Monday, March 21, 2011

Honey Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream

In honor of the vernal equinox I wanted to make the most springy cupcakes EVER!
So I played around with Honey cupcakes and Lavender Buttercream. They turned out great despite some bumps in the baking road.

1st: The recipe called for buttermilk, which I didn't have so I used milk.

2nd: I ran out of regular flour and had to use a 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. This made the consistency of the cupcakes a little more dense than I would have liked but oh well.

3rd: I lost count of how many cups of flour I put in and decided to eyeball the right amount. luckily my eyeballs work fairly well.

The cupcakes came out looking and tasting fabulous and I then commenced experimentation with all of my new decorating goodies that I got for my birthday. I don't know the name of the baking tip I used but I was able to make the icing look floweresque.

As always I decided to wing the buttercream frosting with one exception, I put dried lavender flowers in a ziplock with the powdered sugar over night. I hoped it would infuse the sugar with more flavor. I decided not to sift the actual flowers out but leave them in the frosting. It turned out to have lots of flavor and complimented the honey taste of the cake beautifully.

Finally I topped them with little violet flowers from the front yard. I hope they go over well at ladies night tonight. The theme is Equinox Rocks! Stay tuned for further crushcake inspiration.

The Birthday Weekend

Birthdays are the best excuse for good food and good friends. Above I am enjoying a Wedge Porter cupcake with green tea icing From Short Street Cakes along with a Wedge Brewery Iron Rail IPA.

Yum! Julie got me the delicious cupcakes and my sweet Boyfriend got me the beer. Day one of Birthday extravaganza was made up of skipping class, lunch at Sunny Point Cafe, second lunch at 12bones, shopping at Minx and Virtue with the ladies, Beer and Cupcakes at the Wedge, Dinner at Boca and Drinks at Mela and the Thirsty Monk. GOTTA LOVE ASHEVILLE....P.s. cant nobody say I am not doing my part to stimulate the economy.

Saturday a crew of amazing folks went climbing at the North Side of Looking glass, then attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Brevard. The film festival was inspiring as always yet the selected films were a bit disapointing in the female representation department. Lets show em whats up gals!
On Sunday we climbed some rocks at rumbling bald. Then I rushed home to make a batch of honey lavender cupcakes for ladies night on Monday (post soon to come) and get ready for an evening out with the girls.
The plan was to go to Zambra for tapas and drinks and then to Hot springs for a soak in the mineral baths. We didn't quite make it to hot springs which was ok because dinner was delightful and we didn't want to rush the quality food time. I am so blessed to have a solid group of women as friends. They all rock! They all climb and/or paddle their hearts out and give their all to their communities, meanwhile remembering to have fun and eat well. Love em.

My Boyfriend called this birthday the birthday of cupcakes, he got me two cupcake cookbooks to go with the basket of cupcake decorating goodies my sister got me. So yeah, the people I love are feeding my obsession, and I appreciate them for it. I think they anticipate the secondary benefits. Which who can blame 'em?

I wanna thank Scott, Julie Springstien, Julie Hwang, Daniela, West, Walt, Courtney, Shilpa, Travis, Becca, Ari, Sarah Kate, Mom, Dad, and Loren for making my birthday so wonderful. Lets do it again for your birthdays!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CrushCake Wishlist

SO...Blogger is currently not letting me upload more photos from my adventures in Kentucky. While we are waiting I thought it would be a good idea to start a cupcake flavor wish list. Here are a couple I have in mind, you leave your ideas in the comments box and I will add them to the list! What collaborative fun it will be!

Maple Whiskey Bacon
Coconut Lime
Baileys Irish Creme
Irish Car Bomb
Lemon Blueberry
Salted Caramel

OK your thoughts in the comment box please! thank you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome to 'Ol Kentuck

Julie picked me up early and we were off to the Red River Gorge. We arrived in the gorge around one in the afternoon and decided to head to Military Wall for our first afternoon of climbing. After hopping on some warm ups (There really is no such thing in the RRG...even 5.9's make you pumped) We hopped on a route called Fuzzy Undercling, a classic 5.11b with a bouldery start followed by fun easy climbing on steep over hanging jugs. Forgive the climber jargon, maybe I will come up with a glossary of terms at a later date. We decided to run some laps on Fuzzy until our arms were too full of lactic acid to hold on to even the biggest jugs. (Climbing holds not boobs)

The real fun on Tuesday began when we stopped by Miguel's Pizza to see the RRG gang of local climbers. Julie and I were invited to a party that night. Basically all that needs to be said about this party was that we drank the entire 5th of Makers that we had bought for the week, by the end of the night, not to mention many rounds of home brewed beers. These beverages disappeared as we talked trash and told stories of climbing epics, failures, and successes around a bonfire fueled by an old dresser. Oh how I love Kentucky.

We woke up in our sopping wet tents in the pouring rain and all kinds of hungover. Slowly we stirred and decided that climbing would not be the ideal activity for the day. We split a cold slice of pizza and some coffee and decided to head to Louisville for a rest day. My family lives in Louisville and provided a warm, dry place to stay, with the added bonus of my mothers exceptional cooking. When we walked in the door the first thing we smelled was freshly baked cookies. (I guess I got the baking bug from my mom)

After breakfast at a funky little breakfast place called Wild Eggs in Louisville with My dad and his partner Amy, we were on our way back to the attempt to climb in the rain.
We did get some climbing in at Roadside crag, where Julie fell in love with her new climbing project: Roshampo. Later we met up with friends Walt and West and set up camp, Oh yeah thats when it started SNOWING!

An inch of snow covered the ground at Lago Linda's campground but finally the sun was shining and we could tell that it would be a beautiful crisp day. My mom and sister came down in the afternoon and met up with us at Roadside. I put up a 5.9 for Sarah to climb and she totally CRUSHED it. THEN I belayed Julie on her project. She really gave it everything and pushed herself to the point where she took a pretty scary whipper. This is one of the most committing things you can do in rock climbing, so although it was scary, it was a proud moment. Comfort zones were pushed and climbing progress was made. Way to go for it Julie!

We spent the evening at Miguel's indulging in the best pizza in Kentucky, drinking copious amounts of Ale 8 (local ginger ale), eating yummy CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM ICING, and opening presents. We were celebrating my 26th birthday. It was a blast to be in one of my favorite places with good friends, family, and food. What more could a girl ask for?

Speaking of Presents~ Remember that post I wrote before about not having the right baking tools? Well you should see the cupcake decorating basket my mom and sister put together for me! It is amazing! How fun and thoughtful!

We climbed at drive by crag and the Bob Marley wall. The first wall hosts my least favorite climb EVER. A so called classic 10.c called breakfast burrito. All I have to say is TERRIFYING.
The Bob Marley wall may be a new favorite. Super steep and juggy 5.11s and 5.12s. Can't wait to get back there again.

We climbed at the Chocolate factory (I thought this was an appropriate name considering my interests in sweets and climbing) Then we said our goodbye's to our friends in the RRG and began the drive back to Asheville.

It was an amazing spring break. I can't stop thinking about when I will be able to get back to the RRG. Now I have to transition back to daily life of school, work, climbing, and cupcakes. I guess that doesn't sound too bad. I am a lucky girl. I have amazing people in my life. And my life is full of adventure, challenge, and great food.


Anatomy of a Cupcake

Found this AMAZING poster through
but it originated at

You can order this poster from their website for $50!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cupcakes for Cures

Who wants to go to this with me? Eat cupcakes for a good cause? DEAL!

The 2nd Annual cupcakes for cures cupcake competition!

Saturday March 26 2011 1-3pm @ THE GROVE PARK INN Asheville NC

25$ to sample 10 cupcakes and peruse the beautiful pastries

50$ to compete in the professional category

30$ to compete in the amateur category

15$ to compete in the youth category

Check it out at :

Rock Crushing

After Ladies Climb Night Tonight with it's Mardi Gras Masquerade theme and corresponding cupcakes, I will awake early tomorrow morning, load up the car and head to the Red River Gorge with my friend Julie.

We plan on climbing some of this:

And eating Some of This:

While Drinking a few of these:

At this place:

So from Tuesday til Sunday this is where I will be happily residing. there may not be many posts this week about cupcakes. But you can count on some crushing. WELL LETS HOPE. The Red has a tendency to crush my climbing hopes and dreams, and yet it is still a blast every single time. The rock there is super steep with everything from huge jugs, to tiny crimpers, to mono pockets, to slopers, to perfect hand cracks.

I am looking forward to sport climbing. This winter I have been slowly recovering from a brutal ankle sprain sustained at the third tier of the triple crown bouldering competition in December. I am hoping that overhanging sport routes will go easy on my ankle, and that any falls will be clean ones. Bouldering is harsh on a recovering ankle, and also doesn't do much for the endurance training needed for Red River Gorge Routes.

Regardless of how the climbing goes I am excited to spend time sleeping on the ground, laughing around a fire with good people, eating the worlds best pizza, drinking Ale 8 with bourbon, and obsessively talking about crushing rocks until our hands sweat at the thought of sending our projects.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Keepin it Simple

So I have zero budget for baking, I do it cause its fun, but man, it can get expensive if you want to get creative and do it right. I mean just the botched nutella olive oil experiment was a blow to the wallet.

Not only do I have no money with which to get super fancy, I also lack the proper equipment for truly extravagant baking. I have been using a ziplock bag with the corner cut off for the icing piping. Classy I know. My roomie is nice enough to let me use her wonderful kitchenaid stand mixer, which I have fallen in love with and don't know what I will do if she ever moves out. She also has been kind enough to overlook the kitchen covered in confectioners sugar on a bi-weekly basis.

Slowly but surely I am acquiring cupcake tins of my own and just as quickly going through cupcake liners, sprinkles, and food coloring. I visited this amazing shop in downtown Asheville the other day to stock up on little plastic babies for my king cake cupcakes. "Bake it Pretty" had all the things one needs to NOT keep it simple. I have to admit I was smitten. There were so many exciting and colorful decorations. I had to invest in hot pink edible glitter. I mean how could I not.

For the time being I will be keeping it simple in the kitchen, while dreaming of piping, glitter, and fancy pastry gadgets.

This week I will be dreaming about one day having one of these of my own:
Oh and some of these:
And maybe a few of these:


So, if you ask my boyfriend, girlfriends, roomie, landlords etc. they might tell you that recently I have become obsessed with cupcakes. Eating them, baking them, decorating them, and a recent favorite, getting into food fights with them. Some of these people think I have a problem. Others encourage me to keep baking and challenge me to keep pushing the boundaries of my creativity. Some recent projects included:
King cake cupcakes with lemon zest cream cheese frosting and Mardi Gras flare.
80's night blackberry cupcakes (pictured in header)
Nutella Olive Oil cupcakes (fail!) these were intended to be topped with white chocolate covered strawberries
Dark chocolate cupcakes with Nutella buttercream (Did I mention I also have a crush on Nutella)
Ok enough talkie talkie, here are some photos to give you an idea of what I have been up to recently

(Above) Chocolate cupccakes with nutella buttercream or cream cheese icing

King Cake cupcakes

(Above) Failed attempt at making Nutella Olive Oil cupcakes

(Above) Valentine heart cupcakes with climbing themed expressions

Blackberry cupcakes with blackberry buttercream icing.

Leighties Night cupcakes Blackberry surprise.