Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vanilla/German Chocolate Cake Cupcakes with Oreo Bottoms (What's Baking Challenge)

Let me first state that this recipe yields a large batch of cupcakes...If I am not mistaken, I made about 35-36 cupcakes with this recipe. Which is why this recipe is great for parties. I hope you all enjoy! And now for a little back history on why I decided to make a vanilla/German cupcake.

For Valentine's day I wanted to make something special for my little guy, and of course my husband. Valentine's day has always been a low key night for us, and to be honest I would much rather stay in, have a nice dinner and treats apposed to going out. Valentine's day/night has long been known for long waits for over priced and less than average meals. Hence one of the many reason we do not go out to dinner on or around that day.

This year for I made Rigatoni Di Gregorio from Annie's Eats (which was really good!) and wanted to try making cupcakes to go along with that. Trying to pick a cupcake to go with that meal was hard in it's self. All I knew was I wanted to make something different and I couldn't make up my mind between vanilla or German chocolate cupcakes. Since I was unable to make up my mind, I decided that I would try to make a combination cupcake.

I was kind of nervous on how it would turn out and if the flavor profiles would work well together. And I am very happy to report that I was so pleased with the way they came out. They were so lite and fluffy. I honestly think they are the best cupcake I've ever made. I really can't wait to make them again for Jonathan's Birthday this spring.

If you try them, please let me know what you think. Happy Baking!

German Chocolate cake recipe inspired by Bobby Flay



2 cups sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (like always use the real stuff)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt


1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature,
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups strong brewed black coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line three 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners.

In the bottoms of each paper liner add half (one side) of an Oreo cookie.

Process sugar and butter in a food processor until very creamy, scraping sides as needed, for about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, pulsing after each addition.

Add the milk, water, and vanilla and process to blend.

Whisk both flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Add the dry ingredients, in 3 batches to the wet, pulsing, and then scraping batter off the sides of the processor as needed after each addition.

Process until the batter is very smooth and pourable like pancake batter, about 2 minutes.

Evenly pour the batter into the prepared cups, filling them 1/2 of the way full.

Put into oven and bake for about 8 minutes (this is the time that it should take to make the second cupcake batter)

**NOW in it's time to mix the German Chocolate cake**

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in the cocoa powder and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat, add both sugars and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the coffee, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract and continue whisking until smooth and just combined.

Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

Remove cupcake from oven and now spoon chocolate batter on top very slowly.

Once the cupcake tins have been filled return to oven and allow to bake for another 10-12 (or until fully baked)

Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, and let cool at least 1 hour before frosting.

Marble Cake

I am always looking for something I can bake on Sunday so my husband has something to take to work during the week. And to be honest I tend to stick with the same thing, either I make a banana bread or some type of muffin. Well, this week I want to try making something a little different, after all I don't want him to get bored with the same thing over and over.

I came across this recipe and decided that I would give it a try. I must admit that this recipe is really good, and it's isn't all that sweet. Another great things about this recipe is not only does it make for the perfect breakfast when on the run, but it could also be made into a party cake. All you need to do is frost with a nice chocolate frosting and you have the perfect birthday cake!

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did. Happy Baking!



2 sticks of unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the good stuff)
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted


Butter and flour cake pan while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.

Add the sugar and continue to mix well.

Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until incorporated.

In a bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Reduce the mixer's speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixture until a smooth batter is formed.

Continue mixing for 5 minutes. (It's important to mix for the full 5 minutes.)

Transfer 1/3 of the batter to a bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder.

Pour the remainder batter into the pan; then spoon the chocolate batter around.

Run a knife through the batter, cutting the batters together to create a marbled effect.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan. Invert the cake onto a stand or plate, slice, and serve.

Weight Watchers Fettuccine with Chicken and Broccoli Rabe

I feel that I can not say this enough; healthy food does not have to taste like cardboard! There I said it =)I am feel that you can still have great meals without feeling guilty. It as long been said that you can eat just about anything, as long as you make the right choices when picking your ingredients.

This is another winner Weight Watchers recipe! My only regret is I just wished I hadn't waited as long as I did to try it. I foresee becoming one of my go to recipes for chicken for many years. I hope you all enjoy it as much and we have.

I did make a few minor modifications to the original recipe, therefore I am not listing the point value today. I don't think that the changes I made would change the points on this dishes, however I also want to make sure that I do not give the wrong information should anyone here be counting points.

Like always happy cooking!


1 Bunch of broccoli rabe (cleaned)
1 lb fettuccine (I usually use whole wheat)
4 Teaspoons of olive oil
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 Teaspoon salt
crushed red pepper flakes to liking
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
4 Garlic cloves minced
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 oz half and half (fat free works well)
4 oz chicken broth

In a large pot of boiling water cook broccoli rabe for 2 minutes

With slotted spoon transfer broccoli rabe into a bowl of cold water.

I the boiling water cook fettuccine according to directions on the box.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil.

Add chicken, salt, pepper flakes and saute until cooked through. about 4 minutes on each side.

Remove chicken and place on plate.

In the skillet heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, saute onion and garlic until tender about 4 minutes.

Stir in broccoli rabe let cook until tender.

Add chicken, broccoli rabe to the fettuccine.

In hot skillet add chicken broth and half and half and just let it come to a boil.

Add liquid mixture to pasta mixture and add the cheese and black pepper.

Toss until everything is well combined and serve while hot.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Apple Banana Bread

As a mother, I am always trying to get Jonathan to eat more healthy foods. What sucks is my mother-in-law is always giving him crap that I do not approve of for breakfast and snacks. so lately he hasn't been eating his fruits and veggies.

And me being the type of person I am, I'm just not having it! I'll get him to eat his fruits, if it's the last thing I do! LOL! With all joking aside it's very important that Jonathan has a well balanced diet and as his mother, it's my responsibility to insure he gets all the nutrients that he needs.

I've been making banana bread for a while now, and decided that it was about time that I change this up a little, and hence the birth of the apple banana bread was created. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and toddler do.

Happy baking.

Recipe inspired by one of my recent Emeril banana bread recipes.


8 tablespoons of butter
3 medium sized ripe bananas mashed
1/2 cup sour cream (I use lite)
2 tablespoons of half and half (I use fat free)
1 cup of organic unsweetened apple sauce
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with 1 teaspoon of the butter.

Puree the bananas, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, apple sauce, half and half and cinnamon in a food processor.

Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with a whisk attachment.

Add the remaining butter and mix on medium-low speed until blended.

Add the banana mixture in 3 batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing on medium speed between each addition.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake until lightly browned and bread bounces back to the touch. This will take about and 1hour to an 1 and 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Carrot cake Muffins

Every Sunday I bake some kind of baked good for weekday mornings. I know I've said it in the passed weekdays are hard for my husband I to have a good breakfasts before going to work. Before we had Jonathan I would make myself a berry smoothie and my husband was known to skip breakfast all together...I know, I know...not the healthiest habit. Good news is that since we have had Jonathan he has become much better about this.The fact that I bake something every weekend helps a lot.

Each week, I make some type of breakfast bread, or a muffin which my husband is able to eat, or take with him, before he walks out the door. The passed few weeks I've made different breakfast breads, so this week the husband asked if I could make him some carrot cake muffins. The problem with that request was I lost the carrot cake recipe I use to have. Therefore I asked the wonderful ladies on WC if they had a recipe that they would be willing to share.

I was lucky that Cathy of was online and was able to share her carrot cake recipe with me. So thanks to Cathy for sharing your recipe. Please feel free to click on the link below to see her original post for carrot cake, I omitted the frosting because, this is a breakfast food. But I plan on trying making this into a cake, "cake" some day soon!

Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my husband has. Happy baking!

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups grated carrots (About 6-7 carrots)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins.

Grate carrots and set aside.

In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugars, vanilla, and pineapple. Mix in dry ingredients.

Once mixture is well combined, stir in carrots.

Pour equal amounts into prepared muffin tins, abou 3/4 of the way.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-17 minutes (time will depend on muffin pan, I use a pampered chef stoneware so it tends to take a little longer)

After 15 minutes check with toothpick muffins will be done once the toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then place on wire rack until completely cool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baked Chicken Wings in a Mango Habanero Sauce

IT'S SUPERBOWL TIME! When my husband thinks football, he automatically thinks wings and beer. When I think football and wings,the first thing that comes to mind is fatty fried food. To keep both my husband and myself happy, I decided that I would just bake the wings and when they were fully cooked I would broil just to give them some color and to a little crispiness.

The end result is they came out amazing. I will never, ever fry another wing again. I hope you all enjoy this as much as my husband does.

***The Mango Habanero sauce is SPICY*** So be careful and try the sauce before hand.

Recipe source yours truly


4 lbs of chicken wings
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, cut into chunks
2 whole cloves of garlic
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 habanero, chopped
1 Fresno pepper
1 cup white wine vinegar
a splash of water (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of honey (to mask the acid of the vinegar)


Season chicken wings with garlic, salt, and pepper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add onions, garlic, mangoes, habanero, fresno pepper, and vinegar and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Place the mixture in a blender add honey and water, then blend until smooth.

If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of warm water or vinegar.

In a large bowl mix together wings and half or prepared sauce. Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place chicken wings in a single layer on baking sheet.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes until wings are cooked(baking time will depend on the size of wings)

Once baked broil wings until they are golden.

Serve hot with the other half of the sauce.

Risotto with Mixed Seafood

Don't get me wrong, I love a nice piece of steak, and a nice piece of boneless, skinless chicken breast. But this past week while meal planning, the thought of meat made my stomach turn. Let's face it, even the biggest meat lover has a limit on the amount of meat they could eat. Hence the reason I needed to change things up and add some seafood to our diet =)

With that said, this has to be the best risotto we have ever had! The fact that you do not use cream, but you use the actual lobster stock makes the risotto that much more savory. Another bonus us the fact that you're not using any strong cheese is wonderful, because not only are you saving on calories, but you're also not masking the sweet flavor of the fresh seafood. This is surely a wonderful option when you are sick of meats. I hope you all enjoy this as much as we have.

Inspired by Mario Batali


1 red onion, coarsely chopped and divided
1/2 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 medium bell pepper sliced thin
2 lbs lobsters
1 lb bay scallops
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
about 16 little neck clams, scrubbed
1/2 lb shrimp
1/2 lb crab meat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch Italian parsley


Bring 3 quarts water to boil with half the coarsely chopped onion, carrot, and bay leaf.

Prepare the ice bath.

Plunge the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove with tongs and submerge in ice water 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a 12 to 14-inch frying pan with 3-inch sides, heat the olive oil, onion, red pepper, and tomato paste over medium heat until softened but not brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the rice and, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Add the white wine, then the lobster cooking liquid, ladle by ladle, until the rice is covered.

Turn the heat to high and, stirring constantly, continue to cook, maintaining the level of liquid just above the level of rice, for 10 minutes.

Add clams and continue cooking 5 minutes.

Remove the lobsters from it's shell, chop the meat into 1-inch pieces, and toss into rice,

Add in shrimp, scallops and crab.

Continue cooking until rice is soft.

Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in butter and parsley.

Serve immediately.