzipan. The Red Velvet’s cheese frosting was way too whippy; the Oreo’s devil’s food cake was delicious and I didn’t mind the whipped cream frosting. It goes with Oreos. Then I took a bite of the Rainbow Marzipan. The cake looked beautiful; it was all tie dye in rainbow colors. But then something gooey and jelly was in my mouth! I spit it out. It tasted awful. The whole cupcake tasted like the rubber gloves the dentist wears! Yuck! I would give them 3 ½ CUPCAKES because they’re creative, but they need to focus more on flavors that taste good together. There is no way he is The King of Cupcakes! Sorry!
TV Review: The Cupcake Girls on WeTV
My Aunt Debbie told me about this show on WEtv—but I couldn’t the find the channel on RCN! Finally, I found it and watched a few episodes. The girls own six cupcake stores in Canada. They spent $500,000 on each store! Their names are Lori and Heather, and they are BFFs who like to kill each other! They always fight, and they have to actually take counseling lessons to learn to respect each other. I laugh so hard when they yell. But the best part of the show is….the cupcakes! They look beautiful and very fancy. Lori has a really strange way of decorating cakes. She uses her hands and mushes frosting on the cake. This makes Heather crazy, and of course, she doesn’t want to sell it. They have all kinds of cupcake shirts and mugs in their store as well. They have cupcakes for all different causes, like The C Cup for Breast Cancer Awareness. I think the show is hilarious, but it should focus more on the cupcakes, and not just the girls’ lives. I want to see more sugar! I would give the show 3 ¾ CUPCAKES because it’s super-duper funny but needs to shoot more time in the bake shop.
Review of the month: Tonnie's Minis
These cupcakes from Harlem are so cute! They are the size of a munchkin and they have a really nice “flower” swirl on top like I like to make on my own cupcakes at home. I tasted the Carrot cupcake first. Usually, I don’t like Carrot cupcakes because I hate carrots. But this one had a nice cinnamon touch and too much carrot in it. Plus it had cream cheese frosting. Yum! Then, I bit into the Red Velvet. The cake was moist and there were pretty red cake crumbles on top of the frosting. I also tried the Chocolate Fudge which my grandma thought was good and very rich, and I thought the same thing. Finally, I took a bite of the Strawberry. It was so delicious! It wasn’t too berryish, just a tiny taste of strawberry and a beautiful pink color for the frosting. I ate the whole thing. And because these cupcakes are so teeny tiny, you can have more than one—maybe even 4 or 5! I give Tonnie’s Minis 4 ½ CUPCAKES because the cake was a little mushy—maybe they should bake it a few minutes longer? But good try!
Review of the month: The Kneaded Bread, Portchester NY
We were going to my Gram Bobbi’s in Ryebrook for Yom Kippur and of course, had to check out the local cupcakes! We found The Kneaded Bread. The cupcakes look like a little clean mountain of frosting in pretty colors like pink, green, yellow and orange. Most of their flavors are just simple buttercream, but they have a few interesting ones like mint and orange. I tried the vanilla and chocolate ones. I was so surprised! They look plain but tasted phenomenal! The frosting was cold and creamy and tasted like you were biting into soft ice cream. I would give them 4 ¾ CUPCAKES because they could do a little more to make the cupcakes look pretty and fancy, like add flowers, sprinkles or fondant decorations. But they’re very good cupcake bakers!
Review of the month: Burgers & Cupcakes
On our way to Times Square to shop for sneakers, Jaimie and I popped into Burgers and Cupcakes on 36th Street and Ninth Avenue. The store looks like a pizza and burger restaurant, but there is a huge glass case with tons of beautiful cupcakes in the back. There were also giant cupcake posters on the walls. We tried four different kinds of cupcakes: Banana, Chocolate Ganache, Lemon-Vanilla, and Red Velvet. First of all, the Red Velvet wasn’t red! It was more chocolate brown. The cheese frosting was delicious, but I thought the cake tasted like devil’s food. The Ganache was rich and fabulous—the frosting was so fudgy and it had colored sprinkles on top. Our favorite was the Banana, because it tasted like it was made from real bananas. There was even a banana slice on top! The only one we didn’t like was the Lemon-Vanilla because the cake was sour and the frosting was sweet. It didn’t go together. I would have made a lemon frosting to make it taste better. I was impressed by their swirls of frosting on each cupcake (they looked like a mountain) and the fresh fruits on top. Great technique! I would give it 4 ½ CUPCAKES.
Review of the month: Shari's Berries
We found Shari’s Berries on the cupcake blog CupcakesTakeTheCake. They’re really known for their chocolate covered strawberries, but also deliver yummy-looking cupcakes. So I wanted to try some! When I bit into the Vanilla it really didn’t taste like anything; it was just like biting into air! The Red Velvet cake was a little dry and the frosting didn’t taste cream-cheesy at all! Then, I gave one last flavor a go: Chocolate Fudge. Wow! What a difference! It’s like biting into solid fudge. In the middle of the cake is some chocolate, and on top is a creamy chocolate frosting that tastes like pudding. Jaimie, the ultimate chocolate girl, said, “MMMMM…” So overall, I give Shari’s 3 ¾ CUPCAKES. Too bad all of their cupcakes aren’t as good as the chocolate ones!
Review of the month: Butterlane Cupcakes, NYC
We ordered from Butter Lane for Yom Kippur Break Fast. My cousins were coming and we thought they would love to help me do a review! Jason, Jack, Emily and I all tried Banana with cream cheese frosting, Chocolate with a Vanilla bottom, and Vanilla Bean. First of all, the Banana was scrumptious! It was a good idea to put cream cheese frosting on the cupcake! The Chocolate was also very yummy! The Milk Chocolate frosting makes that cupcake! The Vanilla Bean tasted like Tahitian Vanilla gelato not Vanilla Bean! They also have very creative flavors but I did not try them like: Key Lime, Honey Cinnamon and Cherry. Maybe next time! Some of the cupcakes had interesting touches on top, like a coffee bean, popcorn, pecan nuts, and cinnamon. But most were very simple and clean looking. My cousins all agreed that our favorite was the Banana Cupcake because it tasted like homemade Banana Bread. I heard about Butter Lane from my first grade teacher Ms. Weiss. She was right; it rocks. And also very cool is that they are all-natural; they don’t use any food coloring (like for Red Velvet) or bad ingredients that are bad for you. I would give Butterlane 5 CUPCAKES. And my family agrees!
Carrie's Q&A: JASON BAUER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CRUMBS!
What made you decide to open a cupcake shop?
In 2003, my wife was looking for a new job and I was looking for a new job. Mia is a really good baker. I said, “You make such great cupcakes, cookies, brownies. Why don’t we open a bakery?” So we did!
How did your store get so famous?
You can have great marketing, advertising and publicity. But really what makes you successful is people loving your cupcakes and coming back again and again.
What are your most popular cupcakes?
Anything with candy. And the Cookies and Cream and Squiggle one that looks like a Hostess cupcake. But our best seller is Red Velvet.
That’s my favorite! What’s your favorite Crumbs cupcake and why?
Caramel Apple. There’s fresh baked apple in it.
Do you think you will ever make Crumbs cupcake mixes that I can make at home?
Yes! We are working on a lot of Crumbs potential Crumbs products.
How many Crumbs shops do you have—and how many more do you want to make?
We have 35 now. Our goal is to have 100 in the next three to five years.
Any new Crumbs cupcakes coming out?
We’re going to have great Halloween ones—and a Crumbs App for the Iphone. You can order cupcakes on the app, send it to a friend, and they can come pick it up in the store.
Cool! Thanks for talking to me! And for the cupcakes!
Review of the month: Eleni's, NYC
Eleni’s makes great cookies in all kinds of shapes, so I wanted to try their cupcakes. They opened a little store on 91st and Madison, and they looked really pretty on display in the window. I tasted Red Velvet, S’mores, Chocolate, and Vanilla with pink frosting. All of them had one thing in common: the frosting was whippy and the cake was super dry. It even crumbled on the plate when I bit into it. The decorations are great—they do a good job making the cupcakes look delicious. But their recipe needs to have better taste and not fall apart when you eat it. I would give it
3 ½ CUPCAKES. Sorry Eleni’s but cookies are your specialty, not cupcakes!
Review of the month: Dean & Deluca, NYC
Dean & Deluca doesn’t make a lot of their own cupcakes—they mostly sell Crumbs and Two Little Red Hens. But I saw at the counter two cupcakes that are baked by Dean & Deluca: Red Velvet and Carrot. I tried them: the cake is very moist and delicious, not flaky. The cream cheese frosting was a little too cheesy and gooey. But overall, I give it 4 ½ CUPCAKES. Dean & Deluca, I think you should bake more of your own!
Review of the month: Baked by Melissa, NYC
The tiny cupcakes from Baked by Melissa are the size of a quarter! You can eat them in one bite. They delivered us 100 of them in a pizza box—and we tasted almost all the flavors. My favorites were Tie Dye, Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip Pancake, Oreo, and Red Velvet. The Cinnamon was so delicious! It tasted like a cinnamon donut with brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The Chocolate Chip Pancake was very maple syrupy—they even put tiny chocolate chips on top. The Oreo was very rich, but to make that cupcake more exciting, it might be fun to put an Oreo surprise in the middle—not just put an Oreo crumb on top of the frosting. Finally, the Red Velvet was so moist and the cream cheese frosting just melted in my mouth. My least favorite was the Boston Cream Pie because it was too custardy. I didn’t taste the Mint Chocolate Chip (because I don’t like mint) but mom said it was a bit too minty—it tasted like tooth paste!
Emilla ate the Tie dye and said it was the best cupcake she ever tasted! I agree! The decoration is very creative: rainbow colored cake with white frosting and rainbow sprinkles! I would give Baked by Melissa 5 CUPCAKES for their pretty designs, tiny size and delicious flavors. I can’t wait to taste more!
Review of the month: Magnolia Bakery, NYC
When we got to Magnolia Bakery on the Upper West Side, my friend Darby and her mom were already there and got us a table. My teacher Ms. Stander told me this is her favorite cupcake store in NYC, so I expected it to be great! The place was so crowded! The line was from one side of the store to the other, and everyone was pushing and saying, “Give me a cupcake! Give me a cupcake!” It took us 20 minutes just to order. We got the cupcake of the week—Chocolate Banana—Vanilla Gingerbread, Red Velvet, S’mores, Devil’s Food, and Ms. Stander’s favorite, Vanilla Vanilla. Darby and I dug in! My mouth was saying, “Yummy!” The Red Velvet was the most beautiful red color I have ever seen. The Chocolate Banana didn’t have a strong banana taste, but it was delicious with the chocolaty frosting. When I bit into the Vanilla Gingerbread, I felt like I was in Stockbridge for Christmas Eve. Wow, did it taste like a Gingerbread Man! The S’mores has a great decoration: marshmallows, graham crackers and whipped cream on top. But my favorite was what Ms. Stander had said: The Vanilla Vanilla. It had the creamiest frosting and the lightest, moistest cake. And each one had a different decoration: some had sprinkles, some had flowers, and others had swirls. I would give Magnolia Bakery 4 ¾ CUPCAKES. I think it was perfect tasting and looking. I would have given it 5 CUPCAKES but the service was really slow! They need more people working there because it’s so busy!
Review of the month: Red Velvet Cupcakery, Washington DC
One of our first stops in DC was Red Velvet Cupcakery. We ordered Chocolate/Chocolate, Chocolate Birthday, Vanilla Bean, Red Velvet, Black Velvet, and Cookies and Cream. The Vanilla and the Red Velvet were the best! The frosting was so creamy, it tasted like pudding. And they put edible gold and tiny sugar flowers on top! I was very impressed. The only thing that was bad, was that the store is so tiny! When you got your cupcakes, there was no place to eat them! You had to go next door to a yogurt store and sit there. And they gave you no plates! We had to eat them on napkins and made a huge mess. Jaimie even got cream cheese frosting on her camera! I would give them 4 ¾ CUPCAKES. The taste was great, but there are no seats and no plates or forks! They need a bigger store FAST!
Review of the month: Baked and Wired, Washington DC
We were so lucky: Baked and Wired cupcakes were only a block from our hotel in Georgetown. We could see the sign in the distance! When we walked in, it looked really different. The cupcakes were on display under big glass jars and they were HUGE! Lots of people were waiting in line to order. The cupcakes were baked in parchment paper, not cupcake wrappers. And the flavors had really cool names, like Teresa’s Birthday and Karen’s Birthday. We tried Teresa’s first: it was chocolate with maple buttercream. The first thing I said was, “Wow! This is really different!” Then I tried the Chai Tea Cupcake. I don’t even like my mom’s Chai Tea lattes and it was delicious. The Karen’s cupcake was a classic yellow cake with chocolate satin frosting. Jaimie and I were fighting over it because we both loved it! I would give Baked and Wired 5 CUPCAKES. They are so original and no one bakes cupcakes the way they do!
Review of the month: Hello Cupcake, Washington DC
On our way to visit The White House, we stopped in Hello Cupcake. Their cupcakes have very unusual names and flavors: Heart of Darkness (dark chocolate), Strawberry Lemonade, Dulce de Leche, Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter Blossom and 24 Carrot. My mom thought the Pumpkin Spice was perfect—she loved that there were real pumpkin seeds on top of the frosting. The dark chocolate was so rich and delicious. I don’t usually love chocolate, but I was licking my fingers and the chocolate got all over my clothes! Jaimie said the Strawberry Lemonade cake tasted like real lemonade—and she loved it. We all went crazy for Dulce de Leche! It had caramel on top and it reminded me of being on vacation in Puerto Rico. The store also is really cute and has pretty tables outside so you can eat the cupcakes in the sunshine. I would give Hello Cupcake
5 CUPCAKES. Since they’re only a few blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, maybe they should deliver some to President Obama and his family. They would love them!
Carrie's Q&A: The STARS OF DC CUPCAKES!
I have some exciting news: I have a new all-time favorite cupcake: Georgetown Cupcake! I was in Washington D.C. with my parents and my BFF Jaimie and we went to the store every day to eat them. I tried six different cupcakes, and every single one was really yummy. I give them my highest rating ever:
How did you decide to open a cupcake store?
5+ CUPCAKES! Congratulations!
The ladies who own the store are the stars of TLC’s DC Cupcakes show. Their names are Sophie and Katherine, and they’re sisters. They were filming the second season of their show when we were there. The girls are so sweet! They took pictures with us and let us ask them lots of questions. Here is my interview:
Katherine: We grew up baking from scratch with my grandma in her kitchen. We always loved baking.
Sophie: We went to college and studied other things—politics and micro-biology! But then we quit our jobs and decided to open our first store together. Katherine: We wanted to make our cupcakes the very best. We use the freshest ingredients like Madagascar Vanilla and special European butter. We opened on Valentine’s Day. We baked 500 cupcakes and sold out by noon. The line was out the door.
Sophie: We thought, “Well, maybe we just got lucky?” But then the next day, the line was there again. And eventually, we needed a bigger store!
How did you get your own TV show?
Katherine: Well, a producer stopped in and saw what we do here. Then they shot some film of us and all the crazy things that happen—and we got a show!
How many cupcakes do you bake every day?
Sophie: Today (Saturday) we’ll bake 10,000.
What is your favorite flavor of cupcake?
Katherine: Peanut Butter Fudge!
Sophie: Salted Caramel!
What is your most popular cupcake?
Katherine: Definitely, the Red Velvet.
Do famous people come to your store?
Katherine: Yes! Kevin Jonas and his wife ordered cupakes from us. And Stevie Wonder came in one day.
Sophie: And Vice President Joe Biden!
My favorite episode was the one where you make the Mardi Gras mask out of cupcakes and it falls apart!
Sophie: Oh, that was a mess! It was crazy! We were up till 3 a.m. making it. When we came in the next morning and put the ovens on, the store got very hot and humid. I guess we didn’t think about the marshmallow in the cereal treats melting. We had to make it all over again. It was crazy, but it turned out great.
Are you making anything crazy for next season?
Katherine: We’re doing a giant bra out of pink cupcakes for Breast Cancer Awareness month!
Review of the month: Make My Cake
My Aunt Kathy said that Make My Cake in Harlem does really good Red Velvet cakes. So we had to give it a try!
My first thought when I saw the Red Velvet cupcake was, “Wow, it’s kind of a weird color.” The cream cheese frosting was almost greenish-yellow. It tasted okay, maybe a little lemony, and a little dry. All the cupcakes were HUGE. They didn’t have any decorations except for one which had plain rainbow sprinkles. They all tasted a little like they had been in a freezer—the frosting was not creamy, it was hard. I would give it 3 CUPCAKES because they need to work to make their cupcakes taste fresher.
Review of the month: Big Daddy Diner
My mom surprised me by bringing home cupcakes from Big Daddy Diner on Third Avenue. I never even knew they made their own cupcakes! The flavors we tried were S’mores with mini marshmallows and graham crackers on top of chocolate frosting, Cookies and Cream with Oreos in the cake and on top of the Vanilla frosting, Half Baked with bits of chocolate, brownie, and cookie dough and of course—Red Velvet. The cupcakes were HUGE and tasted pretty good—except the Red Velvet which was NEON red and it didn’t have cream cheese frosting! How can you have Red Velvet without cream cheese frosting? It was just kind of a plain vanilla buttercream, which doesn’t really go with rich Red Velvet cake. But the rest of the cupcakes were delicious and so creative with great toppings. They really put a lot of detail into every cupcake! I would give Big Daddy Diner 4 ½ CUPCAKES. I think they should let people know that they bake cupcakes. They’d get a lot of customers!
Carrie's Q&A: Meet the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro
I love Cake Boss on TLC! I think Buddy Valastro is really funny, the people he works with are hilarious, and he makes the most detailed and amazing cakes. His show was one of the first cake shows I watched, and he started me getting into baking. So far, my favorite cakes from the show have been the pool table, the Disney castle for his daughter’s birthday, and The Dylan’s Candy Bar Candyland cake.
Buddy has a new book, a new season, and I got to go to see him speak at Town Hall on November 3. He is touring the country and he calls it the “Bakin’ with the Boss Tour!” My cousin Bradley was very excited for me—and he asked me to get him a Carlo’s Bakery Shirt to wear up at college.
The whole stage looked like Carlo’s Bakery!
My favorite part of his show was when he called three ladies up to frost cupcakes on stage with him. Two of the women were horrible: one person made two petals and couldn’t even squeeze the bag, and the other person made a purple “X” with a pink line over it. Buddy was making fun of them, because his cupcake was a perfect flower. Then came a lady from Canada! Buddy said, “Canada is in the house!” She did the exact same frosting as Buddy! It was perfect, and he said, “Don’t make me look bad!” It was so funny! He told her she wasn’t going home to Canada, she was coming to work for him in Hoboken!
He also shot tee shirts out of a gun into the audience. His whole family was there and all the people who work with him in the bake shop—even his wife and little Buddy—and everyone was taking pictures with them and asking for autographs. I was really lucky: I got to come into the theater before the show and talk to Buddy! He gave me a big hug and a high 5 and he called me The Cupcake Boss! Here is my interview with Buddy about cupcakes (of course!):
What is your favorite flavor of cupcake and why?
Vanilla. I'm "old-school" and nothing is better than a great vanilla cupcake!
What cupcakes do your kids like to eat ?
My kids love these flat ice cupcakes, they are basically the icing from a black and white cookie, just on a vanilla cupcake.
What are some really cool things to put on a cupcake that are very "Cake Boss?" Like candy, pretzels, etc.?
Reese's Pieces are a big hit as are those sugar hearts for Valentine's Day. I just use the big ones! We've even experimented with candy corn, and jelly beans. Really, whatever you like is good for a cupcake! Just have fun and get creative!
Review of the month: Cake & Shake Truck
My next door neighbor found an article about this new cupcake truck that parks at The Met Museum! So cool! They are all organic—which means the ingredients are fresh and healthy. And they use recycled paper wrappers which is good for the environment. First, I tasted the Moon Cake. The lady at the truck told me it was the most popular flavor. It was a yellow cupcake with Tahitian Vanilla cream in side and a dark chocolate frosting. I thought it was delicious. Then we tried the Whozeewhatsit which is chocolate cake with caramel frosting. I actually liked it even more than the Moon Cake. I would give Cake & Shake 4 ¾ CUPCAKES because the cupcakes were very original—even their names. But, I think they need some normal flavors like Vanilla, Red Velvet and Carrot, too. Kids might think these flavors are too strange. They also could use a little more decoration. They do a big swirl of frosting but not much else. They also sell shakes…but why have a shake when you can have a cupcake?