Chocolate Witch’s Brew Cupcakes #Chocotoberfest

Note: I received complimentary product for this post. All opinions are my own.

Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…

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What shall we add to the witch’s brew today? Essence of mummy? A pumpkin picked at midnight?

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These adorable cupcakes are reminiscent of a witch’s cauldron, so of course, there’s a magic potion inside – courtesy of Sprinkle Pop! I used two of their sprinkle mixes in these cupcakes and they were so, so perfect for getting the desired effect.

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I used the Lime Green Sprinkle Mix on top of the cupcakes to give the image of a bubbling cauldron. The cupcakes are stuffed with their Monster Mashup Sprinkle Mix. The kids had so much fun biting into the cupcakes to see what the witch had cooked up in her cauldron – ghosts, eyeballs, mummies, and pumpkins!

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These were a quick from-scratch batch of cupcakes and buttercream, but you could always use a boxed mix and icing if you’re more comfortable – the sprinkles are the real stars here!

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This is also the first recipe I’m sharing for this year’s #Choctoberfest – you can check out a TON of other chocolaty goodness from my fellow bloggers right here: An InLinkz Link-up

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Chocolate Witch’s Brew Cupcakes
(adapted from Sugar Spun Run and Wine and Glue)
Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot coffee

For the icing:
1/2
 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Green food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the oil and milk until combined. Add the egg and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the coffee and stir until evenly combined – it will be quite thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan, filling each well 2/3 of the way.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a knife inserted  comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and beat. Add in the vanilla, milk, and food coloring. Beat until fully incorporated.

After the cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer or small knife to cut holes into the cupcakes. Fill the holes with sprinkles. Ice with the butter cream then dip each cupcake into the green sprinkles. Top with additional sprinkles if desired.

These are best served the same day.

Fresh Corn Salsa (4)

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Apple Cinnamon Cake #appleweek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with AppleWeek . I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

I’m wrapping up #appleweek today with the simplest dish of the week – and my personal favorite.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that while the over-the-top, super involved recipes can be really fun, simple recipes with great ingredients are often just as good – if not better.

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This cake falls into the super simple category. The whole thing takes just about 10 minutes to prep, and instead of something super polished, it’s got the rustic beauty thing going for it.

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And honestly, it’s delicious. This is the perfect cake to pair with a hot cup or tea or coffee, a book, and some of this crisp fall air.  Who wants a slice?

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Also, now that you’ve seen all the apple goodness, be sure to pop over and enter to win some amazing prizes from #appleweek sponsors! You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Apple Cinnamon Cake
(adapted from Skimbaco Lifestyle)
Makes 1 9″ Cake

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 large apple
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ baking pan and set aside.

Peel, core, and slice the apple. In a bowl, toss the apple slices with 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, until evenly coated.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the cinnamon-sugar coated apple slices on top, pushing them down just slightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for several minutes, then remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Fresh Corn Salsa (12)

Out with a bang! Check out these Saturday Recipes:

 

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake #ImprovCookingChallenge

Another #ImprovCookingChallenge, another opportunity to get outside my comfort zone! I’ve never cooked with lemongrass before – I actually had to google a picture of it so I knew what to look for in the store – but I’m really loving the result here!

 The base is beautifully rich and fluffy and then the swirl is the perfect blend of blueberry and lemon to compliment. Right after I tasted it, I texted my mom that this was going to be my contribution for Easter dinner – it’s that good!
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The recipe makes more of the blueberry/lemongrass filling than you need for the cheesecake. Since it comes out as almost a jam-like consistency, we used our extras as jam for toast.
You can see the other bloggers’ blueberry and lemongrass creations here:

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The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
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Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake
(adapted from Taste of Home)
Makes 1 cheesecake
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 4-inch pieces lemongrass
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemongrass in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to cook down and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemongrass and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened and almost a jam-like consistency. Set aside
Mix together the graham crackers, sugar, and butter until well combined. Press into a 9″ springform pan, going up the sides slightly. Place prepared pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour and vanilla. On a lower speed, add in the lightly beaten eggs and mix until just combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
Dollop 3-4 Tbsp. of the blueberry lemongrass mixture. Use a knife to swirl it along the top of the cheesecake.
Return the pan to the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is nearly set. Transfer the pan to the cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool at room temperature for another hour, then refrigerate overnight.

Blueberry Lemongrass Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes for 2 #RecipesforTwo

What’s better than chocolate lava cake? Chocolate lava cake with warm, melty peanut butter sauce in the middle. Seriously you guys – this is what dreams are made of.

We fell in love with lava cakes after a cruise a few years ago and they’ve since become my go-to special occasion dessert. And this one is freaking amazing. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter fiend like me, you will love this! That melty peanut butter is really something special.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it makes just two little cakes – perfect for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any other occasion where you want something special for a smaller crowd. The recipe can, of course, be scaled up to make more – but sometimes it’s nice to have something already sized for two!

 

Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes
(adapted from The Cookie Rookie)
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. German Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg + 1 egg yolk
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray two ramekins with non-stick spray. Combine 1 1/2 tsp. flour with the cocoa power and coat the inside of the greased ramekins with it – shake off any excess.  Place prepared ramikins on a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine 4 Tbsp. butter and the chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Using a stand mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and salt on medium-high for about three minutes, until the mixture is think and pale yellow. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate until no longer streaky. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth.

Use 2/3 of the batter to fill the ramekins, then place half of the peanut butter mixture on top of each ramekin. Cover the peanut butter with the remaining batter.

Bake for 14-16 minutes – the top should be set but the cake should still have a little jiggle. Let sit for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Need more ideas for Valentine dishes for two? Here are some great ideas!

Savory

Sweet

Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Imperial Sugar returned as the Choctoberfest Gold Sponsor this year – and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen the amazing package they sent. I’m not sure who was more excited about it – me or the kids. (PS – if you want to win your own year’s supply of sugar, check out their Scary Scramble Contest going on now!)

When I started planning recipes for this week, I asked Jake if there was anything special he wanted to make, and without hesitation he told me, “Chocolate cake”. So, it went out our list.

It was also a great excuse to try out roasting sugar. Have you heard of this technique? I’ve seen it on a few food sites and I was super intrigued – you cook the sugar for a few hours and it gives the sugar a caramel-like flavor but you can still use it like you would regular white sugar. The results in this cake were pretty amazing – it’s more or less a regular chocolate cake, but then you get this beautiful caramel flavor at the end of the bite. I can’t overstate how awesome that touch is!

Roasting the sugar was also the only part of the cake that Jake didn’t have a hand in. He was particularly excited about helping frost the cake – and overrode my plans of topping it off with dark chocolate curls in favor of  mini chocolate chips.

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I absolutely love how excited he was to see the end result – and hear again and again from friends and family we shared the cake with how awesome it was. Jake kept telling me, “I made that! I’m Baker Jake!” and they recreated the cake a million times over in his play kitchen. In the middle of a crazy week, it was such a good reminder to slow down and savor the moment. Thank you, Imperial Sugar, for helping create such a fun memory with my little guy!

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Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 9″ 3 layer cake

4 lbs. white sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)

3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Start by roasting the sugar. Pour 4 pounds of sugar into a glass or ceramic 9×13″ baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 hours, stirring well every 20 minutes. You want the sugar to start to turn a lightly browned color, but not to melt. Once done, cool completely and store in an airtight container.

To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of the cooled roasted sugar. Add in the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Grease 3 9″ cake pans and divide cake batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake.

To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Once the cake layers are cool, frost and decorate as desired.

See the rest of today’s #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake #CookoutWeek

Every good cookout needs a fun dessert – and this is my new favorite.

Cherry Vanilla Coke just reminds me of summer so I was smitten when I saw this cake. It really does capture the flavors nicely. It was my first time making a poke cake, but I have to say I’m hooked. It was so moist! I made this a day ahead and it was perfect on the day of our cookout.

I also loved how easy this was to put together. I always plan ambitious menus for our cookouts so having something this easy was a definite bonus!

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Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake
(from The Recipe Critic)
Makes 1 9×13″ cake

1 French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 large box cherry flavored Jello
12 oz. Coca Cola
1/2 cup cold water
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries, for topping

Prepare the cake according to package directions. Once baked, let cool for 15 minutes and then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 1 inch apart all over the cake.

In a bowl, combine the Jello mix, coke and water. Whisk until dissolved and then pour slowly over the cake, filling up the holes as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least half hour.

After the cake is chilled, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping and then ice the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, top with sprinkles and cherries.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Supporting organizations that deal with hunger issues is near and dear to my heart. To me, there are few things as important as making sure those in your community are fed. We have a local organization here that has a few different anti-hunger programs (among other great programs!) – and my favorite is their holiday meal service. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter they set up a big, free meal for anyone who feels they need it. They usually end up serving around 400 people.

Everything is funded through donations so when I saw that they were looking for people to make some cakes for them to serve on Easter, I jumped on it. Jake and I whipped up this quick-but-delicious bundt cake for their dessert spread. I’ve been too busy to share the recipe before this, but never too busy to help out a good cause!

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes 1 Bundt Cake

1 package plain chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preaheat the oven to 350F and grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water, vegetable oil and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips and transfer batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before decorating.

Oreo Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is all about showing love. We have a very untraditional tradition: a basketball game and a bar for munchies. It started at some point before we were married – a game my husband really wanted to go to just happened to fall on February 14. I thought agreeing to go made me a super-awesome girlfriend, but the truth is I enjoyed it so much we’ve kept it going. Doing something he really enjoys – instead of just the stereotypical girl-pampering – has always felt like a great way to say I love you/I love us. Of course, life got busy and we didn’t end up getting tickets for a game this year.

I still want to do something, though, so I’ve been looking for some other inspiration. And, when I need inspiration I end up baking. Usually something sweet. Like cupcakes. I pink-ed these out so I could call them Valentine’s Day cupcakes but they’re really just “hey, I needed a cupcake in my life today cupcakes”.

I mean, showing love is coming home to freshly baked cupcakes, right?

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Oreo Cupcakes
(adapted from Cupcakes From The Cake Mix Doctor)
Makes about 2 dozen

For the cupcakes:
20 Oreos
1 package plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the icing:
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
10 Oreos, finely ground
Optional: Food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a cupcake pan.

Crush Oreos into medium-sized crumbs. Set aside.

Beat together the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla for 2 minutes, scraping down the side as needed. Fold in crushed Oreos.

Fill the each well of the prepared cupcake pan about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes are lightly golden and they spring back when lightly pressed.

Remove cupcakes to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beatining until well blended after each addition. Add in the milk and vanilla and beat for another 3-5 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add food coloring as desired and beat until incorporated evenly, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in the finely ground Oreos.

Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting for 2

You know what next Monday is? National Cupcake Day! Today, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers to share some awesome cupcake recipes. Consider this your one-week heads up – plenty of time to pick out a recipe and make something special for someone special!

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As a general rule, I try not to make things just for the sake of blogging them. I didn’t have any big gatherings coming up to make cupcakes for, and making a whole batch for just the two of us seemed daunting – and then I ran across this recipe in my folder of saved recipes. Just two cupcakes? And chocolate with Nutella frosting? I’m totally on board with that!

These were awesome – dangerously so. I really shouldn’t know how to whip up just two chocolate cupcakes because it totally takes them from a special occasion thing to a, yeah, I can whip these up during naptime for an afternoon snack thing. Dangerous.

But, oh, I love them so!

You can check out all the other awesome cupcakes bloggers made at the links below. Whether you’re looking for something small batch or to feed a crowd, seasonal or birthday-perfect, there’s something for everyone!

ChocolateNutellaCupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
(from 52 Kitchen Adventures)
Makes 2

Cupcakes:
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon + 1/16 tsp. baking soda
1/16 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2-1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with two liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry cupcake ingredients. Whisk in the wet ingredients until all moistened. Divide batter between two cupcake liners.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, beat together the butter and Nutella. Beat in the powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat until thoroughly combined. Add more milk or powered sugar to reach desired consistancy. Frost cupcakes once they’re cooled.

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday – the official kick off of our “celebrating season”. Within the next few weeks we’ll also celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. And next year we’ll be adding Father’s Day and baby boy’s birthday to this. Of course, this is on top of any graduations and weddings that are prevelant this time of year. It gets busy, to say the least. It also means we end up eating a lot of “celebrating” food.

When I asked Mark what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said none. It was just going to be us celebrating and he didn’t want a whole cake for the two of us. I can’t really blame him – but the idea of no birthday cake just didn’t fly with me. The solution was obviously just to make a smaller cake.

This one was chocolate and peanut butter – the birthday boy’s favorite – and sized for two. Perfect!

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Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

(adapted from Picky Palate)
Serves 2-4

For the cake:
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocoalte chips

For the icing:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a large ramikin (or any other bowl/pan you want to use).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the semi-sweet chocoate chips at half-power for 30 second intervals, until melted.

Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate chips into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Transfer batter to greased ramikin and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean – the time will vary based on your pan, for me it was 45-50 minutes.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from ramikin to cool completely.

Slice the cake in half to make two layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Adjust the amount of powdered sugar or milk to get desired consistancy.

Spread about 1/3 cup of the icing on top of one of the laters and then place the other layer on top. Use remaining frosting to cover the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over as decoration, as desired.