Peanut Brittle Cupcakes

Peanut Brittle CupcakesPeanut brittle is one of those candies that I totally love but often overlook. One, because it isn’t sold in many stores, and two, because it isn’t as common as your average M&M’s or Skittles.

But when I am around it? Lawd have mercy, homedog. I’m scarfing it down like it’s my day job. It’s just so addictive!

Since I still have an enormous fear of candy thermometers (seriously, I do not have time for high-maintenance candy!) I haven’t actually made my own peanut brittle at home. If we’re being honest, I find it easier to just stock up at See’s Candies and get it for $6/box than stress over a pot of boiling caramel. Not my idea of a good time. Eating the peanut brittle, however, is a great time.

So while I haven’t mastered the brittle itself, I have mastered these scrumptious cupcakes! I have to admit, the peanut brittle flavor is spot-on. If you could somehow bottle it up and drink that delectable peanut butter caramel flavor, it would be the best beverage evah. But for now, you’ll have to settle with eating your cupcake and your peanut brittle, too. These are the best!

DSC_0316ASkip the candy thermom mama drama and buy yourself a box of brittle… and the ingredients for these cupcakes. You’ll be glad you did!

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Peanut Brittle Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Peanutty and caramel, these Peanut Brittle Cupcakes taste like the addictive candy without the fuss of making it. Top with your favorite homemade or store-bought brittle for the perfect, tasty garnish.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup caramel flavored syrup (NOT sundae sauce, but the kind you can use to flavor your coffee, like by Torani)
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I like Jif!)
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 1 & ½ sticks butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel flavored syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk, if needed
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Peanut Brittle, prepared or your favorite homemade recipe, broken into shards
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin tins with about 16 paper liners; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, oil, eggs, water, caramel syrup and peanut butter together with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until blended. Distribute batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling about ¾" full.
  2. Bake for approximately 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely while you prepare the frosting.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and caramel syrup with the paddle attachment until creamy and blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add the milk if frosting is too thick.
  4. Spoon the frosting into a disposable piping bag attached with a large open star tip. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes, then garnish with a couple of shards of peanut brittle. Top with caramel sundae syrup if you'd like! Serve immediately.

DSC_0324AThese are FABULOUS! They’re a must-try. If you haven’t had caramel + peanut butter before, you must give this insanely-delicious combination a go. It’s a total winner and is what makes the flavor in these delectable Peanut Brittle Cupcakes so spot-on!

Have a fantastic day!

xo, Hayley

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting

GingerbreadCupcakesI’ve decided that I’m never shopping at Target again, because every time I do, something mortally embarrassing happens.

Like the time I told the cashier I was going to eat Oreos naked (wrong context). Or the time my mom was my wing-woman.

ANYWHO. A couple days ago I was in the big red bulls-eye when the sparkly, frilly, feathery wonders of the little girls clothing section drew me in. Since I’m buddy-buddy with Dorothy’s kiddo Jordan, I figured I’d find her some can’t-live-without glitter-smothered dress for Christmas and began my search. As I was knee-deep in sparkles and sequins and loving every minute of it, an employee approached me and asked if I needed any help.

A simple enough question, but for me to answer it? Oh lawdddd have mercy.

I could have simply said, “yes, I’m fine, thanks.” But instead I said, “Yes, I’m okay. I’m just looking right now. I mean, I don’t even own a child, so I’m not sure why I’m here, but I’m okay, thanks.”

Seriously. Don’t even own a child. OWN. I said “own.” What in god’s name is wrong with me?

The employee kind of looked at me strangely and did one of those awkward polite chuckles, but I knew she was probably making secret signals to the surveillance cameras to get a closer look at me so they could put me on some kind of Crazy Person List as the lady who doesn’t “own” kids and who shops in the children’s department just ’cause. *sigh*

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DSC_0150ASo after realizing I’m a weirdo, I left and went home to bake cupcakes. Cupcakes make everything better, even if you are on Target’s blacklist for being a creeper. Thankfully, cupcakes aren’t judgmental and they are a really scrumptious way to feel better about your shortcomings. These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting certainly do the trick and are so festive for the upcoming Christmas holiday!

Now get to eating, you weirdo!

DSC_0149A *adapted from my Gingerbread Cupcakes, in the archives

5.0 from 2 reviews
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16-18
 
Soft, spicy gingerbread cupcakes are topped with a sinfully light and fluffy vanilla bean marshmallow frosting that's to-die for! These irresistible Christmas cupcakes are every bit as delicious as they are festive.
Ingredients
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or substitute vanilla extract)
  • ¼ cup cream or milk
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • Gingerbread Sprinkles and Cookies, for optional garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 16 paper liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, ginger, cinnamon and allspice with an electric mixer until blended, about 2 minutes.
  2. Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin cups, filling about ¾ths full. You should have roughly around 16 cupcakes.
  3. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake comes back clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  4. To make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, marshmallow creme, and vanilla bean paste until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, then stream in the milk or cream to help thin the frosting out, adding more milk or cream as needed. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
  5. Fill a piping bag attached with a large open star tip with the frosting. Pipe high onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with gingerbread men sprinkles and a gingerbread cookie if desired. Serve immediately or store cookies airtight at room temperature or in the fridge. Note that the cookies on top will get softer with time, especially in the fridge, so if you're planning on storing them for a later time I would garnish with the cookies right before serving.

DSC_0160AThe Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting is the perfect light, sweet and fluffy accompaniment to these spicy, irresistible gingerbread cupcakes! Nothing is more festive or fabulous for the holiday season!

Hope you have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

 

Bloody Eyeball Cupcakes

bloodyeyeballThese are dedicated to my brother, Alex, who has an absolutely crippling fear of eyeballs.

I’m such a great older sister.

It may be hard to believe, but as I kid I really wanted to fit in. When a classmate came to school one day wearing a training bra, I was so green with envy that the next day I wore a swimsuit top and told everyone I was wearing a training bra. No, not creepy, weird or pathetic at all…

And when I overheard a boy complimenting my best friend’s hazel eyes, I realized I needed hazel eyes, so I told everyone they were hazel. They’re brown. Brown. There’s no way around their brownness, so I just lied and said in certain light they turned hazel. I was one crafty little loser, wasn’t I?

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that fitting in was overrated and that I should just deal with my poopbrown eyes and not worry about what other people think of me. And thankfully, shortly after these incidents, I also retired my swimsuit top. Just sayin’. It’s just so much easier being yourself than to try to pretend to be someone — or something — you’re not. Poopbrown eyes and flatness included.

And even though my brother loves cupcakes, I know he’d refuse these simply because of the eyeball motif… and that’s okay. More for me!

DSC_0415AHalloween desserts are typically so cutesy and while I love that, I also love the creepier side of things, too. I don’t know how many brain-shaped Jell-O desserts or eyeball gummies I could eat, but I can appreciate the gore nonetheless. These are for you true, hardcore gore-fans out there and kids who aren’t ooged out by a little blood and guts. The reward for tolerating these creepy cupcakes is a big one: a moist and tender red velvet cupcake filled with sweet cherry pie filling and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting.

Now who wants some eyeballs?!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Bloody Eyeball Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
These gory cupcakes take creepy to a whole new level! Moist red velvet cake is filled with a squishy surprise cherry pie "eyeball" filling and is topped with a luscious swirl of cream cheese icing, drippy red "blood" and an eyeball gumball for a true horrifically delicious cupcake!
Ingredients
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box cheesecake instant pudding mix
  • About 1 cup cherry pie filling
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ stick butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp cream or milk
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • Red sparkle food gel
  • Eyeball gumballs (or another eyeball candy)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 16 liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions until smooth and combined. Stir in the pudding mix until incorporated.
  2. Evenly portion the batter among the muffin tins, filling about ¾ of the way full. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light moist crumbs. Cool completely, then core the cupcake's centers out. For this, I use a small paring knife, insert the knife into the cupcake, and gently remove the center of it. Discard the center pieces.
  3. Using a small spoon, fill the cupcake cavities with the cherry pie filling, trying to get at least 2 cherries in the center of each cupcake. Set the cupcakes aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and cream with the paddle attachment for about 1-2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Pour the frosting into a piping bag attached with a large open-circle tip.
  5. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled & filled cupcakes, ensuring you completely cover the center cavity. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. Take your red sparkle gel and begin drawing squiggly lines up and down the sides of the cupcake, centering from the top point of the cupcake. Place an eyeball gumball onto the tippy top of the cupcake and serve!

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DSC_0425AThese are SO gory and SO creepy from the outside, but no one will suspect the sinfully delicious yet sinister inside of gooey, gushy cherry pie filling! They’re a real delight to decorate and eat!

Hope you enjoyed!!

xo, Hayley

Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes

cheesypupcakesIt isn’t very often that I make things that my dogs can eat.  As a baker, I’m constantly working with off-limits food like chocolate, caramel, candy, tons of butter and sugar… aka, all the things my dogs wish they could eat.

…Even though that hasn’t stopped Mannie from eating brownie batter out of the garbage, but I digress.

But I decided these two knucklehead dogs needed a treat after all of their loyal begging with no return.  That, and they scare away people who come to the door, like Creepy Dad or salespeople.  And even though Winston hates me (see my Instagram for proof of that devil dog), he still brings a smile to my face even as he’s attempting to rip it off.

That and we’re celebrating.  See, my best friend Sarah has this dog named Ranger.  Ranger is a Blue Heeler and she’ll be celebrating her birthday on September 1st, so I wanted to prepare some cupcakes for Ranger, Sarah’s other doggies & my doggies for a birthday party we’re throwing for Ranger.  Why?

Because Ranger is turning 20 years old.  TWENTY. YEARS. OLD.  And I’m tempted to call Guinness because this dog is some kind of immortal being.

See, Ranger is technically Sarah’s husband’s dog.  And Sarah’s man, Jimmy, used to live on a farm and Ranger was his go-to farm hand.  Ranger wrangled up the sheep, cows and horses and worked most of her life.  In addition, she also had a couple sets of litters, got kicked in the face by a bull, was accidentally run over by a tractor, ate an entire chocolate-frosted chocolate sheet cake, and killed two dogs that had trespassed onto Jimmy’s farm, one of which was a Rottweiler easily twice her size.  All before the age of 12.

While Ranger doesn’t practice farming now, and while her hips have since been as strong as they once were, she’s still kicking!  She’s a happy girl who always greets me when I visit Sarah, who still loves to boss the other dogs around, and who enjoys having her head scratched.  So to celebrate this immortal dog (also because if she is immortal, I do not want her to curse me with her witch-like powers) I figured I’d throw her a birthday party.  Being kicked in the face by a bull kinda deserves a cupcake, don’t you think?

To make these Pupcakes, I used these Silicone Cupcake Molds from The New York Baking Company after I was generously sent a dozen liners to review.  I’m always apprehensive about silicone because I’m a greasing freak — meaning, I grease everything with nonstick spray.  I was wary that these pupcakes would be completely torn up on the inside, so it was to my amazement that the cupcakes popped right out with such ease and effortlessness.  It barely looked like I’d baked them in the liners!

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gsfgAs a result, the cupcakes baked just as evenly as if they were in a muffin tin with a sturdy shape, even & consistent cook, and no crumbs stuck to the sides of the liners — hallelujah!  Plus, if we’re being honest, who really cares about paper cupcake liners anyway?  Sure, they’re adorable and I love their patterns, but they always fade or get wonky after baking and no one stops what they’re doing, drops everything and admires a cupcake’s liner.  Especially hungry canines.  So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, reliable and recyclable alternative to paper liners, look no further — I highly recommend this set from The New York Baking Company!

Now let’s eat!  Ranger hasn’t been waiting 20 years for us to chit chat :)

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cupcakes, Dog Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These adorable Cheesy Cornbread Pupcakes are meant for man's best friend! Made with a handful of simple ingredients, you could frost them with a dollop of cottage cheese or leave them plain for a simple snack.
Ingredients
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • (If Frosting...)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Miniature bones or treats
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place 12 silicone cupcake molds onto a baking sheet or lightly spray a 12-cavity muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, brown sugar, egg, milk and cheese with a spoon and stir until a soft batter has formed.
  3. Pour the mixture evenly among the baking cups, filling about ¾ths of the way full. Bake for approx. 13-15 minutes or until the tops are domed and golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the pupcakes completely.
  4. If frosting, top with a Tablespoon or so of prepared cottage cheese and garnish with a dog treat. Serve frosted cupcakes immediately. Unfrosted cupcakes will last at room temperature in an airtight container for about 4-5 days.

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DSC_0233AMannie freaked out over the cottage cheese-frosted pupcakes because that dog eats cottage cheese like no other, whereas Winston preferred the unfrosted pupcakes since he has quite a beard that tends to get messy.  Meanwhile, Ranger was just happy to make it to 20 years old :) Happy Birthday, Ranger! [here’s Ranger partying with her sister, Gerilyn!]

rangerMake these easy muffins in minutes for YOUR dog!  I guarantee she’ll appreciate being noticed for all his hard work, begging, protection services and all that unconditional love! <3

Have a great weekend!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with a set of NY Baking Company Silicone Liners to review.  All opinions are 100% my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. Please consult your vet before introducing any new foods to your pets. 

Banana Pudding Cupcakes with Cool Whip Pudding Frosting

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AddCoolWhip #CollectiveBias

bananapuddingcupcakesAs a kid, one of my favorite snacks was Jell-O Pudding Snacks topped with a hefty (and I mean hefty!) dollop of Cool Whip on top.  The ratio was probably one cup Cool Whip to standard-size pudding cup, and frankly, I had dreams of giving myself a Cool Whip facial a la Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire.  Helllooooooo, indeed!

To this day, I still have a soft spot for Cool Whip & Jell-O pudding.  Pudding is such an easy and delicious snack anytime of year, but especially in the summertime when temps are sometimes too high to bake.  It’s rich, satisfying, and so versatile — add in chopped fruits, nuts, candy or baking chips to switch things up, or fold in Cool Whip to create an easy pudding pie.

But for today’s recipe, I’m making one of my favorite frostings to top rich, moist banana cupcakes.  I first discovered this frosting a couple years ago and it instantly became a favorite.  It’s made with Jell-O pudding mix, milk, cream cheese, a little powdered sugar, and of course — Cool Whip.  Combined, these five simple ingredients create a light and fluffy textured frosting that isn’t too sweet (thanks to the cream cheese) but has just the right amount of flavor and sweetness.

DSC_0009AAnd since banana pudding is one of my favorite pudding flavors (what’s not to love?!) I decided to make these outrageously delish Banana Pudding Cupcakes with Cool Whip Pudding Frosting.  They. Are. AWESOME.  Soft and tender cupcakes topped with this scrumptious, easy frosting bursting with banana flavor, then topped off with a fresh banana slice and a vanilla wafer cookie — two key components to a seriously yummy banana pudding.

And if banana pudding isn’t your jam, feel free to make the cupcakes and Jell-O Cool Whip Frosting any flavor you’d like!  Imagine rich, chocolate cupcakes topped with a light chocolate frosting — the almost mousse-like texture would be insanely good!  Or even strawberry frosting on angel food cupcakes for a shortcake effect.  So versatile!

DSC_0011ABut if you’re a banana fiend like myself, you must give these cupcakes a try!  And if nothing else, at least make the frosting and eat it with a spoon! :)

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Banana Pudding Cupcakes with Cool Whip Pudding Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Love Banana Pudding? Then you'll flip for these scrumptious Banana Pudding Cupcakes! The frosting is to-die for and tastes just like the classic pudding dessert!
Ingredients
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 2 boxes Jell-O Instant Banana Cream Pudding mix, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 4 oz (1/2 pkg) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
  • Banana slices
  • Vanilla wafer cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 16 paper liners. Prepare the cake batter according to package directions. Once the batter has come together, stir in ONE box of the Jell-O banana pudding mix.
  2. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling cups about ¾th full. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  3. While cupcakes cool, prepare your frosting: in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining box of Jell-O banana pudding and the milk until smooth. Stir in the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined and minimal clumps remain. Lastly, fold in the Cool Whip until combined. Place the frosting in the fridge to set, about 1 hour.
  4. Once frosting has set & cupcakes have cooled, spoon the frosting into a disposable piping bag affixed with a large open circle tip. Pipe frosting generously onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish each frosted cupcake with a banana slice and vanilla wafer cookie. Serve immediately, or store leftovers covered in the fridge.
  5. If you have remaining frosting, use frosting as pudding! Simply layer remaining frosting in a jar or dish with banana slices and vanilla wafer cookies. Eat as is, or top with hot fudge or caramel sauce.

DSC_0018AI am seriously in love with this fantastic frosting!  It’s so light, so fluffy and so delicious.  I love that it tastes like a lighter banana pudding — almost like eating a cloud of banana deliciousness.  As I mentioned earlier, if you have leftover frosting you can use it as pudding!  Just layer it in a dish or bowl with banana slices and vanilla wafer cookies, or crumble leftover cupcakes on top for a fantastic deconstructed cupcake pudding :)  top with caramel or chocolate sauce if you’re feeling extra fancy!

Want a better-for-you option?  Use Jell-O Sugar Free/Fat Free Pudding mix, fat-free milk, fat-free PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, and Cool Whip Free.  You can also substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil in your cupcakes, and swap out whole eggs for four egg whites to make your cupcakes a more nutritious option.

jelloooI always go to Walmart for my KRAFT Foods needs — Walmart has the largest selection of Jell-O Pudding Mixes and a great selection of other KRAFT Foods products, like Cool Whip and PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese.  For a limited time, you can now get $1 off when you purchase one (1) tub of Cool Whip and two (2) boxes of Jell-O Pudding, while supplies last.  Just use THIS link for your exclusive coupon!!  And be sure to check out Walmart’s website for more recipes and KRAFT Foods products!

Have a delicious Sunday!!

xo, Hayley

 

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

orangecreamsicleI’ve recently developed a gnarly addiction to watching the Kardashians.

It stemmed from being bored one day, done with work, house was cleaned and all I longed to do was watch crappy reality TV.  I’d seen all the Real Housewives junk, Jerry Springer was nothing special and House Hunters makes me homicidal, so Kardashians it was.  It was the first episode ever, and I was hopelessly, disgustingly hooked.

Kim was so young and had such a terrible taste in fashion.  Kendall and Kylie were still wearing kiddie clothes.  And Rob modeling in his Calvins was actually kinda swoon-worthy.  And as if I were reading a great novel, you can’t just read part and set it down without ever knowing the ending.  It’s like a crime against humanity, kind of like wearing socks with sandals or eating soggy cereal.  You just don’t do it, you know?

So I started Netflixing all of the episodes and am now in the middle of season 4, right where Khloe just married Lamar and Bruce is all spit-fire over the fact that Kylie’s wearing eyeliner.  And as disgusting as this addiction is, and even though I can feel my dad lose respect for me every time he enters the room, I just can’t tear my eyeballs away.

And it makes me wonder: if there was an E! camera crew here right now, they would probably fall asleep behind the equipment.  They would get to film me hopelessly scrolling through awful messages on OkCupid while my dog, Mannie, barks incessantly in the background.  I’ll make a salad and a smoothie for lunch and eat it while watching Ladies of London, a show I only watch because I have serious Brit-envy for some weird reason.  And then they’ll film me pondering going to the gym for four hours before finally passing out on the couch yet again, settling in to watch another episode of Kardashians while my phone pings with another OkCupid message from someone with a neckbeard.

So there’s that.

DSC_0612AThe only way people would watch my show would be to (hopefully) see all of the yummy things I regularly crank out of my kitchen, these Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes included!  Orange Creamsicles are and were one of my favorite treats in the summertime.  Nothing beats a refreshing, frozen bar in the heat of the day or the irresistible combination of bright, fresh orange and creamy vanilla.  I knew I wanted to make a scrumptious cupcake based off of one of my favorite ice cream bar treats and I think I succeeded and then some!

… which is more than I can say about my dating life, but hey, you can’t win at everything.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Love the taste of summery creamsicles? Then you'll fall in love with these fresh, bright and sweet Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes!
Ingredients
  • 1 box orange cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Duncan Hines Orange Creme Frosting Creations packet
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • Orange gummy candies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 18 paper liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, oil and orange juice with a handheld electric mixer or until smooth.
  2. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ¾th of the way full. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, vanilla extract, heavy cream and Duncan Hines Orange Creme packet together for about a minute or until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  4. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes; top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with an orange gummy slice.

DSC_0617AI am in love with these cupcakes!  They’re so light and moist and full of bright, orange flavor!  The dollop of whipped cream on top of the soft, creamy orange-flavored buttercream is to-die for!  It tastes like a cakey creamsicle and is perfect for your next summer party or BBQ :)

If you can’t find orange cake mix (I was shocked when I spied it at the store!) feel free to use yellow cake mix and follow the directions in my recipe.  You can also add in orange extract to taste to amp up that orange flavor.

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

 

Coke Float Cupcakes

cokefloatI am a Team Coke girl.

Growing up, we drank Coke religiously in this house.  My parents were never the types who withheld sweets, candy or soda, so we usually had free reign over what we wanted to eat.  Granted, we couldn’t have sodas with dinner, have cookies before meals or substitute actual substantial food (or however substantial Happy Meals could be) for Little Debbie snack cakes and Fritos, but we did eat it far more frequently than our other kid friends.

I recall going over to a friend’s house one day after school and her mom asked if we wanted some snacks to nosh on while we did homework.  I eagerly said yes, anticipating cookies and milk or an ice cream bar and a root beer.  Instead, her mom brought out a plate of carrots and celery with two glasses of water.

What in the living fluff.

I suppose I was so used to heading straight after school to my grandma’s, who watched us until my parents got off of work.  My grandma was so preoccupied with her stories and being adamant that she didn’t watch Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer (she totally did) that she didn’t really pay any mind to what we ate — so it was usually Mother’s brand Taffy cookies and a Coke for me.  Oh what I’d give to have that metabolism again.

DSC_0622AAnyway, one of my favorite treats growing up were Coke Floats.  I LOVED the combination of rich, creamy vanilla ice cream and that fizzy, sugary Coke and how they got all melty and delicious together.  Or likewise, I would always order Vanilla Cokes when we went out to eat — there’s something so tantalizing and classic about vanilla and Coke.  So when I had the idea for these cupcakes, those frosty-cool Coke Floats were my inspiration for sure!

And take my advice — they’re definitely delicious brain food :)

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Coke Float Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Coke Floats remind me of childhood summers sipping on those fizzy, melty concoctions with lots of Coke and vanilla ice cream. These Coke Float Cupcakes are just like that in cupcake form!
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 can (12 ounces) Coca Cola
  • 1 dram Cola flavored oil (or 2 tsp Cola Soda Stream syrup)
  • FOR COLA FROSTING:
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 dram Cola flavored oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • White non-pareils
  • Maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix and soda with an electric mixer on medium-low speed, about 2 minutes. You are ONLY mixing in the dry mix and the soda -- NOTHING else (no eggs, no oil, no water). Once combined, beat in the dram of Cola flavored oil or the Soda Stream Cola syrup to combine.
  2. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ¾ of the way full. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, heavy cream, Cola oil and vanilla extract with the paddle attachment until creamy and combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.
  4. Pipe the frosting high onto cooled cupcakes; sprinkle with white non-pareils. Garnish with a patted-dry maraschino cherry and serve! *If you want the frosting high, like as shown in the photos, consider doubling your frosting recipe.*

DSC_0623AWondering what a ‘dram of oil’ is?  A dram is 1 fluid ounce (3.7 ml) and is contained within a small bottle.  Flavoring oil is extremely concentrated and is ideal for making candy.  It’s much more potent than your standard extract, so only a little is needed to enhance or create the flavor you desire.  Believe it or not, a single Cola dram is the perfect amount (when combined with the can of Coke soda) to flavor an entire dozen cupcakes and really kick up that sweet, classic Coke flavor.  You can BUY THE COLA DRAMS HERE.  Likewise, if you cannot find the Cola drams, you may substitute Soda Stream’s Cola-flavored syrup (you know, the stuff you use to make your own soda at home!) in place.

Either way, I know you’ll fall in love within one bite of these scrumptious, classic-Coke Float Cupcakes!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Patriotic Tye Dye Cupcakes

patriotictyedyeThe Fourth of July is a holiday I really loathe.

Maybe it’s me but when you’re an adult, fireworks just seem so childish and pointless.  In case you were wondering, I’m about as far away from being a pyromaniac as Charlie Sheen is from being attractive.  Just opposite spectrums here.  Candles are about as flammable as I get.

When you’re a kid, the idea of blowing up explosives in the night sky seemed cool and magical.  Watching all the colored fire burst into hundreds of little rainbow drops of light against the dark backdrop of the sky was awesome.  The thrill of lighting those sparklers and holding them out at arm’s length while they sparkle and fizz… awesome, right?

But as an adult, all you see is the hassle of a child lighting their hair on fire, your middle schooler getting too cozy with the dynamite sticks and the possibility of losing their hand becomes imminent — not to mention the astronomical COST of fireworks these days.  If I had kids, I’d probably just light a fire in the fireplace while the AC hummed and let them watch that while the Star Spangled Banner played in the background.  Or turn on the Yule Log DVD and have at it.  (Related side note: I would be a terrible mother).

And if you have pets, fireworks are basically shooting stars from the underbelly of hell.  Our dogs freak the HELL out when the UPS man comes to the door, and he doesn’t even detonate.  So when something is blowing up outside of our home, producing a shrill sound and tons of smoke and colored fire, my dogs get a little batshit.  Which makes me a little batshit since they’re running around the house panting, whimpering, hiding, and barking which ironically, is what I do when I’m trying to console them at 2 in the morning when my demon neighbors are still lighting off Piccolo Petes.

But when it comes to Fourth of July, I’m totally cool with laid-back backyard BBQs, drinking lots of beer, swimming and maybe lighting a couple of tiki torches or citronella candles.  Is it totally wild and crazy?  No.  But it’s still every bit as patriotic (or probably more so) than blowing up American soil with $50 in explosives.

DSC_0545ASince the Fourth is coming up and there’s sure to be BBQs and parties galore, I thought I’d make an adorable and EASY cupcake that’s sure to be more impressive (and better tasting, of course) than your standard fireworks display.  They look so complicated but come together in a few simple steps and will definitely be the star of the show!  These Patriotic Tye Dye Cupcakes will be your new favorite!

DSC_0544A

5.0 from 3 reviews
Patriotic Tye Dye Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These fun Patriotic Tye Dye Cupcakes are dyed red, white and blue to help celebrate America's birthday -- they're a cinch to make but are super impressive!
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Red & Royal Blue Gel Food Coloring (like by Wilton)
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Patriotic sprinkles
  • Patriotic star cupcake picks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 muffin tin with 12 liners and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, egg whites, oil and water with an electric mixer or until combined. Divide the mixture evenly among three small bowls. Tint one bowl red with the red food coloring, tint the second bowl royal blue, and leave the third bowl plain white.
  2. Take a Tablespoon of batter (any color) and drop it into the muffin tin. Layer with a Tablespoon of another color of batter, then the final color of batter for a total of all three colors among each muffin cup or until the cup is about ¾ths of the way full. Repeat with remaining cups.
  3. Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs or comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla and heavy cream. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes, and immediately sprinkle with the patriotic sprinkle mix. Adorn with the patriotic cupcake picks (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) and serve!

DSC_0548AThese cupcakes couldn’t be simpler, yet they definitely make a stand-out impression with their fun, rainbow pops of color and those adorable cupcake tops piled high with creamy buttercream frosting and lots of sprinkles and sparkles!  I found my cupcake picks at Hobby Lobby, but any craft store should have a fun assortment of cupcake picks — use whatever you can find!

PS- how cool is that little George Washington bottle in the background?  I found it at a local antique shop and had to have it.  Hey, George! :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

 

Cosmic Cupcake Ice Cream {And a Little Debbie Giveaway!!}

cosmiccupcakeI am a self-proclaimed Little Debbie fiend.

loveeeeee me some Little Debbie snacks!  Nutty Bars, Cloud Cakes, Star Crunch… you name it, I’ve eaten it.  And grew up eating it!  My childhood fondly included snacking on Nutty Bars during the summertime, getting my fingers melty with chocolate and peanut butter.  Or picking off all of the rainbow bits on my Cosmic Brownies before savoring each fudgy bite.

Little Debbie recently emailed me and asked me if I would so kindly sample their new Cosmic Cupcakes, I jumped at the chance!  Sample a brand spankin’ new Little Debbie product?  Twist my arm :)

DSC_0299AThese Cosmic Cupcakes are the cupcake (duh) form of their classic Cosmic Brownies.  Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate ganache and rainbow bits with a sweet and fluffy cream center in the middle.

AY’all.  They are on point.  Forreal, I was shoveling them in as if they were going outta style.  Even my normal chocolate-neutral family was eating cupcake after cupcake.  They’re SO GOOD.  We even like them cold!  And they’re practically required with a tall glass of milk!

Plus, to help launch the Cosmic Cupcakes and to prepare for summertime (read: tons of camping!), Little Debbie is throwing a fun Spring Into The Great Outdoors contest where they’re giving away The Ultimate Family Campsite, valued at over $1,750!  The more chances you enter, the more chances there are to win!  Little Debbie is also giving away weekly prizes, too, so be sure to enter for one of the First or Runner-Up prizes!  Be sure to visit HERE to enter to win!!

DSC_0294ANow.. onto these Cosmic Cupcakes.  While they’re scrumptious on their own, I concocted an evil-genius plan to use ‘em up involving ice cream.  This homemade ice cream is FOUR ingredients (including the Cosmic Cupcakes!!) and is made in just a few hours.  Better yet, make it first thing in the morning and you’ll be having cake cones piled high with this creamy, dreamy ice cream by dinnertime.

Pardon me while I drool everywhere.

DSC_0292A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cosmic Cupcake Ice Cream {And a Little Debbie Giveaway!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Ice Cream, Frozen Desserts
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
This four-ingredient ice cream doesn't require fancy rock salts or even an ice cream machine! Made in minutes, creamy and dreamy and stuffed with Little Debbie's Cosmic Cupcakes!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup chocolate sundae sauce
  • 1 box (6 cupcakes) Little Debbie Cosmic Cupcakes, roughly chopped
  • Sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. First, place the roughly chopped pieces of the Cosmic Cupcakes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Briefly freeze the cupcake pieces for about 10 minutes or until firm, and freeze the stand mixer bowl as well (stainless steel) or pop in the fridge (glass) so it's chilled.
  2. Once the bowl is chilled, attach it back to your stand mixer and add the heavy cream. Using a wire whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until fluffy and stiff peaks have formed, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate syrup. Gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture, about 5 good turns or until combined. You don't want to stir too much or it will deflate your whipped cream, so try to combine it as best and gently as possible. Lightly stir in the frozen chunks of the Cosmic Cupcakes.
  4. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe plastic container and freeze for 6 hours or overnight (overnight recommended) until ice cream is firm. Top the ice cream with sprinkles, if you'd like. Serve!

DSC_0310AI love this super creamy ice cream!  Not only is it light and airy, but it’s filled with those delectable chunks of Cosmic Cupcakes!  I love taking a bite of a soft chunk of chocolate cake and getting that surprise pocket of fluffy marshmallow filling swirled inside of the ice cream.  I also love that the ice cream base isn’t necessarily chocolate — the chocolate syrup helps give it a chocolate undertone but almost makes it taste like chocolate whipped cream!  This is seriously my new favorite ice cream and a great way to use the new Little Debbie Cosmic Cupcakes… if you don’t eat them plain first :)

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

I was generously provided with Little Debbie’s new Cosmic Cupcakes to review.  I was not monetarily compensated for this post and my opinions are 100% my own.  

Perfect Vanilla Buttercream PLUS a Hamilton Beach Mixer GIVEAWAY!!

vanillabcreamI have such a fun giveaway for you guys today in addition to a foolproof recipe for perfect vanilla buttercream.

Buttercream is a staple for making cakes and cupcakes.  It’s a favorite frosting flavor for most everyone, and while the ingredients list is fairly small, sometimes it’s easy to botch up.  My recipe will have you frosting cakes, cupcakes, and your face in no time :)

Another kitchen staple?  Mixers!  I could not do my job without one.  While that sounds very modern-pretentious of me, I mean it — mixers make a baker and a cook’s job SO much easier.  If you’re skeptical, let me break down some points for you for Team Mixer:

*Mixers offer more consistency, so anything you’re beating, folding, whipping or combining will be done so in a consistent fashion
*They’re a time saver!  Think of all that time you’re shaving off by letting a high-speed motor do that whipping for you!
*They’re versatile!  From making cakes to cookie dough to even shredding chicken, mixers are heavy-duty wearers of many hats
*And Hamilton Beach’s versions?  They’re AWESOME.

Hamilton Beach gave me the opportunity to test drive their latest mixers: their 6-Speed Hand Mixer with a convenient carrying case AND their 6-Speed Stand Mixer.

I was so giddy to try both because one, I love Hamilton Beach and their products, and two, I knew I was the ideal candidate for beating up some mixers — I use them daily!

DSC_0248AFirst up: their 6-Speed Hand Mixer.  It’s my new favorite tool!  Most people have the misconception that once you own a stand mixer, hand mixers are irrelevant.  Not the case!  Sometimes I’m too lazy to use the big stand mixer, so the hand comes in, well, handy.  I use it primarily to whip up cake batters since it’s convenient, portable and gets the job done quickly.  Also, I only have to wash the beaters (or lick them) so clean up is easier.

DSC_0262ATheir hand mixer isn’t just sleek and streamlined, it’s powerful, too!  I could really feel the power when beating my cake mix batter.  Plus, the beaters have their Soft Scrape technology, which means it combines the batter consistently (yay!) so there is no powder residue leftover at the bottom of the bowl (bigger yay!).  It also comes with a set of whisk beaters and traditional stainless steel beaters as well, and a carrying case to house all your new attachments.  Fancy!

My verdict?  I love this hand mixer.  As I said, it whipped my cake batter to smooth perfection with no lumps or powdery residue in sight.  Plus, I could feel the power the mixer offered and loved the softness of the Soft Scrape technology.  It eliminated my need for a spatula which was awesome!

DSC_0278ANow, when it comes to buttercream, I’m all about the stand mixer.  You will not see me whipping powdered sugar around with a hand mixer — it’s just not happening.  I figured their 6-Speed Stand Mixer could get the job done, and I was right!

With a powerful 300-watt motor and six speeds with a special fold setting (attention, bread-makers!), this mixer is comparable to Kitchen-Aid but a fraction of the price.  It includes the same features, like a stainless steel bowl and the same whisk, paddle and dough hook attachments as well.  One of my favorite features of this mixer?  The non-slip feet!  Even on the highest setting, the non-slip feet keeps that mixer grounded, so there’s no weird rocking or thrashing about.  I also like how the mixing heads spin as they rotate within the bowl, ensuring consistency in beating.

DSC_0263A

DSC_0273AMy personal least-favorite aspect of the stand mixer was the lock feature.  While some may enjoy this, I found it to be a hassle, albeit a minor one.  To lift the mixing head, you have to press a ‘LOCK’ button on the side to unlock the head and lift it up.  Then you have to press it again to bring it back into the normal setting.  While this may be helpful for novice bakers (and it obviously serves a purpose in case the head falls down when it’s supposed to be upright), I found it kind of annoying.  Still, it was a minor problem and it didn’t affect the integrity of the buttercream or the mixer.

DSC_0275AMy verdict?  When it comes to the stand mixer, this is a great (necessary!) piece of equipment for any baker.  I feel like this is a good first stand mixer for people just getting into cooking and baking since it has all of the basic mixing features as a KitchenAid but for a fraction of the price.  It’s also great for people with limited space since it’s sleeker and more compact.

And of course, I loved both because they helped me produce some delicious vanilla cupcakes with a perfect vanilla buttercream!!

DSC_0282ABut don’t let my word be the final one — try one out for yourself!  Or better yet, WIN THEM for yourself!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave one comment answering this question: What will you make FIRST with your new mixers?!  

I’ll select a winner at random on Saturday, May 3 and email them! :)

Now, onto this buttercream… it is phenomenal!  Creamy, light, luscious, and bursting with rich vanilla flavor.  Ideally, they’ll end up on a cake or cupcakes, but I won’t judge you if they don’t make it past the mixing bowl!

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4.8 from 56 reviews
Perfect Vanilla Buttercream PLUS a Hamilton Beach Mixer GIVEAWAY!!
Author: 
Recipe type: Cupcakes
 
This fluffy, soft vanilla buttercream is delicious, foolproof, and EASY! You won't make another buttercream recipe again!
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (can substitute vanilla bean paste for a stronger vanilla flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla, and heavy cream until combined.
  2. Gradually begin adding the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy but is still stiff enough to pipe onto cupcakes. You may add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin, or more heavy cream (about a teaspoon at a time) if the frosting is too thick and pasty.
  3. Pipe the frosting high onto cooled cupcakes, or frost onto a cake.

DSC_0287AIsn’t it gorgeous?  So perfect, so heavenly!  If you’re a buttercream nerd, you’ll fall for this creamy, dreamy frosting!  Sprinkles are mandatory :)

For more information on Hamilton Beach, such as upcoming events, news, or new products, be sure to visit their website or connect with them on Twitter or Facebook, or see what they’re pinning on Pinterest!!

Good luck, and have a fantastically delicious weekend!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with both the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and Hand Mixer for free to review.  All opinions are 100% my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post.  The giveaway is sponsored by The Domestic Rebel and Hamilton Beach.  If a winner doesn’t respond to their winning email within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. 

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