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.

BB- White Pizza with Arugula

Well it's that time again-time for a Barefoot Blogger post! This week Andrea of Nummy Kitchen has chosen Inas White Pizza with Arugula. Now here is the thing and when it comes to me there is always a thing. I think there are 2 types of people, those who like white sauces and those that don't. I frankly fall in the latter. Although, I don't strongly dislike them, I don't particularly like them. I like my pasta and pizzas with a nice red sauce. Now I promise I will never write about fat and calories on this blog, but I did do some quick calculations and one of these little pizza's should have at least 60grams of fat and I say at least because I lost one of the cheese wrappers with the nutritional info. Now I love my Ina and her use of 1lb of butter in every recipe but sometimes a recipe will freak me out. You know when it’s a dessert you can have a little piece and move on; when it’s a special occasion, you can chalk it up to it’s only one time; but when it’s for a week night dinner, I feel like it’s too much.

But I will say for the love my art ;) I did have a slice and I thought it was ok-I would have preferred a red sauce but then that wouldn't have been a white pizza with arugula. Now for you cheese lovers cover you ears….are they covered? Ok, I also felt there was just too much cheese going on. Blasphemy I know! Well anyways enough about me, we've all figured out I'm strange by now. Lets talk about people who had no idea how much fat was in the pizza and actually ate it-my husband and his friend. My husband thought the pizza was ok but highly impressed that I made the dough from scratch and his friend thought it was fabulous. So you see the moral of this story is that this recipe is neither here nor there and when it comes to a review. Oh and just incase you were wondering, I still me some Ina! Now don't forget to check to see what other Barefoot Bloggers thought!

You can find the recipe here.

Caprese Salad

The summer just begs for fresh foods that are fast and easy to make. One of my favorite dishes that I like to make in the summer is a Caprese salad aka insalta Caprese. Basically, it is an Italian salad that originated from southern Italian island of Capri, and only consists of fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil. That is it- I told you it’s easy. I also like to add a bit of balsamic vinegar to mine but don’t tell the Italians, apparently this is some sort of sin….something to do with the vinegar bruising the cheese. But as with everything when it comes to cooking, I say do what makes you happy.
Some people like to serve this as an appetizer and some people like to serve it as a salad. I do both and it is always a hit. People love their Caprese salad. However way you serve it, be sure to have some toasted Italian bread on the side to serve with. Also, remember when you make recipes with very few ingredients and minimal preparation, the quality of your ingredients becomes paramount. So try to use the freshest ingredients you can and the best olive oil you can afford.

Caprese Salad


2 large ripe tomatoes (try to find ones with some stiffness to them so they cut nice and evenly)
1lb fresh mozzarella
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
* if you are like myself you may want to try some balsamic vinegar with it.


1. Evenly slice the tomatoes and Mozzarella
2. Clean and cut of Basil leaves
3. On a plate arrange in repetitive rows the mozzarella, tomato and basil.
4. Pour some a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Also add vinegar if you are using.


Daring Cooks Challenge- Rice with Mushroom and Cuttlefish

The Sofregit

Making the Allioli

Assembling Everything

The final product


This month Olga from Olga's Recipes is hosting our Daring Cooks challenge. Olga has chosen a Rice with Mushroom and Cuttlefish dish- essentially a Paella. This dish is by José Andrés, an accomplished Spanish Chef who now lives in DC and operates three restaurants. At the moment, this recipe is apparently a very important/popular Spanish dish(I can't confirm this, so I'm taking Olgas word for it ;))I have never made a Paella so this was actually a challange for me and that's exactly why I joined the daring cooks. So I was happy about that.

I used squid in my recipe instead of Cuttlefish and it really overpowered my dish. I usually try to buy fish fresh from Whole Foods or somewhere I know it will be fresh but I had to use my grocery store due to time. Well, I think my dish suffered as a result as it had a distinct fishy taste. But apart from that; the saffron, rice, tomatoes all worked beautifully together to create a wonderfully aromatic dish. Thanks Olga for introducing me to Spanish cuisine. I look forward to more Daring Cooks Challenges.

This dish has three distinct steps:
1. The Sofregit- This is a tomato based sauce
2. Allioli- This is a garlic/olive oil mayo
3. The Paella and assembling everything together.

This Recipe is incredibly long and my ADD has kicked in, so I will direct you to here for the recipe.


BB-Mango Banana Daiquiris

It is the second Thursday of the month, so you know what that means- we have a Barefoot Blogger post. This month Veronica of Supermarket Serenade has chosen Mango Banana Daiquiris. First of all, before I go any further, let me be a child and tell you how super excited I was when I saw that this recipe required minimal ingredients and no cooking or baking. Not sure why but I felt like a child whos teacher forgot to assign her homework.

Anyways, my intention was to make this recipe over a weekend when I typically have friends over. However, due to a string of unfortunate events, like both my husband and I getting food poisoning, I was unable to do so. But, never one to let an opportunity for a good drink pass me by, I made this on a Wednesday afternoon. Well let me tell you, it's not quite the happy hour drink but, nonetheless, it was still enjoyable. To me this is the quintessential drink to enjoy on hot summer day while sitting by the pool reading a magazine. It is cold, cool and refreshing, just what you need while you are baking under the sun instead of baking things in the oven. However, don't get me wrong this works just as well on a Wednesday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon or Monay afternoon....well you get the point.

Be sure to check out the other Barefoot Bloggers!

Mango Banana Daiquiris
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics- Ina Garten
2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
1 1/4 cups dark rum
Mango slices, for serving

1. Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add 2 cups of ice and blend again until smooth and thick.
3. Serve with slices of mangos as garnish.

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.
Serves 4


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