This was a fun project, my first mini-cake made for smashing! I made cupcakes for the guests with toppers to match the theme.
The one-year-old boy presented with this cake, though, just would not smash it! Let’s see how he does on his 2nd birthday.
Note to self, perfect cupcake frosting is not the same for smoothly icing a cake.
Watermelon says summer to me.
A last minute request for watermelon-flavored cupcakes meant I didn’t have much time to research or shop. Fresh watermelon seemed risky, and I could not find extract, so I used what I could find in a hurry.
Jelly Belly Watermelon Syrup–I bought my bottle at Michael’s—is meant for making snow cones and popsicles, but I gave it a try in my cake batter and frosting. I reduced it to make it more concentrated, but it gave only a faint flavor.
I would recommend using Pure Watermelon Extract for those wanting to bake better watermelon cupcakes than I produced! The cupcakes were still good, but they mostly just tasted like vanilla.
At least they looked pretty. I was making Minecraft cupcake toppers with gum paste (stay tuned for Minecraft Cupcakes, Round 2!), so I created some watermelons while I was at it.
The Jelly Belly Watermelon Syrup did make a kid-pleasing soda when added to seltzer (approved by a 7-year-old expert).
[ Posted in Fruit
[ Photos by Jason Walker-Yung ]
My grandparents built their house in 1954, and much of the original kitchen remains. I always loved the many built-ins, like the cabinet for the stand mixer. A quick pull up and out, and it’s ready to go.
During a recent trip south, I used the mixer—a Hamilton Beach Model G made in the 1940s—for the first time, to bake cupcakes for my grandmother and other lucky family members. Though we baked together often when I was a child, I was not allowed to operate the dangerous machinery. My grandmother handed it over easily this time, with only a mild warning of possible electric shock. (Wait… What?) Apparently, those pretty metal edges have been known to give a little jolt.
Creaming butter with white and brown sugar
It was fun to use but different than using my own mixer which locks the bowl into the base and uses a single wide beater, sometimes one with a flex edge that does the scraping mostly itself. (Spoiled by modern conveniences…) This one required much more attention!
I baked chocolate cupcakes, of course. If you know her, you know my grandmother loves chocolate. I made classic vanilla frosting to balance it out.
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
139 Smith St
I lived in Cobble Hill until recently and had noticed this bakery preparing for its opening before my move. The spot used to be Coco Roco, a Peruvian place whose roasted chicken with rice and beans is a favorite of mine (their Park Slope location is still open, go get some).
I stopped by recently and tried the Salted Caramel cupcake and a cappuccino. The cake was light, like angel food cake rather than a typical vanilla cupcake. It made me feel less guilty about the thick frosting (buttery, not too sweet) with a generous dollop of salty-sweet caramel.
A lopsided beauty
With ample seating both indoors and out, Mia’s is perfect for a shopping break, a leisurely afternoon, or a dessert date. The bakery offers coffee, a wide array of sweets, and a few savory breakfast options. Mia’s Brooklyn is open until 11pm on weeknights, 1am on weekends.
[ Posted in Bakeries
[ Photos by Jason Walker-Yung ]