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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Gluten Free Tart

Gluten Free TartPrepare yourself…  This is the best tart of all time.  Really, all time.  I cannot get enough of it.  I could eat it every single day and not get sick of it.  Last year, my Godmother made this tart for her daughter’s bridal shower and after the first bite I was hooked.  I had to have this recipe. This tart is gluten free which makes it even better because Andrew’s dad is gluten free as are many of my friends.  So I have the perfect excuse to make it all the time.  It looks like I’m being a nice person and making a special dessert for my gluten free friends, but in truth I don’t even want them to have any of it.  I want it all for myself.

I do have a confession to make.  Sorry mom, but I had some left over tart this weekend (basically a whole tart with just 2 pieces missing).  I had good intentions of telling you and letting you have some, but I just couldn’t.  I ate it all myself. 😦

If you don’t get it by now, I love this tart.  Below is the recipe.  If you were smart you’d make it right now.

Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart
Gluten Free Tart

Gluten Free Tart
1 box of “Enjoy Life” Vanilla Honey Graham Cookies (from Whole Foods)
1 cup (4 oz)  pecans
2 tbsp melted butter
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Chill a metal mixing bowl and beaters of an electric mixer in the fridge/freezer.

Crust: Preheat oven to 350. Pulse cookies and pecans in a food processor or crush in a plastic bag until smooth. Add melted butter and mix until combined. Press the cookie nut mixture into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Filling : Beat whipping cream in chilled bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Set whipping cream aside. In another, bowl cream sugar and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat until smooth. Pour the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese. Pour mixture over the cooled crust and spread out evenly. Cover and chill for 2-4 hours. Before serving arrange fruit over filling.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

When I was younger my family and I went to Mammoth every year to go skiing and snowboarding. We always stayed at the Cinnamon Bear Inn. It’s a simple bed and breakfast that warmed our hearts after a cold day on the mountain. My mom and grandpa always wanted to be out on the mountain for the first lift of the day. The only thing that got me out of bed was the possibility of Stuffed French Toast. My mom, sisters and I would pray every night and morning that they’d serve the deliciously sweet Raspberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. They switched the breakfast everyday. If we were lucky enough to get the French Toast twice in one trip, we felt like we won the lottery. This breakfast is delicious in every way and brings back so many fun family memories. Stuffed French Stuff
Raspberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast (serves 4)
8 slices of wheat or white bread similar to the good old wonder bread
1/2 stick (4 oz) of light cream cheese
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
2 eggs
2 cups of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (omit vanilla if using vanilla milk)
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup

Beat the cream cheese with a mixer or in a stand mixer for a few minutes. Add raspberry preservers and whisk to incorporate more air to make it light and fluffy.

In a shallow bowl whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Spread one slice of bread with a generous coating of the raspberry cream cheese. Place another slice of bread on top of the filling. Continue until you have the 4 raspberry cream cheese sandwiches.

In a large skillet add a pat of butter on medium high heat. While the butter is melting and starts to bubble. Dip two of the sandwiches into the egg mixture a few seconds per side and letting the excess drop off. Avoid coating the middle of the sandwich, where the cream cheese is. Place the two sandwiches in the bubbling butter. Cook till golden brown on each side. Dip and cook the other two.

Top with powdered sugar, maple syrup and fresh berries if you fancy. Enjoy!

Stuffed French Stuff
Stuffed French Stuff
Stuffed French Stuff
Stuffed French Stuff
Stuffed French Stuff

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