Cupcakes and an Announcement

December 3, 2010

First, before I tell you about these cupcakes and how my feelings got hurt by a bunch of 5 and 6 year-olds, I must share some exciting news.  No, I am not coming out with a cookbook and no I’m not pregnant.  Hopefully someday on the first and never again on the second.

Starting next month, January 13th to be exact, I am going to be teaching regular cooking classes in my home kitchen.  This has been in the works for months and I finally have my tofu ducks in a row.  If you live near Seattle, or plan to be visiting some time soon, I’d love to have you!  Classes will be filled with food, wine, and lively conversation.  And no shortage of Dana Treats!  The classes scheduled for this winter are:

Vegetarian Basics – Beyond Pasta and Salad
Winter Seasonal Feast
Vegetarian (and Mostly Healthy) Mexican Food

More details, including dates, specific menus, and prices can be found under the “Classes” tab or you can just click here.


I have a summer birthday.  That means that all through grade school, my mom never came to my classroom to bring treats to share.  No classroom of 25 kids ever sang me happy birthday.  I am realizing, just now, that this may be one of the reasons that I am such a freak about my birthday.  The scars go deep.

So what is a mother with a November child and a February child to do?  Make extra special treats to bring to school every single birthday.  Just like I buy my kids whatever Halloween costume they want because my mom would never buy me a Halloween costume.  (I actually had a very nice childhood and my mom baked and bought me lots of things.)

Kids love cupcakes so I pulled down my Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook and decided to make these beauties.  I thought the pillowy topping, reminiscent of marshmallows, would be a huge hit and the almost universally loved flavor of Snickerdoodles would make these a slam dunk.

Alas, it was not to be.  I got some sneers and several kids actually came up to me and said, “I don’t want it.”  To that I said, “I don’t want it either so take it back to your seat.”  The teacher was mortified and I found that my feelings were really hurt – by kindergartners.  Do they know who I am?  That my treats are coveted by many?  My Graham, who made sure each child had their cupcake, ate his enthusiastically and yelled across the room, “It’s really good Mommy!”  Whether he really thought so or he was just trying to make me feel better – who knows.  But he ate his whole cupcake and incidentally, so did all the other kids, even the ones who said they didn’t want it.  Stinkers.

Two Years Ago:  Potato-Fennel Gratin

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Makes 24

1½ cups flour
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon, plus ½ tsp. for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups sugar, plus 2 tbsp. for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups whole milk
Seven-Minute Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together both the flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as  needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.  Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, combine ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar.  Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco #809 or Wilton #1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake.  Use a small, fine sieve to dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar.  Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Seven-Minute Frosting
Makes about 8 cups

This is way more frosting than you will need for the cupcakes but I am reluctant to cut it in half in case it does not work for you.  Baking can be funny that way.

1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
6  large egg whites, room temperature

Combine 1½ cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.  Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230°F.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  With mixer running add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230ºF, remove from heat.  With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream.  Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes.  Use immediately.  (DT: It took much longer than 7 minutes for my frosting to cool, more like 15.)


  1. oh horray! congrats on the classes, im sure they’ll be such a hit. hope to be in your kitchen someday.

    Comment by Sara — December 3, 2010 @ 12:33 am

  2. Yay, yay, yay! Wish I lived closer…the Mexican class sounds fabulous. Congratulations on the new endeavor Dana. There must be something in the air with new ventures lately, huh? :) xo.

    Comment by Megan Gordon — December 3, 2010 @ 12:55 am

  3. Congrats!! And the cupcakes look wonderful… kids are cruel huh? :)

    Comment by Rachel — December 3, 2010 @ 12:55 am

  4. Well done on the classes. I’m sure they will be fill every time. I love your recipes.

    Comment by Alex — December 3, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  5. Priceless! I hate how they can hurt our feelings like that. Stinkers!

    I think we are going to have plan another {re} treat soon & sign up for your classes – they sound amazing!!! So happy for you – congrats!

    Comment by Chez Us — December 3, 2010 @ 1:08 am

  6. Snickerdoodles are my FAVE cookie! So … in a cupcake? Yes, please!

    And I do wish I lived in Seattle – now there is just one more reason. But when the sun comes out again here in Brisbane, maybe I’ll sway back again :)

    Comment by Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic — December 3, 2010 @ 1:14 am

  7. Is this some kind of ploy to get me to move to seattle? Because it’s working.

    Congrats on the classes! that is so awesome. I really do wish I lived closer. Maybe next summer I’ll take a trip out for one of them!

    Well, even if the five year olds didn’t like these, I would be super pleased to have them on MY birthday. I’m a huge snickerdoodle fan. Like woah. And I have that cookbook but haven’t made these yet. They sound delicious!

    Comment by Joanne — December 3, 2010 @ 1:23 am

  8. Classes! Hooray! Just down in Tacoma. Might have to save some Christmas money to sign up for one of these.

    And I relate to the birthday treat. My son turned 4 this year. When we asked what he wanted to take to school he chose cheese and crackers. We always bake together: muffins, cookies, bread. And he wants Ritz crackers and cheese. Sigh! :)

    Comment by Kate — December 3, 2010 @ 4:03 am

  9. Hi, i found your blog trough Google Reader and i love how you write! I snickered by myself while reading this post, i think it’s hilarious. I bet the cupcakes were delicious and those kids really were stinkers if they didn’t like them.

    Comment by Kärt — December 3, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  10. Kids! I bet they all loved them once they gave them a try. How could they not love a fluffy, swirly frosting like that?

    Congratulations on starting your classes! Sounds like an exciting new venture.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — December 3, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  11. Ah! That’s so exciting! I wish I were nearby; I’d love to come!

    Comment by shannalee — December 3, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  12. I JUST DIED. Oh my goodness! Cooking classes? With you? And all things that I can eat? AND guaranteed Dana Treat delicious? Can’t wait to look at my calendar and sign up for a little dream-come-true!

    Comment by Melinda — December 3, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  13. How exciting! That’s great news! I love teaching cooking classes and I’m sure you will too since you so obviously love to share your passion for good food. And Seattle needs vegetarian cooking classes. Bravo! Also, I don’t like snickerdoodles, but those cupcakes look fantastic. Might have to re-think my relationship to snickerdoodles. :D

    Comment by Olaiya — December 3, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  14. I’m a great fan of your blog! And of your job too!
    As a quite vegetarian (in transition to vegetarian next year) I’d love to have classes with you! But I live in Brazil!
    So all I can do is to send good vibrations and wish good luck in this new bussiness!

    Comment by Manu — December 3, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

  15. i totally feel you on the summer birthday thing – i have a july birthday and am permanently scarred by never having a school birthday celebration just for me. they always did one celebration for all the summer birthdays.

    and the kids didn’t want cupcakes? who are these kids?

    hope to take one of your classes on a trip home to Washington state from Washington DC!

    Comment by betsy — December 3, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  16. Yay for cooking classes! Congrats, that is just wonderful! And those cupcakes look darn good!

    Comment by Eva — December 3, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  17. Congrats on your cooking classes, I hope you will keep your readers updated on how they are going, sounds like a ton of work, but I’m sure you will do a great job!

    Had to smile at the “sinkers” – indeed, kids can be incredibly cruel sometimes, but most grow up to be nice people…. :-)

    I would have one of your cupcakes anytime!

    Comment by SallyBR — December 3, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  18. Oh, gosh…

    make that STINKERS, ok?

    (I have slow brains but fast fingers: dangerous combo)

    Comment by SallyBR — December 3, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  19. I’m so happy for you!!!! What great news. I’m happy to send folks your way! xoxo

    Comment by redmenace — December 3, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  20. How exciting!! You will have to tell all about the good and the bad that goes on :)

    Your son must be the sweetest boy ever and knows what good food tastes like. Maybe the reason some children didn’t like them is because they are used to nasty store bought cupcakes?

    Comment by Jacqui — December 3, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  21. When I read the title I thought it was the pregancy announcement! well, glad it’s the cooking classes, and don’t I wish I lived closer so I could sip some vino in your kitchen?
    good luck!

    Comment by stacey snacks — December 3, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

  22. These cupcakes are LOVELY!
    I taught kindergarten for 15 years so I know about those finicky little ones!
    I can just see your little one BEAMING and professing HIS LOVE for the cupcakes across the
    Congrats on the cooking classes!
    I know you must be so EXCITED!
    What a TREAT to take a vegetarian cooking class!

    Comment by teresa — December 4, 2010 @ 3:12 am

  23. Congratulations on making the leap to becoming a culinary educator. What an exciting next step for you.

    Comment by Licorous — December 4, 2010 @ 4:22 am

  24. Congratulations. I would love to go to your classes. That’s exciting.

    Comment by Helene — December 4, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

  25. The cupcakes look wonderful! Don’t know what those kids are talking about! Probably never saw anything homemade before and didn’t know what they were missing! :)

    I can’t wait to check out your classes and finally get to meet you!

    Comment by Deborah — December 4, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  26. What a great idea! I am a professional and I go to peoples homes to teach classes.. way more fun and I don’t have to clean up! LoL, I am so making these cupcakes too!

    Comment by Connie Bearden — December 5, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  27. Congratulations Dana! And I’ve never had a snickerdoodle but I can certainly get behind the flavours. Yum.

    Comment by kickpleat — December 6, 2010 @ 5:31 am

  28. Hahaha, “Do they know who I am?” :)

    I want to come to your class! Boo hiss to living across the ocean. Please share all the fun with us through the blog.

    Comment by Hilary — December 6, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  29. That sound like so much fun Dana! I hope you are teaching next time I make it out there. Food, wine & great conversation = my kind of night! Also your son is so cute to say that across the room. I guess it was a good “don’t judge a book by its cover” moment!

    Comment by fresh365 — December 6, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  30. Oh, kids say the darndest things. I love your response, though.

    Comment by Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — December 6, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  31. Congrats!! We are actually going to start teaching classes in our new kitchen soon. Hopefully:) Maybe we can swap notes:) We are doing our first one in a few weeks-holiday treats with a group of kiddos! It should be fun. We are just testing the waters. Good luck! Keep me posted on everything. You will be a fabulous instructor!

    Comment by Maria — December 7, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  32. Dana, I have been keeping this recipe in abeyance for just the right time to try it. Well, just the right time came. I am president of a local gardening club and the tradition is to give the outgoing board a little gift of thanks. Usually it is some garden gloves, seed packets, a garden motif notepad. All fine, but, I wanted to do something a little more personal. I wrote personal notes to each one and attached a picture I had taken over the year of something relevant to whomever I was giving it to, which was fun to do, but, I needed a little something else. Just when I wasn’t looking, I came across the most adorable paper cupcake cups from Wilton, shaped like flower petals. Tada! What better container for gardeners and this recipe was perfect in them! I have had more feedback on how tasty they were than I would have thought possible and requests for the recipe and I just wanted you to know. Penny

    Comment by Penny — April 14, 2011 @ 12:11 am

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