Entries from June 25th, 2010

June 25, 2010

michael jackson cupcakes | hey cupcake | austin, texas

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Danny in Austin, Texas, while I was on a work trip. Danny made sure to introduce me to Hey Cupcake, an airstream cupcakery in the South Congress area of Austin, so I could get a little taste of how Texas does cupcakes.

hey cupcake | austin, texas

{I want to own a cupcake stand someday!}

hey cupcake | austin, texas | michael jackson cupcake

{I loved the creative menu at Hey Cupcake. Of course, the Michael Jackson cupcake stood out to me! Danny is a big fan of Michael Jackson, and I love me some MJ, too, but neither of us opted for the Michael Jackson cupcake. Now I wish I would have tried it!}

Hey Cupcake had the Michael Jackson cupcake on its menu long before the King of Pop died a year ago today. Hey Cupcake’s version of the Michael Jackson cupcake is a simple mix of “black and white” : chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. While I didn’t choose the Michael Jackson cupcake (I opted for the Snowcap while Danny got 24 Carrot), Michael Jackson cupcakes have been on my mind for quite some time.

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, I decided to try my hand at baking and decorating Michael Jackson cupcakes. Though I know how to make Lady Gaga cupcakes, designing cupcakes that resemble the King of Pop is a little more difficult. However, with a little creativity (and a few props), I was able to pull off an array of strange, funny, creative Michael Jackson cupcakes. Enjoy!

michael jackson cupcakes

{My assorted Michael Jackson cupcakes are kind of ridiculous.}

michael jackson cupcakes overhead shot

{I used a mix of hand-decorated, funny faces, lettering and printouts to decorate my Michael Jackson cupcakes.}

my first michael jackson cupcake

{In my world, Michael Jackson's mouth is made of a red-hot candy.}

michael jackson

{It was difficult to emulate the contours of Michael Jackson's cheeks and chin.}

michael jackson stencil printouts

{Most of the cupcakes that have printouts of Michael Jackson's face are filled with marshmallow creme.}

chocolate and white michael jackson cupcake

{This Michael Jackson cupcake creation of mine is probably the most similar to Hey Cupcake's version of the Michael Jackson cupcake.}

michael jackson chocolate cupcake

{I wish I could replicate this face with frosting!}

michael jackson thriller cupcake

{This cupcake, featuring the image from Michael Jackson's Thriller album cover, is my favorite. Black and white and simple. RIP MJ!}

michael jackson thriller cupcake

{I used a gel frosting writer to pen "Thiller" on this cupcake. It's surrounded with red hots.}

michael jackson dancing on a cupcake

{The brightest cupcake shows Michael Jackson at his best: dancing on his toes!}

chocolate and black frosting michael jackson cupcake

{I used a gel frosting writer, black frosting and chocolate sprinkles for this Michael Jackson cupcake.}

michael jackson bad cupcake

{I love the typography on the album "Bad."

michael jackson bad album cover

{Look at that hair!}

red sprinkles michael jackson cupcake

{Red sprinkles liven up this marshmallow-filled chocolate cupcake.}

black and white michael jackson cupcake

{Half black frosting. Half white frosting. Pure MJ cupcake.}

michael jackson cupcake with black and white frosting

{This cupcake didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it to, but it will still taste delicious!}


{It was difficult to recreate the subtle waves in Michael Jackson's hair. Fondant would be a fun fix for his nose.}

black frosting white candy michael jackson cupcake

{I love this cupcake. The black frosting looks so rich!}

michael jackson chocolate and white frosted cupcake

{I mixed white frosting with melted chocolate chips to get this light brown frosting.}

michael jackson cupcake afro
{The candy teeth are the best part of this Michael Jackson cupcake.}
younger michael jackson afro
{Michael Jackson—gone too soon.}

June 23, 2010

open face smoked salmon sandwich | la boulange bakery | san francisco

Although my macaron taste test ended in epic failure, La Boulange’s open face smoked salmon sandwiches are always a win.

These delicious sandwiches, served on organic, fresh-baked bread, have the right combination of creaminess, crunchiness and tangy-ness with a smooth, smoky salmon to give you your daily dose of omega-3s.

open face smoked salmon sandwich | la boulange bakery

{La Boulange serves its meals in compostable containers.}

La Boulange’s open face smoked salmon sandwich has layers of creme fraiche (a thinner, French-er sour cream :)), cucumbers, capers and shallots. I chose fresh greens with mine (you can also get chips) to keep my meal light and healthy. This is my favorite open face sandwich at the bakery, but the goat cheese open face sandwich is a close second. The goat cheese open face sandwich is a little heartier, thanks to those portobello mushrooms, so it makes a good dinner sandwich.

What is your favorite sandwich (from La Boulange or elsewhere) and why? Please share some sandwich-making instructions with me!

June 20, 2010

happy father’s day

Do something nice for your dad today. Remember to take pictures.

dad circa 1926

{My dad, circa 1926. Grandma has a chic haircut. Grandpa looks pretty dapper, too.}

June 16, 2010

cupcake taste test | miette | san francisco

My first visit to San Francisco’s Ferry Building last month was quite a success. I savored delicious oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company while I sipped on some bubbly from Napa’s Domaine Carneros. As usual, I saved room for dessert and marked Miette off my cupcake hit-list.

Miette, which means “little crumb” in French, is the cutest little sweets shop with a spectacular story. Self-taught pastry chef Megan Ray launched Miette at the Berkeley farmer’s market in 2001 and hasn’t looked back since. Miette has expanded into a full-blown candyland, offering cakes, cupcakes, cookies, tarts, macarons, old-fashioned candy, cake stands and more.

Miette Patisserie Candy Wall

{Bright colors and sweet treats made it difficult for me to pull myself away. Photo By beastandbean/Courtesy Flickr.}

Miette Patisserie Cake and Cupcake Display

{Miette's cake and cupcake display is ravishing. Photo By feministjulie/Courtesy Flickr.}

From all of these sugary offerings, I chose Miette’s Old-Fashioned Cupcake because it was topped with a generous helping of Italian meringue icing and the simple colors—chocolate, white and red—appealed to me. The chocolate cake was decadent yet not overpowering, and the marshmallowy frosting got stuck to my lips—a good sign! The frosting was fluffy and sweet—utterly perfect. I dug into my Old-Fashioned Cupcake after a long day reporting on a biodynamic farm in Sonoma; it was quite the best treat after a long day!

Miette Old-Fashioned Cupcake

{Miette's Old-Fashioned Cupcake has loads of frosting and a balanced taste—not too sweet, but not boring.}

Miette cupcakes cost $3.25 a piece and can be ordered ahead of time for in-store pick-up; unfortunately for me, Miette doesn’t ship cupcakes because it can’t guarantee they will look as perfect or be as fresh. (But I can order cookies, macarons and confections to my heart’s desire—or you can order some for me!)

I guess this means I will have to keep Miette on my cupcake hit-list every time I visit the Bay Area. These little cakes are just too delicious to decline.

What are your favorite cupcake shops in Northern California?

June 16, 2010

recycling plastic bottles into pillowcases | a lot to say t-shirts and accessories

While I love decorating, rarely do I get excited over pillowcases. I usually get them with my comforter set and have an extra pair from a sheet set—who really notices these things?

I do, now! These pillowcases from A Lot To Say caught my eye for two reasons. One, I’m a sucker for inspirational and thoughtful sayings. Two, these pillowcases are made from recycled PET plastic bottles; that means these pillowcases keep plastic bottles from hanging out in the landfill.

While PET plastic is easily recyclable (that’s #1 plastic), in 2006, the U.S. sent more than 2 million tons of plastic drink bottles to the landfill! Why are we clogging our overflowing landfills with something so easy to recycle…especially if we can recycle those bottles into something so basic—and beautiful!

A Lot To Say Love Pillowcase

{Remember whose happiness should come first. Photo Courtesy A Lot To Say.}

A Lot To Say Star Pillowcase

{The star pillow reminded me of Stella, my award-winning magazine prototype. Photo Courtesy A Lot To Say.}

I’m excited to test the A Lot To Say sample pillowcases I received. Naturally absorbent cotton is usually my number one choice for pillowcases (because come on, everybody sweats in their sleep), so I’m interested to see how these recycled PET plastic pillowcases hold up against this sweaty girl (and my picky-pillowcase-choosing cat!).

Anya and A Lot To Say Pillowcases

{Anya sleeps on the pillow next to me every night. She seems a little skeptical of my new pillowcases...or maybe she's just surprised that I actually made my bed!}

June 2, 2010

macaron taste test | la boulange bakery | san francisco

I’ve been obsessed with La Boulange Bakery in San Francisco for a few years, but have just now gotten the chance to taste its macarons. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a solid review on La Boulange macarons, because this is what happened to my poor little French cookie:

la boulange bakery raspberry macaron

{Preston crushed my macaron—and my heart.}

It was a windy day on the La Boulange de Market patio, and my well-meaning friend Preston caught my macaron before it flew away into the street; sadly, he didn’t realize there was a beautiful raspberry macaron in that flying pastry bag, because he proceeded to crumble it up into a ball (and almost threw it away) before I could stop him. He tried to get me another one, but the lady in line before him grabbed the last macaron—so I guess that’s a sign that they are pretty delicious!

Looks like I’ll be revisiting La Boulange again when I trek out to Cali this summer; too bad I can’t have some delivered to me (Preston, are you reading?!). Luckily, La Boulange macarons are only $1.50 a pop, so I didn’t have to eat too much money for this…but I did have to eat a lot of crushed filling and crumbs!

June 1, 2010

cupcake taste test | daddy cakes | topeka, kansas

Last summer, my friend and coworker Gina and I instituted “Ice Cream Fridays.” We’d take a late-afternoon break and head to the nearest ice cream shop to get a little pick-me-up (and bring back treats for anyone else in the office who wanted something).

This year, with my cupcake fetish, we’ve talked about starting “Cupcake Fridays”—but this could be dangerous, knowing that Daddy Cakes is less than 5 miles away.

Gina introduced me to Daddy Cakes, a boutique cupcake shop in Topeka, when she was planning her wedding last year. Daddy Cakes made Gina’s beautiful (and delicious) wedding cake, and since tasting that cake, I’ve made it my goal to visit the shop more often.

daddycakes | gina's wedding cake

{Gina's wedding cake had layers of lemon, chocolate, vanilla and white.}

We recently went on a dessert escapade (and took our friend and coworker Susan along with us), and look what we got ourselves into:

daddycakes strawberry cheesecake cupcake

{I had the cheesecake special of the month—strawberry cheesecake, mmm. Don't mind my grubby little paw prints.}

daddycakes | peanut butter cup cupcake

{I had to keep Gina from digging in to her delicious peanut butter cup cupcake so I could snap this picture.}

daddycakes | death by chocolate cupcake

{Susan took home a death by chocolate cupcake. That's right...she didn't let Gina or me try it. She got the bigger "daddy cake" size.}

Daddy Cakes has an impressive menu (and a large, new location at 4036 SW Huntoon); you can get more than 10 cupcake flavors every day, and Daddy Cakes even makes specialty cupcakes on specific days of the week. For the diet-conscious (not me!), Daddy Cakes offers four flavors of  “Skinny Cakes” that weigh in at less than 200 calories a piece. That probably means I can get two of those at a time, no?

Daddy Cakes cupcakes come in three different sizes: daddy cake, baby cake and preemie. Single baby cakes (the size Gina and I got) are $2.50 a piece; single daddy cakes (the size Susan got) are $3.50 a piece; and single preemies are 75 cents a piece. While the prices are a little high, Daddy Cakes cupcakes are worth it—you’re paying for artfully designed, perfectly baked treats. My only suggestion for Daddy Cakes? Open a bakery in Lawrence! I will visit you every day (and probably work for you for free…or for cupcakes) if you come to my backyard.

Check out Daddycakes’ photo gallery to get a glimpse at more of its beautiful (and tasty!) creations.

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