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July 25, 2014

Mini-Blueberry Lemon Cakes

Mini-Blueberry Lemon Cake|The Crafting Foodie

Last week I spotted some local, fresh blueberries at the market, and I went a bit overboard. I bought too much. Way too much. As my family and I worked our way through the berries, I quickly realized that we'd never be able to eat all of them. So I decided to use a good amount of them by making these mini-cakes that are packed with fresh blueberries and lemon zest.

Why are they mini? Well, because I love mini-desserts. And I love cake. I'll take cake any day, any time.

I used a ton of berries in the cake, so the cake layers actually turned a bluish-purple. The frosting is an American-style frosting mixed with a lemon curd. After making the frosting, I had leftover lemon curd. Don't fret because it didn't go to waste. My girls dipped some madeleines into the lemon curd for their afternoon snack. Yum!

Mini-Blueberry Lemon Cakes|The Crafting Foodie

I made the recipe in steps (as usual). I made the curd a day ahead. The next morning I baked the cakes, let them cool, and filled and frosted them. They were super easy to fill and frost because they're only about 5 inches in diameter!

You could make this into one 8-inch, 3-layer cake, but I prefer mini-cakes because they make the most wonderful gifts. I dropped two of these off to our friends, and you should have seen their kids' faces. To say they were excited is an understatement. I mean, who wouldn't love a mini-blueberry lemon cake to dig into? I know I would!

Blueberry Lemon Cakes | The Crafting Foodie original copy


Mini-Blueberry Lemon Cakes

The cake portion of these mini-desserts comes from Sweetopolita's Triple-Lemon Blueberry Cake. The lemon curd recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Blueberry Lemon Cake Ingredients

2 cups + 6 tbs all-purpose flour, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp lemon zest

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs


Instructions for the Blueberry Lemon Cakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Line 3, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the pans and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix 1 tbs of the sifted dry ingredient into the bowl with the fresh berries. This will help the berries from sinking to the bottom of the batter as it bakes.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, milk, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest until just combined.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the egg is incorporated.

Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches and the wet in 2 batches.

Using a spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter.

Divide the batter equally between the three pans. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn cakes out of the pans. Allow them to cool completely.

Lemon Curd Ingredients

2/3 cup lemon juice from about 4 lemons

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 tbs heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt


Lemon Curd Instructions

Heat lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until hot (but not boiling).

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks. Gradually whisk in the sugar.

Slowly pour hot lemon juice into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.

Return the mixture to the saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F, or until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 3 minutes).

Immediately remove the pan from heat.

Stir in the cold butter pieces until they are incorporated.

Stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt. Then pour the curd through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg and lemon zest.

Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.


Lemon Frosting Ingredients

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup lemon curd

pinch of salt

Yellow gel food color (I used lemon yellow by AmeriColor)


Lemon Frosting Instructions

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Add the lemon curd and salt. Mix until just incorporated.

Add a few drops of food color, and mix until the color is evenly distributed.


Instructions for Assembling the Cake

Using a 5-inch circle cutter. Cut out 3, 5-inch circles from each cake.

Each mini-cake will be comprised of 3, 5-inch circles of cake. Fill each cake with about 3 to 4 tbs of frosting between each layer.

Apply a crumb coat to the mini-cakes and chill until the frosting is firm.

Using the balance of the frosting, frost each cake.


Yields 3, 3-layer, 5-inch mini-cakes.


This post is linked to these parties.




July 10, 2014

Snickers Cupcakes - Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting Stuffed with Salted Peanutes and Caramel

Snickers Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

So, I'm finally back with these Snickers Cupcakes! They're honestly the best chocolate, salted caramel, peanut treats you'll have in cupcake form ever. I mean it. EVER!

The renovation of our new home is finally over and we moved - yipeee! I'm slowly, but surely, getting everything unpacked. When I have an overwhelming task at hand (like unpacking a house), I like to set little milestones and celebrate once they're accomplished. On Friday I reached a major unpacking milestone when the kitchen and pantry were both set up and fully functioning. So, to celebrate I made these cupcakes.

Snickers Cupcake|The Crafting Foodie

Why Snickers Cupcakes you ask? Because I love Snickers Bars. They're chocolate with creamy, gooey caramel and crunchy, salty nuts. Amazing combo. And since I love cupcakes, I decided to turn my favorite candy bar into some cake goodness. Now I'm really thinking of turning these beauties into an actual, full-sized cake. The gears are turning, and I may give it a shot (probably sooner than later).

I can't figure out which part of these Snickers Cupcakes are my favorite. The chocolate cake is so moist and full of deep chocolate flavor. The caramel frosting is light and airy, and the filling is killer, the caramel mixed with the salted nuts. Yum! I'm thinking of making the filling by itself and just eating it with a spoon.

Snickers Stuffed Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

Almost every single sweet treat that I make is given away to friends. We hardly ever keep them in the house. I may save one or two for my husband and the kids, and I usually take a taste of one of them, just for taste test purposes ;) I was tempted to keep all of these, but my better judgment prevailed. I kept three Snickers Cupcakes at home, and they lasted a whole 15 minutes before being devoured!

How long do you think these would last in your house?

Snickers Chocolate CupcakesThe Crafting Foodie

This week my Snickers Cupcakes are linked to Nap-Time Creations awesome Summer Fun series. It's included with these other creative posts. Check them out, and get my recipe for the cupcakes below!

summer fun 6

DIY Dippin' Dot tutorial by Nap-Time Creations

Decorated Shoe Laces by A Girl and a Glue Gun on Nap-Time Creations

Chocolate Salted Caramel and Peanut Snickers Cupcakes with the Crafting Foodie

Busy Binder with Printable Road Trip Games by Cutesy Crafts


Chocolate Snickers Cupcake|The Crafting Foodie

Snickers Cupcakes

Ingredients for the Cupcakes

1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I've been using coconut oil, melted and cooled)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup milk

1 tbs vinegar (white or cider)


Directions for the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a standard, 12 muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a small measuring cup, mix the milk and vinegar. Allow it to sit and curdle.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla.

Mix the flour and milk mixture into the batter in three, alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. 

Bake for about 25 minutes (anywhere from 22 to 27 minutes) or until the cakes spring back when lightly pushed in the center.

Release the cupcakes from the tin, and allow them to cool completely on a drying rack.


Ingredients for the Salted Caramel Filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tbs unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup plus 1 tbs heavy cream

a generous pinch of sea salt


Instructions for the Salted Caramel Filling

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar until it's a deep amber.

Add the butter, and whisk until smooth.

Turning the heat to low, add the cream. Whisk until smooth.

Pour the warm caramel into a container and allow it to cool completely.


Ingredients for the Salted Caramel Frosting

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1/3 of the salted caramel, thoroughly cooled to room temperature (recipe above)


Instructions for the Salted Caramel Frosting

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it's light and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar, and mixing until thoroughly combined.

Add the pinch of salt and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Add the salted caramel sauce, and mix until combined.


Ingredients for assembling the Cupcakes

1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts chopped

6 snack sized Snickers Bars cut in half

1/8 cup of chocolate chips melted


Instructions for Assembling the Snickers Cupcakes

Mix the chopped peanuts with 1/3 of the caramel mixture. Set aside.

Using a sharp paring knife, cut a circle with a 1 inch diameter into the center of each cupcake. Remove the circle, and core out the center of the cupcake.

Fill the center of each cupcake with about 1/2 tsp of caramel filling.

Place the salted caramel frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice. Pipe the icing on top of the cupcake.

Drizzle the cupcake with melted chocolate. Sprinkle nuts on top, and place a piece of a Snickers bar into the center of each cupcake.


Yields 12 cupcakes


This post is linked to these parties.


June 4, 2014

Decorated Cookies for End-Of-The-Year Teacher Gifts

Teacher Appreciation Decorated Cookies The Crafting Foodie

There's been a lack of posting on my part, and I promise there's a good reason...we're about to move! We just finished an extensive renovation on our new home, and while I feel so grateful and lucky to have the opportunity to create a beautiful home for my family, it has been a marathon of decision-making. I've always known that my husband and I have a strong relationship, and living through this renovation has proved it! And just to add a bit more to our already full plate, we're also about to leave for a short vacation. Why did we plan on finishing our renovation, moving and going out of town in the same few weeks? It seemed like a doable idea at the time, but now I'm not so sure...

Plus it's the end of the school year, and those of you with children know that there's a lot that has to be taken care of before summer vacation can begin. This end-of-the school year is even more meaningful for us because my oldest daughter graduated from pre-school. She's off to kindergarten, and while I'm excited, I have to admit that she's growing up too quickly!

Teacher Cookies|The Crafting Foodie

For the past two years, my older daughter has had the privilege of attending a Montessori pre-school with some remarkable teachers and so many kind, down-to-earth families. So, what could I possibly give the teachers to show how much I appreciate their hard work and dedication? My answer is always to make something homemade. This year, I decided to make some decorated sugar cookies.

Cookies for Teachers | The Crafting Foodie

I really love the saying on these cookies because, as a former classroom teacher, I know how much teaching is an art. Each of my daughter's teachers received a plaque cookie, along with about half a dozen of the mini-pallet cookies. 

Decorated Cookies for Teachers | The Crafting Foodie

I'm a gift-giver. I love making handmade gifts, but the one prerequisite I have regarding the gifts I give, is that they have to be useful. I'm not into trinkets. I figure baked goods always fall into the "useful" category because who can't use a cookie, cake, cupcake, or pastry? Along with the cookies, I gave each of the teachers a large tea cup/mug from Anthropologie. I know when I was a teacher; I would have loved getting this gift from one of my students. Heck, I'd love to get some decorated sugar cookies and a mug from Anthropologie any time.

Cookies for Teacher Appreciation | The Crafting Foodie


Decorated Cookies for Teacher Appreciation

The sugar cookie recipe can be found here (at the end of the post).

The royal icing recipe can also be found here (also at the end of the post).


For the cookie cutters, I used:

Whisked Away's Extra Large Maryann Cutter, which you can find here.

A small circle cutter from this set (which is one of my favorites)


For the Royal Icing colors, I used AmeriColor gels in a rainbow of colors. I used a lot of leftover colors from another set of cookies, so I mixed Egg Yellow and Tulip Red to get the orange, and Royal Blue and Tulip Red for the purple. For the black, I mixed all of the colors together, with a bit more Royal Blue and purple. I always try to mix my colors at least 24 hours in advance because they darken substantially with time.

Instructions for decorating the cookies:

1 - I used white piping consistency icing to outline all of the cookies. I freehanded the pallet shape on the round cookies.

2 - Then I flooded all the cookies with white royal icing. I allowed them to dry for about 12-24 hours before adding the next layer of decorations.

3 - Using 20-second consistency, I piped the blobs of "paint" on the pallet.

4 - Using piping consistency in black, I wrote the text on each plaque cookie.

5 - Using the leftover icing from the "paint" colors, I added a bit more detail to the plaque cookies.


This post is linked to these parties


May 22, 2014

Mini-Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cakes

Mini-Raspberry Coffee Cakes The Crafting Foodie

I love coffee cake. Weather it's slathered in glaze, braided into a fancy shape, or fluffy, buttery cake, I love'em all. So when I had a bunch of deliciously sweet raspberries that were just on the verge of getting over-ripe, I knew I wanted to bake with them. So, voila - raspberry swirl coffee cakes.

This coffee cake is fluffy and buttery, and the raspberries cut through the rich cake creating the perfect coffee cake.

Raspberry Swirl Cakes|The Crafting Foodie

I love mini- desserts. They're easy to share, and they provide instant portion control. Plus, they're adorable. Who can resist a mini-cake? Not me. That's for sure!

I used a 4-inch spring form pan by Wilton. It's very similar to these, but I bought mine in a set of three from Target. I think these pans would be perfect for making mini-layered cakes. I already have some plans for mini-layer cakes brewing in my noggin.

Mini-Raspberry Swril Coffee Cakes|The Crafting Foodie

Although this is technically a "coffee" cake, I don't really drink coffee or caffeine for that matter. I drink half a cup of black coffee before running or a cup of green tea before swimming laps. So, even if you don't drink coffee (like me) you can still enjoy these raspberry swirl cakes. I sure did!

  Mini Raspberry Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

 Mini-Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cakes


Ingredients for the Raspberry Filling

6 ounces or about 1 1/4 cups of fresh or frozen raspberries

1 1/2 tbs granulated sugar

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

3/4 tbs corn starch dissolved in 1 tbs cold water


Instructions for the Raspberry Filling

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling and stirring for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and shiny.

Transfer the filling to a bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.


Ingredients for the Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

9 tbs unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar


Instructions for the Cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla together.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once eggs are just incorporated, scrape down the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients (the flour mixture) and the wet ingredients (the buttermilk mixture) in thirds, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Spray each of the mini-spring form pans with oil. Fill the prepared pans about 2/3 full. Once filled with batter, take the back of a teaspoon and make a trench of sorts in the batter along the edges of the pan. Fill the indentation with raspberry filling. Using a toothpick, swirl the raspberry filling into the cake.

Bake each cake for about 35 minutes. Cool the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then release the cake from the spring form pan. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

Yields 6, 4-inch cakes.


This post is linked to these parties.




May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Decorated Cookies with Royal Icing Roses

Mother's Day Decorated Cookies

I love Mother's Day. I fully realize that it's a "made up" holiday, but I like the idea of taking time out of our busy schedules to tell our mother's how much we appreciate and love them. This year, since I won't be with my mother, I sent her a set of these decorated sugar cookies full of royal icing roses.

Mother's Day Sugar Cookies

I chose bright colors because my mom is one of the most vibrant and energetic people I know. She's the kind of person who can light up a room by just being there. So there's no way pastel colors would ever do when making cookies for her!

Mothers Day Decorated Cookies

I included some cakes in this set because when I am with my mom on Mother's Day I always bake a cake. Since it's a bit more challenging to ship an entire cake to my mom I thought a cake in cookie form would be a lot more convenient!

Mothers Day Sugar Cookies

My cookie-decorating journey didn't start that long ago. This set of tie-dye cookies was the very fist set a made. But, decorating cookies is becoming more and more of an obsession hobby. Lately I've been experimenting with royal icing roses. These spring cookies were my very first attempt at the most simple kind of royal icing roses. The royal icing roses for these cookies are also incredibly simple.

Mother's Day Cookies with Roses

Here's what I did to make this version of royal icing roses:

1 - You need some very, very stiff royal icing. When I say stiff, I mean that it's so stiff that it'll hold a peak when you pull you spatula out of the icing.

2 - A very small star tip. I used a Wilton #13.

3 - Cover the back of a cookie sheet with wax paper. Tape the wax paper down to the cookie sheet. (I use painter's tape because it comes off easily). This is where you will be piping your roses.

4 - Taking your piping bag fitted with a Wilton #13 star tip, start by piping a dollop on the wax paper. This dollop will be the center of your rose.

5 - Then, in one continuous motion, pipe around the dollop in a circular motion. As you pipe around the center, you will start to overlap your circles to make a raised, rose shape.

6 - Fill the sheet with as many different colored roses, and allow them to dry for at least 24 hours.

7 - Once completely dry, these roses can be removed and stored in an airtight container. They should be stored in a cool, dry place away from the sun. (The sun will make the color fade.) Use them when you're ready to decorate!

Of course, I didn't come up with this method. Sugar Belle did, and here's a link to her site with a tutorial. In the tutorial she connects her leaves to her roses. I didn't. I piped my leaves after attaching the roses to the cookies. I found that it was easier for me arrange the royal icing roses without the leaves being attached. But either way works!

Although I made some fancy looking cookie, my two little munchkins decorated their own cookies for their Grandmother who they call Lulu. I simply iced some cookies in white, and they used some food color markers to decorated. They used these ones from Wilton simply because my other food color makers have fine tips that I knew would be ruined if a sweet two year old were to use them. I have a feeling the kids' cookies will be my mom's favorite because they're my favorite!

Mother's Day Cookies with Royal Icing Roses

While there's absolutely no material object in the world that could ever express how much I love, appreciate, and admire my mom, I always opt to give her something handmade. Something that, in a very small way, expresses how much she means to me. I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day with those you love in your life - whether it's your mom, wife, partner, sister, aunt, grandmother, or dear friend that you love!

Mothre's Day Decorated Cookies with Roses | The Crafting Foodie


Mother's Day Decorated Cookies with Royal Icing Roses

You can find the recipe for the sugar cookies and royal icing at the end of this post. 

Here are the cookie cutters I used to make the cookies:

1 - Wilton 3 tired cake cutter for the cakes

2 - The Maryann Plaque cookie cutter in medium from Whisked Away Cutters. (By the way, Whisked Away Cutters are AMAZING! They're super sturdy and sharp so there's no distortion in the cut cookie.  Check out the Etsy shop here. They're made by Tracy who is an extremely talented cookie artist in her own right.)

The colors I used to make the cookies are:

1 - Pink: Wilton Rose with a touch of Americolor Super Red

2 - Turquoise: Americolor Sky Blue with a touch of Americolor Lemon Yellow

3 - Yellow: Americolor Lemon Yellow with a touch of the pink I made above.

4 - Green: Americolor Leaf Green with a bit of the pink, turquoise, and yellow made above.

5 - Black: I made it by mixing all of the colors above and adding some Americolor Black.


This post is linked to these parties.




May 3, 2014

Cinnamon and Cardamom Coffee Cake Rings

Cinnamon & Cardamom Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

I love coffee cake. There's something about the buttery, bready confection that is addictive. Left unchecked, I'm pretty sure I can consume an entire cake in one go. To prevent that from happening with these beautifully flaky, buttery cinnamon cardamom coffee rings, I made them into mini-rings.

Cinnamon-Cardamom Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

I gave a bunch to friends, but before I could package them, my husband managed to consume two of them while on a conference call. (The call was on mute so his fellow callers didn't hear any munching on the call.)

Cinnamon:Cardamom Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

Cinnamon is the classic coffee cake flavor, and in this recipe, it works really well.The darker coffee cakes are the cinnamon ones, and the lighter ones are cardamom.

Cinnamon and Cardamom Ring Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

The cardamom flavor is more unique and equally delicious. I grew up eating cardamom toast. The way we made cardamom toast in our home was to first slice and toast a piece of a baguette. Once it came out of the toaster we would slather it with butter, and finally top it with a mixture of granulated sugar and ground cardamom. Even though I always wanted to eat it right away, my mom would place it on a cooling rack, and we'd eat it only once the toast was completely dry and crunchy. We'd eat the toast by dunking it in a glass of cold milk (my parents would dip it in their tea). My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Coffee Cake | The Crafting Foodie

Other than these cinnamon and cardamom coffee cake rings being delectable, they also look intricate and fancy. To be honest, these coffee cakes are super easy to put together. Here's what I did:

1 - Roll the dough into an 11 inch by 7 inch rectangle.

2 - Spread butter all over the dough. Then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or cardamom sugar.

3 - Roll the dough starting at one of the long sides.

4 - With seam side down, using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the role in half lengthwise. Leave the last 1/2 inch of the roll attached.

5 - Using the two pieces you cut, twist the pieces together.

6 - Finally form the dough into a ring.

Coffee Cake Ring | The Crafting Foodie

My daughter loved eating pieces of the cake by peeling off each sugary, flaky layer. My husband just devoured them in a few bites, and I savored each bite with a warm cup of tea once all the kids were in bed.

Cinnamon and Cardamom Coffee Cakes | The Crafting Foodie

Cinnamon and Cardamom Coffee Cake Rings

This recipe is adapted from Just Love Cookin' 


Ingredients for the dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs warm milk (about 105 to 110 degrees)

1/8 cup melted, unsalted butter, cooled

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 egg yolk

1 tbs granulated sugar

Ingredients for the filling

1/4 cup softened, unsalted butter

5 tbs granulated sugar

3 tsp ground cinnamon or 2 tbs ground cardamom


Instructions for the dough

In a large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and warm milk. Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes. It should bubble and foam a bit.

Add the egg, butter, flour, and salt. Mix until combined. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it's nice and smooth. This should take only 4 to 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover tightly, and place the bowl in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume (about 1 hour).

As the dough rises, mix the filling ingredients. Mix the sugar and powdered cinnamon or cardamom in a small bowl. Have the softened butter ready in a bowl.

Pre-heat the oven for 400 degrees F.

Once the dough has doubled in volume, lightly flour your work surface. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Following the instructions above, form and shape the rings.

Transfer the rings to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush melted butter on the outside of the pastry, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon or cardamom sugar.

Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Yields 4 coffee cake rings.


This post is linked to these parties.





April 26, 2014

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Filling and Mango Frosting, Plus a Secret Mango Ingredient

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Filling | The Crafting Foodie

I can't believe that May is right around the corner, and it's barely 50 degrees around here. It's a little disheartening, but 50 degrees is way better than 20 degrees and snowing (which is what we woke up to last Wednesday!). Since the weather isn't getting me into a summer (or even spring) state of mind, I thought some mango cupcakes could get me there instead.

Growing up, summer meant mango season. Back in the day, when I was a kid, mangoes weren't as readily available as they are today. Now you can go to Costco or a local produce store and pick up a crate of fresh mangoes during the summer. When I was younger, my parents would go to the Indian/Pakistani neighborhood in Chicago, called Devon Street, and choose the best crate or two of mangoes to bring home.

MangoCupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

Since it's not quite summer yet, fresh, ripe mangoes are still difficult to procure, so I went with the best alternative, frozen mangoes. There are some really high quality frozen fruits in the market. My favorite is the 365 Brand (Whole Foods Brand). I use them to make smoothies and a multitude of baked goods when particular fruits are out of season.

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Filling and Frosting| The Crafting Foodie

Wanting to amp up the mango flavor in these mango cupcakes, I used a secret mango ingredient that packs quite a mango punch. And here it is:

Mango Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

I crumbled these freeze-dried mangoes into the frosting. I bought them from Trader Joe's (as you can see). You can also find them here.

Since the fruit is dried, the flavor is super concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Not to mention that they are extraordinarily sweet. So I used them sparingly in the recipe, but they added a ton of mango flavor.

So, while the warm weather sadly eludes us in New England, sitting down with one of these mango cupcakes reminds me that warmer weather will eventually get here, even if it takes a bit more patience!

Mango Cupcakes | The Crafting Foodie

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Filling, Topped with Mango Frosting


Ingredients for the Mango Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs of all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 cup plus 2 tbs mango puree (about 9 - 10 ounces)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs milk (whole or low fat, not skim milk)

3/4 tbs vinegar

1/4 cup plus 1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions for the Mango Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Place the bowl in the mixer, and using a paddle attachment, add the egg. Mix until just combined.

Add the mango puree, milk, vinegar, vanilla, and oil. Mix until combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Remove from the oven, and allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.


Ingredients for the Mango Filling

10 ounces of frozen mangos thawed and pureed

1 tbs granulated sugar

1/8 tsp lime zest


Instructions for the Mango Filling

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Heat on medium heat until it boils.

Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to low. Allow the mixture to boil until it reduces by about half. It took me about 15 minutes.

Remove the filling from the pan, and place it in a bowl. Allow it to cool completely.


Ingredients for the Mango Frosting

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbs of the mango filling (recipe above)

1 1/2 tbs of crushed, dehydrated mangos


Instructions for the Mango Frosting

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.

On a low speed, add the powdered sugar.

Then add the mango filling and mango puree. Mix until well incorporated and fluffy.


Instructions for assembling the Mango Cupcakes

Once the cupcakes and filling are completely cooled, using a sharp paring knife, make a circular cut (about 1/2 inch in diameter) in the center of each cupcake.

Fill the cutout hole with about a teaspoon of the mango filling.

Place the mango frosting in a pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice, and pipe a healthy portion of frosting on each cupcake.

Yields about 18 cupcakes.


This post is linked to these parties.





April 18, 2014

Chocolate Pinata Birthday Cake Filled with Muddy Buddies for My Birthday!

Chocolate Birthday PinataCake with Muddy Buddies | The Crafting Foodie

So, what exactly does a blogger, obsessed with baking make for her own birthday? Well, the answer is simple: Whatever she wants! I give away almost everything I bake, and that gives me the freedom to try flavor combinations or techniques that I find intriguing - regardless of if they're my personal favorites. So when it's my birthday, I make whatever strikes my fancy. This year it's a pinata chocolate cake filled with muddy buddies!

Chocolate Pinata Cake with Muddy Buddies | The Crafting Foodie

Even though my sweet 5 year old requested a vanilla cake filled with various sprinkles, and my husband prefers red velvet; I knew it had to be a dark, rich, intense chocolate with dark chocolate frosting. (My 2 year-old was just excited for cake. Any cake.)

Chocolate Pinata Cake | The Crafting Foodie

I also knew that I wanted to incorporate my all-time favorite junk food - Chex cereal muddy buddies. If you're not familiar with muddy buddies (also known as puppy chow), I'm so sorry because you're totally missing out on a chocolaty, peanut buttery, powdered sugar treat that is crunchy and seriously addictive. (I've been known to eat a cup of this stuff at a time. A cup - 8 ounces. At one time.)

Muddy Buddy Pinata Cake | The Crafting Foodie

Then I had to figure out how to incorporate both of my loves - chocolate cake and muddy buddies into one birthday treat. The answer was to make a pinata cake. Pinata cakes and cookies are all over Pinterest these days. They're basically multi-layered cakes or cookies that have another confection hidden inside. When you break them open, the hidden treat comes tumbling out. 

Birthday Pinata Cake with Muddy Buddies | The Crafting Foodie

Making a pinata cake is really easy. I baked a three-layer cake. Once the cakes were cooled, I cut out a 5-inch circle out of the two bottom layers of the cake. Then while building the cake, after putting the two bottom layers together with dark chocolate frosting, I filled the hole in the center of the cake with my Chex muddy buddies. Then I topped the two bottom layers with a solid top layer.

Pinata Cake | The Crafting Foodie

With the cake flavors decided, I turned my attention to how I would frost the cake. I wanted something fancy, but also easy. My choice was a petal cake design. To decorate the cake, I simply crumb coated the entire cake. (Crumb coating a cake simply means I put a thin, thin, layer of frosting all over the cake to lock the crumbs into the frosting. If you skip crumb coating a cake, you run the risk of little bits of cake crumb getting into the final layer of frosting.)

Then I used a #10 Wilton tip to pipe a series of vertical dots.

Pinata Chocolate Cake | The Crafting Foodie

After piping each vertical row of dots, I used a small offset spatula to drag half of the dot out into the frosting, creating a petal effect.

Pinata Birthday Cake | The Crafting Foodie

Continue the same process all the way around the cake, and you get something like this:

Birthday Pinata Cake | The Crafting Foodie

For the top of the cake, I used the same technique to make an actual flower. It's such a simple technique that yields pretty stunning results.

Chocolate Birthday Pinata Cake | The Crafting Foodie

So, even though I didn't make that my sweet daughter requested or that I knew my husband would prefer, I think everyone was excited about this beauty.

Here's my favorite shot from my birthday. My 5 year old sitting on my lap, and me giving her kisses and so much love.  Spending my birthday with my healthy and happy family made it my absolute best birthday yet!

Birthday Cake | The Crafting Foodie

Chocolate Birthday Pinata Cake Stuffed with Muddy Buddies | The Crafting Foodie


Chocolate Pinata Birthday Cake Filled with Muddy Buddies

The recipe for the chocolate cake is the same recipe I used to make this Diary-Free Chocolate Cake. You can find the recipe and instructions here. (You can easily make this cake with dairy by simply replacing the almond or rice milk with cow's milk.)


Ingredients for the Muddy Buddies (or Puppy Chow)

This recipe is adapted from the Chex cereal box.

4 1/2 cups Chex cereal (you can use any variety, but I used the rice version which is gluten free)

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chips)

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup powdered sugar


Instructions for the Muddy Buddies

Measure the cereal into a large bowl, and set it aside.

Place the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips into a medium bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, mixing between each increment until it is melted. Once the mixture is melted, add the vanilla. Mix to combine.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal, and mix to combine.

Place the cereal mixture into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Then pour the powdered sugar into the bag as well. Shake the cereal until it is completely coated in the sugar. Set aside.


Ingredients for the Dark Chocolate Frosting*

15 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate (I used chocolate with 70% cocoa), melted and cooled

1 1/2 lbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 cups of powdered sugar

3/4 cup of sour cream

3/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*In order to decorate the cake as shown in my post, it takes quite a bit of frosting. If you plan to just frost the cake without the petal decorations, you may want to consider only making half of the frosting recipe.


Instructions for the Dark Chocolate Frosting

Melt the chocolate. I usually melt chocolate in the microwave, but since it's 15 ounces of chocolate (nearly a pound), I chose the melt the chocolate over a double boiler. That simply means that I placed bowl filled with the chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Warm until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool. 

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the melted and cooled chocolate, salt, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until combined.

Add the sour cream, and beat until the frosting is fluffy.


Instructions for Assembling the Cake

Please read the post above. I describe how to build a pinata cake, and how to frost the cake.

Yields one 3-layer 9-inch cake.


This link is posted to these parties.



April 12, 2014

Mini Banana Bundt Cakes with Dark Chocolate, Roasted Pecans, and Salted Caramel Sauce

Mini-Banana Bundt With Salted Caramel Sauce | The Crafting Foodie

If you follow the Crafting Foodie, or if you're visiting for the first time, you'll notice that I'm obsessed with love baking. And based upon my blog, it may seem reasonable to think that we live on sugar and baked goods in my home. But in reality, baking is just one part of who I am. I also enjoy knitting, crafting, cooking (real food), and I really, really love running. Now that I'm running outside again after a torturously long winter running on the treadmill, I'm slowly building up my mileage and endurance. I'm at about 25-30 miles a week. I'm getting there slowly but surely :)

Mini-Banan Bundts | The Crafting Foodie

Like so many of you, my days are jam-packed with deadlines, checklists, errands, plus all that comes along with being a wife and mother. So I often find myself eating on the go. My number one, go-to snack for convenience and nutrition (plus they're nice and filling) is a banana. If I don't eat nutritious foods, no matter how hydrated and rested I think I am, I'm completely depleted after my run. That being said, our house is always well stocked with bananas. Which generally is a good thing. They're almost always eaten or put in a smoothie before they get too mushy.

But last week a whole batch of bananas sat untouched, as we were all battling the stomach flu. As we recovered, I knew I could put those blackened bananas to good use in these mini-banana bundt cakes with dark chocolate, roasted pecans, and salted caramel sauce.

Banana Bundts with Caramel | The Crafting Foodie

This recipe may sound fancy, but the whole thing comes together in about 15 minutes. Of course I had my favorite sous chef helping me. She mixed the batter pretty much herself. The only portion of the batter I handled was cutting the nuts and chocolate.

Banana Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel | The Crafting Foodie

While the cakes baked, I made the salted caramel sauce. If you're intimidated by making caramel, this is the sauce for you. It requires no thermometer and no special equipment. My only suggestion is to use a pot that is quite large because when adding the cream to the hot sugar/water mixture it bubbles quite vigorously. Other than that, it's a very straightforward and difficult-to-mess-up recipe.

You can make this recipe in a regular loaf pan, but I used this pan instead. Each mini-bundt cake is probably a bit smaller than a cupcake, so not only are these super cute, but they're also good for portion control. (That is if you don't eat five of them at a time, like I do!)

Mini-Banana Bundt with Salted Caramel| The Crafting Foodie

Mini-Banana Bundt Cakes with Dark Chocolate, Roasted Pecans, and Salted Caramel Sauce


The cake recipe is slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients for the Mini-Banana Bundt Cakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

10 tbs granulated sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups toasted pecans roasted and chopped

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate grated

4 very ripe bananas, mashed well

1/3 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions for the Mini-Banana Bundt Cakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Place the pecans on a baking sheet, in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 8-12 minutes, turning once as they roast. Remove the nuts from the oven, and allow them to cool before chopping.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, walnuts, and chocolate in a large bowl. Mix to combine.

Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

Spray the mini-bundt pan with a cooking spray that contains flour. Make sure to grease the pan well. Fill each cavity of the cake pan about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, and remove the cakes from the pan immediately. Allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Yields about 18 to 20 mini-bundt cakes.


Ingredients for the Salted Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp flakey sea salt


Instructions for the Salted Caramel Sauce

In a large, heavy bottom saucepan, add the sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar just dissolves.

Increase the heat. Do not mix the sugar and water. Allow the mixture to boil and turn deep amber brown. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream and vanilla. The mixture will boil vigorously. (Thus it is imperative to use a large pot when making the caramel sauce.) Once the mixture has calmed down, add the salt.

Return the mixture back to the stove, and on medium-low heat, allow the mixture to reduce slightly. This will take about 8 minutes.

Chill the mixture until thickened.


Instructions for Assembling the Mini-Banana Bundt Cakes

Once the bundt cakes have cooled completely, trim the bottom of each cake so that it is level.

Pour the thickened caramel sauce over the cakes, allowing it to drip over the sides of the cake.

Sprinkle some flake sea salt over the tops of the cakes.


This post is linkd to these parties.


April 4, 2014

S'more Cupcakes - Chocolate Cupcakes with a Graham Cracker Crust, Chocolate Ganache Filling, and Topped with a Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting

S'more Chocolate Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

It's been a tough week around our house. The stomach bug hit us, and it hit us hard. Thankfully we're all better, and it makes me that much more grateful for our health. So after disinfecting our home, and doing about 50 loads of laundry, I made s'more cupcakes. Why s'more cupcakes? Well because after the week we had, we needed a treat.

S'more Chocolate Graham Crust Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

At first, I was just planning to make some good 'ol chocolate cupcakes. Something quick. Then, I thought, let's put something crunchy in there. When I came across some graham crackers, it hit me: s'more cupcakes!

Since I bake so often, my pantry and fridge are always well stocked. (I like to refer to it as being "well stocked" and others in my family, like my husband, like to call it "hording." Either way I almost always have the ingredients to make a sweet treat with very little planning.) My well-stocked pantry (or hording) meant that I even had a jar of marshmallow cream! So, fluffy marshmallow frosting would top this baby off. To give the cupcakes even more of a s'more feeling, before piping a generous amount of frosting on to each cupcake, I dipped the top in chocolate ganache. Then dipped the edges of the cupcake in graham cracker crumbs.

S'more Cupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

Since I had the bottom and top of the cupcake all s'mored out, I didn't want the inside of the cupcake to feel left out. So I decided to fill it up with some milk chocolate ganache. I almost always use dark chocolate in my baking (and my straight-up chocolate eating), but s'mores require milk chocolate, usually in the form of Hershey's. Yup, happened to have some mini-size milk chocolate Hershey's Bars in the back of the pantry too.

There you have it - s'more cupcakes. The perfect way to end a horrible week!

S'moreCupcakes|The Crafting Foodie

S'more Cupcakes


Ingredients for the Graham Cracker Crust

4 full graham crackers

1/4 stick (2 tbs) unsalted butter, melted

1/8 cup granulated sugar


Instructions for the Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 12-cup, cupcake tin with paper liners.

Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. (I placed the crackers in a large, zip-top bag and crushed them with a wooden rolling pin.)

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter. Divide the crust mixture into 12 equal parts, and place at the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pat the crust down with the back of a spoon to create a well-packed crust.

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, and proceed with the recipe.


Ingredients for the Cupcakes

Adapted from the chocolate cupcake in the book Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans


1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate - chopped

1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate - chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled

1/2 cup strained yogurt (or sour cream) (To strain yogurt, simply place it in a fine-meshed strainer lined with paper towels. Place the strainer over a bowl. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.)


Instructions for the Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt both chocolates until smooth. You can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, but I prefer to melt chocolate in the microwave. I place the chocolate in the microwave and warm it in 30-second intervals. Mixing the chocolate after each interval. Once the chocolate is almost melted, remove it from the microwave. Mix the chocolate until it is smooth. Place it off to the side to cool off a bit.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Stop the mixer and add in the melted chocolates. Mix until the chocolates are just incorporated.

Add the eggs and mix until the eggs are just incorporated.

Next add the vanilla and yogurt (or sour cream). Mix until streaks of white from the yogurt or sour cream are completely incorporated into the mixture.

Finally, add the dry ingredients and coffee alternately in three additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake in the center of the oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven when the centers of the cupcakes no longer jiggle.

Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack until completely cool.


Ingredients for Semisweet Chocolate Ganache

12 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract


Instructions for the Semisweet Chocolate Ganache

Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

Warm the cream until it's just about to boil.

Pour the warm cream over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a minute or two. Then mix until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is shiny.

Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Place the ganache in the refrigerator and allow it to cool and thicken. 


Ingredients for the Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting

1 7-ounce container of marshmallow cream

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions for the Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting

Cream the marshmallow cream and butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until well combined and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and salt. Mix until combined.

Add the powdered sugar on low, and mix until smooth and creamy.


Ingredients and Instructions for Assembling the S'more Cupcakes



Baked and cooled chocolate cupcakes with a graham cracker crust

Prepared semisweet chocolate ganache

Prepared fluffy marshmallow frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip

Graham cracker crumbs

12 Graham crackers cut into small rectangles

12 Hershey's milk chocolate pieces



Using a sharp paring knife, cut a 1/2 inch hole in the center of each cupcake. Place a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate ganache in the center.

Heat the remaining ganache until it's back to a liquid consistency. Dip the edges of the cupcake in the melted ganache. Roll the wet edges in graham cracker crumbs.

Pipe the marshmallow frosting on top. Finally, place a small graham cracker and Hershey's milk chocolate piece on top of each cupcake.

Yields 12 cupcakes.


This post is linked to these parties.