Sweet Things: Be Mine Vanilla Cupcakes

Well guys, what can I say. I’ve been hibernating. And then I looked at my calendar this weekend and realized that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Love it or hate it, Cupid’s very own holiday is a good excuse to bake. 🙂

Enjoy this ode to all things sweet, pink, and made with love.

xx Cocoa & Lace

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Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Buttercream frosting (see recipe here)
  • 1 package of M&Ms

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Directions:

  • Melt butter in microwave safe bowl; Whisk in granulated sugar. Add vanilla extract.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center and pour in liquid ingredients.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to center of bowl, gradually whisking into liquid ingredients.
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly, but do not over-mix.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once cooled, spread vanilla buttercream frosting onto each cupcake. Layer with M&Ms (design as you wish!). Add another dollop of frosting to create multiple layers, as pictured.
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Sweet Things: Vanilla Almond Stadium Pound Cake

In honor of my alma mater’s upcoming appearance at the BCS National Championship, I whipped up this special stadium cake that’s deceptively simple to make.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Combine butter (at room temperature – not completely melted) with sugars.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to sugar/butter mixture.
  • Add vanilla and almond extracts to sugar/butter/egg mixture.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour butter mixture into center of well and whisk together.
  • Add Greek yogurt to batter.
  • Pour batter into pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour (should be golden brown – toothpick inserted into center should come out clean).

Go Irish!

xx Cocoa & Lace

Onward to 2013!

Hard to believe 2012 is coming to a close, isn’t it? For me personally, this past year feels both like a blink and an eternity all at once. I can’t believe that just a year ago, I was about to embark on my last semester of college. My classmates and I headed back to campus in January with an infinite amount of excitement en tow – it was almost electric. We were ready to enjoy a series of lasts without fully realizing the finality of graduation. With #YOLO leading the way, we charged through spring managing to balance academics with plenty (and I do mean plenty) of fun. From cruising off to the Bahamas for Spring Break to singing the alma matter with a degree in hand, this has been one heck of a year. And did I mention that life in the “Real World” also commenced? It’s certainly a change from college life, but parallels do exist. It’s about squeezing in just enough fun to make the tough days bearable, and remembering that no matter what, it’s the people that make every chapter of life worth living.

Here’s to a fabulous, prosperous, and healthy new year – live the life you’ve always dreamed of!

xx Cocoa & Lace

CL 12 29 12 New Year

  • The Toast: The Flirtini (marie claire)
  • The Dress: Morris Sequined Dress (BCBG)
  • The Party: Anywhere, USA (snapshot via Cocoa & Lace)

Sweet Things: Lemon Chiffon Cake

I absolutely love birthdays – others’ more than my own. This past weekend, I put my own twist on traditional birthday cake. It all started by turning layer cake into a decorative Bundt, then adding a burst of lemon and opting for icing instead of frosting. Different? Yes – and it made for an extra special birthday celebration for my dear step dad.

Of course, you don’t need to have a birthday on the calendar for an excuse to make this light and delectable dessert. Hope you enjoy!

xx cocoa & lace

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • the juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Icing: 1/2 cup 2% milk and 2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus lemon juice to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in an extra large mixing bowl. Make well in center. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in microwave (use microwave safe bowl!).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, applesauce, eggs (one at a time), extract, lemon juice, and milk.
  5. Gradually pour liquid ingredients into the well in the dry mixing bowl.
  6. Pour into a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Mixing icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over bottom of cake, then over top of cake one let out of pan.

Sweet Things: Perfectly Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fig spread
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Combine liquid ingredients in an extra-large mixing bowl: blend pumpkin, yogurt, fig spread, eggs (one at a time), vanilla, water, and oil. Whisk in sugars until completely blended.
  • Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl: blend flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients until combined.
  • Scoop into desired pan (I used 2 pans of 6 mini Bundt cakes – flowers, etc.).
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Makes 12 dozen mini Bundt cakes (or three 7 x 3 inch loaves).

Enjoy one of my favorite flavors of the season!

xx Cocoa & Lace

Sweet Things: Orange You Glad Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can you believe it’s Wednesday already?? As a midweek treat, set aside a half hour to make these delicious chocolate chip cookies with a twist: orange extract. The zesty addition pairs perfectly with dark chocolate chips and complements the rich oat texture. This recipe is also extremely versatile, as you can easily interchange orange extract for any of your favorite flavors.

Enjoy!

xx Cocoa & Lace

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, melt butter. Add sugars until thoroughly combined. Whisk in egg. Add extracts.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour with baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Gradually sprinkle flour mixture over the liquid ingredients, mixing gently until combined.
  • Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.
  • Use teaspoon cookie dough dropper to drop batter onto two cookie sheets.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are light golden brown.
  • Yield: 24 cookies.

Sweet Things: PB & Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Prepare for a sinfully delicious combination of melt-in-your-mouth flavors with this decadent bread pudding recipe. Between the warm, gooey goodness of wholesome peanut butter and the sweet swirls of butterscotch chips throughout, this is a sweet treat worth every calorie…but who’s counting anyway? 😉

Enjoy!

xx Cocoa & Lace

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of buttermilk white bread
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set aside a 8 x 8 inch aluminum pan.
  • Slice bread into small cubes. Place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter and oil. Add sugars until blended. Whisk in milk. Add eggs, whisking one at a time.
  • Pour liquid mixture over cinnamon bread cubes.
  • Stir in butterscotch chips.
  • Add batter to pan. Bake 45-60 minutes until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Sweet Things: Nutella Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 x 8 inch aluminum pan.

Measure 1 c flour and 1/4 t salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Melt unsweetened bittersweet chocolate with butter over low heat on stove top or in 30-second increments in microwave. Blend in a medium size mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar and regular sugar to butter mixture. Stir in vanilla extract.

Add eggs, one at a time, to chocolate/butter/sugar mixture.

Add liquid ingredients to flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.

Swirl in 1/2 c Nutella. Do not mix completely. Batter should have “swirls” of Nutella, allowing for fudgier consistency when baked.

Add mixture to greased brownie pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

*Optional Nutella frosting*
While brownies are still warm (but not immediately out of the oven), spread Nutella evenly over top of baked brownies. The Nutella should melt to make spreading easier. Add more or less depending on preference.


Enjoy, chocolate lovers! Tip: mix it up by adding peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips to the brownie batter. This base recipe for fudge brownies can be changed up quite easily — it’s versatility at its tastiest! Check out my Mocha Brownie Buzz recipe for a caffeinated variation.

Have a great day!

xx cocoa & lace

Sweet Things: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

For a tropical dessert that brings the taste of sunshine to the table, try out this recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The key to this cake is a layer of caramelized pineapple that’s just as tender as it is sweet – one bite and you’ll be half-way to a warm island getaway.

Eat up!

xx C&L

Ingredients:

1 cup (c) light brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1 medium pineapple, ripe, sliced into 6-8 rings
handful of halved macadamia nuts
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (t) baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 c milk
1 t vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir until bubbling – will begin to caramelize. Add pineapple slices. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Take off heat and carefully line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, dispersing pineapple slices evening. Sprinkle macadamia nuts in gaps between slices.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon).

Melt additional 1 1/2 sticks butter. Pour into medium mixing bowl when melted. Add sugar, then eggs one at a time, whisking til combined. Carefully add milk and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the large mixing bowl. Incrementally add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients until combined. Pour over the caramelized pineapple slices.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake should be light golden brown.

 

Sweet Things: Banana Cinnamon Granola

Add a sweet and healthy crunch to the menu with this delicious granola recipe. This recipe features the essence of banana together with cinnamon, vanilla and the sweet burst of raisins. It’s an aromatic combination that’s perfect atop yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, or just by itself.

Ingredients:

3 cups (c) rolled oats

1 c sliced almonds

1/4 c chopped walnuts

1/4 c light brown sugar

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 c honey

1 c banana chips

1 c jumbo raisins


Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix together oats, almonds, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and honey in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture onto 13 x 9 inch cookie sheet. Place in oven, using spatula to carefully mix granola on sheet every 20 minutes. Once mixture starts to turn light golden brown (about 50 minutes into baking), mix in banana chips. Remove from oven once granola is golden brown, between 60-75 minutes of total oven time depending on oven.

Mix in raisins as soon as granola comes out of oven.

Cool granola; serve over Greek yogurt with sliced bananas and strawberries and a bit of honey.

Enjoy!

xx C&L