Cakes/Cupcakes

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

If you have seen my Instagram account, you might know that I’m a little bit obsessed with Target’s dollar spot. While I’m typically scooping up notepads, pens, markers, and other cute office supplies, one day I came across red, white, and blue sprinkles for the 4th of July. SPRINKLES for a dollar? I can’t even.  I have a little bit of a sprinkle problem (not that you would know it because I haven’t baked that much) so there was no question those sprinkles were coming home with me. My favorite funfetti anything are these cookies I posted a long time ago which have become my go-to cookies whenever I feel like baking. But this time, I decided I do something a little different for the 4th and make these Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes from one of my favorite bloggers ever, Jessica from How Sweet Eats.

A simple vanilla batter is carefully folded together with sprinkles, baked, cooled, and topped with a smooth buttercream frosting which is sprinkled with even more sprinkles. The best part is, you can use any color of sprinkles you want depending on the holiday or event to easily make these festive cupcakes! What else is there to say? Sweet, creamy, rich, decadent, colorful. Everything you want in a cupcake! Thanks, Jessica!

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

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Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients.

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Fold in assorted sprinkles.

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Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool.

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Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached If it’s too thin, add sugar gradually until it thickens.

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Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: How Sweet Eats

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I hope that putting vegetables in your baked goods doesn’t freak you out.  Some people are no stranger to zucchini bread, muffins or pancakes while others, who’ve never tried it, cringe at the very thought. These just might be the same people who can’t stand any fruit in their salad.  (Sorry, I just don’t get it.)  I know someone who would never go near a cake with zucchini in it like this Chocolate Zucchini Cake, but I’m all for it.  Would I ever sit down and make a chocolate cake for no reason if I couldn’t justify it?  Well…probably.  But regardless, somehow in my whacked out brain, zucchini justifies it.

Chocolate cake batter, flavored with cocoa, reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat buttermilk, is made even more healthy with the addition of shredded zucchini.  An extra toss of chocolate chips in the batter along with the mocha-like chocolate drizzle on top only establishes this a decadent chocolate cake.  The zucchini not only adds a healthy component to this cake but it also helps it to stay moist so your aren’t left with a dry clunky dessert.  If you handed a piece of this cake to someone and didn’t tell them zucchini was in it, they’d never know unless they inspected the tiny green flakes in each piece. So why not give yourself a break and make yourself a chocolate cake? You really don’t need to justify it.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare cake, coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust pan with 1 tablespoon flour. Place sugars, cream cheese, and vegetable oil in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and next 5 ingredients (2 1/2 cups flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

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Stir in zucchini, 2/3 cup chocolate chips, and nuts.

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Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

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To prepare glaze, combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Combine milk, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, coffee, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave at medium 45 seconds or until chocolate melts, stirring after 20 seconds. Combine powdered sugar mixture with chocolate mixture, stirring with a whisk.

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Drizzle glaze over cake.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Espresso-Walnut Cake

I’m kind of a sucker for coffee cake. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs and other savory dishes for breakfast but why not have something desserty first thing in the morning with your coffee? Or better yet, why not have some coffee IN your Breakfast? This Espresso-Walnut Cake does just that.

Basic cake batter, made with fat-free yogurt to keep the calories down, is given a flavor boost with instant coffee and walnuts. The best part of coffee cake, the crumble topping, also has instant coffee mixed in to give you an even bigger caffeine jolt. I used instant coffee instead of instant espresso which gave this cake a mild coffee flavor without it being overbearing. The addition of the walnuts adds a crunchy bite to this dish but could easily be left out if you aren’t a nuts fan. If sweet breakfasts aren’t your thing, you could also have this as an after-dinner dessert (just use decaffeinated coffee instead). What a perfect way to kickstart your day.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon espresso granules in a small bowl.

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Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH for 1 minute or until butter melts. Add granulated sugar, stirring with a whisk. Add eggs; stir well. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Lightly spoon 1 1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour and 2 teaspoons espresso powder, stirring just until blended (do not overstir).

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Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Carefully spread remaining batter over brown sugar mixture, and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture.

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Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Instant coffee

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It really is a shame that when I have browning bananas, my first instinct is to make cupcakes with them instead of a healthy smoothie.  This, my friends, is why I struggle with my weight.  But then again, it’s not really about the final product so much as the process.  Making cupcakes and frosting is just more satisfying than blending a bunch of fruit together.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve tried making banana cupcakes in the past but each time they ended up tasting more like banana muffins.  Then I came across these Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  These cupcakes are light and cakey like a cupcake and not at all dense like a muffin.  Finally!

Because I didn’t expect these cupcakes to turn out as well as they did, I didn’t document anything but the final product.  I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.  And I’m not going to sugar coat it – the only thing reduced-fat about these bad boys is the reduced-fat cream cheese I used in the frosting.  The rest is butter, sugar and white flour.  I’m not even going to kid you that these are good for you.  But look at it this way, since they are cupcakes, they are already portion controlled.  Just try to only eat one!

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • 1/3-less fat cream cheese

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Baking Bites blog

Celebration Cupcakes

Today is my friend Jodi’s birthday and last night she came over to my house for some pasta, wine and Grammys.  I surprised her with these Celebration Cupcakes (even though we are both trying to eat healthier) because I think everyone deserves a little cake for their birthday.  I’ve made these cupcakes before but haven’t blogged about them so instead of photographing the process I took these iPhone photos.

This recipe has become my go-to cupcake recipe.  They are easy to make and flavorful, especially if you like a hint of almond (you can easily leave the almond extract out).  We loved them.  Mmmm…cupcakes.

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Additions:

  • Candy oyster pearls

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Almond milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have dessert.  I’ve always loved to bake so I generally always have baking basics on hand like flour, sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda.  Since I have a sweet tooth that sometimes sneaks up on me like a sneeze, I need to have the ability to whip up a bowl of cookie dough at any given time.  Having these ingredients on hand also helps out when I’m on a budget and trying to keep my grocery list to a minimum.  I’ve had this recipe for Pecan-Chocolate Chip Snack Cake tucked away for over ten years and keep passing it by.  The small, unassuming recipe was taped to the corner of a page with a large vibrant picture and recipe for banana cream pie which always drew my gaze, leaving this snack cake to disappear under my very eyes.  But after finally taking a good look at this recipe, I realized I had every single ingredient, chocolate chips and pecans included, in my cabinet.  And what’s even better – there isn’t a lick of butter or oil in sight keeping the calories on this dessert very, very low.

Beaten egg whites and brown sugar are mixed with dry ingredients, helping to create a smooth batter which is then mixed with chocolate chips and chopped pecans.  The result is more like a light (in texture, not flavor) chocolate chip bar cookie than a snack cake and I’m not sure if I made it wrong or if that is how it’s supposed to be.  Regardless, I think I’d take a bar cookie over a piece of cake any day so I’m not complaining.  And the fact that the flavor of a chocolate chip cookie can be replicated so near-perfectly without one bit of butter just makes this dessert even better.  Now I know that next time that cookie craving sneaks up on me, this will be the quiet, unassuming recipe I’ll remember to reach for.

The ingredients:

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Set aside.

Beat brown sugar, vanilla, and egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer at high speed for 1 minute.

Add flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Spread batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake bars in a 350°F oven for 18 minutes or until golden and crusty on top.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes

Want to make an impression on someone this weekend? Try these Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes. These cakes have cinnamon and ginger and are super chocolatey with a warm molten center that will impress anyone. I used regular cinnamon in these although the recipe calls for Saigon cinnamon (anyone know what that is?) and it tasted delicious. These bake quickly in the oven and should be eaten within a few hours of baking in order to keep the molten center. Just be careful that you don’t dig in too quickly or else the entire center might come flowing out. Don’t have Cabernet? No big deal. Use any red wine you might have on hand. These pair deliciously with wine (or milk!) so if you are planning on a low key New Year’s Eve and want to put a smile on your sweetie’s face, definitely consider these.

The ingredients:

Melt the butter and the chocolate in the microwave for one minute. Stir until the mixture is fully melted and mixed thoroughly.

Add in wine, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Stir in eggs and yolk.

Mix in flour, cinnamon, sugar, and cloves (if using which I didn’t).

Spray four ramekins with non-stick spray and divide the batter evenly. Bake for 15 minutes in a 425°F oven.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Ground cloves

Substitutions:

  • Ground cinnamon for Saigon cinnamon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: McCormick Gourmet

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