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


  • 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


  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


  • 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


  • 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

Sunday Musings

There’s something about autumn I just can’t resist. The crisp air, breathtaking colors, fall fashions, flavors, and football – you name it – I love it all. Here are just a few images that capture my journey across the bridge that links summer fun to winter white. Rest assured there will be more to come.
Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

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.


xx Cocoa & Lace


  • 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


  • 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? 😉


xx Cocoa & Lace


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


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


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.


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


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.


xx C&L

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