Dark Chocolate Cherry Frosted Brownie Bites

I made these cute little brownie bites to go with my Dark Chocolate Cherry Mini Heart Cupcakes, I posted about last week. These tiny little brownies and packed with fudgy, dark chocolate flavor and topped with a sweet, classic buttercream frosting, spiked with cherry extract for a festive Valentine's Day touch. 

Simple Chocolate Pretzel Coins

I love the salty sweet combo of those bags of chocolate or yogurt covered pretzel twists from the grocery store. They sweet melty chocolate coating crunchy pretzel, studded with specks of saltiness is a definite palate pleaser.

Giant Single-Serving Cookie Gift In A Custom DIY Valentine's Day Pouch

What better Valentine gift than to surprise your sweetie with something sweet, like a personalized, buttery, chewy, crispy GIANT chocolate chip cookie! This chocolate chip cookie is so simple to whip together, with no mixer required and is so much more fun to receive than a traditional batch of cookies.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with Chocolate-Cherry & Cherry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Sometimes, less, really is more. Instead of making fancy intricate adornments for my cupcakes, I simply added a tiny little heart sprinkle on top of each one for a simple yet classy and sophisticated touch for Valentine's Day this year. I added a little cherry extract to the frosting for chocolate-cherry and cherry-vanilla flavored frostings. You can also try adding a little raspberry or strawberry flavored extract to my basic chocolate and vanilla buttercream recipe below, for a fun and festive touch!

Heart Shaped Raspberry Cream Patties

These little confections are a variation on my homemade peppermint patties and taste just like the real thing! They have a smooth cream filling and are coated in a rich dark chocolate. I made raspberry cream filling with raspberry extract and red food coloring making them perfect for Valentine's Day! They are a perfect 2 bite candy, great for parties, dessert tables or giving away as Valentine's. You can get creative and use any shaped cookie cutter you like to fit the season or party and create any flavor filling with extracts and food colorings paired with any type of chocolate you like!

Simple Valentine's Day Fudge (raspberry, strawberry or cherry)

Valentine's Day is a month away and I am so excited about all of the fun sweets and treats I have to share with you. I am starting off with a few simple recipes this week that are quick and affordable.  These little fudge bites are so easy to make and so versatile. You can use any type of chocolate you like, from dark to white and flavor them with a fun Valentine's themed extract like raspberry, strawberry or cherry! These are great to make for parties, work/school, or to give out as Valentine's day treats because they can be served and packages up so easily for a perfect little treat.

Fruit Flavored Hot Cocoa for 2 (with "adult" add-ins)

Here is one last post before we have to bid farewell to the (almost non-existent, here in LA) winter season. Chocolate pairs so well with so many flavors it was hard to narrow it down and decide which combo to share. I decided to do something a little more original than a mint or cinnamon infused cocoa, so today I am sharing some hot cocoa recipes with a fruity twist, that can also be spiked with coordinating flavored liquors for an "adult" variation.

Being a "Doll" in the kitchen

I cannot tell you how many pieces of clothing I have stained with oil or ruined during a leisurely Sunday afternoon baking muffins, a late night brownie baking session, frantically baking a last-minute birthday cake or running back and forth into the kitchen while hosting a get-together. After a while I finally learned the importance of a great apron, so my clothes are no longer covered in flour like this...

Food Network "Cupcake Wars" Season 2: Battle of the Champions Recap & Recipes

As many of you know, after a nationwide search for the country's top bakers, I was chosen to compete on the season 1 series premiere of the Food Network show "Cupcake Wars", in June 2010. And guess what?  I WON! And, I was chosen to come back and compete for the title of "best of the best" on a special Cupcake Wars Champions episode, in Dec. 2011 for season 2 !

Watch me compete in the season 2, Cupcake Wars Special: Battle of the Champions ("Rose Parade"  Season 2 Episode 6)!

Aaaand.... If you missed my WIN on the series premiere, check out the highlight video:
Cupcake Wars Series Premiere ("Seaworld Birthday Bash" season 1 episode 2)!

FOOD NETWORK: Cupcake Wars - Season 2: Battle of the champs recap
After winning the series premiere episode I was a lot more calm and collected, going back to compete for "best of the best". This was my second Food Network appearance and just as exciting as the first!
The theme of this episode was the 2011 Rose Parade's Queen Coronation

Here is a photo of my assistant Jordan and I just before filming! It was sooo early!

ROUND 1: Taste Challenge
Round 1 was the "Taste Challenge" and the secret ingredients we had to incorporate into our cupcakes were... 3 ITEMS FOUND ON A ROSE PARADE FLOAT (ONION SEED, WHEAT GRASS, PARSLEY, OATS, POPPY SEEDS, RAISINS, WHITE BEANS, ETC.)!

The 3 ingredients I ended up choosing were: parsley, white poppy seed and flax seed. I chose these because I though that if I started with a lemon buttermilk cake, the lemon could act as a nice ingredient to tie the poppy seeds and parsley together, since they both pair nicely with lemon. And, that they did! 

Since this was the champions episode, I definitely made sure to go with unique and risky ingredients! I wanted to make sure I was not going to get sent home for playing it safe with the more typical cupcake ingredients. 

For the frosting I didn't want to do any plain old buttercream frosting, so I decided to do a GOAT CHEESE frosting and let the tang of the frosting match the tang of the cake... and let me tell you, it was AMAZING! I know it may sound gross, but the hint of goat cheese mixed with some creamy cream cheese, sweet powdered sugar and an added touch of honey and nutty ground flax meal, it was so decadent. One of the judges even told me how much she loved it and could "eat it by the spoonful"! 

I topped it with a piece of homemade honey flax poppy brittle to tie the flavors all together. I will definitely have to post the recipes for it because it is sooo good. It reminds me of those sesame honey candies, but so simple to make and absolutely delicious!

ROUND 2: 50% Taste & 50% Presentation

Round 2 was 50% based on taste, and 50% based on presentation. We had to come up with 3 additional cupcake flavors and decorate them to match the theme of the Rose Parade's Queen Coronation. I made sure to incorporate flavor combinations that would match perfectly to the decor of the cupcakes to encompass all of the elements of the Rose Parade and Rose Queen Coronation.

Round 2 Cupcakes
Cupcake 2: Vanilla Lavender Ginger Cupcake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
Cupcake 3: Chocolate Cupcake with Mint Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Filling

Here we are working on the decorations!

The first cupcake flavor I chose to make was a Red Velvet Cupcake with Vanilla Rose Water Cream Cheese Frosting. I thought adding rose water to my frosting, on top of a moist red velvet cake, would be the perfect flavor addition to reflect the theme, as well as a great way to incorporate the rose from the Rose Parade logo as my decor!

The second cupcake I did was to represent the Rose Parade Queen Coronation event, so I wanted to do a feminine, light cupcake. I ended up using my basic vanilla cupcake recipe as a base and added some lavender and ginger for a wonderful fragrant touch. I paired them with my vanilla cream cheese frosting, flavored with honey to really tie all the flavors together. Fittingly, I topped them with a fondant crown adorned with an edible pearl on top of a handmade fondant pillow, to be presented for the queen.

Here is a close-up of the 100% edible, fondant decorations I made for the first 2 cupcakes in round 2! I used everything I could to really impress the judges, from edible pearls to edible glitter and lustre dust, fondant molds, cutter and stamps and most of all some quick creativity! (Most of it can be found at cake and candy supply store or online.)

My third cupcake was inspired by round one. I wanted to create something that would capture the essence of the Rose Parade by showcasing a sprouting plant from the ground, since that is what is used to create all of the Rose Parade floats. I ended up making my moist chocolate cupcake recipe and filling it with a raspberry filling. Then I dipped it in a rich chocolate ganache that I infused with fresh mint leaves and decorating it to look like a plant!

 I achieved this look by dipping my cupcake in the ganache and then rolling it in crushed chocolate cookie crumbs. I then placed my cupcake in a mini flower pot and topped it with edible rocks and a sprig of fresh mint.

They turned out so beautiful! They almost look like real mini plants, don't they?!

Here we are with just seconds left on the clock, making sure the plated cupcakes are perfect for the judges!

The judges loved the cupcakes and finished every single one! Here is a quote from Candace Nelson, Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes/Cupcake Wars Judge "Lindsay created a trio fit for a queen and I dubbed her the master of detail. Her fondant decorations were gorgeous and her flower pot cupcake was ingenious. Florian and I were also both impressed at how well the rose water frosting paired with her red velvet cupcake."

Round 3: 1,000 cupcakes display
I was so beyond excited to have made it to round 3! In the last round I had to bake 1,000 cupcakes and create a display for the Rose Parade Queen's Coronation! 

Here I am in action. See the judges in the background?!

Frosting hundreds and hundreds of cupcakes in record time! The ovens were in constant use for sooo long.

Here I am talking to the carpenter, explaining what I wanted for my display and exactly how I wanted it to look.

Here is a close up of my (very) quick sketch of my display, as I explained every square inch in detail.

Putting together the finishing touches of my display as I adjust the cupcake tower made to look like a giant "cupcake queen" on her pedestal.

I decided to replace the mini flower pot cupcakes with giant ones so I could create a "cupcake bouquet"! The cupcake bouquet look was created by sticking my chocolate cupcakes with the mint sprigs onto a coved ball of styrofoam using toothpicks. I had fabric leaves and roses added to the styrofoam ball too, to give the bouquet some life and color.

Here I am adding sticking the first few cupcakes on to the toothpicks, filing in the empty spaces.

Here is the cupcake bouquet almost finished. I was so happy with the way it turned out! One of the judges commented that having the cupcakes hidden between the rosebuds was a nice touch :)

I had each flavor of cupcake separated on different parts of my display. Here is my "cupcake queen" on her pedestal, with my round 1 cupcakes with my chocolate cupcakes in the faux flower bouquets around it.

I replicated my decor from my lavender ginger honey cupcakes, with the silver crown on the purple pillow, to create a giant cupcake tower to match, for a fun presentation. The red velvet rose cupcakes were placed on gold pedestals, held up by leafy vines, leading to a red carpet covered in fresh rose petals!

Here are the judges checking out my cupcakes and display!

My display next to the other returning champion finalist... which do you like better for the Rose Parade Queen Coronation event?!  ;)

Thanks to everyone who tuned in and cheered me on and to everyone for coming to check out my blog! I appreciate all of the support and sweet emails so much! YOU are the reason I do this, so thank you for your inspiration and continued encouragement!!!!

Don't forget to check out my entire video series at youtube.com/lindsayannbakes 
for cupcake recipes, decorating tutorials, baking tips and more!

Edible Football Stadium: "Snackadium"!

Football playoffs are in full swing and Superbowl is just around the corner! If your house is anything like mine, Sunday has been taken over by Football-day since the season began. So to surprise the guys who invade my living room practically every Sunday, I decided to surprise them with a SNACKADIUM! If you have never heard of a "snackadium" before, think of everything that encompasses a typical Sunday afternoon football game at home... chips, snacks, pizza and of course football.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

After making my Cookies & Cream Brownies, I just had to create the cupcake version of everyone's favorite cookie!

2012 Roundup!

The Dollhouse Bake Shoppe Blog is officially almost 2 years old! I started this blog in January 2011 and cannot believe the overwhelming growth, feedback and joy it has brought me. Dollhouse Bake Shoppe wouldn't be what it is today if it wasn't for you, my readers, so THANK YOU... really, thank you! You have no idea what your continued support, sweet comments, and fan photos mean to me and how just a one email can put a smile on my face after a long day. I have been fortunate enough to partner with some fantastic big-name brands and have my work published in magazines and featured across the web. So, stay tuned for more small batch dessert recipes, baking 101 tips and tricks, bite size treat tutorials perfect for parties, special occasions, holidays and more in 2013! 

To wrap up the year, here are my most viewed recipes and treat tutorials of 2012...

Check out last year's roundup for the: Best of 2011

Top 10 Treat Tutorials of 2012

10. Marshmallow Gingerbread Kid Pops
My no-bake gingerbread boys and girls were featured as the "Treat of the Month" in the December 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine! I created a way to flavor, color, and assemble little gingerbread boys and girls our of some marshmallows and a sugar & spice mixture for a simple, no-bake treat!