Carrot Cake Nests

For these Easter cakes I used the Tropical Carrot Cake recipe (down on this page a bit), which is an alteration of Magnolia Bakery's carrot cake recipe. For the frosting I made a batch of cream cheese frosting (2 pkgs lowfat cream cheese, 1 stick unsalted butter, confectioner sugar to taste) with a little vanilla and cinnamon added to it. I then toasted coconut in the toaster oven, dumped it in a bowl, and dipped the frosted cupcakes into the bowl of coconut. I topped them with blue peep chicks and blue candy eggs.

An Army of Peeps

Chocolate Zucchini Cakes
with 2 Gs Frosting

Make chocolate zucchini cake recipe (below) and let cool completely
Whip up a batch of 2 Gs Frosting (below)
Refrigerate frosting for at least an hour
Slather frosting on the cakes, using enough to hold up a peep!

Hoppy Easter!

Chocolate Zucchini Cakes

These cupcakes are delicious! What's better, picky teenagers will eat them without any suspicion that they contain something good for them. The addition of cinnamon, and the chocolate chips inside (which my husband refers to as "flavor bombs"), as well as the zucchini, of course, make these chocolatey cupcakes so much better than plain old chocolate (which isn't to say that plain old chocolate isn't delicious!).

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (I use dark chocolate)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs at room temp
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated (unpeeled) zucchini - I use the Cuisinart to quickly grate them

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the cocoa, baking powder & soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended and fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternately, stir the dry ingredients and the sour cream and milk into the sugar/butter mixture, reserving the last ½ cup of flour mixture.

Mix the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips with the reserved flour mixture, and toss to coat. Fold in the batter, and blend thoroughly. Pour into the lined cupcake tins and bake for about 20 minutes before you start testing them. Could take up to 35 minutes, but be careful not to burn bottoms (I put my cupcake tins on top of cookie sheets to prevent burning).

2 G's Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 pkg light cream cheese, room temp
6-8 ounces Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips, melted
1-2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp Godiva liquer
2 tbsp unsweetened, dark chocolate cocoa powder

Mix it all up in the Kitchen Aid, taste - add confectioner sugar, liquer, coco powder, melted chocolate, to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour before frosting.


One Week 'til Easter!

Easter Basket Cakes
(photo circa 1995)
At the time I made these cupcakes I was 18 years olds and stuck on a farm in southern New Jersey. I got the idea from either Better Homes & Gardens, or Ladies Home Journal, or some other awful mag I probably wouldn't have been reading were I not stuck in the middle of Nowhere's Ville. I've since made them for Easter many times, but can't seem to find any more current photos. I'm pretty sure I used a cake mix for the cakes, as it was the decorating I was most concerned with. I have a few ideas for cake flavor for this year, which I will post below. Next Sunday I'll let you know what I ended up with.

As for the decorating you need:

  • Pretty Easter cupcake liners
  • Coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • Eggs for the baskets (I like the Cadburry mini eggs because they are delicious and look like kind of real, you can use jelly beans, chocolate foil eggs, egg shaped gum, or even Peeps - the baskets don't have to only hold eggs ) you have many options here, it being Easter and all.
  • String licorice, fuzzy pipe cleaners, or something crafty for the handles (I used these pretty wired flower bouquets that I found at a craft shop - something South Jersey isn't lacking in)
Make cupcakes per recipe and let cool completely
Frost with favorite frosting
Mix coconut and green food coloring in bowl
Dip frosting cupcakes into bowl of coconut shreds
Put your basket fillings in the center
Poke a small hole in each side of cupcake and insert whatever you are using as a handle.
Display and prepare for "ooohs" and "aaawwws" from kids of all ages!
Possible recipes I will be choosing from (though there are so many options):
Tropical Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (see March archives for recipe)
Creamy Coconut Cakes with Billowy White Frosting from "A Country Baking Treasure" by Lisa Yockelson, which is meant to be a layer cake, but anything can be turned into a cupcake! I'll post the recipe after I've tested it out and altered it in the ways that I do.
I think I will also make some chocolate zucchini cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and bunny peeps popping out of the top! You can see for yourself next Sunday! yay!


Lemon Cakes with Honey Lemon Glaze

My lemon cake recipe (a favorite on the baby shower circuit)
  • 1 1/2 c. Self Rising Flour
  • 1 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/2 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Spray mini bundts with cooking spray
  3. In a small bowl, combine flours and set aside.
  4. In your Kitchen Aid (or large mixing bowl) on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts alternating with wine, juice and extract. Be careful not to overbeat.
  5. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, though I start testing after 15 to avoid burning.
Honey Lemon Glaze
  • 1/2 cup Buckwheat honey
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
Mix honey and lemon juice in small saucepan until runny. Whisk in confectioner's sugar. Remove from heat and let set up a little bit (just a few minutes). Pour over cakes either immediately before serving, or pour over cakes and immediately refrigerate. Yum!

tiny candy bees from Confectionery House

Baby B Shower Cakes

the baby shower theme was bees
the colors were red & aqua
the cakes were delish:

dark red velvet cakes
with aqua-colored cream cheese frosting

(I got the red foils & candy bees at Confectionery House)

Dark Red Velvet Cakes

2 c. sugar 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp 2 eggs
1/4 c. dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring, I use Wilton's gel Icing Coloring
2 1/4 c. all purpose cake flour

1 dash salt
1 c. buttermilk
1-2 Tbsp. Godiva Liqueur
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until well blended/creamed
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between
  • Mix in the cocoa powder and red food coloring
  • Add flour and salt alternately with buttermilk, in 3 segments
  • Add chocolate liqueur
  • In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture
  • Pour batter into tins, liners, whatever you're baking in
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes, 25-30 for mini bundts, 30-35 for cake pans

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 pkgs light cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2 pkgs Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • confectioner sugar to taste (about 2 cups)
  • a tiney tiny bit of turquoise gel "icing coloring" from Wilton

who ever gets the "baby" cake wins a prize!