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What do you do when your favorite west coast chica decides to make an appearance a mere 4 hour drive from you? You make her cupcakes and meet her in Orlando, of course! Since I never get to bake for said friend, I knew I wanted to make something special, but what? So many recipes, and so little time! Then it hit me, there was only one recipe that would work for the woman who introduced me to my favorite indulgent cool weather beverage, the chocolate chia latte. I had to make Chocolate Chai Cupcakes!
- Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1/3 veggie oil
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 4-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 4-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan.
- Combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 16-18 minutes (may take more depending on oven).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Beat room temperature butter until smooth, then incorporate cinnamon and cocoa powder.
- Beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- If frosting becomes too stiff, beat in heavy whipping cream a tbsp at a time until it loosens.
- Add vanilla and beat on high for one minute.
- Frost cooled cupcakes.
- While cake is baking, combine heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until the ganache is completely smooth.
- Set aside to cool. Hot ganache will melt the frosting.
- Dip cooled cupcake into ganache and let set for about 15 minutes.
- Frost cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon frosting and then drizzle with remaining ganache. Top with a chocolate truffle and enjoy!
You may have noticed that I’ve been using pre-packaged mixes for my cake bases as of late. I have two reasons for that. The first, a lot of the things I bake go to work with Andy, and they have to last a couple of days. Scratch baking, while delicious, doesn’t have the longest shelf life; box mixes have a bit more longevity (a tip I picked up watching archived episodes of Good Eats). Also, I have been baking a lot more so I can practice piping and cake stacking. Using a mix as the base and then adding in my extras saves me a bit of time and allows me a little more energy for getting creative with frosting, fillings, and garnishes. Baking is a lot of fun, but don’t take the fun out of it by trying to do everything from scratch and all at once. It’ll help keep things fun 😉
The other day I found myself packing up fresh berries to take to a friend’s house for game night. As I looked at the containers of fruit, I kept thinking “this needs something.” Which queued memories of the many, many, southern church pot lucks I went to growing up. I remembered this delicious, tangy dip that my mom frequently had to remind me to share or to leave some for other people, but I couldn’t remember how to make it. Fortunately, we live in a world of Pinterest, and while I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I did find something close, and with a tweak here and a reconfiguration there, I think I’ve gotten it exactly right. It seemed to be a hit with everyone who tried it, and the cats attacked the almost empty bowl when I gave it and the mixing spoon to Andy to “finish off.” I am thinking it would also be pretty wonderful layered into a tart shell with some of that fresh fruit layered on top…..a recipe for a later day.
- 8oz of cream cheese (I used the 1/3 fat from Philadelphia)
- 3/4 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and vanilla yogurt until uniform in texture.
- Next, beat in powdered sugar and almond extract until completely incorporated.
- Chill covered until ready to serve.
Super simple, but now I know the secret and you guys do too. People seemed to really like this with strawberries, but I think it also works well with tarter fruits like granny smith apples. I’d be interested to try to veganize the recipe, since I’ve had both vegan yogurt and cream cheese and I think the flavors/consistency are close enough to work. With so many friends with different dietary restrictions, it’s nice to have something you can put together quickly and reliably.
Breakfast/Brunch is always a lot of fun for me. I think it comes partially from when I was much younger and my mom and I would clean and make a big breakfast every Saturday morning. The week was always super busy, and we were mostly a cereal/toaster pastry family, especially in high school when my classes started at 7:15. Sunday was church day, so Saturday was the big day. The breakfast tradition carried over into college where my roommate and I threw quite a few brunches, not to mention brinners. We kicked ass at brinner.
This casserole was the result of me going to a brunch pot luck and not being able to find exactly what I wanted on Pinterest. So I combined the bits and pieces that I liked best. A brioche base here; a modified streusel topping there. It was almost blueberry, but I asked one of my friends her opinion on fruit options and she said anything but blueberry. So that put the kibosh on that. Apple cinnamon was my other contender so here we are.
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 lb brioche bread
1/2 cup regular sugar
1/4 dark brown sugar packed
1/2 tbsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tspn salt
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Cut brioche breads into cubes and dice the green apples. Layer into the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, both sugars, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
- Pour mixture over the bread and apples and cover. Set in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight, so the bread can soak up the egg mixture.
- Bake casserole in the 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.
- While the casserole bakes, whisk together the dry streusel ingredients. Melt the butter then stir into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
- 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking, pull from the oven, sprinkle on streusel topping and put back into the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.
* This recipe works even better if the bread is slightly stale. I unwrapped the loaf and left it in the toaster oven (turned off) overnight. I’ve also cheated and popped the cubed bread into a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning over about half way through, to dry the bread out.
As you all know, I make a lot of cake. Normally, baking is a nice stress reducing activity, but occasionally it is more of a last minute necessity. When that’s the case, it’s always nice to have a few time saving tricks up your sleeve. This frosting is one of them. I wish I could take credit for coming up with this amazing recipe, but I found it online somewhere, but here is the thing. I can’t remember when or where. I wrote it down on a sticky note and now… you know. Trust me, I would give credit where credit is do if I could. That aside, this is absolutely something you should tuck away for that last minute baking emergency.
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds, until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
- Combine chocolate, sour cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
- Frost away!
- If your kitchen is warm, your frosting could start melting. Store your completed cake in the fridge or in a cooler spot away from the stove. Allow to return to room temp before serving.
Eas,y right? And it’s also delicious. I know I am selling this as a time saving option, but it really is good enough that it could be your go frosting if you wanted. The only issue I have with it is the temperature sensitivity. I live in Florida; it stays pretty warm around here most of the time.