Make Something Worth Sharing With Others

Make Something Worth Sharing With Others

 

Perhaps you noticed I took a little hiatus. A little hiatus?! A whole year?! Well, life happens and I am back.

I remember when I was in college and tried writing a haiku every day to keep in the writing mindset each day. So many of those haikus were ridiculous. I really should write every time I have an idea though. Sure, many of the ideas would be flops with just a few occasional gems tucked in but then I think you’d get a clearer picture of my family and our life.

Believe it or not, I’m a fairly private person and I do try to make sure that everything I’m putting out into the world is positive and making life taste sweeter, not more bitter. But when tragedy strikes, I don’t think it is fair to you nor me to gloss over it with a layer of buttercream and pretend everything is okay.

I’m not going to get anywhere without getting deeply personal.

I haven’t found my voice yet. I haven’t found my comfort level of vulnerability yet. I haven’t written enough of all my thoughts to stand behind them and be confident if strangers, friends or family challenge them.

I believe in a collective connectivity. The way your high school acquaintance, most recent coworker and your sister in law all posted about craving bacon this afternoon. It wasn’t breakfast time. It wasn’t a viral meme. It was a taste, a craving that spanned your newsfeed and inspired you to grab a Baconator on your way home. Somewhere in the universe we are shooting off neurons or auras and the rest of us are receiving them loud and clear.

When we get to the meat of it, my heart isn’t so much different from yours. I seek to put good out into the world and hope that it inspires others to do the same. Making life taste sweeter isn’t about adding sugar to your diet. It is about making this a better place to live. Be the sweetness you hope to see in the world. I mean, it isn’t quite Gandhi but I think you get the gist.

This year, 2017, is going to be life changing for so many. I feel our nation and community are at a presipice and this year may just decide which way we go. For some, this is a time of fear. There is the fear of the unknown and the fear of what we know all to well.

A year ago, my mother’s sister passed away. It deeply affected my grandmother, my mother, everyone that loved and cared for her. She wrote in journals like I do. These journals are not diaries with dates. They are ramblings of a chaotic mind. They are words heard on the air or in our mind, complete with images and doodles. On a page of a hand bound journal I made for her in high school, she wrote to me.

She said, “Make something worth sharing with others.”

Somehow, it didn’t matter what I was doing, she wanted to encourage me to do it. She wanted me to write. She wanted me to paint. She wanted me to cook and bake. She wanted me to create. This is the truest thing I know about my aunt. She wanted me to create. She wanted me to make something worth sharing with others.

A year ago, I wrote the following passage but at the time did not have the courage to share it. Today, I share this writing because I think it is important to open up and make that connection with my community.

She said, “Make something worth sharing with others.”

I walked through my aunt’s house peering at all the things she left behind; each organized and priced and ready for the estate sale. I slid my fingers down countertops, dressers and lightly touched the layered paint textures of the art upon the walls. My aunt had ornate taste. Her home reminds me of World Market with deep reds and purples and splashes of orange. Lanterns hang from the mantle dangling above a large ceramic Buddha.
She may have been the artsy aunt or the drunk aunt or the whimsical aunt that would tell your fortune through tarot cards and zodiac signs. She prided herself on her business success. She enjoyed fostering creative talents and encouraging them in others.
One of my early memories includes her helping me to find the best hiding spot in a game of hide and seek. I’m pretty sure she locked me in a blanket trunk. But no one found me so I guess I won. I remember her water bed and her lovely obsession with monkeys. I remember coveting her drafting table because I understood that those are what real artists use. I remember talking her into letting me take pictures of her for a photography class. Somewhere inside I understood we had a connection, like oldest children do, like artists do, like those that feel they need to forge their own path but become their own obstacles do. I can see my scribbles in her scribbles and her writing in mine. I’m honored she chose to use the hand bound journal I made for her to share all those thoughts and fears and dreams. Thirteen years ago I bound that journal and thought of her as each page came together. Now, I can’t remember how, but I see it is where she turned to write when her heart was broken and her vision dark. My own black books mirror hers to something eerie.
I must write all these ideas I have in my head without fear of perception. I must share the things closest to my heart.

On a whim she had purchased a fully stocked Wilton cake decorating set. She barely used it and gifted it to me. I can not ice a cake nor paint a canvas without thinking of her.

Art supplies are not something I would purchase for myself because I rate them as a selfish extravagance. Why buy paint when there are bills to pay and I’ll be working instead of painting anyway. My grandmother gifted me my aunt’s art supplies. Paints, colored pencils, canvases. I’ve painted more in the last month than I have in the past year. It is as if my aunt herself said, “Here, it is not an extravagance if your soul needs to paint.” So I paint.

As we enter a new year with new possibilities, I am going to make the same request to you as my aunt did to me. Make something worth sharing with others. Add your light, your spark, your positivity to the world this year. Bring your imagine and hold on for the ride this new journey is taking us on. 

Many lost loved ones and favorited icons in 2016. I know my aunt was joined with David Bowie, one of her favorites, as well as so many others. So as we remember our loved ones, I hope we smile and remember to keep adding light to a dark world. Keep making life taste sweeter.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes with Date Syrup

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes with Date Syrup

Happy Friday Guys!

It is a new year and there are so many new things going on! I had planned to start this year with resolution friendly recipes for all of us trying to lose weight in the new year. I was looking at all sorts of vegan recipes that called for butter substitutes and flour substitutes and something called a Flax egg. I’ve used Flax seed before but never did that seed turn into an egg. Anyway, needless to say, I did not feel those particular recipes did us any favors for the flavors we want to be enjoying in the new year.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date SyrupWhen I worked in retail years ago, I had a coworker that was on Weight Watchers and would always bring in cakes with substitutions like black beans or applesauce. Those were some delicious cakes. Don’t knock it until you try it. In my efforts to provide you with health friendly options AND not lose any taste, I whipped up these delectable little morsels. They are super fudgey chocolatey bites and the perfect size in mini muffin form.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date SyrupAnother one of my resolutions is to get this house clean! Captain and I started working on the kitchen, cleaning out all those plates, pots and pans that haven’t been used int he last six months. This Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake is also clean house friendly. More specifically, it is dishes friendly. Everything is mixed up right in the blender so you don’t have to worry about pulling out the Kitchenaid for this one.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date SyrupWhen I moved down, I didn’t bring my blender because it had quit working properly and Captain and I had almost double of everything else. Well, on our little kitchen cleaning crusade, I got to meet his blender. I’m pretty sure it is from the seventies. I don’t mean the older eighties model that had a row of buttons with one orange one that you pressed for different speeds. No, I mean, further back than that. This thing has two knobs. One knob is labeled with low, off, and high in that order. The second knob is a timer for blending up to sixty seconds. I’m surprised something didn’t blow up when I was blending my black beans. It made a really loud noise and I still had to remove the top and spatula dance around the blades to make sure everything was mixed. But alas, all black bean chunks were well blended with no black bean pieces remaining.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

In the blender, which I hope yours is younger than you are (I don’t think I can say the same), mix up your black bean mixture with the black beans and peanut butter first. Then add in the banana, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla. Just keep blending, just keep blending… Occasionally, while the blender is off, you may want to scrape down the sides and around the blades to make sure everything gets mixed in well.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

The batter is super thick and you’ll want to make sure you smooth out the tops before sticking them in the oven. The cupcakes don’t change shape so if they go in with funny looking peaks, they come out with stiff funny looking peaks. It definitely makes drizzling the date syrup over them interesting.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

Are you still having doubts? Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex tried one and said, “There’s caramel and peanut butter…. and Twix.” The salty chocolate cupcake with the sweet date syrup does create an almost candy bar effect in your mouth. Chewy, chocolatey, salty, sweet, what more could you ask for?

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date Syrup

This Black Bean Chocolate cupcake proves that we don’t need sugar to make life taste sweeter. Apparently, we don’t need flour, milk or eggs either. I’ll still stay away from the Flax eggs but I hope you enjoy the chocolate goodness of these Black Bean Chocolate cupcakes.

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date syrup
Print Recipe
Rich fudge like chocolate cupcakes with a sweet date syrup drizzle. No eggs, butter, milk or flour are used in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcake with Date syrup
Print Recipe
Rich fudge like chocolate cupcakes with a sweet date syrup drizzle. No eggs, butter, milk or flour are used in this recipe.
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 mini cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes
Date syrup
Servings: mini cupcakes
Instructions
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a blender, blend black beans and peanut butter until smooth and there are no black bean chunks. Add in banana and blend.
  3. Add in cocoa powder, honey, baking powder and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. While blender is off, scrape down the sides and edges with spatula to make sure everything is well mixed.
  4. Put about a tablespoon of batter in a lined mini muffin tin. The batter is thick and cupcakes will maintain same shape throughout baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean though the cupcakes are very fudgey.
Date Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan heat on high the dates and water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add honey and maple syrup and stir constantly. Continue to stir as the syrup thickens and keep the dates from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Reduce heat to low and let the syrup simmer and thicken. Spoon syrup over Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes and enjoy.
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Drunken Carolina Cake

Drunken Carolina Cake

Hey guys!

I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about by a “Drunken Carolina” Cake but I promise I’ll get to that in a minute.

I recently had a conversation with one of my readers about providing more recipes for those with less time on their hands. Now, honestly, I have a soft spot in my heart for recipes from scratch. Some of the many recipes I run across online that require a box cake mix just make me sad. I think a big part of this is that our society has become so accustomed to picking things up from the store that we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking the box mix is easier or cheaper. But, in reality it is not.

I’m sure you’re thinking well a box mix is just $1.89 and less hassle. Funny you should say that though because plenty of those box mixes still require eggs, oil and sometimes even milk. The only thing it has replaced is the flour, sugar and flavoring which are usually things you already had on hand prior to the $1.89 box. The box still requires you to mix and bake it, which all from scratch recipes require as well. There are even recipes and Pinterest pins out there on how to improve a box cake mix by making it taste more like it is from scratch. Seems pretty silly if the from scratch version ends up being easier and cheaper from the get go.

So that is the end of my rant on box cake mixes. Since I do listen to my readers though and take their advice to heart, (because let’s face it, I want to give you what you want) I have decided to add something to the lineup for the new year. Many of you are aware I used to be a single working mom for a good five years or so. During that time, I didn’t feel like I had the time nor energy to make many or anything from scratch. I’ve been in those shoes and understand those shoes. On Mondays, I am going to start posting Minute Monday recipes. These are recipes and life hacks that I discovered the hard way while working a full-time job, going to school online and raising my son by myself. They are specifically designed for you to enjoy and have just as much heart and soul in them as my from scratch recipes because I’ve been there. I know how hard it is to provide healthy, delicious food when your feet ache from being on them all day. I also know that specific anxiety of bringing something delicious to the work potluck that still looks pretty when you’ve had maybe an hour to whip something together the night before. I’ve got your back.

Drunken Carolina Cake

What better way to start off my Minute Monday rant about box cake mixes  than with a super easy delicious box cake mix recipe? I love the irony guys, I really do. I will preface this one by saying this is not a “minute” recipe. It is fairly easy but because of the unique shape of this cake it does take longer than average to bake.

 

This particular cake has a little story behind it. My soon to be mother in law, who Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex has lovingly named Grams Cracker (apparently we have a thing with naming people after food) shared with me a recipe that she wanted me to try out. It was referred to as a “Baked Alaska” cake. I like to be fairly accurate in the naming of my flavored cakes because, well, I feel it is important for you to know what exactly you are sinking your teeth into. I have never had a Baked Alaska dessert so I looked it up to learn what we were attempting to recreate in cake form.

Drunken Carolina Cake Drunken Carolina Cake

From a little Google Fu, I discovered that Baked Alaska is pretty much layers of different ice creams covered with meringue and then blow torched. Keywords: ice cream, meringue, and blow torch. This “Baked Alaska” cake recipe on the other hand, had zero of those key words anywhere in the recipe. This was my red flag that this particular recipe was really inappropriately named and I had the responsibility of fixing it.  So I changed some key ingredients in the recipe and decided to name it after home. Does it necessarily have anything to do with North Carolina? Nope. Is the liqueur used in the cake made in North Carolina? Nope. Did I maybe just inappropriately name my own recipe? Maybe, but it is so delicious you won’t care what state it was named after.Drunken Carolina Cake

There are two things that are necessary for this recipe that maybe not everyone will have on hand. One is a stainless steel dome-shaped mixing bowl. I just mean that it is deeper than it is wide. Also, a bread knife with a serrated edge will be helpful for this recipe too.

Take two boxes of Devil’s Food cake box mixes and prepare almost as it directs on the box. EXCEPT, instead of adding water, you will replace that with Kahlua. I mixed the batter in a separate bowl than the one I was baking in. Then, grease and flour the stainless steel mixing bowl and pour the Devil’s Food cake batter in. This will bake at 325 degrees for about an hour and a half. If the top is the least bit questionable, add another 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

Drunken Carolina Cake

I learned the hard way on this one. I took it out too early the first time. Removed it from the bowl and everything and then I noticed a little crack in the side of the cake. The next thing I know I have an oozing lava cake all over my kitchen.

When you pull it out of the oven, go ahead and turn the bowl upside down on a cooling rack but leave the bowl on just to hold everything in place.

Drunken Carolina CakeWhen cool, you may need to level out the bottom of the cake by cutting some off with the serrated knife. The cake should form a good-looking dome. With the same knife cut three layers into the cake that are approximately even width apart. Set each layer to the side.

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chip pieces. Only  heat for a few seconds each time and then stir until smooth to prevent from burning the chocolate.

Drunken Carolina Cake Drunken Carolina Cake

In a large mixing bowl, beat one package of cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in one cup of powdered sugar and the melted chocolate until well blended. Then, with a spatula fold in two cups of whipped cream and add in a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips.

Drunken Carolina Cake

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly between the three layers, and end with the top of the dome cake. Frost the completed dome with the remaining whipped cream. Now, I’m in Florida and of course my Cool Whip wasn’t wanting to cooperate. The cake was still delicious of course but my sad whipped cream was melting down the sides of my cake.  Just remember to let the whipped cream completely thaw before you try to frost the cake. My melted cream I felt spoke volumes for how warm this winter has been and I couldn’t imagine a Drunken Carolina cake any other way.

Drunken Carolina Cake

Drunken Carolina Cake

Though this cake takes a couple of hours, it is well worth it and makes a huge impression. Everyone loves the dome, what can I say? I hope you enjoy it as much as we did for dessert at our New Year dinner party. Let me know if your family creates a new cake variation and we can name it after your home state too!

 

Drunken Carolina Cake
Print Recipe
A twisted take on a "Baked Alaska" cake. Layers of Devil's Food cake with Kahlua added and divided with a chocolate cream cheese mixture and frosted with whipped cream.
Servings Prep Time
1 cake 30 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cake 30 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Drunken Carolina Cake
Print Recipe
A twisted take on a "Baked Alaska" cake. Layers of Devil's Food cake with Kahlua added and divided with a chocolate cream cheese mixture and frosted with whipped cream.
Servings Prep Time
1 cake 30 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cake 30 minutes
Cook Time
90 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cake
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, follow the instructions for the Devil's Food cake mix except replace the water with Kahlua.
  3. Grease and flour a dome shaped stainless steel bowl. Pour batter into floured bowl and bake on 325 degrees for 90 minutes. If the top wobbles at all, bake for an additional ten minutes or until a tooth pick comes out mostly clean from the center.
  4. Once cake cools, cut into three even layers with a serrated blade.
  5. In a microwave safe bowl, heat for a few seconds at a time a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chip morsels. Add a few seconds at a time until the chocolate mixes smooth.
  6. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until creamy and smooth. Fold in 2 cups of whipped cream and remaining mini chocolate chip morsels.
  7. Divide the cream cheese mixture and spread across each layer of the cake. The cake will form a dome shape. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the outside of the dome.
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New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

New Year  Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am so excited for the new year!

More excited than I was to move to Florida. More excited than I was for Christmas.

What better way to celebrate the new year than with some bubbly champagne and delicious strawberries? That sounds like a good start to a new year to me.

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I have had such a build up of excitement lately. This feeling I think normally hits people in fall or spring but for me it is right now. I want to shed all of the dead weight of 2015 and start 2016 clean, new and fresh. I have so many ideas and projects in store. I just can’t wait to share all of them with you.

Of course I will be maintaining our special Fridays of delicious cupcake goodness (forgive this one for being a bit late (I know, I know, not a great start for a new year)). But, I also have some other great recipes to share that I know you are going to love and some projects I’ve been working on as well. My house is going to undergo some changes this year with planning and budgeting and maybe some inexpensive remodels too. I can’t wait to get underway!

But first, let’s have a cupcake!

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes4~2

The natural inspiration for this cupcake was bubbly champagne. You pour a glass, you toast a friend, you kiss your love and that’s what New Years is all about. Well, for most folks anyway.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesCaptain Cupcakeasaurus was working at the station on New Year’s Eve so the kiddo and I packed a few glasses, grabbed a bottle of sparkling cranberry juice instead and toasted in the new year that way. Our family was together and that was the important part.

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

I am not one to just “miss out” though. When the holiday calls for champagne, we are going to have champagne dang it! It is funny because I have been craving ham for months now expecting it to come around for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Well, when my grandmother announced she wouldn’t be doing ham for either of those holidays I practically purchased a ham the same day and announced we would be having it for our New Year’s dinner. They were a great price at Aldi and I ended up buying two.  The point is, I’m not missing out on my ham either!

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes

The natural pairing with champagne (outside of orange juice for a morning mimosa of course) is strawberries. This New Year Bubbly and Berry cupcake brings you both in a supremely sweet package. The cupcake has just a hint of champagne flavor so no need to splurge on fancy bubbly for this recipe. The cheap kind works just fine. The batter will be wetter than some of our other batters but it works out in the end.

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes When they are ready to come out of the oven they actually resemble muffins in look and density.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesNew Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesDon’t let that fool you though because topping them in a fluffy sweet Strawberry Buttercream makes for a delicious little cake. You can enjoy them on their own or go ahead and serve with bubbly good stuff.

New Year Bubbly and Berry CupcakesIt is time for the toast. Hold your glass high. Here is to a new year full of energy, fun, tasteful treats  and another year of making life taste sweet!

 

 

New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Light Champagne and strawberry cupcake topped with a sweet Strawberry Buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
New Year Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Light Champagne and strawberry cupcake topped with a sweet Strawberry Buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 15 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
Strawberry Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Bubbly and Berry Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and strawberries on medium speed. Add in champagne and vegetable oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients a cup at a time into the ;large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Batter will be quite wet.
  5. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes will resemble muffins. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
Strawberry Buttercream
  1. In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla to the butter and mix on medium high until well blended.
  3. Add pureed strawberries a little at a time while mixing into the buttercream. Powdered sugar may need to be added to maintain firm frosting consistency after pureed strawberries are added.
  4. Pipe frosting on to cooled cupcakes and enjoy.
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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hey Guys!

Christmas is almost here and hopefully everyone is staying safe and not getting too overwhelmed this holiday season. If you do feel a bit stressed, just grab a piece of chocolate and take a deep breath. The holiday is about love and giving not stressing out over gifts and making everyone happy.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex started Boy Scouts a few weeks ago and will be celebrating with them soon for a Christmas party. What kind of Cupcakeasaurus would I be if I didn’t volunteer to bring the cupcakes? I asked the kiddo for his favorite flavor as my jumping off point for this one.

Chocolate!

Can you blame him? Also, I enjoyed the Lindor white chocolate truffles so much in the White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes that I was excited to incorporate them again using milk chocolate this time. So, if we were in North Carolina or perhaps even farther north, then it would be cold enough to be enjoying hot cups of cocoa.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Now, I don’t know how you’re used to making your Hot Chocolate but I love making it for the little man by adding a few extras to make it really delicious and over the top. I do usually use a base of Swiss Miss and milk, not water. I’ll heat it on the stove and add in some chocolate syrup and a good bit of cinnamon. After pouring into his favorite Spiderman mug, I add one milk chocolate truffle to melt into smooth rich chocolate. I top his with marshmallows though I typically prefer whip cream for myself. Then a little drizzle of chocolate syrup on top to really finish it off. Ideally these are enjoyed just before dropping him off somewhere else so they can endure the sugar high from all the chocolate. I’m kidding of course but I realize I’m fairly serious about my Hot Chocolate.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Thankfully cupcakes don’t need specific temperature requirements to really be enjoyed. So I can bring all those wonderful flavors from our Hot Chocolate right into an easy to eat cupcake. I hate waiting for my Hot Chocolate to cool down enough to drink. I’m so impatient I end up burning my tongue on it and having a sore spot for the next few days. No risk of that with cupcakes.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The cupcake base is a chocolate cupcake recipe I edited to bring out more of the cinnamon flavor. Amazingly the cake does not use butter or eggs. Instead your liquid ingredients in this one are going to be Greek yogurt and milk. The batter is extremely thick but it is also super easy to mix. I didn’t even use my mixer this time; just my whisk and a little elbow grease.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

I started by mixing my dry ingredients of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. I whisked that together until well mixed. Then I added in the milk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Like I said, the batter is really thick. It does get softer as you mix it though. The last step is to fold in the chocolate chips. I suppose technically chocolate chips would be an alteration to the Hot Chocolate recipe but we’ll pretend they are subbing in for the chocolate syrup.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Just like we did in the White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes, take your kitchen shears and cut into the top of the cupcakes an X shape and push an unwrapped milk chocolate truffle into the top. Press down slightly so that the top of the truffle is almost flush with the top of the cupcake. If it sticks up a bit that is okay too.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

These cupcakes do not need a significant amount of icing. Pretty much we are just icing them enough to hold the marshmallows on and to add a bit of contrasting flavor.

 

Hot_Chocolate_CupcakesIn a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, mix on medium high two sticks of butter, two teaspoons of vanilla, ½ a teaspoon of salt and 1.5 lbs of powdered sugar. The icing will be quite thick as well but the butter will be creamy. Make sure that there are no chunks of butter remaining and everything is smooth. I then piped a thin amount of icing on top of each cupcake in a circular motion starting from the outside of the cupcake and wrapping my way to the middle. I pretended it was like whip cream swirling at the top of the mug.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

 

The marshmallows really have no rhyme or reason. I mean I didn’t count them or have a method of how I attached them or anything. I just took a handful and placed them on so that it looked like a dome of marshmallows on top of Hot Chocolate. That is the whole look we are going for after all.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

I had some leftover chocolate from the Rum Soaked Chocolate Covered cherries the other day, so I heated some of that up. There are several ways to do a drizzle. If your chocolate is cooperating, you can take your stirring spoon and drizzle the chocolate right over the cupcakes. If it isn’t, then you can use a mini squirt bottle like I did or I’ve even used a sandwich bag before. I don’t recommend a sandwich bag because if the chocolate is the slightest bit too hot it can melt a hole in the bag and go everywhere. I learn from experience folks. In a pinch though, it does work if you are careful about the temperature of your chocolate.

 

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

The last finishing touch that really sells the Christmas party theme for these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are the little mini candy canes. I remember going to Black Hawk Hardware and sitting on Santa’s knee for pictures. He would always give out these little mini candy canes. It is funny to me how important talking to Santa was back then but I could not for the life of me tell you one thing I ever asked for him to bring me for Christmas. I do remember he had a real beard and I was fairly convinced he was the realest of all the Santas.

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes

Speaking of Santa, I am sure he would love one of these Hot Chocolate cupcakes left out for him with a tall glass of milk.  That’s how you get the fun stuff kids!

Hot_Chocolate_Cupcakes
What a way to make the holiday magical? Whip up some Hot Chocolate Cupcakes and maybe enjoy them with your own mug of Hot Chocolate as well. Curl up with your family and enjoy the holiday. This is how I’m making life taste sweeter.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes stuffed with Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles topped with a simple vanilla butter cream and mounds of marshmallows. Finish with a milk chocolate drizzle and mini candy cane for holiday delight.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes stuffed with Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles topped with a simple vanilla butter cream and mounds of marshmallows. Finish with a milk chocolate drizzle and mini candy cane for holiday delight.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes
Simple Vanilla Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add in Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula. Fill 24 lined cupcake tins 3/4 full with batter.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean. Using kitchen shears cut a cross into the top of each cupcake. Insert an unwrapped Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffle in to the opening and press down slightly until the top of the truffle is nearly flush with the top of the cupcake.
Simple Vanilla Butter Cream
  1. In a large mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, mix on medium high butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. Swirl a very light flat coating of icing over each cupcake. Add about 10-12 marshmallows to the top of the icing.
  3. Melt Almond Bark in a microwave safe bowl on High in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and add 10 seconds until completely melted and smooth. Using a spoon or squirt bottle, drizzle Almond Bark over the top of cupcakes. Garnish with a mini candy cane on each cupcake.
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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting

Hey Guys!

Man, it has been a fun filled week. I have successfully completed almost all of the Christmas shopping. There are just a few things left to check off that list but for the most part done. We added two new furry members to the family this week. They are the sweetest little eight week old kittens who have diligently been helping me gift wrap presents. By help of course I mean chase string and chomp on bits of paper.

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As we all get into the holiday spirit, Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex built his own Gingerbread house made of foam. Why not a real Gingerbread house? Well, one, I have always felt funny about eating candy off of real Gingerbread houses. Something about Hansel and Gretel and eating stale candy….but I digress. But reason two is that we were filling the house with the smell of delicious Gingerbread cupcakes instead. These taste way better than any prefabricated Gingerbread house kit or stale candy you can pick up at the store.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

Full disclosure, this was the first Gingerbread anything I’ve ever made from scratch. I knew that Gingerbread required molasses but I had never directly worked with it before. In my mind, I imagined molasses being a lot like Karo syrup. Molasses is NOT like Karo syrup. It does not smell good and doesn’t really taste good raw either. Yes, of course, I had to try it. Just like that time when I was about seven or so and decided that vanilla extract smelled good enough to eat. No no no. But thankfully, molasses mixed with other delicious things, much like vanilla extract, ends up tasting amazing in the end.

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These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting are super easy and super cute for all of your holiday gatherings and treats. Much like so many of my recipes, you separate your dry ingredients and your wet ones and then you mix them in together. The consistency and color of the batter will look like the smoothest peanut butter you’ve ever seen.

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When the cakes come out they are so  fluffy and much more enjoyable than the rock hard cookies in the kits. Can you tell I have some hate for the Gingerbread house kits? It is probably repressed anger from never being able to get my royal icing packet to the right consistency to dry before my house fell over. I’m a baker. I bake. I am not an architect nor a construction master. I’ll leave the house building to the other guys. We’ll stick with cupcakes.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingThe frosting is just as easy as the caking. At first, I felt like that was a TON of sugar for a cream cheese icing but then I realized why. Ginger and molasses both have really strong flavors. You end up needing the extra sugar to balance out those flavors. It works out I promise. It works out so well that I was practically eating the frosting by the spoonful. Really, this stuff would taste good on sooo many things.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingGingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

The final touch is adding these adorable little Gingerbread men to the top. I LOVE almost any food I can bite the head off of. Ok, that may sound weird. I don’t mean like meat and animals and such. I mean I love biting the heads off of Peeps, and Teddy Grahams and gummy bears. So, if you have an obsession like I do of edible decapitation, then you’ll love these decorative Gingerbread men. Wilton has a great line of Christmas Icing Decorations that include Christmas trees and snowflakes and these lovely Gingerbread men. I also noticed they have some dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters or my favorite, the ones I used, which are holding little gum drops. Too cute!

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So while you are decking the halls and inevitably making spirits bright, make sure to make life taste sweeter with these scrumptious Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting!

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar on medium high speed. Add in eggs and mix well. Then add in molasses, again mixing well.
  3. Add a third of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix completely. Add about half of the water to the wet ingredients. Continue to alternate between flour mixture and the water, ending with adding the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until well blended.
  4. Fill 24 lined cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, with whisk attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Texture should be smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in salt, ginger, and molasses until well blended.
  3. Add in powdered sugar a cup or so at a time. The frosting will thicken and really take shape.
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White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes

White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and we are all plum full of turkey and fixings, it is time to turn toward Christmas. Maybe it is being one of the few Christmases I’ve ever spent away from home, or maybe it is the still 90 degree heat here in Florida, but I have been craving the Christmas season like no body’s business. I love seeing the stores decorate with lights and ribbons. Well, I am an ADD kid, I’m always going to love sparkly lights no matter the reason.

As soon as we returned home from our family travels this year, I had Captain Cupcakeasaurus pulling down the tree and decorations from the attic. So my little four foot prelit tree is up and shining. It was fun deciding which ornaments made it on the tree this year. This is the first Christmas Captain and I have decorated and celebrated together. Last year we were still living 600 miles apart.

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Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex also got in the spirit  by hanging up his chocolate advent calendar. Aldi had a cute one available that lets him pull out a small milk chocolate each day counting down to Christmas.

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To really make the house festive I had to whip up some thematic cupcakes. I may not see a white Christmas this year but that is okay because these White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes make it feel like a white Christmas regardless.

Everything about these cupcakes are white. A white vanilla batter with sour cream for extra whiteness. Then a delicious white chocolate Lindor truffle is placed inside of each one. Top with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and you’ve got yourself the perfect White Chocolate Christmas cupcake.

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I have to share something a bit embarrassing but supremely funny with you guys. When Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex tried one of these Cupcakes he was surprised, naturally, by the truffle inside. I then tried to explain to him what a truffle was and relate it to something he knew. He says, “Oh, truffles are those things that help your uterus calm down!”

I often enjoy the milk chocolate truffles during a certain time of month and apparently even the six-year-old has picked up on it. I suppose I’m training him right because knowing a woman’s favorite chocolate can certainly get him out of all kinds of trouble in the future.

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Some of our recent cupcakes have had some extra steps that made them a bit more difficult than your average cupcake recipe. This one is not one of those. It is super easy especially if you have everything on hand. I wanted these cupcakes to be as pure white as possible. I was really going for full on snowy Winter Wonderland effect here. 

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So I even used my colorless vanilla extract by Wilton in order to ensure the cakes turned out as white as possible. It is also important to make sure to fold in those egg whites towards the end. You want a nice light and fluffy batter. If it is over worked, your cake will be more dense rather than light and airy.

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One of the best parts about these cupcakes are the freaking melt in your mouth Lindt Lindor truffles that just take this cake over the top. Truffles are delicate and melt easily so this is definitely not one of those things you want to try and bake inside the cupcake.

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But while the cupcakes are still hot just take some kitchen shears and cut down into the cake about a half an inch. Make another cut crossing your first and it can look like a plus sign or an X which ever you prefer. Then just nestle one of your truffle babies right down inside and press a little bit to get it in there nice and tight. I would love to see what these cupcakes would look like with a chocolate or caramel truffle in them as well. Mmmmmm.

 

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The White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting is a perfect pairing with this cake. It is thick and chocolate-y and the cream cheese adds that refreshing flavor. This would also be a great frosting for decorating a Santa beard or adding snowballs to other decorating endeavors.

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Now, like I said, I was going for a pure white Winter Wonderland feel. So I wanted my icing to be as pure white as possible and really almost glisten like snow dunes do beneath the moon light. I sprayed a light coating of silver Color Mist food spray over the frosting to really make the icing shine and it  resembles the lights reflecting off  icy snow.

White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

And because these cupcakes are so pale in complexion, you can decorate with almost any color and really make them pop. These would look amazing on a bright red serving platter or even done up as gifts on colorful plates. The possibilities are endless. As an extra little texture to the top, I added a little shaved white chocolate which gives a nice preview of the tastes inside.

White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes White_Chocolate_Christmas_Cupcakes

What are some images that immediately come to mind for you when you think about Christmas and this time of year? Do you think of a Winter Wonderland or hot peppermint cocoa? Do you imagine blues and silvers or is everything in red and green? We all have those memories, whether from sights or tastes, that take us back to the childhood excitement of this time of year.

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did. This time it was Lindor chocolate truffles that made life taste sweeter.

White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
Print Recipe
White fluffy vanilla cake with a white chocolate Lindor truffle center and topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
Print Recipe
White fluffy vanilla cake with a white chocolate Lindor truffle center and topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
White Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients of flour and baking powder. Set to the side. Measure out the milk and add vanilla to the milk.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar on medium high speed until smooth.
  4. Add a third of the flour to the sugar mixture. Then add half of the milk. Alternate additions, ending with the last third of flour. Mix well between additions until smooth.
  5. Add a third of the egg whites and whisk into batter. Then, take the remaining two thirds of egg whites and fold them in with a spatulas as to not over work the batter. Place liners in 24 cup liners and fill 3/4 of the way fill with batter.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Use kitchen shears to cut a plus sign in the top of each cake. Place a Lindor White Chocolate truffle inside and press down slightly so that the tops of the truffles are at about the same height of the cupcake.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about a minute. Stir and heat in 30 second increments until fully melted and smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix on medium speed cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add in white chocolate and mix until well blended. Add in powdered sugar in increments and beat until smooth.
  3. Optional garnish is to add white chocolate shavings to the top. Another optional garnish is to spray lightly with silver Color Mist Food Color spray for a shiny finish.
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The Best Lima Beans Ever!

The Best Lima Beans Ever!

 

Hey guys!

Today I want to share with an accidental success I ran across last week. I discovered how to make the best Lima beans ever! No really, hear me out.

Captain Cupcakeasaurus shared with me his least favorite food: Lima beans. I took this as a personal challenge to make the best dang Lima beans he’s ever tasted. I’ve never made Lima beans. Never. I’m not even really certain how other people make them. I don’t know how they are “supposed” to come out but these turned out freaking awesome and I’d be willing to voluntarily make them again.

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My thought process for how to make these typically dry waxy beans delicious went as follows:

  • What makes everything more delicious?

Bacon! I shall start with bacon.

So I threw bacon in the pan and let that start simmering while I was figuring out the rest.

  • What adds flavor and pairs well with beans and bacon?

Onion! I have red and yellow onions. Let’s try the red one. That will be perfect!

I added chopped red onion and a tiny bit of butter so the onions wouldn’t stick to the pan. Next was figuring out the Lima beans part.

I grabbed the bag of Lima beans out of the freezer and since I’d never made them before, I read the back for instructions. Well, the instructions said something about boiling the Lima beans until tender and then draining them. That was not going to work. I didn’t want to drain off all the deliciousness and I did not want to mess up another dish. Can you tell sometimes laziness is inspiration for all sorts of life’s solutions? I swear, if I can prevent from having to create an additional dirty dish, I totally will.

Best_Lima_Beans_Ever

So I took out a bowl and filled it with hot water and then added my beans to it just to unfreeze them. Then I added them right into the pan with the bacon and onions. Realizing I wanted them tender and not dry, I added some of that water to the pan as well. Not too much water,I wanted everything still sizzling.

I added a chicken bouillon cube to the water to help add to flavor. If I had chicken stock on hand I would’ve probably just added it in instead of just the water. This would be in the “How I could Do It Differently” section of new recipes. But, then came the flavoring part.

I wanted to make the Lima beans a bit sweet because I think people dislike them because they can be bland. So I added a bit of honey and a bit of brown sugar to make a sweet sauce for them. Add a little salt and pepper and we are almost done.

I am a bit of a seasoning fanatic. I have lots of seasonings and I use lots of seasonings. So I added a bit of garlic powder. You’re lucky I didn’t put actual crushed garlic in these things. And then I added my new favorite seasoning.

Being a born and raised Carolina girl, we don’t have this seasoning up there. But, since I’ve moved here to Florida, it is by far one of my favorites and most used.

Best_Lima_Beans_EverBehold the Everglades seasoning!

It is perfect for just about everything. It does have salt in it so I’d be careful adding too much salt and Everglades simultaneously but the flavor is delicious.

Best_Lima_Beans_EverSo what do you do when you have a food someone doesn’t like to eat? Mask it with really delicious flavors of course!

 

Captain Cupcakeasaurus could barely believe he was eating Lima beans. I have never just had Lima beans as a snack but I did today because they are so good. Sweet and savory and probably not as healthy for you as those dry chalky Lima beans but they certainly do taste better.

What are your favorite ways to mask the not-so-desirable foods in your house? How do you handle the Lima bean situation?

So, as with Lima beans, just add honey and sugar to make life taste sweeter!

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Hey Guys!

It is the week before Thanksgiving and we are all getting ready for our family and friends and good eating. Besides all the pumpkin we’ve been making with Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pecan Praline and Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, the next family favorite is always the Sweet Potato Casserole. Who doesn’t love the sweet crunchy goodness of brown sugar and nuts over sweet potatoes and my personal favorite the gooey toasted marshmallows? Yum!

Sweet_Potato_Casserole_Cupcakes

Well, I say family. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex swears up and down that he hates sweet potatoes. After these cupcakes, he is going to have a hard time getting away with that again. He ate it so fast he barely chewed and then wanted to argue with me when I told him the ingredients. Little Stinker! Suffice it to say, I think the boy likes sweet potatoes.

In many ways I treat sweet potatoes like pumpkin. I mean think about it, they are similar in color and once cooked pretty similar in texture. Their flavors are similar in many ways especially when you spice them up with things like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves,  and allspice. In fact, unless they are side by side, bite for bite, I think sweet potato pie can easily pass as pumpkin pie.

Sweet_Potato_Casserole_CupcakesI like to do this recipe in one consecutive baking session. Sometimes I will bake the cakes, then do a topping and then come back to frost them. This is recipe is just much easier all at once.  First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Even though they won’t be needed until later, I went ahead and placed my pecans on a little baking sheet to toast.

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While those are becoming nice and toasty, I then start on the sweet potato purée.  Cut the sweet potatoes into about one inch cubes. I think the smaller pieces make them easier to mash but don’t stress on exactness here. Then just barely cover the potatoes in cold water and place on high heat. Similar to making regular mashed potatoes, just let them boil and get real tender. I used my wooden spoon to mash them into a purée but a fork or potato masher would work fine too. I felt like I was making homemade baby food or something while mashing these sweet potatoes.

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The next step is to mix up the Pecan Topping. Mmmmm. There is quite the debate on whether this is the best part or the marshmallow is the best. I’ll let you decide. Mix together the Pecan Topping ingredients and just set to the side. It will be crumbly but that is the way we want it.

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Like many of my recipes, I whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl which is later added to the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, the sugar, butter and lemon zest will be creamed together. Add in the applesauce a little at a time. For conversion sake, if you are planning on making a cake and want to take the eggs out of it (or you ran out of eggs like a silly baking goose), then 1/4 cup applesauce is equal to one egg. However, you’ll want to add a bit more baking powder to balance it out. I would estimate about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder per egg being replaced. It is a fairly handy trick when you don’t have eggs or have a vegan in the house.

Add in the sweet potato purée and mix well. It is almost time for those dry ingredients to start making this batter look more like batter and less like sweet potato pudding.

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Alternate adding the dry ingredients in with adding in the milk. I usually add in a third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk. Then, I will repeat that cycle by adding in another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. The last third of the flour mixture you will want to fold in manually with a rubber spatula so as not to over mix the batter.

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Fill the liners 3/4 of the way full of batter and then spoon the Pecan topping on top. Do not worry if the topping domes over the top of the cupcakes, just lightly press it down so that it really seeps in to the cupcake. Bake those for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few clinging crumbs.

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Now, the original idea behind these cupcakes was to take the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole and turn it into an easy to eat delectable treat. However, at some point during the planning process, I overlooked the fact I was missing a baking essential! I didn’t have eggs! This did not pose a problem for the Sweet Potato Casserole cupcakes. In fact, by using applesauce instead of eggs, I feel like it really enhanced the flavor of the spices in the cake.

The problem really arose when I went to make the Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. Here is my disclaimer: The toasted marshmallow fluff in the picture is not the recipe posted below. Why? Well, here comes the embarrassing part. So, I get the bright idea to make Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. I have never made it before. Without reading a recipe (NOTE TO SELF: READ THE RECIPE), I began whipping up what I believed to be marshmallow fluff.  Did I start with sugar or gelatin or marshmallow spread? Of course not. I started with a bag full of marshmallows. I have my off days guys. I’m allowed. 🙂

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Anyway, as I’m mixing away at my bag of marshmallows, I finally decide to pull up a few recipes on how to make Marshmallow Frosting. Low and behold, that is when I see that I may need eggs for this project and now what is a girl to do? As a baker, I have powdered meringue on hand for just such occasions when I need egg whites and I don’t have them. So then I kind of try to follow the recipe but still including my original bag of marshmallows.  None of it was really working. So I decided to save you the trouble of making my mistake so you can have beautiful tasty cupcakes instead of the mess I created.

Oh, you think that doesn’t sound all that bad? You haven’t heard the half of it. Since I did not follow directions, or started following them too late, or whatever, my marshmallow fluff was way wetter than it should’ve been. Even though I piped it onto the tops of the cupcakes, they quickly dispersed and spread across the tops of the cakes and down the sides of my tins.

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I also learned a handy lesson about broiling during this endeavor. Marshmallows only take a few seconds to toast. If you walk away for even just a minute, they could catch on fire like campfire marshmallows and you’ll have an oven full of fire and a smoke detector going off and trying to explain to your Fire Captain fiancé how you almost burnt the house down. That’s all speculation of course. But, please learn from my mistakes and lightly toast your marshmallows instead of torching them.

Thankfully, my friends are those funny people who like the more blackened pieces of the campfire marshmallows and they actually loved the taste of the Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with the added charred marshmallow topping. But, if you’d rather not explain that your cupcakes are just charred and not chocolate, then I suggest a light toasting doing the trick.

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Maybe this year, instead of pulling out the casserole dish, pull out the cupcake tins instead and enjoy the traditional family favorite of Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with all the sweet delicious flavor and the added benefit of easy individual servings.

Enjoy the time with your family folks. I know I will be. Make life taste sweeter by sharing this recipe with the ones you love.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Pecan Topping
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on cookie sheet and put in oven to toast while preparing batter.
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. Cover in pot with cold water, just enough to top sweet potatoes, and boil on high until sweet potatoes are soft. You can blend them or mash them with a fork once tender. They are so soft it really doesn't take much to mash into a puree.
  3. If pecans are toasted, pull out of oven. Leave at 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners. Mix Pecan Topping ingredients in a medium bowl. They will be crumbly. Set to the side.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the spices. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat light brown sugar and granulated sugar with the melted butter and lemon zest. Mix well. The mixture will become thick after 3-4 minutes. Add in a applesauce a 1/4 at a time. Mixing well between each addition.
  6. Add in sweet potato puree and vanilla extract until batter is creamy.
  7. Take dry ingredients and alternately add them to the mixing bowl with the milk. Add a third of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the milk, etc. The last 1/3 of the flour mix you'll want to hand fold in with a spatula so as not to over mix the batter.
  8. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Spoon Pecan topping on top of each cupcake and press down slightly to really get the topping down into the cupcake. Bake 15-20 at 350 degrees. A toothpick should come out clean with maybe just a few crumbs.
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
  1. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set over a saucepan with boiling water and whisk ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Move mixing bowl to electric mixer. Add in vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix starting at low and gradually moving to high speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. The frosting is very sticky. Using a piping bag, pipe a dollop of Whipped Marshmallow Frosting on the top of each cupcake. Put in oven on high broiler for just a few seconds to toast marshmallow. You can also do this manually with a kitchen torch if one is available.
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Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Hey guys!

If you weren’t feeling it last week, you should definitely be feeling it this week. We are in full Fall swing now. Nothing makes me think of Thanksgiving quite like Pumpkin Pie. Since we made Pumpkin cupcakes last week, I was going to switch it up with some sweet potatoes this week. But, you really can’t say no to these Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. That’s Pumpkin Pie AND a delicious cupcake. Two desserts in one. Double the dessert without doubling the calories. I’m pretty sure since Snickerdoodles are a cookie, it could technically be THREE desserts in one. I just couldn’t resist and had to share. We can always save the sweet potatoes for next week.

 

Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_Cupcake

Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_Cupcake

So as difficult as baking a pie inside a cupcake sounds, it really isn’t too bad. A few extra steps but nothing that will make you feel chained to your stove. First, we bake pies. Yay Pumpkin Pie! Handmade crust in little mini muffin tins and voilà, mini Pumpkin Pies! I am , of course, sharing my Go To recipe for homemade pie crust which is great for quiches too by the way, but you are welcome to use pre-made pie crust dough if that suits you.

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Pie crust dough is fairly easy to whip up but temperature is really important. You want to make sure that your butter and the water added are both cold. I don’t even thaw my butter I just cut it into tiny pieces to make it easier to mix into the dough. Some recipes may call for a pastry cutter to do the mixing for your pie crust but I have two good hands that work just fine.

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I will let you know that I do have to put my engagement ring in the cabinet when I cook. I am terrified of it being on the counter or anywhere where it could be bumped or knocked off. So sometimes, Captain Cupcakeasaurus will be putting away dishes or something and happen upon my ring. I figure that’s better than having it be all buttered and floured or worse yet end up down the drain or baked inside a cupcake. Though the latter may sound romantic, I promise, it isn’t.Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_Cupcake

 

When pressing the pie crust in to the mini muffin tin, make sure to keep it as thin as possible. No one wants to bite into a delicious cupcake only to get a mouthful of pie crust. The crust will puff up a bit so just keep that in mind while crusting the tins.

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I ended up putting about two teaspoons of pie filling in each mini pie. I tried to fill them as much as I could without running over. You will have quite a bit of filling left. You can either make a pumpkin pie with your remaining crust dough and filling or come up with something else to utilize the extras. I made a Pumpkin Pie “tart”. Meaning I couldn’t locate my pie pan and decided a bread pan would work just fine. I lined my bread pan with the remaining pie crust dough and after baking for a few minutes to harden the crust, I filled it with the remaining pie filling. So not only will I be serving Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, but MsCupcakeasaurus will have her own Pumpkin Pie to enjoy as well. Yum!

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Alright, so once your little pies are cooling, now we get to do the cupcake bit. You can leave the stove on 350 degrees because it won’t take us long to whip up the batter.

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The batter is a type of vanilla cake batter but I find that it comes out a bit more golden than a regular vanilla cupcake.  By “golden” I don’t just mean in color. I guess, to me, it would be like the difference in a biscuit and toast. Both are bread and eaten during similar times but clearly a difference.

Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_CupcakeAt the end of the recipe, you’ll notice where it says to beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. If you are curious as to how stiff they should be, I took a picture just for you. This is an important step that really lightens up the batter. I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure without this step the batter would be way too thick and your cupcakes would come out really dense and heavy. We are already shoving a pie inside there, we don’t need it any heavier.

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Put your pretty little liners in for 24 cupcakes.  You’ll want to spoon about a Tablespoon of batter into the bottom of each cup. We don’t want the pies to sit on the bottom of the cupcake but rather float in the middle. Nestle your little Mini Pumpkin Pies on top of the batter and lightly press to secure. Then add another Tablespoon of batter to the top. I used a butter knife to spread out the batter evenly across the cupcake and help join the top layer with the bottom. I’m sure a spoon or any other preferred utensil would work as well.

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I baked these for about twenty-five minutes. I checked on mine at fifteen minutes and realized that the outer cupcakes were looking more done than the inner ones. So, simple fix, I just turned both pans around for the final ten minutes to help them bake more evenly.

Be warned, these cupcakes will rise over the lip and create a bit of a muffin top. It is inevitable. We stuffed a pie inside of a cupcake. There is bound to be some spill over. I can only imagine how that poor Turducken must feel.

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Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_CupcakeOnce cool, I lightly brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The tops will quickly look like every picture you’ve ever seen of a Snickerdoodle. They are so pretty, you could almost leave them just like that. But, to clearly distinguish cupcakes from muffins, we have to add that irresistible frosting.

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This frosting is a nice smooth cream cheese frosting with added Pumpkin Pie spices to really bring the whole cupcake together.  First, you’ll want to cream your cream cheese and butter. It is important to really cream it well or else you’ll end up with little butter or cream cheese chunks in your frosting. Though that may not bother your taste buds, it can easily clog your Wilton 2D decorator tip. Pro tip though, I do use a knife to carefully pull open the prongs to help frosting not get stuck in there.

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I am so excited about these Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes I can barely contain myself. My taste tester, Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex, has already demolished one for snack today. The rest will be accompanying me this weekend to that Turkey Shoot I mentioned. I’m sure they will be a crowd pleaser.

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Pumpkin_Pie_Inside_Snickerdoodle_Cupcake

Let me know what your family favorites are this time of year. Are there any special dishes that MUST be on your Thanksgiving table?

Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1-2 hours
Cook Time
65 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1-2 hours
Cook Time
65 minutes
Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1-2 hours
Cook Time
65 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1-2 hours
Cook Time
65 minutes
Ingredients
Go To Pie Crust
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Go To Pie Crust
  1. Place flour in mixing bowl. Cut butter into slices for easier manipulation. You can use your hands to mix the flour and butter together.
  2. Add salt and cold water to the mixture. Hand mix until dough is formed.
  3. At this point, it could be rolled out for regular size pies. For our purposes, I hand mashed little discs for the mini muffin tin. Poke with a fork in the bottom and bake at 375 degrees until light brown (about 10-20 minutes).
Mini Pumpkin Pies
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  3. Add in eggs and pumpkin puree and whisk until well mixed. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  4. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into pre-prepared mini pie crusts still in mini muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes. Toothpick in center of pie should come out clean.
Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
  1. Continue to leave oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolks only and mix well. Mix in the vanilla extract as well.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients in with the creamed ones. Mix well.
  6. In a separate bowl and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula.
  7. Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner. Gently set a Mini Pumpkin Pie on top and lightly press into the batter. You do not want the pies to sit at the bottom of the cupcake. Spoon a second tablespoon of batter over top of the Mini Pumpkin Pies. Use a spoon or spatula to spread batter out evenly in cupcake liner.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Edges will be light golden brown. Cool on baking rack.
  9. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter. Lightly brush the tops of each cupcake with melted butter. Sprinkle Cinnamon Sugar mixture over cupcakes to create the Snickerdoodle effect.
Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well mixed. Add in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Mix well.
  3. Using piping bag and decorating tip of choice, frost medium peaks on top of cupcakes. Leave the rim showing to reveal the Snickerdoodle topping.
Recipe Notes

Since we are making mini pumpkin pies, you will have a significant amount of pumpkin pie filling remaining. You will also have enough crust remaining to make a personal Pumpkin Pie if you wish while making these cupcakes.

The frosting above is doubled. In order to have enough icing for all 24 cupcakes, it required more than just one batch. However, at the doubled rate, you will also have some extra frosting. I'm sure we can think of something fun to put that on.

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