Browsing Tag



Tasty Thursday {Chocolate Cutout Cupcakes}

November 29, 2012

I’ve told you about my love for baking before. I love the process. The measuring, mixing, stirring. And of course, tasting the delicious treats when they are done.

It seems, my girls inherited my love for baking. They won’t let me do any of it on my own anymore. As soon as they hear the clatter of bowls and whisks, they come running.

And wouldn’t you know, at Middle’s book fair at school recently, Little One found this cookbook and would not leave without it. It is chock full of recipes fit for a princess.

The first recipe the girls wanted to make are these chocolate cupcakes with cutouts. I let them go wild in the kitchen and only supervised from the side lines.

Middle did the measuring, mixing and pouring while Little One prepared the muffin tins with cupcake liners.

I loved watching how they worked together, figuring out the next steps as they went along.

This is a trick I taught Middle — use a small gravy ladle to pour the batter into the lined muffin tin.


1 package chocolate cake mix

1 container vanilla frosting

red and yellow food coloring


Prepare the cupcakes according to the package directions. Bake and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling put the frosting into a mixing bowl and add red and yellow food coloring to make it orange. Follow directions on food coloring. (We made orange frosting because it was close to Halloween when the girls did their baking.)

Once the cupcakes are cooled completely cut off the tops carefully. Then cut any shape you like into the top, spread frosting on the cupcake and put the cutout top back on for a peek-a-boo effect.

The girls also made some mini cupcakes with the left over batter and frosting.


Tasty Thursday {Oven Roasted Chicken}

October 25, 2012

I’m sitting here at the dining room table (my office) with the lights on and a cup of tea by my side. Looking outside, I see raindrops hitting the surface of the pool, the sky dreary and grey and the trees swaying in the wind.

We are under a tropical storm warning at the moment because Hurricane Sandy is moving closer to us along the Eastern Seaboard.

A day like this calls for comfort food. Something that smells heavenly when you open the oven door. Something that reminds me of my childhood. Something that brings my family together at the dinner table to dig in.

Oven roasted chicken.

It’s a favorite in my house.

It’s also fairly simple.


6 lb. chicken

2 celery stalks

2 carrots

1 medium sized onion

salt and pepper


garlic powder

dried rosemary

Herbes de Provence mix (from Target)

olive oil


Heat oven to 350°. Cut the celery, carrots and onions into chunks and layer bottom of a roasting pan or like I did, a Pyrex dish. Rinse chicken and remove giblets. Pat dry. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables and the giblets around the chicken if you like. Mix about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil with one teaspoon of dried rosemary, one teaspoon of Herbes De Provence and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Sprinkle the chicken with paprika (I use a lot as it really helps with browning the skin.) and salt and pepper then take the olive oil mixture and brush all over chicken. Last add up to one cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

Roast for about 1 3/4 hrs to 2 1/2 hrs until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160° degrees. Let sit for about 30 minutes. You can cover the chicken loosely with some aluminum foil.

I check the chicken a few times throughout the roasting process and baste it with the water/drippings mixture from the bottom of the pan.

I serve roasted chicken with German potato dumplings, green beans and chicken gravy. I use the pan drippings to enhance the gravy and it really kicks up the flavor.



Recipe Thursdays {Chocolate Muffins}… and a guest post opportunity!!!

September 26, 2012

A few days ago Middle asked me if I could make some chocolate muffins instead of the usual chocolate chip muffins. I was all for it since I needed a new recipe to share. You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting recipes my usual 2 Thursdays each month. I’ve just been a bit busy and also ran out of recipes to share. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of recipes – it’s just that I don’t have pictures to go along with each and every one of them. But all in due time!!! 🙂

So, here the recipe for my mini chocolate muffins with cream cheese frosting.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s semi sweet chocolate chips)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400° F and grease (or line with paper) 12 regular or like I did, 24 mini muffin/cupcake cups.

Combine the flour, sugar, 3/4 cup of chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

Whisk the egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil in another bowl until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and stir batter until just blended.

Fill the muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 20 minutes for regular size and 14 minutes for mini muffin size.

Cool completely and enjoy! Or spread with chocolate cream cheese frosting like I did!!!

Chocolate cream cheese frosting ingredients and direction:

1 8oz package cream cheese frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and gradually stir in the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. (You can add a little milk if it gets too dry or clumpy.)

Frosting can be stored in refrigerator after use.


And now I need a favor. I decided to not host this as a link up anymore but turn it into a guest post opportunity once a month. And this is where you come in. I’d love for you to e-mail me at if you are interested in sharing a favorite recipe with me and my readers. I’m thinking some holiday related recipes (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas) over the next few months but any and all recipes are welcome!!! If I get a good turn out I may even add another Thursday each month. So, pretty please won’t you help? I look forward to hearing from you guys!!! 🙂


Share your… Recipe Thursdays {Banana Bread}

July 19, 2012

Due to some noise issues in our home today I am a little late sharing this week’s recipe.

We are having our shower redone and work started today.

I tell you, the banging, hammering, ripping gets old fast.

Little One is a bit sensitive to loud noises and does not like this one bit.

She started crying at one point and I had to take her to our neighbors house for a bit and then the pool to escape the noise.

But here I am, ready with my recipe of the week… Banana Bread.

I had a few old bananas laying around last week and was about to throw them out when on a whim I decided to find a recipe to use them up.

The one I found is quick, simple and just delicious.


3 or 4 ripe bananas (I only used two and it was fine.)

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (I reduced to 3/4 cup.)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

about a 1/4 cup chopped almonds (my addition)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Mash bananas in a bowl, mix in the melted butter with a wooden spoon.

Mix in the sugar, beaten egg and vanilla.

Sprinkle baking soda and salt on top of mixture, mix in.

Add the flour, mix well.

I also added a 1/4 cup chopped almonds. But that’s up to individual taste.

Pour into a buttered/greased 4×8 loaf pan.

Bake for one hour.

Cool on rack.

Remove from pan, slice and serve.

(It tastes really good still warm with a bit of buttery spread.)

*Note: Recipe courtesy of Simple Recipes.

Also, don’t forget to enter the icandy stroller giveaway for your chance to win.


Share your… Recipe Thursdays {Flag Cake}

July 5, 2012

So, I decided to change things up a bit. I renamed my bi-weekly baking link-up to include all types of recipes. Instead of Baking Thursdays, it’s now Recipe Thursdays.  Share your… Recipe Thursdays to be exact. I’m still keeping it bi-weekly for now but may change that to weekly if I feel that I can keep up with it.

I would love it it would help me spread the word by tweeting, facebook sharing and so on. You can use the #shareyourrecipethursdays on Twitter. Thanks for your support. I truly appreciate it.



Today, I want to share my Flag Cake recipe with you. It’s been a very patriotic themed week so I decided to stay with it. I made this cake today to share with friends and neighbors while we were sitting in one of our driveways watching fireworks.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup fine corn meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks softened, unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons sprinkles (red, white and blue or rainbow)

blueberries and strawberries for garnish


Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray ( I love using Baker’s Joy), set aside

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl, whisk together

In a separate, bigger bowl, beat the butter with the sugar on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy

Beat in the eggs, one at a time

Add the vanilla

Reduce speed to low and add about 1/3 of the flour mixture until just combined

Add about half of the buttermilk

Then repeat, adding flour in two more increments, alternating with the rest of the buttermilk

Stir in the sprinkles, mix well

Transfer to pan, spread evenly

Bake for about 40-45 minutes (until top springs back to light touch)

Cool completely before adding frosting


1/2 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons buttermilk

Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating at low speed. Add vanilla and buttermilk. Increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth.

Once the cake has cooled completely spread frosting on top and sides.

Garnish with blueberries and strawberries to give it the flag look. Enjoy!

(*Note: I slightly modified a recipe I found on for the cake. The frosting recipe came from


I'm Baking… Thursdays {Scones}

June 6, 2012

I know, I said I would share my chocolate chip muffin recipe this week but decided on the scones instead. I will share the chocolate chip one next time.

This past Saturday I ended up baking some scones. I had been thinking about it for a while and it just happened to be the Queen’s jubilee.

My friend Beth Ann at It’s Just Life gave me some great advice and told me to keep it simple and use a basic recipe… so that’s what I did.

Here is my very easy and basic scone recipe.


2 cups of flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons shortening

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg

handful dried currants or dried cranberries ( I skipped this step, but want to try it with the cranberries)


Heat oven to 375° degrees

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl combine cream with beaten egg then add dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. (I didn’t.) Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. (I actually rolled it out into a round shape and cut wedges.) Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

I enjoyed my scone with some spread and strawberry jam and a hot cup of Lady Grey tea.

Now it’s your turn to share one of your recipes!!!

*Note: Recipe courtesy of Food and Alton Brown.


Baking Thursdays {Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins}

May 23, 2012

It’s time for another one of my dessert recipes. This one is one of hubby’s favorites and I paid special attention when I made these yummy muffins.

I love muffins because they are great as a quick breakfast or for a snack. One of my favorite ways to eat these is split in half, slightly toasted and some butter on top. Delish!



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and set aside.(I used cupcake paper cups.) Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Take care not to overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

*Note: Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens.

Next time, I will share the recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins. My boys favorite!


I'm Baking… Thursdays #2 {Vanilla Cupcakes}

May 9, 2012
<div align="center"><a href="" title="bocafrau" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="bocafrau" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

It’s time for some sweetness. Who doesn’t love a cupcake. That perfect piece of cake goodness with rich frosting and some colorful sprinkles. So many possibilities, so many variations… but always a contended sigh after that first bite.

A few years ago, I started making cupcakes for the kids for their birthday parties. Each child was able to have his/her own piece, all the same size and same amount of frosting… less fighting that way. I would usually make a batch of yellow and a batch of chocolate depending on the kids preference. And they always came from a boxed mix.

I didn’t realize how easy it is to make cupcakes from scratch and how much better they taste. This recipe is very simple and straight forward but is easily adapted to other flavors.

I love the cupcake tower.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup milk, at room temperature

Frosting for topping


Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high, or with a hand mixer at medium high, until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed.

Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the mixer to medium low, beat in half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk, then the remaining flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Rotating the pan halfway through.

Remove cupcakes from pan after about 5 minutes and let cool completely. Top with frosting.


Mix together 1 egg white, some milk, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The amount of powdered sugar varies, depending on how thick you want the frosting.

I piped the frosting on with a pastry bag and attachment. Middle daughter added the sprinkles and also used some food coloring to color some of the frosting.

*Note: Recipe courtesy of The Food Network Magazine.


I'm baking… Thursdays #1 ~ Cream Puffs

April 25, 2012

Soft, warm rolls with butter melting inside. A loaf of crusty bread for those lunch sandwiches. Buttery, moist cupcakes with sugary, sweet icing and colorful sprinkles. Big, round cookies with gooey chocolate chips. Pastries, cakes and more… that’s what I want to bake and share.

I remember, growing up, someone… my grandma, mom and aunt… baking on a Saturday morning for coffee and cake at 3 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Kaffeeklatsch! A time for the family to get together, share something sweet and maybe the latest village gossip.

I can see it now, my mom gently pouring the gelantine over that fruit tart with a spoon, my grandma rolling out dough on a big cutting board so we could cut out the cookies and my aunt showing me how to mix the ingredients for the pound cake, letting me hold the mixer and after, letting me lick the cake batter out of the bowl.

It seems baking and the enjoyment we get from it runs in the family. I recently rediscovered my love for baking and decided to host a bi-weekly link-up for all things sweet, gooey and doughy.

Part of it is to keep track of my journey, the learning process and the joy. Another part is that I hope, you’ll share your delicious recipes so we all can enjoy some sweetness… and for me to maybe give them a try and then share that.

<div align="center"><a href="" title="bocafrau" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="bocafrau" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

My first recipe as part of my I’m Baking… series are Cream Puffs. I made them for the first time this past weekend. They were such a big hit that I got to do it all over again yesterday. My gang managed to wolf down eat six of them in short order. They were not small.

Cream Puff Shells


1/2 cup shortening

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

4 eggs


Preheat oven to 400° F. In a medium sauce pan, combine the shortening, salt and boiling water and heat until the entire mixture boils. Reduce heat, add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is thick and shiny and breaks from spoon.

Pipe or spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350° F and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool, cut in half and fill with pastry cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(*Note: I only baked mine for about 12 additional minutes at the reduced cycle.)

Pastry Cream


2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of white sugar

2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.

I made the pastry cream first and let it chill while I worked on the shells. 

(**Note: Both recipes are courtesy of

I would love it if you could help me spread the word about this new link-up. Please, tell your friends, tweet it, share it on Facebook and Google+. Thank you so very much. I look forward to trying and tasting your yummy additions. 

xo, Susi


I'm baking… Vanilla Pound Cake

April 21, 2012

A few weeks ago, the week before Easter to be precise, I got the urge to try my hand at baking again. Not just the quick out of the box kind of baking. I wanted to start from scratch, measure the ingredients myself and try my luck.

My first project (for Easter)  were Hot Cross Buns after seeing recipes on both The  and The Pioneer I was kind of scared dealing with yeast for the first time and was afraid the dough wouldn’t rise properly. I needn’t have worried, things worked out beautifully and my love for baking was re-awakened.

I love the step by step process, the measuring and sifting and mixing. It relaxes me.


For my next baking recipe I chose one of my favorite cakes–a vanilla pound cake–that’s also easy to make and uses only a few basic ingredients. The recipe I used is from


2 cups of sugar

1 cup of unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk



1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine sugar and melted butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until well mixed.

3. Stir together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture alternatively with milk, to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. (This is were a stand-mixer comes in handy. I did it with my hand-mixer and it worked ok because I’m able to crack eggs with one hand but it does get a little dicey at times.) 🙂

4. Pour batter into greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes. Remove from pan.

Frosting  recipe thanks to the lovely Giada De Laurentiis.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, using an electric hand-mixer, beat the butter until light and smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.


I took this Pound Cake to my neighbors for Easter and everyone loved it. I like the fact that I can change the flavor of the cake by substituting vanilla for another flavoring but use the same basic recipe.