Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Don't forget to vote for my Trail Mix Cupcakes for this month's Iron Cupcake Challenge. Click here to vote! Voting takes place on the right hand side of the page. Voting ends Friday April 3rd @ Noon.


Many thanks to Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch for choosing this weeks recipe. These cookies tasted just like a butter cookie with lime, coconut, and almond flavoring! I loved the combination of these flavors although the original recipe calls for lime, coconut, and macadamia nuts which I'd love to try as well. I substituted the vanilla extract for almond and sliced these cookies both circular and rectangularly using round 1 1/2 inch cookie cutters. Some of my cookies were significantly thinner than others thus baking more crisply which I preferred. They are super crunchy and buttery with a zing! I will most definitely be making these again, perhaps with the original instructed ingredients!
Check out Jayne's blog for the recipe. It won't disappoint...

Monday, March 30, 2009


Homemade Reese's peanut butter cups. How have I not made these sooner? I've been missing out on some serious chocolate peanut butter goodness all my life! Sure, I could have just walked 1/2 block to my local Walgreen's and bought a package of Reese's but these seemed so much more fun and authentic.

Fun and authentic would be a nice way of putting it. Oh, and delicious. Definitely delicious. That's really all I have to say about these bad boys. Make them, stat!

I personally love these right out of the freezer, so that is where I have them stashed. Eat at your own risk ;)

For 12 peanut butter cups: (I made 6 large cups and 4 small cups)

12 mini cupcake liners
3/4 cup Milk Chocolate chips (or semi sweet if you prefer)
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter + 2 generous T to add to the melted chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt [if your PB is already salted, it's optional to add more]

1) Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Add 2 generous tablespoons of peanut butter and stir to incorporate. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2) Line a mini cupcake pan with mini liners. Place a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate in each mini cupcake liner and spread it all over the place with the back of a spoon. repeat with all 12 liners.

3) Place the cupcake tin into your freezer and allow it to harden.

4) Meanwhile, stir together peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and sugar to form a paste. Make sure you knead in all the ingredients.

5) Divide peanut butter paste into all 12 liners, pressing down gently to make sure the paste goes everywhere. [I took a a heaping teaspoon and rolled it into a ball, then flattened it and placed it into the liners]

6) Top with heaping teaspoon of chocolate [melt it again if needed], spreading carefully so that none of the PB paste can be seen.

7) Chill in fridge/freezer for at least one hour.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've mentioned in earlier posts that my incredibly talented cousin just came out with a book last month: Rejected:Tales Of The Failed, Dumped, and Canceled. Last night he had a reading of excerpts that were actually rejected from his "rejected" book. Funny, right? Wish you could have been there. It was at this fabulous antiquated book store in SoHo where 100% of the profits go to Housing Works, Inc. which benefits homeless HIV-positive New Yorkers. In that case, I was happy to provide free cupcakes for my cousin's event. I also purchased this great vintage PIE book! Siked!

Anyway, back to the cupcakes. I made tons and tons of them. My apartment was filled with cupcake madness. I made about 200 mini chocolates and 200 mini yellow buttermilk cupcakes and interchanged chocolate fudge and vanilla buttercreams. I topped the vanilla buttercream with a sprinkle medley and the chocolates with white nonpareils. They looked really gorgeous together. I also used different colored cupcake liners including green, blue, purple, pink, orange, and white to add some variety!

These were a big huge hit last night! All 400 of them were inhaled by the time the show was over. People were double fisting and coming back for seconds and thirds. I took a bunch of pictures so here you go...Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Sihan of Befuddlement chose this week's TWD recipe: Blueberry crumb cake. I've had my eye on this cake since I bought the book being that I absolutely love any dessert with a crumb-like topping that I can pick off, ingest, and leave the bottoms for the taking. My mother and me are known to "destroy" these kind of cakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, and what have you. We love to pick off the tops and leave the bottoms! I wouldn't ever suggest leaving a chocolate babka around us; that could be very very dangerous.

On the other hand, this cake is worth the entire bite; from top to bottom. No need to neglect the bottoms of these blueberry babies. The entire cake is super light and not overly sweet. I used a batch of great juicy blueberries that really enhanced the cake and, of course, the crumbs on top were perfectly browned and crunchy. I added some graham cracker crumbs and a cinnamon/sugar mixture before I put them in the oven. SO GOOD!

For the recipe, check out Sihan's blog. It's fantastic.


This month's Iron Cupcake Earth's secret ingredient is: Nuts and Seeds. Oh how I love the combination of nuts and seeds; which leads me to trail mix. Have I ever expressed my deepest love for trail mix? Well, here it goes. I love love love trail mix. I love the combination of salted mixed nuts with raisins, chocolate pieces, sunflower seeds and dried fruit creating the quintessential handful of goodness. For this cupcake, I made a chocolate and yellow buttermilk swirled cake and topped it with a dark chocolate fudge buttercream. When I swirled the buttercream I left a whole in the middle and filled it with price club's very own trail mix.

The cake portion of this cupcake was so delicious. I loved the combination of the chocolate cake with the yellow buttermilk cake. The burst of chocolate from the cake and buttercream was tamed by the soft buttery yellow cake. It was perfect.

Voting begins Sunday March 29th @ 8pm(central) and ends April 3rd @ Noon at No One Puts Cupcake In A Corner. Vote for me!


For the Yellow Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 9 ounces (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Mix remaining wet ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each full.
  3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 3/4 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk (starting and ending with the flour mixture), while mixing on low speed. Continue to mix until smooth. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. I don't remember how long I baked the cupcakes for-just keep an eye out. It was somewhere in the 15-18 minute range.

For Dark Chocolate Fudge Buttercream:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup hot fudge topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Cream together the butter or margarine with the shortening.
  2. Sift the cocoa with the confectioners' sugar and add to the creamed mixture. Mix together adding 1 tablespoon at a time of milk to keep mixture smooth. Don't add more than 1/4 cup of milk.
  3. Add the hot fudge topping and the vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy.

To Assemble:
Swirl chocolate cake and yellow butter cake in cupcake liner. Bake. Once cooled, top with buttercream and trail mix. Enjoy!

March ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com . And as a special thank you, we would like to once again thank DIANAEVANS - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5599270 for her participation in the February challenge. An incorrect link was posted and we want to be sure that she gets the recognition she deserves. Thanks again Diana!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I have to make this quick as I'm on vacation and I don't have much time! I made this French yogurt cake last night in a bundt cake pan. It was very moist and lemony! Rather than the suggested lemon marmalade, I whipped up a quick vanilla glaze using powdered sugar, corn syrup and hot water. Then I went ahead and sprinkled some more confectioner's sugar on top. Since there was no chocolate in this cake, it's probably something I wouldn't make again, however my parents loved it this morning with their coffee! My pictures are awful because I don't have my Nikon with me; only my lame digital camera--so bear with me. Thanks to Liliana of my cookbook addiction for picking out such a refreshingly light cake! Check out her website for the recipe.

Friday, March 13, 2009


These. Were. Dangerous.
Way back when I made a chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake that was too die for. My friends flipped from it, my family flipped for it, and my stomach yearned for it since the last slice was eaten. I wanted to create mini cheesecakes using the same cookie dough cheesecake recipe I used last time. And that's just what I did....

The actual cheesecake is so easy to make and the egg less cookie dough spread throughout is so damn good. Did I mention it was a one bowl procedure? Well, it is. The crust is made up of crushed graham cracker and mini chocolate chips which I also sprinkled on top. Make these immediately! These miniaturized cheesecakes feel guilt free! (Well, kind of..)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


One word: Yikes! Well, this is one recipe I could surely live without! No offense to Bridget of The Way The Cookie Crumbles who obviously didn't intend on selecting such an unsuccessful dessert; as deemed by most of my fellow TWD'ers. Like Bridget, I too envisioned this recipe to be a satiny fresh lemony tangy custard that could be paired with almost anything. Unfortunately this turned out to be just the opposite-dull, wilted, and tasteless.

Well, at least I got something to show for it with my pictures! I did go with the vanilla version of this custard by steeping a fully scrapped vanilla bean ( both pod and insides) in hot milk. When I tried the final product I was sincerely nauseated. It was eggy, jiggly, and frightening. I went ahead and sprinkled some super fine sugar on top of this jiggly mess and used my kitchen torch to crust the top; hoping I could salvage this treat. Alas, it didn't help. So it goes...

If you'd like to be brave enough to try this recipe on your own (perhaps you can amend it for the better-if so, leave me a comment with your changes!) you can find the recipe here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Brownie chunks. Heath bar bits. Mini chocolate chips. Crushed peanut butter/regular Oreos. Pound cake. Chocolate Pudding. Cool Whip.

Today is my birthday and while I'm always busy making everyone else birthday cakes, brownies, cookies, and what have you..I thought, why not make my own birthday treat? Well, here it is folks. Folks, meet Schlop...Schlop, Folks. Reacquaint yourselves; get to know one another. I assure you this won't be the last time you speak.

This is a dish that I made up in college. It's super easy and can be no-bake if you choose so. My friends came up with the name "shlop" for lack of better names. This is a pudding-like layered trifle featuring whatever kind of ingredients that appease you. In this case, I went ahead and baked brownies and pound cake to throw into this bowl of heaven. Once the brownies and pound cake were cooled I rolled them up into little balls/chunks and generously scattered them within the bowl plus a brownie heart on top for garnish. As for the pudding, Kozy Shack makes these great big tubs of chocolate pudding. I used Fat Free cool whip and other fix-ins for this chocolate decadence. Be forewarned, this stuff is super addicting. The consistency is such that the "shoveling" effect is quite prevalent. Ever heard of chocolate crack? This is it.

Chocolate Pudding
Cool Whip
Heath Bar bits
Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Crushed Peanut Butter creme/Regular Oreos
Pound Cake
Chocolate Fudge Brownies

To Make:
Layer all ingredients until you reach the top of the bowl. Finish off with whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


When I saw this week's chosen TWD recipe: Chocolate Armagnac Cake, I was a bit disappointed; from the name alone. You see, I'm not much of an alcohol drinker and I've always tried to separate liquor from baking for this very reason. I still needed to thumb through Dorie's book to figure out which cake this was, visually. While I always learned not to judge a book by it's cover, this rule clearly didn't apply to this weeks recipe. Once I saw a picture of the cake, I was sold; alcohol or not, I was in.

I did make a few minor changes. Instead of using Armagnac which I didn't feel like purchasing, I went with whiskey and raisins. Dorie offers up a "playing around" section for each of her recipes and the whiskey and raisins were one of her suggestions. I took 1/2 cup of raisins + 1/4 cup of whiskey and put them in an air tight glass jar for a couple hours--rotating the jar every hour. These whiskey-soaked raisins were then added to the batter at the end. I baked these in an 8X8 square pan rather than the suggested 9inch spring form and cut them into bars. The chocolate ganache topping was to die for. These tasted best the day after baking as the chocolate and raisins really settled in. I would definitely make this again, perhaps with the Armagnac next time. Check out Lyb's blog for the recipe!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Don't forget to vote for me for this month's Iron Cupcake Challenge: Coffee
Click here to vote. Voting will be open through Friday, March 6Th @ Noon.
How can you resist such a face?


Here’s the skinny - The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Ahhhhh, the daring bakers do it again! Flourless Chocolate Valentino cake = heaven. I really don't think anything beats a chocolate cake; and flourless? Dream come true. The less flour, the more chocolate. Bring. It. On.

Butter, chocolate and eggs is all this beauty requires. The egg yolks, butter and chocolate are blended together while the egg whites are separately folded in to give the cake some poof. As part of this challenge the participants were allowed to use any combination of chocolates. The recipe calls for 1lb of chocolate in total and I went with 25% semi sweet, 50% white, and %25 bittersweet. The taste was a perfect blend of the 3 variations. We were also instructed to pair this cake with an ice cream of our choice. Considering I baked this in the dead of winter while it was snowing and 20 degrees out I just couldn't bring myself to make ice cream. Instead I topped the cake (which I turned into cupcakes) with a mint buttercream, chocolate flakes, and a thin mint cookie. Delish.

Check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll here!

Chocolate Valentino Cake

Prep: 20 minutes, Total: 45 minutes

equipment: 9 inch tart pan, or 8 inch springform

1 pound combination of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate and butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C, or the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Mint Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon all natural peppermint extract
2 drops of green food coloring
1. beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract, beat until combined.
3. add more powdered sugar as needed to get piping consistency. Add food coloring.


Girl Scout cookies rule! Especially the Samoa cookies which have now been renamed "Caramel Delights." Different name, same cookie! I got a bunch of GS Cookies a few weeks back and I decided to create a Samoa cookie cupcake. The actual Samoa cookie consists of chocolate, coconut, and caramel. In order to transform a cookie to the world of cupcakes I decided to make a rich chocolate cake lined with a Samoa cookie crust and topped with a delicious caramel buttercream, coconut, crushed Samoa cookies and lastly a whole Samoa cookie for garnish. How can this be bad?

Last week I experimented with the Hershey's chocolate cake displayed on the side of the cocoa can. This time I went with Ghirardelli's grand fudge cake which you can also find on the side of the cocoa can. I must say, Ghirardelli's recipe was better than Hershey's. I found it to be richer and more brownie like. The tops of the cupcakes cracked like brownies while the insides were fudgy and sweet. I added 1/2 cup of coconut to the chocolate cake batter before baking. I didn't want to go too crazy with the coconut as I didn't want it to become an overbearing ingredient. I needed to leave room for the tastes of caramel and chocolate. I topped each cupcake with a caramel buttercream that was insanely sinful. It was a pain in the butt to make because it involved a lot of waiting around time but it was oh so very worth it. After I piped the buttercream on I very finely crushed up some Samoa cookies and sprinkled them on top. Lastly, I garnished with a one-half of a Samoa. These were UNREAL. They tasted JUST like a Samoa cookie! Mission: Accomplished.
Check out my Samoa cheese tart that I made last year!

Grand Fudge Cake by Ghirardelli, recipe customized by me
Made 24 regular sized cupcakes and 24 minis

  • 3/4 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk (starting and ending with the flour mixture), while mixing on low speed. Continue to mix until smooth. Stir in coconut. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. I don't remember how long I baked the cupcakes for-just keep an eye out. It was somewhere in the 15-18 minute range.

Caramel Buttercream (my own recipe)
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream, (put 2-3 tbsp aside)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and cream to a rolling boil. Boil one minute. Add soda, and boil one more minute. Remove from heat. Add butter, but do not stir yet. Let the mixture cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. As tempting as it is to stir make sure the mixture is completely cooled. It will look like a thick gummy caramel paste.
  2. Pour mixture into a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat well. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 2-3 tbsp of heavy cream. Beat until desire consistency.
Decorate with crushed Samoas, coconut, and 1/2 Samoa cookie.