Browse Category by Baking
Baking, Holidays

Mini-Eggnog Cranberry Pound Cakes

Once upon a time there was a writer who was in the midst of writing a manuscript while working a full-time job and caring for an injured dog at Christmas, and just when she didn’t think her to-do list could get any longer, it did. She had to bake for her 20-plus co-workers. She needed something quick, easy and had a high yield because she was short on time. The countdown to Christmas day had begun and she needed her own little baking miracle. Then a flash of inspiration hit and within a couple hours she was packing up the cargo space in her SUV with treats for her co-workers. What saved the day? Cranberry Eggnog Mini-Pound cakes.

That is the year I traded my made-from-scratch pound cake batter for a box mix and it was the best decision I made that holiday season. Billy has major surgery, he’d fractured his jaw and he needed care 24/7. He was droggy from the pain meds, he really couldn’t eat so I had to serve him pureed pumpkin with water (a soup only a pup could love) several times a day to keep him hydrated. And it was Christmas!

I looked through what I had on hand and that’s when the inspiration sparked and I quickly gathered all the ingredients—eggs, vanilla, eggnog, cranberries. I used the eggnog in place of the milk. Add in some chopped cranberries and a plain pound cake became festive. Bake them in pretty molds and they become giftable (is that a real word? probably not but you know what I mean).

I always have a large roll of cellophane on hand and various ribbons stashed away for any occasion. I did have a stack of cake boards that I cut into small discs for the cakes. But that was a little time-consuming so now I just wrap the cakes in the cellophane. If you’re really short on time you can bake one large cake or a couple of loaf cakes according to the directions on the box. I do love the smaller cakes though. They’re just so pretty.

These little cakes showed me that simple sometimes is the best thing we can do. We get so caught up in all the things we think need to be done for the holidays and yet these very easy treats have become one of my most requested desserts and I’m happy to whip up a batch.

Ready for the recipe? There really isn’t one. But here are the basics and don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve made mini-petite cakes and added Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon to the batter.

You’ll need: 1 box of pound cake mix along with the ingredients listed on the box but you’ll replace the milk with eggnog and you’ll add 3/4 cup finely chopped cranberries to the batter along with a dash of vanilla. In addition, confectioners’ sugar to dust each cake.
Tips:
For the mini-cakes pictured above I bake them for 18-22 minutes, it all depends on your oven.
I typically get 6-9 mini-pound cakes from each box.
If you’re using mini-bundt pans be sure not to overfill each mold with batter or else you’ll never get the cake out. (Been there and it wasn’t pretty.)

Merry Baking!

 

Baking, Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. There’s a cool breeze, no humidity (thank you! thank you! thank you!) and the leaves are starting to become more intense in their color. Thanks to a storm on Monday night the walkway is covered with fallen leaves so when I walk to the street, there’s the comforting sound of rustling leaves.

Awe. Fall.

I had the urge to bake the other day and I wanted to make cupcakes. But I didn’t want to make the usual. I wanted something different. When I was in the grocery store I saw boxes of Pumpkin Spice cake mix and I thought “that’s it! I’ll make Pumpkin Spice cupcakes and the perfect frosting would be cream cheese”. I bypassed the boxes of mix because I’d make my own when I got home after putting the groceries away. And I did!

Biting into these cupcakes was like taking a bite out of autumn. Everything I love about the season was packed into this tiny little package of yumminess. The spices swirled with the pumpkin and the flavor burst in my mouth as the cream cheese frosting added a creamy richness. In a nutshell, these cupcakes were sweet, simple and very seasonal.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These moist, simple and seasonal cupcakes are perfect for cozy days.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cream Cheese frosting:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F and line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl combine pumpkin, molasses and vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Then, alternating, add flour and pumpkin mixtures, beating until just combined.
  5. Divide batter among muffin-pan cups and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack for 5 minutes to cool, then remove cupcakes from pan to completely cool.
  6. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting.
  7. Cream Cheese frosting:
  8. Combine cream cheese and butter in bowl and beat until light and fluffy with electric mixture. Add in confectioners' sugar and vanilla, combine until light and fluffy.

 

Baking, Writing

Countdown to Release Day & Chocolate Cupcakes

Let the countdown begin! In eight months The Uninvited Corpse will be released. Pinch me. 🙂 I thought we’d have a little tasty fun with the countdown. So today it’s all about chocolate cupcakes, which I love, love, love.

These cupcakes are so easy to make that you’ll never be tempted to reach for a box mix again. I know I’m not. This recipe can also make a heavenly chocolate cake. Ready to bake? Awesome!

 

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
Instructions
  1. – Preheat oven to 35 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. - Into the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking
  3. powder, and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with paddle attachments; add the eggs and yolk,
  4. then the milk, oil, vanilla and warm water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined,
  5. about 3 minutes; scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. – Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  7. – Bake until a cake tester inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean, about 20 –minutes.
  8. – Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool then frost.

 

Baking, Quick Breads

Irish Soda Bread

A few days before St. Patrick’s day I was on the phone with a friend chatting about my pup’s recovery (he did amazing and fingers crossed for his next follow-up appointment) from a surgical procedure and she was interrupted by her husband who had a question. He wanted to know if I was baking Irish Soda Bread (he’s not Irish but he loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since I moved in across the street). I said, “of course I am.” It’s one of my favorite breads and I bake it throughout the year, not just on the Wearin’ of the Green day. I was first introduced to Irish Soda bread by my uncle’s second wife. Born and bred in Ireland she moved to the United States in her twenties and kept along with her brogue her Irish traditions. Each year she bought Irish Soda bread from the nuns and that’s how I got introduced to the bread. Even though my family is Irish, no one ever baked Irish Soda bread. Go figure. Well, I set to correct that terrible error and I’ve been baking this bread for years.

I bake my bread on a pizza stone. I love the texture to the bread when it’s baked on the stone. There’s a lot of speculation of the meaning of the cross that is slashed into the dough prior to baking. There are some that say the cross wards off the devil, others say that it lets the fairies out and others who claim that it was an easy way to portion the bread. I select #2, letting the little Irish fairies out.  When you bake your loaf, you can decide. 🙂

 

The bread comes together quickly so it’s perfect for any meal.

Whenever I bake this bread I think fondly of my late Aunt Bridie. She was a tough old broad with a big heart. That’s the one awesome thing about cooking, even if you’re standing at the counter in your kitchen by yourself, you’re never alone because our recipes keep the spirits and hearts of our beloved ones with us.

If you haven’t tried baking Irish Soda bread before I hope you try this recipe. I’m sure you’ll love it. If you have baked this bread before, who’s recipe do you use? Is it one that has been handed down or did you get it from some place else?

 

Irish Soda Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir well to
  3. mix.
  4. Add the butter and combine until well-blended into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in raisins.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk ad egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a
  7. rubber spatula.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fold it over itself several times, shaping
  9. it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf onto a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper or
  10. onto a pizza stone and cut a cross in top.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes
  12. more until slightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  13. Cool the bread on a rack and serve with plenty of sweet butter.

Baking

Flourless Chocolate Cake

There are times when a gal just wants chocolate. Deep, rich, dense chocolate. When that happens it’s time to make this cake. O.M.G. Right?

It’s been awhile since I tied on my apron and baked because I’ve been busy, busy, busy writing and tackling spring cleaning. On Sunday afternoon I decided I needed a treat. But just not any treat. I wanted something decadent. I wanted something that I usually don’t bake, after all I was viewing this as a reward. Chocolate and decadent. Hmm…Flourless Chocolate Cake. Perfect!

One of the reasons, other than tasting amazeballs (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that into a sentence 🙂 ) it’s perfect for portion control because you just need a small slice to satisfy your craving. See, it’s a perfect dessert.

Ready to dig in? First, you need to bake it and it’s really a quick recipe. So lets get baking.

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Rich and decadent, this is a perfect ending to any meal. Top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 12 cup cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar or whipped cream and fresh berries, optional.
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch Springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine butter and chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. Continue to mircowave in 15 second increments, until butter and chocolate chips are melted. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Add melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Stir in cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  5. Let cake cool for ten minutes on cooling rack and then release the side of the pan.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream and berries.
  7. Enjoy!