Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Rooibos Tea Cupcake Recipe

Tea and cupcakes are my favorite combination. Tea IN cupcakes? Not bad either!

"Rooibos," (pronounced roy-boss) is finely chopped, bruised and left to ferment in heaps. Rooibos tea is then left to dry in the sun, where it changes from green to a deep mahogany red. Rooibos tea is often known as red tea or redbush tea.

According to Tea Muse,

Rooibos tea remained virtually unheard of for centuries, known only to the Khoisans, a tribe of South African Bushmen. It was used frequently by these people as an herbal remedy for a wide range of ailments. The secret of this delicious herb nearly vanished into oblivion due to the environment and landscape, as the isolated tribe dwindled away and eventually disappeared.

Luckily, Rooibos tea was re-discovered in 1772 by botanist Carl Humberg, who then brought it back as a beverage. For generations after this, Rooibos tea was enjoyed (primarily by the South Africans) for it's cool, sweet, refreshing flavor. In 1904, a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg realized Rooibos' untapped marketing potential, and began offering Rooibos tea globally calling Rooibos "Mountain Tea" as an herbal substitute to tea. Thus, the Worldwide Rooibos Revolution had begun.

Chocolate Blueberry Rooibos Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup cold, strong, Blueberry Rooibos tea (Rishi)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir just until blended. Mix in 3/4 of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with additional cocoa powder.
Blueberry Rooibos Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 stick of sweet cream butter, room temperature
1 brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 splash vanilla extract
1 splash cold, strong, Blueberry Rooibos tea (Rishi)
1/8 cup whipping cream
4-6 cups powdered sugar
fresh blueberries for garnish
food color optional (2 drops red, 2 drops blue)
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla, tea and cream. If adding color, do so at this time. Whip until fluffy.
  3. Begin adding powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Chill for 1/2 hour. Pipe as desired.

the sneetches

The Sneetches is my favorite Dr. Seuss story and I just happen to stumble upon this tattoo on google images. The tattoo's owner is Kelsie W. from Unconventional Minds Myspace Shop. Beautiful isn't it?

from unconventional minds myspace shop


by Dr. Suess

Now the Star-bellied Sneetches had bellies
with stars.
The Plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars.
The stars weren't so big; they were really quite small.
You would think such a thing wouldn't matter at all.
But because they had stars, all the Star-bellied Sneetches
would brag, "We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches."

With their snoots in the air, they would
sniff and they'd snort, "
We'll have nothing to do with the plain-bellied sort."
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
they'd hike right on past them without even talking.

When the Star-bellied children went out to
play ball,
could the Plain-bellies join in their game? Not at all!
You could only play ball if your bellies had stars,
and the Plain-bellied children had none upon thars.

When the Star-bellied Sneetches had
frankfurter roasts,
or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
they never invited the Plain-bellied Sneetches.
Left them out cold in the dark of the beaches.
Kept them away; never let them come near,
and that's how they treated them year after year.

Then one day, it seems, while the
Plain-bellied Sneetches
were moping, just moping alone on the beaches,
sitting there, wishing their bellies had stars,
up zipped a stranger in the strangest of cars.

"My friends, " he announced in a
voice clear and keen,
"My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
I've heard of your troubles; I've heard you're unhappy.
But I can fix that; I'm the fix-it-up chappie.
I've come here to help you; I have what you need.
My prices are low, and I work with great speed,
and my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed."

Then quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
put together a very peculiar machine.
Then he said, "You want stars like a Star-bellied Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them . . . . for three dollars each.
Just hand me your money and climb on aboard."

They clambered inside and the big machine

It bonked. It clonked. It jerked. It berked.
It bopped them around, but the thing really worked.
When the Plain-bellied Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did, they had stars upon thars!

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars
from the start,
"We're exactly like you; you can't tell us apart.
We're all just the same now, you snooty old smarties.
Now we can come to your frankfurter parties!"

"Good grief!" groaned the one who
had stars from the first.
"We're still the best Sneetches, and they are the worst.
But how in the world will we know," they all frowned,
"if which kind is what or the other way 'round?"

Then up stepped McBean with a very sly wink,
and he said,
"Things are not quite as bad as you think.
You don't know who's who, that is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends, do you know what I'll do?
I'll make you again the best Sneetches on beaches,
and all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.

Belly stars are no longer in style, "
said McBean.
"What you need is a trip through my stars-off machine.
This wondrous contraption will take off your stars,
so you won't look like Sneetches who have them on thars."

That handy machine, working very precisely,
removed all the stars from their bellies quite nicely.
Then, with snoots in the air, they paraded about.
They opened their beaks and proceeded to shout,
"We now know who's who, and there isn't a doubt,
the best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without."

Then, of course those with stars all got
frightfully mad.
To be wearing a star now was frightfully bad.
Then, of course old Sylvester McMonkey McBean
invited them into his stars-off machine.
Then, of course from then on, you can probably guess,
things really got into a horrible mess.

All the rest of the day on those wild
screaming beaches,
the Fix-it-up-Chappie was fixing up Sneetches.
Off again, on again, in again, out again,
through the machine and back round about again,
still paying money, still running through,
changing their stars every minute or two,
until neither the Plain- nor the Star-bellies knew
whether this one was that one or that one was this one
or which one was what one or what one was who!

Then, when every last cent of their money was
the Fix-It-Up-Chappie packed up and he went.
And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach,
"They never will learn; no, you can't teach a Sneetch!"

But McBean was quite wrong, I'm quite happy
to say,
the Sneetches got quite a bit smarter that day.
That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches,
and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars,
and whether they had one or not upon thars.

Say it ain't so! The racist side of Dr. Seuss

I was perusing the blogosphere and came across a blog entitled Dharma Pancakes. It was from a post on this blog that I learned some disappointing information regarding childrens author Dr. Seuss. According to Dharma Pancakes, during WWII, Seuss created cartooning racist propaganda for the War Department.

From 1941-1943, Dr. Seuss was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM (1940-1948), and for that journal he drew over 400 editorial cartoons.

The horrifying images above and many others can be found at
A collection of these cartoons are captured in Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

This is definitely a far cry from Dr. Seuss's, The Sneetches which happens to be my favorite Dr. Seuss book.

It is in this tale that the Star bellied Sneetches and the plain belly Sneetches learn to accept each other for their differences.

Theodor Seuss Geisel would have been 106 years old on March 2nd. Seuss was born in 1904 in Springfield Massachusetts.

I visited and his biography is quite tame as I suspected. His political cartooning is mentioned but the content of those political cartoons are not mentioned.

Dr. Seuss was a creative man and has brought me much joy over the years. It is tonight that he has brought me disappointment.

clever cupcakes

Cupcake set by by clever cupcakes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

pastel heart cookie

Biscuit Case, originally uploaded by Marianne | mnoo

spotted stars

photo by Images by Arden

retro cookies

photo by issuez

I love this image. It has a retro feel and the colors are beautiful.

strawberry lovin'

Summer Lovin’, originally uploaded by Caro Wallis

Jack and Jill cupcake

photo by abbietabbie

We all know the child's tale of Jack and Jill, but doesn't this appear to be the most devastating cupcake I've ever seen.

clouds in my cocoa

Cloud marshmallows! This image is by nikole herriott. If only I knew where to find these marshmallows. I'd stock up! These gems create such a tranquil and dreamy atmosphere. I want!

tea biscuits

photo by semerssuaq

Tea cookies from EpiCute.

strawberry cupcake on strawberry cupake

from EpiCute

A creative take on strawberry cupcakes..

Cupcakes by vegan caterer Janet Hudson

Intricate creativity from Janet Hudson. Take a gander at these unusual cupcakes. Imagery from

Hazelnut Charmed Cupcakes

Lemon Thyme with Red Current Cupcake

Cuppa Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

Saffron Cupcake with Golden Raspberry Peach Filling and Raspberry Cardamom Buttercream with Pistachios

Aromatic Apricot Pina Colada Cupcake

Mate Cupcake with Dragon Fruit

Blackberry Pan Dowdy Cupcake

Strawberry Sangria Soda Pop Cupcake

Cherry Cabernet Chocolate Truffle Cupcake with Cabernet Kreme

Black Cherry Lollipop Cupcakes

Chocolate Raspberry Ripple Cupcake

Saki-To Me Cardamom Cupcake with Go-Go Strawberry Kreme and Kiwi Ganache

Sour Green Apple Cupcakes

Strawberry S'more Cupcake

Pistachio Baklava Cupcake

Mangosteen Squared Cupcake

Caramel Florentine Fudge Cupcake

Trick or Treat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes with Butterscotch Cinnamon Frosting

Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Blackberry Buttercream

I'm often gazing at glorious cupcakes online and the below image is one of the favorites I have found. Tonight I was able to find the recipe that goes along with it. I think I might have to give these a try. I'll have to find silver cupcake wrappers as well! The metallic goes so well against the texture and hues of the frosting and berry.

Recipe from The Daily Loaf

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

3 cups baker’s (superfine) sugar
3 eggs
3 egg whites
3 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanillla bean

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs/whites together until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture, milk, oil, and vanilla to the eggs. Split the vanilla bean from end to end and scrape the seeds out with a knife. Add to the mix and incorporate the ingredients together slowly, just until the batter is smooth. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely while preparing the frosting.

Blackberry Buttercream

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
5 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup seedless blackberry preserves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter and cream cheese in a mixer bowl and whip together until creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. When combined, add the blackberry preserves and the vanilla and mix well. Can be held in the refrigerator overnight and re-whipped prior to frosting the cupcakes.

Makes 3 dozen frosted cupcakes.

I will not bake your pies

I'm not fond the work "fuck" for several reasons however the way it is used in the below quote is priceless.


"I am the way", she said. "I am the light and I will not bake your fucking pies. I will not. Do you understand?"

~Uttered from a psychiatric patient in the mystery novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Friday, February 26, 2010

sexist cupcakes

But David Arrick of Butch Bakery attempts to create "masculine" cupcakes.

“Why did cupcakes need to be magical? They’re not magical for me. Where’s the masculine aesthetic?” Arrick said. “We needed to butch it up, buttercup.” And so Butch Bakery, an online delivery “masculine” cupcakery was born. (from the Wall Street Journal)

So, what does it take to make a manly cupcake? Stereotypes apparently. Arrick's flavors have such names as "Tailgate" (caramel cake with a salted caramel swirl filling with vanilla buttercream), "Homerun" (peanut butter cake with banana bavarian cream & crumbled bacon), "Beer Run" (chocolate beer cake with beer infused buttercream topped with pretzels) and more.

I'm sure this butch business is a profitable gimmick for Arrick however it promotes sexism. How much harm can one little cupcake do? Well, really it's the whole concept that proposes a need to assign a social construction of "feminine" and then replace it with another social construction.

C'mon fellas are you really so insecure that you feel you must assign gender to food?

Cupcake bookmark

I'm an avid reader and most of you know I have a cupcake obsession so this bookmark is perfect for me.

To purchase to go The bookmark costs $2.95. Man! And I'm sure there is a cost for shipping and handling so I'd say the purchase isn't worth it. I don't intend to buy it myself but it's nice to look at.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The best part about the Oscars of Mental Health

Today I attended the MHA (mental health association) Mental Health Community Service Award Luncheon, which was described as "The Oscars of Mental Health". Nominated candidates were honored for their contributions to mental health in Orange County (Currently, I am working in Orange County even though I live within Los Angeles County. I must say working in Orange County sometimes feels like I'm in a different world). The Media Champion Award was presented to George Butts, producer of the A&E "Hoarders" television series.

What thrilled me more than the huge strawberries wrapped in white and dark chocolate tuxedos, more than the pleasant conversations with fellow mental health workers was the sight of a few police officers in the audience. Why? Because as a psychiatric social worker I take great issue with the way so many police officers handle mentally ill individuals.

I can't tell you how many occasions in which I hear of a police officer who presses charges against a violent individual who happens to be violent due to his or her mental illness, or officers who verbally abuse mentally individuals.

Stigma against the mentally ill are not uncommon, however stigma can be quite dangerous especially when inside the minds of individuals with guns and badges. Authority and lack of knowledge is a frightening combination.

Many police officers are not trained to handle mentally ill individuals. This is a travesty as there is a large population of severely mentally ill individuals whom end up transient. In my profession re-entry to the hospital is not uncommon. It is often a painful cycle. A patient can make a remarkable recovery in the hospital and have goals for themselves to succeed once discharged. Unfortunately many of them stop taking their medications at some point, once again become psychotic and then re-enter the hospital. A patient re-enters once they are placed on a "5150" which is a code that hospitalizes a person against their will often due to a violent event in which the person attempts to harm themselves or others.

Some individuals are so delusional or depressed that they attempt to die by "suicide by cop" in which they provoke an officer in attempts to have that officer shoot him or her.

By all means law enforcement need to protect themselves and other civilians however officers need to be educated so as to minimize harm. While some programs have been set into motion which will heighten awareness. Some methods are as simple as speaking softly, rather than shouting commands, repeating phrases or holding hands palms up instead of holding a gun or badge.

If law enforcement truly wishes to "serve and protect" this motto must be inclusive of all citizens. I greatly appreciate efforts made by the police department in building a linkages with the mental health association.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This is one strange concept. I came across something known as Vajazzling. According the The Luxury Spot, Completely Bare Spa in New York City will decorate one's vagina with Swarovski crystals.

According to the article, “The trend exploded when Jennifer Love Hewitt announced that she Vajazzles regularly to feel good about her privates.”

I myself have a love/hate relationship with my vagina however I am always working towards love. It's a process for sure. I know that we live in a patriarchal culture and embracing one's self can be a challenge however in order to axe down patriarchy we must practice acceptance rather than running to something that will mask and hide who we truly are.

Men and women alike adorn their bodies with jewelry, tattoos, and other accessories and I find nothing wrong with experimenting with creativity. However, if a woman decides she wants to cover up her vagina with jewelry for the purpose of hiding in shame then that is where I take issue. So, often we modify our appearance for the sake of others and it is that action that we lose authenticity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

some beauties

Some real beauties!

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake
From Pie of the Tiger

Chocolate Cupcake
by Polkadots: A Cupcake Factory in Austin, Texas
by danmachold on Flickr

by Polkadots: A Cupcake Factory in Austin, Texas
by danmachold on Flickr

Vanilla Cupcake
by Caketopia of Fort Wayne, Indiana, via their Flickr account.

Smores Cupcake
by Caketopia of Fort Wayne, Indiana, via their Flickr account.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcake
by Caketopia of Fort Wayne, Indiana, via their Flickr account.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cupcake
by Caketopia of Fort Wayne, Indiana, via their Flickr account.