Recipe Thursdays: Red, White, and You Cupcakes

These are the sweetest Yankee Doodles you'll find–with a berry bash jam center that will make fireworks at your next patriotic BBQ. Enjoy the recipe from The Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes by Nicholas Peruzzi and Courtney Forrester of Sweet Cupcakes, Inc.

Red, White, and You Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Berry Bash Jam
Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
2 pastry bags and tip, or knife
Red sanding sugar (optional)
1.  Prepare the Berry Bash Jam and let cool in the refrigerator.
2.  Prepare the Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes as directed and let cool.
3.  Once the jam is cool, make a small cut to the tip of a pastry bag with scissors. Flip the top half of the bag inside out, and use a spatula to fill it with the jam. Squeeze some of the jam out to rid the bag of any air pockets.
4.  Using a teaspoon or apple corer, make a hole in the center of the top of each cupcake, being careful not to push the spoon or corer through the bottom of the cake.
5.  Squeeze about one tablespoon of jam to fill the hole you've made in each cupcake.
6.  Prepare the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. It should be freshly mixed and at room temperature at the time of decorating.
7.  If piping the frosting, make a small cut to the tip of the second pastry bag with scissors. Insert the tip into the bag. Flip the top half of the pastry bag inside out, and use a spatula to fill it with the frosting. Squeeze some of the frosting out to rid the bag of any air pockets, and frost the cupcakes or spread the frosting on with a knife.
8.  Sprinkle red sanding sugar onto a plate and roll the frosted cupcakes until evenly covered with a red sparkle!

Berry Bash Jam
Makes enough to fill 12 cupcakes

1/3 cup blackberries
1/3 cup raspberries
1/3 cup strawberries, de-stemmed
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons liquid fruit pectin*
* Found in canning aisle of grocery store, or online. Do not use powdered pectin.

1.  Chop the berries in a food processor until chopped into a chunky paste (you can use a potato masher if you do not have a food processor).

2.  Put the fruit into a 6- or 8-quart saucepan and place on high heat.
3.  Stir the sugar in with the fruit, and then add the butter.
4.  Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) and keep on high heat, stirring constantly.
5.  Stir in the pectin quickly and return to a full rolling boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
6.  Remove from the heat and pour into a heavy duty container (either plastic or glass), cover, and refrigerate.

Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1-1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds only
2/3 cup whole milk
1.  Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2.  Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
3.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
4.  In an electric mixer, or large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar and mix well.
5.  Beat in the egg until well blended, and then beat in the vanilla extract.
6.  Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a paring knife. Discard the husk.
7.  Measure the milk into a small container and add the vanilla seeds.
8.  Add the flour mixture and milk alternately in three steps to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Blend gently until smooth.
9.  Pour the batter into the lined cupcake pan, distributing the batter equally.
10. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, and bake for 12 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
11. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

1/4 vanilla bean, seeds only
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup trans fat-free vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.  Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a paring knife. Discard the husk, and set the seeds aside.
2.  In an electric mixer, or large bowl, beat the butter and vegetable shortening on medium speed until creamy.
3.  Add the vanilla seeds and mix for a few seconds on medium speed.
4.  In a separate bowl, sift the confectioners sugar.
5.  Add the confectioners sugar to the butter mixture on low speed until it begins to incorporate.
6.  Add the vanilla extract, and beat at medium to high speed until fully incorporated.

Interested in more sweet recipes? Purchase a hard copy here. Or download the ebook to your device.

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First Image © Eric Levin

Second Image © fotogiunta/

Third Image © Robert Gubbins/

Adventures in Atlanta!

Doing the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Show is always a trip. I count my blessings each time that I am able to fly out of our local airport here in Westchester because it’s just a 15-minute ride from home and it’s small so you can, should you happen to awaken late, or take too long getting ready, or misjudge traffic get there just a few minutes before your flight. I’ve literally dropped off friends 15 minutes before their flight was scheduled to take off and they made it. But I don’t recommend pushing your luck.

Our showroom is in the “West Wing” of Building 2, #680A. We share it with House of Marbles. And in Beauty and the Beast fashion, it’s as if no one’s allowed in the West Wing. It’s a maze. We’re frequently pointing people in the right direction. It’s a pleasure to meet our retailers and we’re always happy to show off the new products in our showroom. It’s like shopping a store! If you can't make it to our showroom, you can also find our product in the very happening and fun JustGot2HaveIt showroom, #1721 in Building 2.

I really enjoy seeing Atlanta while I’m there, but with late hours I mostly only get to enjoy the hotel and dinner out. Lately, I’ve been staying at the Twelve Centennial Park Hotel. It’s like having my own apartment, when I’m there. I highly recommend it. You can usually get rates under $200/nite through the show site or another travel site. They had a really adorable dolphin (see photo) outside the entrance to ROOM, their restaurant, this year.

Aside from room service at the hotel, we were able to have dinner out with one of our Sales Rep Principals – Al Hattendorf, who covers the DC, VA, MD, DE area. The bunch of us, Al and Kathy Hattendorf, Alan Romano from House of Marbles, John Hartley and I, enjoyed dinner at Rosebud, a really cool place in the Virginia Highlands. The food was delicious even if half the menu items we wanted were sold out!

See you next time!
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®
January 9 – 16 2013