Browsing articles in "Desserts"
Feb 13, 2014

Kiernan’s 2nd Birthday with Funfetti Cupcakes

From the kitchen of: Sally’s Baking Addiction  Makes: 12 cupcakes
Total time: 15 min to prep, 20-22 min to bake

My nephew turned 2 this past weekend. Yes, TWO. Man, how time flies. I’ve showcased every special event of Kiernan’s life. First, before he was even born, my sister and I threw a beautiful nautical baby shower for my sister. Months later, he was born in February. Here, he had his baptism at 6 months old. For his first birthday my sister continued the nautical theme. This time though, my sister decided to keep the celebration amongst the family. A low-key event, something more intimate. So, the immediate family on both sides celebrated this adorable kid with Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and homemade funfetti cupcakes. He wore his dad’s childhood sailor outfit, which was just adorable. Kiernan is a happy kid. He loved when we sang the happy birthday song to him, and he loved it even more when he blew out his candles. So much cuteness!



I made funfetti cupcakes for him and he loved it! Last year, I made him vanilla bean cupcakes. Maybe next year, I’ll try a chocolate recipe.


Before Kiernan blew out his candles, we ate lunch first. If you’re in Richmond or happen to be driving through, we’ve got the best fried chicken in the state of Virginia. Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken is a staple in RVA. The chicken is super moist and tender and the chicken skin is deliciously crispy. I will say their Sweet Tea is by far the sweetest thing you will ever taste. I cut it with unsweetened tea because it is cloyingly sweet.



After fried chicken and cupcakes, it was time to open up gifts. What’s a birthday party without presents!? It was really cute to see how excited Kiernan was about each and every one of them. I remember last year, he could not care less about the gifts and played with a plastic hanger instead! He’s growing up so fast!




Without further adieu, here’s how to make the homemade (easy) funfetti cupcakes. The beauty about this recipe I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction is the need of a hand whisk to make these cupcakes. No need for an electric mixer!

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla; or greek yogurt; or sour cream)
3/4 cup milk (cow’s milk; or soy milk; or almond milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sprinkles

2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt, to taste

1. Prepare dry mixture.
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.


2. Prepare wet mixture. In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute or so. Once melted, remove from microwave and whisk in the sugar. The texture will be grainy. Place in the fridge to cool off for a minute or two. Once cooled, add egg, yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.



3. Combine mixtures and add sprinkles. Slowly whisk in the dry mixture to the wet mixture until no lumps remain. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick. When adding sprinkles, use the edge of a spatula to quickly cut into the batter. Swirl the spatula several times to mix in the sprinkles. Do not overmix or else sprinkles will bleed.




4. Bake cupcakes. With an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly in the muffin cups filling close to the top. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After baking, immediately remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a baking rack.


5. Prepare frosting. Last, but not least, the frosting! In a medium-sized bowl, beat the softened butter with an electric mixture for about 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time mixing after each round. Add the cream and vanilla extract. Continue to mix on high until you’ve reached a desired lightness to the frosting. To cut the sweetness, add a pitch or two of salt. If it’s a little thick, add slightly more cream. For a rustic finish, use a knife to spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Add more sprinkles for decoration. Best enjoyed right away!


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Jun 13, 2013

Kevin (our puppy) turns 1!

From the kitchen of:  Makes: plenty for one happy pup!
Total time: 15 min to prep, 35-40 min to bake

Look at his face. I mean, really. Doesn’t he just make you smile? Last Thursday, our puppy Kevin turned 1. With a cookie monster party hat and a whole cake to himself, he was smiling from ear to ear. Just look at him! Adorable, huh? Since we adopted Kevin last October from Bonnie Blue Rescue, our daily routine has certainly changed. Yes, we’ve been vacuuming more often than none. Yes, we’ve been walking every day thanks to him. Yes, he wakes us up at 6am to feed him. But even with all these changes, he has become part of our family. We just love him so much. So to celebrate his first birthday, I baked him his very own cake made with his favorite thing: peanut butter. It’s a win for him and a win for us just to see how happy he was that day. Happy Birthday, Kevin aka Pig, Mr. Pig, Pigity Pig. I know, our names/nicknames are totally unconventional for a dog. Haha.


1 egg
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Mix wet ingredients.
 First things first, preheat oven to 350º. While the oven heats up, combine the egg, peanut butter, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and honey in a medium-size bowl. I simply used a fork to mix everything together.



2. Add dry ingredients. To the wet mixture, add the shredded carrots, wheat flour and baking soda. Mix together to form a crumbly, dense texture. Side note, feel free to include any other vegetable other than carrots. I had some left over broccoli stalk that I chopped in. Kevin loves all sorts of veggies. Use what your puppy loves to eat!



3. Bake and rest. Spoon the mixture into a non-stick or glass pan. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once top of the cake is nicely browned, remove from the oven and then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely. Because dogs love peanut butter, spread more peanut butter on top as the frosting. Note that I didn’t need to grease my glass pan. It came out nicely since it has vegetable oil in it.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kevin! I just love these photos of him with his tongue hanging out, licking off all the crumbs on his face. His hat was very fitting then, wouldn’t you agree? What a spoiled brat!




Don’t worry, we didn’t allow him to eat the entire cake at once. We saved the rest for another day, which he certainly enjoyed!


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Feb 17, 2013

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

From the kitchen of:  Makes: 20-22 cupcakes
Total time: 30-45 min to prep, 18-20 min to bake


I can’t believe that it’s been a year since my nephew Kiernan was born. It seemed like yesterday I held his little 8 pound body in my arms. Now, he’s trying to walk! Why can’t they just stay small forever? To celebrate his first birthday, my sister invited many friends and family to their home for a nautical themed birthday. She is obsessed with all things nautical. She recycled items that she had from her baby shower, but added some new décor. Of course, she asked me to make 60 cupcakes for his birthday party which was definitely a fête. A single batch of cupcakes I can do, but making three batches was something I’ve never really done before. So I scoured through Pinterest to find a recipe for a simple, but flavorful Vanilla Bean cupcake. The morning of the party, I woke up at 8am and literally baked for 3.5 hours straight. I will NEVER try to make that many cupcakes in such a time crunch. Lesson learned. It was a challenge for me, but luckily everyone enjoyed the cupcakes especially the star of the event, Kiernan, who devoured it. He definitely has a sweet tooth like his Momma. The only thing I changed in the original recipe was the amount of powdered sugar in the buttercream. I dialed it back because it was wayyyy to sweet for my taste. Otherwise, it was a moist and sweet cupcake. The vanilla bean flavor definitely stood out. Enjoy!

for the cake
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
seeds from one vanilla bean
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the buttercream
3 sticks of butter, softened
seeds from one vanilla bean
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons whole milk

1. Dry ingredients.
First, preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Tip: Sift dry ingredients onto parchment paper to make it easier to pour into the batter in step 3. 


2. Wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites. Tip: to separate the egg white from the egg yolk, crack the egg on the edge of the bowl. Carefully, open the egg and allow the white part to fall into the bowl. Gentle move the yolk back and forth while using the sharp edge of the egg shell to separate the white part.


3. Batter. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed until butter and sugar become light and fluffy. Tip: Be sure the butter is soft and at room temperature to achieve correct fluffiness. Add in the pure vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture. Mix together. Beat in half of the milk/egg white mixture and then beat in half of the remaining flour mixture. Add the rest of the milk/egg white mixture. Mix well. Then add the last of the flour mixture and mix well until you reach a smooth consistency.




4. Bake cupcakes. With an ice cream scooper, scoop the batter into lined cupcake tins. Fill each cupcake two thirds full. Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once cupcakes are ready, remove them from the pan and allow to cool on baking rack.



5. Frost cupcakes. To make the buttercream, beat softened butter and vanilla beans until fluffy. Slowly add sifted powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in clear vanilla extract and milk. Blend on low speed until combined. Scoop buttercream in a piping bag and frost all cupcakes. Tip: I used a piping tip #809 that I found through Etsy. It has a large opening. I also found the clear vanilla extract at Michael’s.



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Jun 26, 2012

3-ingredient ice cream sandwich

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: as many as you’d like
Total time: minutes to prepare

Three of my favorite ice cream truck treats were Super Mario Bros ice cream bar, the Bomb Pop and the ice cream sandwich. Whatever few coins we had in our pockets, my siblings and I would hear the truck roll through our neighborhood and we’d run out, literally, and hail them down. Life was so incredibly simple back then. Not a care in the world when we’re savoring our ice cream. If we didn’t have enough money for ice cream, we’d get a box of Lemonheads just to get something sweet, or in this case, something tart. I will say that the Super Mario bar was my top choice. However, I would occasionally break out of my box and get an ice cream sandwich. The basic ice cream sandwich was simple. There was no fuss involved. Everyone had their own way of eating it, but I always licked the vanilla off the sides and then I liked to squish the ice cream out and ate the chocolate part last. It was the best.

The recipe is a tribute to my childhood and to the classic ice cream sandwich. I cut some corners mainly because when I entertain I like to enjoy my company and allow them to partake in making their own dessert. With store-bought Italian pizzelle cookies that can be purchased at specialty stores, mini chocolate chips and vanilla bean ice cream, I made my own version of an ice cream sandwich that literally took minutes to prepare. This is certainly a twist to my childhood favorite, but still just as delicious and memorable.

Italian pizzelle cookies
mini chocolate chips
vanilla bean ice cream, or your favorite flavor

1. Gather ingredients.
Create an assembly line with all three ingredients. Remove the Italian Pizzelle cookies from the packaging and set aside. Next to the cookies, place the mini chocolate chips onto a plate, and then have your ice cream ready with an ice cream scoop.

2. Scoop ice cream. Lay two cookies on the counter. Scoop a large round of ice cream and gently place it on one cookie. Take the other cookie and lay on top of the ice cream applying a little pressure to flatten it. Be gentle, the cookie will break.

3. Add chocolate chips. With your fingers, sprinkle the mini chocolate chips around the edge of the ice cream while pressing the chips down so that they adhere to the ice cream. Make to serve and eat immediately. Enjoy!

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May 29, 2012

45-second Chocolate Cake

From the kitchen of: Isabel, inspired by Savor Home Blog   Makes: 3-4 cups
Total time:
10 minutes to prep, 45 seconds to cook 

Pinterest was the place where I found my inspiration for today’s post. I saw this amazingly yummy photo of a 60 second chocolate cake and pinned it to my “pretty enough to eat” board. 60 seconds to bake a cake? I was very skeptical at first, but now I am just impressed. The fact I can cook a cake in the microwave and in less than one minute is absurd. How is that even possible? Oh, let me show you.

Gather all the ingredients out of your pantry, mix everything together, pour batter in coffee cups and pop in the microwave. I felt like I was nine again playing with my Easy Bake Oven. This process literally took minutes. By the time I told Jared I was baking a chocolate cake, it was ready. I must say, he was the happiest 29-year-old man that day since I fed him three cups of chocolate cake. Haha. I think, though, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or a simple chocolate sauce, would have put this over the top.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa power, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup coffee, plus 2 tablespoons
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top: Scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or chocolate sauce

1. Sift the dry ingredients.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a medium-size bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients. In the same bowl, add the coffee, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine until you reach a glossy, smooth and thick batter. Next, take a coffee cup (I used an 8-oz cup, which is about half the size of a regular size coffee mug) and pour some batter in the cup filling it about half way.

3. Bake in the microwave. Place one cup in the microwave and cook for 45 seconds. I tested three different times. At 60 seconds, the cake was cooked all the way through and a little on the dry side. Next, I tried 45 seconds, which had more moisture and gooeyness. The third time, I went a little less at 40 seconds and it was too gooey. I was happy with the consistency of the cake at 45 seconds, but you should test your microwave because it could be more or less. Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or chocolate sauce.

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