SWEET TREATS

pomegranate martini cupcakes

My dietetic internship and part-time job have completely taken over my life (in the best way) but I’m finally taking a second for a post! Ironically, this week my grad class assignment is to make suggestions on improving crappy recipes so I’m crossing my fingers my peers don’t pick this one because that would warrant about 30,000 “embarrassed” emojis. And yes, I’m working on recipes in grad school – I love dietetics!

I’m currently doing a community rotation with all the great ladies I used to work with at WIC so one of my besties and I baked for a meeting a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been on a vodka kick lately for my drink of choice and because life is so wonderful we recently got a free bottle of Tito’s. Naturally, I was inspired to put some alcohol in my cupcakes.

  

Cupcakes

The frosting is where these cupcakes really come to life but for my base I used my go-to basic white cake recipe. 

I doubled the recipe, making around 30 and shiny, silver liners added a nice touch for these cupcakes for a classy martini theme.

Pomegranate Martini Frosting

  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 TBSP vodka
  • 1-2 TBSP pomegranate seeds (start with 1 and add more if you want the frosting to have a stronger pomegranate flavor profile or want it to look more pink)

Beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vodka, vanilla and pomegranates. My Kitchen Aid paddle was able to break up and incorporate the seeds nicely.

Decorations

Frost cooled cupcakes and decorate with 4-6 pomegranate seeds right in the center of each.

I really wanted to print off pictures of olives and glue them to toothpicks for these because of the whole martini theme but this was more like a cosmo anyway… I digress. Enjoy!

mini mojito cupcakes

 

Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, (which I seriously cannot believe is already upon us) so why not bid it farewell with some summery-drink inspired cupcakes? Making minis gives the appearance that there are more and they tend to go a little farther, that’s my little party trick when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to double my recipe. I also learned a new party trick this weekend – that bringing mini cupcakes to a pool party keeps you from being picked last for team games! I, of course, couldn’t resist the little American flag and lime toppers! Shoutout to my bestie for making those flags while I was recovering from our 7 mile run which kicked my butt!

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Mojito Cupcakes

Per usual, I used this basic white cake recipe for my base but changed it up quite a bit so be sure to follow these 4 steps to make sure you get the perfect mojito flavor and to gather the extras you need for the recipe:

  1. Substitute 1 tsp of the vanilla extract for mint extract. It gives the cupcakes a super minty flavor which really represents a mojito well!
  2. Add the zest of one lime, or approximately 1 TBSP lime zest to the batter after the addition of eggs and vanilla.
  3.  When measuring the milk, fill your measuring cup to just below the 4oz (1/2 cup) line, add white rum until the liquid reaches the 4oz line. It should be approximately 2 TBSP of rum. We only had coconut milk in the house so that is what I used, and I think it gave a little extra oomph to the flavor combo!
  4.  With minis you don’t need to bake for so long, only 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops bounce back when pressed lightly with one finger. That is my trick for testing doneness instead of using a toothpick!

Mojito Buttercream 

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1.5 TBSP white rum
  • 1 TBSP lime juice (juice of one lime)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in rum, lime juice and vanilla. Frost your cupcakes and add decorations if desired.

Decorations

  • Mini lime wedges

It only took about 2 limes to get enough for the cupcakes after I cut them into about 32nds, we’re talking tiny lime wedges here. If you add the lime wedges you definitely want to refrigerate these little guys.

  • American flag toothpicks

I couldn’t help myself with these for Labor Day weekend. I just searched for printable American flags used a glue stick to secure them to toothpicks. Simple and adorable!

Now sit back and savor this bittersweet long holiday weekend that wraps up the season with a few mini mojito cupcakes.

And if we’re being honest, a few real mojitos too! 😉

 

 

Nerds cupcakes with pomegranate buttercream frosting

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Just a quick post after taste-testing a special request for a big event next weekend that I’m super pumped to be a part of!

The verdict – so delicious and I’m not even a candy kind of girl!!

Basic White Cake 

Since this was just a taste-tester I did not double the recipe and it made 15 cupcakes!

Follow this recipe and add 1/4 cup nerds candy! They get a little browner than normal I’m guessing from the extra sugar from the candy.

Pomegranate Buttercream 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 TBSP pomegranate juice

Beat butter until creamy, then add sugar one cup at a time until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Add pomegranate juice to desired taste and consistency.

Frost, sprinkle with nerds and enjoy!!

drunken Malibu mango cupcakes

This past weekend we celebrated the Third Annual Beer Olympics and two of our best friends’ birthdays. What is Beer Olympics? The most fun weekend of the year where we test our abilities to drink beer and complete games the fastest, take a quick break for dinner and changing and then we get picked up to go out to Seacrets in Ocean City, MD. Fun fact, my boyfriend and I didn’t win a single game despite our most intense efforts but it was still a super fun day!

Snacking during the day is essential to survival and you know I always bring dessert. I updated an older recipe to meet the request of not-so-much coconut and got some decorating ideas from Martha Stewart’s book “CUPCAKES” since our theme this year was “under the sea.”

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Basic White Cake

I doubled a basic white cake recipe (makes 12 each.) Once the cupcakes cooled I used a paring knife to remove a small circle from the center ( I forgot my tool to do this with at home.)

Drunken Mango Filling

  • 2 mangos diced
  • enough Mango Malibu liquor to cover mango

Soak overnight for full flavor then fill cooled and hollowed cupcakes with drained mango.

Malibu Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 6 TBSP Malibu
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Extras For Decorating

  • blue food coloring
  • graham crackers
  • blue sprinkles
  • paper drink umbrellas
  • blue construction paper cut into shark fins

Beat butter until creamy, then add sugar one cup at a time until well combined. Add milk, rum, and vanilla. A little bit extra powdered sugar may be necessary at the end to get the right consistency. Divide frosting into two bowls. Add blue food coloring to one until it resembles ocean water. I forgot mine and had to use blue melting chocolate to tint the frosting. Pipe half of cupcakes with a dollop of blue frosting and then spread to resemble waves. Add blue sprinkles and top each one with a shark fin.

Crush graham crackers to resemble sand, pipe the non-tinted frosting to spread evenly and dip the cupcakes into a shallow bowl to cover in the cracker crumbs. Top with an umbrella.

I didn’t refrigerate these, just kept them at room temperature and they kept really well!

 

 

 

mimosa cupcakes

 

How do you solve the dilemma of wanting a brunch-y beverage but having to work? Mimosa Cupcakes!

We said goodbye to another fabulous staff member on Friday and had a delicious work breakfast to send her off. I went with mini cupcakes this time around because they’re cuter and with less calories and sugar, are a more appropriate morning indulgence.

I’ve made this recipe before, but I messed up with my frosting and it turned out yummy but runny which is no bueno for frosting. I ditched the cream cheese (sad, I know) and went with a mimosa buttercream instead and it came out perfectly!

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Champagne Cupcakes

I followed this recipe. Since they were minis it only took about 10 minutes to bake and made SO MINI! 😉

Mimosa Frosting

  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 TBSP prosecco or champagne
  • 2 TBSP OJ
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat butter until creamy, add powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add your liquids, mix and say cheers!

 

funfetti Easter cupcakes

Last weekend we were supposed to have our annual Easter Egg Hunt. Unfortunately, we got rained and snowed out. It’s totally my bad, I decided to pack up all my winter clothes last week and put them away in the basement for the first time in my entire life. I basically asked for that to happen. Because I can’t predict the future, I had to have cupcakes ready, which worked out perfectly because for the first time ever I’m publishing a cupcake recipe with adequate time for readers to bake them for their own festivities!!

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Me counting my eggs after last year’s event. I won. 

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Funfetti Cupcakes

I’ve been using this recipe every year for my boyfriend’s birthday and he was dying for some. It’s his half birthday this month so that was fitting. I didn’t want the typical sprinkle colors to take away from the beautiful pastels of Easter so I looked for some pastel colored sprinkles. Target hooked me up!

Follow this recipe for the cupcakes and double it to make 24. You have to line the pan with cute Easter-y liners first tho!

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 TBSP milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • pastel green food coloring

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping edges of bowl as needed. Add milk slowly, then vanilla. Add the fluff. It gets a little sticky and is pretty thick but it’s perfect for piping cute little grass designs if you wanna go for the green!

Ice cooled cupcakes and top with non-cream filled Cadburry chocolate eggs. I always store my cupcakes in the fridge but these should be fine at room temp!

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Enjoy! And Happy Easter!!

red velvet valentine’s day cupcakes

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I baked last week, because Valentine’s Day. If you’re thinking these look delicious, just wait for this description (way too long to make it the title.) Red velvet cupcake + dark chocolate ganache + cream cheese frosting + chocolate-dipped, sprinkle-covered Oreo. I also passed out cute little pizza- pun Valentines to my coworkers and mailed some to my girlfriends. I have to show you how adorable these are. Who doesn’t love a cheese pun!?

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Red Velvet Cupcakes 

I used Hershey’s Red Velvet Cake Recipe for my cupcakes. They baked at the same temperature but only for about 22-25 minutes. I always gently press the top of the cupcakes to check. If they spring back up, they are ready to come out! Once they are cooled, core the centers, about half-way deep.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Warm heavy cream on a double boiler, until almost boiling. I don’t have a double boiler and a stainless steal bowl placed over a stainless steal saucepan works just fine (or you can cheat and just warm the cream in the microwave!)  Pour warmed cream over chocolate and whisk until combined and smooth. Refrigerate until set, but still soft. Place a generous tablespoonful into the center of each cupcake and then make the frosting!

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream softened cream cheese and butter together. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla.

Chocolate & Sprinkle Covered Oreo

  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo cookies
  • festive sprinkles

Melt chocolate in microwave. Do this in small batches for small time increments, like 30 seconds to prevent chocolate from burning. Dip half of Oreos in chocolate, lay on wax paper and cover in sprinkles. Let set until chocolate hardens. This task is much easier with two people and, thankfully, my valentine joined me for this baking adventure!

Frost cupcakes, add Oreos and store in fridge if not serving immediately.

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Enjoy!

white chocolate coconut ganache filled cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream

Last week was a week of “it’s not goodbye it’s see you later.” The day after one of my best friends moved to Africa, one of my awesome coworkers left us for a new job. As excited as I am for her and new opportunities, she will be truly missed because her presence always has a tendency to make the day that much better. We had a little farewell breakfast for her but I brought cupcakes, cause that’s what I do 😉 She requested coconut and vanilla flavors so I combined the two for a vanilla cupcake filled with a white chocolate coconut ganache topped with vanilla bean buttercream frosting.

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Cupcakes

I have yet to develop my own cake recipe so for now I rely on other delicious ones. This buttermilk vanilla cake recipe didn’t explain cupcakes but it made 18 and the time was pretty spot on. Once cupcakes are done, cool and core centers.

White Chocolate Coconut Ganache Filling

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk (shelf-stable)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes**

The result of this incredible cupcake filling was a complete accident/miracle. For some reason I always seem to forget that the other important detail to making a ganache besides an equal ratio of liquid to chocolate is that that liquid needs to be cream. I used coconut milk and it did not set. I put it in the freezer, nada. I gave up and left it in the fridge overnight and still it didn’t thicken. I had about 90 minutes to figure out a solution so I dumped the majority of the bag of coconut flakes into the bowl and it thickened the mixture and came out SO perfect for a cupcake filling.

**I do apologize for not supplying a more exact measurement of coconut flakes but I was in such a panic to figure out how to thicken the filling I just dumped a bunch of coconut flakes in the bowl and I think that’s about how much.

Fill the cooled cupcake centers with about a TBSP of filling.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 TBSP lite coconut milk (leftover from filling)
  • 2 TBSP cow’s milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Beat butter adding 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Around the 4th addition of powdered  add in milks. Scrape bowl after every cup of powdered sugar is added. If you’ve never used a vanilla bean before, read carefully: cut it in half and scrape the insides out with a spoon. Add to frosting. Pipe frosting and top with coconut flakes.

Another mishap of these cupcakes was that I refrigerated the frosting overnight because it was late and I needed to sleep instead of waiting around to frost cupcakes. When the frosting came out it was very thick and not pipe-able at all. I waited about an hour for it to thaw and transported it to work in a Ziploc baggie with the tip cut off. While piping the frosting, the bag popped and I had to shape the frosting in my (clean) hands before placing a dollop on top of each cupcake. Three of them turned out okay and that’s what I used to take my picture on a bright green paper plate in the office kitchen. So I would definitely recommend piping immediately and then refrigerating!

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The adventure that was making these cupcakes was ridiculous but they turned out perfectly and I even had a sweet note waiting for me when I got back from my lunch break from a coworker.

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Hopefully reading this ahead of time will result in a much less stressful process getting to the finished product. Enjoy!

chocolate “dirt & worm” cupcakes

 

This year for Halloween I requested that all my favorite people come to a party I was throwing at my house wearing 90’s themed costumes. And everybody went with it. I was preparing for this event for months ahead of time, and the week before I thought I was going to lose my mind because there were just not enough hours in the day to work, get to the gym, study for my exam coming up, hang fake cob webs (aka “freaky fabric”) all over my house and try not to burn all of my fingers with the hot glue gun. But I can’t even explain how happy it made me to be the hostess with everyone at my house celebrating, especially when two of them showed up as 90-year-olds in full costume, makeup and character. Last minute I realized that it was probably going to be expected of me to have baked goods so I put my own spin on this Halloween classic and they turned out to be a hit!

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Cupcakes

My go-to Hershey’s recipe. I had a little of both dark chocolate and milk chocolate cocoa powder left so I used a mixture, which was a great decision taste and appearance-wise. Cool and core centers.

Godiva Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 TBSP Godiva chocolate liquor

I still do not have a double boiler so I cheat on this. Warm whipping cream in a pan over low heat on the stove. Place chocolate chips and liquor in a bowl. Once cream is warm pour over chocolate mixture, whisk to combine. Put in fridge to set until a little firmer but now solid. Once set, scoop about a TBSP into the center of each cupcake.

Chocolate Godiva Liquor Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups powdered sugar (depending on desired texture)
  • 2 TBSP Godiva chocolate liquor
  • 2-3 TBSP cocoa powder (should turn the frosting gray)

Cream softened butter and add powdered sugar a cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add cocoa powder and chocolate liquor, mix until combined.

Topping

  • 1 package of oreos, smashed into small pieces/crumbs
  • 24-30 gummy worms (I made big cupcakes and only needed 24, recipe calls for 30)

Pipe a bit of frosting onto each cupcake and spread to cover the whole top. Sprinkle oreo crumbs onto each cupcake. Top with a gummy worm.

Enjoy!

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One of my close friends and fellow bloggers came to my party and has a post about all the other recipes including Candy Corn Jello Shooters, Witch’s Couldren and Polyjuice Potion punches as well as an amazing sangria she made and quite the experience with some apple shooters. Check those recipes out for next year’s celebration (or the sangria/apple shooters anytime) below!

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apple pie cupcakes

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Way back five years ago, the first time my boyfriend took me home to meet his family, we went apple picking in New York. Three falls in a row we visited the orchard – it had become tradition and it easily became one of my favorite things to do out of the entire year. That orchard has lent to a lot of precious memories and I was beyond excited to go back this year after two years missing out. This weekend was the first one they were open for the you-pick. We grabbed our outrageously-priced bag and wandered the orchard hand-in-hand grabbing (and me also knocking too many on the ground) the most perfect apples.

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Every year we went in the past we came home and made apple pies. Mixing it up this year with an original recipe for apple pie cupcakes!

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Cupcakes

I used the same basic white cake recipe as I have in previous recipes. This batter comes out thick and makes about 16 cupcakes.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Bring water and granulated sugar to a boil. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add apples and cook until desired soft texture is achieved. Add cinnamon and brown sugar. Remove from heat.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8oz pack light cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream softened cream cheese and butter together. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla.

Cinnamon-Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 TBSP butter

Melt butter over low heat, add oat mixture. Stir continuously for several minutes until slightly crispy. Lay on a plate covered with paper towels (to soak up the moisture) to cool. Store in an airtight container.

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Once the cupcakes cool, remove the centers, fill with cooked apples and frost. I would add the crumble right before serving to avoid the oats soaking up moisture from the frosting and getting soggy. Store in fridge.

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Enjoy!!