The Silent

April 6, 2014 in Cakes


If people know that you’re into presidents, that it is your thing, you get to hear a lot of people tell you their favorite presidential anecdotes. One of the stories I hear most often is the one about a woman betting that she could get Calvin Coolidge to say more than two words to her. According to the story, she approaches Coolidge and tells him about the bet. His response: “You lose.”

You might also hear that Calvin Coolidge was the one U. S. President to be born on Independence Day. 

Someone who really wants to give you a run for your money when it comes to presidential trivia might ask you if you knew that he was sworn into office by his own father who was a justice of the peace.

Oh, and he was a redhead. Like Jefferson, Jackson, and Van Buren before him and Kennedy after him.

When I think of Calvin Coolidge, however,  I like to think about his fake family tree. Don’t even bother Googling that, it’s something that exists only in my mind.

I like to think of Calvin Coolidge as  Barack Obama’s great-grandfather. You see, Calvin Coolidge worked the radio and the power of photography.  He took full advantage of any opportunity to be photographed. Coolidge’s son would be JFK who, in my opinion, brought a certain type of celebrity to the presidency. Hmm, on that note, though, maybe Theodore Roosevelt is on this family tree somewhere. Maybe Andrew Jackson?  Ronald Reagan comes next in this imagined direct line, the actual celebrity elected to the nation’s highest office. Reagan understood how to work the camera, after all, he was an actor. Finally comes Barack Obama who, taking after the other men in his fake family tree, knew how to take advantage of the technology of the time, demonstrating this with his Internet campaign for the presidency.


The cake:

Coolidge has been photographed in cowboy attire, as a farmer, and wearing a Sioux headdress. With this in mind, it seems like his cupcake should be ornamental. So, the frosting  design on these cupcakes are all a bit different. The cupcake itself is carrot flavored. It isn’t a carrot cake cupcake, instead, the carrot flavor comes from carrot juice. The cupcake also has a strawberry jam filling. The frosting is coconut-flavored buttercream.

I think that I could only detect the carrot in the cupcake because I knew that it was there. If I did this one again, I might add carrot puree to bump up the carrot flavor. This one is close, but with a tweak or two, I think it could be better.




The Teapot

March 11, 2014 in Cakes


I cringe a little bit every time I think about Warren G. Harding

You see, in the summer of 1994 there was a song called Regulate that played on the radio all of the time This song was by Nate Dogg and Warren G. Knowing that there were scandals in Warren G. Harding’s presidency and knowing that rappers often make clever allusions, I just assumed that Warren G’s name had something to do with Warren G. Harding. 

You can stop laughing now.

Poor Warren G. Harding. He is one of those presidents that many people don’t take seriously at all. It doesn’t help that he launches one of the pockets of presidents many people don’t know about. Wilson? Yes, heard of him. Harding, Coolidge? Ehhh. Hoover? Hoovervilles, the Great Depression. Where’s Roosevelt? If you type his name into Google, the suggestions are: Warren G. Harding football, Warren G. Harding death, and Warren G. Harding black. That is not a sign of someone history is being kind to.

Speaking of Warren G. Harding’s death, there is speculation that it could have been a murder. His cause of death generally accepted to be congestive heart failure, but some people believe that his wife poisoned him. Harding was one of the presidents with lady trouble. By lady trouble, I mean more than one lady out there. Allegedly, he fathered a child outside of his marriage with a mistress. This, along with his wife’s refusal to allow an autopsy to be performed, is what makes people think that his wife poisoned him.

Collectively, we tend to remember scandals. In this regard, Harding’s administration gave us plenty to remember. There were scandals with the justice department and with the prohibition bureau. There were others, but perhaps the best known, the one consistently covered in history classes is the Teapot Dome Scandal. A scandal with a name like that is perfect for cupcake interpretation.


The cake:

Though the Teapot Dome scandal was about oil. The Teapot cupcake is about tea. The cake itself is flavored with black tea. I wanted to be able to really taste the tea in the cupcake, so I added it in two ways. I steeped tea bags in the milk that went into this cake, and also finely ground loose tea with a spice grinder. That tea was added directly to the cake batter. The cupcake has a bit of lemon curd filling. Finally, it is frosted with whiskey buttercream frosting. I know, I know, Warren G. Harding was president during prohibition. However, he wasn’t known for being a member of the dry movement.

I liked this cupcake, but it wasn’t the biggest hit. I think that the tea-flecked cupcakes made people think that this cupcake was a whole wheat cupcake. Now, I’m not  hating on whole wheat, but I think that there are some wheat haters out there. This was the first cupcake that someone described by saying, “It’s okay.” Hopefully, I’ll return to normalcy with the next cupcake. President Harding would appreciate that.


The Professor

January 28, 2014 in Cakes


One of the memories that I have of high school history from the year before I started to hate it (some teachers will do that to you), was a discussion of World War 1. It’s not the discussion that I remember so well, but one student’s ardent desire for peace and hope for what could have been if the United States had joined the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson’s baby.

Woodrow Wilson’s path to the White House was an interesting one. At his core, he was a teacher, an academic. In fact, he’s the only true academic to become United States President. His first presidency wasn’t that of the United States; Wilson was the president of Princeton University. From there he became the governor of New Jersey. Then, he became president. This path doesn’t mean that he was dragged into, or fell upon politics. He had always been interested in politics and thought that the academy was going to be the best way for him to have a politics-related career.

No matter what writers think about Woodrow Wilson’s presidency or the many controversial positions he held, there is one matter that is typically written about in a heroic way. That is his studies. Wilson wasn’t someone who was practically born reading. In fact, his reading was quite delayed, and he didn’t read well until he was around eleven years old. Reading about him in this area is a story of sheer will and determination. You’ll see that he developed a sort of shorthand to compensate for his difficulty in writing. You’ll learn that he bought a typewriter and learned to use it well, another compensation for his handwriting.

But there is another Woodrow Wilson, no less hardworking that the Wilson described above. That is Woodrow Wilson the lover. He seemed to be one of those men who very much need to have a woman in his life. In fact, when his first wife died, he remarried rather quickly. Scandalously quickly. So quickly that it had the potential to be a political liability for him. His second wife, Edith Boling Galt, was also at Wilson’s side, much to the annoyance of some of the people with whom he worked. Wilson enjoyed having his wife in the Oval Office as he worked. Like John Adams before him, and Harry Truman after him, Wilson was one of the presidents who wrote often to his wives. He wrote thousands of letters to his first wife, and several hundred to his second wife. I think you need to see an example.

 “Are you prepared for the storm of love making with which you will be assailed?” Woodrow Wilson to Ellen Wilson

It looks like that Wilsonian determination paid off for him in multiple arenas.


The cake:

Woodrow Wilson was born and raised in the South. As a result, I wanted to play with southern flavors. By play with southern flavors, I mean use pecans. The cupcake is brown sugar based with chopped pecans and cinnamon. The frosting is a cream cheese frosting. The cupcake is garnished with buttered pecans.

This cupcake was a success! It made me wonder what other president could be honored with brown sugar.


The Supreme

January 4, 2014 in Cakes


William Howard Taft was one of the first presidential biographies that I read when I decided a few years ago to embark upon a project to read a biography of each United States President. There are several things that stood out to me about him then. One of them is that he took dance lessons as a boy, and that his familiarity with dancing served him well later in his career. Under President McKinley’s administration, Taft was appointed Governor General to the Philippines. Dance was an important part of the culture there, and his comfort with dancing served him well diplomatically.

Another memorable episode in his life is his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt. Once the men were very close, then like many who were close, they became estranged. Later as older men they were able to put some of their differences aside. Their story felt a little Adams-Jeffersonian, but only on the surface.

Like many presidents, Taft had an ambitious wife. She had big plans for her husband. He always had a love for law and the bench. She had her eyes on more executive functions. In the end, they both achieved their goals for him. In addition to serving the country as President. William Howard Taft also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Warren Harding. Taft is the only man to have held both offices. 

Finally, Taft is the president who started the tradition of the president throwing out the first ball of the baseball season. Every president, with the exception of Jimmy Carter has participated in this ceremonial throw since at sometime in his presidency.


The cake: 

Because Taft was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, I wanted to play with the idea of Supreme. This cupcake should be decadent. The cake itself is a dark chocolate cupcake. It is filled with semisweet chocolate ganache. It is topped with a whiskey caramel flavored cream cheese frosting. For garnish, this cupcake has more chocolate ganache as well as homemade Cracker Jack, a nod to Taft’s baseball-related trendsetting. Though chocolate cupcakes aren’t my favorite, these flavors played very well together, and have given me some ideas for future presidential cupcakes.




The Rough Rider

December 28, 2013 in Cakes


There is so much one could say about Theodore Roosevelt. That, I suppose, is something you could say about all of the faces on Mount Rushmore.

Roosevelt did so many things. He overcame childhood illness. He overcame losing his mother and his wife on the same day.  You could choose to look at him as almost the ultra survivor, a super-human character. Or, you could see him as an ultra human. Following the same-day death of his mother and his wife, he spent some time out in the Badlands testing himself physically in order to deal with his pain. When courting his second wife, he bought a pair of dueling pistols, you know, just in case.

Maybe passionate is the best word to describe President Theodore Roosevelt. He loved nature and supported conservation. However, he loved hunting. Of him, in the time leading up to the 1900 presidential election, Marcus Hannah called him a madman saying, “Don’t any of you realize that there’s only one life between that madman and the Presidency? ”

Roosevelt was the first president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, yet he was itching for the Spanish-American War to come about.

Finally, it could be said that Roosevelt broke the republican party that he had worked so hard lead. In 1912, Roosevelt ran for president again as a third-party candidate. This split the Republican vote and helped Wilson to the White House.

Like all of the big figures, he was a man of contradictions.


The cake:

Because of his role in the Spanish American war which was fought over the fate of cuba, I thought I would play with rum in this cupcake. The frosting is coconut rum buttercream. The cupcake is mint and vanilla. Finally, the filling is blueberry whipped cream. This is a reference to the union blue. Many historians believe that his eagerness to participate in the Spanish American war came from the fact that his father did not participate in the Civil War, instead hiring a replacement. The blue sugar also refers to the union blue. The sugar pearls represent that pair of pearl-handled dueling pistols that he had bought.

I wasn’t sure that this flavor combination was going to work,but it did. Despite having  a lot going on, it came together. This is totally in line with the Theodore Roosevelt theme.


The Annexation

December 18, 2013 in Cakes


President William McKinley is one of those presidents who stands out in a history class not because of who he was, but because his presidency marked one of those pivotal eras in American history. When you get to the McKinley unit, you’re likely to hear about how his administration set the stage for the United States to become a force in the Pacific. You might read that McKinley was the president that put the United States on the path to world power. Alongside these ideas, you’ll hear about the Spanish American War, and the annexation of Hawaii. McKinley is the part of the presidential line-up where you start to recognize their names again: McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson….

1901 should have been a good year for President McKinley. He had just begun his second term in the White House as the first incumbent to be elected to a second term since the Civil War darling, President Grant.  Instead, 1901 was the year that killed President McKinley. At the Pan-American Exposition, a world’s fair held in New York, Leon Czolgosz shot him at close range. While the Secret Service had begun informal part-time protection of President Cleveland a few years before, McKinley’s assassination is the event that led to the congressional request that the president be protected on a full-time basis.


The cake:

Because of McKinley’s role in the annexation of Hawaii, I wanted to play with tropical flavors for his cupcake. The cake itself is pineapple-flavored. Inside is a bit of mango-flavored whipped cream. The cupcake is topped with macadamia nut buttercream. Those who tasted this cupcake gave it rave reviews. I was a bit more critical though. I loved the flavor of the cupcake, but I didn’t love the texture of this particular cake. However, I have some ideas about how to maintain the flavor and fix how it feels.


The Reflection

December 15, 2013 in Cakes


Every time I get my hands on a book, or a set of cards (don’t judge me) that covers all of the presidents, I am very curious about how Grover Cleveland is handled. This whole only-president-to-serve-nonconsecutive-terms business complicates things.

Sometimes he gets one entry that covers both of his terms. In this case, there’s usually something visual that tells the reader the beginning and ending years of each of his terms. The poster in my son’s room (don’t judge me) pictures President Cleveland twice. The second picture is just the first one repeated. This always disappoints me. It makes me feel like they just don’t care. This site tells you that I think people should care about the presidents.

Sometimes there are two separate pictures of Grover Cleveland. While I enjoy that treatment, the one that tickles me is what I’m calling the reflection. I crack up each and every time a book or poster shows Grover Cleveland twice, and when the second appearance is the same picture reflected so that Cleveland is facing the other way.


This is why I decided to make a second Cleveland cupcake. I knew I needed to play with the idea of  the reflected image.

In terms of cupcakes, I decided to play with the same flavors from the first cupcake and mix it up into something different. So we’re still working with peanuts, caramel and chocolate.  This time the cupcake is peanut butter flavored. It is filled with caramel whipped cream. This one has chocolate buttercream frosting and caramel drizzle. This cupcake was quite enjoyable. In fact, I couldn’t decide which Grover Cleveland I liked the best. Maybe they are both of the same caliber.


The Sandwich

November 26, 2013 in Cakes, recipe


Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about Benjamin Harrison, I can’t resist the urge to refer to him as the meat in the Grover Cleveland sandwich.

Go ahead. Take a minute; unpack that. 

Benjamin Harrison could be described as a heritage president. Great, now I sound like I’m talking about turkeys.  His great-grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His grandfather was President William Henry Harrison. His father was a state representative for Ohio. Suddenly, you understand my urge to call him a heritage president, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking of holidays, Benjamin Harrison’s White House was the one that established the tradition of the White House Christmas tree. That was a large part due to his wife, Caroline. She was all about the social side of things. In fact, the Harrisons remind me a bit of the Madisons. Benjamin Harrison was more comfortable among books than among people. In his defense, he had seven siblings. Who can blame a guy for appreciating a  little quiet time. His contemporaries weren’t as compassionate though. They likened his personality to that of an iceberg. Like Dolley Madison before her, Caroline’s gift of the gab and love of social gatherings helped her husband as chief executive.

There are dozens of interesting things about Benjamin Harrison’s life and legacy. He was president when the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was passed. This was the first law that tried to limit monopolies. He was all about expansion which we associate more with McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, his work influenced President Roosevelt. Harrison also went against his party and declined supporting anti-Chinese immigration measures.  Finally, Benjamin Harrison is also the first president who’s voice is known to be preserved.

With all of this, I shouldn’t just think of him as the meat on Grover Cleveland’s sandwich, but I just can’t help myself. I couldn’t even restrain myself to saying it just once.


The cake:

I was discussing Head of State Cakes with someone a few weeks ago, and Benjamin Harrison came up in conversation. By the way, if you know anyone else who can honestly say, “Benjamin Harrison came up in the conversation,” please introduce us; we’re cut from the same cloth. Anyway, I talked about his sandwich filling status, and I may have uttered the words, “cupcake-appropriate sandwich.” With that, I knew that his cupcake would be a take on the fluffernutter sandwich. This is a vanilla bean cupcake with  cinnamon marshmallow creme filling. It is topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting.

I liked this cupcake. The frosting is not sweet in comparison to a buttercream frosting. However, my son found this frosting to be highly suspect. He asked permission to scrape the frosting into the sink. That wasn’t enough. About 10 minutes later he asked me if the frosting was “some sort of salty frosting.” He was straight up bewildered. I think that it was a nice balancing act to the marshmallow creme center.


The Sandwich Cupcake
A cupcake tribute to President Benjamin Harrison.
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The cake
Marshmallow creme
  1. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  6. 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  2. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  3. 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. seeds of one vanilla bean
  6. 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. 6 ounces cream cheese
  2. 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
Marshmallow Creme
  1. Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed. (You want to have the egg whites whipped and ready, waiting for your syrup to be drizzled in. If they’re whipping faster than your syrup is coming to temperature, just stop the mixer until the syrup is ready.)
  3. When the syrup reaches 240°F, reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle about 2 tablespoons of syrup into the egg whites to warm them. (If you add too much syrup at once, the whites will scramble.) Slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup. Increase the speed to medium high and whip until the marshmallow creme is stiff and glossy, about 7 minutes. Add in the vanilla and whip 2 minutes more. Use immediately or refrigerate stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flours. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  5. Cool before icing.
Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar with a mixer on medium speed. Add salt, then peanut butter, then vanilla. Whisk cream until soft peaks form, and then fold into peanut butter mixture. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)
Head of State Cakes

The Ruth

November 9, 2013 in Cakes, recipe


James Buchanan both started and ended his presidency as a bachelor. Grover Cleveland entered the presidency a bachelor and left it a married man. In fact, he was the first sitting president to be married in the White House. That is the factoid about President Cleveland that takes a second place to the other fact about him that schoolchildren tend to know. Grover Cleveland was the first and only president to serve two non-consecutive terms in the office. 

Speaking of what schoolchildren know, we remember President Taft as being a very large man. However, he’s not the only one. Grover Cleveland was right up there with him. At 5′ 11′ at times he weighed around 250 pounds.  In fact, one of my favorite things that I read about him was this quote, “I must go to dinner,” he wrote a friend, “but I wish it was to eat a pickled herring a Swiss cheese and a chop at Louis’ instead of the French stuff I shall find.” I don’t love pickled herring, but I do love that quote. He just wanted some food with some regular ingredients. Who can blame him?

I like to think that Grover Cleveland liked candy bars, regular ones like you find at the check out counter. The Baby Ruth candy bar seems the perfect candidate. There is some controversy about how this chocolate covered, nougat, caramel and peanut candy bar got its name. Baby Ruth Cleveland was born in 1891, but the candy bar was born in 1920. Many people believe that it’s obvious that the candy bar was named after famed baseball star Babe Ruth who was at the prime of his career in the 1920s. However, the Curtiss Candy Company, the producers of the candy bar traditionally claim that the candy was named after Ruth Cleveland. There’s a whole sub-story in here about a rival candy bar that was driven from the market called the Home Run bar. Oh, and young Ruth, unfortunately, died in 1904, years before the candy bar hit the market.


The cake:

I still wanted to play with the flavors in the Baby Ruth candy bar. Chocolate, nuts, and caramel. The cake in this cake is dark chocolate flavored. This chocolate cake is filled with nougat. The cupcake is topped with caramel buttercream and garnished with chopped salted nuts.

This is one of the more time-consuming cupcakes, but worth it even though I over-cooked the caramel for a bit. The nougat here reminded me more of the nougat in a Snickers bar than that of a Baby Ruth bar. In my opinion, however, that is a good thing!

Someone suggested that I post recipes for the cupcakes that I’m creating, so I thought I’d give that a try. You’ll have to let me know what you think!


Baby Ruth Cupcake
A tribute cupcake for President Grover Cleveland inspired by the flavors of the Baby Ruth candy bar.
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Caramel sauce
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  3. 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 tablespoon salt
  1. 1/4 cup butter
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  4. 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
  5. 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts
  1. 1 oz dark chocolate
  2. 1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
  3. 2/3 cup hot coffee
  4. 1/3 cup whole milk
  5. 1 1/3 cups flour
  6. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  9. 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  10. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  11. 3 eggs
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel Buttercream
  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1/3 cup caramel sauce, room temperature
  3. 1t vanilla extract
  4. 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Caramel Sauce
  1. Heat the sugar over medium high heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start stirring the sugar. When the sugar is melted, stop stirring.
  2. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color.
  3. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the salt.
  5. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large jar and cool to room temperature.
  6. Caramel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator.
  1. Melt butter in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add granulated sugar and evaporated milk. Stir. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Add peanuts; stir well. Spread nougat mixture over cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, combine dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot coffee. Stir until well-mixed and smooth. Add milk and set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition and scraping down the sides as necessary. Add vanilla and beat 30 seconds.
  6. With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the chocolate mixture. Repeat until everything has been added. Don't overmix.
  7. Divide batter evenly among prepared baking cups.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Use an apple corer to cut hole in the top of each cupcake.
  11. Shape a piece of nougat into a cylinder the size of the hole in your cupcake. Repeat.
  12. Fill holes with nougat.
Caramel Buttercream
  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium for 1 minute
  2. Add caramel sauce and vanilla extract, and beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Add powdered sugar, and beat on low until powdered sugar is incorporated.
  4. Increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth and well-combined, about 2-3 additional minutes.
  5. Frost cupcakes as desired.
  1. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts
Adapted from Lulu The Baker
Adapted from Lulu The Baker
Head of State Cakes

Polk’s Birthplace and Dark Horse Cupcake Recipe

November 8, 2013 in recipe

I get it; nothing is free.

All sorts of folks are figuring out what they can do to make ends meet. This includes government. With the events of last month, that’s no surprise.

I was surprised, though, to learn that a few months ago a president-related historic site was in danger of being closed.

The James K. Polk birthplace site in North Carolina is the site I’m talking about. Folks realized that this would have been a loss for all those who otherwise could have had a hands on look at history. They organized and petitioned and succeeded. The Polk site remains open.

In celebration of their work, I’m going to post the recipe to the Dark Horse cupcake.


Dark Horse Cupcake
Chocolate cupcake in tribute to President James K. Polk.
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For the Cupcakes
  1. 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  2. ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  3. ¾ cup hot coffee
  4. ¾ cup bread flour
  5. ¾ cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  10. 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. 3½ cups powdered sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon milk
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. mini chocolate chips
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with cupcake liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Fill the muffin pan cups until liners are about 2/3 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting
  1. In a bowl combine the butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon. Beat until blended.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
  1. Frost cupcakes as desired.
  2. Garnish each cupcake with 4 mini chocolate chips.
Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker
Head of State Cakes