Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mudsliding into 30

I rang in my 30th, a little bit late, but in high style.  We threw a cupcake and champagne party where guests were asked to bring a bottle of bubbly or some cupcakes from their favorite spot (or their own kitchen!)  It was QUITE a successful night.  Lots of bubbly was imbibed and many sweet cupcakes were enjoyed.  

I, of course, had to whip something up for the occasion - so I went to my Pinterest board for some inspiration!  I have had lots of successes with the recipes I have found on there, and these Mudslide Cupcakes were no exception!  Lots of dishes - but worth it!  The cake is a kahlua chocolate and the frosting is a swirl of kahlua and bailey's buttercreams!  It was a bit challenging to achieve the swirl (even for my froster, my husbo Mike!)  Loved the overall taste and look, though!   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Good Golly, Miss Molly!

I have officially celebrated living three decades on earth.  That's right - I'm thirty.  Thirty sounds so damned old when you're younger.  But when you actually get here - when you actually wake up one morning and you're magically the dreaded "30"... it's not so bad.  Not so different than when you're 29 - well, maybe just a little.  There's definitely something weird about saying "I'm 30."  The connotations of that word (for me) were: responsible, old, settled, successful, figured stuff out, life is over.  Of course those were all BEFORE October 2, the day I entered my 30's.  Now, the number connotes: contentment, achievement, happiness, youth, and...really good cupcakes.  

In celebration of my big birthday, my family and I took a trip to Chicago.  Many people asked us "Hmmm, why Chicago?"  It seems like such a random place to go on a trip - at least to those who have never been.  My husbo and I have been wanting to go to Chicago for a couple of years.  We have heard nothing but positive things about the place, and wanted to see what all the chatter was about!  We had a GREAT time - so much to do, such nice people, and such a walkable city.   

Of course, before we went, in addition to scouting out the sights to visit, I wanted to find a cupcakery.  This cupcakery, my friends, was the find of the century.  When I Googled "Cupcakes in Chicago", Molly's was the first to pop up.  Once I read a bit about them, I was in love, and knew I would be visiting.  Get this:
Miss Molly: Molly was my third-grade teacher. Whenever one of us had
a birthday, she would bake us cupcakes. I still remember how good they
were. She had her own special recipe for chocolate and vanilla. Just
about everyone who tries them thinks they're the best cupcakes ever.
Our Mission: In honor of Molly and as a way to help our children, a
portion of our profits is donated directly to schools in our community.
Every time you eat a cupcake or sip a latte, you help our kids. So
eat up!
Oh my gawd.  How SWEET is this?  What a story.  I loved it.  I didn't, actually, research any more.  I just read that, on their home page, and I knew I had to go there.  I didn't know about the amazing flavors that would await me once I opened that door!

The ambiance of Molly's is kitchy, crazy and funky, which I didn't expect having read that the guy named it after his third grade teacher.  Not to mention how demure and sweet the front entrance is.  However, we enter and they are blasting Pit Bull; the cupcake dealers are tatted out to the nines.  They have swing seats at a bar.  The walls are stacked, floor to ceiling, with take out boxes.  Tucked into a few nooks and crannies are stacks of old school board games.  Think Connect 4.  Marbles.  Clue.  There are framed pieces of childhood memorabilia littering the walls.  It is eclectic and very cool.  

Their sign was on a chalk board - how very third grade.  Loved it.  (this is a crappy picture, but you get the idea!)

Then, I see it.  The amazing collection of cupcakes awaiting my taste buds.  How could I choose just one?  Just two?  Just three?  I had to have five.  That's right.  Five.  Didn't you read my earlier paragraph?  Chicago is a walkable city.  I EARNED those cupcakes.  

I loved their case - each cupcake had a little graphic explaining what was inside.  They were really fun to look at, and had there not been a huge line behind me, I would have cobbed a squat and sat there reading all afternoon.  They had some classics (red velvet) but then some crazy ones I have never heard of, nor will ever hear of, again (Ron Bennington).

I also really liked their funky decorations >>.
I really appreciated the reminder to not frolic with your cupcake.  People are so careless these days.

They had an option where you could choose your base cake, and your frosting.  It was a "make your own" type of deal.  But, I went with what the experts had already put together for me.  Five combinations of sweet amazing loveliness.  Washed down with a bottle of milk.

Starring (from L to R): Ron Bennington, Red Velvet, Spice World, Khalua, Cookie Monster
 Let's start with good ole' Ron.  OMG, Ron.  You are amazing.  With your crunched up Butterfinger top, moist cake and your peanut butter filling.  I love you.  We shall meet again.

Next, the Red Velvet.  Voted the best in Chicago, so I had pretty high expectations.  Expectations = exceeded.  Moist cake - rich creamy frosting.  Pure cream cheese - not too much sugar.  A bit bright, but overall amazing.  Next.

Cookie Monster.  Like its namesake, this baby is packed with cookie yumminess.  Cookie dough center, and a cookie on the top.  IMH, not as delish as this one, but I still ate every crumb, so overall, pretty legit!

 The Khalua came next - a beautiful little cupcake, dipped in ganache, topped with chocolate shavings. Again, super moist and just enough Khalua to make you want a mud slide.

And finally, Spice World.  Not my favorite - similar to a carrot cake, filled with autumnal spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon).  Perhaps it was because the previous FOUR had been so different and delish, but this one was kind of a let down.

A+ for Chi town, and A+ for Molly's.  I would give this place.  Their flavors were amazing, cupcakes were moist and perfect, ambiance was fun and funky.  Minus a cupcake for the clutter and Spice Cake, but still, a MUST if you are within 3,000 miles of Chicago.  


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