Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie PenPals

I want to tell you about something fun that I discovered.
It's called Foodie PenPals.

Remember having a pen pal in elementary school?
It's kinda like that, except you send a box of yummy goodies instead of writing letters.
Awesome, right?

You send your box of goodies to a new person each month.
This was my first time participating, and I received a box from Alisha Crossley.
Check it out!

 I am enjoying all the goodies she sent me, but I have to especially thank Alisha for something.
She introduced me to Biscoff cookies.
I'm in LOVE!!!

I had heard about them, but never bought any and didn't really know what they tasted like.
 So, when I got my box I saw this on the back of the Biscoff package...

...the light bulb went off over my head!
These were those yummy cookies they used to serve on airplanes!
I loved those cookies! Needless to say, they are almost gone. And I will be finding more.

Foodie Penpals was created by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.
Would you like to participate?
Here are some specifics:

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
  • Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. 
If you’re interested in participating for September, just CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

It's time to start Fall baking!
One of my favorite recipes to make this time of year is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

I decided to make that recipe even better by turning it into cupcakes...
because then you get to put frosting on top!

Pumpkin and chocolate compliment each other so well...
if you haven't tried the combination before, you might be surprised.
And the fluffy pumpkin cream cheese frosting is the perfect topping...Delish!

I gave one of these cupcakes to my husband, and asked if he had any comments.
"Make more!", he replied.

This recipe makes about 32 cupcakes,
so whip some up and share them with your neighbors!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
adapted from Ryan Bakes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH of nutmeg, cloves and ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 c. milk + 1/2 tablespoon vinegar)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

To Make The Cupcakes
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well blended; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla on low speed until combined. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each paper liner 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To Make The Frosting
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. This frosting is very soft, so you may want to refrigerate it before you frost your cupcakes. After frosting, garnish cupcakes with mini chocolate chips if desired.
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Want another yummy pumpkin & chocolate recipe?
Check out my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Cornelli Lace!

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hummingbird Cake with Petal Tutorial

Have you ever heard of Hummingbird Cake?
It's a southern recipe.

It is a banana-pineapple-walnut-spice cake with cream cheese frosting.
I also added applesauce in place of most of the oil.
If you like banana bread, you will LOVE this cake!
It is moist, dense and so delicious.

Plus, you get to use some of those over-ripe bananas in your freezer!
(Please tell me that I am not the only one with a plethora of bananas in my freezer...)

Hummingbird Cake

by Bird On A Cake
    Hummingbird Cake
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple (with juice)
    • 2 cups diced ripe bananas
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
    • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Hummingbird Cake
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8 inch cake pans with wax paper, and grease the sides.
    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add applesauce, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Stir in pineapple, bananas and walnuts. Divide equally into prepared pans.
    Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack.
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the sugar a few cups at a time, beating until fluffy.
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    Now I'm going to show you how to decorate it with a petal technique.
    A yummy recipe and a decorating's a Two-fer!

    This design was inspired by My Cake School.
    I think it is my new favorite - so easy and so pretty!

    • Cover your cake with a crumb coat (very thin layer of frosting).
    • Prepare a decorating bag with a large round tip (Wilton #12).
    • Pipe a vertical line of dots on the side of your cake.
    • Use a small spatula to press down on each dot, dragging to the right.
    • Make another line of dots, just to the right of your petals. Repeat.

    For the top of the cake, I did the same technique in circles.
    A spiral would have worked even better.

    FYI, this cake will have a "back side". When you get back to where you started,
    you will have a seam where the petals meet up.

    You should give it a try!


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    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Nutella {Chocolate Hazelnut} Cupcakes

    Moms everywhere (that would be ME) are counting down until the first day of school.
    It's almost here...

    Let's take a break from Back to School shopping and celebrate, shall we?

    I think this calls for chocolate. And nutella! I give you...
    Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream!

    Here are the star ingredients in this recipe...

    The coffee creamer adds a touch of hazelnut flavor to the chocolate cupcakes,
    and makes them super moist and delicious.

    The nutella makes the buttercream out of this world!
    Seriously, you will be eating it right out of the bowl. With your fingers.

     Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream
    by Bird On A Cake
    Yield: 30 cupcakes
    Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup hazelnut coffee creamer
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Nutella Buttercream
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream

    Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin pans with paper liners. Bring some water to a boil and keep it simmering while you mix the other ingredients.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, hazelnut creamer, oil and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until combined.

    Add 1 cup of the boiling water and carefully stir until it is mixed in. Beat for 1 1/2 minutes with mixer. Pour batter into paper liners, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Allow cupcakes to cool on a rack.

    Nutella Buttercream

    In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and Nutella on low speed. Alternately add sugar and cream; mix until fluffy. If not desired consistency, add more cream one tablespoon at a time. Keep covered.
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    Garnish each cupcake with a piece of chocolate hazelnut candy bar.

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    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Orange & Pink Polka Dot Cake

    Today I am sharing a super simple way to make a polka dot cake.

    What is my secret to perfectly round dots that are all the same size?
    Candy melts!

    The directions are very simple.
    After frosting your cake, press the candy melts into the frosting with the flat side up.
    You can arrange them in a pattern or place them randomly.

    You can create lots of variations on this idea, just by using different color combinations ...

    White candy melts on blue or pink frosting for a baby shower!
    Brown candy melts on orange frosting for Halloween!
    A rainbow of colors on white frosting!

    I'm sure you can think of more great possibilities.

    I chose an orange and pink combination just because I think they are pretty together.
    Then I used my Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes recipe for the cake.

    Have you tried it yet?
    It is one of my absolute favorite recipes...YUM!!


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