Cookies N Cream Cupcakes

Here is my new blog column called “Bait n Switch” where I draw you in with cupcakes and then only talk about ice skating for an hour. From here on out if you see cookies n cream just know that it’s a post about ice skating, cookies n cream is the code word. It’s the beginning of what will probably, by Beijing 2022, be a full blown figure skating blog. I am deeply excited about this career transition, and if you are Nike and would like to sponsor my six-part mini series on Ashley Wagner’s smoldering hot off-ice warm-up looks, the answer is yes. And can I get a team USA podium outfit set.

Here were my top four moments of this weekend’s U.S. championships:

Gold: When Mirai landed her final jump, the triple loop, and did booya arms. 4:35, here, and then at 4:41 you can see her coach in the background jumping up and down and cheering. It was the sight of her gliding onto the olympic team and now I’m crying and completely verklempt.

Silver: When the vocals came in during Adam Rippon’s free program. It’s the most beautiful free program and the long build up to the vocals is so effective. Of course I was very sad when he didn’t skate his best, of course I kept waking up that night wondering is he going to make the olympic team? Now he’s made it and we get to see him skate that program again in Pyeongchang, yay!

Bronze: There’s a little hop that Nathan Chen does after the second quad in his short program that is the best tiny morsel of choreography. It was more pronounced at Skate America (2:09, here) but it’s details like that in his choreography that are the perfectly placed sprinkles on the cake. See also: the exit move out of his first jump. And his overall controlled savageness. And his new vera wang looks!!! This program has everything.

Pewter: Tie between Ashley Wagner’s La la land Dress, Ashley Wagner’s Nike looks, and when Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe. What? That wasn’t part of the championships. It was, however, a crucial part in getting over US champs withdrawal.

Oh! And honorable mentions: Jean-Luc Baker and Kaitlin Hawayek’s free program because I love them and they are the future, and also Mariah Bell’s short program because I also love her and she is also the future. 





Thank you for listening, now we can talk about these cupcakes. Do you ever think that cookies n cream is a little bit bitter that he was on track to winning gold until funfetti® came along out of nowhere and stole everyone’s hearts? I would be. I had completely forgotten about cookies n cream until like two weeks ago when I was sitting on the couch being a blob and brainstorming new recipes to make. Pretty much out of nowhere all of these old memories of eating cookies n cream blizzards from the dairy queen and occasionally making a cookies n cream boxed cake instead of a funfetti® boxed cake rushed back to me and made me really happy. And also made me go down a google hole. It turns out that the other Dakota, to the south, has laid claim to inventing it! That’s fun. 

Cookies n cream cake is tasty because you get all the good flavor of Oreos but all of the soft texture of cake. It’s like jeggings, you get the good fit of leggings but the nicer look of jeans. It’s not rocket science, you crush up oreos and add them to cake batter. I’m using the same batter as my sprinkle cake, which gets even moister and richer thanks to those little pockets of Oreo filling scattered within, and yes I’m using homemade oreos!! It adds one extra step, 30-40 minutes, tops, since the cupcake frosting and Oreo frosting can be combined into the same step, and obviously the cookies are so much better. Which makes the whole thing so much better. But if you really just want to go the store-bought cookie route here, that is fine, adjustments are below for that! 

And p.s. these would totally be good with tahini oreos or matcha oreos or marzipan oreos, right???? Right. 

cookies n cream cupcakes

makes 14 cupcakes


for the chocolate cookies:

1 c (128g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 c + 2 tb (141g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar, for dusting


for the frosting:

14 tb (196g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract


for the cupcakes:

1 1/4 c (160g) all-purpose flour

2 tb constarch

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c (150g) sugar

2 large egg whites

2 tb flavorless oil

1/2 tb vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

6 tb (90g) whole milk


sprinkles, for decorating


NOTE: If using store-bought oreos, use 12  cookies in the cupcake batter and 6 in the frosting. and then decrease the frosting ingredient measurements to the following: 1/2 c (113g) butter, 2 oz (56g) cream cheese, 2 1/4 c (270g) powdered sugar, a small pinch salt, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla


to make the cookies:

preheat the oven to 325ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together.

lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with a 1:1 mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. working swiftly and carefully, roll out the dough to 1/4-to-1/2-inch thickness and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds. transfer them to baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). Re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 

bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 15 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the frosting: 

in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the ingredients together until smooth.

scoop about 1 cup frosting into a piping bag and pipe 8 cookies with a nice big blob. Top those with 8 more cookies and then stick them in the fridge to firm up. Squeeze out any remaining frosting from the piping bag back into your frosting bowl, crush up 8 more cookies to a fine crumb (I do this in a large ziploc bag with a rolling pin) and mix them into the remaining frosting. Set aside remaining chocolate cookies for decorating. And set the frosting aside, covered, at room temperature. You'll need your stand mixer bowl to make the cake batter, so it's easiest to scoop out your frosting really well with a rubber spatula and then there's no need to wash it out, you can just go straight to the cake batter step.

for the cupcakes:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line two cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners, spacing them out evenly between the two pans.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.

in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. add the oil and the extracts.

with the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined.

retrieve the 8 sandwich cookies from the fridge, chop them coarsely or break them up with your hands, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.

distribute the batter among the cupcake cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to assemble:

Scoop the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles and/or remaining chocolate cookies!



olive oil cupcakes with berry buttercream

all normal things this week, it has been a very average (but pleasurable!) week. i worked regular hours, drove to the gym, listened to all of today's top hits on my iphone while i jogged at a medium pace, wore neutral colors, reacted to politics, had salads for dinner, and watched tv before bed. (i was so bored out of my mind for the first game of thrones episode that i'm hate-ignoring the second episode until i finish the second season of how to get away with murder.) 

once or twice a day i looked out my window to chart the growing progress of my rhubarb patch. the leaves are almost up to my knees, so i'm going to give it another week before i pull out my machete. i'd like to make short ribs with rhubarb, have you ever done that?

what else. we celebrated taco tuesday on a wednesday, since it was cinco de mayo eve and the end of spring planting celebration, and we ordered coronas. which was the least normal thing about this week. i don't think i've ever ordered a corona in a restaurant before. am i boring you? is this boring?

the tulips are blooming, i have a bill to pay, and two yellow dresses to drop off at the dry cleaner.

ok bye. 

normal things, all normal things. 

these are deceptively light cupcakes! true, they're filled with sugar and have a 2:1 ratio of cake to frosting, but the flavor of fresh berries, a splash of o.j., and a nice large glug of buttery olive oil makes these brighter than most. (bright. maybe that's a better descriptor than light.) all of these flavors sit so nicely on a canvas of vanilla almond cake for a perfect springtime treat. i used raspberries and blackberries for the buttercream since that's what i had access to, but feel free to use any berry you'd like! (if you have a cute berry bush with some obscure berries to spare, i'll trade you for some rhubarb??) and my olive oil of choice for these is california olive ranch's mild and buttery olive oil, which doesn't overpower and plays so well with the almond flavor in the cake.  

olive oil cupcakes with berry buttercream

makes 12



1/2 c almond meal
3/4 c sugar
1 c flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 c california olive ranch olive oil
1/2 c whole milk
2 tb orange juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract


1 c fresh raspberries or blackberries or a mix
3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
a pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract


fresh berries



to make the cupcakes:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line 12 cupcake tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, milk, orange juice, almond extract, and vanilla. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. pour the batter into the cupcake tins, filling them up halfway, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes.

let cool on a rack for 5 minutes and then remove to the rack and cool completely. 

to make the buttercream:

purée the berries in a food processor and then press through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. place the berry purée in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and add the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla. beat until combined. (it will look slightly curdled at first, but continue beating, eventually increasing the speed to medium high, for a few good minutes until combined and fluffy.)

to assemble:

frost the cupcakes as desired, top with fresh berries, and enjoy!


thank you, california olive ranch, for sponsoring this post! 

tahini cupcakes with chocolate tahini frosting

good heavens, i was such a such a grown-up this weekend! i did laundry, ironed linens, filed taxes... i even improvised a creamed spinach recipe! oyoyoy i don't know how grownups do it. there is always some house thing to be done, and as soon as you think you've finished, suddenly another six soap dispensers are empty and you have to go around and refill them, and suddenly another meal time rolls around and you can't justify microwaving another frozen burrito. can't i just watch kimmy schmidt all day? do i need a dog to help keep the floor clean? maybe one of those roomba vacuums? 

(side note: i don't know how i went so long without creamed spinach. wow! creamed spinach is good.)

behind all of my kvetching, what i'm really saying is that for the first time in what feels like a very long while, eggboy and i had a nice normal weekend at home. even though i miss my camp friends and my schnitzel friends, it feels so good to be farm humans again, back around the eggs and frank underwood and my brunch club volleyball homies. i missed grand forks. 

and it doesn't hurt that it was effing 70 degrees out! this time last year we were hunkering down for a blizzard, but now eggboy and eggdad are getting the tractors ready for planting and the idea of a two-harvest season has been bouncing around, oh it makes me so excited. that's only happened once in the last 70 years, but if this outrageously early spring remains, maybe it could happen again??? i don't know anything. i probably just jinxed it. 

it occurred to me that i haven't made a cupcake in a few weeks, and i feared that my cupcake frosting muscle memory was fading. you too? ok, let's make cupcakes. here are some little guys that appear to be your basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, but they are more than that! they are nutty and tahini-y and moist and i swear if one of you can find me a synonym for moist, i will love you forever. the chocolate frosting is nice and fluffy, it plays very well with this super soft cake. this is not your average cupcake, this is a cupcake that says, happy tuesday, you sophisticated grownup! 

tahini cupcakes with chocolate tahini frosting

makes 24 cupcakes



2 c sugar

2 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

2 tb flavorless oil, like canola

6 tb tahini

3/4 c water


1 c unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c tahini

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt

a pinch of cinnamon


make the cupcakes:

preheat oven to 350. line and grease two cupcake pans and set them aside.

in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and tahini. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. stir in the water. pour into cupcake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes.

let cool for a few minutes in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

make the frosting:

beat together the butter and tahini. beat in the cocoa powder, and then the powdered sugar. add vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. taste and make adjustments as desired. 

frost your cupcakes, add sprinkles, and enjoy!


this post features goodies from one of my very favorite new stores, wilson and willy's! they're based in minneapolis and they sell the coolest, most beautiful american-made goodies, like those bowls and linens in the above photos, and a kickass hackwith + faribault line. i am so in love with this store and you guys should be too! 

chocolate cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting

this morning i got off the star ferry at hong kong island. i was with mum and stoop and we were winding our way through the walkways as i texted aziz to let him know we'd be there for the day. i couldn't hardly wait to take mum and stoop to eat sugar-coated pork buns and mini cakes at ms. b's cakery. we were gonna go to yardbird, i was gonna show them the escalator. it was going to be the best day ever!

and then suddenly god was singing, in his best taylor swift voice, "we (bam!) are never ever everrrr getting back togetherrrrrr!!!" 

and eggboy had one foot out the door on his way to pick up wheat seed.

and mumbles the penguin was giving me stuffed animal eye from his seat by the window, while beyond him the sun and the evergreens giggled in my direction.

and i was not in hong kong.

the worst, right?!

luckily there were chocolate cupcakes and a pound of unsalted butter on my counter.

...that softened that blow.

you know, we say we're an egg-centric household, but i think in my real dreams, cake is my ideal breakfast. and guess what? eez my birthday month! so i'm gonna have just that, with green tea frosting because i am so into green tea and its beautiful natural green color these days. 

chocolate cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting

makes 24 cupcakes


1 batch of my favorite chocolate cupcakes

4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3 c powdered sugar

2 tsp matcha green tea powder

1 tsp vanilla extract


once cakes are baked and cooled, beat together the butter, sugar, matcha powder, and vanilla. taste and add more sugar and/or matcha if desired.

frost away! (i have been having so much fun practicing these frosting techniques)

enjoy for breakfast :)