Cupcake Royale…


My son Thomas and his wife live in Seattle and there is a cupcake shop there called Cupcake Royale. They LOVE cupcakes and even bought me a shirt from the shop for my birthday one year.  Recently, they were home for a quick visit and we met them at the Woodstock Cafe for lunch before they flew home. Herb’s birthday had been the week before and since we can no longer celebrate birthdays together, I thought it would be a fun treat for all of us to have personalized cupcake pots with chocolate cupcakes in them at the Cafe for dessert.

Thomas is following in his dad’s curmudgeon footsteps, apparently, and is known at his workplace as the Grumpy Cat and even uses an illustration of the Grumpy Cat as his Google profile image, so it was only fitting to make his cup with the Grumpy Cat on it. Each pot was different and were super simple to make. I went to Smitten Kitchen’s site and found a recipe called the “I want Chocolate Cake” Cake recipe and it is great because it only makes enough for an 8 X 8 pan of cake, which filled 6 cupcake pots.

The remainder of the cups are listed on my Etsy site and I have 8 more in the kiln that are to be glazed. The idea is to make a special cupcake for that co-worker or birthday someone and they receive their cupcake in the pottery cup and everyone else gets the cupcake in the paper liner. It provides a simple and inexpensive gift and takes cupcakes to a new level.

We didn’t even light our candles at the Cafe…. I did mention the curmudgeon thing, didn’t I? But, the cupcakes were a hit and hopefully they are now being used in Seattle for ice cream or to hold M&Ms or something as a reminder of our short time together. It is always good to see them both.

Engagement Party

Thomas and Bell

Thomas and Belle’s engagement party was today at Raaga in DC. I posted the photos of the cakes and now I can add some from the party to go with the cakes. I didn’t get any of our side of the family but, you know what we look like. It was awesome Indian food and we got to meet Belle’s immediate family. We had a really great time and look forward to more family get togethers with them before the October 21st, 2011 wedding.

Mimi, Belle’s mom, brought three really beautiful flower arrangements and had put them in vases that were the colors that Belle thinks she wants to use at the wedding. Orange, brown and turquoise. One arrangement had hydrangeas, one was orange and yellow roses and one was sunflowers and beautiful fall colored flowers. Mimi also brought the wine and it was really nice of the restaurant to allow us to bring in some of our own items.

John and Erin on the L, Thomas, at Right.

In the middle of the dinner, Belle’s grandmother’s boyfriend recited the poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning,

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Of course, Mimi and I were both wiping our eyes. It was very moving.

Thomas cutting the devil's food cake.

After everyone finished with their lunch, Thomas started cutting the cakes and passed slices out. I brought some of the take out boxes that Herb and I bought for homemade Christmas goodies, (you have to buy a box of 100, so I have lots) That way we could share the cake with everyone and not have to bring cake home.

l-r: Ruby, Nick, Joy, Bianca, Mimi, Belle with Thomas behind her, Grandma and her boyfriend, the doctor who recited the poem.






Then it was time for photo taking. (eventually I will be able to get a photo of everyone that was there that the waiter took for us). Belle has a very warm and friendly family and it was great to finally get to meet them and sit down to a meal with them to get to know each other. I suppose this means the wedding planning is officially underway!


my plate full of amazing Indian Food

If I knew you were coming…

This Sunday is the engagement brunch for my oldest son and his fiance’ and  Ragga, the restaurant has agreed to let us bring some items to help celebrate. Because the Wilburns have developed a reputation as good cooks and bakers, I have agreed to make two cakes to take.

Cakes I made to take to the engagement party.

That said, Design Sponge is my favorite blog and they have a recipe section where they feature chefs and food. I came across a cake that was not only beautiful but chocolate. Two of the best criteria for me, well, the chocolate at least. We’ll see how beautiful they turn out.  So I thought I would share the cakes I am going to take with us today. I will post the recipe today and then as I bake the cake I will try to get photos of the process and put those in later. I plan to do this baking tomorrow morning so the cakes will be fresh for Sunday. Recipe below and stay tuned for photos.

The first is the Devil’s Food cake that I found on Design Sponge and you can see the recipe for the chocolate cake I plan to bake here. The second cake is a cake that I got out of one of those church recipe books that churches sell as fundraisers. You know the ones with the funky plastic spiral binders. I have a ton of those things. Remember earlier in the week when I discussed my cookbook collection? Anyway, the recipe that I found years ago in one of these books is a Carrot Cake that is really good. It is called “Taste of the Islands Carrot Cake”, I’m sure, because it has pineapple in it.

Taste of the Islands Carrot Cake

by Joy Fisher (I have no idea who Joy is but, thanks, Joy!)

Makes 16 servings

For the Cake
1 3/4 cups plus 4 T all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped, unsalted macadamia nuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
Pineapple filling
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Icing
2 -8oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans or macadamia

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350

Grease a 10 x 3″ round cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment or waxed paper. Grease paper and lightly flour pan.

Sift together  1 & 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs with electric mixer at medium speed until light in color, about 3-4 minutes. At low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Combine carrots nuts, raisins and remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Gently fold into batter. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 50-55 minutes or until done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Turn cake out by inverting onto another rack and cool completely, paper side down.

FILLING: In a medium saucepan , combine pineapple and sugar. Cook over low hear, stirring occasionally until pineapple is tender, about 10-20 minutes. Combine pineapple juice and cornstarch and stir into cooked pineapple. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool. (can be made a day ahead and chilled, covered in fridge)

ICING: In medium bowl, with electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth

To ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Peel paper off cake. Using a serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 3 layers. ( I have 3 cake pans so I may bake the 3 layers separated and watch the timing closer so I don’t have to cut the big one into layers) Place bottom layer on a 10″ cake circle or serving plate. Spread half of the Pineapple filling over cake layer. Place middle layer of cake on top of filling and spread with a thin layer of filling. Add top layer. Spread remaining icing evenly over sides and top of cake. Press chopped toasted nuts onto sides of cake.