Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Who doesn’t love chocolate? No, really, who doesn’t? I may have been guilty of growing up without an appreciation for chocolate, but I’ve come around and now truly appreciate all that is holy about chocolate. So when I see chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, my brain gets excited.

I don’t normally participate in the cupcake craze. I judge the people I see waiting hours in line for a Georgetown Cupcake in DC. But sometimes, for parties, cupcakes are kind of handy because people can just grab one and eat it while standing without any silverware. Plus, sometimes I think people are intimidated by cake, but not cupcakes. So anyways, I made these double chocolate cupcakes for the June birthday party I threw, and well, all I can tell you is I only got to taste the dough and frosting because these were gone before I even got to eat one. So I’m hoping that means they were good. Plus they are super fun to decorate if you go the extra mile and create the chocolate toppings (it’s a lot easier than it seems, I promise!!).

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Cake Decorating 101

There’s just something so fun about decorating a cake. Perhaps it’s because it really just feels like a middle school art class. But here’s the thing, people don’t actually love cake as much as they do other desserts. So I now try to hold off on making them unless it’s for a special occasion. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t go over the top with decorations every chance I get. There’s really no rules to cake decorating besides having fun with it. Simple is great, and so is over the top. So below I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite techniques I’ve done. Note: for the pictures of my creations, a lot of them are from my pre-blog days, so I apologize for the quality of the photos!

1. Straws – I got this idea originally from Pinterest and I’ve done it in two different ways in the last year. For the first, I used two straws to create a mini bunting strand that said happy birthday. Very easy, but very effective. For the frosting itself, I just did a messy layer. To get this messy layer, use a knife with a rounded edge and sort of move it in swooping motions. The less perfect, the better.

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Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

When it comes to sugar cookies, there are good ones and bad ones. My favorite happen to be the ones you find in a grocery store that are light and fluffy, and a little bit thicker.

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to make cookies for everyone I know here in DC and had looked at tons of recipes trying to find one that would give me this perfect end product. I ended up settling on the “Olinger family recipe” with a few small tweaks. My coworker had brought her family cookies in at the holidays, and I had fond memories. And I wasn’t let down! They were a big hit!

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Happy Holidays – “Gingerbread” Houses

Just wanted to get in one more post before I head out to California. But don’t worry, after a week in CA, I’ll be back with lots more delicious baked goods (many of which will probably go against some of your New Year’s resolutions, but oh well).

This past week, I have been squeezing in a few of my favorite holiday traditions—ice skating in the sculpture garden, watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie, eating lots of holiday cookies, and making gingerbread houses!

While many of you may imagine gingerbread houses made with, you know, actual gingerbread, I’m here to show you my version. It’s called graham crackers. YES. It’s cheaper, easier to buy, and well just really awesome. This is how I grew up doing it, and I’ve kept the tradition alive in DC. This year, my two awesome friends, Kelsey and Colleen, hosted the party. Between the amazing quesadillas and the 20 bowls of candy, it was pretty fantastic.

This is how my house turned out:

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For any of you who want to make your own at home, I’ve included the recipe below for frosting, and a list of some of our favorite candy. And come on, I know you’re looking at mine thinking, “Wow, I could never do that!” I’m here to tell you, yes you can – just use the gumdrops. Great structural design.
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