Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream

What is a party without cake? I have a go to chocolate cupcake recipe. Seriously could make it in my sleep. However, I do not have a go to yellow or white cake recipe. Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream As I got ready for the blog party I knew I wanted to make swiss meringue buttercream and flavor it with leftover peach jam. I though a white cake would go beautifully with the delicate buttery frosting. Except I didn’t know white cake is devoid of egg yolks and uses a bazillion eggs whites. Yes a bazillion. I have having leftover yolks or eggs so I avoid it all cost. White cake got scrapped in favor of YELLOW cake. Which uses whole eggs. After much perusing I settled on this recipe and am more than pleased. It was light, easy and delicious. So so so happy to have a go to yellow cake recipe now. Oh and a bazillion cupcakes too. Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream One year ago today: Chocolate cupcakes with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream Two years ago today: Homemade ricotta Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream (makes 12-18 cupcakes  and enough frosting for 30+) From Martha Stewart 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 recipe of this frosting subbing peach jam for the strawberry Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line the cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a liquid-measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk-vanilla mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (a 2-ounce or 1/4-cup ice-cream scoop is good for this). Place tin on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes 5 minutes in tin, then remove and cool completely on a rack before frosting. Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream

Ice Cream Cake

Last year for my daddy’s birthday I embarked on what was my 100th post. It was the most delicious tiramisu ice cream cake. It took over a week to make. A total showstopper.

See ice cream and my dad are thing. He eats a lot of it. Hey don’t judge. We all have our things. All my vices are drinks- craft cocktails, beer, wine, tea, ridiculously good coffee. Nathan must eat all the chocolate. No matter the quality.

So naturally when his birthday rolled around this year it was time for another ice cream. Life is, to put it mildly, a tad overwhelming these days. It’s just a chapter. It will pass. But in the meantime I don’t have copious amounts of extra brain power.

Ice cream cake

I knew making an ice cream cake was simple. Despite my lack of processing capacity in my brain I poured over recipes (I think it was an escape really). There just wasn’t anything that seemed right and I waffled back and forth so many times.

Till all of a sudden it was the day before his birthday and I had no cake. Not that I hadn’t been thinking about it every.single.day. I just hadn’t decided what I was doing.

So, in a rare screw it all moment, I did something I have never done before with a cake- I winged it. Well not entirely because the cake itself is a tried and true recipe but I had absolutely no idea how it would do frozen and or how this whole mess would turn out.

This is how it went down. I made the cake, froze it, let some ice cream soften on the counter, smeared it on the frozen cake, topped with second frozen layer, refroze the whole things, then “frosted” with whipped cream and add sprinkles.

And then I forgot to photography if before we cut in to it. Because it was that good. A simple cake but oh so delicious. This will be happening again sometime soon. I promise.

Ice cream cake

One year ago today: Brown Butter Rosemary Cornbread

Ice Cream Cake (serves 12 easily)
Mine

2 pints of your favorite ice cream ( I used Trader Joes chocolate chip mint)
2 layers of your favorite chocolate cake (I made this one and froze the extra third layer)
1/2 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Freeze your layers of chocolate cake. Thirty minutes before assembly place your ice cream on the counter to soften. Place one cake layer on your board or plate. Make a collar for the cake extending up 2-3 inches out of wax paper. Secure around the bottom later with tape. Spoon in and spread around the softened ice cream. Top with the second layer and press down firmly (this will help spread the ice cream). Put back in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Whip the whipping cream with the sugar and vanilla till firm. Remove the cake from the freezer and frost quickly. Add any decorations or sprinkle you want. Put back in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Enjoy.

Ice cream cake

Gingerbread Lighthouse

Remember last year when we built the epic gingerbread house?

Gingerbread lighthouse

Well we did it again (and by we I mean my brother-in-law Ryan and me). Except this year it was Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Gingerbread lighthouse

We used all the same recipes we did last year (for the royal icing and gingerbread itself). Two new recipes we incorporated however were fondant and rice crispy treats. Ryan found a special recipe that was for structural rice crispy treats so we used that. They set up nice and hard so we could used them as a foundation. We used the treats for the rocks and for the inside of the base of the lighthouse.

Gingerbread lighthouse

We then covered the rocks with homemade fondant (easier than you think). It game them a nice hillside/rock look.

Gingerbread lighthouse

Other cool features- I made the lens for the lighthouse by melting and pouring sugar. We learned that adding some water to the sugar before you melt it helps it not burn (2 sugar to 1 water ratio). Also butter butter butter everything the sugar will touch. The parchment, the spatula, the mold, your hands, etc. It makes it so much easier. Oh and work quickly.

Gingerbread lighthouse

 The water was a big hurdle and we discussed so many different ideas before finally attempting one. Should we pour the sugar like we did last year on our tiny lake? That seemed daunting. What about fondant? Not the right texture. Ok then what if we use royal icing and then paint it? Great. We tried a tiny test patch of royal icing on parchment, let it dry, then painted it. It looked ok so we started to ice the whole board. And even that idea only got about 2% executed before we scrapped it because then Ryan suggested dying all the icing then we could just paint darker accents. Ok.

Gingerbread lighthouse
The second I added the coloring to the icing and started to stir I stopped. It looked beautiful. So I took the half mixed frosting and, being careful to not fully mix it, used it to make the water. Beyond pleased. It is one of my favorite features. Oh and the surfer is pretty cool too.

Gingerbread lighthouse

Of course there was the required gingerbread couple welcoming us to the lighthouse.

Gingerbread lighthouse

And required shenanigans… this time it was a gingerbread man buried in some sand (we used rice crispy treats and sugar for the sand). Also a tiny sand castle.

Gingerbread lighthouse

The lighthouse did indeed light up even. Absurdly proud of how that turned out.

Gingerbread lighthouse

Gingerbread trees are easy. Simply offset stack different sized cookies then dust with powdered sugar. Notice the little fish present for the seal? Yeah we are cutsey like that.

Gingerbread lighthouse

See how excited the seal is for his present? He was made out of moulded marzipan. And yes, in case you are wondering that is our interpretation of Ariel the mermaid. Fairly accurate if you ask me.

Gingerbread lighthouse

Squirrels. Looking for nuts.

Gingerbread lighthouse

(Sorry for the plethora of seal pictures. He was just my favorite…)

One year ago today: Tamales

Fondant (makes one approximately 5 inch diameter ball)
From Bake at 350

16 oz. bag mini marshmallows
3 TBSP water
2 lbs. powdered sugar
Coconut oil

Pour in the marshmallows and water in a bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Reserve about 1/4 c. powdered sugar. Place the rest of the powdered sugar in the large bowl of a standing mixer. Grease the paddle attachment with coconut oil. Pour the melted marshmallows onto the powdered sugar. Beat until a dough forms. There will be lots of loose bits and sugar in the bottom of the bowl. Grease a clean work surface with coconut oil and dump out the fondant and all loose bits. Grease hands liberally with coconut oil and knead the mixture together, just like kneading bread, for about 5 minutes until smooth.

Grease hands again as needed. As the fondant becomes smoother, use the reserved powdered sugar to coat the surface to keep it from sticking. Once smooth, you can divide and color the fondant. While working with one piece, cover the remaining fondant with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. When you have your colors finished, or just keep it all white, coat the fondant in a light layer of coconut oil. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a large baggie. Stores at room temperature for several months.

Gingerbread lighthouse

And last but certainly not least the tiny house.

Oh and we won. We received an honorable mention for most adorable and won people’s choice award. Second year in a row we have won people’s choice. We are a bit proud.

 

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Well…. that escalated quickly.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

One small recipe. Taunting me for the better part of a month. Seriously. It has been on my To Make list for eons.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

I was mentally making a menu to take a new mama friend of mine (remember on delivering dinner?) and added these to list. First, it justified making what I thought was two pans of rolls. Second, who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls, and these just sound like a better, badder, more delicious version of regular cinnamon rolls. I’m in.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Um. I should warn you. This made FOUR pans of rolls. That would be 32 rolls in all. Who on earth needs that many? Mercifully we only ate through two of them here at this house. One went to the sweet new family and one went to my mom’s.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Yum yum yum.

The original recipe called for lemon and blueberries. That was what originally persuaded me. I have a freezer full of cranberries, however, and I couldn’t resist making some rolls with said cranberries.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Hands down the cranberries were my favorite. The tartness of the berries really carried it. The blueberries were a bit too sweet for my taste, but no one seemed to complain. In fact the quickly emptied pan should have been an indicator they were quite the hit.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

I will be saving this roll recipe. It’s an absolute winner in my book, and it has proved versatile and flexible. I am presenting this to you as I made it but please feel free to halve the recipe…

Or make a ridiculous amount of rolls to eat and then stuff everyone else you know. That way at least you will still appear skinny in the long run.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

That’s my strategy at least.

Nom.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Gravy

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls (makes 32 rolls- 4 pie pans of 8 each or two 9×13 pans with 16)
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

For the dough:

4 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
4 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 Tb) active dry yeast
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (additional) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 whole lemons, zested
4 cups (heaping) blueberries or cranberries (thawed if frozen)

For the glaze:

1 whole lemon, juiced
2 whole lemons, zested
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup whole milk

Start the dough: Mix milk, 1 cup sugar, and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat to 180 F. Remove from heat and allow to cool until 115 F. Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the liquid, then add in 8 cups flour. Stir gently until totally combined. Mixture will be very wet and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap, keep in a draft-free place, and allow to sit for 1 hour. After 1 hour, add in an additional cup of flour, as well as the salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until combined. Refrigerate dough, covered, until you need it (at least 1 hr). Refrigerating the dough helps make it easier to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a large baking dish (or a couple of smaller dishes) generously. You could use a 9×13 or two 9-inch pie pans (this is only for half the dough).

Melt 1/2 of the filling butter (6 Tb) in the microwave. Divide dough in half. Store one half in the fridge. Turn the other half of the dough onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle, about 30 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Roll as thin as possible! Drizzle melted butter over the dough, using your fingers to spread evenly. Using your fingers, mix sugar and lemon zest so that it’s a nice, light yellow sugar. Sprinkle half of it all over the butter. Sprinkle 2 cups of the berries evenly over the surface.

Beginning at the side furthest from you, roll dough toward you until it’s in the shape of a tight log. Tuck as you go so the roll stays tight. Pinch the edges to seal the seam shut. With a sharp knife, slice into 1/2 thick hick rolls and lay the slices, cut side down, into the buttered baking dishes. Allow to rise for 20 minutes, then place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until deep golden brown on top.

To make the glaze: Whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, powdered sugar, milk, and dash of salt in a bowl until smooth. Taste it and add more of whatever it needs.

Remove rolls from oven and drizzle the glaze all over the rolls. Be sure to get it all around the edges and covering the surface so they’ll be nice and moist!

(Repeat rolling, filling, slicing, rising and baking with second half of dough.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Cookie Dough Frosting (or filling)

Yes another cake!

I am so incredibly blessed to be included in so many birthday celebrations. So. Many.

 Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

My lovely, sweet, beautiful friend Jenifer moved across the country a few years back and I don’t get to see her enough.

Thanksgiving weekend coincided with her birthday AND a trip back here to Oregon. I cannot get enough of her when she is back here. I was so lucky this time to get to have her over for dinner one night and then be asked to host her birthday party.

And birthdays mean cake. I am not going to even bother linking to all the birthday treats and cakes on here. There are so very, very many.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

This is actually attempt 2.0 at this frosting/filling recipe. It made its first appearance at my sister’s birthday at the beginning of the month. Total crowd pleaser.

When chatting with Jenifer about what kind of cake she wanted she suggested Funfetti. Um… I have feelings on that. Instead I offered her a chocolate on chocolate cake filled with cookie dough. Funfetti was quickly forgotten. Mercifully.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

My chocolate cake recipe is my standard go to. I can’t help myself. It is consistent and delicious. Light and moist — utterly perfect.

The cookie dough frosting (or filling as it was in this case) has no eggs so there is no concern about salmonella or the like. It doesn’t fare particularly well out in the air for long so I would recommend only using it if you are frosting cupcakes then immediately serving. Otherwise do as I did and fill a chocolate cake with it.

So much win.

Oh and this is going in my back pocket to make and serve at sleepovers when Little gets bigger. Cause I am a cool mom like that.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

One year ago today: Turkey (or chicken) biscuit pot pie

Cookie Dough Frosting (or filling) (makes enough to fill one layer of a cake or frost about 18 cupcakes)
From the Girl Who Ate Everything

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips

With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Add the milk gradually until desired consistency is reached and beat until fluffy. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Frost cooled cupcakes. I like mine thick so I kind of spoon is on. Store in refrigerator.

For the rest of the cake I used this chocolate cake poured in two 9 inch pans and baked for 30-35 min and this chocolate frosting doubled.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

German Chocolate Cake

Happy happy birthday Nathan.

Begrudgingly I agreed to make the german chocolate cake he requested. For some reason I thought it would be complicated. Somewhere in my brain I thought I didn’t like german chocolate cake.

I think what I didn’t like was an overly sweet coconut layer. Or maybe somehow I thought german chocolate cake was something else. Who knows. I’m an odd duck sometimes.

German chocolate cake!

But you know what I do like? (warning this is going to get sappy) My husband.

We have been together for over 10 years and married for 8 of those. It has been tough. It has been really hard at times. There have been days I would have put him on the street for free. But I am so incredibly thankful for him.

German chocolate cake!

So here are 31 things I love about him (he turned 31 by the way):

1. His smile

2. I really like his smile when he is looking at me

3. He has this awesome ability to just swoop in a do the dishes. Unrequested.

4. When he comes home with beer in hand. Particularly when it is from Oakshire and has a koozie

5. When Little wakes up at night he handles it 95% of the time

6. Mad wok cooking abilities

7. The way my head fits on his shoulder when he hugs me

8. He’s a rockstar dad

9. I know he does things just because it makes me happy (vacuuming of late)

10. His sweet texts mid day

11. So supportive of my adventures and undertakings

12. Never complains about what’s for dinner

13. Appreciates all that I do for him and tells me as often as he remembers

14. Yard work.

15. Adores our kitties

16. Isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong (most days)

17. He truly enjoys hanging out with Little

18. The man has a complete and utter lack of fear of failure.

19. He designed this gorgeous website

20. And maintains it for me

21. He will happily go out of his way to do things for his friends

22. It doesn’t bother him that I am a Duck football nut. He is right there with me.

23. Challah bread. He rocks it.

24. He will happily read to Little (swoon)

25. Genuinely wants to see me be happy and successful

26. He’s so darn flexible (unlike me)

27. Forever learning. If he isn’t learning he gets restless.

28. Total nerd. Shamelessly so.

29. Can put down cake or donuts or really anything sweet like it is going out of style

30. Juicing. He has introduced me to the wonderful world of juicing.

31. He loves me. Incredibly much.

German chocolate cake!

One year ago today: Chili Relleno Casserole

German Chocolate Cake (easily serves 12-16)
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

3 round chocolate cakes (I used this recipe bake for 30-40 min for 9 in round cakes)

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the Rum Syrup:
2/3 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dark rum

For the Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Make the Filling: Stir together the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, salt, pecans and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170 degrees F.). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

Make the Rum Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Chocolate Icing: Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Once the filling and icing are both cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Assemble the Cake: Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush the top of the cake layer with the rum syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, brushing the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

German chocolate cake!

Pumpkin Scones

It cracks me up to no end to see what was on my blog a year ago.

Have you even noticed that I publish it at the bottom of my post and before the recipe? I love it.

Todays is particularly amusing because the SAME THING HAPPENED THIS YEAR. The calendar rolled over to October and I was on a hunt for pumpkin something. I just had my first pumpkin spice latte of the year this past week.

Pumpkin Scones

Socks are on and jackets are out but Oregon is being a show off with gorgeous sunny days that are still luring us outside. Leaves are falling so it is clearly fall. It only felt natural to make pumpkin scones for my very first work potluck.

It was a breakfast potluck and I felt I needed to bring something a bit special. Except then I got to the potluck and was in awe of all the delicious things my co-workers brought. Well played co workers. I see your biscuits and gravy and soufflés… Next time I’m coming for you. Not sure with what yet but if this is how we roll around here I need to step it up.

(Am I the only person that feels this way about potlucks? I think I might have a problem)

Pumpkin Scones

Anyways. No one objected to these lovelies. It is no secret that I love scones as I have no fewer than 6 (well 7 now) scone recipes. Including two savory ones. Yum.

These scones are impossibly light and full of pumpkin and spice flavor. They are delicious warm but I found I liked them best the next day.

Perfect with a hot cup of coffee.

(If you have ideas of what to do with the leftover pumpkin in my fridge please let me know!)

Pumpkin Scones

One year ago today: Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Scones (makes 12-18 depending on how you cut them)
Adapted from Inspired Taste

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick of butter)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
3 tablespoons half and half
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons half and half

Heat oven to 400 degrees F then line a large baking sheet or two small baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the pumpkin pie spice together. Then, cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add butter to flour mixture then use two knives or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture till the mixture should resembles small crumbs crumbs.

Now, in another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, half and half, vanilla extract and egg until blended. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour and butter mixture with a spoon just until a soft dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface then knead it three to four times until it comes together.

Pat the dough into a 10 inch by 7 inch rectangle. Use a knife cut the rectangle in half lengthwise then cut into 4 even pieces crosswise, making eight rectangles. Now, cut each rectangle into two triangles. Transfer scones to the prepared baking sheet(s) then bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once scones have cooled, make the glazes. Add sifted powdered sugar to a medium bowl then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir then judge the consistency. If when you pick a spoon up and out of the glaze it slowly drizzles back into the glaze, it is fine. If it is too thick, add a little more half and half. If it is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. Drizzle the scones with the glaze. Allow to dry.

Pumpkin scone

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

This post is a little late in coming. I actually made this cake middle of last month.

I am not quite sure why it got bumped till now. Probably I feel like I hit on a secret and I am not really willing to share it.

Chocolate mint chip icing

It is no secret that I love frosting. Remember this delicious lemon frosting I declared one of the best? And this coffee frosting I absolutely fell head over heels for? And my absolutely favorite chocolate frosting? Yeah I love the stuff. Particularly the really good stuff.

Oh lets not forget the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. Wow.

This cake was for my mom’s birthday and she requested either a super lemony cake or chocolate. I pondered that for a couple of days and finally remembered she loves chocolate and mint. I have such an awesome mama. She has such lovely taste in all things- food especially.

Chocolate mint chip icing

After perusing mint frosting recipes for longer than most people read the news each day I finally settled on this recipe. Boy oh boy was I not disappointed. This is one of those beautifully fluffy melt in your mouth frostings. Full of flavor and the chocolate chips…. oh the chocolate chips totally elevate if from spectacular to maybe I shouldn’t let this secret out frosting.

But I love you all. So here it. I am going to hang on to this frosting as a base since all you do is all chocolate shavings and some mint flavoring. It would be just as easy to add vanilla instead. Leave in the chocolate. Trust me on this. It is the best part.

Chocolate mint chip icing

Ps. Never grated chocolate before? Just do it. I was scared the first time I tried but it really works easily! Make sure you have a large hole grater and just go for it. Put it through a sieve letting the dust fall through and using the larger grated pieces. Careful not to use your hands because it will nearly instantly melt. Then you get to lick it off which isn’t the world’s worst problem but leaves you without chocolate shavings.

Chocolate mint chip icing

One year ago today: Apple Crisp

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting  (double recipe for one two layer cake)
From Cooking Classy

3/4 cup butter, partially softened
1 1/2 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream
Green food coloring if desired
1/2 cup chocolate shavings (see ps. above)

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment whip butter on medium high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 – 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Blend in mint extract and vanilla extract. Add in powdered sugar and heavy cream and mix on low speed until combined. Blend in food coloring then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 – 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold in grated chocolate just before spreading frosting over the vessel of your choice.

Chocolate mint chip icing

Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Some tastes are so perfect. So delicate. So refined.

Lavender solidly falls in this category, in my not so humble opinion.

It comes across as downright fancy.

Such a beautiful subtle floral flavor. I love it in baking applications. It makes the very best shortbread (a recipe I have yet to share here and hope to remedy soon). And these cupcakes…. Oh these cupcakes.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

I keep a running score list in my head of my favorite recipes- the best dinner dish (currently I am still swooning over the cauliflower pot pie), the very best side dish, my favorite cupcake… etc etc. Up until these cupcakes the vanilla latte cupcakes were my clear favorite.

At first I was certain these lovelies were solidly second place but the more I think about the more, the more I wish I still had some, the more I have come to the conclusion that these are quite possibly the very best cupcakes I have made.

The flavor is perfect. Floral meets honey. The cake texture is a tad dense. And the frosting. Be still my heart the frosting. The absolute perfect compliment to the cake.

These are going on my make again list for sure. Now I just need an excuse. Or not.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

One year ago today: Spaghetti with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes and Cherry Crumble Bars

Lavender Honey Cupcakes with a Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (makes aprox. 14)
From Better Homes and Garden

Cake:
1/2 cup butter room temp
2 eggs room temp
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese room temp
2 tablespoons butter room temp
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, the 2 teaspoons lavender, and the salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, honey, and vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, filling each about half full. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the muffin tin on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins. Cool completely on wire racks.

In large mixing bowl beat cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla with mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with the honey frosting. Sprinkle with more lavender if desired.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

Strawberry lemonade cake

Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air.

Well not the prince of Bel-air but the queen of crazy town. In a good way. Mostly. Last Saturday I made a trek to the Portland airport to pick up a very dear friend Laura, her nearly three year old son, and her niece.

Strawberry lemonade cake

I have my routines and ways of doing things here at home. Doubling the size of my household (which now includes my toddler and a very noisy older toddler) has been overwhelming. I love them to death and I am thrilled beyond reason to have them here but I can’t wait till we are all in a routine and the days flow easier. They are here for seven weeks so there is lots of time to adjust.

Strawberry lemonade cake

So life flipped upside down for sure.

So when life is chaotic, routine and familiarity makes it all better. For me that place is in my kitchen. Yesterday was Laura’s birthday and we couldn’t let it pass by without a cake. The very first cake the two of us have made together. What a blast. She even enjoyed shooting the cake with me.

Strawberry lemonade cake

Happy birthday Laura. Love you to the moon and back.

This cake is also a test run for a shower next month. I intend to make it four layers rather than just two but otherwise this was absolutely perfect.

Enjoy.

Strawberry lemonade cake

One year ago today: Lemon Blueberry Cake (funny it is also lemon cake)

Strawberry Lemonade Cake (serves 12+)
From Two Peas and their Pod

For the cake:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose  flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
8-10 large strawberries, hulled and sliced

For the frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
2-4 large strawberries, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter two 9-inch round baking pans with baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, place the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients and set aside. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly in between. With the mixer still running, add the lemon juice. (batter will look curdled, but it’s not). Add one third of the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. Repeat, adding another third of the dry ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add the remaining third of the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (using a scale makes sure they are the same). Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool before removing from the pans.

While the cakes are cooling, make the strawberry buttercream frosting. Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and strawberries and mix on high speed until the frosting is very fluffy and pale pink in color, with flecks of strawberry.

Invert one of the cake rounds onto a cake plate; generously spread with frosting and top with strawberry slices. Repeat with the remaining layer of cake and frosting. Frost the sides of the cake. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry lemonade cake