Campfire Cupcakes

Nothing rings in July 4th like sizzling fireworks and campfires.  Whether on vacation or at camp, some of the best summer memories are built up around the ethereal glow of beach bonfires.  Even a backyard campfire is enough to spark major summer atmosphere.

Need some quick inspiration for an outdoor potluck or a kid’s summer birthday party?  Test out these sweet and salty mini campfire cupcakes.

This frosting technique can be used on any cupcake flavor, but I think it looks best on a deep chocolate color.  Build up layers of tufted orange and red icing piped with a star tip, and when you’ve reached your desired height, delicately arrange a tent of pretzel sticks.  You won’t find a tastier type of kindling!

In theory, this same technique can be applied to a larger cake, using jumbo pretzel sticks as garnish.  Just be sure to eat some cake with all of that frosting!

Get ready to craft some cupcakes with precision fit for a girl or boy scout.  Bring the fire to your next party!

Scroll down for the recipe.

Chocolate Cupcakes

(Makes roughly two dozen cupcakes)

  • Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the cupcake pans
  • 2 ½ cups (315 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup (95 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot strong-brewed coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Grease and flour two cupcake pans and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract.
  6. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  7. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  9. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee.
  10. Mix on medium low for no more than 30 seconds, or until combined.
  11. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  12. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a tooth-pick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  13. Let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cupcake from their pans.

To Assemble: Mix white frosting (even store-bought vanilla will work!) with orange and red gel food coloring.  With a star shaped piping tip, pipe frosting onto the cupcake, building up layers that taper upwards.  As a finishing touch, place pretzel sticks in a cone formation around the icing.

Pinot Noir Cupcakes: Kimmy is Back!

“Pinot Noir, Caviar, Myanmar
Mid-sized car
You don’t have to be popu-lar
Find out who your true friends are!” -Titus Andromedon

Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is coming back this Friday, which means I have a certain song stuck in my head… no, not the show’s theme song!  Can you guess it?

The nonsense song “Pinot Noir” by Titus Andromedon in Season 1 Episode 6 is sure to brighten your day, even if you’re not a budding sommelier.  It’s impossible not to sing along with the silly lyrics.  Did you know that you can buy your very own Kimmy-inspired pinot noir brand at certain locations in New York?  What better way to celebrate this Friday than a cupcake and wine pairing party?

While I wasn’t locked in a bunker for fifteen years, Kimmy’s journey to New York from the Midwest resonates with my own corn-town-to-big-city journey.  I think that anyone can take on impossible projects and be unbreakable if they believe in themselves.  While Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is full of ridiculous moments, it never fails to make me feel more equipped to tackle my own list of daily challenges.  I’m so excited for the show to come back!

Get #winewasted with me this Friday and indulge in this chocolate pinot noir cupcake recipe!  Cupcakes and wine always make for the best end-of-week treat.  What Would Kimmy Do?

Scroll down for the recipe!

Pinot Noir Mini Cupcakes

Makes about 24 mini cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg and egg yolk and vanilla.  Beat well until combined.
  4. Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the wine until well combined.  Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes and let cool completely before frosting.  Now, time to get cozy with your show!