Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I have been MIA for a little bit but I'm back! I'm also back at a great time might I say-just in time for an MS Cupcake Club post. This month Karen from Karen's Cookies, Cakes, & More chose Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes. I have to say I was really excited to try this recipe because I have never had a dessert with sweet potatoes, but it's so close to pumpkin it made sense to me. At the same time, I was also nervous because others may know something I don't as there are no desserts out there with sweet potatoes. Also, telling people I was bringing sweet potato cupcakes to a get together got me a couple confused and worried looks.

Every month at least a couple members of the club complain that the recipe was a muffin desguised as a cupcake. So this month, I will be one of those members. As delicious as they were...they were muffins. To prove they were muffins, I made some in a muffin pan and had them the next day and they were great!! These are way to dense to me cupcakes. I also did not like the marshmallow topping. It was a sticky disaster to work with and the taste was just 'eh'. So my verdict is if you are looking for a muffin recipe for the holiday season this good one but for cupcakes...I don't know!

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake

This is the first month in my new cooking group The Cake Slice Bakers. For the next year, we will be baking cakes out of Nancie McDermott’s book Southern Cakes. For our first cake, the group has chosen a Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from this cake. Although, not an unusual combination of ingredients it is not a cake I have seen before. Having baked it, I can tell you it is fantastic. The flavor, aroma, and texture all work beautifully together. The butter gives the pecans a sweet candy like flavor, the cinnamon is surprisingly not overwhelming, and the cake itself is moist. As it name states, it would be perfect in the morning with a cup of coffee. And Pecans are so festive so it is a perfect cake to have on hand for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
Now let’s talk about where I went wrong and I really don’t know how I went wrong…well actually I do. You are suppose to lay one layer of the batter, top it with the cinnamon-pecan raisin filling, and then put another layer of batter on top of that and so on. Well I put too much batter on the first layer and didn’t have enough for the second layer and so my cake became a cake with no filling. Either way, the flavor was not compromised and given that we only have so much of a sweet tooth it worked out perfectly for us.
Check out the other lovely cake slice bakers here!

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake
(Adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

For the Cinnamon Raisin Filling
1½ cups light brown sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp cinnamon
1½ cups raisins
1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, melted

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 inch pan.
2. To make the filling- In one bowl, combine the light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix everything using a fork or whisk. In another bowl, combine the raisins and pecans in another bowl and toss to mix them. In another bowl, melt butter. Take all three bowls and set aside.
3. To make the cake batter- In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Also combine the milk and vanilla.
4. In the bowl of a electric mixer combine the butter and sugar whisk on high speed until pale yellow about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes.
5. Start slowly adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Alternate between the milk and flour.
6. Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter and pour half of the melted butter on top of it. Then sprinkle half the raisins and nuts.
7. With a spatula spread the remaining batter over the filling. Finish by sprinkling the rest of the cinnamon, butter and nut mixture making sure to cover the cake evenly.
8. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes-until the cake is golden brown. Let the cake cool before serving and you can serve out of the pan.


Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting....Kind of

It’s a fun day today; I’m doing a MS Cupcake Club post! This month Kim from What the Whisk chose Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes. I should start of by saying there are two seasons in my house- College Football and waiting for College Football. So it’s with this that my fall cupcakes come in a different spirit then what Martha had in mind. Truth be told, we had all my husband’s friends over for the game on Saturday and I needed to bake my cupcakes but I couldn’t very well give a bunch of grown men, who are still holding on to their college youth, a cupcake with a perfectly formed marzipan pumpkin on it. It’s not times like this, when everyone is worried about the quarterback and his concussion and the faith of the world which relies on this football team, that you serve cute foods. Oh no! In times like this you suck up your pride and contribute to the insanity that is college football. After all, if the football team loses, I may not care but I will suffer the consequences of a grumpy husband for weeks to come. So with that I will do my part and I hope the MS Cupcake Club will forgive me and understand my predicament of being a football wife :)

As for the Cupcakes, like all the others in the book, I found to be great. Were they outstanding? No. I will probably try a couple more pumpkin cupcakes before I remake these. As for the icing, as I’ve mentioned before I am not a fan of Martha’s Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s far too buttery. I have to make a lot of alterations to meet my tastes.

BB-Ina's Beatty's Chocolate Cake

For the month of September, the Barefoot Bloggers chose two chocolate cake recipes. The first one I had not heard good things about and the second was Beatty's Chocolate cake. I have wanted to make this cake for as long as I can remember because of all the great things I have heard about it. The funny thing about this recipe that I do have to mention is that although Ina calls it her friend Beatty’s recipe….it appears to originally be a Hershey recipe called the Black Magic Cake. The recipe is identical as in word by word and I find it odd that Ina doesn’t mention anything about this anywhere. But I digress, the recipe itself was very easy to make and was not too time consuming. The batter was extremely watery; I have actually never seen batter that was almost pure liquid. I admit I was worried, but it did form and everything turned out fine. I used cake circles to take the cakes out of the baking pans. This is not a cool and flip-over and remove cake type of recipe; even if you sprayed your pans trust me when I say at least one of your cakes will break in half if not both. You need to somehow support your cakes when you remove them. The cake itself was extremely moist and had a great flavor. The icing on the other hand, I did not enjoy too much. But I think that may have had something to do with the fact I knew there was a raw egg in there. Which brings to this question-what purpose does a raw egg yolk serve in icing? I left in the recipe when I made it because I was curious but I have never heard of this. I was a little surprised when I originally saw the recipe and saw an egg yolk in the icing. Apart from the egg yolk, I thought it could have been more rich and intense in flavor. It was too light and sweet for me. The verdict on this recipe is that-I would make the cake again but with a different icing recipe. If you are interested, you can find the recipe here.


Gourmet Magazine Folds

It's a sad day in the Foodie world today. Conde Nast Publications annouced that it is ceasing publication of Gourmet Magazine. I'm not shocked anymore with the state of the economy but Gourmet has been around for so long-68 years to be exact. It's the falling of an institution. Apparently Bon Appetit will continue publication, so that's at least some goods but I'm not going to lie-I'm going to miss Gourmet!

Healthy Low-Fat Turkey Chili...Diet Food that's Yummy!

Believe it or not, I actually do not subside on a diet of cupcakes, cookies, and brownies….yes I know it’s hard to believe with every other recipe using a pound or two of butta, but I promise you that I eat healthy the majority of the time. For us that means lots of lean protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. We eat a lot of fish and eating out is usually sushi. We save our desserts and heavily rich dishes for the weekends or special occasions. Most of the desserts I make get given away or taken to parties. So having said that I thought I would share a dish that I make in my house at least every other week if not every week- low-fat turkey chili. Now I admit this is not the chili I would serve if I had friends over but it's a great fast, tasty and healthy meal for the family during the workweek when you don’t want to slave over the stove for hours.

1lb Extra-Lean ground turkey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 heads of garlic, diced
1 cup of celery, chopped
2 cans of black beans(you can use another bean if you like)
Large can of whole tomatoes, 28oz chopped
tomato sauce 8oz
(I just eyeball it)
-onion powder
-garlic powder
- cumin
- turmeric
- cayenne powder
- paprika
- dried oregano
- chili powder

1. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and add onions. Cook onions until they are golden-about 5 minutes. Don’t burn them!
2. Add garlic and cook a minute.
3. Add meat then immediately add the spices. Now chop up the meat with a wooden spoon and cook meat until it’s cooked all the way through. At least five minutes.
4. Add celery. Cook a couple more minutes.
5. Add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce
6. After about half an hour add black beans. Also at this point taste and adjust salt and spices.
7. Cook another half hour or so. When Chili is cooked, I like to add a handful of fresh cilantro. You can omit if you want.

Banana Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Whew! I think I’ve hit some sort of record for longest time between posts. I have no excuses, but I do promise to try harder :D! Well I kind of have an excuse, I'm back at school and I'm just trying to get back into the groove of things. It's been a while since I've sat in a classroom and had to hand in homework. It takes some adjusting!
So with that, I will move on to the purpose of this post-a MS:Cupcake Club post. For the month of September, we had two recipes: the Zucinni Spice Cupcakes and this bonus recipe. The cupcakes we had to make for this last day of September were Banana Pecan with Caramel Buttercream icing and oh my goodness were they good. The icing was really to die for….well ok maybe not to die for but you it was good! I will admit though that it was kind of a pain in the ass to make. First you whip the butter, then you make the caramel, then you heat and whip the egg whites, and then you mix everything together. Now we all know Ms. Martha has 10 bowls for her electric mixer but I only have one, so I do wish I had read the instruction beforehand because by the time I whipped the butter I was out of bowls! Apart from being a pain in the ass to make, it really was heavenly. I froze a bunch of the icing, so I will let you know how defrosted icing tastes. Oh, and if you’re wondering why my icing is so yellow, I added food coloring to it. As for the cupcake, it was good but I’ve had better banana breadish/cake/muffins. It was a little on the dry side for me but overall it was good. This is the second Martha cupcake recipe I’ve been pleased with. I’m on a roll; I hope I didn’t jinx myself!

Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes

I must have a lot of time on my hands because I joined another online cooking club. Ok not really, but it’s just that I really wanted to join the MS: Cupcake Club. The MS stands for The Martha Stewart, as they are attempting to bake their way through Martha’s Cupcake book. Why did I Join? Because, I love cupcakes! They are so proud and delicious in all their individual glory. Everyone feels special getting their own mini anything and cupcakes are like your own individual cake….a cake made especially for you and you only ;) So now once a month I/we will bake a new recipe from Martha’s book. I will not be posting the recipes since we are baking every recipe. I hope you follow along and enjoy!
This month Tracy from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures has chosen Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes on pages 44. I have never baked with Zucchini before, so I really had no idea what to expect. It didn’t help that my husband walked by and said ‘why can’t you bake something normal, like blueberry muffins or something’. Yea, I was off to a good start.
Having baked them, I can’t believe how good they were and my husband agreed. They were super moist and paired perfectly with the cream cheese frosting. I do have to say, I adjusted the frosting by adding more vanilla extract and sugar in order to balance the very strong butter flavor. Next time, I will definitely cut the butter by at least four tablespoons and keep everything else the same. I baked a full batch and took them to a get together and they were a hit. Everyone loved them. The next time I have a lot of zucchini, I will definitely make these. Thanks Tracy for the great suggestion.
Now if you want to check out what everyone else did go here!!!

Daring Cooks Challenge-Indian Dosas

Making the Pancakes- I made mini ones

Cooked pancakes

Mashing the chickpeas

Cooking chickpea filling

Making coconut curry sauce

All assembled and ready to eat!

Do you know what day today is? It’s a Daring Cooks Challenge day! This month, Debyi from the Healthy Vegan Kitchen is our host, and she chose a vegan Indian dish called Dosas. I have to admit, I was very excited about this challenge because I love healthy vegetarian dishes and I love Indian food, but have never attempted to cook it myself. Have I ever mentioned that I was vegetarian for six years and vegan for one? Well I was, but all that ended on one faithful night when I was craving Burger King….yes, Burger King, and a Whopper to be exact. Yes, I am ashamed but it was so good. I can promise you, I haven’t had another one since, but I am no longer vegetarian. The point of that little tidbit, however, is that I love vegetarian food and it’s been a huge part of my life.
Now, the dish Debyi chose comes in 3 parts: the pancakes (wraps), the chickpea filling, and the coconut curry sauce. Let me tell you this dish was really good and I would definitely make it again. The only real change I made to the recipe was cutting the Curry powder by about half. My husband hates a pronounced Curry taste and is convinced it makes him sick, so I had to accommodate him. I will also add this, I think this recipe assumes you have all non-stick pots and pans because the idea of cooking vegetables in no oil on my stainless steel pots and pans makes my heart palpitate. As for portion sizes, I think the curry coconut sauce can be cut in half. I had so much left over. I would also probably make a couple more pancakes. Over all though, a really good recipe! Thanks Debyi!

Indian Dosas
Adapted from refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal
Serves 4

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated
Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced
Dosa Pancakes
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.
Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste
1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced
1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.

Orange and Almond Cake

Fridays, I have no classes-yay for me!! So Fridays have become my favorite day of the week to cook, bake and try new recipes. Given that it’s still a work day for everyone else; it doesn’t quite feel like the weekend, so I like to try to do something semi-constructive. I also need to keep myself occupied so I don’t torture my poor husband who works from home. And so for everyone’s sanity, I bake and cook on Fridays. They(who they is, I don’t know) say Friday is probably one of the worst days to update your blog-no one is at their computer to read it but hey, I need something to do and such is the story of my life.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love to try recipes with a cult following-one of the first recipes I did on my blog was the Zuni Chicken. I like to see what all the hoopla is about and see if it will become a staple recipe for me. I have a binder with about 20 recipes; I’ve been dying to try. Well today, I decided to make one of those recipes- Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond cake. If you don’t know who Claudia Roden is, I’ll basically say she’s considered to be the foremost experts on Middle Eastern cuisine today. If you look below, you’ll see it’s quite the interesting recipe as the ingredients are scarce and not your typical cake ingredients. After having made it, I’ll say it is very different from what I’m use to. I know you will roll your eyes at this-but it is very orangey. I mean very very orangey…is that even a word? When you make this cake, you poach the oranges and then puree them in a food processor-skin and all. I think, I’d like to try this again but without the orange skin; it’s too much for me. I think it would be even nice with a different fruit. I do have to say though that I love almond flour. So the verdict on this recipe is: if the ingredients intrigue you then try it. If you love oranges then try it. If you hate oranges…stay away ;)

Orange and Almond Cake
Adapted from Claudia Roden

2 large oranges
6 eggs
1/2 pound ground almonds
1/2 pound sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Wash oranges and place in hot water to simmer for 2 hours.
2. After 2 hours take them out, let them cook. If needed cut them open and remove sees.
3. Take oranges and puree in food processor.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Beat the eggs and then slowly add all other ingredients. You do all this in the food if you'd like.
6. Pour into a prepared springform pan or a regular 8inch pan and bake for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Cornish Hens with Figs

I’ve been dying to use figs in a recipe ever since I saw them on display at my grocery store last week. Then coincidentally a couple days ago, my husband came home with two fig tree branches. They do not have roots so we’re going to try to root them in water and then plant them in the ground. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!!! We had a fig tree at our previous house and it was so lovely to wake up to fresh figs….except of course when the raccoons, squirrels or possums got to them before me. But that is beside the point, the point is that I adore fruit trees! There’s something so exciting and magical about them-especially for someone who grew up in the city. I now have four fruit trees growing on my property, so that should be enough to keep me occupied year long. Well lets hope so anyways because I don’t want to plant anymore trees, I mean don’t want to be known as the weird lady with the overrun property.

Well back to the figs and a recipe. When I got this months Gourmet, I was so excited to see a Cornish hen and fig recipe. I immediately knew I had to make it. The result as you can see is really pretty. It was a fun recipe to make and it was really really easy. Even the most novice of cooks could make this and have it be a success. If nothing else, I'll guarantee you'll love the name- Figgy Piggy Cornish Hens. I get such a kick out of it...yes I am a strange one but I tell you it's the little things in life. If you are interested in the recipe it can be found here!


Banana Date Cake

Dates, I LOVE dates. No-I really really really love dates. I don’t know why but I think it has something to do with being Middle Eastern. It must be in my blood...that and eggplants. So I bought a big package of dates the other day and wanted to make something with them. I have this great recipe for banana date cake and I thought PERFECT! I love things like this because I am not a sweets person. I don‘t like anything overly sweet. But stuff like this is right up my alley. Having a slice of banana date bread and a cup tea, after supper, is perfection in book. The best part of this whole thing is that my husband loves it too and getting us two to agree on anything is nothing less than monumental.

Banana Date Cake or... Bread

5 very ripe bananas mashed
1 cup chopped dates, dusted with flour
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a Bundt pan
2. Sift all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and blend until smooth. Add eggs one a time, vanilla extract, mashed bananas, yogurt, cinnamon. Mix in dry ingredients.
4. Add dates to mixture. Make sure you’ve tossed the dates in flour or they will all sink to the bottom of your cake.
5. Spoon mixture into bundt pan
6. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean


Magnolia Cupcakes

For the fifth day in a row the weather here has been awful-rain, thunder and lightening. I live in Florida....where is the sun? Well on the bright side, I decided to cheer myself up and bake some cupcakes. I've been wanting to make the Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes forever. I decided today is as good day as any, especially since I will not be leaving the house.

I have to say this is the first time I've made this particular recipe. I think they're good but the icing is very very very sweet-so be warned. Based on some reviews I read, I substituted half the milk for heavy cream in the actual cupcakes. All in All, it was a really easy and fast recipe. I've never been to Magnolia Bakery but the next time I'm in NYC, I will definitely stop by and try their cupcakes to compare. I'm curious if this is actually similar the recipe they use.

Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: old-Fashioned Recipes From New York's Sweetest Bakery by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line tins with cupcake holders.
2. Combine the flours and set aside.
3. In your electric mixer bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time.
4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and flours. Add the vanilla extract. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.
5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is not soft anymore.

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add half of the sugar along with the milk and vanilla.
3, On the medium speed, whisk until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Gradually add the remaining sugar- beat for another 2 minutes or so.
5. Make sure the cupcakes are completely, 100 percent cool before icing them or you will create a mess.

*you may want to taste it at this point and add more sugar if you like...the recipe calls for 6-8 cups of sugar but I think 6 cups is plenty
**at this point you may also add food coloring.

This will make 2 dozen cupcakes.

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