Cupcake (ish) Tour of Hollywood (adjacent)

Back in June, I went on another local food tour, this time the Cupcake Tour of Hollywood, or as I call it, Cupcake-ish Tour of Hollywood-adjacent. It wasn’t all cupcakes, and it wasn’t really in Hollywood. But on to the details…

We walked a couple of miles and tasted six different treats including cupcakes, macarons, and pies. Everyone on the tour had a lot of fun, and like on the chocolate tour, our guide pointed out fun landmarks and shared interesting bits of local information. I enjoyed the chocolate tour of Beverly Hills more, but this could be a lot of fun if you’re visiting LA and looking for something different to do.

We met at Georgetown Cupcakes on Robertson where we tried mini red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. This cupcake ended up being my favorite of everything we tasted that day–it was moist and the cream cheese frosting wasn’t cloyingly sweet.

Mini red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from Georgetown Cupcake

From there, we walked down to Tartine O Chocolat on 3rd Street, where we sampled salted caramel hazelnut macarons. I thought it was OK, but it definitely doesn’t compare to ‘Lette in Beverly Hills.

Salted caramel hazelnut macaron from Tartine O Chocolat

We then continued down 3rd Street to Joan’s on Third and tasted full size chocolate marshmallow cupcakes–chocolate cake, a bit of marshmallow filling, and chocolate ganache. The chocolate was nice and rich, but I wish there was more marshmallow inside. Side note: If you go there, get their Chinese chicken salad, I am obsessed with it, it’s so good!

Full size chocolate marshmallow cupcake from Joan's on Third

We took a break from cupcakes and stopped at Simple Things for a mini salted caramel pie. By this point I was beginning to feel crazy full so I only ate half of the mini pie, but it was delicious and my favorite non-cupcake treat on the tour.

Mini salted caramel mini pie from Sweet Things

Next up was Sweet E’s which used to be on Robertson, but is now connected to Toast. We sampled mini neapolitan cupcakes and it was my least favorite of all the cupcakes we tried. I love their signature swirl though!

Mini Neapolitan cupcake from Sweet E's

Our final treat on the tour was Magnolia Bakery’ mini vanilla cupcake with butter cream frosting. I know a lot of people love Magnolia, but I find their vanilla cake to be kind of dry and dense.

Mini vanilla cupcake with butter cream frosting from Magnolia Bakery

It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, and fun to explore the area by foot. If you’re looking to do the tour, definitely check out Amazon Local as they have discounted tickets. Have fun!

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

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For the past several years on New Year’s Eve, my friend and her husband have hosted a small party at their house. It’s a pretty chill night filled lots of socializing, eating, drinking, Wii, and board games. (Writing that made me feel old, jeez.) And each year, I of course bring dessert.

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Since I’ve been sick this week, I almost took the easy route and made S’mores Pies. Then I realized that was stupid and decided on champagne cupcakes. Fortunately for me, I only looked at a couple of recipes before deciding on this one. The original recipe called for a pastry cream filling, but since I’m not a fan of pastry cream and I was feeling lazy, I decided to leave it out.

Well, the pastry cream wasn’t missed at all. The cupcakes are moist and the champagne flavor comes through in both the cake and the frosting. I would definitely make these again for a celebratory night! Plus, I love any excuse to use my contraband dragees and glitter. (We can’t buy them in California.)

Note: I know absolutely nothing about champagne (except that I like it), so I asked a couple buying champagne at the store if they would help me. This guy directed me to a $5.99 bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Moscato that said “Deliciously Sweet” on it and told me it would be great for baking; his husband made it clear it was not suitable for drinking. Point taken, and it worked great in both the cupcakes and frosting.

Photos of the process.

Cake Ingredients
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne

Cake Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little). Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Let cool. Yields 18 cupcakes.

Frosting Ingredients
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Frosting Preparation
Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus 1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.

Frost and decorate.

Recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.