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Category Archives: Connecticut

Sidekick Shout Out: First Day at the Bakery

Between CCSU football and hockey games, and my job at the CT Whale selling jersey girl raffle tickets, I was unable to get multiple blog posts up, so instead I asked my sidekick, Devan Miller to help me. Dev and I aren’t only cousins, we’re also best friends.

I’ve talked about her in past posts, and she really is the one with the passion for baking. It’s her goal to open up a bakery someday, and we are using this blog not only as a way of exploring the Connecticut Cupcake culture, but also as an outlet to test out different cupcake recipes! Each week I know which flavor I want to try and create, and she”s always there to help me. 

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Anne DeFusco, owner of Mr. D’s in Wallingford. As we were talking I mentioned that my cousin is an aspiring baker, and because of that small little mention she now has a job in the bakery. Saturday was her first day working with the team at Mr. D’s and I thought it would be a fun change to have her assist me in the writing side of the blog, not just in the kitchen!!

I started my new job at Mr. D’s Bakery yesterday andI don’t think I have been more nervous in my life. I had no idea what I was going to have to do, who I was working with, I knew nothing other then the fact that Anne liked the way I frosted cupcakes the day I met her for my first interview.

When I got there in the morning, Anne had this huge smile on her face and I felt a little less nervous. Right away I filled a pastry bag and went to work on the cupcakes. I Frosted them, filled some with caramel, rolled some in sugar, I got the hang of that pretty quick. Then i had to figure out what ice cream was what and how much to put in each size cup or cone and how to make a milk shake. I also had to learn how to work the register, to me that’s the hardest part because I still have no idea how to do it. I also need learn how to make cappuccinos and espresso.

I guess you could say it was a bit over whelming, but watching the girls that I worked with yesterday, I know in time it will become second nature.  They were more then helpful toward me, they helped me with whatever I needed help with and they had an answer for any question I had.  Anne and her husband are also very helpful, caring, and wonderful people and I am honored that they have allowed me to be part of their “family” as Anne would call it.  

Me (r) and Devan (L)

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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Bakeries, Connecticut

 

Cupcake Camp New Haven

While I was at Mr. D’s on Friday I learned about the Cupcake Camp and I thought it was too important a subject to clump into my the last post. 

The Cupcake Camps are a national phenom which can be started in any city, and were begun for the love of cupcakes. This is a day when cupcake bakers and cupcake lovers come together to celebrate the trendiest dessert by sampling what the best have to offer!

My blog was basically created for doing just what the Cupcake Camps do, which is promote cupcakes, so I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it before! Luckily Anne DeFusco at Mr. D’s told me about it, since she will be participating in the Cupcake Camp in Conn., along with other cupcake bakers from all around the state.

On Oct. 22, 2011 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. BAR in New Haven will be hosting the second annual Cupcake Camp New Haven. While this is a 21 and older event I will be there in order to blog about what the best bakeries in Conn. have to offer so in case you can’t make it be sure to check back to the blog.

However, if you are 21 or older and love cupcakes, the event is free, although a donation to the “Closer to Free Fund” is suggested. All you have to do is register for tickets, whether as a taster or baker. In less than 15 minutes you can be registered for a tasty day of nothing but cupcakes and who wouldn’t love that?

 

 

Mr. D’s, Good Ol’ Fashioned Fun

Walking through the white door of Mr. D’s (in the heart of downtown Wallingford) I didn’t know where to look first. Do you admire the old-fashioned carousel horse in the center of the shop or do you stop and look at the dozens of penny candy bins lined up along the walls to the left and right? Do you even stop there?

Should you continue to walk on the brightly checkered floor deeper into the whimsical shop and browse the old-fashioned toys in back? Personally, the sweet aroma led me straight to the counter, past the nostalgic candy and right in front of the glass cases filled with colorful cupcakes, bars, cookies and more!

Mr. D’s was opened in the historic section of downtown Wallingford, Conn., by Anne and Bill DeFusco on July 7, of last year. The quaint shop’s kid-like personality strikes a chord with children and adults, which has helped it gain popularity among residents. The combination of cupcakes, penny candy, Praline’s ice cream and toys appeals to people of all ages.

Mr. D’s has 25 available cupcake flavors on the menu, and the bakers are always experimenting with different flavors! However, if there you don’t see the flavor you were looking for in the case don’t be afraid to ask because the Mr. D’s workers will make it for you because the cupcakes are made fresh right in the back of the store.

“Our basics are chocolate peanut butter, black and white, white and black, red velvet, carrot, hummingbird which is banana, pineapple and coconut…we have pumpkin all year not just seasonal. Seasonally we have apple walnut, apple crumb cupcakes, death by chocolate, which is filled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate ganache and iced with this very, very chocolately buttercream,” said Mr. D’s owner, Anne DeFusco.

“Chocolate peanut butter is our most popular and then the salted caramel and the red velvet,” said DeFusco. “The chocolate caramel was written up in Redbook magazine.”

The chocolate salted caramel is definitely one of the top cupcakes in the shop. One bite of the chocolate cake and it just melts in your mouth. The sweetness of the homemade caramel adds to the smooth texture of the cake and is offset by the salty bite of the sea salt.

While I fell in love with the sweet salted caramel my first favorite will always be the hummingbird cupcakes. A southern delight with cream cheese frosting, bananas, pineapple and coconut. It’s so good that I try to savor it as long as I can, which is possible because Defusco prides herself on infusing her cakes with enough moisture to ensure they last well after the first bite (only if you have enough will power not to eat it all in one sitting of course). 🙂

Aside from the cupcakes Mr. D’s also serves up Praline’s ice cream to go with the candy and other sweet treats. Mr. D’s is every dessert lover’s dream! The shop has all the items any one with a sweet tooth would crave and then some, and to top it off they will bring the cupcakes to you! This is because Mr. D’s also takes orders for events such as weddings, parties and corporate events. 

Open 7 days a week Mr. D’s is definitely the place to go for a midweek treat or after dinner snack.

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Check back during the week for my full profile on just what to expect when you visit Mr. D’s!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Bakeries, Connecticut, Cupcakes, Desserts

 

Big E Adventures

The past few posts have been specifically about my attempts at baking a yummy cupcake, so to switch it up I thought this mid-week post would be about me finding desserts made by actual professionals!

Like it says in the “About” section of the blog, I may love to bake but the majority of my life is run by sports, more specifically hockey and even more specifically, the CT Whale hockey team (I’d like to point out we are the American Hockey League affiliate to the New York Rangers). For a little background, my job at the Whale is to do promotions, and a large part of that in the offseason is mascot appearances with Pucky the Whale and Sonar. Our latest appearance brought us to the Big E for Connecticut day.(I’ve never been to the Big E before today, and I fell in love…honestly it is the greatest celebration of New England, and it reminded me why I can’t bare to live anywhere else.)

Now this blog is Connecticut and cupcake focused, but I can’t pass up the chance to share some of the treats I found, which could easily be bought throughout the entire New England Region.

I think my favorite cupcake from the day had to have been the Boston Bruins cupcake, courtesy of Koffee Kup Bakery in Springfield, MA. For just $4 (it’s a lot of cupcake for not a lot of money) I could buy a combination of two of my favorite things…hockey and cupcakes! When else would that ever really happen? Being a Massachusetts-based bakery there were also cupcakes decorated for the Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox!

Koffee Kup Bakery

While I loved the Bruins cupcake, found in the Massachusetts state house, I was continually drawn to the booth for Rosie-Blake’s Chocolates, right in Connecticut. As a matter of fact, this wonderful find happens to be right in a CCSU student’s own backyard. Located on 200 Myrtle Ave. in New Britain, Connecticut, Rosie-Blake’s Chocolates is the proclaimed “Home of the original chocolate covered bacon,” personally I believe that’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but the flavoring is ingenious! They’ve not only dipped bacon in chocolate but they seemed to have everything from chocolate-covered graham crackers to chocolate-covered jalapeno poppers (which I cannot wait to try!!). Mixed in with all the chocoaltey-goodness was three flavors of cupcakes for $3.50 each. These included red velvet, oreo and chocolate caramel.

Chocolate Covered Jalapeno Poppers (L)

Last But Not Least...CUPCAKES!

Beyond cupcakes, I also noticed a lot of booths were selling whoopie pies. Now, I’m not talking about the chocolate and vanilla whoopie pies that my parents grew up with….NOPE! At the Wicked Whoopies booth there were tie-dyed pies as big as my face and for much as $20. Walking through the different states of New England I couldn’t help but wonder…are whoopie pies the new up-and-coming dessert? Given that I’ve just begun this cupcake blog I hope the answer to that question is no.

Wicked Whoopies

While I love desserts and they all looked mouth-wateringly delicious, I have to be honest. The greatest things I found all day were apple cider and super seedz. The apple cider from Vermont was some of the best I’ve ever tasted and I could just picture drinking it with the apple spice cupcakes I made last week! Super Seedz is a flavored pumpkin seed business right out of Connecticut. Operated by the Seed Queen, Kathie Rosenschien, Super Seedz is a delicious snack, that’s already been shelled, this way you don’t lose any of the flavor. For $5 a bag I bought the sea salt and super spicy flavors, but plan on convincing my mom to buy my tomato italiano and cinnamon sugar when she goes to the Big E next week!

Amazing Apple Cider from Vermont

 
 
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