An easy to make 8-inch square cake, typically unfrosted, is what my family would consider a snacking cake when I was growing up. This easy-to-make apple cake can definitely qualify as a snacking cake because it stands on its own as a delicious cake, unfrosted. BUT…if you add the silky cream cheese frosting, then you have yourself something a little more special. This cake could easily appear at a Thanksgiving meal and upstage the pies.
I used fresh puréed apples that I picked recently when I went apple picking. If you don’t have fresh apples on hand, you can substitute with unsweetened applesauce.* I used French vanilla compound, which gives it an exceptionally lovely flavor, but you can also use vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
A soft, moist apple cake with silky cream cheese frosting.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan** with parchment paper. Grease and flour the insides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the puréed apples until incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 28-33 minutes
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl, stir the cream cheese with a spatula until smooth. Beat in the butter, with an electric mixer on low speed, until smooth and well combined.
Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and heavy cream until smooth and well combined. Stir slowly with a spatula to smooth the frosting and remove bubbles.
*If you're using applesauce and your applesauce is watery, drain off excess water before measuring.
**To find my favorite 8-inch square cake pan, click here.
If you’re craving something sweet, decadent and intensely chocolate, these Double Chocolate Oreo Muffins might be just what you need. They were born when I had a craving for Double Chocolate Muffins, but I didn’t feel like driving all the way to my favorite cafe. I noticed the internet had an overwhelming number of chocolate muffin recipes, each one claiming to be the best. I said goodbye to the sea of chocolate muffin recipes and went to work on a muffin recipe that fulfilled my dream muffin wish. I used black cocoa powder to capture the Oreo essence, semisweet chocolate chips, for those little pools of melted chocolate throughout and a cookies and cream filling. I used tulip muffin liners* because they hold more batter so you end up with more generous sized muffins. They’re high recommended if you want to make the muffins exactly the way I made them.
The most challenging part of this recipe is testing for doneness, because you don’t want to over bake these. Insert a toothpick or a cake tester into the cake part of the muffins. If there are a few moist crumbs on it, that’s what you’re looking for. If there’s melted chocolate on it, you’ve likely hit a chocolate chip, so test again with a clean toothpick. If you see cake batter on the toothpick, the muffins need more time in the oven.
To watch the Instagram video of Double Chocolate Oreo Muffins being made, click here.
Double Chocolate Oreo Muffins
Dark chocolate muffins with semisweet chocolate chips and cookies and cream filling
In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Gently fold in the Oreos.
Double Chocolate Muffins
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Line a 12-serving muffin pan with tulip liners*
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream and milk until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups, about 3 1/2 ounces ( in each one. Scoop or spoon a scant tablespoon size dollop of the filling into the center of each muffin.
Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350ºF (180ºC). Continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the cake part of the muffins comes out with a few moist crumbs on it, about 7-10 more minutes. If the toothpick hits a melted chocolate chip, reinsert a clean toothpick and test again. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Top each muffin with a quarter piece of Oreo cookie.
*Tulip muffin liners are preferred. To find tulip muffin liners, click here. You can also make your own by pressing 6-inch squares of parchment paper into the muffin pan cups. If you want to use standard muffin liners, fill them 3/4 full and use less filling. Standard muffin liners hold less batter so you'll end up with a a couple of extra muffins. Keep in mind, the baking time will be shorter.
These cute little bear-shaped pumpkin muffins are almost too cute to eat. But if you try one, it’ll be gobbled up without hesitation because they’re so moist, fluffy and delicious! The cinnamon sugar coating gives them the perfect fall flavor and a subtle crunch. I used cream cheese icing to form the snouts and melted chocolate for the eyes and noses. You can also use melted chocolate chips or candy melts to decorate their faces if you prefer. I used a bear-shaped mini muffin pan, which is also called a Madeleine pan or a financier pan. To find a bear mini muffin pan, click here. A standard mini muffin pan will also work, but the muffins won’t be bear-shaped. If you end up using a standard mini muffin pan, you can add round, flat candies to form the ears.
To watch the TikTok video of Mini Pumpkin Bear Muffins being made, click here.
To watch the Instagram video of Mini Pumpkin Bear Muffins being made, click here.
Mini Pumpkin Bear Muffins
Moist, fluffy bear-shaped pumpkin mini muffins with cream cheese icing snouts
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Grease and flour a bear-shaped mini muffin pan. (This recipe also works in a mini muffin pan but the muffins won't be bear shaped.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil and egg until smooth and well combined. Mix in the pumpkin purée until incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined.
Scoop or pipe the batter into the muffin pan, filling the cups 2/3 full (about 3/4 oz or 21g in each). Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the batter, making sure to get batter into the ears.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 9-11 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove them from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
Clean the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Brush the warm muffins with with melted butter using a small pastry brush. Coat them with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
In a small bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of milk until smooth. Add more milk as needed.
Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip or snip off the end of the piping bag making a 1/4-inch wide opening. Pipe a small blob of icing onto each bear's face to form the snouts.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip or snip off the end of the piping bag making a 1/16-inch wide opening. Pipe dots of chocolate onto the snouts to make the noses. Pipe dots or curved lines to make the eyes. Alternately you can apply the melted chocolate dots with the tip of a toothpick
Do you ever feel like a three year old child who doesn’t want to share? That’s how I feel about this crumb cake. I didn’t want to share so I made six 4-inch personal crumb cakes. You’ll understand once you taste the soft, fluffy lemon scented cake with juicy blueberries, a ton of sweet crumb topping and a lemony cream cheese icing. You’ll want every bite for yourself! I was also hesitant to share the recipe. But I was taught to share recipes by my two grandmothers who were amazing cooks and bakers. They shared their knowledge and recipes with anyone who asked. Recipes are a legacy that should be passed on to family and friends. If you’re reading this, I consider you a friend. So enjoy this recipe that’s especially dear to me because it’s based on my Grandma’s Apple Crumb Cake recipe.
I used a six serving shallow jumbo muffin pan to bake the cakes. The muffin cups are 4 inches across by 1 inch deep. To find the pan, click here. A hamburger bun pan for 4-inch buns will work too. If you happen to have six 4-inch cake pans, those work nicely. I used jumbo muffin liners to line the muffin cups, which fit perfectly by pressing them in around the inside bottom edges.
Blueberry Lemon Crumb Cakes
Fluffy, soft lemon cakes with blueberries, crumb topping and lemon cream cheese icing
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, brown sugar and salt together.
Work in butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like the consistency of wet sand. Press together to make chunks. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a 6-serving shallow jumbo muffin pan* with jumbo muffin liners.** Jumbo muffin liners will fit by pressing them around the inside bottom edges.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
Beat the egg, egg yolk and extracts into the butter mixture in 3 separate additions, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk and sour cream together.
On low speed, mix the flour mixture into the batter in two additions alternating with half of the milk mixture after each addition. Beat just until combined.
Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan, evenly distributing the batter and filling the cups about half full.
In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of flour and place them into the cups on top of the batter, about 1 ounce (28g) in each. Top each one with crumb topping.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Icing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add additional lemon juice, a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cooled cakes.
These rich, fudgy, coffee scented brownies, with caramel and whipped cream topping are inspired by one of my favorite coffee shop drinks, a caramel latte. I was thinking about how to get the caramel inside the brownies. With some methods, the caramel ends up over baked and chewy. Then I remembered poke cakes from my childhood. You poke holes all over a baked cake and pour whatever you like on top to soak into the holes. It worked beautifully with these brownies. To finish them off, I topped them with fluffy cream cheese whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel.
Caramel Latte Brownies
Rich, moist coffee scented brownies soaked with caramel, topped with fluffy cream cheese whipped cream and drizzled with more caramel.
Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple of inches of overhang.
In a large heat safe bowl, melt the butter together with the chocolate, in the microwave or on the stovetop over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, hot water and espresso powder until smooth.
Whisk the cocoa powder mixture, sugar and salt into the warm melted chocolate mixture until well combined.
Add the eggs, egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
Stir in the flour just until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs on it, about 25-28 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool completely.
Once cool, remove the brownies from the pan and place on a serving platter. Using a chopstick, poke holes in the brownies, about 1 inch apart, to within 1 inch from the edges.
Spread caramel sauce over the surface of the brownies with a small offset spatula.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, with an electric mixer, until smooth. Gradually add the heavy cream and beat to stiff peaks.
Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the brownies. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce.
A cute little, stress-free, perfectly pink heart cake is my gift to you for Valentine’s Day. The vanilla cake is soft and fluffy. The frosting is super easy and delicious, with only two ingredients. It all comes together with fresh strawberries and it’s so good, you won’t want to share.
Little Strawberry Heart Cake
A six inch heart shaped vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and two-ingredient frosting
In a small bowl, combine strawberries and 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 6-inch heart shaped cake pan*** with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and oil with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla in two separate additions until well combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream.
Beat flour mixture into batter in two additions, alternating with milk mixture.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.
In a large bowl, stir cream cheese with a spatula to smooth out lumps.
Add marshmallow fluff and beat until well combined. Add food gel color with a toothpick and beat until evenly distributed.
Split cake into two layers. Top the bottom layer with frosting. Drain strawberries and spoon onto cake. Top with second layer, then more frosting.
To make sugared strawberries, mix 1 part meringue powder with 3 parts water. Dip strawberries in meringue mixture, cover with sugar, then let dry. Alternately you can dip the strawberries in pasteurized egg whites, cover with sugar, then let dry.
Chocolate gingerbread is gingerbread’s elegant sister. It has the warm spices we love in gingerbread combined with the earthy depth of chocolate. Topping this rich, tender loaf with silky cream cheese frosting is the best possible choice to take it over the top. It’s a lovely loaf to enjoy during the holiday season and beyond. Enjoy it with a hot drink for a cozy, comforting winter treat.
My fascination with Christmas cookies started as a child when my elderly neighbor used to bring over a tray of her homemade Christmas cookies every year. I loved the moment where I got to choose a cookie from the beautiful, interesting selection. In my humble opinion, I think a holiday cookie should be something special. It should be something that you don’t eat on a regular basis, maybe because it seems fancy or requires a little extra work to make. Or maybe it has a special meaning or a fond memory. These Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Tartlets check all the boxes for me. They have that something special a cookie needs to be the star of the holiday cookie tray…tender jam-filled chocolate dough, dipped in shiny chocolate with a pretty pop of red.
In a medium bowl, sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth.
Add powdered sugar mixture and beat until well combined.
Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.
On low speed, beat in flour just until combined.
Divide dough into two equal portions. Wrap with plastic wrap and form into disks. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough between two sheets of wax paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 3-inch rounds, re-rolling scraps as necessary. If dough becomes too soft at any point, chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes then continue with recipe.
Place rounds on prepared baking sheets. Top each round with a teaspoon of jam.
With a small food safe brush or with your finger, apply a small amount of water to the edge of half of each round. Fold over and press edges to seal.
Bake until tops of cookies look set, about 9-11 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix melted chocolate with coconut oil until smooth.
Dip cookies about 1/3 of the way into melted chocolate. Top with freeze dried fruit or sprinkles.
This perfect pumpkin cake brings back memories. The tender, moist texture reminds me of the pumpkin cake bars I used to make in junior high. I got the treasured bar recipe from an old children’s cookbook. I lent the cookbook to a neighbor and never saw the book or the recipe again. Through trial and error, I came up with this cake, which I think is even better! It’s so delicious it doesn’t need frosting, but the classic pairing with cream cheese frosting takes it over the top.
Every peach season, I get excited by the abundance of peaches at my local farmers market and I end up buying way too many. So if you’re like me and you have ripe peaches sitting on your counter, turn them into peach purée. I love adding peach purée to my iced tea or adding it to desserts like this moist, tender cake. This is one of my most popular cake recipes on social media, and for good reason. It does not disappoint! To watch the TikTok video, click here.
Peaches and Cream Loaf Cake
Moist, tender peach cake with peach cream cheese icing
I had pineapple smoothies two days in a row. There’s something so vibrant and refreshing about pineapple. It feels sunny and tropical. Should scones ever feel sunny and tropical? I’m going to say yes! Scones deserve a summer vacation too. They can take a break from tea parties and coffee shops and enjoy a little sunshine.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you experience your first bite of a scone with a burst of pineapple flavor. I immediately thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” There are probably other pineapple scones out there in the universe, but they’re definitely not well known, like the very popular blueberry scone for example. I’m going to go so far as to say, pineapple scones are better than blueberry scones. There, I said it. (And this is coming from a person who loves blueberries.)
In early September, I saw someone announce the fall season on social media. In addition to people pointing out that it was too early for the announcement, the word police corrected the person with the word autumn. Since both terms are correct, we can call the season whatever we prefer. I think autumn is a pretty sounding word, so I’ll use it for the rest of this post. Whatever you call it, these Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves are a perfect little celebration of the season. They have just the right amount of pumpkin spices, making them so fragrant that your kitchen will smell like cozy autumn heaven.
I call them loaves because I originally made them in mini loaf pans. They’re so cute and delicious that I often give them as holiday gifts. This year I decided to try them in ramekins and I loved the results! I used 6-ounce ramekins, but you can use 8-ounce ramekins, any size mini loaf pans, a muffin pan or even an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. Keep in mind that baking times will differ. To find the ramekins I used, click here.
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling
Mini loaves of tender pumpkin bread with caramel filling and luscious cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour seven 6-ounce ramekins or six 8-ounce ramekins or any loaf pans of your choice.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.
Stir in flour mixture just until combined.
Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. (Mini loaves or muffins bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size. 8 or 9-inch loaf bakes for 40-50 minutes)
Cool completely if serving in ramekins or remove from pans after cooling for 10 minutes. Continue to cool on wire rack.
Make 3/4-inch well in the center of each loaf. Fill with caramel sauce. (For an 8 or 9-inch loaf, poke multiple holes with a skewer. Fill with caramel sauce.)
Top with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.
Gradually add powdered sugar and beat at medium speed until combined.
Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined.