Thursday, May 28

Cupcake Critique: A review of Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena

In the past few years’ cupcakes have become an obsession. These cute little portion friendly treats are perfect for any occasion. Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena is one of the many cupcake companies out there that has become famous. Dots offers some interesting flavors and a unique look of their own. The flower on top has become their logo in the same way that Sprinkles has the trademark "dot". 

I thought it would be cool to do a review of some of their cupcakes. Here's a look into 4 of their flavors: 

Dulce de Leche: I bought this one in a mini version and it is really cute. I really liked the flavor of this one. The caramel was not too overpowering, it had kind of a maple brown sugar taste. The frosting was creamy and I thought the vanilla actually was too strong to complement the caramel. The cake was not dry, very moist and did not crumble everywhere when I bit into it. Overall, a really interesting flavor! 

Lemon Drop: I love the yellow swirl on top, so cute! I liked the lemon flavor; it was very key lime pie tasting. The cake was a little dry but not super dry or anything. Maybe I just had one that had been sitting out longer. This would be a great cupcake for an afternoon tea or a baby shower because it's really light and does not make you feel sickly full (sometimes those double chocolate ones really get to me). Overall this one was my favorite. 

Red Velvet: The ever so popular red velvet lived up to my expectations. The color was a really deep red and I liked that. The cake was spongy but dense enough. The flower on top was really cute. The cream cheese frosting was the perfect frosting to balance out the cake. I get so sick of really heavy overpowering cream cheese frostings but this one was so light and delicious. I highly recommend it. 

Chocolate Vanilla: The first thing that caught my eye about this cupcake was the great brown color of the frosting. However, I was disappointed by the way it tasted. The frosting was kind of gritty and bland. The yellow vanilla cake didn't do much for me either.I really liked the flower on this one. Overall I think this cupcake could use some work. 

Dots has 2 stores. One in Old Town and one on arroyo parkway. I went to the one in Old Town and it was very clean and open. I know this one makes more cupcakes than the one on arroyo parkway. I think Old Town is a great location for a cupcake store that wants a lot of walk in customers. 


So, go to Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena and try some yummy cupcakes!  

Key Lime Pie

I do enjoy decadent desserts every once in while, however my favorite type of desserts are ones that are light and fruity. Key Lime Pie happens to be one of my favorite types of pie and overall dessert. It’s a great thing to make, and very easy, now that it’s getting hotter. I mean nothing says summer like a big cold slice of key lime pie and a huge dollop of whipped cream on top, right? 


This recipe for key like pie comes from the joy of cooking. I have the 75th anniversary addition, but I am pretty sure it would be in any other one too. 



one 15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (this might be a typo b/c the only ones I know of are 14-ounce cans)

4 large eggs 

1/2 cup key lime juice: 12-14 limes (or you can buy bottled key lime juice) 

3-4 teaspoons grated key lime zest

1 graham cracker pie shell 


All you have to do is whisk the ingredients together until everything is well blended. Then pour it into a homemade or store-bought pie shell. I like to use a store-bought graham cracker pie shells (so easy and super delicious). 


Bake for 15-17 minutes at 325˚F.  A good way to test if it's done or not is to jiggle the pan and see if the pie looks set but still quivers. When it's done, store it in the fridge and serve cold with a dollop of whipped cream 

Thursday, May 21


Don't worry, I have not fallen off the face of the earth! 

I am currently editing like 5 posts so you should get really excited. 

Some of them are: Key lime Pie, Carmel Apples, and a review of Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena

I have been SWAMPED with work which is why I feel like I abandoned my blog. But in the next few days I hope I can post a lot of the things I have been working on. 

Saturday, March 21

Blueberry Oat Bars

Last night I volunteered to provide baked goods at our schools' Amnesty Coffee House. The event features baked goods, jewelry, shirts, CD's, bags, live music and more! We donated all the profits to an organization of our choice. Anyways, when it came time for me to decide what to make, I knew I wanted to make something that was light, filling, and did not have chocolate. As much as I love brownies and cupcakes, sometimes I feel like they are overdone. I know when I go to an event I feel like the choices when it comes to the baked goods section are often very limited. Thats when it came to me that I should make some type of a fruit bar. I remembered that Starbucks had a really yummy blueberry oat bar that is only available certain times of the year. After doing some research, I found this Blueberry Oat Bar recipe on and knew it would be a good option at a coffeehouse. I have to say, they were quiet a hit with people and I got some great compliments. Try these wonderful treats if you want to bring some variety to the normal ho-hum chocolate spread at your next event.


1 3/4 cup Quaker Oats, uncooked (I used quick, but old-fashioned works too)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts) 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted (meaning, melt the already measured butter) 
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen because they were cheaper)
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
2 teaspoons lemon juice 

1. Heat oven to 350 F

2. Cover a 11x7-inch baking pan with aluminum and grease it. 

3. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, nuts, baking soda and salt in a bowl. 

4. Add the melted butter and combine with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. 

5. Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of the baking dish. 

6. Bake for 10 minutes. 

7 . Meanwhile, combine blueberries (if using frozen ones make sure you have thawed and strained them), granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of your water in a medium saucepan.

8. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a small bowl (like one you eat cereal in) and mix well. ***if you have never worked with cornstarch before you will be very befuddled when you do this. When mixed with water cornstarch becomes a solid and a liquid. If you try to force your spoon into the mixture it will turn solid but if you slowly ease it in it acts like a liquid. Here is a link to a funny segment on the Ellen Degeneres show about Corn Starch.

9. Gradually stir the corn starch mixture into the blueberry mixture. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds at which point the mixture will turn into thick consistency. 

10. Spread over the partially bakes base and sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Gently press topping on blueberries. 

11. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown 

12. Lift aluminum out of dish and cool on wire rack. When ready cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 

Makes about 16-24 bars depending on how small you cut bars. 

Image source and recipe source: Group recipes 

Sweetened Whipped Cream

While making homemade whipped cream one day, I realized that it tasted kind of plain. I am not a fan of store bought whipped cream so I figured there was some way of making homemade whipped cream taste sweeter. After doing some research and trials, I came up with this great recipe for homemade whipped cream. Its perfect on pies, like my homemade Apple Pie, or even simple desserts like a bowl of strawberries. This recipe is as easy and only has 3 ingredients and 3 steps so I know anyone can do it....even my baking challenged friend Madlyn :) 


1 1/2 cups well chilled heavy whipping cream 
          (found near milk section in grocery stores)
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In the mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer set on low speed, begin beating the cream. Gradually increase the speed to high. 

2. Beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. To test, turn off the mixer and lift the beaters. If the cream makes soft little peaks that flop over slightly, it is ready. Be careful not to overbeat, or the cream will separate and begin to resemble butter. 

3. Use the whipped cream immediately, or cover and refrigerate. 


Sunday, March 8

"Sweet as Apple Pie"

There is nothing better than a warm homemade slice of Apple Pie. Lets face it, when you hear those two words all you can think of is a buttery flaky crust and sweet fragrant apples melting in your mouth with a cold scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream or whipped cream. The Apple Pie is an American Tradition. It's the pie that brings the family around the table at Thanksgiving or the pie that is served with red white and blue plates at the Fourth of July beach party. It's the pie that your Grandmother always made when you visited, and she somehow knew the recipe by heart. The Apple Pie is so versatile and is yummy for anytime, not just a holiday or family gathering. I hope you will enjoy my take on this delicious American Tradition and try it for yourself! 


for the pie dough 
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) very 
        cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
1/2 very cold water 

for the apple filling 
6 large tart apples
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon lemon juice 

1. First make the pie dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the granulated sugar, and the salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. 

2. Drop the diced butter pieces into the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender (can be found at any grocery store) work the butter and the flour mixture together by rocking the pastry blender back and forth and up and down using a chopping motion. Keep in mind that the butter needs to be really cold! After a few minutes the mixture should looks like course crumbs with few pieces of butter still visible. 

3. Pour ice cold water over the mixture and stir together until the mixture becomes moist crumbs. Dump crumbs onto a clean and floured work surface. Divide into two equal piles and using your hands, press each pile into a flat disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 


4. Make the apple filling: Using a vegetable peeler, peal each apple and then cut into about 8 pieces. Each piece should be about 1/2 inch thick to ensure plenty of apples for each slice of pie! Pile the slices in a bowl and add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until blended.  

5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. 

6. Sprinkle the work surface with the remaining cup of flour. Unwrap 1 disk of the dough and using the rolling pin flatten out the top a bit. 

7. Sprinkle more flour on the top and on the rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll towards the edges. Repeat this until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter and about the same thickness throughout. Don't worry if its not a perfect circle because its going to be on the bottom of the dish anyways.

8. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully transfer onto your 9-inch pie dish (I used a pyrex dish). Using your fingertips, gently press dough into the dish. 

9. There are many different options for the top of an apple pie. You can create a lattice design or a full top with slits, or basically anything that your heart desires. This was my first time making a homemade pie crust so I found that my second disk of dough was very dry. I improvised by making a crumble top pie. To do this I basically pulled apart the dough and dropped it over the apples. I then sprinkled 1/4 cup sugar on the top to give it some more texture.


10. Bake the pie until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender, about 1 hour. Test the pie by inserting a knife in the top. The knife should glide easily into the slice. Remove pie from the oven and cool on a backing rack until ready to serve. 

11. When ready to serve the pie should still be warm. Top each slice with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and ENJOY! 

Wednesday, March 4


Hello everyone. I haven't posted in a few days because I have been bogged down with homework. I just wanted to let you know that I have created and email for this blog. This means you can email me your suggestions or any comments or questions you may have about a recipe. 

The email is, 
Feel free to email me anytime you want and I will get back to you ASAP! 

Friday, February 27

A Cookbook for Everyone

I recently discovered Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. This cookbook is filled with amazing recipes, tips, and even lessons that correspond with the chapters. One of my favorite aspects of this cookbook is the fact that it has pictures of all the recipes. For me, every cookbook I buy must show pictures. How else am I supposed to know what the final product is supposed to look like? Also, having pictures just makes it more fun. Anyways, this cookbook is laid out very clearly and has really useful tips for beginers. Wether it be learning about tools or learning to select the perfect vegetables, this book really has it all. 

I am particularly fond of the dessert section in this book. She has some really simple and very classic desserts such as yellow butter cake with easy chocolate butter-creamdouble crust apple pie, chocolate souffle, and much more. the best thing about it is that every one has a picture for every step (REPEAT: EVERY STEP!!!!). GAhhhhhhh, so amazing. and the number in the corner corresponds to the step number. That is so beautiful that I could cry. I HIGHLY recommend that everyone purchase this book. 

I am looking forward to trying a few of these recipes and seeing if my results look as good as Martha's do! 

image source:

Monday, February 23

Spring Cupcakes

I almost died of happiness when I saw this picture...

These cupcakes are by Paula Hennig. Her flickr account has SO many gorgeous pictures of treats that I can hardly wait to go through them. Take a look at them by clicking on her name above. You may be inspired by some of her work. 

These cupcakes would be perfect for a spring garden party, tea, birthday party, wedding shower, baby shower, easter party, and so much more! 

I believe these are chrysanthemum flowers. the colors are really great because they are bright without being in-your-face neon. I am so excited to try and recreate these scrumptious looking cupcakes! 

A few Lessons I have learned over the years...

This is part one of a series of tips that I hope to continue throughout the next few months. 

#1 Always let the cake completely cool before trying to put frosting on it. If you don't, you will end up with frosting filled with crumbs. 

#2 Always cool cookies, cupcakes, and cakes on a wire rack. This ensures that they don't get all soggy. It is especially important for cookies because cooling them on a rack gives them a nice crisp texture and they won' fall apart when you pick them up.

#3 Bring butter and eggs to room temperature (unless the recipe says otherwise) for baking. A good way to bring butter to room temperature if you forgot to set it out before is to dice it into cubes on a plate and let it sit for a moment. This way, more surface is exposed to heat and it melts faster. NEVER put butter in the microwave to soften it. It will melt and the texture will not hold up frostings and batters. 

#4 Be sure to understand the difference between  4 Cups of Flour, Sifted and 4 Cups of Sifted Flour . Yes, it matters!  The first one calls for 4 cups of flours which you then sift. The second calls for sifted flour which you then measure out 4 cups of. 

#5 If you don't own a piping bag , you can always use a ziplock bag for applying frosting to cupcakes and cakes. All you have to do is put your frosting in a bag (you will need a larger size, like freezer bag size or something), zip it shut, and snip of the corner of one edge. Start by only cutting a small bit off and increase the size little by little. It's kind of a pain when you realize the hold is too big and you have to transfer all the frosting. 

Product Review: Sprinkles Cupcake Mix

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night yearning for a decadent cupcake, especially a Sprinkles Cupcake? Unless you had happened to go to Sprinkles that day, this would be a major dilemma. Sprinkles Cupcakes are almost a food group of their own. They were made famous years ago and basically started this whole Cupcake Craze that has taken over the world. 

I discovered Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes from Williams-Sonoma last year  and let me tell you, they have come in handy. They are easy to whip up in a second and they are really good. The cake is a little denser than grocery store cake mixes, which I really like because I find the grocery store ones wayyy to light and they always fall apart. Also, the Butter-cream frosting recipe that comes with the mix is the easiest thing ever! I have used it for the past year for other cupcakes and cakes and people really like it! I have only tried the vanilla and chocolate mixes but I know that Williams-Sonoma also carries red velvet, banana, and I think they used to have lemon. They also have some seasonal ones like chocolate peppermint for Christmas Time. 

Below are some photos of the vanilla cupcakes that I made a few months ago. I also added some moist coconut flakes on top to add some more flavor. I am basically addicted to coconut. *Baking Tip: Covering cakes and cupcakes with coconut is a great way to hide flaws if you are not fabulous at applying frosting! 

                                                    They even come with the little dots to stick on top! 
                                                                 Warning: Do not eat the dots.....they are pretty disgusting

Celebrating Mardi Gras!

Tomorrow, Feb 24th, is MARDI GRAS!!!!!!! 
It is also called "Fat Tuesday" and is the last day before Ash Wednesday or "lent". Many people fast during lent, usually giving up something that is hard for them to give up (like candy or fast food). I attempted to give up chocolate one year....that failed miserably. Anyways, this "Fat Tuesday" is a very big deal to one particular place called  NEW ORLEANS! Seriously, this place is home to some of the best food on the planet. One of the traditions that is celebrated in new Orelans is the making and consuming of the "Kings Cake" on Mardi Gras. 

The history of it is very interesting and you can read up about it on

Here is a recipe for a Kings Cake from Chef Emeril Lagasse 

  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
  • 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 plastic king cake baby or a pecan half
  • 5 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles
Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk and warm water. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water (110 degrees), a tablespoon at a time, until it does.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Blend by hand or with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.

Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the icing. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner's sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.

The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.

YIELD: 20 to 22 servings


Hello everyone! Welcome to my Confessions of a Bakeaholic blog. My name is Allison and this blog came to life as a part of my Senior Project for school. As you can probably tell by the name of my blog, I to bake. This blog is going to serve as a journal of some sorts as I learn to improve my baking techniques and learn advanced techniques that I've never tried (such as using fondant, sugar sculpting, tiered cakes, wedding cakes, etc...). I am going to be privately studying under a pastry chef and bringing my readers some insight into the world of baking. 

I am going to mainly be focusing on cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other baked goods along with the intricate process of decorating them with fondant, sugar sculpting, etc... For example, I normally would just bake a simple 2 layer yellow cake with butter-cream frosting BUT there is soooooo much more fun stuff beyond that. Even if you can't make a Betty Crocker cake mix to save your life, I hope you can learn some things from my blog. I will be teaching you not only some great recipes, but also you will be learning about baking tools and baking terminology. You may be asking, why does this person care so much about baking? Simple: 

#1  baking is an activity that bring me a lot of joy and confidence and my friends and family can enjoy the results
#2 It brings people together
#3 you can learn a lot about your family history through all those ancient index cards scribbled in hardly legible pen with your great-grandmothers secret apple pie recipe 
#4 cooking is a HUGE part of my family. anyone who knows my family will tell you that no one ever goes hungry at my house
#5 through baking I have learned perseverance, determination, and risk taking
#6 it tastes good
#7 IT'S FUN!!!
I'm just getting started on this whole "blog" thing so it may take me a few posts to figure out exactly how I am going to format my posts and post pictures. I hope to show pictures of ALL steps of whatever it is that I am baking or working on, along with clear and detailed explanations. If you have any suggestions (or even any requests for what to bake) please let me know!