XO

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All images ©2014 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! Since I can’t stop listening to the Beyonce song “XO”, I did not bother with any other conversation heart sayings. While it took me multiple attempts last year to master these cheesecake sweethearts, this time around it was one and done. 

Aside from the weather, I’m kind of loving 2014 so far. Not only was RBC featured in the University of Richmond’s Winter 2014 magazine, the ring box cupcakes from the previous post were used in a beautiful winter wedding photo shoot by Whyman Studios.Not bad, 2014, not bad.

Hoping everyone has a great Valentine’s Day (it’s a Friday, no pressure), and an even better long weekend. 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered- I'm Yours

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All images ©2014 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and judging by my last few orders, love has been and will continue to be in the air.

I have been filling orders for the engagement ring box cupcakes for the last few weeks, and on cue, my Facebook feed became inundated with engagements. When it rains (snows) it pours right? 

Now that there’s a break in the action, I have the time to put a new twist on the Valentine’s Day cheesecakes I made last year, and even try something new I’ve been excited to share.

Stay tuned and stay warm! 

Orange you glad?

All images ©2014 reality bites cupcakes inc.

After a month long hiatus, RBC is back. And so is the snow, making commuting for one and all terribly unpleasant. I am lucky enough that I can walk to my office, but on days like these I wish I was further away so there was an excuse for a snow day in bed.

The weather hasn’t exactly kept everyone healthy either. I’ve been on and off sick for weeks- hence going MIA- and I’m sensing that this lingering cold may be my new accessory for Winter 2014. You can find packets of Emergen-C, DayQuil and Luden’s cough drops (aka candy) in my desk drawers, bag and apartment. I figure the more things I try to prevent getting full blown sick, the more likely I am to weather the flu season storm.

Growing up, whenever I wasn’t feeling great, my mom recommended extra Vitamin C. I was always told to drink orange juice, but I’m not a huge fan these days (maybe that’s why), so instead I opt for the real deal. While I hate peeling oranges, the end justifies the means. Luckily, these cupcake oranges require no peeling and are packed with Vitamin C(ake). 

And admittedly, this song comes to mind. Forgive me.

One Week!

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Christmas is one week away! This has been the busiest week- but I somehow managed to sneak in some holiday baking. Here are RBC’s newest gingerbread latte cupcakes, along with all of the boxes of treats I delivered yesterday morning. While I think I’m pretty good at giving gifts, this company put everyone to shame (get ready to tear up).

The gifting has just begun…

Happy Holidays!

-RBC

Cupcake of Noodles

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Yesterday was the coldest day in NYC since last January- winter doesn’t seem to be messing around this year. From the snow on Monday, to now freezing temperatures and windy walks to work, all I ever seem to want to eat is soup.

My favorite soup is French onion, and the best I’ve ever had was here.  My mom still talks (likely dreams) about a butternut squash soup she had when my family visited me while I was studying abroad from here. For that semester in Paris, soup was my go-to when I was low on funds. Now, it is the only meal that can truly warm me up.

When I think of Cup of Noodles I think of all the stories I have heard of people surviving on them for their first year living in NYC. For one of my best friends, I think she would opt for this meal even if she was blowing her nose with one hundred dollar bills. Today is her birthday, so I couldn’t think of a more fitting cupcake for her.

Happy Birthday CLG, and Happy Friday!

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Going home to celebrate Thanksgiving felt more like I had gone home for Christmas. On top of the flurries, I arrived home to find the entire house already decorated. My mom loves Christmas, so the stockings were hung and Mariah, Celine, and Barbara were already blaring from our speakers.

Every year I try to hold off on the holiday music until December 1st, but I did not have much say this time around. Nursing our Thanksgiving food comas, my sister and I got I inspired by our surroundings to bake “hot chocolate” cupcakes. From this article to this book  I decided I had to test out the “mug cake”.

After a few trials and errors, we felt this was the only one worth sharing-the other mug cakes either deflated in the mug or simply did not look appetizing. It is an interesting idea, but from now on I intend to stick to baking in the oven vs. the microwave.

Now that the holiday season is officially here, I am preparing for the madness of parties, presents and baking to begin. Cheers!

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Thanksgivukkah

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 All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Even though Thanksgiving is not until Thursday (SO excited), I was invited to celebrate the holidays a little early this past Saturday night. It’s not often that I actually attend the parties I bake for, so this was a particularly fun experience for me. On top of that, we weren’t just celebrating Thanksgiving, we were also celebrating Hanukkah…behold, Thanksgivukkah

The hostess- the redhead pictured above with the latke cupcake and the killer manicure- reached out weeks ago to figure out the best mixture of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah cupcakes for the party. Like last year, I made the corn on the cob and turkey leg cupcakes, but we needed something for Hanukkah. While I don’t celebrate the holiday, the food I most associate it with is latkes. One trial run later, we agreed the latke cupcakes were the perfect addition to this Thanksgivukkah order. Fun Fact: the latkes and corn were all gluten free.

Thanksgiving is way up there on my list of favorite holidays, so in this moment I am thankful for the short work week, and the fun family traditions we are continuing this year. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgivukkah.

A Slice of the Pie

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

If you know me, you know that I really love pizza. I’m pretty sure I’ve made that clear, so I wanted to take another stab at a pizza cupcake. I’ve kept this idea on the back burner, but was inspired to finally go for it by a recent debate about where you can get the best pizza.

My favorite pizza places are on Long Island, but I’m also a huge fan of these spots in NYC: Two BootsArtichoke (go hungry), Otto and Pulino’s. What’s the biggest pizza chain where you live? BuzzFeed can help you with that.

And thisTGIF!

Holy Sheet it's Halloween

All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

I forgot how much I love Halloween, which has entirely to do with the fact that for the past two years, the holiday hasn’t really happened. With Hurricane Sandy last year, and that fluke snowstorm two years ago, I’m most excited for all of the kids that will finally get to go trick-or-treating. Aside from the costumes, that was always the best part of Halloween growing up.


The candy didn’t hurt either. I still remember which house was the “go-to” because they gave out the jumbo candy bars, along with which one we avoided because they handed out apples (and I mean, what is this?). It’s Halloween. Kids want candy.

This year at work, we are doing office trick-or-treating (yes, among coworkers), so I made these cupcakes for anyone that stops by my desk. Hopefully no one looks like this by the end of the day. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

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This is my favorite time of year- as I walk to work I’m in an exponentially better mood thanks to the cooler, sunny fall mornings. This weather always makes me want to curl up with the paper or a book and a hot cup of coffee.

As I mentioned last year, I love pumpkin desserts, but as always I wanted to try something new. This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, so I decided to combine “coffee” and cupcakes to create my own version of the PSL.

The pumpkin cupcake recipe I used was surprisingly easy, but it created the impossibly difficult task of not eating multiple spoonfuls of batter. My roommate had similar difficulty, but with the maple cream cheese frosting.

There are so many pros to this time of year, that the only con I can think of is that it means winter is coming. For now, I’m going to revel in autumn in New York- I’ll leave the pros and cons to Jimmy Fallon. Hashtag fall

Del Taco

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.


Last week I was in Southern California for the first time visiting a friend. Upon my arrival, I was told the biggest conversation starters there are “how do you like the weather?” and “you gotta try the fish tacos”. After 5 days in the Laguna/Costa Mesa/Newport Beach area, I have decided that SoCal is the land of tacos. They.are.everywhere.

I was looking for cupcake inspiration, and thanks to my vacation I didn’t have to look too far to find it. While these aren’t the fish tacos everyone raved about, I think the chocolate cake, Hot Tamales, and coconut shavings work better in this scenario. 

While I am loving the cooler fall weather, these taco cupcakes make me wish I was back in CA on the beach. 

Game, Set, and Match

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

This past weekend marked the end of the summer, and while I know I may be alone in my feelings, I am 100% ready for fall. In high school, the fall was always my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, one of them being it was tennis season. 

While I used to play quite often, I am acutely aware of my lack of time on the court thanks to the US Open. With every match I watch, I tell myself I have got to find the time to not only play more, but watch more tennis. I was lucky enough to go to the US Open last week and see my favorite player compete. Why is Novak Djokovic my favorite? Watch this.

To gear up for the long weekend filled with tennis and friends, I baked these gluten-free tennis ball cupcakes. Reading the paper on Saturday morning, my friend gave the wonderful creative direction above as she debated having a cupcake with breakfast. Let’s just say the cupcake didn’t make it past noon.

Who are you rooting for? 

Cheesin'

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 All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

My wonderful roommate turned 25 on Sunday, and in the spirit of favorite foods, I made her a “wheel of cheese” cupcake to celebrate. The girl could live on cheese and crackers.

This was my first time working with fondant, and while I don’t like the taste, it certainly did the trick in making this cupcake look exactly how I wanted it to. I also couldn’t help but laugh the entire time I was baking with this clip playing over and over in my head. 

We had such a fun weekend celebrating, so I wholeheartedly condone dragging your birthday out for as long as possible, S…birthday month, right? 

Happy Birthday Roomz! RBC thanks you for your continued hospitality, patience, and great love of cheese.

Cheer Up, Cupcake

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

Summer is not a stressful time for most, but RBC is relocating so I’ve had a ton on my mind and my to-do list.

This is a great move (bigger kitchen!) but with change comes an absurd amount of stressing on my part. When I’m having a particularly challenging day, my go-to comfort food is ice cream.

In my recently limited free time, I purposefully put some time aside to bake these Popsicle cupcakes with my sister. I just read an article that discussed how it is believed that baking can improve your mental health, and I couldn’t agree more. (In the UK, they are even rolling out pop-up bake shops to raise awareness of mental health issues. More info here.) I truly belief they are on to something- a few hours in the kitchen (with some frozen yogurt), and I’m as good as new.

While I’m really sad to say goodbye to the place where it all began, I can’t wait to bake for the first time in the new digs. What to make, what to make…

Let's Roll

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

The 4th of July has come and gone and now we are in the heat of the summer. This time of year it seems most everyone’s diet consists of hamburgers and hotdogs, corn on the cob, ice cream, and now…lobster rolls. 
 
Maybe I was living under a rock, but I never realized how popular these fancy sandwiches are. That is, until I tried one and discovered what all of the fuss is about. In NYC, my favorite to date is from Luke’sbut the best lobster roll I have had was in Nantucket. I was lucky enough to make a trip out there last summer, where I indulged in a ridiculously large lobster roll. With a food truck serving them parked right on the beach, how could I resist?
 
And that’s exactly how I felt about trying out these lobster roll cupcakes. Food Network Magazine recently featured a “lobster roll” cake, but I felt that in order to truly tease the taste buds I had to scale them down to actual size. Made of a mixture of strawberries, coconut shavings, mini marshmallows, Greek yogurt and whipped cream, these cupcakes have only further fueled my desire to book another trip bACK. (See what I did there?)

Spider Senses

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Spiders you ask? Let me explain. These cupcakes were made for a high school grad off to spend the next four years of his life at the best place on Earth (if you ask me), the University of Richmond.

I graduated from Richmond a few years back, but still find myself incredibly nostalgic for things like D-hall, Pigroast, The Pier, lodges, the library, and even our school mascot: the Richmond Spider

Ironically enough I have pretty bad arachnophobia, but it never caused me to doubt for a second that Richmond was the ideal school for me. I am admittedly terribly jealous of the future Spider I made these for. He is going to fit in perfectly; croakies and all. (See below)

What a year!

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All images ©2013 reality bites cupcakes inc.

I actually can’t believe it- Reality Bites Cupcakes is one year old today! It has been an incredibly exciting and fun 12 months of baking, writing, photographing and posting. It’s amazing how time flies.

From what started as a project on the side “just for fun”, both RBC and myself have evolved so much. From figuring out my “voice” online, to mastering the mixer, along with countless recipes and my personal favorite accomplishment: cheesecake, it has all been a wonderfully fun learning process.

Reality Bites Cupcakes is now a real small business- incorporated, trademarked and all (!!)- with consistent orders and even regular customers. It is amazing how fulfilling something can be, especially when the little victories, big successses, and feel-good moments are above and beyond what you expected.

While I may bake the cupcakes, I deserve very little to no credit. From my family (especially you, Mom), to my friends, to my incredibly patient and helpful roommate, to acquaintances and even strangers- you have all made RBC what it is! With all of the constant support, positive reenforcement, taste testing, pimping out, Facebook posts, Twitter and Instagram shout outs, and just the never ending love- I owe it all to you.

Thank you thank you thank you.

On to the next year!

-A

The Graduate

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As I mentioned a few posts back, my younger brother graduated from college this year. What I didn’t mention was that my family will take any reason to have a party and run with it. Not that a college graduation isn’t a big deal-it is-but find us a festive occasion and it is as if it is in our blood to play hosts. I was told about 3 hours into the party to stop talking to everyone and focus on the game at hand. College grad party= the chance to show off my lack of drinking game skills. (I was kicked off of my team.)

The skills I did get to show off were those of my baking. I spent a great deal of time the night before and the day of cutting Fruit Roll Ups with a pair of scissors to decorate these graduation themed cupcakes. The cap, made of a Reese’s/After 8 combination, was topped off by the “tassels” in my brother’s school colors. 

With a house filled with family, close friends and a bunch of recent grads, we had an absolute blast. It brought me back to the summer after I graduated when I didn’t have a job yet, so I spent all of my time by the pool and slept in every.single.morning. Those were the days. I feel like telling anyone rushing into the working world to slow down and enjoy their summer…it’s unlikely you’ll ever have that kind of free time again. Cherish it.