Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

October is apple month and with it comes many fall festivals, bake sales, craft shows and the beginning of the cooking season.  This morning I spent whipping up (literally) several dozen of these little gems. Only problem I kept running into was resisting the urge to stop licking the frosting in the bowl.

This recipe might sound complex, but it really isn’t.  The ingredients used are pantry staples aside from apple cider and apples which are in abundance this time of year.

Apple Cider Cupcakes (15 full size cupcakes, 30 mini cupcakes)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 2/3 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup apple cider

2 eggs

1 cup apples, diced

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until well mixed.  Pour into greased or lined cupcake or mini cupcake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes for traditional cupcakes and 10-13 minutes for mini cupcakes.

*If you take this recipe, minus the spices and fruit, and replace cider for water you have the basic recipe for cupcakes and cakes.  Add your own ingredients and flavorings and you can make an abundance of tasty treats anytime.*

Maple Cinnamon Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar

1 stick melted butter

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place in bowl and beat with hand mixer or use stand mixer until consistency desired for piping or spreading.  Add more confectioner sugar if needed to gain desired texture.  (This frosting is great on sugar cookies, molasses and spice cookies also.)

Caramel  Streusel Topping

1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp caramel ice cream topping

Use fork to combine ingredients until crumb texture.  Sprinkle on top cooled and frosted cupcakes.

I’m going to admit it, keeping this blog has been a challenge for me.  I am one of those people who cook by sight, touch and taste rather then measuring.  This blog has forced me to keep track of how much of what I put in recipes which probably is a good thing as I now have recipes to pass down to my children.  I still will go by sight, touch and taste at times however.  The frosting recipe being one such example. I find every time I make it, it might require more powdered sugar, or more liquid then the recipe did the time before to get same results.

These have been a fall hit  a few years running now.  I hope you enjoy them also.

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Yesterday I was busy making petite fours and had some left over white and dark chocolate melted.  As another item I was making was peanut butter/dark chocolate brownies I decided to use the chocolate to cover the brownies making a mock form of petite fours.  They are not the most elaborate as I used the hand dip method rather then the pour glaze method on them, but they sure taste good.

Peanut Butter/Dark Chocolate Brownies

1 cup butter, melted

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups Hershey’s dark cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cup flour

1 package chocolate pudding mix

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.  To melted butter, add sugar and combine.  Transfer into bowl and add cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla.  Add the eggs, beating until smooth and then add the flour and pudding mix, stirring once more until combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and smooth down.  Taking the peanut butter, add table spoons across the top of brownie batter in a haphazard pattern.  Using a knife, cut the peanut butter into the chocolate batter until it has a marble like effect with no thick peanut butter lines.

Bake the butter for 28 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Cut the edges of the brownies off, then cut into small squares and set on a cooling rack with some distance between each piece.


1 bag dark chocolate chips

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 tsp oil

Empty dark chocolate chips into microwave safe glass dish, add 1/2 tsp oil and melt for 1 minute.  Remove and stir until all dissolved…if you need return to microwave at 20 second intervals until all melted.

Repeat above with white chocolate chips.

Take your brownie pieces and dip them into the chocolate using a fork, or pour the chocolate over top of the brownies on the cooling rack.  Place in refrigerator to speed the setting of the chocolate process.

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My daughter will be turning 4 years old Monday.  Hard to believe so much time has passed.  My daughter is a serious girly girl, and tomboy wrapped into one.  She loves pink, pastels, flowers, dolls, fairies, dresses and to get into and wear my makeup.  She also loves to play sports, roll in grass, play in dirt, and fake sword fight with her brother, often times beating him.

For her birthday this year she requested pink…everything and anything pink, with lots of flowers, fairies and butterflies.  My son cringed, begged and pleaded for anything but pink. To keep peace in household, and my son from becoming pink traumatized. I managed to convince my daughter to consider a pastel color theme.  Easter right around corner it was fairly easy to find the colors for a pastel party theme along with plenty of butterflies. To continue to keep the peace regarding the cake, I opted for miniature cupcakes. I would make a white cake and do a strawberry frosting filling with pastel sprinkles, and lemon cupcakes with lemon pudding filling and lemon frosting.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to blows when she insists he wear a princess crown to eat them.

White Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 egg whites

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened.

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix together flour, soda and powder in separate bowl.  In mixing bowl combine egg whites, butter and sugar.  Beat well.  Add vanilla, then alternate flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing until all is combined.

Pour into greased cake pan, or lined cupcake holders.

Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes for cake.  15-20 for cupcakes.  Test with toothpick for done.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting.

1/2 pint fresh strawberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3-4 cups confectioner sugar

4 tbsp soft butter

Slice strawberries night before and place in bowl.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar and refrigerate.

Next day drain juice from strawberries (save it for fruit salads or regular salads),  mash the strawberries.

Beat butter until smooth, add powdered sugar and mashed berries and beat again until fluffy. Add more confectioner sugar as needed for desired consistency.

To use as filler in cupcakes, place in Ziploc bag with prepared “tube” tip.  Squeeze into center of cooled cupcakes being careful to not overfill and explode cupcakes.

Frosting and decorate as desired.

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The cupcakes for the school Valentines party are finished finally.  I lost count of how many but my Highlander is going to smell like chocolate for a while with all them stored in there.  I baked up three types,  Strawberry Jam filled Vanilla Butter Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting, Raspberry Jam Dark Chocolate-White Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting and Vanilla-Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting.

I’ll work on posting the recipes soon.  Tomorrow starts the cookies. For tonight, I just want my bed.


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Yep, still on Valentine cooking and the cookies still are waiting for the weekend.  Today’s mission, to Strawberry cupcakes with  Butter Cream filling.  These cupcakes come with a surprise center aside from the Butter Cream filling, each sports a strawberry in center.

Strawberry Cupcake – (Martha Stewart Recipe, modified.)

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

2  cups sugar

3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white.

1 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups strawberries, put into blender to “chop” fine.

24 strawberries.  If small leave whole, if large divide in half.

Cream sugar and butter in bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time and beat into sugar/butter mix.  Add remaining wet ingredients to bowl except strawberries.  Add dry ingredients to form batter.  Fold in strawberries to batter.  Place one strawberry or strawberry half  into your cupcake liners, then fill your muffin or cupcake tins 2/3 full with batter.

Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This can take up to 25 minutes based on the insertion of size of real fruit can make baking process take a bit longer.

Butter Cream Filling/Frosting

4 large egg whites , room temperature.

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened.

Put egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl and place over pot of simmering water on stove.  Whisk until sugar dissolves into mixture and candy thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Remove from heat and using a mixer, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes before increasing speed to medium-high.  Continue to whisk until mixture is stiff with glossy peaks forming.  This process takes about 6 to 7 minutes.  Reduce speed once more back to medium and add your butter whisking well.

Remove and use, or store for up to three days in refrigerator.




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Along with the red velvet mini cupcakes I also made Fudge Brownie Bites for a talent show taking  place this evening at my son’s school.  While this sounds complex, it really isn’t.  It just has to be done in stages.

First step is making the fudge. A simple recipe on how to make it is as follows:

STEP 1: Mint Chocolate Fudge

1 1/2 packages semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

3 cups of sugar

2/3 cups evaporated milk

1 jar marshmallow cream  (you can also make your own marshmallow cream, but I’ll post that recipe later)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp peppermint extract

1 1/2 stick butter

In large skillet melt your butter, sugar and milk and bring to boil over medium heat.  Stir constantly to be sure the mixture doesn’t burn.  At boiling point, reduce heat and cook for an additional five minutes still stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add marshmallow creme and chocolate chips.  Whisk mixture until the chocolate and marshmallow mix melts in fully.  Add the vanilla and extract and mix again.  Transfer entire mixture to Pam sprayed or butter lined pans and let set at room temperature for four hours or until set.  At this point you can cut into square or using a melon ball or spoon form into balls.

To make these brownies you need to use the melon ball or spoon method and form into small balls roughly the size of small marbles.  Prepare the amount you need of fudge balls and set aside as you start next step.

STEP 2: Fudge Brownie Recipe

(This recipe is actually from Taste of Home and one of the best fudge brownie recipes I’ve made.)

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional.)

In bowl combine first six ingredients, then in another bowl combine oil, eggs and vanilla.  Add wet to dry ingredients and mix, be careful to not over mix.

Step 3:   Make the actual Brownies

Take the balls of fudge and place them in the center of your cupcake paper holders.  Then using a table spoon, measuring cup or squeeze bottle fill the remaining holder 2/3 full of brownie batter.

Bake the cupcakes in oven at 350 degrees.  Mini cupcakes = 13-15 minutes.  Regular cupcakes = 23-25 minutes.

Step 4:  Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

12 oz dark chocolate chopped into bits.

1 cup heavy cream

Put your chocolate pieces in bowl and heat your cream on medium high until it comes to a boil.  Remove cream from heat and immediately add to the chocolate bits whisking until all chocolate is melted and glossy.  Allow ganache to cool before pouring over cupcakes as a glaze.  The longer it sets the thicker it will set.   To frost cupcakes I use a teaspoon to drizzle ganache in center then use the back of spoon to “smear” to coat.

Step 5: Finished touches

Once your ganache has set, you can choose to decorate with piped frosting, sprinkle with confectioner sugar or cocoa powder, or pretty much decorate in any fashion you desire.  I chose a simple sprinkle of cocoa powder.

That’s it, simple stages to produce a delicious result.


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My son has a birthday coming up this weekend and for his “theme” he requested dragons.  I came upon these extremely cute figurines and could not resist a mythological theme, after all dragons fall under that theme right? I also liked the idea of each child being able to take one of the figurines home with them.

A recipe for Red Velvet Cake I had written down from Food Network some time past aided in my decisions. My son is not the huge fan of chocolate I am, and I could not bring myself to just do a plain white or yellow cake again this year.

For the “take it to school and share” I chose to do mini cupcakes , while for the actual party I chose to do  full size cupcakes to hold the figurines and candles.  I hope the kids like it, though I’m pretty sure if it tastes good and has sugar in it, they won’t care.

Red Velvet Cupcakes or Cake (Yield 24 full size cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups oil  (I chose extra virgin olive oil, vegetable is also fine)

1 cup buttermilk , room temperature

3 lg eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp red food coloring

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit ( 176 Cel.).  Prepare your cupcake cups.

In large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.  In second bowl combine oil, buttermilk, egg, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk liquids together well.

Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients in mixer (or by hand with whisk).  You want to just combine and make into a smooth batter without over beating.

Divide the batter between your cupcake holders.

Bake mini cupcakes 13-15 minutes, regular cupcakes 20-25 minutes.  Test with toothpick.

Remove cupcakes immediately from pan to wire rack and let cool before frosting.


Buttercream Frosting.

2 sticks butter, softened (Do NOT use margarine)

3/4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp half and half

Beat butter with mixer at medium speed for few minutes before reducing speed to low and adding powdered sugar.  Beat at low until sugar is well mixed into the butter.  Increase speed back to medium and add your vanilla and 2 tbsp of half and half.  Beat 3-4 minutes.

For thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar,  for thinner more half and half until you get consistency you desire.


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One thing about living in the South, you get plenty of pecans and I happen to be a huge fan of butter pecans.  This recipe is extremely easy and so delicate yet flavorful.  I actually acquired this cake recipe from Taste of  Home and it’s been the best I have found.

Butter Pecan Cake/Cupcakes

2 2/3 cups chopped pecans

1 1/4 cup butter, softened and divided

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

Place pecans and 1/4 cup butter in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toasted, stir frequently and set aside.

In large bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time beating well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  Combine your flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beat well after each addition.  Stir in 1 1/3 cups toasted pecans.

Pour into greased/floured cake pan or into lined cupcake tins.  Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks, let it cool completely.

Browned Butter Frosting

6 tbsp butter (unsalted)

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3-4 tbsp milk

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Continue cooking until it just starts to turn golden (4-6 minutes), stir constantly to keep from burning.  Butter will foam and bubble when near ready.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Combine browned butter, sugar, vanilla in small bowl and beat at medium speed while gradually adding milk until desired consistency reached.  (Thicker less milk, thinner more milk).  Spread on cooled cake.

**For a butter pecan frosting you can add the leftover butter from the pecans into the frosting also.**

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