Tag Archive: dessert

Two Tone Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

Wilton Two Tone Cupcake MakerI was in Austin at Sur la Table searching out some new and unusual (but very necessary) cooking utensil when I came across this Wilton Two Tone Cupcake Insert “thing”.  That was just what I needed.  Whenever I am in a cooking store I develop this frenzied feeling to find something new and different.  (Like I need anything else to cook with.)

I had been planning all sorts of things to do with this.  How creative could I get?  Then along comes St. Patrick’s Day.  Well of course green and white velvet cupcakes with buttercream icing.

St. Patrick's Day Two Tone Cupcakes

Krista said no more red velvet.  She never mentioned green velvet.   Come on now.  It’s a great recipe no matter what color food coloring you use.  It has a great consistency and I have had a lot of experience with it.

Green and White Cupcake

TGIF Chocolate Cake

TGIF!!!  I don’t know why, but I am really looking forward to this weekend.  I had a very short week last week and a wonderful long weekend in Austin with Krista and Eric.   I was so excited I baked a cake Thursday night to share with everyone at work.  It must have been very good.  I’ve been asked for the recipe a bunch of times.  It was so good that some people I told I baked a cake for today via email, didn’t get here fast enough to get a piece.  Sorry.  I’ll do it again.

I have adapted this recipe and frosting from several sources to fit what I had on hand and what I thought would work best.  Good chocolate cake is pretty basic:  flour, sugar, chocolate, etc.  You know.  Enjoy!  We did.

Chocolate Cake

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

I love bread and I love bread pudding.  Not something to have every day, but a special treat for Valentine’s Day. You should have what you love on the day made for love right???  I got this one from the master of New Orleans cooking….Emeril Lagasse.  I made only a few minor changes for my style and scaled the recipe somewhat.  Sometimes things don’t need improving upon.  I love the recipes he shares.  They are in such good form and when followed correctly, almost always turn out as expected.  Not true with some other chefs.

Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

Pumpkin Streusel Cake for Pumpkin Delights Series

I am very happy to republish this recipe as part of the Pumpkin Delight Recipe Series organized by Savannah McQueen of Hammock Tracks.  Boy did she start off with a great recipe!  One I am going to have to try right away.  If you are interested in the chicken or grits recipe(s) mentioned you can find them here

In the meantime, here is my first humble entry.  Then I am going to go back through the ages and get all my best pumpkin stuff.  You all enjoy reviewing the recipes from all the sites below.

I was thinking about a Sunday dinner menu and all the components of it.  Green chile cheese grits, bar-b-que chicken and a decadent cake for dessert.  So, I made the whole thing.  Not good for the diet, but boy did it taste good!   The Hatch green chiles were a great addition to the cheese grits.  For the chicken, no low fat boneless skinless stuff.  Legs and thighs with the skin on were on my menu.  My son said he hadn’t had that much good food to eat in a long time.  “Music to a mother’s ears!”  Of course, the second helping of everything put him out for a nap.

I topped it off with a Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Cake.  I’m taking that to a pot luck dinner, but I needed a taste tester.  He volunteered.  He said it was great, if all the sugar didn’t put him in a coma.  I doubt it will do that.  It was a huge cake slice though.

This does not mean I’m not cooking again anytime soon, but nothing so rich and decadent as all those in the same meal.  It was fun.  Yes, I thinking cooking is fun and very relaxing.   Then I had to take pictures and write about it to share with you, my friend.  Wish you were here in my kitchen to join me.

Pumpkin Streusel Cake


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup chopped pecans




Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a Bundt or tube pan well.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy on medium.  Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix well.  Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spices.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just to combine.  Stir with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are well combined.
Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on a baking rack.  Invert on a plate.  Using another plate turn the cake streusel side up for a pretty presentation.Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl.  Put about 2/3 of the batter in the Bundt pan and add ½ of the streusel mix over the batter.  Drop in the remaining batter and spread over the streusel.  Add the remaining streusel on the cake top.

Drizzle with a maple glaze(below)

Maple Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring

Milk to thin to the consistency needed to drizzle on the cake.

Have a slice and enjoy!



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The Mandatory Mooch

i should be mopping the floor-for the Iron Chef Mom!

Texas Tech Red Raider Cupcakes

OR Get Your Guns Up Cupcakes

I noticed on Southern Living’s Pintrest page there were cupcakes representing several of the deep South universities.  Being a Red Raider from Texas Tech, I needed to contribute to their collection.

I remember those football games, the band, that magnificent black stallion with the masked Red Raider and the stadium full for a big game.  It was so exciting to be a part of that school and the traditions – bubbles in the fountain, ODAs, curfews, “Howdy”, the cowboys.  Wow!  It was the friendliest place to be.  As you walked across campus as a freshman everybody said, “Howdy.”  I felt welcomed and a part of things very quickly.  Coming from a small town I never expected to feel at home in a large new place so fast.  “ODAs” were obvious display of affection.  None of that business on campus at Texas Tech in 1967 in public.  You could get restricted to your dorm room for a week if caught. (except for classes)

All that has changed now, but it is still a friendly place.  I ran into a girl I went to high school with on email and she works at Texas Tech.  I asked her about a friend who had moved to Lubbock from El Paso and who had worked there in 1989.  I heard Ruth’s voice in the lobby of the dorm of Wall Hall while I was moving my oldest daughter, Krista, in there for her first year of school.  I walked around a corner and there was my friend Ruth.  My email friend was willing to check in the system to see if Ruth still worked there.  It is good to know some things don’t change.

I met my husband while going to school there.  We had our favorite places to eat.  Then Amy (Middle Sister) went to Texas Tech School of Law in the building her dad built while we lived there and went to school.  She took me to a restaurant she found and it turned out to be Lorenzo’s which was our favorite place to eat 20 or so years before, and she didn’t even know that.  Those were good times and good memories.

We had a cocker spaniel named Clarence when we lived there and that dog was crazy!  I made a heart-shaped layer cake for Valentine’s Day.  We went to dinner and came home for dessert.  That crazy dog had eaten all the icing off the cake!  He didn’t take one bite out of the cake, but licked all the icing off!

So, here’s to the Red Raiders, the traditions and the good memories.

Texas Tech Red Raider Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Line mini-muffin pans with paper liners and fill with a small ice cream scoop.  The cupcakes don’t rise too much.  Fill about ¾ full.

I baked the cup cakes for 12 minutes at 350°.   Cool completely before frosting.

 Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4-6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½  teaspoon butter flavoring (Wilton)

In a stand mixer like my Kitchen Aid  fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla and butter flavoring, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

I piped the frosting on the cupcakes with a large star tip.

Store decorated cupcakes in the refrigerator until just before serving to preserve the decorations.

I made the little toppers by finding a deal on-line and copying it and printing it out.  Then I just cut out the design and glued it to a toothpick.  Instant decoration.   Maybe illegal, but I have a lawyer in the family to protect me (I hope).



Win an autographed copy of Cupcakes, Cookies, and Pie, Oh My! Cookbook from the creators of the Hello, Cupcake! series.

Zucchini Overload Bread

This is a small loaf.

Help!  I’m in zucchini overload!  The crop is really producing a lot of squash and I can’t eat it all.  We finally had a cooler day (high 86° on July 4!) and I felt a need to bake.  As children my mom always made cookies on one of those rare mid-summer rainy days.  I think it was to keep 4 children who were in the house all day from driving her crazy!  The benefits to us were wonderful.  Lots of chocolate chip, orange almond ice box and oatmeal cookies for snacks!

I made 2 batches of zucchini bread.  I made one with nuts and chocolate chips and one plain.   I made that with chocolate chips and pecans in regular sized loaf pans and took one to a friend for dinner last night.  The other I brought to work for my friends today.  The other batch I made without chocolate and pecans and took one to the sweet girls at the allergy clinic, gave one to Nelda and I guess I’ll keep the third small loaf.  I may make another batch to take to the Blog Hop til You Drop, It’s So Very Cheri and Katherine’s Favorite Things


Use the fine grater blade on your food processor.




  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups grated zucchini (2 medium zucchinis)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • *Optional:  1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs, oil and sugar until light.  Add vanilla and zucchini.  Mix well.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients to lighten and add to the wet ingredients and blend by hand.

Prepare 2 regular loaf pans with non-stick spray and divide the batter evenly. Or use 3 small loaf pans prepared the same.

Bake at 350° for about 55-60 minutes until lightly browned on top and when pierced with a skewer it comes out clean.   Bake at 350° for 45 minutes for the small loaf pans.

Cool 10 minutes in the pans and immediately loosen and remove from the pans.  Wrap in foil, but don’t seal the ends while still hot.   Seal well when cooled.

This is best after resting in the foil for 24 hours.  Very moist.

*I added the chocolate chips and pecans because I wanted something a little sweeter for a dessert.  It was very good.


Will Tumble for Cupcakes

These are just the thing for:  This Week’s Cravings

Will Tumble for Pink Birthday Cupcakes with Pink Fluffy Icing 

“Actually, the icing is actually the most important”  Maddie would tell you.  My youngest granddaughter, Madeliene, had her 5th birthday party on Saturday.  She requested pink cupcakes with pink icing.  I know her and she only licks the icing off the cupcake.  I did get her to take a bite of one.  Then she wanted another one.  It was fun.

I did a trial run of this recipe and had her and her sister, Cameron, do a taste test.  I got “thumbs up” so I knew I was good to go.

Saturday afternoon there were about 12-14 little 5 year olds running around a gym tumbling, jumping on a trampoline, and playing games for about an hour.  They were exhausted, hot and thirsty, and so wound up they could hardly sit down.  Then we gave them pink cupcakes covered in pink icing, pink rock candy on a stick,  pink Eifel Tower drink cups with sugared fruit juice, and wrapped taffy in various shades of pastel. (You get the idea Maddie is a pastel-loving, very “fluffy” little girl.)  They also had pizza, but I think there was a lot left over.

Then we sent them home with little gift boxes (with no candy) to their mothers!  Ours fell asleep in the car on the way home.  A perfect ending to a birthday party.

I, on the other hand, was invited for cupcakes and the Monster High Makeup Kit (in a coffin) she ordered.  I spent the day baking and decorating cupcakes.  Regular-sized ones and mini ones just to use up all batter.  I made way too many.  The extras went to church on Sunday to take to a shelter we supply once a month with baked goods.  It was for a good cause and kept me in the house, out of the garden and the heat.  (We had a cool day, it was only 105° on Saturday!)

Pink Cupcakes

  • 1 box of white cake mix (don’t use one you need to add butter to)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 drops red liquid food coloring

Mix the batter in a stand mixer.  I add the flour to make them a bit more dense, so they don’t crumble and fall apart with the first bite.  Fill regular sized cupcake papers about two-thirds full.  Bake for about 18 minutes.  You don’t want these to brown too much on the top.  But they must be done.

Let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and remove to baking racks to cool completely.  Once completely cooled they can be stored in an airtight storage container until time to decorate.

Pink Fluffy Butter Cream Icing

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • Small amount of rose colored Wilton gel food coloring (it really intensifies as it develops)
  • Warm water

Whip the butter until creamy; add the powdered sugar, sour cream and almond extract.

You may need to add some warm tap water to thin the icing to the desired consistency to use in the pastry bag to decorate. Just one teaspoon at a time.

Immediately fill a large pastry bag and use a #2M Wilton tip to decorate the cupcakes with a rosette top.

The sour cream takes just a bit of the edge off the sugary taste to me.  It could be replaced with cream cheese too.   Speaking of cheese…check out this cheesecake.  I did tell you I was an Abuelita right?  Lita for short…

Something Sweet from the Garden

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

Did you know that Basil was part of the mint family?   I am surprised there is anything left for me to learn from FoodNetwork.  They always have one more thing though.  Then again, it is kind of like easy listening music in my house.  It is on all of the time, but I only hear it occasionally.

Basil has that sweetness.  It also is a good summer crop for me.  I can grow armfuls of it and I love to eat it.  My favorite thing is bruschetta with my summer tomatoes, basil and tons of garlic.  I need a dessert to take to a party tonight though.  So, voila!  Basil Ice Cream Cake/Pie.  This will be light and pretty and cooling.  It will also spare my kitchen extra heat.

Basil Ice Cream Cake/Pie

  •  ½ gallon of vanilla ice cream-softened to the consistency of firm whip cream(scoops easily not pours)
  • 1 ¼ cups of finely chopped basil
  • 1 package of chocolate cookies-enough to cover the bottom and sides of a pie or loaf pan with a few left to crumble in the middle and one to eat while you are working ;)
  • chocolate syrup (optional)

Line a large loaf pan or deep pie plate with plastic wrap.  Leave enough around the edges to cover over the top at the end.  Place cookies to cover the bottom and sides of the pan decoratively.



Add half of the ½ gallon of ice cream and half of the basil to a food processor.  Whir until the basil is combined and the ice cream flows smoothly.  Pour over cookies in lined dish and smooth with spatula.  Break the “filling” cookies into pieces and place over smoothed ice cream.    Whir the remaining ingredients, pour and smooth into pan.  Close plastic wrap to cover and place in the freezer for at least 5 hours.  Overnight is better.

To serve, remove from freezer and let sit a few minutes.  Open plastic wrap and flip onto a serving dish or cover the open side with chocolate syrup.  Use a sharp knife to slice and serve.  Eat quickly it melts!

Submitting to the contest: iron chef mom

The Peaches Are In

Fresh peaches bring back one of the best times in my life.  My little family lived in Austin, TX in a new neighborhood with families with children who played in the front yard and we didn’t worry about it.  That was a long time ago, but the friends we made back then are still friends today.   When the Fredricksburg peaches were ripe and dripping down your elbows our neighbors, Ann and L.E., made fresh peach ice cream on a Sunday afternoon.  They invited Hank and me, along with Krista and Amy, George and Penny and Jimmy over to their backyard.  We brought lawn chairs and we all ate fresh peach ice cream and swore it was the best ever.  It was delicious, sweet and very cold.  The perfect way to end the weekend of yard work and chasing children.  I think my life was simple and good then.  I wish…..oh well, life was good.

Some of those famous peaches made their way to my house this weekend via Krista and Eric.  I don’t have Ann’s recipe for peach ice cream (I’ll work on that).  I smelled those peaches for 2 days just getting riper and knew I had to do something.

That how this menu for Sunday night supper came about:  Spicy Spaghetti Sauce with pasta or grated zucchini from the garden, a salad also from the garden, a loaf of fresh bread with basil/oregano herb butter and Fresh Peach Crumble with vanilla ice cream (not homemade).

While reading one of my favorite blogs last week, The Kitchn,  I found a recipe entitled How To Make a Fruit Crumble Out of Any Fruit.  I’ve told you before pies are not my specialty, but even I can make a crumble.  So I did, with those wonderful peaches.  Her recipe has lots of suggestions for options.  This is my adaptation.


  • 6-7 cups fresh fruit
  • ¾ – 1 cup granulated sugar (depends on your fruit)
  • 2-3  tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3  tablespoons cornstarch (depends on the      fruit juiciness)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg

Crumble topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons room temp butter
  • Cinnamon for the top

Peaches need to be blanched and put in a cold water bath to let the peels slip off before cutting up.  Prepare the fruit and add the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon.  Mix well and put in a prepared 8X8” baking dish or a 9” pie pan.

Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt to a bowl.  Mix well to combine.  Add the butter and blend until the dry ingredients hold together when pressed.

Spread the topping over the fruit.  I sprinkled a little cinnamon over the topping and put into a 375° oven for 30-35 minutes.  The fruit will bubble up around the edges a bit.

Serve warm with ice cream.  This will keep tightly covered in the fridge for a few days and warm up well.

What is on the Easter Menu?

The Tumbleweed Contessa Gang had quite the discussion on our weekly conference call about the traditional Easter dinner menu.  I have put together 2 family recipe collections over the years, and according to my middle daughter the traditional menus have changed. The first collection would have included their father’s favorite menus.  He didn’t just have an entree in mind when he asked, “What’s for dinner?”  He had an entire menu.  I had to buy fresh meat for every meal, frozen was not allowed and I would cook from about 5:00-6:30PM.  It was a ritual. According to him certain foods had to go together.  In place of potatoes he would have chosen rice.  His mother was from Louisiana and that is what they cooked.  And actually, I’m the happiest when I can come with an idea that keeps me busy in the kitchen all evening or on a Sunday afternoon, except when I need to be in the garden, of course.

The menu for Easter Sunday seems to have taken some twists with each person’s favorites too.  But we all agreed it includes ham, hot baked bread, and a fresh crudité platter that must include deviled eggs and black olives.  Now we seem to have different recollections.  Andy’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is my recollection.  My oldest daughter insists we had mashed potatoes too.  I don’t remember that, but my mother may have made both carb-laden sides to satisfy everybody.  She claims I did this too before my healthy food kick!

Desserts are my favorite but my family wasn’t crazy about them.  If it is a holiday, it is a good excuse to make something pretty and sweet.  So, either something lemony or fresh strawberries and cream would be my favorites for Easter.  I love a good pound cake (with strawberries).  I have a great recipe you should try.  It gets more moist if you give it an extra day to brew in an air-tight cake container.

Sunny Lemon Pound Cake with Zesty Lemon Sorbet Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 heaping cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 quart Haagen Dazs Lemon Sorbet

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

For the syrup:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

While the cake bakes, simmer the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, let it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the sauce: (this is too easy)

  • 1 quart Haagen Dazs Zesty Lemon Sorbet

Before serving time, allow the sorbet to melt at room temperature.  Stir with a spoon and pour a little lemon sauce on a plate and place a nice slice of cake on the sauce.  It will have people licking the plate (or wishing they could!!!)