My First Cupcake Run

I’ve dreamt of doing a cupcake run for a while and finally got the opportunity during a trip home to California.  I dragged my sisters along to 3 different cupcake shops- Wonderland Custom Cakes in Pasadena; Cake Mamas in Glendora; and My Delight Cupcakery in Ontario.

Top- Armaan; Middle (L-R) Royal Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cookie; Bottom- Lemon

We headed to Wonderland Custom Cakes in Old Town Pasadena first.  The Evil Twin (the flavor they won Cupcake Wars with) was available when we went, but I wasn’t in the mood for jalapeno carrot cake with cheddar buttercream no matter how intriguing it sounded. Instead, we bought the Armaan, PB Cookie, Lemon and Red Velvet.  The Lemon cupcake was Makamae’s favorite of the day.  I have to agree that it was pretty tasty, but my favorite here was the Armaan.  On their website, they describe it as a “moist honey-almond cake topped with fresh baklava and vanilla creme.”  The subtle flavors of honey and almond were a little overpowered by what tasted like clove, but I wasn’t too disappointed.  The delicate, crunchy baklava was a nice contrast to the smooth and creamy vanilla creme.

Their shop is teeny tiny and was very no nonsense.  No kitschy decor.  No tables and chairs.  There’s a counter with a display case of the cupcakes on top.  That’s it.  We took our cupcakes to the park across the street and ate them there.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Samoa cupcake

After enduring excruciating traffic, we stopped next in Glendora at Cake Mamas.  In addition to the two flavors pictured above, my sister ordered the Lemon Strawberry Rhubarb which I think is also called The Good Witch cupcake.  My favorite happened to be the Lemon Strawberry Rhubarb.  I really enjoyed all of the components of the cupcake together.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the frosting by itself, but combined with the strawberry rhubarb filling and the lemon cake it was good.  I loved the frosting on the Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake cupcake.  It tasted like melted ice cream.  Yum!  The cake was a little dry and too dense for my liking.  It also wasn’t very flavorful.

They have a huge variety of cupcakes so you’re bound to find something you like here.  I think they have the largest selection of any cupcake shop I’ve been to.  No place to sit and eat your cupcakes here either so we hijacked an outdoor table and some chairs at the sandwich shop a couple doors down.

Top: Key Lime Pie, S’mores; Bottom: Breakfast Cake, Blueberry Cinnamon Crunch

Our last stop ended up being my favorite. Thankfully it’s the closest to my dad’s house so I can easily indulge next time I visit. I was a little “cupcaked out” by the time we got there so I didn’t eat these until later, but they were still yummy. I liked every single cupcake from My Delight Cupcakery.  The only complaint here was about the s’more cupcake which was a little too chocolatey for me.  That was one rich cupcake.  The breakfast cake was my favorite of all the cupcakes I tried on our cupcake run and it’s one of my top 5 favorite cupcakes EVER.  It seriously tasted like a pancake with bacon and syrup.  I love me breakfast and this cupcake did not disappoint.  We split all the cupcakes and I wish I had bought one of these all for myself.  It was that good.  Auli’i agreed with me that this cupcakery was the best.  Her favorite cupcake of the day was a tie between the Breakfast Cake and the Key Lime Pie.

We stopped by here around 5:30/6ish so they were busy with all the people stopping by after work, but the service was quick and we were out of there in no time.  They have a small bar with a couple of stools, but it’s not somewhere you can go with a bunch of friends and chat over cupcakes.

How do these cupcakeries compare to the ones I’ve been to in Utah?  These places seemed to be a little more inventive with their flavors.  The places I’ve been to in Utah so far have had fairly standard flavors.  Nothing super experimental like the Armaan or the Breakfast Cake.  The area where the CA cupcakeries lacked was seating.  I was very disappointed that there wasn’t any place to sit and enjoy your cupcakes at these 3 shops.  The cupcake places I frequent here have at least a couple tables and chairs where you can relax and visit over some treats.  I guess California is more go, go, go than Utah so maybe there isn’t a real need for a cafe atmosphere.  The cupcakes were also a tad more expensive, but I expected that.

If it hadn’t been for the horrendous traffic, my first cupcake run would have been perfect.  But you can’t beat good cupcakes and fun with the sisters.  I’m looking forward to my next cupcake run.  🙂


Filed under adventure eats, cupcakes

Flan for One

I heart flan, but my husband is not a huge fan of custard desserts. If I made flan, I’d be left eating the entire pan. Not good. This was the perfect solution to my dilemma. Creamy, satisfying and so easy to whip up. Now I just have to refrain from making it on a daily basis.

Flan for One (or two)

2 T + 1 t sugar, divided

1 egg

1/2 c milk

1/4 t vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 300.  Have your ramekin or baking dish next to the stove.  Heat a small saucepan over med-low and add 1 T of sugar.  Evenly distribute the sugar in the pan and let sit until the sugar melts.  This takes a few minutes, but be patient and watch carefully.  Sugar burns very quickly.  When the sugar is an amber/caramel color, pour the  sugar into your waiting ramekin and swirl to coat the bottom and sides.  Set the ramekin aside.

2.  Beat the egg slightly in a small bowl.  Add 4 t of sugar and whisk until the mixture is slightly foamy and the sugar is dissolved.  Add the milk and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Pour mixture into the ramekin.  Place the ramekin in a deep baking dish and put into the oven.  Pour boiling water into the baking dish to a depth of 1-2 inches.  Bake for 1 hour or until set.  Cool completely.  May be served at room temperature or cold from the fridge.

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to make flan.  It was so easy!  I want to smack myself for not trying it earlier.  My flan turned out very light in texture and had tiny holes.  I like my flan on the denser, creamier side.  I used skim milk mixed with some egg nog this go around.  Next time I think I’ll use at least 2% milk.  The egg nog flavor was good, but it ended up being too sweet for me.  If you use egg nog instead of milk, I’d cut the sugar down a little bit.  Unless you like super sweet.  I also read some things after the fact that I’ll try next time to achieve the creaminess I love.  Some suggestions were to strain the custard mixture and to make sure that the custard bakes slowly.  I think my oven runs hot so that might have been one of my issues.  The mixture was a little bubbly to start with also.

I’m very excited about this kitchen experiment.  Hooray for single servings of flan! 😀


Filed under desserts

Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops and Beans

This was a tasty supper we had this summer that also was not photographed, but I modified it enough to warrant its appearance on the blog.  The tender, smoky pork chops went well with the crispy bacon and sweet pinto beans.  This will definitely be showing up repeatedly on the summer menu.

Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops and Beans

(modified from a recipe in the June 2010 BH&G magazine)

4 boneless loin pork chops about  1 inch thick

4 slices bacon

4 green onions, sliced

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 16-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 c ketchup

1 t yellow mustard

1 T brown sugar

1.  Brine the pork chops for 4-6 hours (see brining instructions following recipe).  Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry.  Season with pepper.  Wrap one slice of bacon around each chop and secure with a wooden toothpick.

2.  I have an infrared gas grill so that is what the grilling instruction is based on.  Thirty minutes prior to grilling soak wood chips (I used hickory) in water.  Heat the grill to high.  Add the wood chips directly to the trough in the grill.  Reduce the grill heat to medium and place the pork chops on the grill.  Cover and grill 20-25 mins or until the pork is slightly pink in the center and the juices run clear,  turning once halfway through cooking.

3.  Meanwhile, place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon of oil and the onions.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, beans, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and 2 T water to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until the pork chops are done.  Serve with pork.

To brine the pork chops, add 1/4 c brown sugar and 1/4 c salt to a large bowl.  Pour 2 c of boiling water and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Add 3 c of ice cubes to the brining solution and stir to dissolve.  You may have pieces of ice floating in the bowl, but the point is to make sure the solution is cold and won’t “cook” your chops.  Add the pork chops, cover and refrigerate until 30 minutes before grilling time.

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Filed under grill, pork

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

So it’s been awhile hasn’t it?  I always wonder what goes on when people quit posting to their blogs.  Nothing catastrophic has happened to me over the last couple years.  Life just got a little busier and blogging fell to the backseat.

I need to start posting recipes again though.  I make modifications to recipes and then I forget what I did.  It’s unfortunate.

I bought a couple bags of apples for super cheap a few weeks ago.  I’ve been trying to use them up before they go bad.  These pancakes were a tasty addition to my apple recipe file.  Lovely fall flavors.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 c flour (I used 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)

1 T packed brown sugar

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 t ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 c buttermilk

2 T melted butter

1 large apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated

1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

2.  Combine the egg, buttermilk and melted butter in a small bowl.  Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until the flour is moistened.  The batter will be a little lumpy.

3.   Fold in the grated apple.  If the mixture is too thick you can add a couple tablespoons of additional buttermilk or regular milk to thin it out.

4.  Pour a 1/4 cup of batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or frying pan.  Flip when the edges are golden brown.

Sorry there’s no photo.  They were gobbled up before I thought to take a picture.

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Filed under breakfast, fruit

CC: Lemon Ricotta Cookies

lemonricottackies 006 (Small)

I haven’t posted a Cookie Carnival goodie in a really long time.  Not to say that I haven’t made any since February.  I loved the Toasted Almond Lemon bars (which I made 3 times actually).  I also enjoyed the Strawberry Shortcake cookies from last month.  Truth be told- I’m just too lazy to post them.

I’m not sure what has motivated me to post these particular cookies.  Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t posted anything to my blog in over a month.  Perhaps it’s because I actually made them at the beginning of the month rather than the last day of the month.  Whatever the reason, these are yummy!  I love all things lemon.  And these are no exception.  They’re not really what I consider a traditional cookie.  They’re more like a tiny cake in my opinion.  I loved the richness that the ricotta added to the cookie.  I tried the glaze and didn’t really like it.  I preferred them plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

lemonricottackies 002 (Small)

Although I’m not too lazy to post about these cookies, I am too lazy to add the recipe.  Thus, I give you a link to Giada’s recipe on the Food Network website.


Filed under cookie carnival, cookies