Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Well, it’s that time of year again… time to bust out the eggnog, peppermint bark, red and green M & M’s, and anything else high in sugar and calories!  There is so much to love about Christmas time, but one of my favorite things is the emphasis on anything and everything peppermint.  For some reason, peppermint just tastes better in December, even though it’s accessible all year round.  I’ll just blame it on the “magic of Christmas”…aka, it’s completely a mental thing. 😉

Food is such an important aspect of Christmas time for me because it brings back many memories from my childhood and I think that’s maybe why I love it so much.  I can remember making sugar cookies with my Mom and sister that were rolled in red and green sprinkles, peanut butter blossoms (which I was always trying to steal when Mom wasn’t looking), white chocolate covered Oreos (my Dad’s favorite), and a Bolte family tradition on Christmas Eve: “reindeer food”.  My Mom used to always make a cheese ball that consisted of gouda wrapped in crescent rolls and baked and it was always a big hit.  As were the crock pot meat balls and my grandmother’s deviled eggs and Aunt’s pumpkin roll.  Oh, Christmas…how I love you.

As a kid growing up, the scents of Christmas were just as important as the tastes.  I can vividly remember the smell of fresh pine from the Christmas tree, cloves, cinnamon, oranges, and cranberry coming from a pot simmering on the stove, and the smell of snow in the air.  Christmas time also brings to mind Kenny G, Steven Curtis Chapman’s mid 90’s Christmas album, “Music of Christmas”, and the infamous Amy Grant album, “Home for Christmas,” which was played about 1,000,000 times in our house over the course of a month.   I’m so grateful to have grown up in a household with these kinds of soul-warming memories, even if they might be a bit cheesy sometimes. I’m even more grateful though to have brought up in a household that celebrated and overemphasized the real meaning of Christmas, in spite of all the traditions and craziness this season brings with it, which is the birth of Christ.  Speaking of the birth of Christ, my Mom may or may not have made us sing “Happy birthday” to Jesus every year…yes, even now as a 25 year old I’m not exempt, in fact, no one is.  Here’s the proof:

On Christmas Eve our family always gets dressed up in our Christmas best, goes to church so we can celebrate the true reason for the season, stand and sing some Christmas carols while holding a little white candle that inevitably will run over the side of the paper holder and onto your hand, come home to hors d’oeuvres, and then we all receive 3 presents…one of which is always matching pajamas my Mom picks out every year.  This is the point at which I become jealous of my brother because he always gets the comfy ones while my sister and I get the “cute” ones that are completely impractical.  Ah, well.

Christmas morning in our house was pretty scripted.  My brother would wake up first, around 6 AM, come into my sister’s room to wake her up, then they came in my room to wake me up last.  Finally, once I had been dragged out of bed, we would all go into my parents room to wake them up, which was no easy task!  We weren’t allowed to go downstairs until Mom and Dad had given the “ok”, which really meant all the cameras and presents had been set up and were in place, so there are many pictures of the three of us in our pajamas at the top of the staircase, bed head and all, and I, always looking less than enthused about being up before the sun.

Once we had made it downstairs, there was a distinct system when it came to presents.  First we always read Luke 2 as a family before anything else.  Then when it came time to open gifts, Mom usually had a code for which only she knew when it came to which present belonged to who, and we had to take turns opening them, one at a time.  There was usually always at least one person who got a big present that wasn’t under the tree though and was hiding in a discreet location until after all the other presents were opened.  Once that was all done, then came the stockings, which was my sister, Lauren’s, favorite part.  Now it was time to look like you were excited about getting a razor and some face wash!  If you were really lucky though, you’d get a CD or some money…

Breakfast was always special too on Christmas.  We always either had breakfast casserole (my personal fave) or monkey bread, as modeled here by Jordan, my brother.

In recent years though, we have started to go to Waffle House or Waffle King for breakfast.  We do this simply so we can bless those who have to work on Christmas day just to make ends meat and as we all know, the only place open is Waffle House.  We’ll save up money throughout the year and then leave a large tip before we leave with a card that has a Bible verse on it with a small note from us.  It’s something my Mom started about five years ago and is now one of my favorite parts, despite the fact that the first year we had to all go in our matching pajamas…it was pretty embarrassing.

So anyway, those are just some of my Christmas memories from growing up.  I’d love to hear some of yours as well!  Traditions always intrigue me and learning about new and different ones is always exciting.  But now it’s back to the whole point of this blog…the food!

This recipe combines two of my many culinary loves: peppermint and (of course) coffee.  You can’t really go wrong with those two ingredients, right?  I would also add that this is undoubtedly my new favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It is incredibly moist, light, and when made with a quality cocoa, deliciously deep in chocolate flavor.  I would also highly recommend that you put on some Christmas tunes, a festive apron, and maybe some hot chocolate on the stove while you make these little beauties.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes (base recipe):
Makes 2 dozen standard-sized cupcakes 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

To this base recipe, I made the peppermint mocha flavor by adding:

  • 3 Tbsp peppermint extract
  • 1 cup hot, strong brewed coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or 325 degrees if you are using convection.
  2. Prepare your cupcake tins with liners and a light coat of baking spray.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the batter attachment, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla until combined.
  5. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
  6. Add the brewed coffee (slowly!) and mix until combined.  The batter will be extremely watery looking, but don’t worry…it’s right!
  7. Using a 3 Tbsp. scoop, transfer batter to cupcake pan and bake for 18-22 minutes.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before icing.

And about 20 minutes later…*Drumroll please* Ta da!

Now for the peppermint swirl icing…I know it may look a little tricky, but believe me, it’s about simple as you can get!  Here’s a picture tutorial on making the stripes, oh and this is just a basic vanilla buttercream I used for these.

  1. You’ll need a piping bag, a spatula, red icing gel, as shown here, which can be found at any major supermarket, and a straw.  I prefer this over red food coloring because it holds better to the bag and is more potent in color.

2.  Next, carefully put a stripe inside the piping bag down one side.  Add your icing to the piping bag and it should look something like this:

I also find it’s helpful when adding icing to a piping bag to use a tall cup.

That’s pretty much it…now just pipe some of the icing out until you get to the red part and ice those cupcakes baby!

Finally, here a few more Christmas pictures for you to enjoy.  Again, I would love to hear any and all Christmas traditions your family might have as well!

Christmas 2008

Savannah and Granddaddy – Christmas 2010

Christmas 1993 – the year we got our first family dog

Cody on his first white Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:11
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Posted in chocolate, coffee, cupcakes, holiday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal?!  Who’s ever heard of such a thing, right?  That’s what I thought when I saw this recipe but as it turns out, it’s awesome! (And did I mention it’s SUPER EASY?  Because it is.)  Think oatmeal meets a granola bar and you’ve got baked oatmeal.

So, I tend to to go thru these phases of things I am obsessed with for a short time and then forget about.  For example, a few weeks back  I was on a chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal kick in the mornings (it’s like a no-bake cookie, but without the sugar and butter…pretty stinkin’ fantastic!), hence the insane amount of oats I now have in my pantry.  So, then it becomes time to get creative with what you’ve got and try to make use of it all.  Granted, oats are a pretty versatile ingredient so it’s pretty hard to mess that up, but really…who needs another oatmeal raisin cookie or oat bran muffin recipe?  Exactly.  Enter baked oatmeal…it’s healthy, quick, easy, and delicious.  It’s one of those recipes that isn’t an every day thing so it’s special, but not so special that you have to get up at 5 AM to make it so it’s basically a win-win situation.  Can we say weekend breakfast?

I should also mention that FALL IS FINALLY ALMOST HERE!!  Words simply cannot express the love I have for this season and I am always so excited to start baking again with maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin just to name a few.  Everything about it is so fantastic…the 50 degree weather, the crisp morning air, the leaves, the fact that hoodies can be worn again…it is hands down the best time of the year and anyone who says otherwise is obviously not right in the head. (I’m not biased or anything. :))  As an ode to Fall, I decided to make the pumpkin spice version of this, and can I just say that it will make your kitchen, and house for the matter, smell AMAZING!  It’s like oven potpourri.  Anyway, here’s the recipe:

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (for the top)

Remember how I said this recipe was insanely easy?  That’s because all you do is mix all those ingredients together in a large bowl and pour it into a greased 9×13 pan, then top it off with the remaining brown sugar.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

After you’re done, it should look a little something like this… (I actually over baked mine a little bit, but you get the picture.)

Serve with milk poured over it or just by itself.

Happy Fall ya’ll! 🙂

Posted in breakfast, fall, healthy, kid-friendly | Leave a comment

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

Ok, so let’s just talk about the giant elephant in the room for a second…I haven’t updated this blog for some time now (137 days to be exact).  I’m awful, I know.  A lot has happened during that time though!  For starters, as most of you know, the business which I had with a couple of friends of mine had to close it’s doors and ever since then I’ve joined the world of the unemployed, with the exception of about a month of working in an insurance office (no thank you).  Let me just say, after owning and running my own business, I have a whole new appreciation for work ethic.  I learned so much during that short time we had the store and also redeemed a couple of important friendships in my life.  #Winning!

(It’s not the best picture, but it’s the only one we all have together.)

So, summertime.  It once again has flown by and with only 1.5 days left in August I am MORE than ready for Fall to get here!  Not just because it’s 9,000 degrees outside and my A/C doesn’t work, but it’s also the best season, hands down, in my humble opinion.  This summer brought with it lots of great opportunities for travel and also lots of great memories with some wonderful people.  First, in May I became an Aunt again to a beautiful baby girl named Lyla Grace Windsor.  She is the newest love of my life!  Being an Aunt has to be one of the best jobs in the world and I wouldn’t trade a second of it!

I like to call this one, “Fresh out of the oven”.
The big sister, Savannah…still my favorite first-born niece. ❤

Yay for babies! 🙂

In June I had the chance to go to Panama City Beach, FL with a group of students from my church and it was…you guessed it…amazing.  Great relationships were made there and I definitely feel blessed to have been a part of it.  You can’t really go wrong though with the beach, a bunch of awesome people, and lots of sweet tea.

Good times.  Fo’ sho’.

Then, in July I had an amazing opportunity to go back to the land I love so much…Northern Ireland!  Words simply cannot describe the love I feel for that place.  It’s my second home (feels more like my first most days though) and I consider the people there my family.  They are so amazing.  I went for three weeks with 12 other Americans and we met up with 40 Northern Irish with whom we did a summer program called “Fused” for two weeks.  Let me just tell you, there’s no other way to live than by doing life with people you love and doing ministry with them in a place you are called to be.  This was my 14th trip there and even though the “romanticized” side of Northern Ireland has long worn off, it still gets my heart pounding each time I go.  The people are amazing, the place itself is breathtaking, and it’s been so neat to watch the ministry evolve there over the past 9 years I’ve been going.  I could go on and on about it, but since this is a food blog I’d better get to the point…(if you’d like to hear more about the trip though I’d love to tell you about it over coffee sometime :)).  Here are some quick snapshots of our team and the place we were at (Newcastle, Northern Ireland):

The Mourne Mountains, from Newcastle beach.
The group I was helping with…Holiday Club (woot woot!)
My last night :(…saying goodbye at the best little pub in Northern Ireland, Maghera.

So yeah, that’s summer in a nutshell.  ‘Twas fantastic, to say the least.  Now that we’re all up to speed on what’s been going on for the past four months though, let’s talk sugar!

After closing the store back in March, I was a little burned out on baking (no pun intended!) since it was what I had been doing 6 days a week for 6 months straight.  I decided to take a short break from it…didn’t think it would be a 4 month break from it, but hey…what can you do.  Hopefully now I can update this more reguarly and start checking off all the different things I have wanted to make for some time now!  There’s a list of about 200 different recipes I want to try, so I guess I’d better get to work.

These cookies n’ cream cupcakes are from a recipe I adapted from a blog I follow (and you should too!) called Bakergirl.  These cupcakes are not new or exciting in terms of originality, I know, but I’ve been wanting to make these for awhile now.  I mean, who doesn’t love Oreos?!  They turned out really well…moist with a good texture and good chocolate flavor.  Here’s the recipe I used:


  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate*
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/3 c. Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 c. hot, strong-brewed coffee
  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 15 Oreos
*It’s probably easier to just use bittersweet chocolate, but all I had was 100% cocao.  To make bittersweet chocolate, for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate, use 1 T of butter and 1 T of sugar to make up for the fat content.  If using bittersweet, omit the 3 T of sugar and butter in this recipe.


  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. finely crushed Oreos
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard sized cupcake pan with 15 cupcake liners and lightly spray with baking spray.  Twist the Oreos in half, saving the non-creme half for the icing later, and place the Oreo creme side up in the bottom of the cupcake liners.  Set aside.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate, cocoa, butter, 4 T of sugar, and brewed coffee with whisk until smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temp.

  1. Whisk dry ingredients…flour, sugar, salt, baking soda…together in a seperate bowl.  Set aside.
  2. To the chocolate mixture, add the oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the flour mixture, little by little, to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.  Be careful not to overmix though.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly to the cupcake pan, filling each 3/4 full.  Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Set aside to cool completely before frosting them.

  1. To make the icing, cream the butter and vanilla together in an electric mixer using the beater attachment.  Slowly add the powdered sugar in 1/4 c. increments, blending well after each.  Add the milk and beat well, until smooth.
  2. Add the crushed Oreos to the buttercream and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. Spoon icing into a pastry bag and pipe on cupcakes. 

So, there you go!  The blogging draught of 2011 is over!  Hope you enjoy these and until next time…cheers! 🙂

Posted in chocolate, cupcakes, kid-friendly | 1 Comment

(Almost) Sugar-Free Vanilla² Cupcakes

Well, I’m back at it again with the sugar-free baking experiments.  This time, instead of using the dreaded Splenda though, I thought I’d give Stevia a try instead.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Splenda because of how heavily it is processed (which can’t be good for you), plus there is always a chemically aftertaste, so Stevia is my “fake” sweetener of choice.  Stevia is a totally natural, plant-based sweetener which I’m sure most of you already know about.  It’s great though because it doesn’t raise blood sugar–which, for us diabetics, is critical–it resists heat up to 377 degrees, is low carb, has no calories, and doesn’t have a strong aftertaste (although some might debate that).  The only problem with baking with it though, despite all these positive selling points, is the volume decrease it causes since you use less of it than you would sugar.  To make up for that, you can either add applesauce, yogurt, or sour cream (depending on the recipe).  As a general rule, for every 1 cup of sugar that is replaced by Stevia, 1/4-1/2 c. of the bulk should be added…hopefully that helps.

 The overall result was much more pleasant than the cupcakes I made with Splenda, both in texture and moisture level.  The vanilla flavor could have been more prominent I thought, but I was generally very pleased with the outcome.  When compared to my beloved pound cake recipe, which I use frequently as a base for most other flavors, it actually wasn’t that much different!  Now that’s exciting!  One thing I would have probably done differently though was spray the tops of the batter with cooking oil before I put them in the oven, since Stevia doesn’t caramelize like sugar (which is why baked goods always have that “golden brown” hue to them).

{ Warm sugar-free cupcakes — a diabetics best friend. }

So anyway, it would be selfish of me to keep this recipe all to myself since it was so good (much better than the chocolate cupcakes with Splenda…sorry!), so here ya go:

SF Vanilla² Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons Stevia extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, stevia, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sour cream and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cool completely before trying to frost.

Now for the “almost” sugar-free part of these cupcakes…the buttercream.  We had en epic battle with each other when I made the first batch and the score ended up being Caitlin: 0/Buttercream: 1.  I tried using my sugar-free buttercream recipe I had discovered earlier, but we just weren’t getting along (as you can see from the picture below…and yes, that is icing, believe it or not.)  Instead of using powdered sugar, I made a mixture of powdered milk, cornstarch, and Splenda *gasp!* to replace the powdered sugar and did everything else like I normally would when making buttercream.  Turns out, you can’t replace powdered sugar in icing, I don’t care how hard you try, it’s just not gonna happen.  So after my first attempt, I decided to just make a normal buttercream full of real sugar and delicious Haitian vanilla.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…right?

{ Sugar-free “buttercream” gone wrong. }

So anyway, despite a couple bumps in the road, I think these little guys turned out just fine.  I would highly recommend using Stevia in place of Splenda, or regular sugar for the matter, if you looking for a healthier alternative to things.  It’s also exceptional in coffee!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and you can look forward to many more recipes with Stevia to come!  Until next time…

Posted in classic, cupcakes, sugar free | 1 Comment

Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Today I entered the world of sugar-free baking.  This side of baking has peaked my interest lately on a personal level since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in October of last year.  I’ve been slightly apprehensive about baking without real sugar though because, after all, it’s the essence of all things delicious when it comes to desserts, so replacing such a vital ingredient with a chemically altered sugar substitute just seems wrong.  Opinions aside though, I started experimenting with Splenda today.  It was quite different for a number of reasons and here are some things I discovered whilst using it:

  • Bake times were decreased by about 8-10 minutes.
  • I used a 1 : 1 1/4 ratio of sugar:splenda when measuring it out.
  • I also used hot water instead of cold water to help dissolve the Splenda in the batter.
  • There was a slight after taste when using it.

{ The lineup }

{ This is pure vanilla straight from Haiti!  There is nothing like it.
I was super excited to use this! }

So, without further ado, here is the recipe I used for these cupcakes.  It still needs some improvements, but hey, it’s a start!

  • 1 c. AP flour
  • 1 1/4 c. Splenda
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. hot water
  • 1/2 c. sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together until all parts are incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry to wet until the batter is mixed well, but be careful to not overmix.
  5. Transfer batter to lined and sprayed cupcake pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.

{ So yeah, they definitely aren’t the prettiest cupcakes I’ve ever made, in fact they might be the worst, but they’re sugar-free! }

{ Here’s what the inside looked like… }

Now for the icing…

Instead of using powdered sugar, I used a powdered sugar replacement made up of Splenda, dry milk, and cornstarch.  Everything else is pretty much the same though.

Sugar-Free Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar replacement*
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. milk or soy

*Powdered Sugar Replacement:

  • 1 c. nonfat dry milk
  • 1 c. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c. Splenda
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and vanilla together until well combined.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar replacement mixture to the butter and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
  3. Alternately add the milk between the powdered sugar replacement additions.
  4. Mix on medium/medium-high until smooth.

{ Voila! }

…and there you have it.  Sugar-free cupcakey goodness!  Diabetics everywhere can rest a little easier tonight knowing they are not forgotten about in the pastry world.
And don’t worry, the chocolate on top was sugar-free too. 🙂

Posted in baking, chocolate, cupcakes, sugar free | 2 Comments

Lemon Cupcakes

After a 5 month baking hiatus, I’m finally back!  These past few months have been quite the roller coaster ride, to say the least.  For those of you who don’t know, back in November I bought a local coffee shop here in Nicholasville with a couple of friends of mine.  Since then, we’ve had to shut our doors unfortunately (which I will talk about more in my next post), but the experience of running my own business was worth every minute of hard work that went into that place.

To be honest, in the past couple of weeks since closing shop, I haven’t really wanted to bake much…there was just too much going on with the store and life in general to even think about slowing down enough to make anything…but now that I’ve actually had some time to process these past 5 months, the desire to create is coming back to me.  These lemon cupcakes are something I’ve been wanting to make since October of last year, but just never got around to it so I figure it would be a good starting point.  They are a pretty simple cupcake…lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting…but they are so refreshing and tasty!

Here is the recipe I used for the cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 oz. lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl
  6. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick).
  7. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp!
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. lemon extract
  • 12 drops yellow food coloring
  1. In an electric mixing bowl, using batter attachment, cream butter and vanilla together until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar in 1/4 c. increments on low speed.

Add milk, lemon extract, and food coloring and beat on medium/medium-high until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

For the lemon curd:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
  1. Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup.
  3. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth.
  4. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.)
  5. Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next.
  7. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks

Finally, here are some more pictures for your viewing pleasure of the baking process…

I found these little guys at Wally World and was totally excited about them!

I was also very excited about using this new pastry tip for filling!

Filled cupcakes

Ta Da!  The finished product.

Posted in cupcakes, fruit | 3 Comments

Pumpkin Chili

I know this recipe doesn’t involve sugar, flour, or butter, but per the requests of many, I thought I would post it anyway.  So, without further ado here is my pumpkin chili recipe…

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle dark beer (optional)
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp. black pepper
Healthy dose of salt (to taste)

Over medium heat, saute peppers, onion, and garlic in oil until translucent.  Transfer to crock pot and in the same pan, brown the meat.  Drain meat and transfer to the crock pot.  Add tomato, pumpkin, beans, beer, and seasonings.  Mix well and let simmer on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

This recipe is great because it’s tasty, cost effective, and good for you too!  I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! 🙂

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