Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Start Baking: Christmas Cupcake Recipes

Above is a photo of the sugar cookies I make last year. It's November 30th, and Christmas is only 26 days away. Whether it is for holiday parties, family gatherings or school events, these cupcakes are sure to be a hit this season.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Donutology Experiments with Kansas City!

After years of opening Tulsa-based Daylight Donuts shops on the Kansas side of the Kansas City area, Andrew (#donutgenius) and Meghan Cameron checked out donut shops and food trucks around the country before settling on a concept to create a new brand here in KC, this time on the Missouri side and Donutology was born!

The "-ology" part of "Donutology" refers to the science experiment aspect central to any visit to the new store.  Beakers, atoms and bubbles decorate the walls and comprise much of the furnishings that sparsely but cheerfully decorate the large, inviting space.  The purpose of this sweet experiment? To figure out your personal "donut gene" from around 40,000 different combinations available on a daily basis when you consider the cakes, the icings, the toppings and the drizzles, including everything from cinnamon sugar to bacon and cotton candy pop rocks, selected for a balance of traditional and fun.  Clever marketing, since that means guests can come every hour, every day for the rest of their lives and never have the same thing twice.

The Donutology concept is the latest in the recent made to order trend (self-serve was briefly considered, but was thought to be too out of control) with items like frozen yogurt and pizza, but birthday parties ($5 per person for 3 donuts each) and team building outings are available (after signing a "no food fight" waiver - jk) where the customer can become the Donutician him or herself or every step in the process but the delicate skill of actually dipping donuts into the icing. Incidentally, lest you think making your own creations would be easy, training new Donuticians has been taking even longer than the owners thought it would, with all the different toppings, cross-dipping on the line and numerous glove-changes during a shift.

Top selling combinations organically evolved: Maple Bacon - Andrew's favorite, Strawberry Marshmallow with Fruity Pebbles and Peanut Butter Reese's with Chocolate Drizzle.  For now, customers fill out paper checklists with their selections in each category like delicious bingo cards before handing them to the Donuticians (who will also happily make something up for you if you ask), but Andrew hopes to have touch screen ordering available soon, as well as helpful posters with suggested flavor combinations like S'mores for those customers who just might be overwhelmed with all the options at first.

For the record, the most popular full-sized Daylight Donuts are the comparatively boring Glazed, Apple Fritter and Cinnamon Roll. Currently, the large donuts sold at Donutology are transported from the Lansing, KS Daylight Donuts location. Daylight Donuts location make up half their sales (Donutology is actually their biggest reseller), but they expect the minis to overtake those sales once lines have died down, since customers can just walk in and walk out with regular Daylight Donuts if they don't have time to wait for the artisan style cuties. Another item on their menu is a savory local Johnsonville sausage wrapped in donut batter, but not followed by a dusting of powdered sugar like carnival food - I asked.

The owners of Donutology pride themselves on utilizing local ingredients like Daylight Donuts' signature flour, local products like Shatto Milk (leave a $2 deposit for the bottle) and Roasterie coffee (brewed with the same process as at Roasterie locations, with the beans themselves often arriving still warm from the downtown branch) and even local artists were employed to devise logos and create art for the walls and t-shirts (which are already on reorder).

Mini donuts were chosen to add another new element to the donut scene and simple logistics dictated that only vanilla cake donuts are guaranteed to be available on weekdays, with chocolate and blueberry additionally on weekends, but occasionally seasonal flavors will sneak in during the work week, like pumpkin spice while I was there, due to a fun election based special this week, the orange Donald Trumpkin (don't worry, Hillaberry was there too).

Minis are thrown out (or just down employees' throats) if they are not sold after one hour, which explains why every time I have stopped in, the donuts and all the toppings have always tasted fresh and delicious! So far my favorites involve combinations of lemon and raspberry or anything with marshmallow or coconut and my only complaint is that if you don't eat the ones with marshmallow right away, that topping oozes right through the hole onto the paper, forcing me to scoop it up with my finger...wait, did I call that a complaint? And who's not eating them right away anyway?

Simple logistics dictate that just vanilla cake donuts are guaranteed to be available on weekdays, with chocolate and blueberry additionally on weekends, but seasonal flavors will sneak in during the work week, like pumpkin spice while I was there, due to a fun election based special this week, the Donald Trumpkin (don't worry, Hillaberry was there too).  They also do a lot of charity specials, contributing profits from custom made variations to local groups like the Boy Scouts for a limited time.

Always thinking of new ideas, Andrew plans to launch a donut 90,000 feet into space with a weather balloon and he may have customers vote on the flavor to be so honored (Check out this link to see a KC area cupcake that was launched into space in 2012). They also do a lot of charity specials, contributing profits from custom made variations to local groups like the Boy Scouts for a limited time.  

Donutician Stephen's picks for me:  Fruit Salad, Pancake Bfast, Pumpkin Pie, Grandma's PB&J. 

CTTC Exclusive SCOOP: Donutology is in the early stages of exploring raised minis for decorating! I'm personally excited about this development, because although the bite sized cakes are tasty, I can't resist the soft, glazed goodness of a raised donut.  To hear Andrew tell it, there should be a large wooden contraption occupying the large open space behind the cash register as soon as he figures out how not to make a total mess while on display to the public, similar to the messy entertainment of Chip's Chocolate Factory making fudge in front of crowds at Crown Center on a regular basis.

Donutology is open Sunday through Thursday from 6am to 9pm and Friday and Saturday from 6am to 11pm at 1009 Westport Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.298.5222, donutology.comThe minis can be ordered in batches of 3 ($2.25), 6 ($4.50), 15 ($10.99) or 35 ($24.99) - no matter what toppings you choose! Calories average about 100 per fully loaded donut. Typical creation time is 3 minutes for 6 donuts, but if there's a long wait in line, samples might circulate.  Or have a seat - there is plenty of space to sit around and enjoy your designer sweets like a coffee shop and open later than most. Donutology also has a walk-up window for this highly walkable area of Westport, although they initially wanted it to be a drive-up which was shot down by the city because of the small parking lot and one way streets nearby.

Something else to look forward to soon is the perfect marriage of Belfonte local ice cream for donut milkshakes, available by the end of the year in your choice of vanilla or chocolate combined with your pick of donut combinations.  Next up - donut sundaes! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Banana Split Cupcakes

Check out these banana split cupcakes by Juli Jacklin. She adapted the recipe from Taste and Tell. I highly recommend using Dell's Maraschino cherries to top the cupcakes.


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

New location for Kansas City Cupcake Co!

Their previous location was in Mission, KS, but now they are open in KCK, and offer lunch and breakfast items as well.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekend Sweet: Homemade Pound Cake and Cinnaholic Cinnamon Rolls

I spent the weekend in Atlanta celebrating my mom's birthday. Her neighbor made a pound cake from scratch. It is delicious, and I ate a slice with vanilla ice cream.

My sister and I visited a new cinnamon bakery located in the Edgewood Retail District.  The place is called Cinnaholic and it was featured on Shark Tank.  The cinnamon rolls are great because you can add different frostings and toppings. Moreover, the cinnamon rolls are vegan. They are both lactose and egg free. My sister had a roll with cream frosting and raspberries.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

S'Mores Are The BLTs of Dessert

Hey Kids!

It's National S'mores Day.  This is one of my favorite food holidays.  With only three ingredients, s'mores can be  surprisingly very versatile.  Graham crackers, a chocolate bar and marshmallow. S'mores are the perfect dessert sandwich. dessert. In fact, s'mores are classic and with the three great ingredients. they are the BLT of dessert.

Today Girl Scouts is celebrating the holiday with a new cookie flavor.

You can add peanut butter or fruit. You can make them fancy with homemade marshmallow and dark chocolate.  You can try substitute out graham crackers with other cookies.

Anyway,  I kinda made s'mores and banana pudding-inspired no bake dessert last weekend for brunch.


  • 1 package of Little Debbie's banana moonpies
  • 1 Hershey chocolate bar (should have bought two)
  • 1 bunch of bananas (three bananas)
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 8 Oreo cookies
Open up four of the banana moon pies.  Slice horizontally like you would a bagel. Place them in a casserole dish. Lay down marshmallow side up.  Chop the bananas into bites.  Meanwhile, prepare a double boiler to make the chocolate syrup. Boil the water. Place the chocolate in a bowl that will fit over the boiler to melt the bar.  Add the heavy cream to your taste. Stir. Remove from heat.  Add a generous layer of bananas on top of the moon pie layer.  Then pour the chocolate syrup over the bananas.  Repeat the moon pie and bananas layers until you reach the top.  Then crumble up Oreos and sprinkle on top. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Now Casting For Cake Hunters

I got an email from a casting agency today that is looking for people who are the hunt for the perfect cake. Now casting for NEW Cooking Channel Show, 'Cake Hunters'. Think of it as "Say Yes To The Dress" but instead of dresses, it is for cake.

1) You MUST be in the Greater DC area, Maryland, Dallas or Miami, Florida. (Must be within an hour and a half driving distance from these cities).
2) Your upcoming event (wedding, birthday, etc) must happen between Sept 2016 and Jan 2017.

Contact ASAP: 
Please include your names, location, telephone numbers, approximate date of your event, detailed reason why you would love your Dream Cake. Please include one recent photo of yourself (the cake hunter).

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Best Cashews Ever From All Good Provisions

All Good Provisions sent me some cashews to review.  Their cashews are certified organic and are roasted with real maple syrup. These cashews have no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial color or flavors.  If you are like me and are allergic to peanuts, these cashews make a great snack.  I added them to my oatmeal. I sprinkled them on ice cream.  I ate most of these out of the bag.

If you are looking for back to school snacks or office treats, I suggest trying All Good Provisions.  BTW, All Good is hosting a contest called Allgood Culinary Adventures.  Enter to win!