Archive for Cupcakes

May 28th, 2012

MSU Graduation Cupcakes: A Retrospective

Warning… this post might be a little long. Don’t worry! I won’t be offended if you just look at the pretty pictures :-) I almost didn’t post these, mostly because I didn’t actually take any photos of these… I guess that is because I have posted them a few times already. These are yet another variation on the ones I made a few years ago and have continued to make for my graduate and undergraduate friends and colleagues at MSU. Anyway, then I started thinking about how these might be my last batch of MSU graduation cupcakes since we are leaving this summer. So, I thought it might be nice to do a little reminiscing. The cupcakes above I made for my TE 408 class this year. Thanks to Emily for sharing the photo she took of them. I think she took this with Instagram. I haven’t gotten into that much, but I love how you can create such cool pictures with it. My students graduated this semester and most of them are going to be doing their intern teaching (student teaching) next year. I am so excited for them! They are going to be such great teachers. Here we all are on the last day of class (minus one student who was honored at graduation and so had to go to practice) when we ate that cupcakes above.

It was a nice day out, but boy was it windy. You can see this in our picture. Thanks to Kelly for sending me the picture and to the student who took it for us. Right after we took this, I was honored with some gifts from my students. How nice… I am totally going to have these in my office at UNL. Look at the beautiful  mathematical  inscriptions on those pots. Awesome!

TE408_Gifts201228-May-2012 20:50, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 6.3, 50.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 200
TE408_Gifts2012-228-May-2012 20:51, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 5.0, 50.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 200
TE408_Gifts2012-428-May-2012 20:54, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 5.0, 50.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 200

And each of the letters of MATH are individual plates that can be hung. On the other side my students left little messages. How cute!

And if you aren’t sick enough already, here are some of my students and the other section together before we left for the Math Midway in Dayton, OH. It is part of the travelling exhibit for the Museum of Math that is located in NYC. We had such a great time! Such a good-looking group of future math teachers – I just had to post this!

23-May-2012 22:05

Posting these graduation cupcakes makes me think back to not only the other posts I did with MSU Graduation cupcakes (here or here), such as these ones that I did for graduate students, some I did for my undergraduates two years back (although I can’t find a picture of those), these chocolate chip cookie dough-themed MSU-themed cupcakes (here) that I did for one our recruitment weekends

but also to one of the very first cupcakes I made that started this whole obsession and this blog soon thereafter. It was these Iterated Cupcakes that I made for my advisor and the PI of the research project I worked on my entire time at MSU. The project is focused on analyzing spatial measurement content in curriculum materials and so what better way to celebrate his birthday, but with a ruler-adorned cupcake. It was also one of my very first experiences with fondant.

I am excited to be moving on to the University of Nebraska to start my career as an assistant professor, but it will be hard to leave MSU. I have had a very good 5 years here. So, rather than say goodbye, as my grandmother would always say, I shall just say Until we meet again

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May 22nd, 2012

Better Late Than Never Pi”e” Day Cupcakes

Just for a moment pretend with me that is March 14. Okay… maybe we don’t want to go all the way back to March. As promised in my last post, I figured I should post the cupcakes I made for Pi Day. At that time our web server was on the fritz. It was impossible to get anything posted. We ended up having to switch servers. Anyway, I didn’t take many pictures of these ones, but I had to post the few I did take because I think they were pretty cute.

Pi-e-DayCupcakes13-Mar-2012 20:55, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 320

Another shout-out has to go to my friend Aaron B who bought me the book that I got this idea from. You can find this cupcake and other cute ones in the book What’s New,  Cupcake? I’ve only tried a few of the cupcakes from this book. You can see the apple cupcakes here. That was my first attempt. As will be the case with many of my posts before we switched servers, you may see some funky type. Not sure what happened there. Anyway, when I was thinking about what I might want to make for Pi Day I remembered seeing these “Bake Sale Cupcakes” that looked like little pies. Since I was teaching a secondary methods course I decided to bring these to class. We didn’t have class on Pi Day so I brought them in the day before.

I used my cream cheese icing rather than store-bought like the recipe asks for. To get that pie crust look I mixed in (like the recipe says) some yellow food coloring and a little bit of cocoa. What a great idea! I decided to use cherry Jelly Belly jelly beans for the pie filling since that is what I could find easily in bulk.

It wouldn’t be Pi Day without the digits of Pi inserted into each cupcake with a little Happy Pi Day from the PhDcupcaker.

Pi-e-DayCupcakes-213-Mar-2012 20:56, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 320

Happy Belated Pi Day!

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May 22nd, 2012

Bulldog Calc-cakes

Sorry for my long absence. It looks like my last post was in March! I didn’t even post my Pi”e” Day cupcakes. We had a bit of an issue with our hosting service and so things piled up a bit and I never caught up. You might see a better late then never Pi”e” Day post soon as well.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-2-430-Jun-2011 21:54, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5100, 3.8, 20.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 1600

Anyway, it is about that time of the year – Yep, that’s right… time to make cupcakes for Josh’s calculus class. The AP exam was last week and I just got around to it. I think I have done this for the past few years (not always around AP time though). Once I made them these e^x cupcakes right around when they were learning about the derivative of e^x. Then one of Josh’s students created this cool image of “the rate of tummy expansion.”  This time, I wanted to do something that had to do with their school colors and mascot. So, I attempted to make little bulldog paw print toppers. Of course I started with a chocolate cupcake. I usually like to put chocolate chunks inside, but since I didn’t have any I used some white chocolate chips.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes20-May-2012 11:31, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 320

I always use my siganture cream cheese icing. I really like this much better than buttercream. For the toppers I toyed around with using fondant, but I didn’t want to use the pre-made fondant because it just doesn’t taste very good. I had one failed attempt at making some marshmallow fondant with this recipe here that my friend Aaron shared with me some time ago. I think my marshmallows may have been too old… Oh well. I will try that again at some point. So, I went back to one of my orginal ideas which was to use Wilton Candy Melts kind of like you would with cookie dough and cut out little circles. The school colors are red and blue. So, first I melted some red candy melts and spread the melted candy on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-220-May-2012 11:34, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 320

I placed this in the fridge for about 5 minutes and then took it out and used a round cookie cutter to cut all my little circles.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-320-May-2012 12:48, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 320

I had debated on whether I should use candy melts for the actual paw print. I thought I would and I even picked up these Wilton Candy Decorating Pens, but in the end I thought that royal icing might work a little better. I might not have got the pens to the right workable consistency though. I will beed to try them again. So, I made a batch of royal icing and tinted it blue using this recipe. I wasn’t thinking, and so I made a whole batch – Anybody need any royal icing? :-) I then went to work on trying to get the paw prints on the red circles.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-520-May-2012 14:20, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 320
MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-420-May-2012 14:19, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 320

I was pretty happy with the way these came out. I was trying to get them so that they didn’t have those little peaks where I lifted up the piping bag, but as you can see I wasn’t all that successful. I read somewhere that this might be because my icing was still too thick. I didn’t have the same problem when I made my cupcake cookies, but I was filling in a much larger area. Anyway, it wasn’t too big of a deal. Only thing left to do was assemble the cupcakes – a dollop of cream cheese icing and one Bulldog topper.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-1320-May-2012 16:32, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D80, 4.0, 50.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 320

I wasn’t sure if the color from the candy melts was going to run or anything. So, I decided after putting the toppers on the first half to leave the second half iced, but without the topper. Josh assembled the rest when he got to school.

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-1130-Jun-2011 21:52, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5100, 4.2, 26.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 1600

It looks like his class enjoyed them! Congrats on finishing up a year of calculus! Go Bulldogs!

MHS_Bulldog_Cupcakes-1230-Jun-2011 21:54, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D5100, 3.8, 20.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 1600


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November 8th, 2011

Broken Glass Cupcakes for Halloween


Long time…. no post. Sorry about that, but it is dissertation crunch time. Now that I have set the date for my defense I thought I would splurge and post about these cupcakes I made for Halloween. Someone had told me about these neat Martha Stewart Broken Glass cupcakes. Although it a little weird to have broken glass on a cupcake, I saw making the glass a challenge. So, I thought I would give it a shot. I had to make the glass a few times for it to actually look like glass. The first time it was really cloudy. It is like making caramel… you just don’t cook it for as long. The glass isn’t as clear as Martha’s, but I think these came out pretty good if I do say so myself… Now, back to writing…. I’ll see you in January (well, maybe I’ll sneak in a post here or there for the holidays – we’ll see)!

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September 25th, 2011

Cupcake Kabobs!

So, when we were in Turkey there were kabobs everywhere (I guess I should say kebaps instead). Little did I know… there is more than just the shish kebob. Kepab just means roasted meat and so, on the streets we saw many versions like this doner kebap . I guess dishes that are derived from this are shwarma and gyros. Anyway, enough about meat… this is a cupcake blog. I got this idea one day when I was browsing on Pinterest. Remember – you can follow me on Pinterest if you click here. I even added a board where I am going to post my attempts at stuff that I found on Pinterest. So, this post will be pinned soon! I had a gathering to go to and the main dish was going to be kabobs so I decided to make my own kebabs – cupcake kabobs. The original things I pinned can be found here. Here is how mine turned out….

Cupcakes and a variety of other treats on skewers – how neat! Did I really grill them? No, but what a cool idea for a picture – I think that was Josh’s idea (I actually don’t remember who thought to do this). I made some mini chocolate cupcakes and used piped melted chocolate for the icing so that it could be easily put through the skewer. I included some chocolate covered marshmallows rolled in graham crackers (my s’mores on a stick) and some store bought wafers and rice krispie treats (or as the Cake Boss likes to call them – cereal treats). I think that these looked pretty cute, but I don’t know…. I’m not sure that they tasted as good. The wafers got a bit stale as they sat out and the cupcake was still a little hard to eat, but I really like those s’mores!

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September 18th, 2011

Gluten-Free Vegan and Hi-Hat Cupcakes

In honor of my friend Aaron’s birthday (my other friend Aaron – not the one I posted about here), I thought I should post about two cupcakes I made about a month ago. Since Aaron’s biorthday is today and I made these a month ago these were not made for his birthday. I made them for a mathematics education gathering we had and Aaron was nice enough to let me take his picture with them! I made two different cupcakes and since I had some issues with getting everything together I don’t have any good pictures of the cupcakes themselves. I actually forgot to take the pictures until I got them to campus. Luckily I had my little camera with me.

So, my first cupcake was a gluten-free vegan cupcake. This one did not present me with any issues. I cheated a little and used a mix for this one. I was going to make them from stratch, but since I am not a big gluten-free eater I wasn’t sure what I would do with all the expensive ingredients afterwards so I opted for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix. Since I wanted these to be vegan as well I followed the directions for using flaxseed and water instead of eggs and I used the vegan butter Earth Balance. The frosting was this vegan coffee icing that I found from the Gluten-Free Goddess. Unfortunately, I don’t have a close-up of this one, but here is today’s birthday boy holding one of each. The gluten-free vegan one is on the left (in Aaron’s right hand). As someone who hasn’t had many gluten free vegan treats I thought it tasted pretty good!

The one on the right that Aaron is holding is the infamous hi-hat cupcake. I don’t know what it was – the weather or what, but this one was impossible. I ended up having to make the meringue twice because when I tried to dip it the first time the meringue just slid off. I followed the directions exactly. I decided to use Martha Stewart”s recipe for these.  You can see it here. There is even two videos on the site explaining the process, but the videos didn’t help me much. I could not get the chocolate covered meringue to look as defined and high as the pictures. I was really bummed. Despite all my issues people really liked these. Here is one that I asked Aaron to cut open. We only had plastic knives though so it wasn’t easy!  :-)

You can see the meringue underneath the chocolate, but as you can see it doesn’t have the height I was looking for…. Oh well. Better luck next time with these ones. I think I’ll try them on a less humid day and see if it was me or the weather!

Thanks Aaron for letting me snap your pictures with these and have a VERY happy birthday today!

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September 15th, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes [MSC]

Happy Back to School everyone! So, about a month ago I gave you all this little teaser…

What a perfect time for these cupcakes. I made theses Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcakes for Josh’s birthday since he is a big peanut butter and jelly fan, but saved the post because it is the September Martha Stewart Cupcake Club pick. This one was chosen by none other than the Club:BAKED (another baking club I participate in) organizer herself, Karen from Karen’s Cookies Cakes and More. I started them the day before Josh’s birthday. I didn’t take too many pictures because I knew I was also going to be making that Chocolate Salted Caramel 3-Layer Cake as well that week (since Josh’s birthday is the day before our anniversary) and just didn’t have the time to be snapping a lot of photos. Here’s one of what they looked like pre-jelly.

The jelly really made a difference. I think without it these would have been too dry. Maybe it is just me since I am not a big peanut butter fan (unless it is paired with chocolate!), but these were not my favorite from Martha’s book. I was the kid who never liked peanut butter and jelly. I was more of a cream cheese and jelly fan. Anyway, here is a few all plated up.


Josh agreed that these were okay. I brought the remainder of them to a meeting I had the next day.

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August 15th, 2011

Happy Birthday Josh!

This post is not going to have pictures of any cupcakes. I know what you are thinking… this is a cupcake blog… that is what you came here for. Sorry! This post is a Happy Birthday post for my husband Josh. Today is his birthday! I did make him some cupcakes, but won’t be posting about those today, but I can give you a little teaser… here it is.

Josh definitely deserves a Happy Birthday wish on here because he is the one that usually takes all the photographs for me. He has gotten into photography recently and has been participating in the smugmug daily photos. You can check out all of his pictures here: including his dailies (you might even catch a glimpse of one of my cupcakes) and you can also join me in wishing him a VERY Happy Birthday!

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August 10th, 2011

Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream [MSC]

RhubarbCupcakes.jpg So, I know I haven’t posted a Martha Stewart Cupcake Club post in a while…. I’ve been pretty busy, but when Simple Girl said she was looking for some summer picks I thought that was just what I needed to kick-start myself. So, I volunteered to host in August and picked one of my summer favorites – Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream! I actually tried these for the first time last summer and I must admit I don’t know that before trying these that I had ever eaten rhubarb. I decided to make these again this summer since they were such a hit last year. Like I did last year, I used some fresh rhubarb from my advisor’s garden. Since I’m the host this month I can post the recipe (which is at the bottom of this post), but if you like this recipe or any others you see on the MSC blog I would really encourage you to buy the book. You can get it on Amazon right here  RhubarbCupcakes (2 of 6).jpg for less than $15. The recipe calls for taking off the cupcake liners before serving, but  I finally found the Reynolds StayBrite cupcake liners and I really liked this pattern so I decided to keep the liners on. I was definitely impressed by these liners.  I was looking for them for a while and finally ran into them at Kroger. They definitely stayed bright! I am guessing that foil inside helped.  Here are a few action shots Josh got – me dumping the rhubarb into the batter and filling the liners.

RhubarbCupcakes (3 of 6).jpg Doesn’t that rhubarb look so good? I love how chunky the batter is. You can tell when you areRhubarbCupcakes (4 of 6).jpg filling the cups that each bite is going to be full of tasty rhubarb. I love it! I popped these into the oven and then began working on the rhubarb topping. Another good thing about my trip to Kroger was that I found vanilla beans! The last time I searched everywhere! I was about to give up, but I finally found them at a health food store, but they were not cheap! Needless to say I was very happy to find a more inexpensive Kroger brand. I really do think using the vanilla bean adds a lot to the rhubarb topping (at least to its appearance anyway). I just  love how youRhubarbCupcakes (6 of 6).jpg can see the little specks of vanilla! I was planning to bring these to a meeting I had early the next day so since the recipe said you could store the topping in an airtight container, I decided to make the cupcakes and topping the night before and wake up early to make the whipped cream. The topping did get a little hard in the fridge, but a little stirring helped that. I also probably didn’t wait for it to get to room temperature completely like the recipe indicates. In the morning I made the whipped cream and assembled my cupcakes. I ended up doubling the batch because I was bringing these to a meeting with about 20 people or so. So, I packed up my trusty Martha Stewart cupcake carrier (minus a few cupcakes that I left home for Josh and I).

RhubarbCupcakes (3 of 3).jpg

I think these are one of my all-time favorite cupcakes. I love the soury-sweet taste! Thanks to everyone from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club for baking along with me this month! I hope you all enjoyed your cupcakes! And as promised, here is the recipe:


Martha Stewart’s Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream [printer-friendly]

Makes 16 cupcakes



  • 1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼  teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • ¾ pound rhubarb, stalks trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and 1 cup 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 extract. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until combined after each. Stir in 2 cups diced rhubarb.

3. 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 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers; remove liners before topping if desired.

4. To make rhubarb topping, use the tip of a paring knife to scrape vanilla-bean seeds into a saucepan, reserving pod for another use (such as vanilla sugar). Add the water and remaining 1 cup sugar, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1 cup rhubarb. Let cool completely. Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Return liquid to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then return rhubarb to syrup. Once cool, rhubarb can be refrigerated in syrup up to 1 week in an airtight container; bring to room temperature before using.

5. To finish, dollop a generous amount of whipped cream onto each cupcake, and top with rhubarb and some syrup. Serve immediately.

Whipped Cream                                      


  • 2  cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


1. Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar, and whish until combined

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June 19th, 2011


Sometimes a good remix is better than the original.  I’m not sure if that was the case for these, but people seemed to like them just as much as the original… so that’s a good thing! I made both of these remixes back in May. The first one was for our end of the year Secondary Math Intern Poster session. I had subbed once for the class and decided to bring the  Maple Buttermilk Pancake cupcakes as a treat. MapleButtermilkBananaFilling.jpgOne intern told me that they would be great with banana. So, when I was asked to make a mini version of these I thought why not try a little banana filling. Since I wasn’t completely sure how these would come out I made half banana filling and half plain. I then garnished the banana ones with a little banana chip. People seemed to like them. I actually think I like them better without the banana, but the banana is a nice change from the usual. The second remix was for my friend who just finished up his PhD and was going back to Singapore. I did my usual MSU PhD cupcakes (I think I have done some various of this one about 5 times already!) Since we were having the party at my house I could have them set up on a table and so I decided to do both green and white ones and write a little congratulatory  message for him. Here’s a close-up. The party started before Josh got home, so I took this with my little camera so the quality isn’t as great! I think these will forever be the signature PhDcupcaker cupcakes…MSU_DrLee04.JPG

Also, in case you didn’t notice… I now have a little Twitter icon way on the right. Josh and I joined Twitter for a contest to win a really nice camera… Not sure I will tweet much, but thought I could tweet my posts there as well…. Also, I only have 7 followers on the blog (look to the right under Fellow Cupcakers and Enthusiasts) right now and one of them is me… how sad… I think more people are reading my blog though… so, if you haven’t already, why not become a follower :-) Who knows… there may be a cupcake in it for you at some point… Thanks to those that are already following!


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LorrainePhD Welcome to
my site devoted
to all things
cupcake (and
other sweets)!
When I started this blog I was
on my way to earning my PhD
in mathematics education. Since
then, I have earned my PhD and
moved from one B1G Ten school
Michigan State, to another, The University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Hopefully as an assistant
professor I'll still have some
time for cupcakes.
If you are looking for my professional site you can find it at:

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