Weekender: A Very Mary Birthday!

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Happy birthday to my amazing mother – the most beautiful, stylish, and special person I know.

 

May your weekend be filled with endless reasons to celebrate!

xx Cocoa & Lace

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Sunday Musings: A Blessed Birthday

This past weekend was such a treat – I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in New York City with my boyfriend and best friends. Miraculously, I beat Sandy to her mischief, too, returning home today to spend what’s left of my birthday weekend with my family.

As I paused to “make a wish” amid the glow of my (gasp) 23 birthday candles, I was overwhelmed with one clear notion: I am blessed. To my family and friends both near and far, thank you for sending such love my way. I am indeed a lucky girl.

Below you’ll find just a few images capturing a whirlwind of a weekend – enjoy!

xx 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: 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


Ingredients:

  • 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

Frosting:

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

Instructions:

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.

Frosting:

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.