30 July 2011

Guest Post - Java Cupcake

Welcome everyone to the summer series of guest posts at Sugar Daze. I wanted to invite some of my favorite cupcake bakers from around the globe to share a few recipes while I'm away and I'm very excited to introduce you to them. Each Saturday through August 20, you'll find a new guest post here. Today Betsy of Java Cupcake (a Washington native recently relocated to Germany) shares a delicious banana cupcake recipe with us. Then it's on to Greece with Liz of Liz's Cupcakes on August 6. Carrie of Fields of Cake and Other Good Stuff in Maine drops by on August 13. And lastly we'll hear from Liana of Star Bakery in the UK as our final guest on August 20. Thank you ladies for sharing these scrumptious recipes with us and without further ado, here's Betsy....

Hello fans and friends of Sugar Daze! I am so excited to be doing a guest blog post for you today! My name is Betsy Eves and I’m the owner of the cupcake blog, JavaCupcake.com. Along with my friend Jenn, we write about our adventures in cupcake baking and of course cupcake eating! Currently, the Army has moved me and my family to Germany where we get to travel, try new food and dessert, and of course search for European cupcakes! I also write for the #1 cupcake blog in the world, Cupcakes Take the Cake! So in my world, it’s all cupcakes, all the time! You can read more about my cupcake adventures on my blog or you can find me on Facebook or Twitter!

When Cat asked me to do a guest post for you, I just knew I had to come up with something fantastic. I took a recipe I already had on my blog for banana cupcakes and doctored them up to make them even better. What I had before was awesome… but these, these are AMAZING!!!

These are a banana cupcake with chopped mixed nuts and chocolate chips topped with a rich cream cheese, peanut butter and honey frosting, more chopped nuts and a banana chip. It’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth! I hope you all enjoy it!


JavaCupcake’s Banana Goodness Cupcakes
Makes 3 dozen cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
5 large ripe bananas, mashed
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp banana extract

1 cup finely chopped mixed nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In the well whisk together the melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla extract. Continue with a spatula to combine the wet with the flour until incorporated. Blend only until incorporated. Do not over mix.
4. Gently fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1-8oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (creamy/smooth, not fresh ground)
½ cup honey
5-6 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
Mixed nuts, finely chopped for garnish
Banana chips, for garnish

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, peanut butter, honey and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
2. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and combine on low speed until incorporated.
4. Pipe frosting with a large star tip, sprinkle with chopped nuts and top with a banana chip.

If We Took A Holiday.....

Well cupcake fans, I am out of here for a little R&R! Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. I'll be back 22 August.

In case you've missed it, Cupcake Camp Paris returns on October 2nd. Baker registration is now open on the blog.

Check back here during the break for my summer series of guest posts from bakers: Java Cupcake, Fields of Cake & Other Good Stuff, Liz's Cupcakes & Star Bakery.

25 July 2011

Hello, Goodbye

I'm sure many of you have come here today to see if you won my birthday cupcake contest and I'll get to the winners, yes, that's right I said winners with an "s" in just a few minutes.....

While I have your attention, I thought I would take the opportunity to thank you all for an incredible year. (The end of July feels more like the wrap up of the year to me as so many friends, clients and businesses take a little time off for summer holidays versus December which is one of my busiest times.) I cannot thank you enough for your support and patronage - looking back over this past year, I had orders almost every single day and finally had to self-impose a "no orders taken on Sundays" policy halfway through so I too could have a day of rest. Despite all this, I have had to turn down a lot of orders simply because I cannot keep up with the demand and frankly, that's one of the hardest parts of the job. I appreciate those of you who placed your orders far enough in advance so I didn't have to stress about fitting you in. And I am grateful for the patience from those of you who I couldn't squeeze in - I hope you'll try me again.

My youngest heads off to school full-time in September and I'm going to be taking a hard look at how to grow my business. Sugar Daze turns 3 in October and this little adventure has been even more successful and satisfying than I could have ever imagined. I absolutely love being able to wake up every day and bake knowing that my cupcakes are spreading joy and a little piece of Americana across France. I've reached a crossroads and I'm really excited about the prospects ahead. I have a lot of ideas on the table and for those of you who have asked if there will ever be a Sugar Daze store, the answer is, "I'm considering ALL my options right now."

On to the cupcakes.....there were so many excellent ideas submitted for my birthday cucpakes. Thanks you guys for rising to the challenge! I had an awesome birthday fete and the cupcakes played a big role. Note that a lot of you submitted flavor combinations that already exist on the Sugar Daze menu and since I was looking for something different and that I hadn't made before, a lot of them were ruled out by default. Sorry, Charlie!

What did catch my eye? An idea from Dom which was a coffee flavored cupcake, with a salted caramel center and cream cheese frosting. Simple, and a flavor combination that just sounded so right. I topped these with a little shake of cinnamon and cocoa powder and they were delicious! Thanks Dom! You got 1 dozen on me whenever you feel like claiming them!

And because I had such a hard time deciding amongst all the contributions, I decided to pick a second variety -- this one a little more daring and something I probably would never try on my own. A banana cupcake with a strawberry jam center and a mint buttercream. I also added some white chocolate into the frosting to temper the strength of the mint. This cupcake was familiar yet exotic at the same time and worked in an interesting way. Thanks Paradox7! You too have 1 dozen of these to claim whenever you need a little sugar daze.

So that's that. I'm outta here on a real vacation from 1-22 August and probably won't be answering my emails until my return. In case you haven't heard, Cupcake Camp Paris will be back for its second edition October 2 at Le Comptoir General on the Canal St Martin. We'll be raising money for Make a Wish France this year and Sugar Daze is proud to be an official sposnor of this event. You can find out more about Cupcake Camp Paris II here and RSVP to attend here.

Wishing you all a devilishly sweet summer and see you back here in September.


06 July 2011

What a Day for a Birthday

It's that time of the year again. My birthday is coming up at the end of this month. At my age, this is an event that I'd like to see quietly pass me by but my kids won't let me forget. So I figured why not ask you all for an extra-special gift to boost my morale? Here's the deal....I want you to invent the cupcake I will eat at my birthday party. Leave a comment below nominating at least 2 ingredients (maximum of 4) like bacon and maple syrup; or pear, cinnamon and chocolate, and I will pick one ingredient combination to whip up my special birthday cupcake. To sweeten the deal, if I pick your ingredient combination, I'm going to make you 12 cupcakes of the same variety!

Contest ends Sunday July 17 and is open to anyone anywhere but you have to be in Paris to pick up your cupcakes. You can enter as many times as you'd like. Winner will be chosen entirely at random by me and my cupcake cravings! The winner's cupcakes will be available for pick-up starting 28 August and offer valid for 1 year. For duplicate ingredient nominations, the first person who suggests the combination wins. The winning cupcake will be revealed the week of July 25.

Thanks for playing and looking forward to a tasty sweet treat for my birthday this year!

04 July 2011

Oh Say Can You See?

Happy July 4th everyone! This is (along with Halloween & Thanksgiving) one of my FAVORITE American holiday. It always makes me a little blue to spend it in Paris. But thankfully, I have a lot of expat friends (and some Brits to boot!) who are just as sentimental as I am and who like to join me in some patriotic festivities. As in years past, we'll be meeting up at our local park with the kiddies and all sorts of sweet and savory snacks to share. And you can be sure we'll be dressed up in red, white and blue! Who says we can't do the 4th in style in gay Paree?

I'll be missing the BBQs and of course the fireworks in the US today but am happy to be sharing some good old American treats like these red velvet whoopie pies and cupcakes baked in cones (something I have always wanted to try). Enjoy your 4th wherever you may be.

03 July 2011

School's Out for Summer

Goodness me! Where does the time go? My youngest, who I swear was just being swaddled in her baby blanket a few months ago, will be 4 in September! And I have another birthday looming on the horizon (check back here next week for a related cupcake giveaway) myself! Another school year has just ended and we are soon going to be heading into vacation mode. I love this time of year - the long days of dawdling around at the parc, exploring Paris, passing evenings on warm cafe terraces and the anticipation of getting out of town for a bit, changing the scenery and just enjoying family time.

Unfortunately the end of the school year also brings with it the usual round of goodbyes to families who will be leaving our city. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of having kids in an international school. We meet people, make friends and then 2-3 years later they are gone, moving on to another exotic location or heading back home after an assignment abroad. At this point my son has become kind of hardened to these types of departures and I guess just views them as a part of life. My little one on the other hand hasn't quite made sense of why some friends who were once part of everyday life suddenly vanish and has had a more difficult acceptance of these comings and goings.

We have several friends moving on this summer. It's hard to see them go. We wish them luck settling into their new homes and look forward to hearing about their adventures in various corners of the world (a special shout-out to my friend JS who is moving to India with her family!). And of course hope they'll be back at some point down the road to visit.

In this post, pictures of cupcakes made for families heading to Colorado, NY and LA, India and London.