Stop...Cookie Time.

I think we can all agree that some point in our lives, "C" was for cookie, and it was good enough for all of us. Well this weekend, friends, I'm heading back to my little kid days, and whipping up some dee-lish Santa Snacks to share with all of you! I'm going the classic route, with sugar cut-out cookies. The Cleveland route, with Klotchky (Kolachy? I've heard both. Klotchky is to appease my huband...who is "always right.") Cookies, a classic for anyone who ever went to an old relative's house in Northeast Ohio during the holidays. And finally, the Cobb route! My wonderful mother-in-law passed out recipe cards in addressed envelopes to everyone who attended my bridal shower, and one that I got just recently was from my good friend Brenna Cobb. She passed down her grandmother's recipes for "Horn Cookies" which sound delicious!

So on we go, to tons and tons of cookies! Hopefully they make it long enough for me to get them to work tomorrow! :) The first recipe I did this weekend was for Klotchky Cookies. These are little cream cheese based cookies with a bit of jam in the middle. I don't know why they were so popular in Ohio, but I'm pretty sure that someone made them for just about every family event we ever had. Sometimes they were filled with Almond Paste, some filled with strawberry jam, even my Mom remembers her Great Grandmother making Prune filled cookies (go figure, they were her favorite!)! Well since I was making them this time around, I decided to go with my two favorites: Apricot, and Raspberry. Any jam, jelly, or preserves will work in this case, though, so get creative!

Klotchky Cookies

("Jam-filled cream-cheese cookies" from Everyday Food Magazine)

Makes 48. Prep time: 45 min. Total Time: 1.5 hr + chilling

  • 8 oz bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 C all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 C jam, jelly, or preserves (I didn't measure this out, just scooped portions out of the jar)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (I used my stand mixer), beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add flour and salt. Beat until combined (but don't overmix!).

Divide dough into 3 portions. Flatten each into a disk. Roll each disk to a 1/8 inch thickness between sheets of parchment. Stack dough (still in parchment) on a baking sheet; refridgerate 20 min.

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix egg yolk with 1/2 tsp water. Working with the dough 1 sheet at a time, peel off top sheet of parchment (save for baking!). With a 2" round, or 2" star cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Spoon 1/2 tsp jam into the center of each, and brush exposed edges with egg wash. Shape cookies, and arrange 2" apart on two parchment lined baking sheets (mine didn't spread at all, so I went about 1" apart) and refridgerate 20 minutes (I did no such thing. Into the oven they went!). Before baking I brushed the tops with egg wash and sprinkled with plain sugar.

Bake until cookies are light golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks. To store, cover and keep at room temperature up to four days.

Okay, so as you can see above, I used the star cookie cutter method. Below is what the end product looked like:

Aren't they pretty?! Like little jewels! I used the star method, because as a kid, we always had them from round or square cookies with two sides folded in. These were much prettier, but most likely much more of a pain to get through. It took a while to make sure the edges were together, and even so, some came apart in baking (what a bummer! I get to eat the mess-ups! haha!). Another thing to note was that 1/2 tsp is a LOT of filling here. Some stars had an extremely hard time closing, and some (as you can see above) overflowed a bit during cooking. Towards the end, I used a tiny bit less, and pressed my thumb into the middle of my stars to give the jam a little more room.

These were SO good, though. I'm actually thinking about making more, since I have all of the ingredients. But onward we go!! Up next are the horn cookies! Stay tuned!....

There's a hole in this cake...

"It's a bundt"

Ah, one of my absolute favorite scenes from a movie ever. I can't make a bundt cake without saying it to anyone who may be around to listen...

So back to the story! This week's cake is a beauty. Even my picky-pants husband liked it (seriously, that's saying something)! This week I made a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pound Cake courtesy of Ms. Paula Deen. I need to tell you it's by Paula so when you look at the recipe below and say "Natalie, what the heck is WRONG with you?! A stick of butter?!" you'll know it's not's Paula. And DANG is it good! I'm quite convinced that the pudding is what makes this recipe so delicious. It stays so gooey and moist, I bet you could leave it on the counter for a day and it would still be delicious!

I made the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pound cake on the premise that I would slice it up and bring it to the office bake sale. Yay me, good deeds. Welp. Not the case.

Turns out that the office bake sale was more of a department bake sale...and I have too much pride to bring it downstairs with a big smile and say, "I made you a cake to sell!" to a bunch of people I don't know. So now I have a big honkin' cake on my counter at home. Great.

I think I'm going to bring a big chunk to my landlord upstairs, wrapped up all pretty like I planned this all along :) Anyway, on to the recipe!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
by, Paula Deen from The Lady & Sons, Too

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C Water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg butter recipe cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix*
  • 1 3.4 oz pkg instant chocolate pudding mix*
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour tube pan.

In mixing bowl, beat the eggs, water, and vanilla by hand**. Stir in the cake mix and pudding mixes. Slowly add the butter and oil, and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes***.

Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate. Sift confectioner's sugar over the cake, or drizzle chocolate sauce over it, if desired****.

Alrighty, here's where I put in my two cents.

*I have no idea what kind of mutant pudding packages they sell in Georgia, but here in our lovely Nation's Capitol, they sell 3.9oz packages. Normally I'd just throw in the whole package, but the cake is already so dense and moist, I just eyeball it and leave some pudding in the package. Use your best judgement.

**If you're looking to beef up your arms (maybe you're going for the Schwarzenegger look?)...go ahead and beat everything by hand. But I'll tell you that when the recipe tells you to mix in the oil and melted butter slowly, that batter is going to be so thick you'll be swearing like a sailor by the time you need to "mix well". I had Jeff come in and pour slowly, so I could hold the bowl with one hand and mix with the other. The next time I make it, I'll beat the eggs, water, vanilla in my KitchenAid mixer bowl by hand, then just attach it to the mixer for the rest, and keep it on low speed.

***For once my super-charged oven went the full time on a recipe! I cooked mine for the full 60 min.

****Call me a purist, but I say this cake needs nothing but a cold glass of milk.

Hope you enjoy!

But I would be proud to partake in your...

Pecan Pieeee!

Chocolate pecan pie to be exact. *gracefully receives "ooh"s and "aah"s from the peanut gallery. A-thank you, a-thank you*

Here's a little back story:

I had such a wonderful weekend. I took off work on Friday because my wonderful mom came to visit! We spent the weekend shopping, eating at awesome restaurants around DC (Seventh Hill, Co Co Sala, and Chef Geoff's to name a few), and of course made a stop at the incredible Georgetown Cupcake. We always have the best time when she's in town, and I'm always sad to see her go. So she left this morning, and I was admittedly a little mopey. What better to lift my spirits than baking?!

I started off with a pie crust recipe that I got from a cooking class at Hill's Kitchen. It's a Butter/Shortening pie crust that creates nothing short of heaven. Any other day I would post it here, but it's so involved and so tricky, that I would just recommend looking up a recipe on your own, and working through it. Pie crust seems to be a tricky beast to tame, and while it's been edible the two times I've made it, it's a serious science to figure out the consistency of the perfect crust.
Here's my step by step process for tonight's baking fun:

First: Make the dough!

Would ya look at that pretty little dough ball? Well after I let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours (it needs at least 30 minutes to chill) I rolled it out to find an extremely cracked hunk of dough. Lucky for me I had that handy-dandy glass of water there to help me. I have found, also, that this little baby makes pie dough a piece of cake...well...a piece of pie at the very least:

Meet my mean, green, dough making machine:

This little baby makes cutting butter and shortening into flour a cinch. No forks, no knives, just pulse! It's a beauty, and I doubt I'd be as adventurous about making pie if I didn't have it.

Next I followed Paula Deen's recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie and used some adorable little mini fall cookie cutters that my mom got me this weekend from Hill's Kitchen. Seriously, if you haven't been to that store here on the Hill, it's just awesome. If you like cooking the tiniest bit, you will *love* this store! Here's what I ended up with (pre-baked):

How cute are those little leaves?! And here's what it looks like post-baked:

HA! Just kidding, I didn't eat the whole thing...just a slice. Bringing it to work tomorrow, though, because leaving it in my house is a dangerous dangerous thing!

Hope you all have a Happy Monday!

It's a...brownie!

OH Chocolate. Here's a little side story to start this post:

Today at work I ate lunch, and then went back to work. I worked for a bit and thought to myself "Woo! This day is flying by!"...then I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 1:15. Oy. My body decided then and there to tell me that if it didn't get chocolate soon it was going to revolt.

I staved off the craving with a couple handfuls of Special K with Strawberries and a piece of gum (gum is surprisingly effective here!). I was also able to because I knew that we were making brownies tonight. Not just brownies, but "OH my god I'm never making brownies from a box again" brownies. The are nothing short of the best brownies EVER.

One of my favorite ( FAVORITE) food blogs out there is She finds wonderful recipes to share, she's eco-friendly without being preachy, and she takes pictures so gorgeous that you want to cook right then and there (and eat too of course). When I read the blog post about the "Best Brownies" I knew I had to give them a try. I've made them many times since, and I vow to never make brownies from a box again.

Tonight's baking bonanza is specifically for Beth's husband Justin's volunteer group. Justin volunteers for a very cool group that works with at-risk kids in DC to teach them about business and help them develop ideas, learn about becoming entrepreneurs, etc. So Justin is going to be making these kids and volunteers seriously happy. You will be too, you've just got to try them! The photo above shows some of the brownies we took home...Jeff and I had two as soon as we got in the car tonight, we couldn't even wait to get home!

Okay, so on to the recipe...
Well alright. Technical difficulties, I suppose, folks. For some reason the blog isn't letting me paste the recipe! For now, check out the recipe on Alexandra's blog here and I'll try to paste it in tomorrow.
Goodnight, and happy baking everybody!

Hey Y'all!

Tonight's baking adventure was awesome! Now if any of you who know me and my foodie-ness, you know that I have a serious soft spot in my heart for Ms. Paula Deen.

Just look at her! That big smile, those sparkling baby blues! How could Miss Paula EVER steer you wrong? Well she can't. It's just a fact. It's Paula's numero uno favorite ingredient, so it was with her in mind that I, with the help of my good baking buddy Beth, made BUTTER tonight.

Oh yeah...butter. And it was gooooooood.

Beth had the idea to make butter last week during our pumpkin cupcake baking night, and I was all about it. She thought we could make some corn muffins, and some tasty homemade flavored butter to go with them. So tonight we made Sweet Corn Muffins with Honey Cinnamon Butter and Maple Cinnamon Butter. We're talkin' finger-licking, heart-stopping tastiness tonight folks. If you've ever used Jiffy mix, I'd like you to take the box and throw it away (maybe scoff at it first, because you're straight up better than that after you've made these). Follow the directions below, sit back, and wait for the compliments to flow!

Sweet Corn Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk, divided

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add eggs, shortening and 1/2 cup of milk; beat for 1 minute. Add remaining milk; beat just until blended. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until muffins test done (**ours took about 17-18 min, so keep an eye on them! When they start to look golden around the edges, and pull from the sides, they're done).


For this you'll need heavy whipping cream, salt, and whatever you'd like to flavor it with. You can tell this is going to be a crazy technical process...

We used honey and cinnamon in one, and maple and cinnamon in the other.

In a small-medium tupperware container pour heavy whipping cream (maybe 1/2 cup?). Flavor with salt (1tsp? this is optional, but I like salted butter). Pour honey or maple syrup in and shake cinnamon on top. Put lid on (tight!!) and shake until it starts to thicken. Remove lid and taste, add more spice/honey/syrup to taste.

Okay now here's the hard part.

Shake the crap out of it. Shake it, and shake it, and then when you think you're done? Shake it some more. Pretend like it's your boss's head, that cop who gave you a parking ticket, or that guy that cut you off in traffic......or maybe just shake in a non-aggresive way. Do what you gotta do.

The butter will start to look curdled and separated. When it gets to this point, take a couple paper towels, pour liquid out of tupperware and let butter fall into your hand. Squeeze it into a ball until thick enough to spread. Use your best judgement here. Mine was pretty soft, so I just worked it into a ball, then wrapped it tight in saran and stuck it in the fridge. I just checked it, and it's looking really good.

Well that's it! I hope you try it and I REALLY hope you enjoy it. I'm seriously loving all the possibilities with making butter! Next week, look out for something delicious and chocolatey! G'night y'all! ;)

The Blogger's Back!

I'm back! After a long hiatus while I switched jobs (I now work for the government and I LOVE it!), I am back to the blog. All of you faithful followers can thank my good friend Beth for bringing me back into baking mode. She emailed me last week and asked if I wanted to maybe come over and bake with her. Ummm, you'd like to give me an excuse to bake AND hang out? Yes please!

So off to the cupcakes...

Look at this beauties! This photo is substantially better than my usual cell phone quality pics that I post, thanks to Beth and her amazing camera/photographer skills. We're hoping chooses this pic for the main recipe photo, so keep an eye out for it! We decided to go with a fall theme, and it actually worked out really well as the temperature was hovering around 45 degrees tonight when I got to Beth's place. I just LOVE pumpkin anything this time of year! It's so warm and cozy, and always makes your house smell so nice. We went with a Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipe with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from They turned out really well, but Beth and I agreed that the consistency was more that of a muffin. They were pretty tasty none the less :) If you're looking for a good recipe to get you in that warm, cozy autumn mood, this is a great option!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes: 24 cupcakes


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree **

**some folks wrote comments in that they used pumpkin pie mix instead, and that it turned out great. Also, some used an entire 15 oz can of pumpkin, and that it make for a very moist cake. If I were to make it again, I'd probably do that.**

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Beat 1/2 cup of butter, the white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg**. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

**Me again. I wasn't a fan of how the part above was written out. We mixed in the pumpkin after adding the eggs, then alternated the milk with the flour in 3 parts. It's just how I roll, seems like it would mix more evenly and not be too dense that way**

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and 1/4 butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with the cream cheese icing

They really were so delish. So delish that I ate one and didn't dare bring any home. Big thanks to Beth's husband Justin for bringing them to his office tomorrow!

I'm thinking of branching out from cupcakes as well, and telling you of my other culinary adventures (mostly just baking, though). Hopefully Beth and I will have more to blog about in the coming weeks. I made a PIE this past weekend! Yes...PIE!! Homemade crust and all! So keep an eye out for future blogs, and don't hold it against me if it's not always cupcakes. ;) Variety is the spice of life or something like that...right?!

Repeat Offender

So for all of you that didn't know, I am in California this week visiting my family...and I've repeated a cupcake! My mom had a bunch of bananas lying around, so I made the banana cupcakes with the brown sugar frosting again. They were, however, delicious, and my brother Max claimed that they were the best cupcakes that he'd ever had (I think he's just being nice though, haha). So anyway, I'm a bad kid and don't have a new recipe for you this week, however I hope to next week when I start my new job!

Fear not friends...I'll be back! :)

Peanut, Peanut Butter...

Seriously. Who doesn't love it? I've seen a lot of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting in the bakeries (and cupcakeries) about town, but a peanut butter cupcake isn't seen all too often. Well...I think I figured out why.

Although ridiculously tasty, these cupcakes pack a pretty sweet punch. The batter was a little dry, and therefore the final product was a bit dry as well ( oven. I just keep shaving time off of all my baked goods, to no avail!). I think my darling husband made an excellent suggestion, that paper liners may have helped to retain the moisture. The recipe I used called for a ganache to use with it. While the ganache was just didn't cut it. I made a chocolate frosting instead, very traditional, yet exactly what these cupcakes needed.
That...and a LARGE glass of milk.

Side cupcake note: There was an interesting article in the Express today (for you non-DCers, that's the free version of the Washington Post we get here). While I love all of you who have had suggestions to start my own business, this is exactly what makes me hesitate: Half a dozen cupcake-centric shops opening in the DC metro area in the last 20 months! I think it's a bit risky, especially since cupcakes are so trendy. Check out the article here

We'll see though...The Hill doesn't have a cupcake shop (virtually the only corner of the city that doesn't!). Maybe I'll try my hand someday! In the meantime, enjoy these tasty peanut butter cupcakes, with chocolate frosting!

makes 12 cupcakes (yeah...12. I doubled it)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, then mix until just combined.

Divide batter among lined muffin cups (about two-thirds full) and bake in middle of oven until pale golden and a tester inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto a rack and cool completely.

Natalie's Chocolate Frosting (aka flying by the seat of my pants frosting)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 handful chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • 1/2C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • powdered sugar
  • 1-3 Tbsp milk (plus some if you need it)

So I wish I could say I had this all planned out...but I really was just flying by the seat of my pants. I took a basic frosting recipe, and then I killed it with impatience and lack of required ingredients. So here's the gist of what I did:

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan, remove from heat. Stir in cocoa powder until smooth. Pour the mixture in bowl of stand mixer, and mix with the whisk attachment on high to cool down your chocolate mixture. When you come back 5 minutes later to find that your chocolate is still ridiculously hot, put it in the freezer for a minute. Worry that you're going to mess it up and take it out. Feel the bowl...decide it's cool enough. Put bowl back in stand mixer, start adding powdered sugar.

This is where you'll think you totally screwed it's going to look like wet sand.

Add some of the milk until the mixture smooths out. Add powdered sugar until you get the sweetness/consistency you like. If the mixture starts to get crumbly and dry, just keep mixing and adding little pours of milk. Once you get the consistency and sweetness you like, crank the mixer speed up to high to make the frosting nice and fluffy (this will whip some air into it). Decorate your cupcakes, and devour!

:) Yeah...somehow some pretty delicious frosting came out of this. Good luck!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

So I know tomorrow's not Friday, but I'm going back to Ohio this weekend to take my sister to see Sugarland and Keith Urban in concert, and we also might buy a car this weekend! For those reasons, tomorrow has been deemed (by me) Cupcake Thursday!

I decided to go with Red Velvet cupcakes, from a few requests by all you crazies out there who get a kick out of what I bake, as well as a couple people from work. I had all of the ingredients handy, so it was pretty easy to make. I've just never understood the appeal of the red velvet cupcake, though. I know that must be some kind of cardinal cupcake sin, but it's just never really appealed to me--so much so that I have...never had a red velvet cupcake.

Have you seen this recipe?! Who would think that a crap-ton of red food dye, buttermilk, and VINEGAR would produce something edible?! turns out that a crap-ton of red food dye, buttermilk, and vinegar actually tastes pretty darn good. Top it with a little cream cheese frosting, and you've got a downright tasty little treat!

This recipe is from the infamous Magnolia Bakery in NYC, courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2¼ cups (9¾ oz) sifted flour (sifted, then it)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoon red food coloring (2 1-oz bottles)

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 8 oz butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-3 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place liners in 12-cup cupcake pan.

Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.Spoon batter into cupcake liners only 2/3 or ¾ of the way full—don’t be tempted to fill them higher: they’ll bake into mushroom caps instead of nice rounded domes, and if they are filled too high, there will not be enough batter for the 24 cupcakes.
Bake cakes until inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 23-26 minutes (Natalie here-again, my turbo charged oven tried to pull one over on me. My cupcakes took 18 keep an eye out!). Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan onto racks; bake remaining cupcakes; cool all completely before frosting.

Frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Add milk until you get the consistency you like (this allows the frosting to harden a bit, and I-Natalie-added this ingredient. If you want creamy frosting without that little bite to it, just leave out the milk).
Okay back to me. I garnished with festive little bit of red sugar, just because I had it in the drawer. :) I'd also like to mention how ironic it is that I used organic butter and cage-free eggs in this oh-so-not-natural recipe! I got a good laugh out of that.

Enjoy your weekends everybody!

Banana Cupcakes w. Brown Sugar Frosting

So you know how sometimes you'll be eating a candy...let's say Starburst...and you really really like the cherry ones. You save the cherry ones for last right? Well these banana cupcakes were the cherry starburst, and I made them first (woops)! These tasty fellas set the bar WAY high for the cupcake craziness. Ever since I made them, every week someone has said "Well these cupcakes are good...but they're still not as good as the banana cupcakes."

They're kind of an ace in the hole, and I'm guessing they'll make a repeat appearance again soon (the next time I have bananas hanging around). The second cupcakes that I made I used this recipe, but subbed Strawberries for Bananas. A good idea in theory, but it was way too wet of a batter, and didn't really work-they were a bit soggy. I'll keep experimenting with that one before I send it out to you. Until then...Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting!

Banana Cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 medium VERY ripe bananas
  • 1/3 C buttermilk
  • 8 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the buttermilk until smooth (REALLY smooth, otherwise the chunks will make your cupcakes soggy).

Beat the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating completely after each addition. Add the vanilla. On low speed, add the buttermilk/banana mixture in three parts, alternating with the flour mixture in two parts (so you start and end with the buttermilk/banana mixture). Mix at low speed until just blended.

Add mix into cupcake pan, about 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 min until a toothpick comes out dry (crumbs are actually okay-just make sure it’s not batter. If there are no crumbs, they’re usually overcooked).

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Top with brown sugar buttercream (chocolate is good here too!)

Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 8 Tbsp butter (I used salted, I don’t think it really matters for this)
  • ½ c dark brown sugar
  • ¼ c milk (any kind, I used skim and it was fine)
  • 2 c confectioner’s sugar

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the milk and blend (I used a whisk to smooth it out a little more). Cool completely, then add confectioner’s sugar slowly until stiff enough to spread. Once you get the consistency that you like, crank up the speed and whip until lighter/fluffier.

Aren't these so cute?! I got a new piping bag and piping tips at Hills Kitchen. So much fun!

Lemon-Lime Cupcakes

As I mentioned in my intro, I started this whole cupcake bonanza business a couple weeks ago, before I started the blog. The first three recipes I made aren't in here yet, so I thought I'd bring everyone up to speed.
First up we have Lemon Cupcakes with Lime Frosting. These little babies were deeeeelish if I do say so myself! It's been stifling hot here in DC recently (yes mother...I know the weather's always perfect in San bragging needed) so these cupcakes were completely refreshing. I got the recipe for the cupcakes from the food network, and the frosting I just kind of made up. They are so light and fluffy- in my opinion they don't need any frosting at all...but I'm pretty sure that's some type of cupcake sin that I'd be terrified of ever committing. The lime was pretty tasty on top, though. It kind of tasted like a margarita, which if you switched out the lemon for lime in the cupcake, I'm pretty sure you could pull off pretty easily!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lime Frosting

  • 2 1/2 C cake flour (if you sub AP flour here, look up how to, it's not the same!)

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar

  • 2 whole eggs at room temperature

  • 3 large egg yolks at room temperature

  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 C whole milk

  • 2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F, line muffin pan with paper liners, or spray with baking spray

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together with a whisk

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed about 30 seconds, or until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and increase to med-high speed. Continue about 3 minutes until mixture is light

Add whole eggs & yolks 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla and zest, reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in the lemon juice (the batter will look curdled, that's okay!)

Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions, and milk in 2. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beat another 10 seconds.

Try to hold back here, because this batter is DELICIOUS. There's that whole raw egg thing going on in there, though, so I can't recommend it to you ;)

Fill muffin pan with batter, about 2/3 full, bake 15-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan on a rack for about 10-15 min, then invert and cool completely.

Lime Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 8 oz butter, softened.

  • 16oz confectioner's sugar

  • juice of one lime

  • zest from 1 lime

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1-3 Tbsp milk (I used 1)

Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes high speed in a stand mixer. Gradually add the sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the vanilla, zest, and juice and mix through. Add the milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach the consistency that you want.

And now for a picture! I didn't go all fancy on these, I just spread the icing on with a small offset spatula. The icing is pretty potent, and when you taste it you'll probably think it's pretty strong, but it really does match up nicely with the lemon cake. I only used a thin layer of frosting for that reason, though, instead of piping it on.


I Want S'More!!!!

So this past Friday I made s'mores cupcakes. They were pretty tasty little guys, but more than anything they were just so darn cute!! I had the idea to make these because of the recipe I had for Boiled Vanilla Frosting (BVF). I made a birthday cake a couple weeks ago for my friend Shaina, which used the BVF and a chocolate cake, and I loved the texture and how deliciously marshmallow-y it was. It's kind of like a smoother thicker version of marshmallow fluff, so obviously the s'mores idea came pretty soon after that. I also had the PHENOMENAL idea to use my handy dandy kitchen torch that I got in my Christmas stocking last year to toast the frosting!

They turned out pretty well for me, the only warning I want to send out is to watch the time while cooking the cupcakes. I put mine in for the minimum 15 minutes that the recipe suggested, and I thought they were a bit overcooked, so know your oven! Ours is circa 1975 and apparently slightly turbo charged, so if I were to make them again, I'd probably put them in for about 13 minutes.

S'mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour

  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 3/4 C packed brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

  • 1 C buttermilk (if you don't have this on hand, use just under 1C milk w. 1 Tbsp lemon juice OR white vinegar)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Boiled Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 C sugar

  • 1/3 C water

  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1 tsp vanilla

Garnish-Graham Crackers, Kitchen torch if you have it.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350F, prep muffin pan with liners, or use spray (especially if you're going to torch them! I like Baker's Joy).

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat butter & sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (seriously, give it a minute or two!). Add the eggs one at a time beating completely after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate, vanilla, and almond extracts.

To the butter mixture, alternate buttermilk in three parts, and dry ingredients in two parts (starting and ending with the buttermilk). Mix on low speed until just blended.

Fill cups about 2/3 full (I like to use a zip lock freezer bag for this, it's less messy! Just fill it with the batter and cut off a corner to pour out of).

Bake 15-20 minutes until dry and risen (or less if your oven is turbo charged like mine!). Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

You'll need a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, google "soft ball stage" and figure out how to CAREFULLY test for it (this terrifies me...I'd just invest in a thermometer).

Mix the sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in a heavy bottomed pan. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (don't overbeat! they'll break down). With the mixer running at high speed, pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a slow, thin stream. Continue at high speed until thick enough to spread. Stir in the vanilla, and frost the cooled cupcakes.

To finish, take your kitchen torch and lightly pass over the frosting to brown. Garnish with a piece of graham cracker. Enjoy!

First Post!

Welcome to the blog!

After massive amounts of facebook commenting (especially on the part of my wonderful mother and aunt), and at my friend Whitney's suggestion, I am starting a blog about my cupcake adventures.

Cupcake Fridays started at my job. After taking a cupcake class at Hill's Kitchen I decided one Friday to test out one of the recipes on my coworkers. Due to lots of compliments (and because who doesn't like their ego stroked a little?!), I have kept up with this every Friday for the past 4 weeks. My coworkers have become my little taste testers, and I get to try out new ideas...without having 20 cupcakes sitting in my kitchen tempting me every night!

So why cupcakes? Not because they're completely trendy right now (although that's cool)...but because it's the easiest portion control! Have you seen that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda makes a chocolate cake and keeps cutting little slices off over and over until she makes herself throw it away...and then has to pour dish soap on it to make herself stop? Yeah...that'd be me. There's something waaaay too dangerous about being able to slice a cake, versus eating an entire portion of something else!

So here we go with the cupcakes! Enjoy!
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