It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 

Cheers!

Help From Betty Crocker and Jell-O = French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes

Every now and then I call upon Betty (Crocker) to lend me a hand in the kitchen.  While I typically bake from scratch, there are times when I just don’t feel like dragging out all of the ingredients to whip up a batch of cupcakes.  Can you say lazy?  Can you relate?

Now, just because I’m a little lazy and decide to use a cake mix doesn’t mean I can’t be creative.  Take these French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for example,  I decided they would create a perfect ending to a delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner we have planned for this evening.

And if you’re like me, there are also times when you’re looking for a flavored cake that is nearly impossible to find.  When this happens I find myself in the Jell-O isle at the grocery store.  Cake mix + Jell-O pudding or gelatin = endless possibilities. (This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to like both of these products.)

To make these cupcakes you will need:

1 Super Moist Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 Box of Jell-O Coconut Cream Cook & Serve Pudding

A batch of your favorite homemade vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (makes 24)

In a large bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 3 large eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

I decorated these with some finely grated dark chocolate.

What would your favorite flavor combo be if I asked you to pick a cake mix and a box of Jell-O?

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Create and Share! Best of the Weekend Party at littlemisscelebration.com

Sweet Happenings For Valentine’s Day

Thanks to Temptation Candy out in California, The Joy of Caking is hosting an awesome Valentine’s Day CHOCOLATE giveaway!

Temptation Candy has assured me that one lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will enjoy a package filled with delicious chocolates similar to the ones pictured here.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – CONGRATULATIONS TO ZOE MONTELEONE! 

To enter, all you have to do is follow Temptation Candy on one (or all) of their social media sites and then leave a comment (in the comments section only) letting me know which site(s) you are following them on.

https://facebook.com/temptationcandy

https://twitter.com/temptationcandy

https://pinterest.com/temptationcandy

Rules of the giveaway:

Open to US residents only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii); (1) entry per person; winner will be selected on or about Friday, February 13, 2015; winner will be notified by email, if winner does not respond within 24 hours then an alternate winner will be selected; winner must provide a valid street address (for shipping reasons) which will be forwarded to Temptation Candy – sorry, NO P.O. Boxes.  The prize will ship directly from Temptation Candy

The chocolates featured in this post are courtesy of Temptation Candy.  Any opinions herein are my own and I have not been financially compensated to write this post. 

One Bowl Corn Muffins for My Dream Restaurant

Order up!  I’ve often thought that I’d like to own a restaurant.  I envision it being a small place known for serving some of the best food north of the Mason Dixon Line.  I’d offer daily specials that could be read off an overtly large antique blackboard and I‘d serve the meals on vintage mismatched dinnerware that I’d scour local thrift stores to find.

The focus would be on good food made from scratch, using local farm fresh ingredients whenever possible.  And while I would offer plenty of healthier choices, there would be lot’s of comfort food to choose from too. 

Daily specials would consist of homemade soups, hand-pulled BBQ pork sandwiches, slow roasted beef and ham, country fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and my grandma’s famous coleslaw.  And what is a good meal without delicious homemade dinner rolls and corn muffins?   And let’s not forget the dessert cooler filled with slices of homemade cakes and pies – yum.

Okay, I’m back, no longer daydreaming… 

Since I really don’t see myself going into the restaurant business anytime soon, if ever, I decided to do the next best thing and make homemade The Joy of Caking’s One Bowl Corn Muffins to share with you.

These muffins are moist, sweet, and won’t crumble apart in your hands. And just so we’re clear, these are the muffins I would serve if I ever do open a restaurant. 

The Joy of Caking’s One Bowl Corn Muffins

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. Chobani Plain (low fat) Yogurt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 TBSP. olive oil

1/2 c. ground cornmeal

1 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. skim milk

Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add sugar, egg, yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and oil; mix thoroughly by hand.  Add in remaining ingredients of cornmeal, flour, and milk.  Mix until all ingredients are completely blended.  Fill muffin cups a little over half full and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.

Cool before removing them from the pan.

The Chobani Yogurt and skim milk helps make these muffins a bit healthier too.  You don’t’ have to feel so guilty when you eat one, or two…

Have you ever dreamed of opening a business?  What would it be?

An Easy Chocolate Valentine’s Day Dessert– Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Today is Valentine’s Day.  In celebration of this romantic holiday, I made homemade chocolate pudding that we will have for dessert after a delicious home cooked meal.  It’s not fancy; it’s just good.

If you don’t like the sound of some of the ingredients that are listed on the packages of store-bought pudding, have no fear!  You will most certainly recognize each of the ingredients that go into this delicious, easy to make, creamy and chocolaty pudding.

I found this recipe at the Taste of Home

The only thing I changed? I omitted 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  And next time, I’d cut the sugar by 1/4 cup.  It is a tad bit to sweet in my opinion. 

I opted to serve the pudding individually so I used my mini glasses from Libbey Glass. I think these glasses make desserts look so much more fancy (even when they aren’t). 

This recipe makes a generous amount of pudding so I am planning on making homemade cream puffs and filling them with it.  Stay tuned…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m linking this post up at The Novice Garden’s Fiesta Friday #3.  If you get a minute, check out all of the other great posts that have been shared there this week.  And please join in!

Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve made something really chocolaty and rich to share here on my blog.  Since I feel a wee bit irresponsible for not making more chocolate goodies for you, I’m making it up to you by sharing my newest chocolate brownie creation.

If you like the combination of mint and chocolate together then stick around.  These brownies (in my opinion) have the perfect texture; cake like and fudgy.  And the flavor is delicious – and that’s coming from someone who would normally prefer peanut butter to mint most any day of the week. 

These brownies will surely fit perfectly in your holiday cookie gift boxes this year.  If you don’t make cookie boxes, but are expecting to entertain guests this holiday season, then serve these up with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream and drizzle a little hot fudge on top – they’ll be a hit!

Instead of using mint chocolate chips in these brownies, I used Ovation Dark Mint Filled Break-A-Part candy.  These scrumptious candies come in the shape of an orange and they break apart into 20 pieces.  They also come in a variety of other unique flavors so you can really get creative when you bake using these.

Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

1/2 c. margarine, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. dark chocolate mini chips, melted

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. chopped Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Candy, (1/2 c. for the batter and 1/2 c. for the topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 8”x8” glass baking pan.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, eggs, an melted chocolate dark mini chips; mix thoroughly.  Add baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour.  Mix all ingredients together until blended.  Fold in 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pan of brownies.  Remove brownies from oven and immediately sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy on top.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Ovation Break-A-Parts also come in Milk Chocolate Raspberry, Almond, Pumpkin Spice, Orange, and Key Lime, and Dark Chocolate Orange.  Which flavor would you pick to bake with?

Candy provided by SweetWorks Candy.  I was not compensated for this post and the opinions are my own.

Thanksgiving Day Favors

Although I’m oddly fixated on making Christmas cookies, decorations, and gifts right now, I had to throw myself in full throttle reverse to make sure I stopped and focused on Thanksgiving.  After all, it is fast approaching.  I know, can you believe it?  Honestly, where does the time go?

Over the years, I’ve gotten in the habit of making little favors or place cards to place in front of each place setting on the Thanksgiving dinner table.  These little decorations are far from sophisticated, but they are always brightly colored and fun, and nearly everyone remembers to take theirs home with them. 

Here is a quick look at some of my past projects.  Check out my 2011project here.

Thanksgiving Placecards 010

This year I decided to make favors that I’m sure that no one will leave behind.  If they do forget and leave them behind, I’m just warning them now, it’s fair game!

These little foiled turkeys are actually disguised Niagara Chocolates – 100% all natural goodness.  If you haven’t had Niagara Chocolates then you MUST try them.  They are insanely delicious!  What else would you expect from a chocolate that has been in production for over 50 years?  If you’re like me, and you’re thinking ahead towards Christmas, make sure you check out all of Niagara’s other delicious holiday themed chocolates too.

Although these cute little guys came with gift tags already attached to them, I took them off, taped them to the bottom of their feet, and made my own personalized tag for each turkey.  Why?  Because I enjoy fiddling in my craft room. 

These tags are easy to make.  If you’re looking for a quick evening, or Sunday afternoon project, this fits the bill.   Or, hand the project over to your kids –  I’m sure they would love to help. 

Simply cut out or purchase some plain gift tags (I used my Cricut), stamp a cute Thanksgiving Day theme or word on them, glue on a little rick rack, string a colorful ribbon through them, and that’s it.  It’s as simple as eating this whole chocolate turkey in one setting.

Do you make favors for your dinner guests?  What’s your Thanksgiving Day tradition?

The chocolates for this post were provided by SweetWorks Candy.  I was not compensated for my work, and the opinions are sincerely my own.