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.

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

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

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.