Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Spring is in the air!! We’ve unseasonably warm weather here in Indiana the past few weeks.
With Spring on the way, it’s time to think of the next upcoming holiday, Easter is in April this year. Have you seen all the bunnies, carrots, and egg decor out in stores?! One of my favorite dessert recipes that pairs great with Easter and spring is carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are super moist, delicious, and have an Easter spirit about them that make them perfect for the holiday, but anytime of the year as well.

We have enjoy having meals with family for Easter and what perfect way to have carrot cake for everyone with Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting …decorated cute for Easter.
Now I am pretty crafty but I am no artist when it comes to cake decorating, but these are simple to do and look cute!

I will share with you some simple decorating tips for simple Easter themed cupcakes below. Anyone can do!!

Not making them for Easter? That’s ok! A little bit of chopped pecans around the edges of the frosting is perfect!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp Clabber Girl baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

For the frosting
8 oz  cream cheese – at room temperature
1 stick butter – at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and eggs and whisk together. Add the applesauce, carrots, and vanilla and stir together. Then add the dry ingredients from the previous bowl and mix all together until well combined. Add the chopped nuts and stir in.

Prepare a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners of your choosing for the cupcakes. Divide the cupcake batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test batter with a knife to make sure it comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely.

Once cupcakes are cooled is time to add the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Using a hand held mixer, mix together the ingredients on medium speed until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until it is all mixed in.

Top the cupcakes off with the frosting by piping it on or with a knife. Decorate your cupcakes.
Simply roll the edges in the frosting in chopped nuts or decorate with some Easter themes like shown below.

Recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Serve or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

For Easter Decorating tips:
Bunny ears:
Regular size marshmallows
Pink sprinkles
Using a pair of kitchen shears, simply cut a marshmallow in half at an angle. The part that was cut open will be slightly sticky, dip that part in the sprinkles for the center pink part of bunny’s ears. Arrange them beside each other on top of the cupcake.
I added shredded coconut on top of the frosting to give a “furry”look.

Carrots:

Shredded coconut

Green food coloring

Orange Candy Melts

Put a small amount of shredded coconut in a small bowl and add a few drops of green food coloring and stir around.

Melt the candy melts and put in a plastic ziplock bag. At one corner of the bottom of the bag, cut a slit and use it as a piping bag.

Line a pan with parchment paper.

Place a little dab of coconut on the paper and using the plastic bag as a piping bag, squeeze out the melted chocolate into a carrot form. be sure to go over the coconut slightly with it so that the chocolate sets up and the coconut will stick to it.

After you have made several that you need, place in the freezer for final set up.

When you are ready to add to your cupcakes, simply remove from paper and place at the top of the cupcake.

Nest of Eggs:

Green Icing Pouch with Tip
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Simply Pipe the green icing onto the cream cheese frosting using the flower tip. Add the Cadbury mini eggs on top.
These carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are packed full of so much flavor you will love them from the first bite!

Kids Activity: Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

Being a mother of two young (active) boys, I’m always looking for activities to do with them during the cold months. As a family, we don’t usually do anything special for Saint Patrick’s Day, but we love to cook and bake together. This Irish Soda Bread Biscuit recipe is really simple and not too complicated for children between the ages of 4 – 10, with minor assistance. I found that this activity was rewarding to them! This baking experience gave them a boost of confidence that they were able to make something for the family, “all by themselves” to eat. Along with this confidence, they also learned “why”, “how” and “when” to do certain steps:

Examples –

  • “How” to identifying measurements – 1 cup, 1 ½ cup, Tbsp. and tsp.
  • “Why” and “When” to add dry and liquid ingredients
  • “How” and “Why” you infuse dried berries before mixing
  • “How”, “When” and “Why” to set the oven temp
  • “Why” and “How” do you grease or line the baking sheet
  • “How” and “Why” do you knead the dough
  • “When” to take biscuits out of the oven

Kid friendly items to have on hand before starting:

  • Step stool (for reaching)
  • Paper towels (for spills)
  • Oven mitts or kitchen towels (oven transfer use)
  • 2” biscuit cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer
  • 1 – large spoon for scraping sides of bowl

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. raisins, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 c. dried cranberries, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. buttermilk

Steps –

  1. Make sure all ingredients and utensils are out and ready for easy access. (Wash those hands!)

  2. Fully submerge raisins and cranberries in a bowl of warm water. Leave them set for about 2 minutes to infuse.


  3. Drain water from the infused raisins and cranberries. Transfer to folded paper towels to remove any remaining water.
  4. Let your child locate, measure, add and mix all dry ingredients.

(We chose not to add caraway seeds)

  1. Add prepared raisins and cranberries to dry mixture. Mix raisins and cranberries until fully coated in dry mixture.

  1. Add eggs and buttermilk until thoroughly combined.


  2. Spread 2-3 Tbsp. flour on to a prepared surface. Remove dough mixture from mixing bowl and knead for about 3 minutes on prepared surface.


  1. This recipe states to roll dough to a ½ inch thickness. We wanted a higher biscuit, so we decided to roll out to a 2-inch thickness instead.

  1. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, show your child how to place the cutter each time in order to use most dough the first time around (you’ll need to repeat this step with the additional dough from the first set of cut outs).

  1. Transfer cutouts to your prepared baking sheet. Place biscuits in a 400° F. pre-heated oven. Bake biscuits for 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

  1. Using oven mitts or kitchen towel, help your child safely remove biscuits from the oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes. We recommend eating them warm with butter!

Yield: (10) 2-inch round biscuits.

 

Strawberry Cupcakes – a Valentine’s Day Special

This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something extra special and came up with these strawberry cupcakes. I used a cake recipe from a 2002 Clabber Girl cookbook and converted it to cupcakes. When the cupcakes come out of the oven, be prepared for a sweet strawberry smell that will fill up your kitchen and attract family from other rooms. Make sure you get the cupcakes onto a cooling rack so they can be filled and topped with frosting quickly or you may have a few plain cakes missing!

I love finding old recipes from our vault and updating them for the modern kitchen! These cupcakes would be great any time strawberries are in season. The cupcake filling isn’t necessary, and the cupcakes would still be really good without it, but it does add a special touch for celebrating Valentine’s Day. I made twice as much filling as I needed and ended up freezing the filling. It was similar to a homemade ice cream!

Strawberry Cupcakes with a Strawberry Purée and Whipped Cream Filling and Pink Buttercream Frosting

  • Prep time: 60 min + 30 min wait time
  • Cook time: 15-20 min
  • Yield: 30 cupcakes

Strawberry cake batter:

  • 2 3/4 c. cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 3 oz. strawberry gelatin (one small box)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. strawberries, puréed in 1 1/2 Tbsp. orange juice

Cupcake filling:

  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. strawberries, puréed in 1 Tbsp. orange juice

Pink buttercream frosting:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring

To prepare the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

Whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream sugar, butter and gelatin. Add eggs and beat well. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and puréed strawberries.

Pour batter into prepared muffin pans. Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until the center tests done. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before piping in filling and topping with frosting.

To prepare the filling:

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in sugar, vanilla and strawberry puree.

To prepare the frosting:

Beat butter for 2 minutes until it turns a light yellow color. Add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream until desired consistency. Add in food coloring until you reach the desired pink color.

Strawberry Cupcakes Step-by-Step Instructions

To prepare the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

Whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream sugar, butter and gelatin.

 

 

Add eggs and beat well. Use a spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl.

 

To purée the strawberries, I added sliced strawberries and orange juice to my blender. I pulsed it for a few seconds and it was just the right consistency. The orange juice will help to blend the strawberries, if your berries are very juicy, you may need less orange juice.

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. I poured 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the milk and repeated until everything was incorporated, scraping sides in between additions.

 

Add vanilla and pureed strawberries. Make sure the batter is fully blended without over beating.

Pour batter into prepared muffin pans. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the batter and pour into the cups. This also helps to make sure you have the exact same amount of batter in each cup for even baking.

Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until the center tests done. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before piping in filling and topping with frosting.

 

To prepare the filling:

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. When you lift your beaters, you should be able to see the imprint from the beaters in your bowl.

 

Fold in sugar, vanilla and strawberry puree. I used a spatula to fold everything in and wasn’t too thorough, so that the mixture would have some red streaks in it.

 

Put a piping bag into a liquid measuring cup and fill the bag with filling. This will help to get the filling down into the bag without messing up the top.

 

Use a butter knife and slit the top of each cupcake once it is completely cooled (approximately 30 minutes). Pipe the filling into each cupcake. Wipe away any excess before frosting.

 

To prepare the frosting:

Beat butter for 2 minutes until it turns a light yellow color. Add vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream until desired consistency. Add in food coloring until you reach the desired pink color.

Use the measuring cup trick to fill your bag again. This recipe makes more than will fit in a standard piping bag, so I just frosted in 2 batches.

Garnish with a sliced strawberry, if desired.

 

 

Gingerbread Loaf with a Spiced Icing Glaze

Nothing says Merry Christmas than the smell of freshly baked gingerbread, am I right?? What if you could have a moist, flavorful loaf filled with all that gingerbread-y goodness and drizzled with a spiced icing that is irresistible? Then do I have the recipe for you! This gingerbread loaf with a spiced icing glaze is not only festive and delicious, it’s also incredibly easy. Mix, pour, bake, enjoy. Not too challenging, right? Christmas can already be stressful enough, why bake something overly complicated. I want easy and tasty out of my holiday desserts and this one takes the cake…I mean loaf.

Christmas time is here and you know that means?? Holiday baking! Oh yeah! This time of year is arguably my favorite. Final exams are almost over, the holiday is just around the corner, and it’s a time of year when I can get back in the kitchen baking with Momma Crawford. One of my favorite holiday traditions is spending time at home, cooking and baking with my mom. Christmas music can be heard on the radio as we dance and groove around the kitchen, mixing batters and fixing up casseroles. It’s something fun I always enjoy around the holidays!

Since this recipe is so easy, it’s a great one to get your kids or grandkids involved with! Make it an afternoon they won’t soon forget. Gingerbread loaf, hot cocoa, and Christmas specials: now that sounds like a great time to me!

Gingerbread Loaf with a Spiced Icing Glaze Recipe

Ingredients

For the loaf

½ cup white sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 c. molasses

½ c. apple sauce, unsweetened

2 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. allspice

1 c. hot water

            For the icing

1 c. confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. eggnog

½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

 

Directions

For the loaf. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light, fluffy, and pale in color. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Add in the molasses and apple sauce and beat until well combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg until combined. Blend the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until combined. Stir in the hot water (carefully!) until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for 1 hour until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before serving.

For the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger until incorporated. Drizzle over the loaf before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge when not using.

Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey

egg-drop-soup-1It’s November and Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, is on the horizon.  Any excuse to get together with family and friends and cook a ton of food and eat is my favorite holiday.  However, I think one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers! I absolutely love leftover turkey sandwiches on white bread with mayo, salt, and pepper. But, once I have had my fill of those, I usually still have leftover turkey to cook with.  Which brings me to the recipe I have developed to share with you. Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey.

 

I have a deep love and fascination with Chinese take-out food. A few months ago, my favorite Chinese restaurant closed permanently. After getting over the initial shock and grief, I am on the search for a replacement. Sadly, I haven’t found one yet. But, in the meantime, I’ve been biding my time recreating some of my favorite dishes at home.

 

Egg drop soup isn’t something I usually order but, I have begun making it home to compliment my Chinese take-out inspired meals. It is surprisingly easy to make. The broth is usually flavored with ginger, garlic, and peppercorns. I have added star anise to mine to enhance the flavor a bit more and bring in some notes of Chinese 5-spice.

 

Cornstarch is an important staple of this recipe. It is whisked into the broth to ever so slightly thicken and give a little body to the finished soup. It is also whisked into the eggs allowing them to remain delicate and soft once they hit the hot broth.

 

Turkey isn’t something that you traditionally find in Chinese take-out cuisine but, since it is that time of year, I have been looking for ways to add it to my Chinese take-out at home. And, it goes surprisingly well in this soup. The star anise really compliments the turkey and rounds out the soup in a delicious way. I hope you enjoy!

Egg Drop Soup with Roasted Turkey

6 c. chicken stock
3” piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slices
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp. whole black peppercorn
2 star anise
2 dried bird’s eye chilies, or serrano
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 c. leftover roasted turkey, shredded
1 c. green peas
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1 tsp. cornstarch

Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, black peppercorn, star anise, bird’s eye chilies, and soy sauce.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Allow stock to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Strain the broth into another saucepan and return to the heat. Bring back to a low simmer. Add the roasted turkey and green peas.

Scoop out about ½ cup of the broth into a small bowl. Whisk it together with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour back into the saucepan and stir.

In the same small bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 tsp. cornstarch until eggs are completely beaten and cornstarch is dissolved.

Holding a fork over the saucepan, gently pour the egg cornstarch mixture through the tines, allowing it to form ribbons. Let the egg “set” for about 10 seconds and then stir to break them up as you like.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Once again, I am enjoying the many flavors of fall! Don’t you just love all the flavors of fall!!? Fall time is when we harvest some of my favorite vegetables! Sweet potatoes! I love them prepared so many ways! From sweet recipes to savory recipes, sweet potatoes are delicious so many ways. Definitely as a favorite with this Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potato recipe.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 1

This recipe with the garlic and Parmesan brings in some savory flavors to blend with the sweet potato sweetness. It’s an easy side dish packed full of flavors.

Fall is when sweet potatoes are dug in the garden. It’s always nice to use fresh produce that we have grown to prepare different recipes and enjoy!

Raw Sweet Potatoes

These Garlic and Parmesan roasted sweet potatoes are well liked in our house and are a great side dish paired with any meal. Especially in the fall season, when we mostly think of having sweet potatoes.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
3 medium sized sweet potatoes (peeled or skins on, cut into cubes)
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400° F. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes (you can leave the skin on if you prefer). Chop the onion. Place the onion and cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add the olive oil, pepper, and garlic powder to the bowl and mix coating the onion and sweet potatoes well. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. Serve warm.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes 3

Be sure to give these Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes a try as a side dish this fall! Add them to your Thanksgiving feast!

Chocolate Crust Pumpkin Pie – TermiNatetor Kitchen


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It’s almost Halloween! That means three things: costumes, pumpkins, and chocolate, and this chocolate crusted pumpkin pie tart hits two of those three marks. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of dressing up for Halloween. I’m not against the idea of dressing up. My favorite costume growing up was the phantom from the Phantom of the Opera, hand sewn by my mom and everything. It was kind of amazing. As I’ve gotten older, I find dressing up in costumes uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain why I feel this way. Many of my friends still dress up for Halloween house parties and such. Perhaps I’m just an old soul and rather watch as others parade around in vampire, werewolf, and sexy nurse’s outfits. Perhaps as I grow older I’ll grow more comfortable with the idea. But what’s more important around this time of year is pumpkins and chocolate!

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I’m a huge supporter of the tart. There is something so quaint and simple about a tart. It’s neither too fussy nor complicated. 2016 has the year of pie crusts for me. I’ve been working with a bunch of different crust recipes, actively searching for the ideal one (“The one recipe to rule them all.” Any Lord of the Rings fans here?) For this recipe, I knew I wanted to test a chocolate crust. I think the combination of rich, buttery chocolate crust with the dense, custardy pumpkin filling was going to be scary good, and I was right! The contrast of flavors and textures was superb, then with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream just make this dish sing (or scream, if we’re keeping in theme). This tart reminded me of my Grandma Cooley’s pie, which gave me sense of home and comfort. Makes me even more excited for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients

For the crust

2 cups of all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

½ cup brewed coffee, cold (I used cold brew coffee)

For the pumpkin filling

¾ cup white sugar

3 tablespoons butter, softened

2 eggs, beaten

15oz pumpkin puree

1 (12oz) can evaporated milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground ginger

 

Whipped cream, as topping

Directions
For the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and cut into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add the cold coffee in thirds, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Continue stirring until a soft dough has formed. Knead slightly, then mold into a circular disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a least 45 minutes (or up to 2 days).
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (I used a mixture of flour and cocoa powder). Roll it out an inch larger than the tart pan you’re using. Transfer dough to the tart pan and trim off the excess the dough with a sharp knife. Return to refrigerator for 20 minutes before filling/baking.
For the filling. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and eggs. Mix in the pumpkin evaporated milk, and vanilla. Add the sifted ingredients and beat until smooth. This mixture is going to be a tad soupy, but don’t worry! It will thicken up as it bakes. Pour the mixture into the prepared 10-inch tart pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow cool completely before covering and allowing to chill completely before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

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Candy Corn Treats: Halloween Dessert Idea

Candy corn is probably one of the most popular Halloween candy treats! Maybe the most recognized for the Halloween time of year. What a fun twist on rice cereal treats and Halloween together is to make Candy Corn Rice Cereal Treats.

It’s always fun to put together a fun creative treat! These are great for your child’s class snacks, to pass out for trick or treating, or just a fun twist on rice cereal treats in the fall time!

candy-corn-treat1

Candy Corn Rice Cereal Treats

Ingredients:
mini marshmallows
rice cereal
stick butter
red food coloring
yellow food coloring

Directions:
For the Yellow layer:
2 1/2 cups rice cereal
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
yellow food coloring

For the Orange layer:
2 cups rice cereal
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 Tbsp butter
red and yellow food coloring

For the White layer:
1 cup rice cereal
1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows
1 Tbsp butter

candy-corn-treat2

Spray an 8 inch round pan with non stick spray. You will want to have wax paper available ready to use to shape your cereal in the pan, so the cereal doesn’t stick to your hands and is easier to shape. You can use the microwave or stovetop, whichever you prefer.

Starting with the yellow layer, melt the butter and add the marshmallows and melt them together. Then add the yellow food coloring, a few drops for the desired yellow color and mix together. Then add the rice cereal. Mix together well until all the cereal is coated with marshmallows. Shape the yellow layer around the outside edge of your round pan.

For the orange layer, melt the butter and add the marshmallows then melt them together. Add the yellow and red food coloring to get the orange shade. Remember only a little bit of red coloring needed and more of yellow to get the orange shade. When you have your desired orange color, add the rice cereal and mix together well until the cereal is coated with marshmallows. Shape the orange layer around the inside of the yellow layer in the pan.

For the white layer, melt the butter and add the marshmallows then melt them together. Add the rice cereal and mix together well until the cereal is coated with marshmallows. Then add to the center of the round pan.

Make sure all the layers are pressed in the pan and pressed together.

Allow the rice treats to cool fully and set up for 30 minutes. When they are ready to cut, simply flip over the pan on a cutting surface and remove the treats from the pan. This is where a well greased pan is important, so it all comes out together. Using a large knife cut the rice treats into triangles around the circle. This will give you the Candy Corn look.

Makes 8 Candy Corn Treats. Double or triple the batch to make more of this easy treat.

candy-corn-treats

Put a popsicle stick in the end, wrap in a clear party bag and tie with a colorful ribbon for a great treat for school or trick or treating!! Everyone will love them!!

Baking with Halloween Candy

Every year I do through the same thing…I stock up on Halloween candy for Trick or Treat only to end up with extra candy because rain or cold weather limited how much we give out. I’ve even tried going to my parent’s house to hand out candy, as they live on a main street in town which is home to a lot of kids. We start handing out candy in the drive way handing, but as soon as the sun sets and the wind picks up, we move inside. Fewer and fewer kids visit as the wind picks up and the little kids get tired. Inevitably, I have some leftover Halloween candy and wonder what I am going to do with all of it. This year, I know exactly what I’ll do! I’ve tested all three of these recipes and much to my co-workers delight, they turned out great!

Halloween Candy Bark

Halloween Candy Bark

If you like your sweets with just a hint of salt, this Halloween Candy Bark is for you! I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and covered the bottom with broken pretzels and chopped pecans and walnuts. Then I poured melted chocolate chips on the top of the bottom layer. You could use white or milk chocolate or even a layer of both. If you microwave the chocolate chips to melt them, do it in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, so the chocolate doesn’t scorch. While the chocolate was still warm, I topped the candy bark with some leftover candy eyeballs and candy coated peanut butter candies. You could also use other chocolate covered candies and get pretty creative with this recipe. I set the baking sheet in the fridge to help the chocolate cool quickly. Once it was completely chilled, I broke the bark into 3-to 4-inch pieces. There are so many options you can choose with Halloween Candy Bark, all depending on your taste.

Bottom of the Bucket Cookies

Bottom of the Bucket Cookies

When you have a wide assortment of extra Halloween candy, try putting pieces on top of a sugar cookie. These cookies lasted about 20 minutes in our office! Halloween candy in wrappers, however, is still sitting in the lunchroom. Everything tastes better on top of our Rumford Sugar Cookies! It’s a sturdy cookie with a good crunch to it when you bite in. Watch them closely in your oven and take them out just as the edges start to brown. If you let the cookies become golden brown before removing from the oven, they will likely be dried out.

I used candy coated chocolate candies, candy corn and broken pieces of chocolate candies. Candy coated chocolate or peanut butter can go on top of the cookies before you bake them, but everything else should be pressed into the cookies as soon as they are out of the oven. You can even make indentations in the top of the cookies for the candies before they are baked to make it easier to place them after baking. The chocolate candies melted a little, making them stick perfectly to the cookie tops.

Chocolate Candy Bread

Chocolate Candy Bread

The chocolate candy bread recipe was the most popular in our office! It is visually so beautiful and filled with all of your chocolate candy favorites! I took our chocolate buttermilk bread recipe and added a one and a half cups of assorted mini chocolate candies. When the bread came out of the oven, I drizzled melted white chocolate on top with a little milk mixed in so it was just the right consistency. I added some coarsely chopped chocolate mini candies, too. When you cut into the bread, you won’t see all of the chocolate candy, but you can taste the different ones throughout the loaf of bread. This is the perfect recipe to make on November 1st to use all your leftover Halloween candy.

Birthday Celebration Cake

Birthday Celebration Cake Hero 2Birthdays are one of my favorite days of the year. Growing up, birth dates we’re a special day to celebrated, tailored to make it so uniquely about celebrating you. We never did anything too extravagant, as a child there were the “big” birthday parties with school friends. But by middle school, birthdays become more about celebrating as a family as opposed to having the biggest party. Every year it is the same, like clockwork, our birthdays have become a tradition.

Every time in the weeks leading up to your birthday, the customary “Where do you want to eat at?” would be asked and pondered. Growing up we didn’t go out to eat much, we enjoyed cooking

together at home and having “Pizza & Movie Night” every Friday. Going out to eat was a treat, something usually reserved just for birthdays. But the best party was dessert, we never had dessert at the restaurant, it was like an unspoken rule. Your favorite cake or dessert was ALWAYS made for your birthday. It changed from year to year, growing more consistent as we all grew older, but cake was always a mainstay.

Over the years I have taken up cake decorating for family birthdays, it’s the little something extra I can try and do to make someone feel special on their day. In my family vanilla cake is a crowd pleaser and one we make most often, but I love to mix it up a bit by adding in different flavors. For the birthday cake I am sharing with you, I went with my favorites: strawberries and lemons. With the simple sprinkle decorations and piping, this is a decorated cake that anyone can pull off for any number of occasions. Change up the colors, size and/or shape of your sprinkles to match your theme and you’ve got an easy to make birthday cake, tailored just for you!

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Pinterest Birthday Celebration CakeBirthday Celebration Cake

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Filling and Lemon Buttercream

(Get the full Birthday Celebration Cake Recipe Here)

Makes two 9-inch round layers

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon extract
3 eggs
¾ cup milk

For the Strawberry Filling:

1 lb. strawberries, stems removed and quartered
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Clabber Girl Cornstarch
Juice from 2 lemons

For the Lemon Buttercream

2 lbs. powdered sugar, sifted
1 # unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. lemon extract
Zest from 2 lemons

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
    Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attached and beat on low for about 5 minutes or until combined and lightened in color. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract and mix to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and set aside. Reducing the mixer to low, slowly add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then ½ of the milk-egg mixture. Stop and scrap down the bowl on the edges after each addition or as needed. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining milk-egg mixture, scrap again as needed and add the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrap the bowl with a large spatula and pour the batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool the remaining time on the rack.
  5. For the Strawberry Filling: Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and toss to combine. Cook over medium heat, until the strawberries begin to soften and release their juices, stirring occasionally. Let mixture come to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened and cooked to desired consistency, stirring as needed. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
  6. For the Lemon Buttercream: Using the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and lightened in color. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the creamed butter and beat to combine, continue adding the powdered sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time until the mixture is lightly and fluffy. Add in the lemon extract and mix to combine. If the mixture is too stiff, mix in 2-3 tablespoons of milk to reached desired consistency.
  7. To assemble the cakes: Cut the tops of the cakes to create a flat even top. Place 1 cake layer, cut side down on your cake stand. Using a piping bag, pipe a circle around the entire rim of the cake top. Spoon ½ of the Strawberry Filling inside of the buttercream circle (this acts as a wall to keep your filling from spilling out of the cake). Gently place the second layer, cut side down on top of the first cake, lining up the edges. Ice and decorate the outside of the cake as desired with the remaining Lemon Buttercream.

**You will have extra Strawberry Filling, serve some on the side so guest and spoon more over their own cake slices as desired or reserved for a later use.