February Fun

Two people asked me at work on Monday if I was tired. Yikes. I’m going to take that as a sign that I had a good weekend? Because I did – and I guess my Monday morning face showed it.

Friday night, B and I had tickets to a Cavs game.


We bought fundraising tickets with a board that we’re on and unfortunately that meant nosebleed seats. (And sadly, a loss. I’m beginning to think it’s B and me because we haven’t seen a Cleveland sports team win since October (and yes, we’ve seen the Browns and Cavs play since then)

Saturday morning, it was too nice outside not to run. I hadn’t run outside all week and it was sunny and in the 30s and really felt great to be outdoors and get in a short run with B. We only had time for a 5k-ish but it was so nice to be out!



After the run, I had plans for an all-day baking fest with my friend Cuoghi. I didn’t end up with pictures of everything we’d made, but between the two of us we made 2 different batches of cookies, popcorn, cupcakes, fudge and some cornflake/marshmallow treats.


My baking buddy. Confession – she made the majority of the treats.


Saturday night, B and I had a movie date at the Capitol Theater. We saw the Oscar live action shorts. Wow. We love seeing the Oscar shorts before the awards ceremony, but some of these this year were SERIOUS movies.

You can see trailers for all of them here. One of my favorites was Stutterer (and it was less serious):

Sunday was somewhat uneventful. B and I had to go to a wake a few hours away or a friend’s dad who had died, so that took up most of the day. We did get home in time to go for a nice walk, though. It was 50 degrees out and I couldn’t miss the chance to go outside without a coat for probably the last time in a while.


And of course, Sunday night was the Super Bowl. I was able to share some of the baking day treats wth the party we went to, which actually had a BUFFALO SAUCE FOUNTAIN. That’s right – like a chocolate fountain – but with buffalo sauce.


The game was alright – I’m not a big football fan and I typically just enjoy the game for the social aspect, the food and of course, the commercials. Here are the cupcakes we brought that I made:


It was a later-than-usual Sunday night for me, thus the tiredness Monday morning. And delay in sharing this post with you. Hopefully you’re off to a great week!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you watch the Super Bowl? Do you watch for the commercials? The game? Both?
  • Do you like buffalo sauce?

I’m belatedly linking up with Erin and the weekly wraps.

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

My office is celebrating Mardi Gras this week with a Fat Tuesday luncheon and potluck. I thought about preparing some Crock Pot Jambalaya, but really wanted to bring dessert. My cousins are from Louisiana and each year they used to send us a King Cake in New York via mail. I looooved the King Cake – it was cinnamony, flaky  colorful and had creamy frosting. I looked up a few King Cake recipes and thought about making one – but with a relatively small office, it seemed like it’d be too big to prepare. Then I realized – I could make Mardi Gras cupcakes! Of course! These aren’t quite King Cake – they’re not flaky or bread-like – but they are fun colors, have creamy frosting and cinnamon. And B (a chocoholic) more than approved of them – he even asked if I could leave him some at home!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes for Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Inspired by Hoosier Homemade

For the cupcakes:

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk (instead of water indicated on box)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (per cake mix directions)
  • 3 eggs (I used ¾ c Egg Beaters)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Purple, yellow and green food coloring (I used yellow, green and blue+red for the purple)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Mine made about 17 cupcakes.
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat together all the cake mix, buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and cinnamon on high speed. Mix well so batter isn’t lumpy – especially if you use powdered buttermilk like I did.
  4. Divide the batter equally into three parts in three separate bowls. I had probably about a cup of batter in each bowl. Using food coloring, create one batter bowl green, one batter bowl yellow, and the third batter bowl purple (I mixed blue and red food coloring).
  5. Get a tablespoon for each color batter.
  6. Start with one color and take a spoonful of batter. Push batter up against one side of cupcake wrapper.
  7. Fill in with the other colors, using the same technique, pushing batter up against other sides of cupcake wrapper until you have the green, purple and yellow batter in thirds in the cupcake wrapper. Don’t worry about making these perfect, they will still taste great!
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (or what the box says), until toothpick comes out clean. Frost when cool.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon

Here’s what you do:

  1. Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well until completely combined.
  3. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is creamy and thick. 
  4. Mix in vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.
  5. Frost cupcakes when cooled!
mardi gras cupcakes fat tuesday cupcakes batter in the tins

Tri-colored cupcakes ready to go into the oven

mardi gras cupcakes fat tuesday cupcakes without frosting

Fresh out of the oven – check out the colors!

mardi gras cupcakes fat tuesday cupcakes frosted

mardi gras cupcakes fat tuesday cupcakes

Printables from TomKat Studio

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

This week, our office is participating in a few fun activities in honor of our Operation Feed Week – our effort to support local food banks. One of the awesome things we’re doing is hosting a bake sale – with donations going to the local food bank. Of course I was SUPER excited to participate – and decided to make some cupcakes (surprised?) that combine two of many people’s favorite ingredients: chocolate and peanut butter.

Wanna wow your friends with some delicious AND easy cupcakes? The cupcakes feature a homemade peanut butter cream frosting, a chocolate cupcake using (shh!) brownie mix AND a surprise inside – a peanut butter cup!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

(inspired by Betty Crocker)

Here’s what you need:

For the cupcakes (makes 12):

  • A box of brownie mix (see, I told you it’s easy! I used Betty Crocker’s Supreme Brownie Mix with fudge packet)
  • Ingredients required per brownie mix box (mine had oil, water and eggs)
  • 15 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – 12 for baking in your cupcakes, 3 to chop up for topping frosting

For the peanut butter buttercream frosting (frosts 12 cupcakes):

  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ – ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

For the cupcakes:

  • Prepare brownie batter per directions on box.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan, prepared with cupcake liners.
  • Unwrap the Reese’s peanut butter cups and place one cup softly on top of each brownie cupcake.

Peanut Butter Cups in the Brownie Mix!

  •  Bake, at 350 degrees, until done, about 15-18 minutes
  • Cool completely before frosting. I put mine in the freezer so I could frost them sooner : )

For the frosting:

  • Thoroughly beat peanut butter and butter until well blended.
  • Gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup or so at a time until frosting stiffens.
  • Add milk and vanilla. Continue mixing until creamy.
  • Frost cupcakes! Chop up the remaining Reese’s and sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes.


Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Two weeks ago, I got an email from my bff Jane. All that it said, was, “Have you made these yet? http://www.wearenotmartha.com/2011/03/chocolate-stout-cupcakes-with-irish-whiskey-filling-and-baileys-frosting/

they look AMAZING.”

I clicked on the link. Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Filling and Bailey’s Frosting? Oh my goodness. No – I had not made these. But now I was on a mission to make them for St. Patrick’s Day!

SO this afternoon, I did it. No, I didn’t do the recipe exactly (I didn’t have Irish Whiskey. Woops! AND Brian’s drink of choice is Murphy’s, not Guinness)- but they still came out wonderful!

Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

(adapted from We Are Not Martha and Brown Eyed Baker)

Here’s what you need:

For the Murphy’s cupcakes:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the dark chocolate ganache:

  • 1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream OR milk
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup Bailey’s Irish cream

Here’s what you do:

For the cupcakes:

  • Heat the butter and Murphy’s in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool.
  •  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In your mixer, beat eggs with sour cream. Add the cooled beer-butter-cocoa mixture and fold in with a spatula. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed – don’t overmix.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan, prepared with cupcake liners. Bake, at 350 degrees, until done, about 17-20 minutes. Cool.

For the ganache filling:

  • Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
  • Warm the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until smooth.
  • Set aside until it is cool/thickened.

Cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake to insert filling. I used the cone method (GREAT how-to, here) but the other recipes, above, core the cupcake. You could use a piping bag to fill the cupcakes; I used a small spoon to insert the filling.

For the frosting:

  • Beat butter until fluffy.
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar.
  • Mix in the Bailey’s.
  • Frost the cupcakes and adorn with green sugar or other festive decorations!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes!

If you know anything about me  – you probably know that I love to bake. AND I love cupcakes. So, for my birthday last week I decided to try out a new cupcake recipe.  I came across a photo of cookies and cream cupcakes when visiting my new favorite food blog, Tastespotting. I searched the web for the best recipe, and think I came across it — the result was an AMAZING treat – one that made of my coworkers nearly cry when she bit into it (no joke!). I shared photos of the treat on my Tumblr (here) and now it’s time to share the recipe.

cookies and cream cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

(Recipe Borrowed From Beantown Baker … whose photos are amazing, so please don’t judge mine!)


1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour, plus 2 Tbsp for the Oreo chunks
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature (I used AllWhites Liquid Egg Whites)
1 package Oreo Cookies (~45 cookies … I would’ve used double stuff but there’s not as many in a package)

Preheat over to 350F. Insert cupcake liners into a medium cupcake pan.

Twist apart 24 Oreos.  * Note – I wasn’t so good at twisting and getting the cream all on one side, so I ended up cutting them apart with a paring knife. Place the wafer with filling on it, filling side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Cut other wafers in half. Save 24 halves to place in the frosting. Crush the other wafer halves, also for garnishing.

Cut the remaining Oreo cookies into quarters with a sharp knife. Toss with 2 Tbsp flour and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the quartered cookies.

Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temp
  • 1 stick butter at room temp
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy.

Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the cupcakes. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos and place 1/2 of an Oreo on the frosting of each cupcake.

Fun With Food – Cheeseburger Cupcakes

For those of you that know me, you know how much I LOVE baking. So I was super excited when about a month ago, the Social Media Club Cleveland had a meeting with the potluck theme of cupcakes and beer. The last time we had this theme I made some red velvet cupcakes. This time, however, I wanted to make something new and different. That’s why I made …. cheeseburger cupcakes!  Here’s what they looked like:

cheeseburger cupcakes

Don’t be jealous — or overimpressed. They were easy – and a hit! Curious how to make them? Here goes.

What you need: Vanilla frosting (I used Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla); Tubes of decorating frosting — red, green and white; Yellow food coloring; Yellow cupcake mix; Chocolate cupcake mix; Whatever ingredients the cupcake mixes call for.

What you do: Prepare your cupcakes per the mixes’ instructions. Make sure to grease the cupcake tins well so they don’t stick (you’re not going to use cupcake papers).

After the cupcakes have cooled, cut off the tops of the cupcakes – both the chocolate and the vanilla ones. This step reminds me of the Seinfeld “Muffin Top” episode. The tops and bottoms of the chocolate cupcakes will become the burger patties and both parts of the yellow cupcakes will be used as the bun.

Add yellow food coloring to a good amount of the vanilla frosting (now dyed yellow, this will be the American cheese). Then slather the bottom half of the yellow cupcake with the “cheese” and place a burger patty (half of a chocolate cupcake) on top.

Use the white decorative frosting to put small dots on the top of the yellow cupcake — this will look like sesame seeds. Use the red and green decorating frosting to put red and green squiggles on the tops and bottoms of the chocolate cupcakes. This will be the relish or lettuce and ketchup. Now you can put your burgers together — they should be layered yellow cupcake half, chocolate cupcake half, yellow cupcake half.

They were a hit at SMC and I made them again a few weeks later for my soon-to-be niece’s “housewarming” party (it was for the 18 month old’s new playhouse).

cupcakesI can’t take credit for these cupcakes, though – I came across them on Flickr. Check out this Flickr photo group – there are step by step photos if my directions weren’t enough, plus hers came out looking way better than mine!

Good luck and happy baking!