Friday, August 31, 2012

Giant Sunflower Cupcake

Normally when I bake, I like to focus on the art of presentation. Creating visually appealing designs has always been a natural talent of mine, not just in baking, but in everything I do. From designing my outfits everyday, decorating my home, and cooking, I like to create impressive, eye-catching designs that are a little out of the box, and focusing on bold color combos.

I recently decided to try and test my limits in the baking department by working on my design skills. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and get a little adventurous with trying new frosting techniques. This cake was not about creating the most delicious recipe, but instead seeing what I could do with different pipping tips and new design concepts. If you look closely, you can see it's far from perfect, but not too bad in my opinion for my first 3D cake attempt!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nutella & Banana Stuffed French Toast Cups

I have been eagerly awaiting to share this post with everyone and i'm SO excited that's its finally time!

Last week I took a little hiatus and escaped to West Palm Beach, FL for a few days. My dad has been taking us there every summer for the past 15 years. I like to think of it as my little sanctuary; a home away from home. It's the perfect place to clear my head when my world is in complete chaos. With some major life changes on the horizon during the next couple of months, it was exactly what I needed.

My hotel, The Resort at Singer Island, had an incredible oceanfront restaurant. The breakfast menu featured the mouthwatering combination of french toast stuffed with Nutella and Bananas! It sounded amazing. After the waiter described it as being so good that, "my eyes will roll to the back of my head", there was no question as to whether or not I was ordering it. And I'm thankful I was probably the most delicious thing I've ever experienced in a breakfast food! Layers of Nutella and bananas smothered between two thick slices of texas toast served french toast style (and a mimosa to wash it down!). It was actually too much for me to finish.

Since i've been home, all i've been thinking about is that meal. I wanted to make an adapted version so I could share it with everyone here. Because it was such a heavy meal and impossible to finish, I thought it would be fun to make mini french toast cups instead of layers of bread. By eliminating the texas toast and only using one half of a slice of regular italian bread, you're saving over 200 calories! Cinnamon and vanilla were also added to the egg mixture for more flavor.

I love this dish not only because it's delicious, but it's also so easy to make! Twelve minutes is all it takes. Simple enough to make for one person or for a whole brunch party!

Hope you all enjoy!

Nutella & Banana Stuffed French Toast Cups
Makes 6 


6 Slices Italian white bread
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Nutella
1 ripe banana
4-5 small strawberries


-Preheat oven to 350*
-Spray muffin pan with Pam
-Using the lid of the Nutella jar, cut out circles in the middle of each slice of bread
-In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon
-Dip each circle of bread in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off
-Press each circle of bread into the muffin pan
-Bake for 10-11 minutes
-Remove muffins from the pan and fill each with a spoonful of Nutella
-Slice banana and strawberries and arrange on top
-Garnish with whipped cream of confectioner's sugar

If you like the prop's used in today's post, you can find them at Marshall's HomeGoods!

 1. Indoor/Outdoor Fabric Tablecloth        $12.00 (On Clearance)

 2. Glass Starfish Dessert Plates                 $7.99

 3. Coffee Mugs Trimmed in Gold            $4.99 ea

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tropical Pineapple Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Is it just me, or does summer seem like it's flying by?  We are almost done with the first week of August already. In fact, I did a little after-work shopping this evening and the stores are packed with sweaters and boots. Come on now, let's not rush things!

This past weekend was all about embracing what's left of the sweet heat of summer. Stopping by a backyard deck party on Saturday afternoon, followed by a night of music and beer at Musikfest, I enjoyed soaking up the sun while in the company of friends and those most important to me. Once the sun went down, Mike and I rocked out 4th row, center stage at the Sublime concert. Quite different from the Country and Pop concerts i'm used to attending! It was an all around perfect day, and I can't think of any place I would have rather spent my time.

Since I was all about the summer ambience this weekend, I wanted the theme to follow through in my baking. I opted for an adapted version of my Tropical Luau cupcakes. Omitting the Banana Cream pudding this time, I settled on a Pineapple cake base topped with a fresh mango buttercream frosting. For the finishing touches, dried mango slices and a fresh stemmed maraschino cherry. They were delicious!! Hope you all enjoy!

Tropical Pineapple Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream


For the Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix
2 8oz cans crushed pineapple
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the Frosting
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 ripe mango, diced or puree

-Preheat oven to 350*
-Drain cans of pineapple, reserving the juice in a small bowl
-Using an electric mixer, beat the reserved pineapple juice, cake mix, oil, eggs and nutmeg in a large bowl
-Beat for 2 minutes on high, or until completely smooth
-Using a spatula, fold in the chunks of pineapple
-Divide among cupcake liners, makes about 30 cupcakes
-Bake for 12-13 minutes
-For the frosting, cream butter until smooth
-Slowly add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time
-Beat in mango puree
-Fill piping bag with buttercream frosting and pipe onto cupcakes

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