Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Cupcakes

50 Shades of Food: The ultimate cupcake


Welcome to our new 50 Shades of Food series where we introduce you to mouth-watering, shiver-inducing, hot, sexy food porn. It's safe for work browsing, sure to get your heart racing and your palms a little sweaty, and the only drawback is a possible hunger pang or two after viewing.

For our first installment, here's a photo of chocolate cheesecake cupcakes drizzled with caramel uploaded by L.A. Times user Beer Vee. They're enough to make you want to kiss your computer screen. The cupcakes look dark and decadent and you can almost taste the gooey, sticky caramel.

To get in on the action, simply upload photos of your food to any of our food galleries --  What did you eat this weekend?, Our recipes, your kitchen or our Cheers! What are you drinking? -- and we'll be on the lookout for photos that make our eyes pop. You can also share photos with us on our Facebook page or on Twitter. Be sure to include your name, a description of the photo and if you have a personal blog or Twitter handle you'd like us to give a shout-out to.


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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Chocolate cheesecake cupcakes drizzled with caramel. Credit: beervee.

'Television: Out of the Box' ... with cupcakes

Warner Bros. cupcake at Crumbs Bake Shop

For TV history buffs, Warner Bros. is sponsoring a new exhibit at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills titled "Television: Out of the Box." The exhibit celebrates nearly 60 years of Warner Bros. television, representing series including “ER,” “Seinfeld," "The Sopranos" and “Two and a Half Men,” and classics like “The Flintstones,” “Dallas” and “77 Sunset Strip.” Susan King did a great write-up on the exhibit, which is now open to the public, but officially launches Thursday night.

And for those TV history buffs with a sweet tooth ... WBTV and the Paley Center have partnered with Crumbs Bake Shop on a "Television: Out of the Box" cupcake. The red velvet cupcakes are available starting Thursday at Crumbs' Beverly Hills and Larchmont locations.

Crumbs customers get 20% off Paley Center admission if they present their Crumbs receipt (same day only), and “Television: Out of the Box” visitors can buy one, get one free if they present their museum tickets.

The Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills.


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Photo: WBTV partners with Crumbs Bake Shop on red velvet cupcakes. Credit: Warner Bros.

3 Events: wagashi lessons; Los Muertos at El Carmen; Cupcakes + Art

Wagashi workshop: Tokyo confectionery master Chikara Mizukami will lead two workshops next month on wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets. Mizukami will prepare handmade "namagashi" pastries inspired by nature, ancient literature and Japanese poems, and discuss how wagashi has evolved into an art form. Participants will taste the distinctive flavors and textures, served with tea, and learn about ingredients and techniques. Mizukami's first visit to the U.S. was made possible with a grant from the Japanese American National Museum. Classes will be held in Venice and downtown Los Angeles. Call for reservations. Nov. 17 and 18 at Tortoise General Store, 1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 314-8448, www.tortoisegeneralstore.com. Nov. 19 at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 625-0414, www.janm.org

Margaritas and los Muertos: Tequila bar El Carmen is celebrating Dia de los Muertos on Wednesday with drink specials, a deejay and traditional painted faces. Classic margaritas will be $5 and Tecate will cost $4, served by employees who will be sporting Dia de los Muertos painted faces. Guests are encouraged to arrive in painted faces or Dia de los Muertos costumes too. DJ Garron Gash will be spinning. Wednesday marks the second day of the two-day celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the day on which deceased adults are honored. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 8138 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 852-1552, www.elcarmenrestaurant.com. 

Cupcakes + Art: Urban Food Crawl, which hosts weekly vegan food tours in downtown L.A., is holding a vegan cupcake competition, dubbed Cupcakes + Art. Ten L.A. bakers will bake vegan mini cupcakes, to be judged at the gallery Hold Up Art in Little Tokyo, with a cupcake-themed art show. Proceeds from art sales go to the winning baker's charity of choice. Competitors are: Bake You Happy, Crushcakes & Cafe, Jamaica's Cakes, Sweet Alexis, Courtesan Cupcakes, Amanda's Bakery & Cafe, Babycakes, No Udder Desserts, Claracakes and Rawbites. Attendees will eat and vote on the cupcakes. Tickets are $35; buy them online. Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. 358 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles. 


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-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Wagashi Japanese sweets. Credit: tortoisegeneralstore.com

What's in the box at Father's Office?


If you've been to Father's Office recently and noticed small cardboard boxes showing up at nearby tables and have wondered what's in them, they're cupcakes. Yes, F.O. owner Sang Yoon makes cupcakes. Or his pastry chef John Park does. 

Until now, Father's Office didn't offer desserts, sometimes notoriously, because it also doesn't allow outside desserts to be brought in, such as a cake for a birthday. So now you can celebrate with cupcakes. Or ice cream sandwiches. 

Continue reading »

Guinness cupcake for Dad? Sugar Blossom Bake Shop has you covered

Tired of buying your dad beer for Father's Day? Why not switch up that tired tradition and buy him a beer cupcake instead? Thanks to pastry chef Lei Shishak at Sugar Blossom Bake Shop in San Clemente, you can do just that.

From June 10 to 19, Shishak will offer these rich, brown-and-bubbly little Guinness cupcakes, ready to serve at any family gathering featuring man-centric activities geared to celebrate paternity in its many-splendored glory. Yes, this year, being a dad matters. And beer cupcakes are the fresh-baked proof.

Opened about a year ago, Sugar Blossom is Shishak's homage to her favorite things: quality, all-natural ingredients and the tender, warming feelings that accompany a good sweet treat. After all, she dropped out of a fast-paced career in New York City finance to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Before opening Sugar Blossom, she was the executive pastry chef at Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

That's pastry-chef street cred to be sure. And your dad deserves nothing but the best. Also, if you want to make these boozy dreamcakes yourself, Shishak has been kind enough to share her recipe after the jump. It hasn't gone through the Test Kitchen, but it looks good.

Continue reading »

St. Patrick's Day all around L.A.

St patty cupcakes croppedSt. Patrick's Day may be a holiday for the Irish, but there are plenty of ways for everyone to celebrate with great food, drinks and sweets this March 17. Here are just a few:

--Magnolia Bakery will be offering its classic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with festive  green decorations on top. Magnolia Bakery, 8389 W. 3rd St., (323) 951-0636; www.magnoliabakery.com.

--All Jarred Up, which sends mini pies baked in jars to points all over the U.S., will be creating a special flavor for the day: apple with Jameson Whiskey and a shamrock-shaped crust.  www.alljarredup.com.

--From noon to 2 a.m., the recently opened Maui & Sons Bar & Grill will participate in a St. Patrick's Day Beer Festival in Hollywood, along with Pig 'n Whistle, in the Egyptian Theatre courtyard. Sip $3 drafts and $5 mixed drinks while enjoying a live U2 cover band and DJ. Maui & Sons Bar & Grill, 6708 Hollywood Blvd., (323) 463-3130; www.mauiandsonsbarandgrill.com.

--Lola's in West Hollywood will be serving Irish-inspired dishes and drinks on St. Patty's Day from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. You can fill up on Irish potato soup, beef stew and whiskey bread pudding, among other dishes, and wash them down with a "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" martini, a pint of Guinness or a mug of Irish coffee. Lola's, 945 N. Fairfax Ave., (323) 654-5652; www.lolasla.com.

--Casey's Irish Pub in downtown Los Angeles is going all out to celebrate its patron saint. To start, it will  offer sunrise service beginning at 6 a.m., with a flow of green beer, Jameson-enhanced Irish coffee and, of course, Guinness. More food and drinks, live bands and DJs will follow throughout the day and night, along Grand Avenue all the way from Wilshire to 6th. Casey's Irish Pub, 613 S. Grand Ave., (213) 629-2353; www.caseysirishpub.com.

--A few days early, on March 12, help raise money for the Hollywood Arts Council by taking part in St. Patty's Fest, where beer, wine and spirits will be offered along with lots of activities and entertainment, including Irish dance. (213) 915-8003; www.stpattysfest.com

If you know of any other eating and drinking festivities in honor of St. Patrick's Day, let us know in the comments section below.

--Emma Wartzman


--Luck o' the Irish: 15 St. Patrick's Day recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

--Poll: Would you eat 'breast milk' ice cream?

--From the archives: Chocolate cheesecake

Photo: Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery

Small Bites: Il Sole reopens in West Hollywood. JDate launches JPicks.com, 'the chosen deals.' Casey's Cupcakes wins 'Cupcake Wars.'


 'The Chosen Deals': Earlier this month JDate, the online community for Jewish singles, launched JPicks, a website featuring a different discount (from 50% to 90% off) at Los Angeles shops, retaurants and entertainment venues every day. Since selling out its first offer, JPicks has had success with its "Chosen Deals," ranging from Jewish- and date-themed deals in line with its direct demographic, to more general ones that people who aren't single or Jewish can also enjoy. See www.jpicks.com. 

The new Il Sole: In the heart of West Hollywood, chef Isaac Rivera has updated the menu at Los Angeles staple Il Sole to go along with the reopening and new design of the restaurant. Rivera is focusing on regional Italian favorites such as eggplant Parmigiana “Napoli style”; manila clams sautéed with white wine, garlic and olive oil; and spaghetti with Tuscan ragu. Il Sole will also feature a special crudo menu. It’s cooking that’s meant to go with the new vibe, described as stylized trattoria mixed with a romantic atmosphere.

8741 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 657-1182. 

Cupcake coup: With sugar diamonds, rice paper feathers and some chocolate crunch balls, Casey's Cupcakes won the Food Network program "Cupcake Wars" last night. Having just opened a second location (with one already in Riverside) in Laguna Beach this month, owner Casey Reinhardt -- whom you may recall from MTV's "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" -- is celebrating. With cupcakes. She'll be making appearances at both locations on Saturday with live music and, most importantly, packs of cupcakes for sale featuring the four winning flavors: white chocolate cherry, white Russian, chili chocolate and lavender.

303 Broadway St., Laguna Beach; 949-715-8245; also at the Historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, 3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; 951-328-6908; www.caseyscupcake.com.

-- Emma Wartzman

Photo: Cupcakes from "Cupcake Wars"/Food Network


Red velvet cupcakes rule the day at Cupcake Camp L.A.

I would have enjoyed my childhood camp a lot more had it looked like Cupcake Camp L.A.

Hundreds lined up for Cupcake Camp L.A. at the Music Box Theatre in Hollywood, a fundraiser that also served as a celebration of that favorite childhood treat. Attendees bought tasting tickets that allowed them to sample the wares (above left photo). And one of the first cupcake-ateers to run out was the aptly named Jackie Brubaker, a music writer and producer who bakes for fun. She served up Jack & Coke cupcakes, as in chocolate cupcakes with a simple vanilla frosting that packed a potent Jack Daniel's wallop. (For the record, I got the last one. Hiccup.)

“I love baking, for me, it’s just zen,” Brubaker said.

Organized by Bakespace.com founder Babette Pepaj, the event raised funds for InvisiblePeople.tv, which uses social media to connect the homeless with support services, as well as Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue and the American Tortoise Rescue.

Two trophies were given out Saturday, and both went to red velvet cupcakes. Charlotte Park, founder of Cake Pop LA, won for her "To Die For" red velvet cupcake pops and "Vanilla Dream" cupcakes with lemon filling topped with raspberries. And Trisha Santiago won for her red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and devil's food cupcakes with espresso cream cheese frosting.

Did you go to Cupcake Camp L.A.? What were your favorites? For looks alone, I thought that nothing compared to the stunning "Breakfast at Tiffany's" cupcakes by Sugar Babies Cupcakery, above right photo.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credits: Erik Deutsch / For The Times

Get your cupcake on this Saturday

Cupcake lovers are heading off to camp: Cupcake Camp LA.

Part fund-raiser, part bake-off and mostly just a really good excuse to eat cupcakes, Cupcake Camp LA comes to the Music Box Theater in Hollywood Saturday to showcase the work of commercial and amateur bakers.

You'll get to vote for your favorite cupcake. In addition to good 'ol fashion cupcakes, there will also be holiday-themed and wedding cupcakes unveiled during the day's two tasting sessions. One will be held from noon to 2 p.m., the other from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 apiece and include five tasting coupons. Tickets for younger than five are $5 apiece and include three tasting coupons, and there will be a special area for kids to try their hand at decorating cupcakes.

Continue reading »

Secret Service to President Obama: Step away from the cupcakes

What good is being president if you can't receive cupcakes as a gift?

Check out a story on our political blog about savvy Seattle businesswoman Jody Hall of Cupcake Royale, who managed to get her cupcakes thisclose to President Obama as he was swinging through the area. The Secret Service intervened, however.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo by Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.