King Cake Cupcakes

I’d say February does a pretty good job at kicking all those January health goals to the curb. First you’re hit with Valentine’s Day, and then Mardi Gras and the rodeo (well, for those of us residing in Texas). Diets don’t stand a chance. However, you can’t help but get caught up in all the festivities. I personally love this time of year. Mardi Gras and the rodeo are both ongoing events and lend themselves for a lot social activities. It’s just fun! With Fat Tuesday coming up I figured King Cake Cupcakes would be the perfect cupcakes to bake!

I found this recipe over at The Virtuous Wife. Best thing about it? You use crescent rolls. Seriously can’t get much easier than that. Delicious treats don’t have to be complicated recipes, most of the time simple is better! The only down side to these is that the recipe only makes eight, although they are large. But MAN are they tasty! I actually preferred the bread flavor as opposed to a sweet cake- I felt like it balanced out with the filling and glaze. My taste testers told me it was even better with a cup of coffee. You could always experiment and try different fillings…so many possibilities.

King Cake Cupcakes

King Cake Cupcakes

King Cake Cupcakes (~8 cupcakes)

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls (seamless dough sheets work best)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamonFilling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extractGlaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 375* and grease your cupcake pan. With a mixer, cream together the ingredients for the filling (cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla). In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Lay out the crescent roll sheets and cut each tube into four squares.

King Cake Cupcakes

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the squares (divide it evenly until there’s no more).

King Cake Cupcakes

Add about 1-1.5 Tbsp of filling to each square. Try to spread it longways.

King Cake Cupcakes

Roll up each square longways (hot dog style). Pinch the edges together. Fold the left side over the middle, then fold the right side over the left. You’ll end up with what looks like a cinnamon bun. Place it in the cupcake pan.

King Cake Cupcakes

When you have all the rolls in the pan, cover the pan with foil. Bake at 375* for ~12 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking another 12 minutes. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing them.

King Cake Cupcakes

While they are cooling, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl. When the cupcakes have cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cupcakes. I put wax paper under the cooling rack they’re on because the glaze drips down. Add sprinkles of your choice!

King Cake Cupcakes

King Cake Cupcakes

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel like watching the Winter Olympics is a little more authentic now that it actually feels like winter here. This whole ending-the-day-at-the-same-cold-temps-we-started-with is a very odd occurrence in Texas. We’re used to it warming up as the day goes on…not be cold and stay cold! I don’t remember ever having an ice day growing up, and we had two in the past two weeks. People even claimed to have seen snow this morning, although I saw nothing. I was also completely bundled up and running to my classroom before the sun was up, so maybe I missed the four flakes that were floating down. This weather tends to make people feel BLAH and being cooped up inside for longer than you’re used to can also lead to more snacking. Well no fear! I have some chocolate chip cookies for you today that aren’t entirely guilt free, but they are gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. I took some to a Super Bowl party and by the time I left they were all gone. Chocolate chip cookies can cheer anyone up, even if it’s cold, rainy, and cloudy outside!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Primal Palate)

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Ready to go in the oven!

Ready to go in the oven!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until well combined. Melt the coconut oil and pour it into the batter. Mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Mickey Mouse Smash Cake

Last weekend I ran my third marathon, but the main reason I’m telling you this is because of the name on my bib. I honestly don’t remember giving them this name. The lady handed me my bib and said, “You’re cupcake?!” Why, yes…yes I am, but how do you know that? Apparently I was feeling clever when I registered.

Fact: People love to cheer for someone named "Cupcake"

Fact: People love to cheer for someone named “Cupcake”

Which brings me to cake. I’ve witnessed my share of baby’s first birthday cake. The idea of a smash cake is pretty ingenius- the baby gets their own cake to dig into, while the other guests can eat their own baby germ free piece. And it makes for cute pictures. However, the majority of the babies I’ve seen do not dig in and make a mess of the cake! They are not taking advantage of this. I know plenty of adults that would love to attack a piece of cake. But anyways. This was a Mickey Mouse smash cake I did recently. Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting- babies don’t have many preferences by one year. Have you ever seen a kid really smash a smash cake?

Mickey Mouse Smash Cake

Happy Birthday Dean!

Happy Birthday Dean!

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I have a confession to make.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am a fan of BSpears and Gaga. You can say what you want, but I enjoy singing and dancing around to their songs. It’s Britney, bitch. Until recently I had been of the opinion that Miley should have stopped after Party in the USA (much like Billy Ray should have stopped after Achy Breaky Heart). However I think Miley might have outdone BSpears and Gaga in regards to their latest albums. Yeah, I said it. Although “We Can’t Stop” probably goes in my Top 5 Worst Songs of 2013, the rest of the album is actually pretty catchy. It doesn’t top Circus or Fame…but if we’re going off most recent releases, I think Miley wins.

Now that I have that off my chest, I can share my paleo treats of the week. I had some leftover pumpkin, so I just googled until I found a good pumpkin dessert recipe. My main criteria was that I had all the ingredients because I didn’t feel like going to the store. Lazy? …..or efficient? Definitely efficient. I found this recipe over at Against All Grain. I made a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had and was pretty pleased with the results. I especially liked the frosting- it’s hard to do a good paleo frosting!  These cookies are chewy and taste exactly how a spice cookie should. Enjoy!

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies
  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  •  ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
    Icing
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut butter
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Blend the honey, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla in a food processor. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Use a cookie scoop to make small balls and place on your cookie sheet (either line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it). Use a glass with a flat bottom to flatten each cookie. Bake for 15-16 minutes at 350 degrees.

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies
To make the frosting, blend all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor (I used a magic bullet). You can adjust the consistency of the frosting by adding coconut milk.

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Paleo Zucchini Spice Waffles

HELLO January! I don’t know where you are, but given the new reports it sounds like it’s just cold everywhere. Sure does make going back to work/school a little more difficult. I read somewhere that January 6th is the saddest day of the year. I mean, I get it. Cold gray weather, returning to work after the holidays, everyone is trying to stick to new resolutions, yada yada yada. But it’s kind of crazy that they can monitor and “calculate” the saddest day of the year. I wonder what day is the happiest.

Anyways. I enjoy the cooking and baking over the holidays, but back to work means back to meal planning/prepping for me. I know I’m a bit extreme to use a spreadsheet to get meals and a grocery list together and that not everyone may jive with that. However, prepping just one of your meals can save you a lot of time during the week. These waffles are super easy to make and then all you have to do in the morning is pull one out and heat it up! Plus you’re sneaking in some veggies in there. Think of these as zucchini spice bread in waffle form. I found this recipe over at The Saffron Girl, and they turned out really well.

Paleo Zucchini Waffles

Paleo Zucchini Waffles

Paleo Zucchini Waffles

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Turn your waffle iron on. Using a food processor, shred the zucchini. Switch the shredding blade to the regular blade (is there a technical name for that? You know what I mean). Add the eggs, coconut oil, and milk to the zucchini and blend. Add the dry ingredients and blend until completely mixed together. If you’re using honey, add that in now. Pour into the waffle iron and bake accordingly!

 

Farm Animal Cupcakes and Smash Cake

Word Press just informed me that this was my 2 year anniversary of my blog- I figured that deserved a post if anything. Two whole years. This time of year lends itself to reflection and there is so much that I’ve done and still have yet to do. I’ve done 7 weddings in that time span, and have 2 more coming up in the spring. Not shabby considering this is my side job. Or is teaching my side job? It’s hard to keep straight. I never dreamed of baking on this scale and sometimes it still surprises me how much it’s grown.

It even has working lights!

One of the weddings from 2013.

Posts about goals and bucket lists have been floating around the interwebs…I find most of them annoying. And I’m very much a goal-oriented person. I’m constantly writing goals, rewriting them, and figuring out what I need to do to get there. I’m in the middle of that process right now. But the thing is, my goals don’t apply to anyone but myself. You don’t know need to know them. Not one of these lists going viral will apply to your life 100%. I hope you do make goals for the new year- and if you achieve them before the year is out, write some more. You don’t need a new year to dictate when you set goals. Figure out what you want, write goals (physically write them out), and go after it. Cover all areas of your life- health, spiritual, relationships, career, and financial. That’s only slightly overwhelming. Bottom line…where are you now, and where do you want to be?

Now, let’s get down to the baking. One of my recent projects was a smash cake and cupcakes for a sweet boy’s 2nd birthday. His party had a barnyard theme, which I thought was adorable. I decided to create cow and pig toppers with gum paste for the cupcakes. I drew the eyes and cow print on with a cake pen. These things are amazing. I originally ordered mine online, but I’m starting to see them in stores now.

Barnyard Cupcakes

Barnyard Cupcakes

I did the cupcakes first, and when I started the smash cake I decided to use the same gum paste decos. Continuity, folks.

Barnyard Cake

Barnyard Cake

I’m looking forward 2014 and everything it will bring! I hope you all get to ring in the new year with loved ones and with new goals. And of course, some delicious treats!

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

Spiked Apple Pecan Pie

One of the things I am the most thankful for are the few days off we get for Thanksgiving. It just feels like it comes at a much needed time- you know, before that 2 week break we get at Christmas. #perksofbeingateacher (Can I hashtag on here?) I decided I needed to actually give myself a “break” this break though, and so I only baked for my family this Thanksgiving. No traveling, minimal obligations…it was awesome. It actually gave me time to enjoy all the things I’m thankful for this year.

Freezing our tailfeathers off at this year's Turkey Trot

Freezing our tailfeathers off at this year’s Turkey Trot

Things I am Thankful For: (I like lists, okay?)

  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with all of my family
  • My brother passing the bar
  • My sister’s new job
  • Having friends and family that are goal-oriented and encourage each other to achieve their goals
  • Having a job that challenges me to learn more and not just settle

And last, but not least, I am thankful that I can now openly listen to Christmas music. I am one of those people. No apologies.

I did mention I baked for my family this Thanksgiving. One staple at our family holiday dinners is Buttermilk Pie. It doesn’t matter what else I bake, I can guarantee you the buttermilk pie will be the first to go. One pie is not enough for our family though, so the second pie/dessert is usually a random pick. This year I went with an Apple Pecan Pie. My dad had acquired this Pecan Praline Liquor from somewhere, so I decided to spike the pie with it. I don’t know how you would actually drink Praline Liquor, but it’s perfect for baking. I don’t have much experience with pies and this is for two reasons. 1) I always make buttermilk pie and 2) If not buttermilk pie, then cupcakes. So I looked over to the Pioneer Woman for a recipe this time. I found what I was looking for pretty quickly- her Apple Pecan Pie.

Rolling out the homemade crust

Rolling out the homemade crust

Spiked Apples

Spiked Apples

The only change I made was I held back a little on the lemon juice and added the Praline Liquor. I also didn’t drizzle caramel over the top, but that sounds amazing so you should probably try that.

Spiked Apple Pecan Pie

Spiked Apple Pecan Pie

I have several neat projects coming up in December that I can’t wait to share with you!

Gender Reveal Cake Pops and a Smash Cake

Hello my long lost friends! I probably should apologize for my short hiatus, but I’m not going to make any excuses. Bottom line is my real life takes precedence over the cyber one. This time of year tends to get nuts for everyone. Work (for me) always gets a little crazier, “run season” shifts into full gear with training and races, the baking is non-stop, and of course as the holidays approach, the social calendar just keeps building. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at ALL. But it does reach a point where I have to stop and figure out where my priorities rank. I think that’s one of the keys to keeping stress levels down- figuring out what’s important to you and your well being and what can be put off. I am constantly telling my students, “You don’t HAVE to do anything.”  They get excited for a minute before I remind them of the potential consequences of their decisions. But really, we don’t have to do anything. I think sometimes we forget that. The holidays are supposed to be a time of giving and joy, not “I just need to make it through the next few days”.

One of the main reasons why I love baking is getting to share and celebrate joyous moments with friends. The past few weeks I’ve done a couple of projects for dear friends celebrating various events in their lives. One friend found out that she was having a boy and wanted to share that with her family with cake pops. I made vanilla cake pops (colored blue of course) and covered them in white candy bark.

Gender Reveal Cake Pops

Gender Reveal Cake Pops

It's a Boy!

It’s a Boy!

Another friend was celebrating her boy’s first birthday. I made the gender reveal cake for this couple over a year ago, and I was excited to make a smash cake for my favorite one year old. I’ve watched him grow up this past year and can’t believe he’s already one! Pretty sure he’s a customer for life since his momma started him on my cake in the womb.

Dinosaur Smash Cake

Dinosaur Smash Cake

Dinosaur Smash Cake

Dinosaur Smash Cake

Cutest kid ever!

Cutest kid ever!

Happy baking this week!

Salted Whiskey Truffles

I somehow fooled myself into thinking October would be slow. So wrong. The whole month flew by and unfortunately this blog fell on my list of priorities. Laundry apparently fell on the list, too. Although if we’re being honest, laundry is always at the bottom of the list. Anyways. Last weekend my friend pointed out that Monday was National Chocolate Day. I think it’s slightly ridiculously that there’s a day for everything. National Cat Day was this week as well…but I hate cats, so I didn’t participate. I don’t mind celebrating chocolate though.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

My brother finds out if he passed the bar this week. Talk about stress. I figured he could use some treats to brighten up his week, so he got to be my taste tester for my chocolate recipe. I had to choose something that would travel. I had seen truffles at a restaurant recently and decided those were perfect. Then I decided to make chocolate whiskey truffles and be the best sister ever.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

I used this recipe since I had never made truffles before. I doubled it so my measurements will reflect that.

Salted Whiskey Truffles

Salted Whiskey Truffles (~20 truffles)

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. whiskey
  • Bakers chocolate

Chop the chocolate into pieces. Try to chop it finely and evenly as possible. Put it in a bowl and set to the side. Heat the cream until it comes to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Add in the butter and whiskey. Let it stand for a minute or two before stirring. Then stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Cover the ganache and refrigerate for a couple of hours, until the ganache is set. To make the truffles, scoop out the ganache and place on wax paper. If you have a gadget like a melon baller that will scoop it out perfectly, use that. I had to improvise and made a HUGE mess. The ganache melts rather quickly, so rolling them into balls is extremely difficult. I chose to chill mine again after shaping them. I dipped my truffles in bakers chocolate and sprinkled some sea salt on top to finish them. I love the contrasting rich and sweet flavors!

Cookies N Cream Cake

This past weekend one of my closest friends got married. Let me back that up. Two weeks ago, she and her fiance went to Vegas with their families and they got hitched. This past weekend they threw a reception so the rest of us could help celebrate. Pretty genius idea- you get two weekends to celebrate, two times to wear your wedding dress, two weekends where it’s all about you. But who would want that?!

The couple cutting the ca

The couple cutting the cake

These friends also happen to be some of my loyal taste testers. They even go the extra mile and try other bakeries, then give me feedback and suggestions. I’m pretty lucky. Since their venue took care of all the catering needs for their reception, my services weren’t needed. However, they did still want a small cake to do a traditional cake cutting and that’s where I come into the picture. A couple of weeks ago I asked them what flavor they wanted. They had recently tried a cookies n cream cake somewhere and decided on that. They were pretty specific on consistency and flavor, so I had a good framework to work with. I actually didn’t get a piece of the cake, but everyone said they really enjoyed it. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with Oreos.

The best kind of review

The best kind of review

Cookies N Cream Cake

  • 1 1/3 c. butter
  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg. double stuf Oreos

Preheat the oven to 325*. Grease and flour two 8″ round pans. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating by starting and ending with the flour. Crush 2 of the 3 rows of Oreos in the package, and fold them into the batter. Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Make a batch of buttercream frosting. Crush the remaining Oreos and fold into the frosting. I needed to pipe the frosting, so I only used Oreos in the filling. I also made the frosting a bit too thin the first go round. I knew as I was piping it that it would not hold, but I was hoping prayers would keep it from being a disaster.

Womp womp.

Womp womp.

I scraped off the sides and had to make another batch of frosting. Fortunately, it doesn’t take that long to pipe those roses.

Final product, plus the super cute custom King & Queen Card cake toppers!

Final product, plus the super cute custom King & Queen Card cake toppers!