Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes… Yum!

Yesterday, March 8, was my birthday.  Traditionally my mom makes my favorite cake for me- angel food cake.  This year was the exception, so I decided to make my own birthday cupcakes!

I love baking, so I looked through one of my Betty Crocker cookbooks and found a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate orange icing.  I was so excited to bake completely homemade cupcakes…. with a little pizzaz.

Although I ran into some difficulties with the cupcake batter (I forgot to add the orange zest so I had to start all over again), the cupcakes were delicious!  I truly think that these are the best cupcakes that I have ever made.

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes


Yields: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup hot water

2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

3/4 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place paper baking cups in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.  In another bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until dissolved- set both bowls aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer until smooth.  Gradually add sugar- 1/2 cup at a time (beat well after each addition).  Beat 2 minutes longer.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.  Beat in vanilla and orange zest.  On a low speed, mix in cocoa mixture and flour mixture- alternate each.  Beat until well blended.

4.  Fill 24 cupcake cups 2/3 full.

5.  Bake for 20- 25 mins or until cupcakes are spongey.  Remove and cool.

Frosting Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes



1/2 cup margarine, softened

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

3 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons orange juice (pulp free)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1. In a large bowl, mix butter and melted chocolate until well blended.

2. Stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat in vanilla and orange juice until smooth.

3. Beat in orange zest until well blended.

4. Use spatula to put icing into a sealable sandwich bag, seal, and cut off corner.

5. Frost cupcakes using bag to create swirl and place small pieces of orange peel on top as garnish.


Woof! Puppy Treats!

So you have probably figured out already that I love to bake… and cook…. and eat.  A while back (while I wasn’t spending time blogging…. whoops!) I wanted to make a yummy treat for Moose- my rescue.

I searched online and found this website which listed a great recipe for dog friendly cookies.  Moose loves peanut butter so this one was perfect… not to mention it is SUPER easy!

Here is what the recipe calls for:


2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

Fun Cookie Cutters

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix well.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.

Cool and Serve!!

**Note:  The cookies do burn easily, so I checked them often.  Also, the cookies mold quickly, so either share the love, or fatten your pup up quickly!!

Eggplant Parm… Yum!

Giant Purple Eggplant.

A follow-up to the farmer’s market post… what to do with the giant eggplant.

I had attempted eggplant parmesan before with a smaller eggplant from Wegman’s, but I don’t think that I made it correctly (Dan liked it of course, but I didn’t).  So, I wanted to give it another shot with the eggplant from the Oakland Mills Farmer’s Market.  The eggplant was seriously giant, and it made a ton of food in the end.  I ended up making dinner for my entire family and brought it to my parents house to feed them.

When I decided to make the eggplant parm, I found a recipe from and loosely used it.  Here is what I ended up doing:

Coated Eggplant Slices ready for baking.

Prepare Eggplant

– Peel and slice eggplant into 3/4 in pieces (width) and sprinkle each side with salt.

– Place paper towels onto a cookie sheet and lay a single layer of eggplant onto paper towels.

– Lay a single layer of paper towels on top of slices and press with something heavy (ie. iron skillet, heavy pan).

– Press for 20- 30 mins.

– Remove eggplant pieces and rinse with cold water, dry.

Bake the slices at 350 degrees.

Bake Eggplant

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Make a mixture of bread crumbs on a large plate (I used plain bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and italian spices).

– Coat each slice with egg (I use egg beaters), lay slices on bread crumbs and coat each side thoroughly, and place a single layer onto a greased cookie tray.

– I bake my slices for about 10 mins on each side, but they should looked a little browned when they are finished.

Eggplant Parmesan over noodles.


– After removing baked slices from the oven, leave the oven at 350 degrees.

– In a glass pan (size of pan and amount of ingredients depends on how much eggplant you have), pour tomato sauce/ pasta sauce to coat bottom.

– Place single layer of baked eggplant slices on top of sauce and coat with cheese (I used a mixture of grated parmesan and mozzarella with italian spices mixed in).

– Cover with more tomato/ pasta sauce and top off with cheese mixture.

– Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins.

– When the Eggplant Parm is done, you should be able to stick a fork into the slices easily (they should be squishy).



About Me.

Oh hi.

My name is Allison.

I am an art teacher based in Maryland.

I enjoy art, ceramics, sketchbooking, dancing when no one is around, singing in the car, decorating.. and redecorating, cooking, people-watching, and random music.

I am engaged to the love of my life... I can't wait to be married to him.

I like learning about new things.

I find people to be interesting.

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