Monday, November 29, 2010

I've been practicing

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I ate way too much turkey, stuffing and all the fixings! And now it's time to start planning out Christmas desserts for more sweet indulgences over the next month! Before I start my holiday baking I wanted to give you a little update. Do you remember this cake I was asked to make for a wedding in 2011? Well, I've been doing some practicing!

I made the top tier and had the bride-to-be, her mom and grandmother over for a tasting last week. The bride has decided on carrot cake with a cream cheese icing. So what do you think, does my cake resemble the cake I've been asked to make? The bride was pleased with the look and taste of the cake so I was super excited!

In addition to the three tier carrot cake at her wedding she has asked me to make some red velvet cupcakes as well. Her groom is insistent on having a red velvet wedding cake, so she has decided to surprise him with some cupcakes in the shape of a UNC tarheel as a pull-apart grooms cake.

I'm honored to have the opportunity to work on the cake and cupcakes for this wedding! I hope you enjoyed the sneak peak of what's to come in May 2011!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Giveaway - $55 CSN Stores

And the Winner is....

Comment #10 Stephanie C - this is a tough call--if chosen I might purchase some traveling accessories as my youngest daughter is traveling to France at the end of this school year with her French class (we have been fundraising and fundraising). I am a follower and enjoy this blog---How exciting to be on Amy Atlas's site, too !! Congrats!!!!

Congratulations Stephanie! Please email me at
You have until Sunday Dec 12th to claim your prize, if you don't contact me by then another winner will be picked.

Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful time of year to count our blessing and remember all the things that we are truly thankful for like friends and family. And of course I am so grateful to have all of you as my loyal blog readers who come back week after week to check out what I've been baking in my kitchen! So as a THANK YOU for your support it's time for another GIVEAWAY! The great people at CSN Stores are offering one of my readers a $55 gift certificate!

CSN stores have a ton of items such as coffee tables, kitchen tables, lighting, bakeware items and much much more. They have 200 + stores where you will be sure to find something to spruce up your house! So hurry on over to their sites and see for yourself. I know this gift card will come in handy as you start your Christmas shopping this year!

GIVEAWAY: Entering for this is simple! One, you have to be a follower of this blog. Once you're a follower, leave a comment below telling me what you would buy with your gift card! You're officially entered to win!

You have until Sunday, December 5th , 11:00PM (CST) to enter the contest.
Any entries received after this time will not be considered.
One lucky winner will be chosen and posted sometime on Monday, December 6th.
Winner will be chosen using

Good luck & happy shopping!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Scrabble...Thanksgiving Edition

Only 3 more days until Turkey you have all your desserts lined up? If you are looking for a fun and playful dessert idea, I've got the perfect solution...Scrabble themed cupcakes using Thanksgiving words! This past weekend we had a game night with friends, and since I'm always the designated dessert person I thought it would be fun to make, well cupcakes of course, but with a "game" theme in mind! I just love the way these cupcakes turned out and everyone raved about them! These cupcakes were a conversation piece for the evening as everyone kept walking over debating which letter they were going to take next. Some took letters for their initials and some simply enjoyed coming over and rearranging the existing letters to create new words. Either way, it was a fun way to mingle and enjoy some cupcakes at the same time.

The making of a Scrabble cupcake board...since I wanted to have my cupcakes already displayed upon arriving at the party I had to plan out the words I wanted to use based on the number of cupcakes I had made. I had 36 mini cupcakes so I started jotting down words like


Then came the hard part, trying to get the words to fit properly together by intersecting and borrowing letters from other words like a typical Scrabble game. After about a dozen pieces of scrap paper and drawing out my game board I finally came up with the perfect word display.

How cute is this Thanksgiving Scrabble board! I'm already envisioning one for Christmas too!

Really this idea could be used two different ways during your Thanksgiving feast.

1. You can have your cupcakes & words already planned out and displayed when guests arrive for them to ooohh and aaahhh at your Thanksgiving dessert centerpiece!


2.You can have a batch of cupcakes already iced and decorated with letters but all mixed up. Then your guests can go to town creating their very own Thanksgiving themed Scrabble board. This would be the perfect way to kill time while you are waiting for the bird to finish cooking.

To make the letters all you need is some white rolled fondant cut into squares. Then simply write letters on top of the fondant using some colored icing! Place the fondant letters on top of your frosted cupcakes and viola, you have some homemade Scrabble pieces!

So if you are thinking about creating a Scrabble board for your Thanksgiving party, get started now. Make a list of words you want to use, plan out how they will all intersect with each other to create the perfect Thanksgiving game board, and go ahead and make all your fondant letters and leave them out to dry. Make your batch of cupcakes on Wednesday and then when Thursday rolls around assemble the game board.

If you want to be a little less stressed about creating this game, then just create the letters and don't worry about what words will be created...just make multiple game pieces for each letter of the alphabet and leave the creativity up to your party guests to come up with a unique game board during your gathering!

I hope you've enjoyed this Thanksgiving edition of "cupcake a week" and are inspired to create your own game board! If you do make a Scrabble cupcake board, please come back after turkey day and let me know what your guests thought!

Wishing you all a day full of pumpkin, stuffing, family, friends and all the turkey your tummy desires!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie

Only 4 more days until the big turkey feast, are you ready? I can't wait for turkey, potatoes, stuffing, veggies and of course the pies! Thanksgiving may just be my favorite meal of the year! So much delicious food and left overs for days! I am craving some dark meat turkey right about now.

We are heading to Clemson, SC this year to spend the holiday with Randolph's family. I'm excited to head back to my college alma mater. It will be a nice change of scenery for a few days and hopefully the air will be a little more crisp and cool than what we have been experiencing here in Mobile. It just doesn't feel like Fall when the temps are in the high 70s. We are looking forward to taking a trip up to the mountains and checking out the vibrant leaves and getting some fresh apple cider. But before I head out of town I want to leave you all with one last pumpkin recipe.

If you are still finalizing your Thanksgiving menu and looking for that perfect pie recipe, I think I've come up with one that you will enjoy! Take the traditional pumpkin pie to the next level by adding a chocolate chip, pecan and brown sugar topping! Your guests are sure to love a slice of this pie!

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie

-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tsp cinnamon
-2 large eggs
-1 can (15 oz) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
-1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
-1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

Pecan Chocolate Chip Topping

Ingredients: (mix all together and set aside)
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip
-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-2 Tbsp melted butter

  • Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon in small bowl.
  • Beat eggs in large bowl.
  • Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  • Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  • Pour mixture into pie shell.
  • Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 40 minutes.
  • Remove pie from oven and add Pecan Chocolate Chip topping. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire rack.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Does your family have a favorite pie?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Emily's Birthday Cupcakes

It was my sister's birthday this weekend!
I was in KY visiting and she wanted some cupcakes.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream...
with some sprinkles of course!

She bought these super cute pink ruffled cupcake liners! Love these, extra girly too!

She wanted swirled icing piped on high. What the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets!

She looks pretty happy to me!

Time for a bite...don't get icing on your nose!

Happy Birthday Emily!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pecan Walnut Banana Bread

We had 4 very ripe bananas...some banana bread seemed to be the perfect solution!

My husband loves banana bread with nuts, his special request was to have both pecans and walnuts mixed inside the loaf and on top. Extra nutty!

I decided to add a little cinnamon and brown sugar too! I can't get enough cinnamon this time of year, not to mention the amazing aroma that fills the house as the bread bakes in the oven.

So if you have some overly ripe bananas that you don't know what to do with, I recommend you whip up a batch of this recipe now! Don't like pecans or walnuts, leave them out or sub in your favorite nut, or even some cranberries or chocolate chips. Or you could even swap out the banana for pumpkin, this would have been delicious too...but I was trying to give you all a break from pumpkin stuff for a a few days!

Pecan Walnut Banana Bread (makes 1 large loaf, or 3 mini 3x5 loaves)

-1 stick unsalted butter, melted
-4 ripe bananas
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • This recipe does not require an electric mixer, just mix it all by hand.
  • Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add in melted butter and mix.
  • Add sugars, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • In separate bowl mix dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  • Fold in the pecans and walnuts and pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake 1 large loaf for 50 minutes or bake 3 mini loaves for 30 minutes.
I've got at least one more pumpkin recipe coming before Turkey Day and a special baby shower I've been working on this week so check back soon for more sweet treats!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Pecan Pie

Apple, pumpkin, pecan...which is your favorite fall pie? Although I love all three of these, my absolute must have at Thanksgiving is pecan. I am a sucker for the ooey gooey brown sugary center of this pie. It really doesn't get much better than pecan pie as far as I'm concerned. Well except for maybe cupcakes. So I had this brilliant idea to make some pecan pie cupcakes and see how they compare to a slice of good ole pecan pie. You see I've had this recipe for a 3-layer Pecan Pie Cake in my recipe binder for the past few years now. Every fall I put it on my "must make" list and somehow it has yet to happen. I think the recipe is from an older issue of Southern Living magazine. So this year I was determined to try this cake in one way or another so I decided, let's try it as cupcakes.

I will just come right out and tell you I have some mixed feelings about how this recipe turned out. I think the cake part is excellent. It's moist and there's a pecan in every bite, can't complain about that. It's the Pecan Pie topping where things got a little weird. I'm not quite sure what to make of the consistency that I ended up with. I followed the recipe for the most part, although I did cut the ingredients in half because I didn't need a big batch of cupcakes and then I substituted light brown sugar and light corn syrup instead of the dark brown that was called for in the recipe. I heated the mixture, and whisked constantly, but wasn't really sure what the end result was suppose to look like. Unfortunately I did not have a picture of the final cake to go buy which would have been helpful. This topping required chilling as well. So I put the mixture into the fridge and came back 4 hours later hoping for the best. What I ended up with was a brown congealed glob that was no where near spreadable. So I let the mixture come to room temperature for a while and then came back to spread on top of the cupcakes. The mixture was still not easily spreadable but I made the most of it. Afterall, I wasn't going to let a perfectly good batch of cupcakes go to waste.

After spreading the icing on to the best of my abilities, I was left with a not too appetizing looking cupcake. I needed to do something quick to make it some what appealing...enter my friend Mr. Turkey! Oh yes, my turkey cookie cutter came to the rescue as I decided to bring in a traditional "pie" element and top each cupcake with a piece of baked pie crust in the shape of a turkey. Thank you Mr. Turkey for saving this batch of cupcakes, you sure are cute sitting up on top!

Pecan Pie Cupcakes (makes 12, adapted from Southern Living Magazine)

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
-3 eggs, separated
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, gradually add sugar and beat well.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  • Combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Stir in 1 cup of pecans.
  • Beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form and fold into batter.
  • Pour batter into prepared liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cupcakes cool on wire rack.
  • Frost with Pecan Pie Topping. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
Pecan Pie Topping

-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1/2 cup light corn syrup
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-2 egg yolks
-3/4 cup half and half
-1/8 tsp salt
-2 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Whisk together first 6 ingredients in saucepan until smooth.
  • Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
  • Place a sheet of wax paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4 hours.
  • Remove topping from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting cupcakes.
Turkey Pastry Garnish

-1 refrigerated pie crust
-granulated sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out pie crust on lightly floured surface.
  • Cut out 12 turkeys using cookie cutters.
  • Lightly sprinkle some granulated sugar on each turkey cut out.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Place turkey garnish on top of cupcakes, by placing a toothpick behind them to allow them to stand up straight.
Have any of you ever made Pecan Pie cupcakes? If so how did they turn out, please share the recipe with me, I'm in need of a better one! Or have you tried to make this Pecan Pie Cake from Southern Living...what did you think of the Pecan Pie filling portion of the recipe...did it work for you, was it spreadable? Any suggestions, send them my way, I need to give these another try!

Although these cupcakes tasted good, the topping was just a little strange, I think a good ole pie of pecan pie comes out on top today!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Pumpkin, cinnamon and cream cheese...what can be better on a cool fall day! I am absolutely loving these mini pumpkin whoopie pies with cinnamon cream cheese sandwiched in between! Whoopie pies have been popping up all over the blog world lately, and ever since I first laid eyes on them they have been on my must make list!

I made a batch of these for Halloween last weekend to share with our neighbors and everyone loved them! If you are looking for a Thanksgiving treat that doesn't require much prep and are full of fall flavors you have got to make these! These may just be a new crowd favorite over pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese (makes 30 mini sandwiches)

-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 Tbsp cinnamon
-2 tsp nutmeg
-2 tsp ginger
-1 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 eggs
-3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (this will prevent batter from spreading when baking)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line baking pans with parchment paper.
  • Mix dry ingredients in large bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
  • In a separate bowl mix sugars and vegetable oil until combined.
  • Mix in pumpkin puree until combined.
  • Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture stirring until just combined.
  • Use a small ice cream scoop and drop balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake about 15 minutes, until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Let cakes cool on wire rack before adding cream cheese filling.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese

-8 oz cream cheese, softened
-1 stick unsalted butter, softened
-3 cups confectioner's sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • Combine cream cheese and butter in bowl and mix with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.
  • Gradually add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Mix in vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Transfer Cinnamon Cream Cheese filling to pastry bag.
  • To assemble, turn half of the cakes over so the flat side is facing up. Using the pastry bag, squirt a dollop of the cream cheese filling on top and then sandwich them with another piece of cake.
  • Place finished whoopie pies in airtight container and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Cookies can be stored for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Caramel Apple

Every fall at least once I find myself making caramel apples! I just love the ooey gooey goodness of melted caramel and the stickiness that it leaves behind once you sink your teeth into one of those babies! You know what I'm talking about the thin strands of caramel that hang down from the sides of your mouth as you pull the apple away after your first bite!

My favorite kind of apples are granny smiths for sure! I love their tartness and light green color!

When I was in Chicago a few weeks ago I discovered one of my new favorite cupcake flavors Caramel Apple when I visited Sprinkles. I tasted nine of their cupcake flavors that day and at the top of my list by far was their seasonal caramel apple flavor.

I loved the finely chopped bits of apples and cinnamon flavors in their cupcake and not to mention the caramel buttercream. Oh my goodness this was amazing! So from just one simple cupcake that I tasted I was determined to create a recipe to replicate those amazing flavors and textures I tasted that day at Sprinkles!

I took an entirely different angle with the decorating though and thought it would be fun to decorate them to look somewhat like a real caramel dipped apple! I added the wooden stick and all...what do you think? I love the green cupcake liners too, it just screams granny smith to me! And I'm a nuts girl on my caramel apples so I garnished some with chopped pecans!

It doesn't get much more fall than caramel apple cupcakes! These are sure to be an awesome addition to any Thanksgiving dessert display! And if you don't like granny smith apples substitute a golden delicious, red delicious or gala. You can even switch up the cupcake liners to match the color apple you choose! Grab your kids too and get them in the kitchen with you to help insert the wooden sticks and sprinkle the nuts on top!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes (makes 20)

-3 cups flour
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-t tsp cinnamon
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup applesauce
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-3 cups finely chopped apples, peeled and coated with 3 Tbsp sugar & 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 2 granny smith)
-20 wooden popsicle sticks
-1 cup chopped pecans for garnish (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In large bowl combine: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix.
  • In medium bowl combine: granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, apple sauce and vanilla and mix well.
  • Add eggs to wet mixture one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and gently mix until combined.
  • Fold in chopped apples.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18 minutes.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool in pans 10 minutes then move to wire racks to continue cooling.
  • Once cupcakes are cool frost with caramel buttercream.
Caramel Buttercream

-1 stick unsalted butter
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1/3 cup heavy cream
-3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

  • In saucepan over medium heat melt butter.
  • Stir in brown sugar and heavy cream and keep over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer mixture to mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time and mix with electric mixer until incorporated.
  • Frost cupcakes using an offset spatula.
  • Insert wooden popsicle sticks and sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired.
Take a bite, I promise it will be caramel apple yumminess!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Pops

Happy November and Happy Pumpkin Month...well at least in my house there will be pumpkin all month long! I absolutely love the fall flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon so get ready for some festive holiday sweets that will be great additions at your Thanksgiving feast this year! If you don't like recipes with pumpkin I promise to sprinkle in a few other recipes as well this about apples? Do you like apples? I'm thinking maybe an apple pie or apple cake/cupcakes sound mighty tasty! And for all you chocolate lovers out there, I'm sure there will be at least one recipe that contains chocolate for you too! So let's welcome November with some pumpkin, shall we?

This first recipe is a spin off of the traditional pumpkin pie! After all, is it really Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? I'm excited to share with you my mini pumpkin pie pop! I don't know about you but my favorite part of any pie is the crust, so this pie pop is fantastic b/c you get double the crust and tons of cuteness! I guarantee any kid will want to take a bite out of one of these!

So let's get started on the assembly!

Roll out refrigerated pie crust and cut out circles.

Sprinkle crust with a cinnamon & sugar mixture! This takes me back to my childhood, sometimes my mom would pull a pie crust out of the fridge and sprinkle the entire thing with cinnamon & sugar and bake it up. She would cut it into triangle slices like a pizza and we would eat it for dessert! Yum!

Next add a small dollop of pumpkin pie mixture. You don't want too much or the filling will squeeze out the sides when you put the top crust on.

Place a lollipop stick on top of the pumpkin pie filling.

Place another pie crust circle on top to close off the pie.

Take a lollipop stick and gently press all the way around the edges to seal the top and bottom crusts together.

Pies are sealed and ready to add a little personality!

Use your excess pie dough to create some pumpkin faces, the kids will go crazy over these! Pop these babies into the oven to bake and then it's time to eat pie!

You can dress up the pie pops with some colored ribbon!

Pumpkin Pie Pops (makes 32)

-2 boxes Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts (4 crusts)
-1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 egg
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 egg white, set aside for brushing tops of pies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out pie crusts, using circle cutter make circles for top & bottom of pies.
  • Combine pumpkin, cinnamon, egg and sugar in a bowl and mix.
  • Place pie circles on baking sheet, evenly spaced apart for baking.
  • Place small dollop of pumpkin pie mixture on pie crust.
  • Place lollipop stick on top of mixture.
  • Place another circle of pie crust on top to seal the pie.
  • Using the tip of a lollipop stick gently press around the edge of the pie circle to seal the top and bottom crusts together.
  • Brush tops of pies with egg white.
  • Using extra dough cut out pumpkin faces and stick on mini pies.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
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