Well… This is Embarrassing.

See, what happened was…

I was having some major technical difficulties with my camera and computer. I continued to bake for you all, took the photos, all that good stuff… but when it came time to upload them to my computer, it wasn’t happening. I knew it was because my poor ol’ laptop was knocking on deaths door and it had little to no memory available for me. Basically, I’ve had a bunch of recipes hanging out in my camera waiting to be uploaded! Beyond annoying.

Laptops are expensive and I was in no position to purchase a new one. Luckily, my live-in boyfriend bought himself a new fancy laptop and lovingly loaned me his older, yet still fancy laptop. He cleaned it up real nice for me, it was brand new! So brand new, that it didn’t have any photo software. *sigh*

After a couple weeks of being distracted by playing Sims 3 on my fresh new computer, I decided it was time to buckle down, purchase the photo software and get back to blogging! I have tons of fun recipes and goodies to post. Hopefully it was worth the wait.

I apologize for my absence and I’m sure it won’t happen again, especially for such a long period of time. No excuses! Just baking!

NYC Experience and Food!

As previously posted, I was in New York City the second week of June with my mum and two sisters. Even with a few mishaps, we had a great time. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful architecture and the awesome food, I even threatened to move there a couple times.
I wanted to share some photos from our trip, some food, some sights, all kinds of goodies. Bare in mind that I took all of these photos with my phone, so please disregard the quality and possible Instagram-like editing. 🙂
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Awesome coffee shop called Caffe Bene. Not only was their coffee amazing, but the gelato and little bakery treats were unreal. The decor was simple, with great character. Apparently one will be opening off of S. Western and 6th in L.A. in July. I may have to drop by!

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A pretzel in Central Park, so cliche of us… The park was stunning, the pretzel was ok. Must’ve chose the wrong vender.

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My delicious chicken parmesan panini from the Europa Cafe. Mum had a pastrami sandwich and didn’t seem to be too impressed.

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We also got some cupcakes from Europa Cafe, I got the Peppermint York cupcake… it was ok. It just didn’t taste the way I thought it would. The cake was dry and the icing had a strange texture and taste.

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Best. Dinner. EVER! Trimonte on 46th, between 8th and 9th is now my favorite place in the world. I had their four cheese pizza, which was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Mum had lasagna, which she pretty much admitted that it was better than her famous homemade lasagna! My older sister, Cera, had a cheese pasta that was cooked to perfection. We were eating each others’ food, drinking wine and had an amazing time. The restaurant is on this gorgeous street and only had about 10-15 tables total, very cute and quaint little place.

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Chinese food place in China Town. Not impressed. Chicken was flavorless and the rice was decent (but I’m pretty sure it was rice-a-roni). It was pretty forgettable, I believe the restaurant was called Chinese Kitchen.

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We did stumble into Crumbs a couple of times. Yes, we have one in Beverly Hills, but who wants to drive from San Diego to Beverly Hills for a cupcake? They were pretty good, some flavors were much better than others. The Good Guy and Apple Cobbler (above) were definitely the best set we bought. Super moist, delicious and we couldn’t put them down.

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Breakfast at Park Cafe. Reasonably priced and really good! I love bacon… and this was good bacon, plus they gave me a lot!

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Now, don’t laugh too hard… but Cera and I are huge Sex and the City fans. Yes, we did take the tour and it was AWESOME! We stopped by a sex toy shop, a restaurant, a park, got free cupcakes and even got to end the tour with a cosmopolitan! It rained the majority of the tour and obviously the rain wasn’t kind to our hair.

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We stopped by the gigantic candy store, Dylan’s. Although there was wall to wall candy, I was sort of disappointed in the selection. I was hoping for more candies from all over the world, rather than a bunch of commercial brands. Oh well. Dylan’s had their own line of candy flavors, there were tons to choose from. As I mentioned, I love bacon and had to try the chocolate with bacon bits. It sounded too good to be true and it was. Not the best purchase I made. 😛

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Not food related, but we visited the 9/11 memorial. It is stunning. Everyone really needs to make the trip to visit it at one point or another.

Good-bye Oven Mitt, Hello New York!

Well, this isn’t really a Good-bye, more of a See ya later! Early this Friday, I will be flying off to New York City with my mum and two sisters. Cera, my older sister, and I have never been, so this will be an extra special trip for us! Mum and Samantha, the little sister, have been a couple of times before and they’ll be showing us around town.
I’m mostly excited about the food, of course. The ladies can drag me to whatever tourist trap, monument or statue… as long as I get lots and lots of food. There will be no McDonald’s or Applebee’s visits for this girl! I hope to come back with some mini reviews and photos of some of my good and not-so-good eats. Maybe I’ll toss in a couple shots of us having a grand time as well.
You can always follow me on twitter @courtneybowen_ to check out any updates from the trip! I’m sure there will be plenty!
Have a great week! 😀

Spice Cupcakes with Browned Butter Rum Frosting

I realized that baking alcoholic cupcakes would be a fun idea, but wasn’t sure what direction to go. There are tons of mixed drinks out there, the possibilities are endless. I ended up with quite a few ideas, but since rum n’ coke is my drink of choice, I’ll start from there!… Except there won’t be any coke in these cupcakes. 🙂
I decided to make a spice cake because it seemed to be the best choice to go with a rum buttercream frosting. It turned out beautifully!
Alcoholic delights!
Spice cake ingredients, this created 2 dozen cupcakes:
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 cup butter (softened)
• 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
• 4 egg whites
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Blend the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set Aside.
Dry stuffff
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.
Sort of softened, mostly sliced
Beat the egg whites into the creamed mixture, one at a time.
Add the milk and vanilla extract, continue to beat.
Mix in about 1/4 of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, beat and continue by adding a little bit of the dry mixture at a time. Once all of the ingredients have been combined, continue to beat until smooth.
Soft n' dry
Place the batter into cupcake liners and bake 16-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Ready to bake!
While they’re cooling, it’s time to whip up the best part!
Rum buttercream ingredients:
• 1/2 cup butter (1/4 will be browned, 1/4 will be softened)
• 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
• 2-3 tbs. of rum
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3 tbs. milk

Brown 1/4 cup of butter over medium-high heat, until the butter becomes a nice nut brown color. Be sure to stir constantly. The browning process will take about 5 minutes. Once finished, remove the butter from heat and allow to cool in a heat-safe bowl.
Brownin' some butta!
In a medium bowl, cream the 1/4 cup of softened butter, the 1/4 cup of browned butter, vanilla extract and 2 cups of powdered sugar together.
Half browned, half softened
Add the rum and continue to beat.
Booze!
Alternate between the milk and the remainder of the powedered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
Frost your cupcakes and prepare for happy hour!
It's glory...

Cupcakery Review: Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen

I’ve recently moved from Orange County California to San Diego County. I must admit, I love San Diego, I love it so much more than Orange County. There’s a lot more options when it comes to going out, restaurants, bars, etc. Most of all, there are tons of bakeries! I’ve discovered quite a few already and thought it would be fun to snack on their goodies and blog about it!
My most recent discovery was Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen in Vista, CA. Wow, what great cupcakes! Apparently they were contestants on Cupcake Wars and won… yeah, they were that good.
I only got 3 cupcakes because I didn’t want to feel like too much of a heffer. After countless minutes of circling the menu and the cupcakes on display, I finally came to my 3 choices(all descriptions courtesy of littlecakeskitchen’s site):

Almond Champagne – Sweet almond cake with champagne buttercream and edible pearls.
Almond Champagne
Chocolate Mint – Chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache, mint buttercream and crispy chocolate pearls.
Chocolate Mint
Strawberry Milkshake – Moist vanilla cake with a generous swirl of strawberry cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with rainbow sugar.
Strawberry Milkshake
I highly recommend these cupcakes, if anyone is ever in North County San Diego, make the trip! They had an amazing variety of unique cupcakes. The buttercreams weren’t stiff and super sugary like most places, they were very creamy, delicious and perfect. It was obvious that their cupcakes are freshly baked every morning. I’ll be back! 🙂
All the nums