Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple cream cheese frosting

There’s a very specific sort of kitchen math that runs through my brain every time I stare into my refrigerator and try to figure out what to make.

Six carrots + 8 radishes + 2 sticks of butter + half a pot of leftover chicken soup + 1/2 bundle wilting kale + block of cream cheese – one bagel’s worth of cream cheese + yesterday’s pudding experiment.

Unfortunately the hungrier I am when I approach the refrigerator, the more difficult it is the process this math.

carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple cream cheese frosting

If I made the radishes a snack.  If I combine the wilted kale with the leftover chicken soup.  If I pray that there’s oil enough, eggs enough, canned pineapple enough, sugar enough,  and flour enough… maybe just maybe I can produce Carrot Cake Cupcakes from a good long stare in the fridge.

I wish for you the same success!

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Bonkers Awesome Candy Bar Cupcakes

Bonkers Awesome Candy Bar Cupcakes

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It’s always been about more than just the food, hasn’t it?

Caramel is lovely.  Cookies are totally major.  But I feel like we’re friends, and that’s what’s been the most amazing part of living in this Internet space for the past few years.  You.  Your presence.  The way you invite me into your kitchen recipe after recipe.

I’ve made an overwhelming amount of friends in people like you.  I’ve met you on book tour.  We’ve chatted at blog conferences.  We blow up Twitter together.  In some cases, I’ve stalked your blog, forced my friendship on you, and you were gracious enough to accept.

Because we’re all friends here, I’m ultra excited to bring you a new video series that celebrates these friendships!

It’s called Bonkers Awesome and it’s a part of Ulive.com’s original content.  Ulive is part of the Food Network and Cooking Channel family and they’re creating really wonderful online shows.  Seriously… they let me make the series I’ve always wanted to make, where I get to learn new things, make friends old and new, and just be generally weird  and awkward.  I mean…

Here’s a sneak peek at the 14-episode series.

Bonkers awesome with joy the baker

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few of these behind-the-scenes shots of our video shoots.  In reality, the whole series is a behind-the-scenes look into some of my favorite people and new friends.

Matt Bites invites me over to his photo studio and I get to raid his prop room.  The ladies of Liddabit Sweet show me how to make Caramel Apples in Brooklyn.  I get a peek into the workings of a chocolate factory with Compartes ChocolateThe Pioneer Woman even shows me around the ranch and I eat too much mac and cheese.

Melody from The Sweet and Saucy Shop teaches me how to make a wedding cake.  Seriously!?  This lady is such an inspiration (and she happens to be the mind behind today’s cupcake recipe).  And Alie and Georgia make my cocktail dreams come true.

For the next few months, I’ll bring you a new episode each week.  There are two episodes you can already check out, if you’re into binge-watching.  In one of them, I visit my favorite bakery in LA.  Major.

Next week, you are going to get a total inside look into the incredible studio of Matt Bites.  It might blow your mind.. mostly because it blew my mind.  We’ve worked really hard on this series over the summer, and our great hope is that you enjoy it, learn a few new things, and feel inspired. This series is the collaborative efforts of Michael Friedman, Hilton Carter, Maia Wagle, Paola Parsons, Jon Melendez, and the wonderful people at Ulive. Thank you forever.

Now it’s time for cupcakes!

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Honey Chamomile Cupcakes and the Joy the Baker Cookbook!

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Today is February 28, 2012.  Today is the day that felt a million years away in 2010 when I started writing the Joy the Baker Cookbook.  Now, February 28th, 2012 is as close as the present… and we’re living in it!

Today the Joy the Baker Cookbook is officially born into the world.  It’s 100 recipes and 100 photos.  We’re talking NEW recipes.  Things you haven’t seen here on Joy the Baker.  Might I humbly suggest you go to the store and stock up on butter and sugar?  You’ll need it.  You’ll love it.

This book is written and shot by me.  Tested and consumed by eager friends and family.  Believed in by agent Alison, editor Leslie, cheerleader Michael.  This book is made by me for YOU YOU YOU!  I know you eat popcorn for dinner.  I know you bake brownies for boys.  I know you’re just looking for an excuse to make biscuits for every meal of the day…. and I love you I love you I love you!!!

I’m going on a humble book tour as well!  I want to meet you!!  I want to sign your book!!  I want to circle pages of recipes you should make!!  And I totally want to come over to bake with you… but that might be difficult.  This book tour is funded by Joy the Baker and Co…. which means it’s funded by me… so please understand that if I can make it to your city, I absolutely will.  And if I can’t… well… I really wanted to.  Thank you for your love and understanding.  Check out the Book Tour stops and get excited!  Let’s meet and high-five and totally hug it out!

I’ll be at Vroman’s in Pasadena tonight (it’s Tuesday today…) at 7pm.  Be there!

If I’m not able to see your smiling face, how about following me on Facebook and on Twitter?  I’ll have all sorts of behind the scenes pictures of me being weird and nervous.  What could go wrong there?

You can best believe I’ll also be podcasting like a maniac over on the Joy the Baker Podcast at Homefries.

I want you to be everywhere I am!  Let’s do it!

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Because today is such a wonderfully blessed day, I wanted to share a recipe from the book with you.  These cupcakes are an absolute favorite.

Chamomile Cupcakes with Honey Glaze.  These are delicate and ladylike… even if you eat six of them you’ll still be the picture of feminine grace.  I (sorta) promise.

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Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

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Dear Santa,

Let’s have some real talk.  If you’ve been listening to my podcast you know all about what I want for Christmas.  You’ve heard me blabber on and on about glitter nail polish, sequin tops, Tina Fey, and bourbon.  Yes… I want Tina Fey for Christmas.

Actually though… I want none of these things.  Well, except chocolate.  Did I mention chocolate?  I could also use a generous dose of patience, a few more hours in the day, and enough energy to never have to sleep.  Basically I want you to turn me into a patient and kind superhero… and I want to keep my glasses.  They make me look smarter (and see better).

As a trade for such gifts, I offer you these cupcakes.  I’ve fashioned them into a haphazard Christmas tree (or pointed arrow… whatever) in an effort to please you.

Please say it works!

Sweet…

Joy

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Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes

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I’m totally a good person to surprise.

If you tell me that you’re stuck in Seattle working all weekend, and you can’t come down for my birthday,  I’ll believe you.  I’ll believe you, because I love you and you’re not a liar.

If you tell me that you’re working away in Phoenix, and you simple can’t get away to celebrate my birthday,  I’ll believe you.  I’ll believe you, because I love you and you’re not a liar.

You’re going out of town to visit our grandparents?  Really?  You have to go this weekend when you knew it was my birthday?  Um… ok.  It must be important.  Go on.  I believe you.  yadda yadda yadda… you’re not a liar.

This birthday.  Oh man! I was hit with surprise, after surprise, after surprise.

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Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes and a giveaway!

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Baby steps.

I need to take baby steps when it comes to gluten-free baking.

Maybe the flours confuse me.  Maybe I have no idea what guar gum is.  Maybe arrowroot is intimidating.

… It’s just that I know exactly what all-purpose flour is going to do when I combined it with baking soda and buttermilk… it’s going to make me delicious, fluffy pancakes.  I like knowing that.

But I’m being a brat.  A total brat.  I like the sound of coconut flour.  I learned that arrowroot is just a thickening starch that comes from a plant.  I can still use eggs in gluten-free baking, and I’m totally on-board with agave nectar.

I made gluten-free cupcakes.  I was a brat for thinking that it would be torture.  Considering how delicious these are… I’m totally done being a brat, probably until the next time something challenges my sensibilities.

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There’s a new book in my collection. Gluten-free cupcakes I can get down with.  All of the recipes are made with either coconut or almond flour.  They all have agave nectar, sometimes coconut oil (yum!), and arrowroot.  I was amazed at how sweet coconut flour is. Seriously… amazing.  And boy is that stuff absorbent!  Crazy.  Yes.  You’re watching me learn new things.  Bare with me.

I’m stoked on this book, Gluten-Free Cupcakes.  Elana has made gluten-free baking feel not so daunting… not to mention that these cupcakes are totally delicious.  Her recipes have as little as three ingredients, usually six or so.  Totally do-able.    I want one of you to have a copy of this book.  I also want one of you to have a bag of coconut flour and a bag of arrowroot powder.  I’ll send those along too.  Get started!  There’s nothing that should stop you from gluten-free goodness.

Leave a comment with this post.  Tell me what you’re doing this weekend that might me just slightly outside of your comfort zone.  A winner will be chosen on Sunday night and announced on Monday.  Get on it!

UPDATE: Winner!  Kerry Edwards!  You randomly won the Gluten-Free Cupcake Book!  I’m stoked!  I hope you are too!!

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Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

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Is it wrong to J-walk into church? …. because I do it just about every Sunday.

Is it wrong to curse at people on the road while driving to church?  Cause… maybe that’s happened once or twice.

On a scale of one to total jerk… how jerky is it for me to blatantly roll my eyes at the lady on the spin bike next to me who is flirting with the obviously married man on the other side of me?  Do I really need to be in the middle of this interaction? It’s 7 in the morning! Come on.  Please.

Oh!  And while we’re on the subject… if you take your shirt off during spin class and decide to just ride it out in your sports bra…. I’m going to try very very very hard not to label you as an attention-seeking-lady-exerciser.  Do not like.  We’re all hot and sweating lady…. keep you shirt on.  There should be a rule.  There’s gotta be a rule.

Also… exactly how much of this batter can I spoon in my mouth after spin class and before rushing off to J-walk into church?  That’s the real issue.  The answer?  About two cupcakes worth of batter… which may or may not lead to a belly ache.  Don’t do what I do… J-walk, curse, or roll your eyes at attention seeking, inappropriately flirty strangerladies.  Be a nice person instead.

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

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Dating someone new means meeting all sorts of new people.

Listen… I know I’m getting old and this isn’t my first jump into meeting the groups of friends, the work buddies, the casual friends, the bosses, the grandma, or the adopted dog of the strapping young gent that I’m dating.  Sadly, all this experience has made me no less awkward and devoid of grace.  I have a tendency towards embarrassing sweat, stuttering and knuckle cracking that is less than charming… Or!  I just talk about my kitten, or the family dog, or this giant white rabbit that attacked me in 4th grade and no one believed me but it TOTALLY happened… and then I just leave other people feeling weird… and it’s all just awkward.

Anyhow!  I’ve devised two personal tactics to detract from such boneheaded behavior:  wear a pretty dress and heels and always bring cupcakes (or cookies or brownies or granola… or pie).  This way, I feel pretty and I turn into a tall girl… and people instantly love me when I had them a box of chocolate and sugar.  It’s a little bit of a dirty trick and it works every time.

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Sprinkles?  A lifesaver.  Who could resist?

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Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnut Muffins

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Wanted:  Type A personal assistant.  Job duties will include:  reminding me what day it is, reminding me how many days I have left to write a cookbook, eating pancakes, and listening to me talk to myself as I grocery shop.

Wanted:  Dude dishwasher.

Wanted:  Courage… to get back on my bike again.

Wanted:  A sunny winter and a kitten for Christmas.

Wanted: Cakey doughnuts with none of the fuss and all of the glaze.

That one’s just too easy.  Done and done.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

This dessert is not healthy.  It’s not subtle.  It’s not revolutionary.  It hurts.

Chocolate and peanut butter piled on top of peanut butter and chocolate.  There’s sugar too…  and it hurts.

These cupcakes hurt your diet.  They hurt your teeth.  They destroy your morning workout.  They’re bad for puppies.  They upset kittens.  Big-eyed baby cows are pretty pissed about these things.

They’re mean.  They’ll punch you in the shin and say awful things about your hair.

You should probably stay away from these cupcakes.  Sure… they’re the most delicious cupcakes eeeevvvveeeerrrrr… but they’re also dirty rotten scoundrels.  Sorry.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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Little Lemon Hazelnut Cakes

Little Lemon Hazelnut Cakes

I have downright baffled myself.

I may have mentioned that I’m moving this week.  Moving is… horrifying.  Yes, I’m being dramatic.  Please indulge me.

Among the things that I found under my bed and in the dark recesses of my closet as I’ve been cleaning and packing are:

eight kitten stuffed animals.

one medium sized bunny stuffed animal.

three puppy stuffed animals.

….. WWWHHHHHYYYY?

one baby sock….  A. Baby.  Sock.  I have no baby.  Seriously… What the heck is going on here!?

a tiny rhinestone turtle toe ring.  Really?

one sweater that gives my arms a rash.  I found out the hard way.

one wooden bobble head turtle toy.  Why so many turtles hiding in my house?

and… a rock.  Because… yea.  A rock.

Take these Little Lemon Hazelnut Cakes as a token of my love, affection, and dwindling sanity.

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Sweetheart Rose Cupcakes

Sweetheart Rose Cupcakes

Hi darling.  Hey sugarbear.  What’s shakin’ sweetums?  Lookin’ good sweetpea.  Hey loverboy!  Oooh darlin’.

I’m practicing my terms of endearment.  Yea… I want to sound natural when the time comes to use them.

Can I practice on you?  How does this sound?

Hey loverbear, will you come on in here and help me with these dishes?

Darlin’, will you hold the oven door open for me?

How about…

Sweetpea, stay away from those cookies.  You know we have company coming.

My favorite…

Sweetums, I made you cupcakes… cause I love you like crazy.

How am I doing so far?  I’m a little stiff aren’t I?  I’ll keep working on it.

Jump on over.  I have a lot to tell you!

Sweetheart Rose Cupcakes

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My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

God sure does have a clever sense of humor, wouldn’t you say!?

Yes.

Here’s how I know:  I’m dating a faaaaantastic man who… doesn’t know the difference between a pie and a cake… a muffin and a cupcake.

Funny, right?  This has to be a joke… right?

Nope.

Ok.  To be fair.  It’s not that he doesn’t know the difference… it’s just that he mixes them all up all the time.  Maybe it makes me a little crazy.  Maybe it goes a little something like this:

Me:  Simon,  what do you want for your birthday?

Simon:  A giant pie!

Me:  A pie?  You mean you don’t want a big ol’ chocolate cake?

Simon:  Oh!  Wait!  No…. I want a cake.  Wait… cakes are the big, multi-layered things with all the frosting.  Yes.  I want that.

Me:  Cake.  Not pie.  Cake.  Ok.

OR!

Me:  Hey Simon!  What do you want for breakfast?

Simon:  Cupcakes!

Me:  You mean muffins, right?

Simon:  Ooh yea.  Muffins.  Yeaaaaah.  They have the same shape!  It’s confusing.

Me:  I know.

Ok… maybe these two conversations are a bit of an exaggeration.  But seriously friends… they’re not that much of an exaggeration.  This happens to me, and I don’t see an end in sight.  Very funny God.  Luckily I have a very keen sense of humor too.  Ha.

Perhaps making up for his mix-ups, Simon is one hell of a cupcake decorator.  Seriously.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to my absolute favorite Red Velvet Cupcake recipe with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  Wait… muffins.  No, cupcakes.  No… definitely cupcakes.  I know this.

My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

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It’s Picnic Time!! (Updated)

Joy the Baker Picnic

Oooooh Yea!  I’ve got a lot to be excited about!  Come on down for picnic time!

Don’t forget to send your virtual picnic pictures into joythebakerpicnic (at) gmail (dot) com …. Ok!?

You’ll also want to check back often today to see all sorts of picnic photos and updates.

Aaaand one more thing!

Don’t forget the live Twitcam broadcast at 4:30.  All you have to do is follow me on Twitter!

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Twelve Frosted Cupcakes, Just One Stick of Butter. Promise.

Vanilla Cupcakes

These are pretty, right?  Hot diggity dang, I think they’re precious.

In the middle of frosting these cupcakes I looked down at my hands.  No big deal.  I was simply looking down at the cupcake in one hand, and frosting covered knife in the other.  I had to see what I was doing, right?  When I looked down at this particular moment, I saw… my grandmother’s hands.  There they were, the worn and wrinkled hands that had absolutely fascinated me as a child… only now spotted with powdered sugar and tinted with food coloring.

When I was a kid I would hold my grandmother’s hand in my lap and study it like it like I might study my favorite picture book.  Somehow her hands weren’t at all different from reading an intricate a story.

So there I was, frosting a cupcake with my grandmother’s hands.  The image was so strong that I even put down the cupcake and knife and bent my left index finger with my right hand.  It ached a little.  I don’t know why.  And just like that… those hands were gone from me.

That was simultaneously perplexing and so comforting.  I had to share that with you…  I now only hope that I live long enough for my hands to be read like a story book.

Now let’s talk cupcakes!

Vanilla Cupcakes

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Joy the Baker Picnic: Rooftop and Cupcakes

Rooftop Picnic

A few weeks ago I threw a little idea out into the world:  a Joy the Baker picnic.

Well… holy heck!  We’re doing it!

Joy the Baker is throwing a rooftop cupcake party smack dab in the middle of gorgeous downtown Los Angeles.  Consider it a room with a view (the view pictured above silly!)… and no roof and tons of cupcakes and sweet tea.

Sunday August 23rd from 2pm until 7pm.  Downtown Los Angeles.

This event is not a pot luck situation.  It’s more of a eat-all-the-Joy-the-Baker-cupcakes-you-can situation.

If you’d like to attend, send an email to joythebakerpicnic (at) gmail (dot) com

I’ll email you the fancypants invitation late next week.

Now… a girl can only make so may cupcakes.  In the event that I have to limit the guest list, invitations will go out on a first come, first serve basis.  Get your emails in!

Not in Los Angeles?  Don’t fret!  I have plans for you to play along wherever you live.  You might call it a virtual picnic!  Stay tuned for that!

I want to see your shining faces!

You + Me = Picnic?

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Me in a tree.  Wanna join me?

The truth is… I think we should totally hang out.  You and me, and you, and you and me.  Can we get together!?

I mean it.  It’s just about summer, it’s beautiful outside, the parks are just begging us to visit, and we’re still wading our way through this financial mess.  In other words… we’re kinda broke and it’s sunny out, right?

What say we all get together for a picnic?  No joke.  We’ll have lemonade and cupcakes, we’ll throw around a Frisbee (don’t worry, I suck), I’ll bring some cookies to decorate,  loads of them… we can talk about baking and blogging and anything else we’re equally obsessed with.  It’s on me.  Are you in?

Think of it as one of those fancy blogging conventions except with cupcakes and waaaay more fun.

I haven’t planned this whole shin dig yet.  It’s still just a thought bubble floating above my head.  What I need to know is… well…  if you’re in the Los Angeles area, would you come?  For real.  Be honest.  Don’t let me throw a party and buy balloons and then not show up.

If you think you’d like to come to a Joy the Baker Big Fat Picnic Party where I bake things and you come eat them… if you think you’d bring your friends and family and dogs and birds… then leave a comment in this post expressing interest.  Be real.  I need to know if I’m an absolute maniac for dreaming something like this up or not.  Your thoughts, I need ‘em.

Picnic?  Discuss.

1Cupcakes as far as the eye can see

Oh!  What if I promise to bring some of these!?

Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cupcakes

Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cupcakes

My favorite part of my sixth grade history text books were not the pictures.  Oooooh no… too easy.  I loved the little timelines at the end of a lesson, the kind of timeline that so neatly wrapped up the life and struggles of so many people.  Distill the entire American Civil Rights Movement into a timeline.  The progression of people and actions becomes so tidy and clear.  Aaah, thanks for the timeline.

I sometimes like to think of my life in timeline form.  I pick a theme and timeline it out in my head.  Yes, this happens.

Let’s timeline out my favorite ice cream flavors from the 1980’s to the present.  Not nearly as socially crucial as civil rights, but still somehow important.

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{ 1983- Strawberry Ice Cream is the only flavor in my world}  {1987- Whoa!  Bubble Gum in ice cream!?  Yes.  Want!}  {1990-  Rocky Road is the only way to go}     {1994-  Is it still Mint Chocolate Chip if it’s not green?  I say yes!}  {1999-  Cherry Garcia, will you marry me?}  {2005-  Going retro with Rainbow Sherbet, success!  {2009-  Enjoying the clever stylings of Brownie Bottom Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes.  Consider them little cups of perfect fun right from the freezer.  For reals.}

Now that I can check “make an ice cream timeline” off my list of things to do today, let’s talk Ice Cream Cupcakes. Yes.  Yes!  Yes!!

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Confetti and Cupcakes

Easter and the Cupcake Bake Off

Did you have a great weekend?  Have you woken up with a lingering Easter candy tummy ache?  Do you still have confetti everywhere from the Cascarones?  Yea?  Me too.  I think I might have an Easter sugar hangover… I’m not proud.    Here’s a look at what Easter looks like when you combine a cupcake contest with a steady stream of champagne, a dog named Bunny and a confetti filled egg massacre.

Easter and the Cupcake Bake Off

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