All In

Congratulations to all of you who said Amistad!

Anyways, I’ve been waiting to post the triumphs of the brown sugar italian buttercream for two days now because it was a surprise!

However, the boy is now safely on the plane and headed West so I can show pictures of my stunning victory.


I mean, come on, even I’m pretty proud of this. And even if I did graduate from culinary school….they turned out really darn good. And I don’t whip out the italian buttercream for just anyone either.


Come on, stare at it.

Drool on your keyboard.

You know you want to.


But wait, too much staring and you might gain five pounds. There are three hefty sticks of butter in this icing. Yeah, baby. Dexter and I talked though and we decided that we are okay with this. I mean, yeah, its fattening but this frosting is just really good. It’s not like we eat it all the time or dream about it every night. Or do we.


You know, I was going to bake him vegan cupcakes. I make some pretty good chocolate ones. There’s even a recipe for vegan chocolate cake in my book. See? No hating here.

But then it hit me. And I’m not saying guys don’t like vegan cupcakes because I’m sure they do and I love me a good vegan baked good anytime. But, give the man some real butter and eggs. Go big or go home.


And, dude, this frosting is REALLY good. I thought a lot how italian and french buttercreams have such a more complex flavor than regular buttercream. For those of you that don’t know, italian and french buttercreams rely on a meringue base. Basically, you make a sugar syrup, bring it up to 240 degrees (soft ball stage) and then stream it into meringue that is whipping in the KitchenAid. Then, you drop, piece by piece, enough butter to make Paula Deen even swoon.

Just when it looks like its about to break, it comes together like soft billowy buttercreamy clouds.

Yes, I contemplated the sheer awesomeness of this as I stood over my sink in my bathrobe yesterday afternoon, deep conditioning treatment in my hair, and licked the whisk attachment clean. Perhaps I shall do a video demo of how to make the best italian buttercream on earth one of these days. Sans deep conditioner.

My hair is like straw, by the way.

A big pile of sandy blond straw on my head.

Sometimes my brush gets stuck in it.

As for the cupcake recipe, I decided to give The Pioneer Woman’s a whirl. Although I didn’t eat a finished cupcake myself (at this point I cut myself off and pushed.the.frosting.away.), they seem really good. I guess I’ll know later when I deliver these bad boys.


Brown sugar buttercream is out of the Gourmet bible. If I could recommend ONE cookbook for your kitchen, this is it. I swear. Hands down, best cookbook I own. And I own a lot of cookbooks. Most of which are still in storage in my parent’s garage because I can’t afford to ship six more heavy book boxes out West. Sigh.

Just look at that love!

I promise I didn’t gnaw on that although sometimes the thought may have crossed my mind. That handy work was done by our old family dog, who apparently loved Ruth Reichl as much as I do.
Okay, I’m off to do important things like curl my hair. I must attempt a sense of fashion as I travel to the big city this morning to pick up boy from airport and eat Brenda’s with Beth and Corey.
That is all. Oh wait, I almost forgot my oats.


You Might Also Like

  • Lauren @ A Fit Foodie
    April 18, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Drooling everywhere… The cupcakes look phenomenal and I’m sure they taste like heaven.

  • Jocelyn
    April 18, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Glad someone elses hair is like I dye mine too much 😐 Must stop that.

    That frosting looks to DIE FOR. Your man…will LOVE IT (more then vegan I’m sure) 😉

  • Teresa
    April 18, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Cupcakes look amazing.Mmmmmm Love your posts !

  • Evan Thomas
    April 18, 2010 at 7:34 am

    With cupcakes and frosting like that, your book is going to fly off shelves. OMG I could lick that stuff out of a bowl. And this guy would hapily take vegan cupcakes with earth balance frosting, or eggy cupcakes topped with buttah. The good thing about us is we’re not picky 😀

  • Diana
    April 18, 2010 at 7:35 am

    The cupcakes look yummy and the frosting looks and sounds amaaaaazing. 🙂 Have fun today!

  • ashleigh
    April 18, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Wow those cupcakes look to die for.. you’ve got one lucky BF!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs
    April 18, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Good gracious. That is some mighty fine lookin’ buttercream. Care to send me over a batch!?

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    April 18, 2010 at 7:37 am

    The cupcakes look incredible!!

  • Jil
    April 18, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Those cupcakes look phenomenal…he is a very lucky boy!! Well, he is with or without the cupcakes, but still.

  • Midgetkeeper
    April 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Those look so good! Lucky guy.

  • Angharad
    April 18, 2010 at 7:44 am

    LOVE. I want that buttercream frosting recipe and I want it bad! What a lovely lady you are, baking cakes for your man…I’m sure he will heart that real butter and sugar and eggs and such went into these badboys. It’s a birthday, after all!

  • BethT
    April 18, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Cupcakes travel REALLY well. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)
    April 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Dude, who needs to taste the cupcakes after you licked that whisk. My craving for frosting is on overload now. Although when I make mine, it doesn’t get much fancier than powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla… guess I have a WHOLE lot to learn! Those are beautiful!

  • Glitterati
    April 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Those cupcakes look amazing! Laughing at “But, give the man some real butter and eggs. Go big or go home.” I’m sure A very lucky Boy will love them! 😉

    Must try Italian buttercream soon… I’ve made Swiss, but I’m afraid of sugar syrup…

  • Rose-Anne
    April 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I’m swooning over the cookbook photos. Actually, this whole post made me smile–funny and beautiful and heartfelt, all in one swoop. Love it.

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)
    April 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Oh my god. I don’t think there’s anything I love more than a good cupcake with frosting. That buttercream looks ridic. Can’t wait for a full review!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    April 18, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Your boy is going to love those cupcakes! They’re almost too cute to eat. 😉

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    April 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Sweet Lordy, those look heavenly. That boy might propose to you after he eats these things!! 🙂

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    April 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Very impressive 🙂 If they taste half as good as they look, the boy is very very lucky 😉

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    April 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

    You make me wanna go back to the posts of your pastry school days and drool some more.

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    April 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Those look so good!

    Enjoy your day with the boyfriend!

  • Ann @ Appalachian Appetites
    April 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I am VERY impressed!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    April 18, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Wow. That frosting looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!! That is all.

  • Amanda
    April 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

    *drool You really should make a video of this!

  • Leena
    April 18, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Wow Jenna! Those cupcakes are beautiful! They look amazing! Hope you have a great day! 🙂

  • Stacey
    April 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Those cupcakes look stunning. You should be proud of them, they look very professional.

  • Barbara
    April 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

    You should definitely do a video! I remember watching one of your earlier videos not too long ago (I think you were making marshmallows?) thinking how you should do another one.

    Oh and those cupcakes look amazing.

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels
    April 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    You should have put the frosting in the oatmeal!

  • Karla
    April 18, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Wow that looks amazing!
    In my opinion there’s nothing better than making huge batches of frosting.
    I should have made that last night, instead I was a bum and bought canned frosting…

  • Betsy
    April 18, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Isn’t Kunta Kinte from Roots?

  • Haute Teapot
    April 18, 2010 at 9:01 am

    You’re so funny–I like the part about your brush getting stuck in your hair. 😉 Girl, don’t you know I can relate, I’ve given up on the brush altogether. Side note: I think I got an insta-craving for cupcakes.

  • nickee
    April 18, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I dont think I’ve seen anything prettier than those cupcakes with that gorgeous icing!!! 😀

  • Jenny
    April 18, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Awesome freaking post!!!! I’m drooling over here- what a lucky guy!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner
    April 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I love the pioneer woman’s recipe, I use it all the time!!

  • Christine
    April 18, 2010 at 9:16 am

    The cupcakes look like heaven! As for your hair, you should try Moroccan Oil! it will make it feels soft and silky again!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    April 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Yum, yum, yum, and yum! I’m glad your went with the non-vegan cupcakes; I have a feeling this man will straight out propose to you after eating one (or six) of these! : ) Have fun in The City!

  • Me-Linh @ Sweets and Sweat
    April 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Mmmm butttahcreaammm. I hope you have a great time in SF!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    April 18, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I’ve never made italian butter cream but it sounds like a fun scary adventure.

    And I’m sure the boy will love the effort and the result. Fun fun!

  • Katherine
    April 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Everything looks and sounds wonderful. This was an awesome post, especially b/c your voice really seems to be coming through. I guess that’s what happens when you’re truly inspired by great food and a good man 🙂

  • shelly
    April 18, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Om me oh my. those look so delish! Awesome job. I heart Italian buttercream too. I just have to write my exams next week then I too graduate from my baking program! yay 🙂 I luv baking! My most favorite thing to bake are cakes and cookies, ya know the ones that do the most damage lol. And yes real eggs and real butter take things over the top!

  • Abby
    April 18, 2010 at 9:50 am

    You should work on a buttercream icing that doubles as a hair conditioner! Imagine that amazingness!

  • Kait Wright
    April 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I just attempted to make some cupcakes. Let me tell you… ALL HAIL CUPCAKE GODDESS. These look amazing and tasty!


  • Sarah
    April 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

    That buttercream has convinced me, I’m buying the Gourmet Cookbook stat! Have fun with the boy.

  • Linda
    April 18, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Those cupcakes look delicious!

  • Linda
    April 18, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Those cupcakes look delicious!

  • eatmovelove
    April 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

    You just sold your book to me with those cupcakes – or should I say that frosting 🙂
    Have a great day.

  • runnerforever
    April 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Very impressive cupcakes!

  • andrenna
    April 18, 2010 at 11:04 am


  • TorontoGirloutWest
    April 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I have to say I’ve always loved your blog but for a while there your posts were missing a certain je ne said quoi. But in the last little while you’ve come back with a vengance!!!!

    I don’t know what brought about the change or if I am imagining it all. Either way I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blogging as of late! ?

    PS: when does your book come out?

  • adrienmelaine
    April 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

    This post is great- your writing is so wonderful to read!

  • KatieTX
    April 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

    LOL at “I talked this through with Dexter…” it is ridiculous how often I talk to my cat and she responds…especially when alone. I am glad I am not the only one!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    April 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Fried Hair Fixes (been there/done that): Redken Blonde Glam shampoo. Redken Blonde Glam conditioner, Goldwell kerasilk conditioner, James Brown Intensive mask and Umberto Giannini Indulgent Beauty moisture mask. Redken Extreme Fuel once a week. ION deep penetrating oil. Baby oil/grapeseed/or virgin olive oil rubbed in and left-in overnight. Or Kerastase products are the best, but pricey. Maybe they’d give you samples to do a ‘demonstration’.

    That Buttercream frosting might work!

  • Lauren
    April 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

    brown sugar buttercream? i die! what kind of tip do you use for your frosting?

  • Ashley
    April 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

    YUMMY! I’m getting so curious who this mystery man is? I can for sure understand him being shy though….(If my boyfriend had a blog I would be shy 2!)

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    April 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Yumm… cupcakes! I love cupcakes so much more that regular-sized cake, as strange as that sounds. Automatic portion control! 😉

  • Kait
    April 18, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Those cupcakes look Ah-mazing! Have fun picking up the boy!

  • Caitlin
    April 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Those cupcakes look amazing! I wish I had it in me to bake complicated things like Italian buttercream frosting. Actually, maybe it’s better that I don’t 😉

  • Kate
    April 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    i creep on quite a few blogs, including yours on a regular basis, and never have i ever (until now) felt compelled to actually leave a comment. but your last few posts have been so absurdly laugh-out-loud witty that i just felt i needed to send you a cyber high five in recognition. i’m a twenty-four year old grandmother as well, so i can totally relate. seriously, though… love the spunk and the sass. oh, and i live in nyc, the cupcake capital of the world, but yours look like they could take down any of our over-hyped, famed bakeries. way. to. be.

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    April 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I’m not going to lie…this is like THE ultimate post. Those cupcakes look insane! I’m so impressed.

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    April 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I’m not going to lie…this is like THE ultimate post. Those cupcakes look insane! I’m so impressed.

  • lola
    April 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I lightened my hair and now it’s straw too!!! The worst part is that instead of the light brown-gold i was going for, it looks orange! My mom’s advise when she saw me: “OMG, please wear your shortest skirt to school tomorrow so noone notices your hair!!”
    haahhaha love my mom!

  • Belle
    April 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Those Cupcakes look AMAZING!!!!! Eyecandy for my sweet tooth 🙂

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    April 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    That italian buttercream is nothing short of foodgasmic… mmmmmmmm. 🙂


  • Kelly (Local Foodie's Fight)
    April 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I’m still sufficiently full from my brunch….but was just thinking something sweet would be amazing. and then I came to this post. and one of those cupcakes needs to appear before me, right now.


  • megan
    April 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Love the looks of those butter cream frosted cupcakes! And, I wanted to tell you…love the j.crew polka dot dress you wore on Easter…I wore that exact same dress on Easter haha!
    Hope your Sunday is going wonderfully!

  • Camille
    April 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Your cupcakes look amazing!
    Not to mention I would do terrible things to get my hands on that frosting.

  • Amanda
    April 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Loving the tone of your last few posts. You’re really funny!

  • MLT
    April 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Like your new writing style!

  • diana(mymarblerye)
    April 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve noticed you’ve been justifying your “bad eats” lately…but OH WELL. Seems like you finally have a fullfilling begining to a new relationship so smile and be happy! I KNEW the frosting was for someone special. 🙂

  • Christy
    April 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    When I first started to delve into the cooking world, my best friend gave me that cookbook saying it was her “bible” and I’ve grown to love it just as she does – my book isn’t quite as worn as you, but give it a few years. I saw this recipe and was pondering it the other day, but I’m still losing baby weight so I figured I didn’t need any delicious treats in my house or else I’d be sabotaged!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    April 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Truth: I hate frosting. I am the one scraping off the icing as my husband stares in sheer horror. But Jenna, I dare say that this looks good enough to make me forget my distaste for the sweet stuff! 🙂 Rock on honey…these look amazing and you should definitely be proud!

  • Lisa @ bakebikeblog
    April 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    ooooh they look great! I am very impressed 🙂

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health
    April 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    OH EM GEEEE those babies look insanely good. I’m such a cupcake girl (and a cookie, ice cream, and pastry girl at that). Pat yourself on the back all you want because I could never make such gorgeous cuppies myself 😛

  • sarah (more olives please)
    April 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    what tool do you use to make those cupcakes look so professional??

  • Devon
    April 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Everything I’ve made from The Pioneer Woman has been AMAZING. My family loves it… but then again, we’re also originally from the same area in OK as her 🙂

  • maria
    April 18, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I love when a book looks good and worn and loved. Your Gourmet Bible looks just like that! 🙂

  • Caitlin in MD
    April 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    You have your slavery stories confused. Kunta Kinte was in Roots.

  • Sarah
    April 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    mmmmm- Italian Buttercream is YUM!!! I have that cookbook but I don’t think I’ve ever made anything from it- I’ll have to pull it out and have a look see!

  • Melissa
    April 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Sorry, but Kunta Kinte was from Alex Haley’s Roots, and although I love your blog, as one of your avid African-American followers, I must admit that I am offended that you and your best friend could make senseless humor out of the pain of someone else’s true family story. What logical point is there in calling each other Kunta Kinte…and yelling it down the street, in the South, no less? I thoroughly enjoy your blog and will continue to read it, but this post really bothered me and I couldn’t even finish reading it because I found your introduction somewhat disturbing…

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    April 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    i love that you’re writing a lot more lately! this post cracked me up 🙂 and i’ve made buttercream like that before and it’s a lot of work, and the powdered sugar stuff doesn’t even compare. unless it has cream cheese in it and it’s on top of red velvet, in which case it wins. sorry 🙂

  • Jordan
    April 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I have to agree with Melissa (79), that really rubbed me the wrong way. I absolutely love your blog, but that feels a bit insensitive and I do appreciate you deleting it, but it doesn’t change that you found it funny in the first place. It makes me a little sad. But everything else in your blog has made me happy for the last year or so I’ve been reading it, so this definitely doesn’t cancel it out for me! Just wanted to share my opinion. Thanks 🙂

  • Shanon
    April 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Thrilled to see Pioneer Woman’s link in your post! She’s a friend of a friend and I love her book. I’ve read your blog for a long time so of course I was thrilled to see you recognize her.

  • Lisa
    April 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Those cupcakes look HEAVENLY!

  • Kilee
    April 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Please teach us how to make the Italian & French buttercreams. I tried a few times without success and rely on my standard buttercream. How did they turn out?

  • Katherine
    April 19, 2010 at 3:50 am

    I love reading everyone’s comments about the oatmeal+icing combo ideas haha. I really like that icing’s texture and color in the pictures. It kind of makes me want to decorate my bathroom walls with pictures of the cup cakes (random thought but it’s such a nice neutral)

  • Judy
    April 19, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Those cupcakes look amazing! Good frosting makes a world of a difference when you bake….my mouth definitely got watery! haha

  • Tara @Food for Fuel
    April 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Those cupcakes look amazing!! I’ve always wanted to try making italian buttercream, but am a little hesistant to make it myself. I definitely think you should do a video tutorial on it! SO excited that you recommend the Gourmet Cookbook because I JUST ordered it the other day and can’t wait till it comes…

  • Corinne
    April 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

    want to lick the computer screen.

  • Heather
    April 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I just want to say that it’s your fault when my husband divorces me because I bought one.more.cookbook. Because I did.

    Thanks for that 🙂