Sweet Things: Vanilla Cupcakes

This classic recipe is dedicated to the one and only “Grandpa John”, my late grandfather who would be celebrating his 80th birthday today. Although I never got the chance to meet him, I’ve heard he embraced his sweet tooth on special occasions. He loved simple treats like these Simply Vanilla Cupcakes, amongst other favorites like Tapioca Pudding and Angel Food Cake. So here’s to you, Grandpa John. Celebrate big today!

Hope you all find something to celebrate!

xx C&L


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (t) baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c 1% milk


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (T) 2% milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt butter in microwave. Pour into medium mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs one at a time, and vanilla.

Mix all dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour wet ingredients into well, whisking together gently until just combined.

Pour in milk gradually stirring until all mixed. Batter should be smooth.

Pour into lined muffin cups.

Baked 12-15 minutes until light golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Yields 12 cupcakes.


Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Let cool. Pour into clear ziploc, cut the corner (very small cut) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. May decorate with colored sprinkles or colored sugar if desired.

Sweet Things: Honey Blueberry Bundt Cake



2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 c canola oil

1 c granulated sugar

1/2 c light brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon honey

1 T fresh squeezed orange juice

4 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 pint fresh blueberries (freeze about 3 hours prior to use)

Drizzle topping:  1 T honey, 1 T buttermilk, and 1 T orange juice




Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Melt butter and pour into a medium size mixing bowl.Whisk together with oil. Add sugars, vanilla, honey, and orange juice. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking gently with each new addition. Add buttermilk. Whisk together til mixture is smooth.

Make well in the bottom of dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients gradually, whisking gently. Do not over-mix. Stop when all ingredients are combined.

Fold in blueberries.

Pour evenly into a greased 12-cup Bundt pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until top is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Drizzle honey, buttermilk, OJ glaze over top while still warm. The liquid will be absorbed by the cake.

Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of orange blossom tea with honey.
Here’s to a midweek sweet treat that will power you through to the weekend. 🙂


xx C&L

Sweet Things: A’s Cocoa-Razzies

Looking for a simple (and healthy!) treat to satisfy your sweet tooth? Look no further than this delicious two-ingredient recipe I first tasted at a potluck-style girls’ night in college (thanks, A!).
Enjoy while berry season is in full swing!

A’s Cocoa Razzies


1 container of fresh raspberries

1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (may also mix in or substitute white chocolate chips)


Chill raspberries for several hours before handling. Simply stuff a chocolate chip inside a single raspberry. Repeat until all raspberries have been accounted for. Once properly filled with chocolate chips, place all of the raspberries back in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.

And that’s it! Simple, easy, delicious.


xx C&L

Sweet Things: Mocha Brownie Buzz

Happy Monday, everyone! Before you get too immersed in your daily to-dos, take a moment to check out a new recipe featuring two things I could never live without: coffee and chocolate. In this recipe, I combine decadent dark chocolate, white chocolate chips, and the smooth flavor of Level 3 Seattle’s Best Coffee for a new flavor combination that will leave you nothing short of blissfully buzzed.


xx C&L

P.S. A big thanks to the Seattle’s Best team for my baking garb! My apron was worn by none other than the Sandwich King himself as he ventures across the country for the Seattle’s Best Coffee Red Cup Showdown.

Mocha Brownie Buzz

2 Tablespoons Level 3 Seattle’s Best Coffee, brewed*

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

* Brew coffee for brownies. Combine 2 T ground coffee with 1/4 cup boiling water. Let steep for 5-8 minutes and pour through coffee filter. Flavor should be intense.

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.

Add mixture to greased brownie pan.

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

Sweet Things: Independence Day Layer Bars

Happy Fourth of July! Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved this holiday more than any other. There’s something about how the summer sun melts into a firework-filled night sky that continues to captivate me year after year. Of course, it also happens to be the perfect opportunity to bake for family and friends – a best-loved holiday tradition – in the shade of red, white and blue. So before you call it a night, add a dash of patriotism to your menu with this simple recipe that comes together in a pinch. It’s a crowd pleaser that’ll be gone before you even have a chance to sing “Happy Birthday America.”

Independence Day Layer Bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup coconut flakes, sweetened

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup dried blueberries, sweetened

1/2 cup dried cranberries, sweetened

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt stick of butter in microwavable bowl (about 1 minute depending on power level).

Add graham cracker crumbs and mix until coated.

Pour butter/graham cracker crumb mixture into bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Use clean hands or the back of a spatula to push mixture into a compact crust.

Sprinkle coconut flakes evenly over graham cracker crust.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over coconut flakes.

Sprinkle dried blueberries, cranberries and white chocolate chips evenly over sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown.

Slice into squares once cooled. Served with a dollop of cool whip or small scoop of ice cream and fresh berries, if desired.

Enjoy- from my kitchen to yours!

xx C&L

Sweet Things: Nutella Banana Bread


Nutella makes everything better. In this case, classic banana bread gets a sinful twist with a dollop (or two) of everyone’s favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread. Enjoy!

Nutella Banana Bread

1 3/4 cup (c) flour

1 teaspoon (t) baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

3 medium bananas, ripe

1 c sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c vegetable oil

2 tablespoons (T) Greek yogurt

1 t vanilla extract

2 T honey

4 T Nutella

1 c milk chocolate chips* (may also use semi-sweet or white chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

Mash bananas in a medium mixing bowl. Mix in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Whisk gently until just combined. Mix in oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Stir in Greek yogurt until completely combined.

Create a well in the middle of the bowl of dry ingredients. Pour half of the wet ingredients into well. Whisk gently before adding the other half of wet ingredients. Do not over-mix, but do make sure all dry ingredients are incorporated.

Add four generous tablespoons of Nutella to the batter. Do not over-mix, although batter should take on a chocolate color. Swirls of unincorporated Nutella are encouraged.

Pour in 1 cup of milk chocolate chips. Semi-sweet or white chocolate chips can also be used.

Grease 9 x 5 inch pan with method of choice. Pour in batter, leaving about 1/2 inch of pan exposed. Extra batter may be poured into muffin cups and eaten as bite-sized samples. (Just be sure to take the extra batter out of the oven before the large loaf is done, as the bite-sized samples will only take about 15 minutes depending on the amount in each muffin cup.)

Bake loaf about 50-60 minutes. Check at 50 minutes by poking center with knife. If knife comes out clean, it’s done.

While loaf is still warm in pan, spread Nutella (generously!) across the top. Make sure surface is covered. Sprinkle with sugar crystals if desired.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Enjoy!

xx C&L

**Note– I mix all of my recipes by hand unless otherwise noted. Please be advised that electric mixers will do the job more quickly, but it is also easier to over-mix and thus toughen the batter.