Meet Cara. She’s made of rich, dark chocolate covered with creamy caramel. 

I baked this cake for a fundraiser at my son’s daycare to benefit its sister programs in Nairobi, Kenya. It was also a baking contest, each person who bought pieces of cake and pie got a vote.

Caramel Chocolate Cake by Amelie

When the director asked what my cake was named, it came to me. This caramel-chocolate sweetie’s name was Ms. Cara Cocoa.

Perhaps I have an unfair advantage, you say, when it comes to a bake off. But I’m a cupcake baker, not a cake baker. Plus, I wouldn’t say they were too serious about it. One parent brought a delicious and beautiful but store-bought cake and wasn’t disqualified.

I don’t often bake full-sized cakes. I’m used to short baking time with cupcakes and forget how long you have to leave these in the oven. Frosting them is also still a challenge. Evening the layers, stacking, crumb-coating, smoothing… Geez. With cupcakes, it’s often just a quick swirl and done.

Caramel Chocolate Cake by Amelie

I made enough frosting, at least. I sometimes stress about that. I followed Ovenly‘s Salted Caramel Buttercream recipe (check out their cookbook).

I couldn’t resist adding more caramel to finish it. I used a squeeze bottle filled with caramel sauce to adorn the edge with enough excess to drip down the sides of my cake.

Ms. Cocoa didn’t win. A pie won. A pie! I mean, really…

(I love pie, too. It’s ok.)

Caramel Chocolate Cake by Amelie

Only crumbs were left at the end, and that’s a big win in my book.

Cake - All gone!

Family Fun Night - Kids for Kids

Happy Birthday, She’s the First!


My husband bought this cupcake from a #BakeAChange bake sale, a fundraiser for She’s the First, which provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries. This annual bake-off helps raises money for these girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school.

What a great reason to buy a cupcake! I wish I’d known about this. Next year, let’s Bake a Change for education ourselves.

Though this particular campaign ends today, the organization’s birthday, you can donate or sponsor a girl at any time. Learn more at

My husband’s company had a charity bake sale for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and he made cupcakes!

Birchbox Charity Bakesale

Share Our Strength® is a national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. They work with community groups, activists and food programs to surround children facing hunger with nutritious food.

I was proud that my husband wanted to bake cupcakes himself for the event. It was difficult for me to stand by while he took charge of the baking, but I did my best. I did formulate a recipe for him from his idea to mimic the taste of a nice hot cup of minty mocha.

Husband Bakes

The recipe is based on a basic chocolate but replaces some of the cocoa with coffee grounds. It was his idea to start there, as the chocolate cupcake recipe already uses a small amount of brewed coffee to enhance the flavor. He used fresh Birch Coffee beans, ground as fine as our electric grinder would grind them.

Scoop and Pipe Cupcakes
Scooping and Piping like a pro!

The whole batch left the house, but he bought a cupcake at the sale so that I could taste the results of his efforts. (I shared.) It did taste of chocolate and coffee with a sweet minty finish, much like a peppermint mocha. Great job! We make a good team, huh?

Mocha Peppermint Cupcake

Make the Vanilla Buttercream with a teaspoon of peppermint extract for these.

Recipe: Mocha Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs (room temp)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temp)
3/4 cup sour cream (room temp)
3 tablespoons brewed coffee
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons coffee grounds (finely ground)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for five minutes. Then, add the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla extract.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, the cocoa, the baking soda and the salt, and the coffee grounds. In another bowl, mix the milk, the sour cream and the brewed coffee.

Add the two mixtures to the bowl with the butter, the sugar and the eggs. It is best to alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients. Mix well.

Put the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers. Bake them for 20 minutes. (Rotate after 10 minutes, check at 18 minutes.) Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on racks.

red Velvet AMELIEWant to taste my Red Velvets? One dozen of my cupcakes are on auction right now at the Valentine’s Day Fundraiser for New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth at Il Bastardo, 191 7th Ave, NYC. It’s a free entertainment program with a DJ, live performances and  a silent auction. 100% of proceeds go to charity. Click here for event info!


Attention, New Yorkers! No need to bake for Thanksgiving, we have dessert covered. Here is your chance to get your hands on a batch of Cupcakes by Amélie and help raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bake sale will be the day before Thanksgiving 1-6pm in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, at Lutheran Elementary School, and all proceeds will go to New York Cares. Look for my pumpkin cupcakes, promised to treat your Thanksgiving guests right! (And much, much more by other wonderful bakers, see below…)
Sugar Rush for ReliefFrom Sugar Rush for Relief organizer Julia Donahue:

Calories for cause don’t count! On November 21, Sugar Rush for Relief turns gratitude into action, offering the Brooklyn community a way to help their neighbors while stocking up on their Thanksgiving desserts. Sweets will be sold in batches that are baked by local volunteers and packaged ready to go straight to the holiday table. All proceeds will go to benefit New York Cares and the tremendous work they are doing to rebuild the community. It’s baked goods to benefit Breezy, goodies for the good of Gerritsen, sweets for Staten Island and love for Long Island!

So, head to Lutheran Elementary School of Bay Ridge on Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, November 21, 2012) from 1-6pm and get your Sugar Rush!

Confirmed so far:

Apple Cheese Cake Bars
Apple Pies
Apricot Bars
Banana Bread
Blondies, Cranberry
Cake Pops
Cake, Chocolate Frosting
Coffee Cake Squares
Cookies, Assorted
Cookies, Chocolate Chip
Cookies, Macadamia
Cookies, Ricotta Lemon
Cookies, Sugar
Cupa Cupa Cupa (Fruit Cobbler)
Cupcakes, Assorted
Magic Bars
Orange Bundt Cakes
Pies, Apple Crumb & Cherry
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Pies
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Turkey Sugar Cookies