The Chocoholic Cupcake: Another Valentine’s Day Dessert

A couple weeks ago I announced that I was going to make a few  treats in an effort to pick the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.   The only requirement for the dessert; it must have chocolate in it.  And as you might imagine, this is becoming a harder chore than I originally thought.

The first recipe I presented was for Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.  They definitely hit the spot, and after making them I had to wonder if I would be able to top them.

Well… now I present the Chocoholic Cupcake.  The cake is dark, moist, and less sweet than a lot of chocolate cupcake recipes.  I like to top them off with either  vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting which is sweet and buttery and compliments the dark chocolate cake.

I have to say that it is nearly impossible to choose a favorite between the two desserts I’ve made so far.  I have at least one more dessert to make before picking a favorite, but now I’m wondering if we should celebrate Valentine’s Day with just desserts and wine!

Chocoholic Cupcakes

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar, not packed

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 c. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. cocoa

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. skim milk

1 c. boiling water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes. 

Prepare cupcake tins by placing paper liners in each cup.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add sugars, eggs, skim milk, and oil.  With an electric mixer beat ingredients for 2 minutes.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa; mix again until completely blended.  Add boiling water and flour; beat until smooth and creamy.  Stir in vanilla extract. 

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

I couldn’t resist decorating these cupcakes with bright gumballs from SweetWorks candy, along with Hershey’s creamy milk chocolate hearts and kisses.  Both are so festive!

And drum roll please…. 

TheMaryJaneFam blog, Raising Jane Journal, featured photos of my one and only Pink Paradise today.  They also shared a link to my Tin Can Tourist post as well.   I feel so honored!  If you have a minute,  please hop on over there and check it out.

Also, an important reminder all you glampers  –  the International Glamping Weekend is scheduled for  June 1-2, 2013.  Follow the link above to find out more.

I shared this recipe at:

weekend-potluck-buttong

 

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Country Candle Ring for Valentine’s Day

I love handmade primitive country crafts but I cringe at the price of them.  It’s understandable why they are a bit pricey though;  considering the time that goes into making them.  For me, I DIY it every chance I get. 

This fabric rag garland candle ring is simple and inexpensive to make.  The only thing you will need is some spare time since there is cutting, knotting, and threading to be done.

I used 3 different pieces of scrap material that I had on had for this project. 

1.) Start by cutting strips of material 12” long by 1” in wide.

2.) Cut the 12 “ strips of material into thirds.  I didn’t keep count of the number of strips I cut, I just kept cutting. The amount you will need will all depend on the size of garland you want.  

3.) Once you have cut all of your strips, tie a knot into the center of each one.  You may notice that some knots are tighter than others depending on the type of materials used.

4.) Once all of the knots have been tied, take a piece of embroidery string that is double in length of the size garland you want.  Knot one end, and thread an embroidery needle on the other end.  Run the needle through the center of each knotted piece of  material (in the order you decide on) onto the string. 

5.) Tie the end of the strings together for a candle ring, or if you are using this as garland to hang, just knot off the other end.

6.) Finish your project off by placing a glass candle holder (with candle) in the center of your ring.  Make sure you use a glass candle holder to house the candle and to avoid a fire.

This was probably one of the most inexpensive crafts I’ve ever made, and yet it’s so cute.  Remember, if I can do it, you can do it!

Click on the photo below to go to my 2012Valentine’s Day craft project (Paper Heart Garland).

 

 

Pineapple Cheesecake Pudding Cake

We’ve been on a short hiatus visiting family in the South, and oh how I dreaded coming back to the cold winter months that we still have left here in New York.  

It’s amazing how a little warm sunshine can make you feel so much better.  I think us folks from the North forget that during the winter months.  Like with all things in life, we learn to adapt.

In honor of warm temps and sunshine I have decided to share a dessert recipe that will brighten your taste buds and leave you feeling like you are some place tropical.

I am a fan of cakes that are loaded with pudding and fruit.  The combination of the two gives them such flavor and makes them super moist.  This cake recipe is a modified version of a Hawaiian Wedding Cake.  I opted to use a box of cheesecake pudding mix in place of vanilla pudding.  I like the way the cheesecake pudding flavor cuts the sweetness of the cake.

I usually prepare this cake a day before I plan on serving it.

Pineapple Cheesecake Pudding Cake

1 yellow cake mix

4oz. light cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1 oz. package of Jell-O brand Cheesecake Sugar-Free Pudding

1 8oz. tub of light whipped topping, thawed

1 20oz. can of crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 9”x13” pan with shortening.

Drain pineapple juice from crushed pineapple into a measuring cup and set aside. 

Prepare the cake mix according to the box (substituting the pineapple juice you have set aside in place of some of the water the recipe calls for).  Bake and allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, add milk, package of pudding, and cream cheese.   Mix with electric mixer.  Spread on top of cooled cake.

Fold crushed pineapple in with whipped topping and spread on top of pudding.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Where is your favorite warm place to visit?  Do you have a favorite tropical dessert recipe?

weekend-potluck-buttong

 

 

 

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

I’m already looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.  And this dessert only has to meet one criteria.  Please say this with me…  It must be contain chocolate!

With that in mind, I decided to do a test run on one of the desserts I’m considering.  These Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes are absolutely delicious and ADDICTING.  Yes, I am thinking I may need to enroll in Cheesecake Overeaters Anonymous after making these.

These desserts are so simple to make, yet people will ooh and ah over them.  I just love that don’t you?

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

Makes 2 dozen mini cheesecakes.  Line regular sized muffin pans with paper liners.

Crust

1 1/4 c. graham crackers, crushed

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. margarine, melted

Combine ingredients in medium sized bowl; mix thoroughly.  Put a heaping tablespoon of crust mix into each paper liner. Pack  down using the bottom of a small juice glass.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling

(2) 8 oz. packages of light cream cheese, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped and ground (I used my food processor for this.)

24 Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped and set aside

In a large sized bowl, add cream cheese, eggs, and sugar.  Using electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.  Add vanilla; mix  thoroughly.  Fill paper liners about 2/3 full with filling and sprinkle  ground dark chocolate  on top of the filling.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Remove from oven and insert the milk chocolate kisses into the center of each cake.  Cool completely before removing from pan.

Strawberry Topping

Thaw one package of frozen crushed strawberries, and add sugar to taste.

Don’t forget to enter  my Hershey Candy Giveaway, and check out Celebrate with Hershey for other great Valentine’s Day ideas.

What is your favorite cheesecake?

weekend-potluck-buttong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hershey’s and a Valentine’s Day Reminder

Yes, this is a reminder to all of you that next month is the beloved Valentine’s Day.  Or, as in some cases, the dreaded Valentine’s Day.

Whichever way you  look at Valentine’s Day I doubt you will deny the fact that you enjoy indulging in a little chocolate, or some type of candy on or around the 14th of February each year.

This year alone, The Hershey Company is predicting over 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolates will be sold.  That’s right, 36 million!  And yes, this post is all about Hershey.  Let me give you the low down…

The Hershey Company doesn’t fool around when it comes to celebrating the holidays.  They recently partnered with art students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where they designed the heart shaped boxes for this years Hershey’s Pot of Gold Premium Collection, and Pot of Gold Truffles.  The designs are so beautiful;  I have decided my favorite is their new paisley printed heart shaped box.

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If you aren’t one of the 36 million people that is planning on buying a  heart shaped box of candy this year have no fear – Hershey has a huge selection of other candies for you to choose from.

Now, I’ve got a couple suggestions to  help put you in the Valentine’s Day mood this year.

First, be sure to check out Celebrate with Hershey’s.  There you can shop for their products,  find great holiday craft ideas and recipes, read about the history of Valentine’s Day, and send an eCard.  And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter which offers a bunch of perks as well.

And secondly, enter my HERSHEY CANDY GIVEAWAY!  

One lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will  have the chance to win an assortment of Hershey’s delicious candy; similar to the samples I recently received.  Details about the giveaway can be found at the end of this post.

 

To enter this giveaway; leave a comment telling me your  Valentine’s Day plans this year.  For additional entries; tweet about this post, or pin a photo from it on one of your Pinterest boards.   Make sure you leave a separate comment for each action that you complete.  There is a maximum of three entries per person.  This giveaway is only open to US residents – sorry to all my friends that don’t live in the US.  One winner will randomly be selected on February 4th, 2013.

PS.  Be sure you check back to see what other fun things I do with my stash of candy!

This contest is officially over.  Congratulation to Sandra of Sweet Sensations – the lucky winner!