National Cupcake Day

I made these cupcakes for a Twilight party that I attended. After a lot of wine, some of the women had a little too much fun licking off the frosting.

While many people don’t share my love of the Twilight series, I would like to note that I credit Stephenie Meyer’s series with rekindling my love of reading. Honors English in high school and law school killed my desire to read. The series reminded me that reading could actually be enjoyable. I thank Stephenie Meyer for opening up my heart and mind to the hundreds of books that I have read since her series.

More cupcakes at

Cupcake filled with Marble Gooey Butter Cake

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Sometimes it is difficult to please the chocolate fanatics and the non.  Marble is a nice compromise.  Here’s the compromise … a basic yellow cupcake, with a piece of chocolate marble gooey butter cake inside, and topped with a marble frosting top (vanilla, chocolate, and a vanilla-chocolate mix).

The night before I made these cupcakes I baked a pan of chocolate marble gooey butter cake .  I do this because it is easier to cut these into clean squares if they sit overnight.  This recipe makes plenty so don’t worry if you can’t control yourself and need to indulge in a little taste.  These taste amazing so enjoy!  Just don’t get too carried away and eat more than half of the batch.  Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Cake



1 package yellow cake mix

8 Tbls melted butter

1 egg


8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

8 Tbls melted butter

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat over 350, set aside 13 x9 pan
  2. For crust, mix ingredients until batter forms a ball.  Press evenly into ungreased pan
  3. For filling, (don’t need to clean mixing bowl or beater) whip the cream cheese. Add eggs, vanilla, and melted butter and beat for 1 minute.  Add powdered sugar slowly and beat until mixed completely
  4. Remove 1 c of filling and put in a separate bowl
  5. Pour remaining filling over crust in pan, spread evenly to all edges of pan
  6. Melt chocolate chips then mix with the 1 c of filling that was in a separate bowl
  7. Drop dollops of chocolate batter over the vanilla filling in the pan.  Gently swirl the chocolate and vanilla fillings
  8. Bake for 45-47 minutes – until slightly browned and center jiggles a little.
  9. Cool at least 30 minutes before attempting to cut (even for a taste test)

Day 2 (hopefully you didn’t eat all of the gooey butter cake)

I cut the gooey butter cake into 24 1in x 1in squares.  Don’t cut them larger or the squares won’t fit in the cupcake.

Cupcake time.

Prepare yellow cake batter.  Any yellow cake cupcake will do.  Cake mixes work quite well.  I place a small scoop of batter in each of 24 cupcake papers.  Then place one gooey butter cake square on top of batter.  Cover the squares completely with more batter.  I baked the cupcakes for only 18 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool completely.


I made a batch Wilton Buttercream vanilla frosting and a batch of chocolate.  I took a 1/3 of each and mixed them together.  For these cupcakes I used a new Wilton ColorSwirl Coupler


If you don’t have a coupling device, you can just as easily squeeze in equal amounts of vanilla, chocolate, and marble frosting into one piping bag.  In fact, I think this might be easier.  I found it very cumbersome to use the coupling device.  I found my hands weren’t large enough to manipulate the frosting easily.

Decorate the cupcakes with any tip that you prefer.

Enjoy the cupcakes.

Be kind – don’t forget to share some, too.


Chocolate and Vanilla Gooey Butter Cake

 gooey butter cake

Lemon Bar Cupcake with White Truffle Frosting

Lemon Bar Cupcake

Snickerdoodle Cupcake – comfort food for all the senses

snickerdoodle cupcake


Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge (gluten free)


Ever had a recipe that combines chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk?  Heaven, right?   This recipe makes it even better by swirling together both chocolate and peanut butter.  The two flavors pair together perfectly.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pinwheels
30 mins
2 hours 30 mins
These no bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pinwheels are easy with only 3 ingredients! They are made up of two layers of fudge, rolled together into a pinwheel shape!
Serves: about 24-30 candies
  • 1½ cups peanut butter chips
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Line a 15×10″ baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter chips and half the can of sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir. If not completely smooth, microwave again for 15 seconds, and stir until smooth. Mixture will be thick like fudge.
  3. Spread into prepared pan, using your hands to smooth it out if you have to (it’s not sticky, so it will spread easily!).
  4. In another medium, microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and the rest of the sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir. If not completely smooth, microwave again for 15 seconds, and stir until smooth. Mixture will be thick like fudge.
  5. Spread on top of the peanut butter mixture carefully.
  6. Let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Starting at the long side, roll up carefully and tightly, making sure to leave the foil behind. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours before slicing.
  7. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe found at


Milk Chocolate Fudge

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Milk Chocolate Fudge – SO MUCH BETTER than semi-sweet

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Why did it take me so many years to realize that MILK CHOCOLATE is a MUCH BETTER choice for fudge than SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE?  The texture is smoother.  The taste is richer.  There’s a time and place for all types of chocolate.  This doesn’t affect my opinion on other uses of semi-sweet chocolate.  For example, who doesn’t like your basic chocolate chip cookie with semi-sweet chips? I guess I’ll have to make up for past indiscretions by making more of this fudge.

I used the standard Nestle recipe and simply substituted milk chocolate chips for semi-sweet.


1 1/2 c sugar

2/3 c evaporated milk

2 Tbls butter

1/4 tsp salt

2 c mini marshmallows


1 tsp vanilla


Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy duty saucepan.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Stir in marshmallows, chips, and vanilla.  Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until fully combined.  Pour into prepared baking pan.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

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Nutella Fudge

Nutella Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

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Chocolate & Walnut Mud Cupcakes (gluten free)


Finally! I found a chocolate cupcake that satisfies my chocolate-loving teenage daughter.  She tends to prefer rich chocolate desserts such as ganache, fudge, or french hot chocolate.  She usually feels short-changed by chocolate cupcakes because they have a chocolate flavor but are not “real chocolate.”  If you can relate to this taste preference, I highly suggest trying these cupcakes.  However, these cupcakes need to come with a warning: Seriously Rich Cupcakes – don’t even try consuming more than one at a single sitting.



2 c  dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)*

3/4 c butter

6 eggs

1  c brown sugar

1/4 c maple syrup

1 c ground walnuts

1/3 c chopped walnuts

Directions (makes 23-24 cupcakes):

Pre-heat oven to 325 F

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over simmering water.  Remove from heat.

Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, ground walnuts, and chopped walnuts.

Pour in the melted chocolate and butter and stir until fully combined.

Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full.  Bake for 27 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.  Remove from pan immediately and allow to cool completely.

* I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.  They are rich and melted quite well.  With a recipe like this, using a good quality chocolate is essential to the flavor of the cupcake.

Chocolate Frosting


6 c powdered sugar

1/2 c Crisco (shortening)

2/3 c milk

pinch salt

3 tsp vanilla

1 c cocoa


Mix all ingredients in a blender.  Be sure to start on a very slow setting and increase the rate as the ingredients begin to combine.


Don’t forget that cupcakes should look great as well taste great.  I covered these cupcakes with mini chocolate chips.  To do this, I frosted the cupcakes then immediately turned the cupcake upside down and dipped them in the chips.  I needed to use my hand to help form a nice mound and sprinkled with a few more chips to help fill in the gaps.  Because the cupcakes include nuts, I added a walnut half on top to clearly indicate that the cupcakes contain nuts.  I would never want someone with a nut allergy to accidentally have a bad reaction to my baked goods.

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Snickers Cupcakes 

 Snickers Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes

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Cookie Dough Frosting (gluten free)

My daughter and I went on a cookie dough binge following my birthday when I decided to have cookie dough for my birthday instead of a normal birthday cake.

From cookie dough, we launched into the land of cookie dough frosting.  It was so good when we used it in the chocolate cupcakes that we followed up with whoopie pies stuffed with cookie dough frosting.


Of course, I like to eat the frosting by the spoonful.

Cookie Dough Frosting Recipe


10 Tbls. butter, softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c almond flour

1 1/4 c powered sugar

3 Tbls. almond milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c chocolate chips


Beat sugar and butter until fluffy.  Incorporate the rest of the ingredients. Beat until perfect consistency.

See Related:

See BirthdayPost: (recipe for gluten free cookie dough included)


Whoopie Pies Are For All Occasions

red and green whoopie pies




International Buttercream Bake-off


Which is better:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream or

French Buttercream?  

While looking for some recipes for my daughter’s holiday party in her French class, I kept coming across French buttercream.  It piqued my interest.  It made me wonder how is this different than the typical buttercream that I generally use?  Further hunting on Pinterest lead me to find Swiss Buttercream and Italian Buttercream recipes.

Thus, I decided I needed to do a little bake-off.

The Italian type is most closely related to the Swiss type and my time is limited, therefore I limited my bake-off to just Swiss and French Buttercream.

There are a few major differences between standard buttercream and the French and Swiss variety.

  1. American buttercream includes lots of powdered sugar and a small amount of shortening.
  2. French and Swiss contain a LOT more butter in the recipes and also contain egg
  3. French uses egg yolks
  4. Swiss uses egg whites
  5. French and Swiss include a heating process to kill the bacteria in the egg

In order to compare the buttercream recipes, I choose the purest flavor, Vanilla.  Considering the international flair to this little comparison, I thought I should splurge on some higher grade vanilla flavoring.  Luckily, I found vanilla beans on sale at Costco (the store typically sells them during the holiday season).

I choose a buttermilk devils food chocolate cupcake because I thought that it would showcase the buttercream well.  Note: I used no-fade cupcake papers that have an aluminum lining.  The baking time had to be reduced drastically to accommodate this type of wrapper.

What were the results of the bake-off?  The jury was split.  I found both the Swiss and French to be way too rich, creamy, and buttery.  Perhaps it is an acquired taste, but I’ll stick to my standard buttercream.

Standard (American) Buttercream Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 c shortening, 1/2 c butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 4 c powdered sugar 3/8 c milk

Directions: Cream shortening and butter.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk.  Add vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – recipe from Cake Boss

French Buttercream – recipe from Cake Boss



Gluten Free Christmas Treats

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Light Meringue Cookies 


These are a truly light meringue cookie as compared to almost every other meringue recipe that I’ve ever tried.  Most meringue cookies are very solid throughout and have a powdery taste.  These, on the other hand have a lot of air throughout the cookie and the chocolate chips and nuts add a lot of flavor.  This is a recipe that has been in my family for a long time, but I’ve decided that it must be shared.  Too many people are seeking gluten free desserts and this is one of the best.

Ingredients: 3 egg whites , 1 1/8 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 12 oz chocolate chips (I used colored chips for the holidays), 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Cover two cookie sheets with aluminum foil.  Whip egg whites until fluffy, keep whipping and SLOWLY add sugar (I pour it so that it appears to be a slow constant rain of sugar – should take a couple of minutes to add sugar), add vanilla and whip until incorporated.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips by hand.  Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookies sheets.  TURN OFF OVEN! Place cookie sheets in the oven for at least 10 hours (I usually keep it in overnight)  DO NOT OPEN OVEN!  Gently remove from cookie sheets.

Note:  I only make these cookies during the winter when the humidity is low.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

IMG_0275This isn’t a fancy dessert, but it tastes delicious and  is festive looking for the holidays.  Whether or not someone is gluten free, they are sure to enjoy the flavor.


Ingredients: 2 lbs of chopped chocolate, 1 tsp of peppermint (not mint) extract, 1 1/2 cups of chopped peppermint candy canes,

Directions:  Place wax paper over a jelly roll size cookie sheet.  Melt chocolate in the microwave, stir in peppermint extract, mix in 1 cup of chopped candy canes, spread onto prepared cookie sheet, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of chopped candy canes.  Chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  Break into serving pieces and enjoy.  As long as you live in a cool area, the bark can be kept at room temperature.

See Related Post:

Gluten Free Halloween Treats

Gluten Free Halloween Treats