The Cupcakery at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas

So when I was in Las Vegas I had to check out at least one cupcake joint. We were staying at the MGM Grand and I saw that there was a cupcake place called The Cupcakery in the Monte Carlo. That Casino wasn’t too far away from where we were going that night so we decided to check it out. You know I’m always down to try out a cupcake. Since it wasn’t Mr. Curly Fry and I taste testing cupcakes, my friend and I only got two. Yes, I was sad about that but my friend isn’t into cupcakes like I am.

I have to say that I wasn’t really all that impressed with the choices of flavors. I thought for “…the best little cupcakes in Vegas!” that they didn’t have enough of a selection. Now, we went on a Monday evening, so maybe they sold out of a lot of flavors? I don’t know. Maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt? So I guess I wasn’t too bummed to only try two flavors since there really weren’t all that many that I wanted to try. [Read more...]

Cake Batter Cookie Sandwich

I’m baaaaaaack! I was out of touch last week because I was summoned for Jury Duty and I was picked to serve on the jury for a trial. So I was out of the office all week. This was the first time I was ever summoned for Jury Duty. I was picked for a criminal case and I have to say that I found it to be very interesting. I’m interested in that stuff  though – I could watch the Investigation Discovery Channel all day long! So pardon me for my absence – it was not intentional!

As we all know, I love cake. I also love cake batter. I love cookies. Put the two together and you have Cake Batter Cookies! I was catching up on my Google Reader and came across Lovin’ From the Oven’s blog post for Cake Batter Cookies. I knew from the second I laid eyes on them that I had to try them. So I did! I wanted to try them out before making homemade gifts for the holidays. So I did a test run. And I loved how they turned out. I decided to take it up a notch and make Cake Batter Cookie Sandwiches!

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup funfetti cake mix
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • buttercream icing

Note: The recipe on Lovin’ From the Oven’s post called for chocolate chips, but I didn’t want to put those in.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in the egg yolk, egg, and vanilla until creamy.

Add in the flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Stir in sprinkles.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. I used a medium sized cookie scoop.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden.

Let the cookies cool on a baking rack.

Place a cookie upside down and pipe some buttercream icing on the cookie. Place another cookie (bottom side down) on top to make a sandwich.

These cookies are also delicious plain if you don’t want to make the sandwiches!

Cupcake Emergency

So as I already mentioned, Hurricane Irene came through and kept everyone indoors all weekend long. I decided that I was going to get a little bit of baking in while I had the chance. I had a few cupcake flavors I wanted to try out, so that’s exactly what I did! After all, we were in a Cupcake Emergency!

I baked up some Chocolate Cupcakes

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And I made my Basic Buttercream

I wanted to do a few different flavors of Buttercream, so I divided up the Basic Buttercream and went to business!

I took some Oreos and threw them in Vitamix. I had Oreo crumbs that were nice and fine. So I decided to do a Cookies N’ Cream ButtercreamVanilla Buttercream + Oreo Crumbs = YUM!

Chocolate Cupcake; Cookies N’ Cream Buttercream

I still had some of the fine Oreo crumbs leftover, so I decided that I wanted to do a Chocolate Buttercream dusted with Oreo Crumbs. So I added in some Penzeys Natural Cocoa Powder and a very small sprinkle of Williams-Sonoma Espresso Powder.  And let me tell you – between these two ingredients, the Buttercream comes out oh so chocolatey. The Epresso Powder really enhances that rich chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Cupcake; Chocolate Buttercream; Oreo Crumbs

Mr. Curly Fry loves Kit Kats, so I wanted to incorporate those into a cupcake. So I used the Chocolate Buttercream. Talk about a Chocolate overload. But in a good way!

Chocolate Cupcake; Chocolate Buttercream; Kit Kats

I had some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the refrigerator so that inspired me to make a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake. When I was making the Cupcakes, I put some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the center of the cupcake and baked it. So there’s chocolate chip cookie baked in the center of these bad boys!! Then I topped it off with Chocolate Buttercream and garnished it with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  How can you go wrong with that?

Chocolate Cupcake with a Chocolate Chip Cookie filling;
Chocolate Buttercream
; Chocolate Chip Cookie garnish

Last, but certainly not least! I wanted to do a Peanut Butter Buttercream. Is there really a better combination?! Peanut Butter + Buttercream = Heaven! This was my favorite cupcake of the day…the Chutter Butter! The Peanut Butter Buttercream was so creamy and smooth…it had my taste buds doing back flips! I seriously could have sat there with a spoon if I had any extra Buttercream left!

Chocolate Cupcake; Peanut Butter Buttercream; Nutter Butters

What flavor of Buttercream would you like to see spotlighted here on the blog?! 

 

 

Cupcake Monday: Sweetbox Truck

Welcome to Cupcake Monday! Last week we reviewed the one and only Pamcakes located in Rittenhouse Square. This week we’re taking a look at the Sweetbox Truck.  The Sweetbox Truck is a mobile gourmet cupcake truck in Philadelphia specializing in premium ingredient cupcakes.  They are in Love Park every Tuesday from 11am to 3pm and in University City and Drexel Thursdays or Fridays (it’s usually TBA). You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter to see where they will be next!

I don’t work very far from Love Park so I figured I’d take a walk down there to try out some cupcakes. There is a menu on their facebook page that is quite impressive, but I was sad to find out that they only carry about 5 or 6 any given day. Their prices are very reasonable ~ $2.50 per for the “Everyday” cupcakes (Red Velvet, Vanilla 2 and Chocolate Vanilla) and then some specials are $2.50 and some are $2.75.

The flavors that were available the day that I went were Red Velvet, Chocolate Natural Peanut Butter, Vanilla2,  Chocolate Raspberry, classic Chocolate Vanilla and Cookies n Cream. I picked out three flavors to try.

First up – Vanilla 2 – Classic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Cupcake with a Sweet Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This Vanilla Cupcake was pretty moist and had a lot of flavor. The buttercream was sweet and it was definitely plentiful, which is always good in my book. I felt like it had a bit of a cream cheese tang to it, but I’m not sure if that was just my taste buds playing tricks on me or not.

Overall, it was a good cupcake that tasted good. It’s one of those safe cupcakes, if you know what I mean. It definitely gets extra points because of the amount of icing! ;)

Next – Chocolate Natural Peanut Butter – Ghirardelli Chocolate Cupcake with a Natural Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

I wanted to try a cupcake that was different than my normal list of flavors that I try. So I figured I’d go for the Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Buttercream. It’s kind of funny because growing up my Aunt would occasionally make a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for someone’s birthday. I would always get upset because to me that is not real birthday cake. Real birthday cake is vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing on it – not that whippy fake icing that you can find on some grocery store cakes! So I had to chuckle when I saw this cupcake flavor and I knew that I had to try it for my Aunt (R.I.P.).

The chocolate cake was soft and moist, and it had a nice flavor to it. The icing was light and fluffy. I felt that the icing could have had a stronger peanut butter flavor, but maybe she didn’t want to go overboard.  I thought that the chocolate chips gave it a very nice touch.

Last – Cookies n Cream – Ghirardelli Chocolate Cupcake with a Cookies and Cream Vanilla Buttercream topped with a Mini Oreo

As you already know, I’m a huge Cookies n Cream fan so that cupcake will make my list whenever it’s available. I don’t know what it is, but I absolutely love the flavor. Whenever I get a milkshake anywhere, it’s got to be cookies n cream. Have you ever had cookies n cream fudge?! It’s to die for. (look at the picture here) So when I saw it on the menu at Love Park, I knew I had to get it. The cupcake was the same as the other chocolate one that I had – it was soft and moist and it had a great flavor to it. The buttercream was very good and it worked very well together with the chocolate cupcake. Out of the three buttercreams, the cookies n cream buttercream was my favorite. It had the perfect sweetness and it just worked.

So the verdict is the cupcakes were good. Not the best that I’ve had, but they were a close second! There is definitely a lot of potential -  I think the biggest drawback is the small number of cupcakes available on a daily basis. But I understand that they are a mobile truck and they don’t have as much storage, etc. I would say they come 2nd runner up in the Cupcake Monday competition so far.  Pamcakes is on top, with Sweetbox Truck being second, Brown Betty being third, and Tartes is in last place.

Cupcake Monday: Tartes

Welcome to Cupcake Monday! Last week it was all about the Brown Betty Boutique. This week we’re reviewing the cupcakes from Tartes, which is located in Olde City at 2nd & Arch Street. This is one of those little places that I learned about through reading about cupcakes in Philadelphia. If I hadn’t been researching, I wouldn’t have come across this place. It’s a tiny little pink shack and you have to order from the window.

It was a very hot day and I wasn’t about to walk a mile in 90 degree heat with cupcakes, so I ended up driving. I was able to get a parking spot on the street that was pretty close to the bakery. So I walked up to the window and looked at the menu. They only had 4 cupcakes available – Chocolate, Vanilla, Red Velvet and Carrot Cake. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like Red Velvet, so I ended up getting two chocolate, one vanilla, and one carrot cake. She had to go in the back to get them, so you couldn’t see what they looked like first.

There were many people online that commented on the fact that the service at Tartes wasn’t all that friendly. I tend to agree with them, but since I knew what I was going to run into, I wasn’t surprised. It’s their decision how they run their establishment, I can’t control that. But I can control where I go back to in the future.

First up – Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla icing. I was a bit let down because I thought that the Chocolate Cupcake would have chocolate icing, but it had vanilla. We didn’t think the chocolate cake was all that moist, so that was a bit of a let down. The icing – I was pretty disappointed in the icing. It was very heavy on the butter. It was on the whippy side and was definitely lacking sugar. It just wasn’t sweet enough.

Next – Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla icing. The vanilla cupcake was moister than the chocolate cupcake, but I’ve still had better. The icing was the same as the icing on the chocolate cupcake – waaaaaaaaaaaay too heavy on the butter and definitely lacking sugar. It’s a shame they were generous with the icing when I didn’t care for it. I guess that’s usually how it goes, eh?

Last – Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing. This cupcake was hands down the best out of them all.  The cupcake had a lot of flavor – it was very moist due to the raisins, little bits of carrot, and small pieces of nuts. It had the perfect amount of spice. And the icing…it had just enough sweetness and it was a nice and fluffy icing. It just complemented the cupcake so well.

Out of all three cupcakes, the only one I’d want again was the Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing. It was out of this world. It’s a shame the others really weren’t that good. But I guess if at least one was good, the trip was worth it.