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

Ingredients:

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

 

Ingredients:

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.

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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:

Ingredients:

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!!

I need to use my veggies before they go bad!

I really did…. and it was a success!  One thing that I hate the most – buying veggies and then they go bad because I forgot that they were in the bottom drawer, or I bought too much.  Last night was one of those “Oh crap… I forgot about this veggie drawer!” nights. I had to use a yellow squash, asparagus, and portabella caps before they had to be trashed.  So I scrambled to figure out what to make.  I pulled out my go to- Basmati rice and made that using my rice steamer.  After dicing all of my veggies, I marinated them in italian salad dressing.  I first sautéed the yellow squash, then added the asparagus, and then the portabella mushrooms.  After all of the veggies were sautéed and the rice was finished, I poured both into a large bowl and mixed well.  We added a pinch of salt and ….. Voila! Dinner.  Very yummy, and it only takes about 20-30 mins.

Yum! What to do with that left over taco meat…

Have you ever had a ton of left over taco meat and couldn’t figure out what to do with it?  Well instead of just making a salad, what about using a portabella mushroom cap?  Dan and I had a ton of left over taco meat after taco night.  I was sick of making a taco salad with it and I had mushroom caps that needed to be used.  So, I decided to make stuffed portabella caps.  I used a Chili Lime grilling sauce from Target to marinate the caps.  I then baked the caps at 425 degrees for about 15-20 mins on a cookie tray.  After removing the caps from the oven I spooned the left over taco meat into each cap, covered the meat in shredded cheddar cheese, and baked them for another 5 minutes.  When they were finished, to used the left over taco sauce and squeezed this on the tops of the stuffed caps.  I made a spinach salad with corn and bean salsa and mashed avocado.  It was a very tasty combination.  Next time you feel lost staring at that left over taco meat… try it with a portabella cap!

Stuffed cap and spinach salad.

Yum!

Chili Lime Sauce, Avocado, and Portabella Cap.

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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