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!!

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.


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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