Friday, May 31, 2013

You Can't Be Sad When You're Holding A Cupcake...

     I have a friend who needs cupcakes today - preferably one in each hand. She's finishing up a long term placement at a job she loves and she will be sadly missed. Yesterday I baked three full trays of cupcakes for her, but she didn't get to eat even one!  She and her son drove all the way home from my house while their van was filled with the sweet aroma of sugar, vanilla and chocolate and they didn't give in to temptation.  I am not at all surprised though because that's the kind of person she is, always thinking of others.  I was happy to oblige her request to bake some cheery thank yous for her colleagues to enjoy.  I hope they did the trick and put a smile on some teary faces.  After all, you can't be sad when you are holding a cupcake!
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
  You Will Need:

24 Oreo cookies
1 box of french vanilla cake mix
2 egg whites
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
* (To make your own buttermilk simply put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes, stir and use what your recipe calls for.)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped Oreo cookies


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners
  • Take 24 Oreos and split them in half
  • Place the split Oreos in your cupcake liners cream side up (save the plain cookie half for the frosting)
  •  In a large bowl, gently whisk egg whites, eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract together
  • Add cake mix, break up any lumps and stir until combined
  • Fold in 3/4 cup of chopped Oreos
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup finely crushed Oreo cookies

Frosting Instructions:
  • With an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well combined
  • Add vanilla and milk intermittently with the powdered sugar
  • Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting and more milk for a thinner frosting depending on your taste
  • Fold in Oreo cookie crumbs
  • Pipe icing onto cupcakes using an open star tip and garnish with mini Oreo cookies
I just know that she will remain in her student's hearts forever. 
*Thanks to YourCupofCake for inspiring this recipe.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That's the way the muffin crumbles...

     I've mentioned before that I have difficulty persuading any member of my family, myself included, to eat a banana that is even slightly brown.  A simple freckle and that piece of fruit has no chance of being consumed unless I transform it into a baked good or we get a pet monkey. Haven't you always wanted a monkey?! I'd sooner stop buying bananas altogether.
     Fortunately I have many recipes that turn unwanted bananas into desirable snacks.  This recipe is one that I'll use over and over again. It's that good! I tweaked the original recipe a bit by adding nutmeg and used applesauce instead of oil. The results were gobbled up in no time, telling me that I need to go out and buy more bananas and hope that no one eats them before they turn brown.
    Why is it that when I buy bananas with the hope that my family will eat them they don't, and when I buy bananas with the hope that they don't eat them they do?  I guess that's the way the muffin crumbles!

Banana Crumble Muffins

You will need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 bananas, mashed
1/4  cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • In another large bowl, beat together bananas, sugars, egg, applesauce and vanilla
  • Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened
  • Evenly scoop batter into prepared muffin cups

For the Crumb Topping:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

To make the crumb topping:
  •  In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon
  •  Cut in butter until evenly distributed and crumbly in texture
  •  Sprinkle topping over muffins and press down lightly
 Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

*I made mini muffins this time around. If you do the same, just reduce the baking time to 13-15 minutes.

Thanks to My Baking Addiction for inspiring this recipe.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cupcakes from the teacher...



I am now officially a teacher. At 43 years of age, and a wife and mother of 3, I went back to school. Life gave me lemons and although it's been a tough squeeze, I made lemonade. Well, not really. I made cupcakes - lots of them.  I also made pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and... well, you get the idea. For me, it was therapeutic. Mixing, measuring, whisking - the motions comfort me. Reading and following recipes distracts me and forces me to divert my focus.  

What do I do with the fruits of my labour? Well that is the best part of my emotional baking. The irony of my love of baking is the fact that I don't have a sweet tooth. I'd choose salty over sweet any day. Give me a choice between a cupcake and a bowl of popcorn and the latter wins hands down every time. That means that my baking serves two purposes;  it makes me happy and it makes my family, friends and neighbours happy (well, maybe not so much my neighbours....they may be getting tired of me asking to borrow a cup of sugar!).   

Now that I am finished my gruelling year at the Faculty of Education, I find myself once again looking for work. Recently, a friend asked me to bake for an event. She even paid me to do it! While it's not my dream teaching career, getting paid to bake is pretty exciting. It gives new purpose to tying my apron strings. Since then, I've been asked to bake 'wine themed' cupcakes for a birthday party. Now that is right up my alley! Getting paid to bake... that is a strange concept. I'm getting paid to do something that I love. Come to think of it, if someone were to hire me to teach the same would be true. Until then, I'll keep calm and bake on. I didn't come this far without having a little faith, I'm sure my dream job will come along.  If in doubt, make cupcakes! 

Below is the recipe I baked for the birthday party. I hope they enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed baking them.


Another cupcake? Wine not?

Red Velvet Cupcakes With
Butter Cream Frosting
You will need:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk 
28 ml  red food coloring liquid
*makes approximately 30 cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners
  •  In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together
  •  Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes with mixer, scraping the sides as you go
  •  On low speed, add eggs one at a time  followed by the vanilla
  •  Add sour cream
  •  Add dry ingredients alternating while adding the milk
  •  Stir in red food coloring
  •  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  •  Let cool before frosting


For frosting you will need:
  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
Frosting Instructions:
  • With an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well combined
  • Add vanilla and milk/cream
  • Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting and more milk/cream for a thinner frosting depending on your taste
  • Pipe icing onto cupcakes and garnish to your heart's desire


 Thanks to 'Your Cup of Cake' for inspiring this recipe.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eating on the run...

     Our summer is about to get hit with a curve ball... baseball season has started. I have to admit, I do love it;  the sound of the ball hitting the bat, the cheers from the stands, the sunflower seeds and the sheer joy on the faces of my kids as they run the bases.

     With both boys playing on travel teams and my husband being the Vice President of the association while also coaching, it's sure to be a busy summer. We'll often be going in many directions at once. That means I have to have a plethora of grab and go meals and snacks on hand. These muffins are great for breakfast on the run. Lemons and blueberries together equal spring, perfect for the start of the season. The yogurt makes them moist without having to use oil so they are a healthier choice to grab on the go.

     With that said, it's time for me to think about what I can make for dinner that is fast and somewhat healthy. Now, if only there were dinner muffins. Hmmm..... I may have to investigate that!

     Until then, try these lemon blueberry muffins. They're not quite peanuts and Cracker Jacks, but they are delicious!


Ballpark Lemon Blueberry Muffins

You will need:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yogurt (plain or flavoured - I've used peach and vanillia & both were great)
1 1/2 cups blueberries



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare a muffin tin with 12 liners
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together
  • Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by lemon zest and lemon juice
  • Mix until just combined
  • Mix in salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour
  • Add yogurt and mix until smooth
  • Stir in blueberries
  • Divide batter among prepared liners, filling each 2/3 full
  • Press extra blueberries into the tops of batter and generously sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean 
  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool
  • Store in airtight container or freeze for a later date

Thanks to 'Baked by Rachel' for inspiring this recipe.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

If you give a mom a cupcake...

Happy Mother's Day!
 If you give a mom a cupcake,
she will want a cup of tea to go with it.
She'll pour herself some,
but her daughter will want some too.
Once she puts the kettle on,
  she'll wipe the counter while she waits for it to boil.
As she wipes the counter with the dish cloth,
she'll remember that she has to do laundry.
When she brings the basket into the laundry room,
she'll realize that there are still clean clothes in the dryer.
As she folds the baseball pants and uniforms,
she'll start thinking about who has a game that night.
When she thinks about baseball schedules,
she'll start to think of something quick to make for supper.
Thinking about supper will remind her
that she has to go grocery shopping.
As she mentally begins to compose her shopping list,
she'll remember that they are almost out of milk.
Thinking about milk will remind her...
 that she was making a pot of tea.
As she brews the tea,
she remembers that she was going to sit down and have a cup.
And chances are... if she has a cup of tea,
one of her kids will have eaten the cupcake that went with it.

I made these for Mother's Day.
I hope you enjoy them along with the sweets of life.

White Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes 

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup International Delights White Chocolate Mocha creamer
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  •  Line cupcake pan with paper baking cups (the fancier the better!)
  •  With an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  •  Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time followed by the 1/2 cup of International Delights   White Chocolate Mocha creamer
  •  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl
  •  Add to wet ingredients 1/2 a cup at a time and beat until just combined
  •  Stir in white chocolate chips
  •  Pour into baking cups
  •  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup International Delights White Chocolate Mocha
  • white chocolate curls garnish (optional)
Frosting Instructions:
  • With an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy
  • Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well combined
  • Add International Delights White Chocolate Mocha creamer
  • Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting and more creamer for a thinner frosting depending on your taste
  • Pipe icing onto cupcakes and garnish to your heart's desire

    (hopefully with a cup of tea!)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Home is where our story begins...

Home. A place to hang your hat, rest your tired soul, and surround yourself with all that makes you happy. 

Family. The word encompasses so much more than the truest sense of the word. It refers also to those who are not the immediate branches on our family tree, but the ones who are there for you through it all; the good, the bad, and the unbearable.  They say that you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. While that is true, I believe that for those of us who are lucky enough to find them, friends can become like family.  I am blessed, for I have such friends that I am lucky enough to call my extended family.

As you will glean from my sporadic blog posts, this year has been one of many challenges.  I am relieved and happy to say that I feel I've reached the light at the end of the tunnel.  My mixing bowls are out, my measuring cups are at the ready and my apron strings are once again tied.  It feels good to be back in the kitchen. It feels good to be home.

Home. It truly is where our story begins and my family, both immediate and my extended branches, are going to help me tell my tale.

These cupcakes are absolutely decadent.  The coffee infusion serves as a reminder of all the late nights spent juggling the duties of being not only a wife and a mother, but also a middle aged student.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  For me, the pleasure comes not with the first bite, but from the therapeutic rhythm of following the recipe.


Mochaccino Cupcakes 
  • 3 eggs
  •  3/4 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 recipe coffee infused butter cream icing
  • 30 creme-filled rolled wafer cookies, such as Pirouettes
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder or ground cinnamon (optional)

    1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease and flour thirty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups (or line with paper bake cups). In a medium bowl stir together flour, the 1 cup cocoa powder, the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine milk and coffee. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat for 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in chocolate pieces.
    3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.
    4. Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
    5. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe coffee butter cream onto cupcakes. Insert wafers. If desired, dust with additional unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes 30 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.
    Coffee Infused Butter Cream Icing

    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, cooled
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • extra strong brewed coffee, cooled (optional)

    1. Allow butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in the 3 tablespoons brewed coffee and the vanilla. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional brewed coffee until butter cream reaches spreading consistency.