Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Cupcake Day

Today is free cupcake day at the Crumbs located on Broadway between 52nd and 53rd!

I suggest the following flavors:
- Cupcake of the Week - Almond Marzipan - chocolate cupcake flavored with almond and topped with an almond-vanilla buttercream and a rainbow cookie. Roy G. Biv, eat your heart out.
- Funfetti - Vanilla funfetti cake topped with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles.
- Elvis - Vanilla cake with banana frosting and peanut butter on top. Where is the bacon? I wondered as well.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Lazy Girl's Cupcakes

Oh I mill miss you over the next 9 months. I will miss your inability to corral your facial expressions, the fun of watching you talk about EVERYONE behind their back (while remaining the favorite) and your status as a housewife even though you are (a) not a wife (or even in a relationship...ARod doesn't count) and (b) employed. Luckily, I have no doubt that you will be in the spotlight in the upcoming months with your book, Naturally Thin, your PETA campaign and your Skinny Girl Cupcakes (even if while hawking them you were ignored by all of the REAL Housewives of Greenwich for 2 hours at an A&P). Yes, Bethany, I will miss you. But I still won't buy your book because (a) I hate the title and (b) the few simple changes you suggest to "let you natural thinness emerge" include ordering what you want at a restaurant and eating only 3 bites of it. Um, I just ate my entire egg and cheese on an english muffin in 3 bites but somehow I don't think that is what you are getting at...

As a fitting send off after the amazing NYC Housewives Reunion show that took place last night and to celebrate Bethany and her book and her Skinny Girl Cupcakes, I present the Lazy Girl's Cupcakes aka breakfast for dessert aka the idea I totally stole from a tv show (and my cousin), but the recipe is all mine.

French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (softened)
3 eggs
1/2 cup (plus 1 tbs) skim milk

6-8 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy and minced.

Put cake mix in a bowl and thoroughly mix in (with a fork) the nutmeg and cinnamon.
Cream together 1/3 of the dry mix with softened butter.
Add another 1/3 of the dry mix and beat with eggs and vanilla
Add and beat together the remaining dry mix and the milk.
Feel free to mix using a hand mixer (remember it is harder to get lumps out of cake mix) or a wooden spoon.

Add the bacon - you can mix the bacon into the batter before filling the cupcake papers or sprinkle it on top. If you prefer, the french toast cupcakes taste delicious without the bacon as well.

Cook at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes removing when slightly brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

You can take the true lazy girl way out and not frost these (they don't need it) or use store bought buttercream with a tablespoon of maple syrup mixed in. I warn you, this frosting will be sweet! I recommend putting a tiny sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt on top to cut the sugar.

If you prefer to make frosting just take a cup of confectioner's sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and beat them together on high until light and fluffy.

And no, I did not frost mine nor did I take a picture. Lazy, remember?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birthday Bests

In honor of a poodle's birthday...

Best Birthday Cake:
* Billy's Bakery Vanilla-Vanilla or Chocolate with Vanilla Icing
Yes, chocolate cupcakes can often be dry but Billy's chocolate cake is a consistent crowd-pleaser.

Best Birthday Cupcake:
* Crumbs
The 45 flavors (and 30 locations) ensure you can always give the birthday girl (or guy) their personal favorite.

Best Birthday Cake Decorations:
* Cupcake Cafe
A heavier cake but they come in 6 inch with amazing floral designs. For a kidtastic cake I have to go with Flour Patch Bakery though...They decorate their buttercream frosted cakes with iced cookies in different shapes! The cookies are also available for purchase and would make great party favors.

Best Cake Toppers:
* Oriental Trading (see picture above)
I mean seriously, what don't they have? Pearl River Mart is also a good bet.

Best Alternative Birthday Treat:
* Macarons from La Maison Du Chocolat
These delicacies are not to be missed. Light crispy shells with smooth pastry and complimented with flavored ganache fillings. They are the perfect gift...and the raspberry ones are pink!

Best Birthday Breakfast Baked Good:
* Bouchon Bakery
Oh Thomas Keller, how I love thee...and your croissants...and your baby bouchons...etc.

Best Birthday Restaurant Style:
* This one is still up for debate...It requires a perfect balance of delicious dessert and the decorative component. For example, Gramercy Tavern does a nice job writing Happy Birthday with chocolate sauce...even if their pastry chef is now my enemy.

On an angry note, I am personally against any place that charges you a per person cake cutting fee...(You know who you are Otto - $7 a person for cake cutting!? Even for cupcakes!? We had 12 people! When I asked to speak to the person who made this decision I was informed that it is Mr. Batali's I asked to talk to Mario Batali about this...they hung up on me.) While I would have no problem with a straight $20 or $25 fee, when you have a bunch of people at a restaurant I think $7 per person is pretty excessive. I get it, you have your own desserts. We will order them. We will order ice cream. We will tip our server accordingly...just don't alienate your customers by trying to charge them $72 to cut a $35 cake...

Birthday Rage.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Slow Food

There is just so much food related news to write about today that it is kinda unfortunate that I am on a food journal diet that, according to Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism, should also be organic. Of course, that would not stop me from salivating over/reading about/ok, fine, eating all of NYC's amazing offerings today.

First up, the New York Times piece on a burger club that ranks burgers throughout the city. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT? I mean sure, that is pretty much what I do with cupcakes (although, sadly, I do it alone), but burgers are my favorite savory food! There is nothing I like more than a juicy burger with fries followed by a cupcake (R.I.P. Burgers & Cupcakes). Even Obama and my man Joe Biden went out for burgers this week (though I heard theirs were served with cheesy tater tots...). My top burgers? Bistro Burger at Corner Bistro ($2.50 McSorleys), Burger Joint burger (with a side of fries and attitude) and Shake Shack (frozen custard).

Second, Babycakes has a cookbook. I went to Borders to check it out (when I bought my Jillian guide to not being a fat cow). I still reject that place (one word: DRY) and I think their recipes are insanely complicated. I also do not know what some of their ingredients actually are...and doesn't that defeat the purpose of this type of cooking? Aren't you not supposed to eat things if you don't know what they are? I mean, clearly that would prevent me from eating delicious items like the contents of the Hillshire Farms holiday baskets so I don't actually aspire to such lofty ideals...but Babycakes should.

Third, KGC. You know what I'm talking about...Kentucky Grilled Chicken...which apparently is brought to us all by Oprah Winfrey for free. For a limited time (no, not mother's day, the coupon is specific) you can save $3.99 and get two pieces of managers choice KGC along with a biscuit and two sides. FREE MEAT. Ok, yes, $3.99 is actually cheaper than the lean cuisines I buy at Gristede's for lunch every other day of the week, but that didn't stop me from heading over to take advantage of this sweet deal courtesy of Oprah. How she became tied to this offer I have no idea. Clearly grilled chicken is a healthier choice, but combining 200 calories of chicken with 300 calories of biscuit, 250 calories of coleslaw and 350 calories of mac n' cheese is not going to win you any weight loss contests. No worries though, the line was so long that I immediately turned around and went to get a salad with no dressing instead (it was that or Magnolia and I decided to save room for beer and sliders tonight). Others didn't handle the situation as well and apparently riots broke out when the manager denied patrons their free chicken. That's right - a food riot - complete with screaming and some physical contact. Fast food, free lunch, talk show hosts making bizarre endorsement decisions and riots...You can't make this stuff up.

So yes, I will just have to wait until another day to get my KGC fix. In the meantime, I'll plan my cupcake club - anybody in?