Video How-To: Skinny Cupcakes

Hi everyone!

Over the weekend, I was inspired by my recent chat with Gabrielle Terzano, my friend over at live, laugh, YUM!, to make “Skinny” cupcakes. After searching the internet for a good recipe to try, I found one for Skinny Vanilla Funfetti Cupcakes. The recipe was super simple, which is why I was drawn to it. I decided to document my first attempt at making these skinny cupcakes (a recipe I’ve never tried) by filming a How-To. I thought it would be a great way for my readers to see exactly how these cupcakes are made since they’re slightly different from regular cupcakes. The batter looks a little different and the icing definitely has an interesting texture to it, making a video the perfect way to clear up any and all worries someone may have while baking these skinny cupcakes for the first time. I hope you all enjoy this video and learn something new and give this recipe a try! My friends loved these cupcakes and loved that they’re only 120 calories a piece!

Have a great weekend 🙂

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Frosting for Dummies: A photo-guide to frosting the perfect cupcake

Too often, people take the easy way out when frosting their cupcakes. While there isn’t always time to create a perfect, pretty cupcake, there’s always time to learn how to do so for the days when there is time to make your cupcakes look like a work of art. The most common problem people have when trying to frost is the lack of proper tools. Generally, you will need a frosting bag and a frosting tip, both of which you can find at any specialty bake shop or at craft stores like AC Moore or Michael’s. However, these tools are not always necessary and you can make your own frosting bag by using a Ziplock bag (or any other plastic bag.) This post will show you a step by step guide to creating perfect, pretty cupcakes by using a plastic sandwich bag for frosting. It’s so easy and you have all the tools in your kitchen already! Take a look!

Try this method over the weekend and let me know how it works for you. Like I mentioned before, these things take practice, so do not get discouraged after your first cupcake! Keep a steady hand and stay focused and before you know it, your cupcakes will look beautiful. Good luck!

home SWEET home: Q&A with at-home baker, Jacki Chinosi

Jacki Chinosi in her kitchen

Jacki Chinosi in her kitchen

Dreams are often formed in the comfort of one’s own home. For Jacki Chinosi, her home is where the dream has stayed. Five years ago, Chinosi realized she had a knack for baking cupcakes, really good cupcakes, that her friends and family alike could not stop complementing. “Every time we had a family gathering, I’d experiment with a different kind of cupcake,” she said. “And each time someone would come up to me and say that it was the best cupcake they’d ever eaten. It kind of got the wheels turning.” Chinosi formulated her own recipes and techniques and now bakes cupcakes for parties out of her home.

Have you always been interested in baking?

Yes, as a kid my mom and I used to bake together all the time. She was always making things for church functions and for holidays and I always remember wanting to help. It was fun. I also really liked putting ingredients together and seeing how they created something delicious.

When did you start experimenting with cupcake recipes?

It really started about five years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I was constantly craving cupcakes and so I figured instead of spending lots of money on gourmet ones or going through the hassle of trying to find a good place to go, I’d make them myself. So I went online and looked things up and added my own spin on recipes I thought I’d like and it kind of just worked. I made my husband and my sister-in-law try them and they loved them and they’re my harshest critics so I knew if they liked them, others would too, which is why I started bringing them to functions and things.

Do you plan on opening your own cupcake bakery one day?

I mean, would I love to do that? Yes. Do I see that happening any time in the near future, no. I only say that because I have four kids now and I’m constantly busy with them and I can’t imagine opening a bakery because that’s like another baby. Honestly, baking out of my house is easy and just as efficient as having my own business. I get to choose when I work and who I work for and I can make sure that whoever needs me to make cupcakes for them gets exactly what he or she wants because I am able to focus on only that specific order.

So for people who dream of owning their own bakery one day, would you advise them to start off at home?

If you have this dream and you don’t have the opportunity to open your own place, starting at home is great. You obviously don’t get to reach out to as many people as you would if you had an actual bakery but it’s a great way to get experience and learn the tricks and trades of cupcake baking because you get to do it at your own pace. You always have to start somewhere and I think that there could be worse places to begin than at your own home.

Any at-home tips for novice cupcake bakers?

My best and easiest tip is a trick for box mixes. They usually call for oil and water in the recipe but if you substitute the oil for butter and the water for milk, it ends up much more moist and rich and it tastes like you made it from scratch. I hardly do this because I make all of my cupcakes from scratch but when I want to whip up something quick for the kids, I’ll do this. It’s a great secret.

What makes your cupcakes unique?

Everything I bake is made in my own home. Not many other bakers can say that! Also, they’re delicious and relatively cheap. Since I make them mostly for my friends and family, I don’t charge that much. I do it because I love it, not to make a profit. I think that could be considered pretty unique too!

Do you think the cupcake craze is here to stay?

Well, all I know is that everyone I talk to about cupcakes talks so much about how “obsessed” they are with them so needless to say, I think they’re here to stay. There’s so many varieties, there is literally one for everyone.

What do you think most people would say is the hardest part about cupcake baking?

For me, it was frosting! Frosting a cupcake is so difficult the first few times! Maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist, but I messed up a hundred times before I got one right. For people just starting out, I would definitely think that making them look pretty is the most difficult thing ever. Watch a lot of videos and read things about frosting and just do as you see, that’s the only piece of advice I have. Practice makes perfect!

What is your favorite part about cupcake baking?

The smile on the faces of the people who eat them. There’s nothing like seeing someone bite into something you made and smile. It makes it worth it.

Chinosi does not have a website nor was she comfortable with listing her phone number on the blog. As of now, she only accepts orders from friends and family or referrals. She hopes that one day, she can have a bakery and really test her skills.

Flavor Friday: Try something new this weekend

flavor friday

To celebrate the end of the workweek and the beginning of the weekend, SJ Cupcake wants to present you with this week’s most delicious cupcake flavors. Whether you’re planning on spending the entire weekend on your couch or in the kitchen trying your hand at these recipes, they’re sure to pique your interest and awaken your taste buds!

First up is Cupcake Project with Tiramisu Cupcakes. For anyone that loves a classic dessert, these cupcakes will hit the spot.

Chocolate and peanut butter have forever been a fan-favorite combination and the same has proven to be true in cupcake form. Susie Homemaker came up with a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake that will have people talking long after they’ve tasted it.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Lady Behind the Curtain came up with Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes. Festive and delicious, these cupcakes are perfect for loved ones during this romantic time of year.

If you’re feeling sophisticated over the weekend, try LemonSugar’s Champagne Cupcake. They look just delicious as they taste, but according to the site, are incredibly easy to make. I’d say that’s a win/win situation for all.

The Salted Caramel craze has taken the nation by a storm and it’s showing in the cupcake world. Cooking Classy debuted their version of the sweet/salty combination and if it tastes anything like the picture looks, it’s bound to be one of the best cupcakes you eat all weekend.

Check out these recipes and try them yourself over the weekend! If yours turn out as good, post pictures to my Twitter account @SJ_Cupcake!

Happy Baking and have a great weekend!