Chocolate Cupcakes with a Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!). We went out to a fun gastropub for dinner and then came back to our place after for dessert and presents.  These yummy cupcakes are made with coffee, which really enhances the chocolate flavor.  Again, I’m not the biggest chocolate fan, but I love the coffee addition.  The chocolate cream cheese frosting is rich and decadent and puts these cupcakes over the edge.  I love these blue polka dot cupcake liners I found at Home Goods.  They make for such a cute presentation (but to be honest they aren’t very practical for eating).  It was a great night celebrating my mama with my favorite people, good food, and a yummy dessert.

Chocolate Cupcakes (Cake recipe from: Sweetapolita)
Yield: about 24 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee (can be hot)
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared cupcake pan until 2/3 full (or just less). Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks in pans for 5 minutes then gently turn cupcakes onto racks until completely cool.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cooled melted chocolate
tbsp spoon milk if too thick

Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer/stand mixer until smooth.

Scoop all the frosting into a piping bag or into a large ziplock bag and snip a small edge of the corner and pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

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The Little Things     

|the oldest windmill farm in the US, which means you’re getting very close to vacation|

Andrew and I spent the week in Palm Springs. I love that Palm Springs is just two hours away. It makes getting away and getting back home so much easier. Usually when we get home from a vacation we’re completely exhausted and we leave our suitcases full for days and live out of random clothes for weeks.  But last night we unpacked everything and even did all our laundry. It felt so good to get home with a little energy, unpack and then relax with our favorite pups.  I love vacations, but equally love coming home especially the puppy welcome party.

|exploring the grounds at The Parker|


|with 114° heat an iced Koffi is a must|

|hubby and I still celebrating our anniversary with a dinner at Ruth’s Chris|

|gorgeous nightly sunsets|

The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker was designed by Jonathon Adler and is the chicest hotel in Palm Springs.  We explored the whole grounds and we’re already planning a trip back to stay at The Parker. I can only imagine grabbing a drink from the dark green mini bar and sitting in the awesome lobby.  Oh, and the spa.  Oh man. The spa is a DREAM.

Norma’s for breakfast is the way to go if you can’t stay at The Parker. First off, they greet you with a smoothie shooter. Yes, please. Everything we tried was delicious, from the traditional or upstream (with salmon) eggs benedict to the scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast quesadilla. All delicious.

The hotel grounds has several games, which makes this hotel right up Andrew and my alley. They have pétanque, giant chess, and ping pong. We’re always up for a little friendly (not always) competition.

Also please check out their website and visit their pages (spa, dine, rooms…). They have videos describing the hotel and they are so incredibly random and entertaining.

IMG_6812 IMG_6810 IMG_6894 |the mini bar|
IMG_6828 |norma’s|
IMG_6827 |traditional eggs benedict|
IMG_6875 |THE spa|
IMG_6873 |the salon|
IMG_6876 |the lemonade stand|
IMG_6883 IMG_6892 |pétanque|

what i’m wearing:
romper: urban outfitters
sandals: target
sunglasses: charlotte russe

Fireplace Updates

Andrew and I love fixing up our home.  I really think little and inexpensive updates go a long way.  Over the two years that we’ve lived in our home, we’ve fixed up slowly but surely fixed up our fireplace. Here’s a look at our fireplace over the years (and holidays).

IMG_9438 |our fireplace when we first moved in July 2013. we added candles from Ikea, which was a mistake. don’t buy candles from Ikea. they crumble and melt way to fast.  It’s worth the money to buy better candles|
IMG_0426|we added a mantel (see how we did it here) and christmas decorations from Home Goods|
IMG_4838 |valentine’s day 2014 (burlap banner from our wedding) and new vases from Home Goods and the mirror I stole from my mom, thanks mom =) |
IMG_0401 |andrew removed the dirty, dusty old screen |
IMG_5659 |studying for my master’s exit exam|
IMG_1634 |newest update. I painted the inside of the fireplace with heat resistant black paint.  it makes it look clean and fresh|
IMG_1641 |I love how the black paint makes the white brick and candles pop.|
IMG_1643 |now I just would like a few more candles… my pup doodle decided the candles made fun chew toys|

Gâteau au chocolat Reine de Saba | Chocolate Almond Cake

Andrew’s mom, Veronique, made us this gateau au chocolate while she was staying with us. It was so delicious! I’m not the biggest chocolate fan so the fact that I remade this cake right after she left is a very good sign. It’s very light unlike most flourless chocolate cakes. It has almond flour and whipped egg whites that create a very light and moist cake. This cake is named for the Queen of Sheba and this cake is definitely fit for a queen.

Gâteau au chocolat Reine de Saba
200 grams semi-sweet chocolate (about 7 ounces)
200 grams unsalted butter (about 7 ounces)
120 grams sugar (about 4 1/2 ounces)
200 grams almond powder/meal/flour (about 7 ounces)
5 eggs

Melt chocolate and butter. Add sugar and mix well. Add almond powder and mix well. Add 1 full egg plus 4 egg yolks and mix well. Beat 4 egg whites until firm. Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Butter a round baking pan. Bake cake for 25 minutes in a 350°F oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream (and berries if you like). Enjoy!

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