Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes

Almost Legendary Apple Bacon cupcakes are apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Hey guys!

As promised, I am bringing you delicious cupcake recipes straight from my kitchen. This particular recipe is one I have been perfecting for the past five years.  The first time I made Apple Bacon Cupcakes was for a potluck at my old call center job.

They looked so pretty without icing, I didn’t even bother frosting them. I will heed warning, without frosting they could easily pass as muffins and someone could mistake them for being healthy. There’s my disclaimer.

What makes this recipe nearly legendary?

My coworkers fell in love with these scrumptious little Apple Bacon cakes and began asking for them on a regular basis.  Since then, they have always been a favorite and people ask me for them again and again.

Every time I made them, I would tweak the recipe just a bit until I found the perfect apple to bacon ratio for maximum tastefulness. What makes these cupcakes really over the top is all the bacon.

Two Pounds of Bacon!

Not only are they garnished with a piece of crispy bacon but there is also a pound of that crumbled bacon in the cake batter itself. The salty bacon is balanced well with the light sweetness of the apple.

Today, the recipe is fairly easy and I include a frosting that pairs well with the flavor combinations. I would hate for someone to mistake them for muffins and think they were diet approved. However, the flavors are certainly ones that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night snack time.

How to make Apple Bacon Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven for 350 degrees and go ahead and shred those Gala apples. This is the most time consuming part of this process. Once oven is preheated, place one pound of bacon on a cookie sheet. As much as I love cookies, bacon is a far better use of these pans.

 

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

Of course you could fry up your bacon the old fashion way but this way saves time and allows you to cook quite a bit at once without fear of bacon burns. You know, those burns you get when you are frying bacon with minimal clothing on and inevitably grease splatters out on tender bits of exposed skin.

If you are planning on making the icing and garnish as well, now would be the time to throw the other pound of bacon on a cookie sheet too.  Let your bacon cook until it looks like you’re desired preference of crispiness. I usually just let it crisp up while I mix up the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl…

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar. Set this bowl to the side while we prepare the wet ingredients.

Mix  together the wet ingredients of softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk in a separate mixing bowl. On low speed, pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and mix until a thick batter forms. Now you can add in your apples. The batter will be lumpy and that is completely okay. It is about to get a lot lumpier.

When your bacon is to your crispiness liking, pull it out and let it cool on the cookie sheets. If you are wondering what to do if you don’t like your bacon crispy, that is completely fine. It can be a bit chewy just remember it is going inside your cupcake and might make your cake chewy too.  Let the bacon cool until it is cool enough  to crumble easily in your hands. If it is chewy, grab the kitchen shears and cut into small pieces. Add bacon to the batter and stir on low until well mixed.

This recipe makes approximately twenty-four cupcakes. Place paper cupcake liners in two cupcake trays and spray with cooking spray. It may sound weird to do both but the liners are so much easier to remove when sprayed a little. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool to prepare for icing and garnish.

How to make the Maple Cream Cheese Icing:

In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing until the icing forms a semi thick consistency. Mix in the maple syrup and add cinnamon. I am a fan of the cinnamon and like seeing the little specks in the icing to add dimension.

The bacon cooked earlier should be nice and cool by now. You can use either your hands or kitchen scissors to cut the strips of bacon into 1-2 inch pieces. I try to find the crispier pieces for garnish because they hold up better for presentation.

Food is 90% presentation! Click To Tweet

And like my grandmother always says, food is 90% presentation. Gently place the salty crunchy piggy pieces on top of each cake. And ta da! You have delicious beautiful cakes perfect for any time of day or night. Whether you are winning over coworkers or welcoming neighbors or just feeding the family, these Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes are sure to satisfy.

 

Are you needing a perfect potluck contribution? Let me know what you and your coworkers think of this recipe in the comments below!

Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bacon on a cookie sheet until desired crispiness. Set aside and let cool. Keep oven set at 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients of softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk.
  4. On low speed, pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and mix until a thick batter forms and all ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Crumble cooled bacon and fold bacon and apples into mix. Mix on low speed until well blended.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick inserted will come out clean. Cool on baking rack.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook bacon to desired crispiness. Set aside and let cool.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing until the icing forms a semi thick consistency.
  4. Add the maple syrup and add cinnamon. Mix until well blended.
  5. Ice cupcakes and garnish with bacon. Bacon can be crumbled over top or can be broken into 1-2 inch pieces and placed on top.
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Baby Z’s Perfectly Pear Cupcake

Baby Z’s Perfectly Pear cupcake is a Cinnamon Pear cupcake with Pear Butter Cream Icing and topped with Banana flavored cereal puffs.

I am so excited to share with you this special cupcake for a special little one. Her favorites: pears and cereal puffs are key ingredients for this custom cupcake recipe.

I met Gina through the Facebook group Bloggers Supporting Each Other. She is a lifestyle blogger for the modern momma over at Momm(a)Musing. Immediately, I could tell she was a fun loving mom like me. I only wish I had her inspirational words of wisdom when I first gave birth to Little Cakeasaurus Rex. She provides encouragement and amusement for all young mothers and those soon to be.

Gina is the proud Momma of Baby Z. Baby Z has been known to be a picky eater but I hope that a few of her favorite flavors will make this cupcake a favorite as well. You can learn all about Gina’s parenting journey and all about little Baby Z at Mommamusing.com.

The Inspiration

With Baby Z in mind, I went to work to create a custom cupcake just for her and hopefully Momma will be pleased too. Her favorite flavors are pears. She also enjoys the baby cereal puffs. I have not met a baby yet that didn’t love shoveling these in by the fist full. These two favorites were the inspiration for Baby Z’s Perfectly Pear Cupcake.

Baby Z’s custom cupcake is a pear cupcake with pear icing. If you think that sounds like too much pear, you’d be wrong. Even though fresh pears are super juicy and flavorful, they have a very mild flavor when cooked.

So, even though these cupcakes are full of pears, you may not realize it just by taste alone. Some recipes use applesauce as an alternative for eggs and oil in baking recipes. The flavor of the baked goodie doesn’t suddenly taste like apples. For this recipe, the pureed pears performed like the applesauce in those other recipes. The cake does not have a distinct pear flavor nor do we need eggs or oil for this recipe.

To me, the flavor of the Perfectly Pear cupcake closely resembles that of a spice cake. It has a little cinnamon flavor and a muffin like consistency that makes it perfect as a breakfast cake. I may or may not have had one for breakfast.

Making the Cake

Baby Z's Pear Cupcake with Pear Icing
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Pear cupcake with Pear Butter Cream Icing and topped with Banana flavored cereal puffs
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Baby Z's Pear Cupcake with Pear Icing
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Pear cupcake with Pear Butter Cream Icing and topped with Banana flavored cereal puffs
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Ingredients
Pear Cupcakes
Pear Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Cinnamon Pear Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer and paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla extract to butter mixture.
  4. In a blender, puree 2-3 whole pears to make 2 cups of puree.
  5. Add Pear puree to butter mixture. Mix on low speed until pear puree is mixed in. Batter may look like it is separating.
  6. Add flour mixture into pear mixture a cup at a time, making sure ingredients are well blended after each addition.
  7. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners. Fill the cups 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Toothpick will come out clean when done. Remove from cupcake tin and cool on baking rack.
Pear Butter Cream Icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar on medium high speed for about 4 minutes until fluffy.
  2. Add salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix until well blended.
  3. Add pear puree and whipping cream. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add additional powdered sugar as necessary to thicken Icing to desirable consistency.
  5. Pipe icing on to cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle baby cereal puffs off the top for decoration and an added crunch.
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Just like we pureed the kiwis for Vera’s Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing, I used the Nutri Ninja cups from my Ninja Mega Kitchen System (Blender, Processor, Nutri Ninja Cups) BL770 to quickly puree the pears. I just peel them and de-seed them and then the blender does all the work. A couple pulses and I have perfect pear puree. Now, I pureed my own, but if you are making these for a baby like Baby Z, then you may have pear baby food around that would work just as well.

Remember Baby Z’s second favorite? Cereal Puffs! After icing these Perfectly Pear Cupcakes, I decided to add banana flavored cereal puffs to the top. They add dimension, texture and an added crunch to this pear cupcake. Your little one may want to pluck them off and eat them individually. That is fine by me but I like the crunch.

In all honesty, had I found pear cereal puffs, they would have probably sent this cupcake over the top. Banana was the flavor I found that I thought would best go with our Perfectly Pear cupcake. They are a bit different for a cupcake but I really couldn’t resist and I LOVE the extra crunch. I mean it, the crunch takes the cake!

The crunch takes the cake! Click To Tweet

Baby Z’s cupcake needed to be cute and feminine. I found these beautiful butterfly cupcake liners at the Dollar Tree. They have party supplies for almost every occasion and you don’t end up spending an arm and a leg.

 

Don’t forget to let Gina know how much you loved Baby Z’s cupcakes at Momm(a)Musing. Do you have a little one at home that would love these Perfectly Pear cupcakes? Let me know in the comments below and  follow me on Pinterest so you can have all your favorite recipes at your fingertips.

Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

When we don’t have the time to sip on our Unicorn frappuccinos, sometimes when we’re at home we like to add a little kick of Kahlua to our cup of Joe. Kahlua, coffee and,… what is it missing? Oh yes! Chocolate!

 

Hey guys!

This recipe may look familiar. I have posted it before but I wanted to bring it to you again in a much easier to read format. It is also so delicious that it needed to be brought back into my kitchen this week.

We often see Kahlua added into mixed drinks at a bar but not often added into our brownie or cupcake recipes. It really is a shame. I think Kahlua adds the perfect coffee flavor to enhance all the chocolate recipes. This one is no exception.

Feel free to have a Kahlua mixed drink while baking. Just drink and bake responsibly of course.

First, we will start with a basic rich chocolate cupcake recipe but add a twist. I promise there is nothing basic about it especially after adding a good helping of Kahlua. 

Similar to many cupcake recipes, the ingredients are divided into two groups: the wet ones and the dry ones. For the most part anyway.

When I am exploring a new recipe one of the first things I try to do is determine which bowl should be my mixer bowl and which is not. I can not stand putting my eggs in the wrong bowl and having to switch to my stand mixer later.

I know, I’m sure the professionals out there are saying I should thoroughly read through a recipe before I start mixing. Who has time for that? I barely make it through the ingredient list. Ha!

To clarify, go ahead and put your eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil in your stand mixer bowl and that will from hence forth be your Wet Ingredients. In your other mixing bowl, whisk together the Dry Ingredients.

Alternate mixing in the Dry Ingredients first into the Wet Ingredients and then adding the buttermilk. You will do this two to three times both starting and ending with the Dry Ingredients.

I save the coffee, Kahlua and vanilla extract for last. Mix in the coffee and Kahlua while still using the mixer on low to medium speed. Everything should be well blended to make that magical cupcake chemistry happen.

You can remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the vanilla extract. I find that the vanilla extract tends to get lost in the batter if it is over mixed.

Once your cakes are good and liquored with that Kahlua tastiness, you will want to bake them at 350° for about 15-20 minutes. A toothpick poked into the middle may not come out completely clean. Don’t worry. A few crumbles attached to the toothpick are completely okay.  Just make sure it doesn’t come out with wet batter attached because that would not be tasty.

Keep an eye on those cupcakes though because the cake for this recipe will come out like brownies with a crispy outer edge and gooey center.  The perfect consistency if you ask me.  Though absolutely delicious (especially for us brownie lovers), a little refrigeration helps firm the cupcakes up in order to help with adding our surprise centers.

Surprise centers?!

That’s right! A sweet and slightly tart surprise to balance all of that rich chocolate. This is where the cherry pie filling comes in to play.

After chilling, it is time to cut holes in your beautiful cakes. Oh no! It will be okay. The taste is worth the price of beauty on this one. There are plunger type utensils that will core your cupcakes for you. Using this utensil would probably make my job a whole lot easier. But, you know me, I like to take the extra difficult route and then tell you all about it.

 I just take my handy-dandy kitchen knife and do my best to cut a round pocket into the cake. Be careful not to cut too low to the bottom of your cupcake. We don’t want the cherry falling out! It also doesn’t need to be huge, just large enough to hold one cherry and a little bit of the pie filling jelly.

If you do it my way, this can certainly be a time-consuming process but it is worth it. After spooning a cherry into each pocket, just replace the cake hole over top. It doesn’t matter if it is pretty or even the cake hole from the same cake. Icing will cover up the imperfections and no one will notice when they are sinking their teeth into decadence.

I have been making quite a few butter creams lately and maybe you thought they were my favorite. They’re not! Sure a Butter Cream has its place but the star of the show is usually a light fluffy creamy cream cheese icing. Think about it. Your favorite cake? Probably Red Velvet. Why? The cream cheese frosting!

I’m kidding. I have no idea which is your favorite cake. However, that Red Velvet is a favorite to many so just keep that in mind here.

The magic of the cream cheese icing is that it provides that balance for your taste buds. Of course we all have our sweet tooths (teeth) and we love indulging in those deep rich chocolate flavors but we need that life raft of cream cheese icing to bring us back to our senses.

 A sweet cake, I feel, deserves a milder icing so as not to give you a toothache. With all the overly sweet elements of this cake, it can become heavily sweet very quickly.  The cream cheese icing moderates that sweetness and adds a bit of pep with the coffee grounds that complement the Kahlua flavor in the cake.

Much like those frappuccinos from our favorite coffee shop, I like more sugar and cream than I do actual coffee. Even my coffee grounds are flavored. I prefer light and flavored coffee like vanilla or French vanilla and that is usually what I have on hand. You are certainly welcome to switch out the type of coffee grounds for any that you prefer. Those flavors are already flavors you enjoy so there is no harm done in adding them to your icing. I would love to know what you think of the icing with a more robust coffee used in the icing. 

After icing, your cakes are perfect the way they are.

I wanted to add to that sentence but really they are perfect. But, if you insist on beautiful presentation, adding a cherry to the top is the perfect detail. It provides the perfect preview of what is to come inside.

The can of pie filling from earlier still has half a can of cherries left. We are not wasteful. We use those cherries and call them decoration. Just plop one of those babies on top and now you have a picture perfect dessert that all of your chocolate lovers will enjoy. Your coffee lovers will it enjoy it too. So will your Kahlua lovers. Also, your cherry lovers. I bet they’d enjoy this recipe as well. 

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below. I am always curious to know how yours turned out and if you made any changes. Let me know down below!

Thanks for making life taste sweeter!

Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Moist chocolate cupcakes rich with coffee and Kahlua flavors. The cherry filling adds just the right amount of tartness to round out a mouthful of flavor. Creamy Coffee Cream Cheese Icing balances the flavors and brings it all together.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes
Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Moist chocolate cupcakes rich with coffee and Kahlua flavors. The cherry filling adds just the right amount of tartness to round out a mouthful of flavor. Creamy Coffee Cream Cheese Icing balances the flavors and brings it all together.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs on low speed.
  2. Add the vegetable oil to the egg and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Alternating between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, add about a third at a time to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Add in the coffee and Kahlua and mix on low speed.
  6. Fold in vanilla extract with a spatula.
  7. Fill lined baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted may not come out out completely clean. Crumbles are ok, wet cake batter is not.
  8. Refrigerate cupcakes for about 30 minutes or until they are cool to the touch.
  9. Cut a small hole in the middle of each cupcake. This can be done with a cake plunger/corer or just a knife and spoon. Save the scooped out holes.
  10. Spoon cherry pie filling into the cupcake holes. Make sure to include at least one cherry and some of the pie filling jelly. Save remaining pie filling cherries for topping. Replace the cake holes over top of the cherry and await for icing.
Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  2. Add evaporated milk and mix until well blended.
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing on low to medium speed. the icing will start to make a smoother consistency.
  4. Add coffee grounds, vanilla extract and salt and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are well mixed. Icing should be creamy consistency.
  5. Frost cupcakes and add a cherry from the Cherry pie filling to the top of the cake to complete.
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Vera’s Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing

A super sweet collaboration with Vera from Voice of Vera inspired a whole new world of connections and custom cupcake creations. This Peach Spice Cupcake with Kiwi Sparkler Icing was created just for her.

The Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do is to go gift shopping for someone special. I like the feeling of thinking about them and thinking about what they would enjoy while searching the aisles. Many times, a type of candy , a specific animal or a figurine will remind me of a memory we shared together.

Baking isn’t much different. I was making Little Cakeasaurus Rex his Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and I was thinking about him the entire time. Thoughts of his monkey toes curling around my finger when he was a baby and how he would even hold his bottle with his feet spun around my mind like the batter around the beater.

I decided it might be fun to start connecting my recipes to people. How neat would it be to connect with other inspiring and adventurous people and create a custom cupcake flavor representative of who they are and what they do?

Who is Vera?

I was discussing this idea with Vera from Voice of Vera and she was excited to start swapping recipes and have me make a custom cupcake recipe for her.

Vera is a creative mom of four and blogs about her adventures including fashion and DIY.  One of my favorite things about her blog is that it is full of inspiration and her uplifting motto says it all:  “The best is yet to come!”

When she described her favorite flavors as being sweet, tart and fruity, the recipe practically wrote itself. I knew I needed something fun and flavorful for this awesome woman.

Custom Cupcake Creation

When the warm weather comes around, I can’t help but get a taste for fresh tropical fruit. Pineapples, kiwis, raspberries,you name it, I love them!

Growing up in North Carolina, our summer vacation was always a four hour trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Along the way, the family tradition was always to stop at a fruit stand and grab a basket full of big juicy South Carolina peaches. One bite of that peach and you would have sweet syrupy juice dripping down your chin. That sweet nostalgic flavor equates to summer for me. Now that we are knee deep into summer vacation, I am having an intense hankering for that sweet peach deliciousness.

This Peach Spice Cupcake recipe satisfies all of those tropical fruit cravings and has the added bonus of reminding me of a cocktail.

Peaches check off the sweet and fruity requirements for Vera’s custom cupcake. Now, I needed that tart flavor to bring it all together.

 

Peach and Kiwi

Peaches and kiwis? I know, right?! Who knew? The fact is, peaches have such a sugary taste to them that I felt a peach cupcake in the middle of summer desperately needed a complementary tart icing.

Kiwis provided the tartness to balance this recipe and make it the perfect sweet, tart and fruity flavor we were looking for.

A Kiwi Sparkler is a summer cocktail that includes kiwi and peach scnapps. How perfect?! The peach schnapps is what I would use to tie the kiwi icing to its peachy cupcake counterpart.

Now, I used Florida peaches for the Peach Spice Cupcake. Florida peaches are much smaller and less juicy than their Georgia and South Carolina relatives. They still provided that popping peach flavor though which is all I needed.

However, the difference is important. Pay attention!

Important!

If you are using a juicier peach for your baking endeavors, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe. If your ingredients are too wet, your cupcakes will shrink or sink in the middle. To offset this, you can either bump up your dry ingredients accordingly or you can just reduce the amount of peaches you use.
Personally, I would just do the latter. Adding in less peaches is way easier than adjusting the rest of the recipe and if they are that juicy, you won’t be losing any of the flavor.

 

Let’s get started!

Go ahead and set your oven to our favorite temperature of 350 degrees. Now is a good time to go ahead and put cute cupcake liners in your tin. You can get colorful and thematic ones here.

In a large mixing bowl, beat your butter and sugar on medium speed until nice and smooth. Then, add in your egg, vanilla and rum. The rum is going to make your batter look pretty wet and runny. It may also make it look like it is separating. It is okay and it won’t be ugly for long.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. This is your flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. It doesn’t matter how many cupcakes I make, every time I add in the baking soda, salt and baking powder, I always feel like I am about to create a science experiment. I mean, I am a culinary chemist to some extent.

 

Usually a recipe like this will use buttermilk to mix alternately with the dry ingredients. I decided to try something a little different by using Greek yogurt instead. The step works out about the same.

Pour about a third of your dry ingredients into your wet batter mix. Mix on low speed until well blended. Then add in half of the Greek yogurt and blend again. Keep alternating until you finish with the last third of the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended but do not over mix.

Fold in the peaches with a spatula and spoon batter into cupcake liners. You want to fill the cups three-fourths of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty-four to twenty-eight minutes. Mine were done at about twenty-six minutes. Just keep an eye out on them and check with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean when the cupcakes are ready.

Now for the Icing!

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth. This is easily accomplished with a whisk attachment for a stand mixer, but I’ve been successful using my old hand-me-down GE hand mixer too.  To make sure the icing stays smooth and silky, sift the powdered sugar in to the bowl one cup at a time, beating between each cup.

In a blender, blend about three kiwis into a puree. Peel the kiwis first with a potato peeler, leaving just the fleshy green fruit. I used the Ninja Blender to make the puree. Two presses of the pulse button and the kiwis are liquefied into a tart puree.

The kiwi puree definitely resembles baby food at this point. I thought it might make the icing a strange pea green color but the  white powdered sugar lightens the color tremendously. Add the kiwi puree, salt, peach schnapps and vanilla extract to the powdered sugar mixture. You will want to mix that on medium speed until well blended.

Sift the last cup of powdered sugar into the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed. Your icing will be smooth and almost silky feeling. There will be some specks from the kiwi seeds mixed throughout the icing.

Now it is time to enjoy.

Top those juicy sweet Peach Spice cupcakes with the Kiwi Sparkler icing and you have the perfect summer treat. I hope you love the sweet, tart and fruity flavors of this unique cupcake.

Make sure to head over to Voice of Vera and let her know how much you love her custom cupcake flavor.

If you are interested in developing your own custom flavor or having me develop one for you, please leave a comment below. I’d love to connect to with you!

This is how we make life taste sweeter together!

 

Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Print Recipe
Juicy sweet peach spice cupcake with chunks of real peaches topped with a tart Kiwi Sparkler icing.
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Print Recipe
Juicy sweet peach spice cupcake with chunks of real peaches topped with a tart Kiwi Sparkler icing.
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Peach Spice Cupcakes
Kiwi Sparkler Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Peach Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add egg, vanilla extract and rum to butter mixture. Mix on medium until blended. The rum will make the batter separate. It will not look pretty but it will be okay in the end.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt. Start and end with the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in chopped peaches and spoon into a lined cupcake tin 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 24-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from tins and cool on rack.
Kiwi Sparkler Icing
  1. Beat butter and shortening with a whisk attachment on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add two cups of powdered sugar sifted, one cup at a time. Mix well between additions.
  3. In a blender, puree three kiwis to make 1/2 a cup of puree.
  4. Add kiwi puree, salt, peach schnapps and vanilla extract to the powdered sugar mixture. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add last cup of powdered sugar to the mixture and beat on medium to high speed until icing is smooth and silky.
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Summertime Tequila Margarita Cupcakes

Summertime means toes in the water and butt in the sand and a Tequila Margarita cupcake in hand. These Cuervo-ed cupcakes are all you need to round out your Margaritaville themed summer bash.

 

It is Friday folks!

That means we made it through another week and it is time to celebrate!

It is five o’clock somewhere and if you haven’t broken out the tequila yet, maybe you should go ahead and do that. Today I’m making heavily alcoholic Tequila Margarita Cupcakes with a Tequila Lime Butter Cream Icing.

 

Tequila topped in tequila! Yes siree!

Summer brings on all the fun festivals and fiestas. This Tequila Margarita cupcake is sure to be a crowd pleaser wherever you may be headed.

Now, I have made Margarita Cupcakes several different ways but this is by far the most…should I say lush? The first time I attempted concocting the perfect Margarita cupcake, I made a purely lime based cupcake with a Tequila Butter Cream Icing  . Well, that was nice and all but the lime flavor wasn’t very strong and it didn’t make me think of Jimmy Buffett when I took a bite.

Today, I present to you the new and improved Tequila Margarita Cupcakes specially concocted for that perfect tequila margarita taste.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. This is another recipe where we will be keeping our Wet Ingredients from our  Dry Ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder and salt. Place this bowl to the side for a moment while we prepare the Wet Ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, pour the sugar and lime zest.  Now the idea here is to get your sugar all limed up. (I start singing “Put the lime in the sugar bowl and shake it all up.”) You can press it with a fork or your fingers or whatever you’ve got until the sugar is fully mixed with lime oils. If you have a paddle attachment, use it to mix in your butter, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.

Put the lime in the sugar bowl and shake it all up! Click To Tweet

This recipe calls for buttermilk. Sometimes, when I plan ahead, I have buttermilk on hand.

Other times, I do not and I still want my Tequila Margarita cupcakes!

So, I improvise. That is really what cooking is all about anyways.

To make your own improvised buttermilk, you will need white vinegar and regular milk (whole or 2% would work best). Take one tablespoon of white vinegar and then fill your measuring cup with milk until it reaches a full cup. Stir and let it sit. It will look chunky and separated. That it actually what it is supposed to look like believe it or not.

It isn’t time for the buttermilk yet but if you needed to make your own like I did, it will need to sit for a few minutes and now is a good time to do that.

Your mix doesn’t look like cake mix yet and that’s okay. It is going to look a lot funnier before it gets better. Add in the lime juice and tequila. Yay tequila! That’s our favorite part, right? Mix on medium speed and scrape down the sides occasionally. The sugar will want to stick to the walls. Don’t let it.

Alright, now time for those Dry Ingredients. Pour a third of the mix in with the tequila mixture. Then pour half of the buttermilk in. I just leave my mixer turning while I’m alternating between the two. Just make sure to have your mixer on a slower setting so you don’t fling flour everywhere. Then add another third of the flour mix, followed by the rest of the buttermilk, and finishing with the flour. Just make sure it is mixed in well before moving to the next ingredient. I found this batter to be thicker than some of my other recipes.

To make your presentation pristine, line your tins with paper cupcake liners. I like to use yellow or green to go with the traditional margarita color. I spray them with cooking spray too and it makes the paper easier to remove.

Oh! I almost forgot, I found this nifty little tip on Pinterest and it really works. Place a little rice in the tin underneath the liners and it helps to prevent the bottoms of your cakes from getting all oily. This is especially helpful if you’ve decided to use  adorable little liners.

Fill the cups 3/4 of the way full and place in oven for about twenty minutes. Typically, I only fill my tins 2/3 full but this is a denser cake and they do not rise the same as other cakes. A toothpick inserted will come out  with very few crumbs when removed.

Let those Cuervo-ed cupcakes cool while you prepare the icing.

What better way to top a drunken cupcake than with a drunken icing? Let me tell you, this is the best icing I think I’ve ever made. I’m not just tooting my own horn. I mean I’ve experimented a lot in my kitchen and this has been one of the most successful experiments thus far.

 

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the kitchen is to experiment! This means adding flavors together that are unexpected or it could mean I didn’t have the ingredient I was supposed to have and I had to improvise.  Improvising is a totally acceptable way to make any recipe your very own.

Often I cook and bake on a whim and I am not running out to a store to pick up something for one freaking recipe.  I am sure you are familiar with that feeling too. You get really excited for a recipe and then while you’re reading over the ingredients you start making a mental grocery list of what you may not have on hand.

Well, my answer to this is just to fake it until I make it. If i don’t have that particular ingredient, I just add in a few things I think will correspond with the flavors. I take what I have and I make it work. Previously , I’ve made tequila butter creams that required meringue, or triple sec or a number of other ingredients.

I mention this because this recipe has some ingredients that I wouldn’t expect to be common in most households. I tend to collect liqueurs for just such experiments in the kitchen and to develop new flavor combinations. However, I thoroughly encourage you to look around and see what else you have that might work just as well. I don’t only encourage it, I promote it. Please share with me any of the alterations you make while baking these delicious Tequila Margarita Cupcakes. Leave a comment below, even if you have to substitute the tequila!

This icing uses your favorite tequila, an orange liqueur and a key lime liqueur to round out that delicious margarita flavor.

In a small bowl, mix those together with the salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and the shortening. I use the whisk attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer to help get that smooth creamy consistency. Let your mixer spin on medium speed for about two minutes and that should do the trick.

 

Man, I love my Kitchenaid mixer with attachments. I have been baking for a long time but I actually did not acquire my Kitchenaid until just a few years ago. Providing a custom cake for a wedding and a friend meant I was paid with a Kitchenaid. How awesome is that?! I know that upfront it may seem pricey, but I promise it is worth every penny!

Now that the butter and shortening are smooth, add in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add it in one cup at a time and make sure it is well blended before adding the next.

Now it is time to  beat in your liquids. The icing will look really wet but we are about to thicken it up. And like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, we are going to thicken it up with sugar. The remaining powdered sugar is added one cup at a time and beaten until the mixture is well blended. The icing will be light and fluffy.

 

If you notice, your icing is a creamy beautiful white. That is well and good for icing but when I think margaritas I think of that tropical fluorescent lime green color. Eight to ten drops of Neon green food coloring provided  the color I desired. This is baker’s choice really. If you want white, go with white. I wanted Neon Green, so I went with Neon Green. If you want Barney purple, go with Barney purple (but you’re going to need some other food colors for that).

As for garnishing these bad boys, I had an extra lime or two left over from the cupcake recipe and decided to zest the top and then add a slice of lime. By the way, I think dipping the lime in the icing and then sucking it off while biting the lime is absolutely delicious. It has the sweet and sour combination down to perfection. Also, who can have tequila without sucking on a few limes?

Be safe out there this summer. Soak up the sun and dip your toes in the waves. I hope you enjoy these delectable Summertime Tequila Margarita cupcakes. Let me know that you love them by sharing this recipe with your friends!
Tequila Margarita Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Completely inspired by your favorite summer cocktail Margarita, this extra boozy Tequila Lime Cupcake is topped with a Tequila Lime Butter Cream to make the perfect Tequila Margarita Cupcake.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Tequila Margarita Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Completely inspired by your favorite summer cocktail Margarita, this extra boozy Tequila Lime Cupcake is topped with a Tequila Lime Butter Cream to make the perfect Tequila Margarita Cupcake.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Tequila Margarita Cupcake
Tequila Lime Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Tequila Margarita Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar and lime zest together until sugar is well coated in lime oils. With a paddle attachment, mixing on low to medium speed, add in butte, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Add lime juice and tequila to butter and egg mixture. The consistency will be very wet. Mix on medium speed and scrape sides as necessary to keep the sugar from sticking.
  4. Alternating between the flour mixture and the buttermilk, add a third of the flour mix to the butter and egg mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then add half of the buttermilk.
  5. Add another third of the flour mixture and mix thoroughly then the remaining half of the buttermilk.
  6. Finish by adding the last third of the flour mixture. Mix on medium to high until all ingredients are well mixed. This will be a thick batter.
  7. Fill lined cupcake tin about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
Tequila Lime Butter Cream
  1. In a small bowl stir together the tequila, both liqueurs and salt, and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed for about 2 minutes until smooth.
  3. Add three cups of powdered sugar to the butter mixture one cup at a time. Make sure powdered sugar is well blended before adding the next cup.
  4. Add tequila mixture to butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low to medium speed. The icing will be very wet.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each cup.
  6. Beat icing on medium to high until it is light and fluffy. Stir in food coloring with a spatula if desired.
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Best Gifts for Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

We are days away from the day we honor all the people we call Mom. If you’ve got babies, step babies, fur babies, grown babies, grand babies, and so on, this day is just for you!

Mother’s Day can be super stressful for some folks. How do you celebrate such an important person in your life? Don’t worry, I have some great ideas that are sure to make your Mom smile and keep you in her good graces.

Mother’s Day isn’t too difficult for me. My mother lives 600 miles away and ever since I gave her my first macaroni necklace I realized she is pretty happy with just about anything I give her. I know she would love to have me in person or even just love to enjoy the warm beaches here in Florida, but I sent her the second best thing: chocolate. My mom is totally a self proclaimed chocoholic. There is nothing she enjoys more than savoring a  Hershey’s milk chocolate bar while sipping on a cool can of Pepsi.
Of her three children, I am not the “good” kid. I was the oldest. I was the trailblazer and rebel. So of course I didn’t send the Hershey’s bar and Pepsi. I’ll leave that to my younger siblings.

But I did find these delectable chocolate covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries.

Always keeping a thrifty eye, I also purchased a Groupon for them to save some money. Actually I got the Groupon so that I could get her more strawberries for less money.  I’m not going cheap on my Mama. I just know how delicious these things are.

#ShareTheBerries

Once your order is delivered, she can just tag Shari’s Berries and add #ShareTheBerries with a photo of her sweet loot to be entered to win even more goodies. That is a totally sweet deal all the way around!

Being my mom’s oldest child, means that there was a time when I was growing up that it was just me and her. My parents divorced when I was less than two years old and my stepfather didn’t appear in the picture until I was five. Very much like how I’ve raised Cupcakeasaurus Rex, we were both single parents with a young child.
Mother’s Day can be hard for single moms. Many times they are doing the work of both parents and not getting recognition for either roll. They work long hours and constantly have a guilty feeling about not spending enough time with their babies. They realize though that working provides finances that allows them to improve their children’s lives. Looking through my limited pictures of CRex and me, I realized that the same phenomenon happened with my mother and me. There aren’t many pictures of us together. When you are busy being the parent, there is no time to take pictures of being the parent.

A special photo session would be an excellent idea for the mother in your life that may be parenting alone or just doesn’t have the time to update the scrapbook.

You can opt to purchase a gift certificate with a local photographer or even offer to take a mini photo shoot out at the park. Either way, those pictures are memories she can treasure for a lifetime.
Alright, so my mom loves chocolates. That may seem clichè but sometimes the common gifts are the best. Think of her favorites.

Think of what she would enjoy. Flowers?
I know, I know, the clichè-est of them all! However, there are some really cute ways to personalize such an over done gift.

For example, if you are a grown able bodied person and you want to give your mom flowers, you could by chance do some yard work for her. This could include planting, trimming, edging, mulching, etc. It is a task that she probably isn’t looking forward to doing herself but she will appreciate a beautiful job well done. She can take pride in her home and curb appeal.
If you are looking for a simpler route, you can pick out a planter that is representative of her personal style or something you two share together. Hanging plants can go a long way too. There are super cute pots that are shaped like coffee cups, or boots or large cry babies even. I know! What mom would want a flower pot that looks like a crying baby? I have no idea but there are all sorts out there.

Now, you are like me and your mom lives 600 miles away? Using a Groupon for a flower delivery service like ProFlowers is an option as well.

ProFlowers delivery on my doorstep

You pick out the prettiest bouquet you can find and you can pick the date it will arrive and any extras you might want to tack on. For Mother’s Day, you can tack on chocolates, special cards or deluxe vases. A neat thing about this option is that you can surprise Mom at work or at church or at Bingo night. You can choose the delivery options and make sure everyone she knows KNOWS that she has a kid that loves her.

My lovely Tulips still wrapped up and ready to bloom on the big day. Thanks Grandma! She knows what’s up!

For more ideas on flowers and exactly which types to choose, check out this post from Tione over at Beauty That Walks.

Chocolate and Flowers too traditional? I have ideas on not so traditional ideas too.

Groupon is still my favorite place to find all sorts of ideas. You can search for deals local to you if you want to do an activity together or you can search deals local to her if she lives farther away.

Some of the Groupon offers are for massages or spa days.

They sound nice for certain types of mothers but may not work for all. I remember being gifted a massage gift card for a baby shower gift. It was super thoughtful and sounded amazing. However, I finally got that massage when CRex was three years old. Sometimes life just gets away from us moms too much for all of that.

For more practical gift ideas to help make your mom’s life easier, check out this post from Divya at Eat Teach Blog.

She has the perfect solutions for that mom that just won’t go to the spa. Like me, she also recently married and uprooted her life to move across the country.

 Groupon also offers exotic experience gifts like riverboat tours, paddle boats or PaintNite sessions.

PaintNite is a fun gift idea I’ve done with my mom on her birthday before. This is a great idea for so many reasons. First, she gets to spend time with you, or she gets to spend time with whoever else she chooses to take. I’m sure she will have a great time with your younger brother.

Second, PaintNite makes everything super easy and fun. You don’t have to do any prep work. Their instructors bring all the supplies you need to make a wonderous masterpiece. Not to say everyone makes a wonderous masterpiece by any means. The instructor is there to help and encourage all levels of painting experience. They also host their sessions at restaurants and bars so you and Mom can enjoy food and drinks while you paint.

Lastly, you can give Mom your painting just like you did with your macaroni necklace. She will love it and think of this time spent together every time she sees it. Or you can keep it for yourself because really who wants your macaroni necklace?

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge my Mama. Thank you for always supporting me and my dreams. You did all the hard and yucky jobs and I definitely didn’t make it easy on you.

I would also like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my Mother In Law. This is our first Mother’s Day together and I look forward to our upcoming plans.

Hopefully, you have not waited to the last possible minute to celebrate Mom and hopefully one of her best achievements: you. If you have, then I hope these ideas have helped you narrow down that perfect way to thank Mom for teaching you how to feed yourself, use a toilet and function as a human being. There is not a way out of this one. You have to celebrate!

If all else fails, bake her cupcakes. Cupcakes are always a winner around here. These Pretty In Pink cupcakes are sure to make Mom smile.

 

Was this post helpful to you? Did these ideas help you find the perfect gift? What excellent idea did I miss? Let me know in the comments below! I want to know!

 

 

 

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 am here to make new content and share it with all of you.

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 or try these Apple Bacon Cupcakes. 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 precipice 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 counter tops, 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 imagination and hold on for the ride this new journey is taking us on.

Many lost loved ones and favorite 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

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

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

 

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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