Dave Miller: Guitarist

Creator of music & baker of goods…

Archive for the category “Cupcakes”

Out of Your Head and Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Hey there all you jazz/baking fans,

After recently arriving back in NYC from a month touring in Europe, I decided to get back into my baking spree Sunday night.  The occasion?  Adam Hopkins’ wonderful new improv series, Out of Your Head.

The idea for Out of Your Head  is to get jazz/improv musicians together in random/new/different combinations, set them loose on stage, and see what happens.  Adam’s series already had a well-established  home in Baltimore before he recently relocated here in Brooklyn.  There’s been a fantastic response here already in a short few months.  The series happens every other sunday at Freddy’s Bar in the south end of Park Slope.

I participated in the second set this past Sunday and thought I’d celebrate by making a quick couple dozen of some of my favorite cupcakes – Snickerdoodle with Cinnamon Buttercream frosting!


Both sets were fantastic.

Set I:

Jonah Parzen-Johnson-reeds
Kenny Warren-trumpet
Ryan Mackstaller-guitar
Noah Garabedian-bass
Devin Drobka-drums

Set II:

Jake Henry-trumpet
Danny Gouker-trumpet
Dave Miller-guitar
Matt Rousseau-drums


Jake Henry, ceremoniously being fed a Snickerdoodle cupcake by fellow trumpeter/badass, Kenny Warren.

That's Adam Hopkins, the brains behind Out of Your Head, in the background, also enjoying the Doodle.



Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes and Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up at Cornelia St. Cafe!

Wow…so these are incredible but I straight up slaved away in the kitchen pretty much all day yesterday making them.  It’s a chocolate cupcake hollowed out and filled with homemade salted caramel, then topped with a dark chocolate frosting and garnished with sea salt.  It’s ridiculously decadent – the frosting alone has three sticks of butter in it!  They’re unbelievably satisfying, though.

I have to admit, the caramel took four frustrating attempts to prepare just right.  That’s ok, I’m in it for the learning process, and I actually did learn a lot today.  Also, the cake itself turned out pretty spectacular, which means I’m getting a handle on this oven.  That’s something to be excited about.  It’s a pretty amazing cupcake!

In fact, they’re so good that I decided to take a couple along with me to see Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up at Cornelia St. Cafe in the West Village.  It was Tomas’ birthday, so there was reason to celebrate and the place was packed.  Since living in New York, I’ve become friends with Tomas, who is an incredible drummer, and Mary Halvorson, the incomparable guitarist in the Hook Up and many other bands.  Tomas, Mary, Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Brian Settles (saxophone), and Trevor Dunn (bass) put on a fantastic show.  I especially enjoyed Tomas’ writing for the band – very interesting melodies with unorthodox harmony.  Somehow the music seemed to fall somewhere between Miles Davis’ second quintet and Andrew Hill, along with a more modern, creative improvisation bent.  Don’t take my word for it, though, go see the band yourself!  The Hook Up has been playing fairly regularly in NYC these days.  Tomas also plays in many other bands, including Red Baraat, which tours all over the country.

Tomas and Mary seemed happy to volunteer to be my guinea pigs.



Tomas Fujiwara and cupcake

Mary Halvorson and cupcake

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Welcome to my first cupcake blog post!  There will hopefully be many more of these to come.  These Boston Cream Pie cupcakes, from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, is a recipe I always come back to not only for the deliciousness, but also for the challenge it presents.  A yellow cake, pastry cream, and a chocolate ganache – three simple parts that make up the whole.  Yet, somehow, when you throw them all together, the process becomes an adventure.

I’ve just started baking recently in my kitchen in Brooklyn, and there’s been some growing pains.  The oven that I had when I used to live in Chicago was pretty fantastic, and this one is not.  Maybe it’s just different.  I guess that would be a more PC way of expressing it.  My first few attempts at baking here ended more or less in disappointment.  However, I’m gradually learning the ins and outs of this oven and it’s getting better.  Learn to love your oven!

The Cake: turned out very moist and flavorful.  This recipe does not call for the paper/foil holders, so the sides bake straight against the buttered and flowered pan, which leads to a satisfying golden brown edge.

The Pastry Cream: Egg yolky goodness.  Boiled, refrigerated, pulled out of the fridge with no skin to speak of (victory!), and then applied to the inside of the halved cake.

The Chocolate Ganache: I used chocolate chips (from the huge bag I got from Costco recently) for the semi sweet chocolate component and it turned out fine.  For the initial batch of cupcakes I prepared (pictured), the ganache came out a little lumpy.  Nevertheless, upon reheating for the other batch, the lumps were nowhere to be found (another victory!).

All in all, it’s a pretty labor-intensive undertaking, but well worth the hard work.  I took them to a super bowl party and they were GONE.  Somebody at the party gave me crap for bringing a baked good with origins from New England.  Well-played, good sir!

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