Archive for November, 2010

Kosher Cupcake Wars

November 28, 2010

Article is found at the Jewish Journal

Yes, they are talking about cupcakes  and they are Kosher … yum.

Kosher Cupcake Wars [VIDEO]

Posted by Orit Arfa

Erica Tucker is no stranger to sugary battles. The baker has proven herself to be a valiant fighter on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” With the expansion of her delivery and catering baking operation into the Sweet E’s Mini-Bake Shop off the corner of Pico/Robertson—LA’s own Jewish quarter—her war has become a religious one.

The native-Texan has definitely made kosher way more hip and glamorous with her red carpet style opening on November 18. Pictures of her Tinsletown clients were served up as marketing frosting near the neat displays of the “mini-cakes” and other goodies.

But the LA branch of Magnolia Bakery has proven a stalwart kosher cupcake warrior. Founded in 1996 in the Jewish hood of all hoods—Manhattan—the New York favorite was bought by Steve Abrams in 2007. The good Jewish boy opened three new branches in New York and made them all kosher. The LA branch opened this past July on the corner of Third Street and Orlando, not far from the other Jewish quarter—Third/Fairfax—bringing back some kosher bakery glory to a hood overshadowed by the rise of Pico/Robertson.

I had the difficult job of throwing my waist in the ring to determine which kosher cupcakes were better. Since cupcakes are a matter of taste, Angelenos really have to bite the caloric intake and judge for themselves. But if I had to choose just one cupcake worth an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill, it would definitely be Magnolia’s “Snowcap”—a devil’s food cupcake with meringue icing.

Sweet E’s cupcakes are smaller, the icing and cake denser than Magnolia’s. Magnolia’s cakes are fluffy, buttery goodness. Like the design of its shop, the Sweet E’s cupcake is characterized by perfect grooming: the icing is meticulously swirled over perfectly round tops. At Magnolia, you can watch the bakers simply slab the icing and pat it down at the bakery’s open kitchen. I guess you could say Sweet E’s is the more refined, conservative cupcake; Magnolia the loose, liberal one.

But I could see this war becoming less about the batter-at-hand—the cupcake—and more about the turf, with the Jews of Pico/Robertson rallying behind their Hood and the Jews of Fairfax desperately clinging to their side of town as the local Jewish capital. Lucky for my waist, I live in Hollywood, far enough from them both. The last thing I need from a cupcake is a muffin-top.

Sweet E’s: 1417 S. Robertson Blvd; (323) 422-8885 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (323) 422-8885      end_of_the_skype_highlighting;
Magnolia Bakerly: 8389 West 3rd Street; (323) 951-0636 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (323) 951-0636      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; 


To all things cupcake!


Cupcakes and Creativity for a Good Cause

November 26, 2010

There is so much good in the world. Unfortunately, too many of us focus on the bad.Today, you can use your love for cupcakes and your creativity, for a worthy cause. Get involved , submit your favorite cupcake recipe or create a new one.

Be the change you want to see in the world Mahatma Gandhi

This article is from

Mary Constantine: Cupcakes and creativity for a good cause

Attention, bakers, the a.inline_topic:hover { background-color: #EAEAEA; } Empty Stocking Fund needs your help. So pull out your heavy-duty blender, put on your chef’s thinking cap, empty the cabinet of flour and sugar, purchase your favorite butter and eggs, and come up with a cupcake recipe that best represents the North Pole.

Yes, you read that right. The North Pole is to be your inspiration.

You see, the folks at Cities Cupcake Boutique like to name their cupcakes after cities from around the world, so they are hosting a North Pole Cupcake contest in hopes someone will come up with the perfect combination of flavors.

You have exactly two weeks (Dec. 9) to create and submit a recipe to Cities Cupcake Boutique, 5201 Kingston Pike, Suite 3, Knoxville, TN 37919. Or you can e-mail the recipe to Just make sure you include your name, address, telephone and e-mail address, if applicable.

The grand-prize winner will receive a party package of 50 cupcakes, second place will receive a dozen cupcake burgers and third place wins a $25 gift card.

Need inspiration? Look no further than the company’s website,, where you will find a plethora of cupcakes named for cities.

For instance, the Knoxville cupcake is made with orange chiffon cake and vanilla butter cream icing, and the Key West cupcake features a white cake filled with Key lime curd and topped with a Key lime cream cheese icing.

Now do you get the picture?

Oh, and if you’re wondering how the Empty Stocking Fund benefits from all this, that’s as simple as pie – or uh, in this case, as simple as a cupcake – as all proceeds from the sale of this tasty morsel will be donated to the Empty Stocking Fund, a News Sentinel charity that provides food baskets and toys to needy families.

So, hop to it. It’s a great way to earn your wings this holiday season.


While I’m on the subject of raising funds for worthy causes, tickets are still available for “A Sweet Evening with the Sisters of the Skillet.”

The event, to be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Ronald McDonald House, 1705 W. Clinch Ave, will include a baking demonstration by me and Jennifer Alexander, midday host of B97.5, as well as an appearance by special guest Belinda Ellis, who is a baking expert for Midstate Mills.

Cost is $25 and reservations are requested. Call 865-637-7475 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              865-637-7475      end_of_the_skype_highlighting for ticket information. All proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House.

Mary Constantine may be reached at 865-342-6428 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              865-342-6428      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Follow her on twitter @skilletsister.

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25 Things We are Thankful for: Day 23: Cupcakes

November 24, 2010

This article was posted at Cupcakes falls on “Day 23” of the list  “25 Things We are Thankful for.” Cupcakes, on a what I am thankful for list? Frivolous, yes, but important to the taste buds of cupcake enthusiasts.

25 Things We Are Thankful For: Day 23: Cupcakes
Posted 2010-11-23 20:24:45 by Amy Spencer
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Last week, I asked my Facebook friends what I should be thankful for that isn’t fashion, food or furry. I am, of course, thankful for the obvious things: family, friends, my health, a roof over my head, plumbing, modern technology and cable TV (that includes a DVR). But I anticipated the “thankful blog” to be all about the frivolous things that we could live without, but that we are grateful for nonetheless.


Looking back, the list of things I am thankful for includes Indian buffets, shoe porn and wine in a box. I count wine as food, and I am half tempted to add local breweries and low calorie beer to the list, but time is running out on the “thankful blog.” But I digress.


Although I wanted to stray from food, I couldn’t resist being thankful for cupcakes. It’s more than the moist cake topped with smooth frosting made with the finest ingredients … in my mouth. Oh, yum. It’s about the happiness I feel when I see the dainty, little confections. I don’t even need to eat the cupcake to feel that euphoria. 


If I could only describe myself using pictures, there would be a cupcake cutout on the construction paper collage about me. The kitsch, sweetness, creativity and decorativeness that we have in common make use kindred spirits. Yes, I just described a cupcake as a kindred spirit.


Now, I have always loved cupcakes and have never had a party without them, but it wasn’t until I started baking vegan cupcakes that the obsession came to live. One of my favorite cookbooks is called “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I now have a cupcake tree, a cupcake carrier and my DVR is set to record “Cupcake Wars” on Food Network.


If you are not as talented as I when it comes to cupcake making (I kid, I’m not that good, but that first picture with the banana split cupcake is one labor-intesive one that I made myself!), there are some wonderful local places to satisfy your sweet tooth and find a smile on your face with my favorite confection. 


Check out these local businesses for cupcake happiness:


Cakewalk Vegan Bakery and Grocery

434 S. 900 East


Follow them on Facebook and they will tempt you with daily updates of Peanut Butter Massacre Cupcakes, Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes and they have even veganized the bacon maple cupcake. 



Diva’s Cupcakes and Coffee

1560 E. 3300 South


Not only this a cozy coffee shop with a gorgeous patio and green room, there is a reason why they have cupcake in their name. Diva’s has wonderful lunch options that you’ll love followed with a cupcake. You can’t resist ordering one to go with your coffee.


Mini Cupcakes

14 E. 800 South and 1751 S. 1100 East


With cupcakes with names like “Smore Please” or “PB Fix,” you know I’m a big fan. Mini’s has a wonderful box lunch special where you can reward yourself for eating your 1/2 sandwich and green salad with one of their delish cupcakes. What these itty bitty cupcakes lack in size, they more than make up for it in taste. I highly recommend the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “the Diva” and “Carrie Cosmo” – a cranberry cupcake soaked in vodka, topped with a tart lime frosting and cranberries. It’s the confection equivalent of the popular ‘tini from “Sex and The City.”


So Cupcake

3939 S. Highland Dr.


This local shop has so many flavors to choose from, but you’ll become a fan when you try their everyday flavors: So CK “Carrot Kake,” “So Coco Delight,” “So Dreamy Creamy Coco,” “So Hanky Panky Red Velvet” and “So Key Lime.” In the spirit “Twilight,” they have “The Edward,” a vanilla cupcake with white butter cream frosting and a shimmery sparkle on top and “The Bella,” a red velvet cake with butter cream frosting. Plus, they have Alice, Jasper, Rosalie, Emmett and, Jacob, of course.  


The Sweet Tooth Fairy

1334 Foothill Dr. (more locations in Draper, Provo and St. George)


I have only had a strawberry lemonade cupcake here, but it was a cupcake I can’t stop thinking about. The shop is adorable and I am dying to go back to try their strawberry shortcake, FairyFetti, Peanut Butter n’ Chocolate and sooo many more.

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To all things cupcakes!

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