brownies and coffee

Dog Tag Bakery Brownie

The Dog Tag Bakery Brownie is a rich, decadent brownie, dipped in chocolate and gently rolled in a potato chip crumble. This delicious twist on Dog Tag Inc.’s classic brownie recipe offers the perfect combination of chocolate indulgence with a hint of salt.

Dog Tag Bakery Brownie at Starbucks from May 1 - June 4!

I am so EXCITED about this Dog Tag Bakery Brownie!  It’s been four years in the making for Dog Tag Bakery to reach this level of national success.

Founded in 2014 by Fr. Rick Curry, SJ and Ms. Constance Milstein, Dog Tag Inc. was born out of the shared conviction that no veteran, military spouse, or caregiver who wants to work and pursue their career goals should be unemployed.

Their founders drew on their experiences as social innovators and advocates for veterans and persons with disabilities to create a national model to support veterans and their families as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

Together, Father Curry and Ms. Milstein have convened educators, experts, and leading entrepreneurs to ensure that Dog Tag Inc. remains a robust, enriching, and sustainable social enterprise.

My journey with Dog Tag Inc. began in July 2016 when I was selected as a Fellow in Cohort 4 of their Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program.  We had only moved to the DC area a few months earlier, my husband was in the middle of the Medical Board process to get out of the Army, and I was trying to figure out what was next for me in this transition.

The Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program allowed me the space, time, and support to find myself as an individual.  I learned what my strengths were outside of being a military spouse and caregiver.


I took the skills I had learned in the 10 years as an Army spouse along with the 8 years of blogging and turned it into a consulting business.   I now teach other small businesses and non-profits how to manage their own social media and online marketing.

So today – I’m proud to announce the launch of the new Dog Tag Bakery brownie to be sold in Starbucks stores Nationwide!

brownies and coffee


Georgetown’s favorite pastry destination, Dog Tag Bakery, will launch the Dog Tag Bakery Brownie on May 1, 2018 at Starbucks locations nationwide in honor of National Military Appreciation Month. This brownie is a delicious twist on Dog Tag Bakery’s classic recipe, topped with a salted potato chip crumble, and will be available in over 8,000+ participating Starbucks locations nationwide starting May 1, 2018 until June 4, 2018 (or while supplies last).

Inspired by a shared commitment to helping our veterans and military families, Dog Tag Bakery developed this special limited-edition brownie for Starbucks customers to help raise awareness for veteran causes. Dog Tag Bakery’s entrepreneurial fellowship program combines education with hands-on experience to create a living business school, to build a bridge to employment and to help veterans, military spouses and caregivers find fulfillment in their professional and personal lives. To learn more about Dog Tag Bakery’s program, please visit

Together we’re #BakingADifference in the lives of our veterans and military families.

Product Name: Dog Tag Bakery Brownie. The packaging will state “Salted Potato Chip Crusted Brownie”
Unit Price: $3.95
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Availability: Available in over 8,000 Starbucks locations nationwide
PR Contact: Meghan Ogilvie / 202.527.9388 / and Hilla Narov / 212.995.1833 /

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes |

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin season has officially arrived and to get you excited, I’ve made these incredibly delicious Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes |

*Red Damask Cupcake Liners from Sweets & Treats Boutique*

You may have noticed on Instagram my obsession with the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.   My local Starbucks didn’t start selling them until yesterday so I drove all the way to Nurnberg, TWICE, to get my favorite coffee drink!   To tide me over, last week I made these pumpkin spice cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes |

The recipe for these cupcakes combines two previous cupcakes I’ve made.  The base starts with the cake from my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and the frosting is a cinnamon cream cheese frosting from my Mardi Gras Cupcakes.   The two of these elements together topped with a Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kiss create the perfect pumpkin cupcake!  I love these even more than I loved my pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes and I LOVED those!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes |

I made these cupcakes for a group of Army wives who were welcoming a new wife into their unit.  The reviews I got after the party were that these cupcakes were not only moist, but so full of pumpkin spice flavor.  And the cream cheese cinnamon frosting paired perfectly with the pumpkin cake.  I’m so thrilled these deserving Army wives were able to enjoy my Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!

And I hope you will make them and get to enjoy them too!

Happy Pumpkin Everything Season!

Click here to see all my pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Yield: 3+ dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/t tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 9 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree (NOT pie mix)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12oz cream cheese, soft
  • 3lbs powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1 bag Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, unwrapped


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until combined and smooth.
  4. Mix in the vanilla, sour cream and vegetable oil and whisk until combined.
  5. Pour wet mixture into the dry, flour mixture. Gently fold together until no more dry ingredients can be seen. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl during this process. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  6. Fill the cupcake liners at least ⅔ full with batter.
  7. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in pans for 3-5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar one pound at a time and mix until incorporated after each addition.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
  4. One tablespoon at a time, add the heavy cream until you get the consistency and texture you want.
  5. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for about 15-20 seconds after you have reached that consistency. Do not over work the frosting.


  1. Using a Wilton 1M open star tip fitted to a piping bag, fill the bag with frosting.
  2. Pipe a generous swirll of frosting onto the top of each cupcake.
  3. Press a Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kiss into the middle of the frosting and down.


Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening

When I first moved to Germany three years ago, I was devastated to realize the closest Starbucks to where I was going to be living was an hour away.   Nuremberg was where I needed to go to get my Starbucks fix.

Talk about culture shock. 

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

See, I’m from the Seattle area… the home and birthplace of Starbucks Coffee.  I have spent most of my adult life living within a 5 minute drive from at least 5 Starbucks.   And, if I’m being honest, the city I grew up in had about a dozen Starbucks stores in a 10 mile radius.  It was crazy insane how conveniently located my favorite coffee was to everything I ever did in life.

Starbucks is a part of my DNA.


For anyone that follows me on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… I’m sure you’ve seen the dozens of selfies I’ve posted from the many Starbucks I’ve visited during my time here in Europe.  I’ve been to Starbucks in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland.    This summer, I’ll add France and the UK to that list!

I’m a bit obsessed.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

And now… there is a brand new Starbucks store only 2 minutes away from my house!  YAY!  Today was the grand opening of the Starbucks Grafenwoehr Coffee House on the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria – Grafenwoehr Training Area. Of course I was the first in line at this Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening!

Of course, I couldn’t go to Starbucks without my two Starbucks-loving friends Chasity and Rachel!  I got Chasity hooked on buying Starbucks mugs while traveling… she doesn’t actually like Starbucks.  Her hubby even got me a Jordan mug while he was there sweeping for bombs with his K-9 unit for Obama.   Rachel is my bloggy friend from Glitter & Bow and she just loves coffee… and Starbucks.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

There were several hundred people at the Grand Opening celebration including lots of high ranking officials including the US Army Bavaria Garrison Commander and the head of AAFES in Europe.  During the opening ceremony speech, the emcee mentioned that it cost $375,000 to build this Starbucks and this location was the 4th Starbucks to open in Europe on a US military base with more to open in the future!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

This Starbucks isn’t the biggest store, but it’s better than not having  a Starbucks at all!  There are two seating areas (I didn’t take pictures of those since it was so crowded), a small merchandise display and a lots of snacks and goodies available in the cold case.  I was told by an employee earlier in the week that they hope to have Grafenwoehr mugs, but had to lobby the corporate office to design and make them!

Crossing my fingers!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

It wouldn’t be a party without cake either!  Since this Starbucks is partnered with AAFES and the Exchange, they had a big cake made to celebrate with the Starbucks coffee logo on it!  It was actually pretty tasty!

 Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

So, what was my first order in the new Starbucks?  I got a Vanilla Spice Latte!  It was pretty tasty too!  Smooth vanilla flavor with a hint of spice.  It was a nice diversion from the usual vanilla latte!  These four coffee’s wasn’t even our complete order… Chasity had a strawberry frapp, but it wasn’t ready when I snapped this picture.  That tall caramel macchiatto in the back… it was free.  I love that Starbucks lets you keep the coffee mistakes!

Oh… and it wouldn’t be Starbucks if they didn’t completely butcher the spelling of my name on my cup.  Beatsy? lol

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Matty came with me to the Grand Opening.  He loves Starbucks too!   As a part of the grand opening, they handed out balls and balloons for the kids.  And Matty drank pretty much all of Chasity’s Strawberry Frapp.  hehe  He was a spoiled and happy baby!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

It was a pretty great morning!  I’m so super happy to have a piece of my Seattle home so close to my home here in Germany now.  There are very few things in life that I’m super passionate about… and Starbucks is one of them!

I’ve already decided that once a week I’m going to take an hour for myself at Starbucks.  Grab my laptop, get a coffee and just sit and enjoy being in my favorite coffee house.  Dave calls that being a Seattle snob.  I call it being happy.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening | JavaCupcake.comAnd just because it’s what we do… everytime we’re at a Starbucks… Chasity snapped this picture of Rachel and I taking a selfie for Instagram.  We’ve done this together so many times.  We’re dorks.  I know.  🙂

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

And finally here’s my favorite selfie of the day!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Banana, Espresso & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

So, I’m a sucker for the goodies at Starbucks.  I’m not a just coffee kinda girl… oh no, I want a blueberry scone, perfect oatmeal, a ham breakfast sandwich, a good ol’ hawaiian bagel OR a piece of their banana chocolate chip coffee cake.  That coffee cake is delish.  I figured it would pretty easy to replicate in a cupcake… so that’s exactly what I did.

I started with my absolute favorite banana cupcake recipe, added 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (I decided I like the mini chocolate chips better for just about everything-but it may just be because I’m on a mini cupcake kick lately-regular chocolate chips will work just fine) and a packet of Starbucks Via to the batter. They turned out great!

They weren’t too sweet.  They had a nice little crunch from the mini chocolate chips and the espresso flavor was there, but in a very subtle way.  I decided to go the cream cheese frosting route, but, 1. these would be amazing without frosting (if that suites your fancy) and 2. they would also probably be pretty phenomenal with a coffee buttercream.  As I’ve said before, anything in my house with cream cheese & bananas=breakfast, so these worked for every meal of the day 🙂

They’re not an exact copy of the Starbucks coffee cake, but, they’re close enough… they have frosting… and they’re free.  (SN: obviously not all the way free because I had to pay for the ingredients, but you’re smart people-you know what I mean.)

Hope you’re all having a fabulous week!

Ps. Just an FYI-the featured image is 3 mini cupcakes, the picture in the post is a regular sized cupcake.  All of the cupcake liners are from Bake it Pretty.

Banana, Espresso & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 regular size, Starbucks Via Mocha flavor packet (instant coffe or freshly brewed espresso will also work)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 16 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In  medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  In the well combine, melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla extract and Starbucks Via packet.  Combine with flour until incorporated.  Do not over mix.
  4. Gently mix in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed to get desired consistency
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until light fluffy in a standing bowl mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar and combine on low speed until incorporated, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add heavy cream as needed.
  4. Pipe frosting with a large star tip.