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Cupcake Confession

5 Jan

Disclaimer: Things are about to get personal.  And a little off topic.  I just need a moment to think (type?) out loud, and, in the process, explain my recent blogging inactivity.  Big ol’ venting session heading your way!  We will return to our usual cupcake reviewing program momentarily…I think.

Words to live by?

Cupcake Crusade is my happy place.  In a world full of stressors and pressures, this blog became my little bubble.  My little sugar bubble.  And when my full-time job situation found itself on shaky ground, arming myself with the mission to find THE best cupcake in the country gave me a renewed sense of purpose.  It was all in good fun, but I was passionate about it.  And, isn’t that what we always hear? – do what you love/makes you happy.  This was it!  I LOVE sugar!  I LOVE cupcakes!  I love roaming, wandering, exploring, and discovering a new cupcakery.  I love checking out out their decor, flavor combinations, packaging products, their mission statements and learning how they got their start.  And that first bite…so.much.fun!  Once Cupcake Crusade was up and running, pipe dreams of turning this into something more than a blog surfaced.  After years and years of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, THIS could be what I was meant to do.  I just needed to stick with it, keep pouring my heart into it, enjoy the ride and see where it takes me!  Yet, here’s the kicker – I’m fructose intolerant.  (Oh, how it pains me to even type that.)

After a long year of illness, losing weight, no appetite, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and many many many tests, a wise doctor ordered a breath test that deemed me  fructose intolerant.  That was five years ago, and I gotta be honest, I’ve been floating down the river of denial ever since.  I just couldn’t accept it, I love sugar too much and could not (in any way, shape, or form) imagine removing sugar from my diet.  From my life?!  Just not possible!  Like telling a fish it’s allergic to water.  Maybe that’s all little extreme, but it’s kinda how I felt.  Especially since fructose is in a lot of stuff!  Now, I didn’t ignore this diagnosis completely.  I made some changes to my diet, ones that didn’t make me cry at night.  I cut out sodas and everything that had high-fructose corn syrup (sometimes I really do miss a cold Coke though).  I reduced my daily sugar intake, and would try to eat any sugary treat on a full stomach.  I switched from regular milk to almond milk.  I cut out fruit juices and some fruits (this is when things started getting harder), like apples, grapes, pears, and OJ. (I still miss fruit leather!)  Some fruits can be tolerated like bananas and some berries, but it’s all trial-and-error.  I still have so much to learn.  I don’t feel like a completely different person, but I do feel better.  Much better.  I’m not getting sick nearly as much, I gained weight and my appetite.  But as this blog will reveal, I still eat mucho sugar.  And my body is still fighting me over it.

Like many, I rang in the new year with hopes of restoring health.  I reeeeeally want to get my diet on track.  Because, even though I feel better than I did five years ago, I’m still struggling with lack of energy, mood swings, and even moodier skin (ugh!).  Since I feel like I’ve tried everything else, searched high and low for ANY other solution, I’m now (slowly, reluctantly, and a little sadly) ready to sit down with this fructose intolerance thing and look it in the eyes.  So this is where my inner struggle lies ~ I LOVE sugar.  But my body does not.  I LOVE my quest to find the perfect cupcake and blogging about the journey makes my heart happy.  But my body pushes back.   And that makes me sad.  What’s a sugar sensitive, cupcake-lover to do?

My dad suggested a spittoon.  Any other ideas?

Thanks so much for hearing me out!

I Passed On Cupcakes. What’s Wrong With Me?

12 Aug

Yesterday, I journeyed the five miles or so to check out the newly opened Whole Foods in Marietta.  I strolled all the isles, checking out this and oooohing over that.  Good times.  (Sidenote:  when I was little, I asked my mom if I could have my birthday party at the grocery store.  For some reason or another, grocery stores do it for me. Side, sidenote:  the grocery store birthday party never went down.  Thanks to my  mom, I still have friends.)  Nearing the end of my self-guided Whole Foods tour, I came upon the bakery section and this case of delight!:

Crafty cupcakes

Look at those puppies!  Jumbo works-of-art cupcakes – beautiful!  So you know what I did next?  I took these pictures and walked away. Huh?  So now I keep asking myself, what’s wrong with me?!  Here are a couple of theories:

Theory #1:  The $3.49 price tag was too steep for my penny-pinching ways.

(Thought Bubble: I’ve been on tight budget for a year now and shelled out $$$ for a quick fix on several occasions.)

Theory #2: My personal trainer of a husband is brain washing me while I sleep.

(Thought Bubble: No way, man!  My brain is too strong for his shenanigans.)

Theory #3:  The thought of wearing a bathing suit publicly in a few weeks is affecting my eating habits.

(Thought Bubble:  No way, man.  I love cupcakes too much to let that stand in my way.)

Theory #4 – the most terrifying of them all:  I am starting my decent into cupcake burnout land.

(Thought Bubble:  Not possible.  I bleed frosting)

So that, my friends, is what’s swimming around my brain lately (once I’m done strategizing economic recovery and contemplating farm subsidies).  Anyone out there care to weigh in on what the heck is wrong with me?  Feel free to toss in a few other theories.  Just don’t concur with Theory #4, okay 🙂

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A Comedy of (cupcake crusade) Errors

22 May

Things just didn’t go as planned this weekend.  Steve and I were all gung-ho to go to La CupCakerie on Saturday –  armed with my Groupon and everything.  But when I checked their website the night before, I noticed this notice:  “We are under renovation, but still honoring ALL coupons!” Storefront opening soon!”.  Drat.  I really wanted to get the full, on-site experience so our trip to Cumming got nixed.   Back to the drawing board!  By Saturday afternoon, we were headed to Piece of Cake in Buckhead.  We pulled into the Piece of Cake parking lot around 4 pm.  The parking lot was empty…hmm.  Turns out Piece of Cake closes at 2 pm on Saturdays.  Drat, again!  Guess it would’ve been nice if I noticed that little piece of information when I checked their website for directions.  Steve I’m sure was thinking the exact same sentiment, as well as other things…

But fear not!  Cupcakes were eventually had this weekend.  We made it out to Sugar Shack in Atlanta today, and I’ll be posting that adventure soon.

P.S. We’re now on Twitter (and learning the ropes), come find us @cupcakecrusades!

A Sprinkle In My Eye

14 Apr

Steve and I are headed back to DC this weekend to visit family, which I’m very excited about!  I was also very excited…and a little short of breath…to see that Sprinkles Cupcakes has now opened a location in Georgetown!  Sprinkles, the Sprinkles.  A cupcakery pioneer!   ‘Cause according to their website, Sprinkles is “the world’s first cupcake bakery”.  I mean, if I was to consider myself a true cupcake crusader I should have been to Sprinkles years ago.  Alas, its west coast origins landed Sprinkles on my “ho-hum, some sweet day”-list… a sprinkle in my eye, if you will.

It all started in California (Beverly Hills to be exact), but has now stretched across the country to places like Chicago, Dallas, Scottsdale, and (ta da!) Washington, DC.   I can do DC!   Cue the elation, anticipation, and frantic OMG “we have got to go” message to Steve.  Another reason why visiting this establishment is so monumental – the founder, Candace Nelson, is a regular judge on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”.  And ooh, how I love that show and have formed some serious pipe dreams of one day being a guest judge myself.  So now I’m daydreaming about our visit to Sprinkles this weekend.  If you have a few extra minutes to spare and fancy reading the details of said daydream (in attempted longest-run-on-sentence form),  just scroll on down!

My sights are set on Sprinkles, folks!  Stay tuned –  I will jubilantly post my review soon.

My Sprinkles Daydream, by Jeanne:

We get to Georgetown where it’s sunny and 70 degrees and find on-street parking right in front on Sprinkles and our meter has a full hour left on it and then we enter the cupcakery and it smells amazing and Candace Nelson herself is there to greet us with heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth mini cupcake samples and she’s super nice and asks us what brings us to her store and when she finds out about Cupcake Crusade she’s really intrigued and asks me to contact her people and then her people ask my people (aka me) to come out to California and I get a behind-the-scenes-of-Sprinkles-type tour and eat cupcakes for breakfast/lunch/and dinner and actually feel healthier than ever and then they ask me to be a guest judge on Cupcake Wars which goes really well so they ask to sponsor a cross-country Cupcake Crusade tour where Steve and I spend a year travelling all across the country eating awesome cupcakes and meeting awesome people all of which is documented in a tv series so that we can share the experience with everyone and then maybe a book will follow and then…I think that’s good – the end!

Blanket Me in Cupcakes…Literally!

10 Mar

The other weekend, my husband surprised me by bringing home two cupcakes (which resulted in me dancing around like a little girl)!  They were having a craft fair/market at his workplace, and one of the vendors sold my beloved treat.  Sugar Drops Bakery is the name of their game, and from what I gather, it’s a home bakery located somewhere north of Atlanta (or as the locals would say, NTP – north of the perimeter).  I’m afraid I don’t have much more information (hence the unofficial “review” here), but what I do know is that these cupcakes were insanely SOFT!  So soft, I was literally petting the cake.  This discovery was made as I was preparing our feast – cutting each in half and putting them on plates.  I’ve never felt cake like this before, it felt like velour or something.  I want to gather up dozens of these and create the most delicious, sweet-smelling, cozy blanket ever!  The cupcake blanket, we’ll call it!  Genius, no?!  Except I’m not sure how durable that would be, or sanitary after a day or two…oh details, details!  But if Lady Gaga can fashion an entire outfit out of raw meat (seriously, that happened!), then patching together a cupcake blanket can surely be done too, right? 

I don’t think Steve appreciated me fondling his cupcake, so I did have to rein it in eventually.  Once I calmed down, we enjoyed our red velvet and key lime pie cupcakes.  Yummy homemade flavors and commendable frosting/cake ratio. I’m guessing the cake was part sponge cake, thus the light and airy (did I mention soft?) texture.  I love that kind of cake, it makes me happy!   As does the thought of climbing back in bed with my cupcake blanket…ahh, a girl can only dream!

If you’re interested in experiencing these insanely soft cupcakes yourself, you can try emailing or calling Sugar Drops Bakery (this information was listed on their business card) –

~Sugar Drops Bakery / (770)540-2510 / claraisabelina@hotmail.com

If you do, let me know what you think!  And if you had visions of the great cupcake blanket, too 🙂

Crossing Borders!

25 Feb

photo via The Postcard Booth

Last week, Cupcake Crusade traveled to Florida!  And found a scrumptious Top 10 cupcake along the way!  Stay tuned…

Trader Joe’s Gets In The Game

18 Dec

Oh Trader Joe’s, you never cease to amaze me!  Your savory treats, creative dishes, your constantly stocked shelves of well-priced Peanut Butter Puffins, a delicious sample or two always waiting for me (the way to my heart is with free food samples)… 

Well, during my last visit I found another reason to love Trader Joe’s – they have cupcakes!  And a mother of all cupcakes, at that.  There’s no way you can miss this puppy, it’s HUGE!  I estimated 10″ in diameter.  Hence its name – “Giant Chocolate & Peppermint Cupcake”.  And price – $7.99.  Now, that was a bit too pricey for my budget so I’m gonna have to ask Santa for this one.  But if you’ve got 10-12 cupcake lovers to feed this holiday, why not do it in one easy shot?

TJ also advertises “Divine Nine Cupcakes” in their weekly newsletter (aka The Fearless Flyer).  I didn’t spot these, I think because I was so entranced by the giant cupcake.  But apparently, there is a pack of nine mini cupcakes containing (3) chocolate w/sea salt cupcakes, (3) black & white cupcakes, and (3) chocolate w/caramel butter cream for $6.99.   Sounds like they’re worth looking for, right?

Now, back to the giant cupcake!  Is a cupcake really a cupcake if it can’t fit in a cup?  Or if it serves more than one person?  I’m starting to think now, that “giant cupcake” is an oxymoron.  Any cupcake historians out there that care to weigh in??  (Any cupcake historians out there, period?  🙂 )