Friday, April 1, 2011

Making Friends with Cupcakes

So, let's rewind a few days... I went up to Moline to visit my BFF Talen. And I came bearing gifts. 12 tiny, delectable, chocolatey little gifts covered in vanilla cream cheese frosting. But before I yammer on about cupcakes for 3 hours, let me tell you about our adventures. 

This, my friends, is Talen. Also affectionately known as Tal-Tal or T-Dawg. 

In the middle of a 239482-hour ride to a track meet on a people mover. Can't you tell we just look thrilled?

Here's a slightly more attractive pic of the both of us; Talen's on the left. Then me, then Kristi, then Alissa. This was my Bachelorette party. We went to Bailey's Chocolate Bar. Hands down the best dessert restaurant in the world, in case you were wondering.

Talen & I were roommates/housemates for 2 years in college, and share the love of many things, including but not limited to the following: running, seasons of Friends, Dairy Queen chocolate ice cream (must be chocolate!), buffalo wings, and eating DQ and buffalo wings while watching seasons of Friends. We led exciting lives in college, I know.

I hadn't seen her in over 3 months so to say I was a bit excited was an understatement. As soon as we got there, we went for a run. She took me to the gorgeous riverfront of the Quad Cities and we did 9 miles on the riverfront trail. It was so easy the first half... what we didn't realize is that we had the wind at our backs the whole time. That made the second half not so pleasant. But running's always fun when you're with your BFF!

After cleaning ourselves up a bit, we headed out to lunch to this super-cute old-fashioned soda parlor & confectionary. Where I persuaded Talen & Tim (her BF) to give me all their pickles. It was bliss.

Tim's trying to creep in the picture at the edge. 
I bought a chocolate peanut butter egg from the confectionary counter. I absolutely looove Reese's eggs so I had to see how this compared. Way better! I guess real home-made candies will always win out over processed-manufactured candies. (Who knew? :-P)


We then dropped Tim off at his apartment so we could go do girly things, like shop, order bridesmaid dresses, and try to find some silver heels for our friend Jen's wedding this August. 

Will these work Jen? They were on super-sale at TJ Maxx!
Somehow that ended up taking all afternoon and we found ourselves hungry again, for Mexican. We ate at Los Agaves and I had a chicken fajita quesadilla the size of my face. It was dee-licious but we had to be rolled out because we were so full.

We then went to Tuesday Night Trivia, where we proceeded to get 3rd to last out of 11 teams. Not bad, right? Most of the people were twice our age, so I think we did alright. Of course we ate cupcakes while at trivia, doesn't everyone bring snacks to Trivia night?

And now... the cupcakes. They have a secret ingredient, one that I've never purchased before. 

Can you guess it?




Guinness Stout!

I know... I would have never thought to put beer in a cupcake either.

However, earlier this week when I was in Lori's Kitchen Store, Lori herself gave me this recipe. She dubbed it "her favorite cupcake in the world." I don't know if I could ever declare one specific cupcake to be a favorite cupcake, but this one would definitely be up there in the running.

It's moist, chocolatey, and rich without being too heavy. I added mini-chips to the batter for a little extra oomph. The vanilla cream cheese frosting is to die for, and complements the cake wonderfully. She said the best garnish is a single raspberry, but raspberries are expensive this time of year, so I went with some Ghiradelli baking chips that my mom already had in the pantry.

Before they received the luscious frosting.

I think I need to start traveling with my cupcake decorating tips, because this is not the first time I've ended up somewhere that I want to frost cupcakes beautifully but haven't been able to because I don't have my supplies. Ay ay ay... but I made things work!

Ziploc bag to the rescue!

If you are in the central IL area, you should definitely check out Lori's Kitchen Store in Washington. It's downtown on the square, and oh-so-cute! She's got tons of nifty kitchen gadgets, cake decorating supplies, and baking mixes. I love the Cheesey Garlic Beer Bread... it's my fav! She also offers 1-2 cooking classes each week, and they are super-fun as well.

Happy baking; here's the recipe!


Running Girl said...

Ooooh, yum. Those look fabulous! You are making me fantasize about cupcakes!

Simply Yours Designs: Cute Blog Designs