Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Frosting

OMG! These are the best cupcakes ever! (Sorry, I had to write that for BH.) Seriously, though. I loved these cupcakes and I don't always love things that I make. I'm a huge fan of warm flavors like pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, so it's not really surprising that I liked these. Most people would categorize chai and cinnamon as autumn/winter flavors, but I like eating them all year round! If you do to, definitely put these cupcakes on your baking list!

For recipe,

Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Yields: an 8-inch triple-layer cake (serves 12 - 16) OR use cupcake pans instead

Original recipe from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes via Une-Deux-Senses

For the cupcakes:

1 1/3 cup milk
6 chai tea bags (I used Good Earth Tea, Sweet & Spicy - Erin)
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup cake flour
2 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the frosting:

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tbsn.), room temperature
6 tbsn. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat to 350 F. Line with cupcake liners, set aside.

2. In saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tea bags. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bags and squeeze out the remaining milk. Let the milk cool completely.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, yolks, vanilla and 1/3 cup of the chai milk.

4. In the bowl of a mixer sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Beat on low for about 30 seconds, then add the butter and remaining chai milk.

5. Mix on medium low speed until light and fluffy.

6. Next, add the egg mixture in three additions, making sure to scrape the bowl well after each.

7. Divide the batter among the cupcake tins, about 2/3 full, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

8. For the frosting, add the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Place over a pot of simmering water and whisk until egg whites are warm and sugar is melted.

9. Place the bowl back into the machine and beat until soft peaks form.

10. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time until well incorporated. Let mix on medium-high for another 6 - 8 minutes until smooth and creamy.

11. Add the honey and cinnamon until well combined. Frost and enjoy!


The Umbrellas of Santa barbara

I know what you're probably thinking, Erin, what the heck do umbrellas have to do with desserts?? I was thinking the same thing myself, wondering if there was anyway I could fit these awesome patio umbrellas by Santa Barbara Designs into the whole dessert theme. And then it hit me: I already feature various kitchenware, which is used in dessert making, and a patio is similar to a kitchen because you eat out there and there's a good chance you'd be eating ice cream or birthday cake or some other dessert and . . . and . . . well, that's the end of the argument, but I've completely convinced myself that it works with a dessert-themed Web site! Yeah, totally. Anyway, these umbrellas also sort of remind me of desserts. They're all frilly and girly and brightly-colored, just like cake! They would be perfect outside a bakery or a candy store . . . or in my backyard! Patio furniture is usually so dull and ugly, I was excited to see that there are some fun options out there that kick it up a notch! Click here to see the entire collection.


Animal Cutters

I was really disappointed that I didn't know about Williams Sonoma's Circus Cookie Cutters until after the set was discontinued, so I was really happy to see that they've introduced these Garden Creatures Pancake Molds! So fun! Pancakes are definitely my favorite syrup friendly breakfast treat, winning easily over waffles and French toast, so these are right up my alley! You can find a Williams Sonoma near you or order online by clicking here.

Also, on the cute cookie cutter front, Ikea has introduced these adorable pastry cutters. For $4, you get six cutters, including one of a hedgehog! Order online here or find a store near you by clicking here.


Cakes I Want to Date: Ktinka's Chocolate Cake

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like you're never going to get over a person and you just know that when your seventy you'll still be adoring/missing them just as much as you do right now and you're so sad and frustrated that you can't help wishing that the memory erasing machine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind really existed because the whole situation is just sooooo ridiculous??? Well, then this is the cake for you!

I have a thing for nearly anything animal related (yes, it's a sickness), so it's not surprising that I instantly fell head or heels in love with this cake!!! I love the look of stencils on baked goods and this is one of the best yet! So easy and yet so cute! Oh, yeah, and the cake's creator, Katinka, says that the cake is so yummy that it's almost as good as sex, so bonus! Yummy and darling and a sex substitute all at the same time. No wonder I'm in love. If only men could be more like cake. The world would be a much sunnier place!

Click here for the complete recipe and here to view Ktinka's Web site.


The Dessert Truck

I wrote this post ages ago and kept forgetting to post it. Then, last week, I saw this article on the Wall Street Journal online, and decided that I better post this before the truck trend completely fizzles out. So, without further ado, here is the post. Better late then never.

Yes, it's true. I'm obsessed with the Dessert Truck. I know several other versions of these sugar carrying vehicles have popped up in NYC and other large cities lately, but I think the appropriately named Dessert Truck is my favorite. Maybe it's because one of the people behind the Dessert Truck is a former pastry sous chef at Le Cirque, and that sounds fancy or maybe it's because the desserts they offer aren't typical truck fare (i.e. slow-baked apples and cinnamon [see pic above] and goat cheese cake). But, really, when you get right down to it, I think it has a lot to do with my childhood love of ice cream trucks. How could I resist?

If you too would like to relive your latent childhood fantasies involving magic trucks jam packed with yumminess, click here to find out where and when the Dessert Truck will make it's next stop. Or, if simpler snacks are more your thing, check out the Treats Truck, right here. (Food pics by Eugenio Garcia-Palacios)


Sweet Dreams are Made of Cupcakes

Sweet Dreams by Kirsten Lepore. This stop-motion story about a cupcake construction worker made me smile. How can you not smile at a film where the trees are made out of ice cream cones! I'm not sure how I feel about the ending, though, or the love scene, but, as the Eurythmics say, who am I to disagree?


BabyCakes: Vegan, Gluten Free, and Yummy!

I'm a big defender of vegan baking. Even though I'm not actually vegan, I've eaten my fair share of vegan baked goods during my lifetime, and I think they get a bad rap!! People hear vegan and dessert in the same sentence and instantly think yuck! That's why I'm super excited that that successful vegan bakery BabyCakes has a new cookbook out! Not only have they managed to convince dairy lovers to eat vegan cupcakes, but they managed to do it while keeping their bakery wheat free, casein free, refined-sugar free, gluten free, soy free, organic, AND kosher!! These baked goods are virtually guilt free! But, because of all the substitutions necessary to make these particular desserts, you may be a little perplexed once you read the ingredient lists. Garbanzo bean flour, coconut flour, and xanthan gum, among other things, pop up frequently in this cookbook, but fear not, most ingredients are available at your local health food store or at Whole Foods.

So, I know what you're thinking, with all those weird ingredients, how do these desserts taste?? Well, my sister recently made the chocolate chip cookie sandwiches (see pic above), and, let me tell you, they were really good! They definitely had a unique flavor. Not bad, just unique, and the coconut flour did give them a very slight coconut taste, so if you hate coconut, be forewarned. All in all, I'm anxious to try something else from the cookbook. It's like every recipe is a little baking adventure!

A video on how to make the sandwiches, along with the recipe, can be found at Martha Stewart's Web site, right here.

If you live in New York and want to try some vegan yumminess (you know who you are!) head on over to BabyCakes in NYC. A Los Angeles location will be opening soon. If you'd like to order online, click here.


Sweet Testing: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

I'm not a fan of pecan pie. It's not really pecan pie's fault, though. I used to enjoy it, but once, when I was fourteen, I ate some pecan pie and then promptly came down with the flu. I have hence forth hated it. It's pretty much a guilty by association thing. The mere thought of it makes me nauseous! Don't you hate when that happens?? Anyway, enough about my stomach ailments. The point is, I don't like pecan pie or bourbon, for that matter, but my sister insisted that this pie is awesome, so I made it, and let me tell you . . . it is AWESOME!! It doesn't really taste like pecan pie. It's more like a fat, warm, chocolate chip cookie. Yum! I wish I had taken a picture after it was cut because that's where all the yumminess resides, but I was so distracted by eating it, that I forgot! Oh, well, next time!

As far as the baking process is concerned, this is one of the easier recipes from the Baked cookbook. The pie crust came out perfectly, but if you want to opt for a store-bought crust, you could make this really quickly. Oh, and you can't taste the bourbon, which I liked, but if like your desserts a little more boozy, you can always add more.

More From Baked: Whoopie Pies, Sugar Cookies, Sweet and Salty Cake, Lemon Drop Cake, Coconut Snowball Cupcakes

You can find the complete recipe after the jump.


Suck on This, Daniel Craig

I thought of so many naughty titles for this post: A Mouthful of Daniel Craig, Sucking on Daniel Craig. The possibilities are endless. Anyway, yes, Daniel Craig fans, your dreams have come true. Now you can actually get Mr. Craig . . . in popsicle form. Some of you may have seen this already on foodgawker, but I just had to post a pic. It's hilarious and erotic, and possibly delicious, all at the same time. How many desserts can be described that way?? And don't say a boob cake because those are neither funny nor erotic, unless you're twelve. :-) The 007 Del Monte Superfruit Smoothies come in blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry flavors and will only be available in the UK during National Ice Cream Week, which started June 1st and ends on Sunday. Yes, that's right, you can only get your D. Craig lollies, as the Brits call them, this week and only in the UK. I wish I was there right now, so I could taste one and also so I could say the word "lolly." Such a fun word. Click here for more info via the Telegraph.


Flavored Salt

I love when people take something traditional and turn it on it's head (well, except for my dislike of altering classic candy that I talked about in an earlier post), so I'm loving all these flavored salts from Barhyte. What a tasty way to jazz up, well, just about anything! I love the logo and colors, not to mention the yummy flavors. The chocolate variety is like the perfect sweet and salty paradise combined into one! Click here to check out the flavors and here to shop online.

You can also get some bacon-flavored salt courtesy J&D's. This particular bacon salt is not only kosher, but also vegetarian, so it would the perfect way for vegetarians to incorporate the bacon trend into their desserts! (I still haven't tried the whole bacon dessert thing, but it intrigues me, even though I'm a vegetarian.)

Btw, they also have bacon-flavored lip gloss for those of you out there who are really really into bacon. Click here to find store locations or to order online.

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