Amazing Marble Cupcakes {with a twist…of course}

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This weekend, my 8-year-old son and I made these cupcakes together. The interesting ingredients resulted in probably the best cupcakes we’ve made. Yum!

Enjoy! Denise

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Amazing Marble Cupcakes

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
8 oz. Pepsi
4 oz. Maraschino Cherry Juice
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
Maraschino Cherries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line 2 cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  • Add cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, Pepsi, maraschino cherry juice, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl.
  • Beat on low for 30 seconds then beat on med-high for 2-3 minutes.

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  • Pour 1/3 of cake batter to a small mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the non-chocolate cake batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners.

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  • Divide and dollop the chocolate batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners.

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  • Using the dull end of a wooden skewer, marble the batter.

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  • Bake for 17-20 minutes.
  • Cool completely then frost with your favorite buttercream frosting and top with a maraschino cherry.20120826-135012.jpg
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Sweet & Salty Chocolate Toffee Cracker Candy

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I have thought about making this for a while. This recipe is not only easy, it is very rich and flavorful. My colleagues at work loved it…so I guess I need to make it again real soon!

My favorite thing about this recipe s that it is perfect for those last-minute “make & take” events because you can have the ingredients in your pantry….

Enjoy! Denise

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Toffee Cracker Candy

4 oz. Saltine Crackers (1/4 of avg. size box)
1 stick of Butter
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Powder (or extract)
2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, divided
12 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Candies, Sprinkles, or Nuts

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease it with shortening.
  • Place the Saltines in a single layer on the lined cookie sheet; set aside.

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  • In a heavy saucepan, melt the dark brown sugar, butter along with 1 teaspoon of the pink salt, cinnamon and vanilla powder over medium heat.

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  • Bring to a boil while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil for 3 minutes.

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  • Carefully pour the mixture over the crackers. Use a metal spatula to spread the mixture evenly onto all the crackers.

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  • Place the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes (toffee will bubbly).
  • Transfer cookie sheet to a safe surface.
  • Pour the chocolate chips over the toffee; set aside until chocolate chips soften and look glossy.

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  • Use a metal spatula or scraper to smooth out the chocolate chips evenly to cover the toffee layer.

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  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of pink salt over the chocolate layer.

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  • Sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
  • Cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Cut or break into bite-size pieces.

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Polish Easter Bread Rolls

Putting A Twist on Tradition – Polish Easter Bread Rolls

It’s that time of year..  Spring is in full bloom and the Easter celebrations are in full force.  

Even with the hustle and bustle of the “everyday” routine, making time to maintain traditions is really important to my family.  

Making Polish Easter Bread is a family favorite.  It’s an all day event because we make several batches. 

Last year I posted my take on the “family recipe”, “Embracing In-Law Family Traditions = Polish Easter Bread”

This year I decided to put a twist on tradition and make Polish Easter Bread Rolls.     They were so cute….I  wish I had thought of this sooner!

Enjoy!

Denise

Polish Easter Bread Rolls

Polish Easter Bread Rolls

1 Batch of Polish Easter Bread Dough

Follow instructions for the making the bread with the following exceptions:

  • Spray cupcake pans with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  • Follow instructions for Polish Easter Bread Recipe.
  • Instead of dividing dough into 6 mini-loaves, divide into 48 rolls.
  • Place rolls into the cupcake pans for the second rise.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

20120220-065956.jpgThe spice Grains of Paradise are tiny, unique pyramid-shaped seeds whose flavor profile can be described as sharp and peppery with a fruity backdrop.

They look ashy when you crush them with a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Substitute Grains of Paradise for black peppercorns. Try seasoning your steak with crushed grains of paradise, salt and hungarian paprika. The flavor combination really works.

Look for them at your local spice shop.

My family has been requesting an apple dessert. Below is an apple dessert recipe that features Grains of Paradise.

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

Gypsy Spiced Apple Crisp

2 cans (20 oz) Apple Pie Filling
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Grains of Paradise
15.25 oz box of Butter Pecan Cake Mix
1 cup Butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Crush the grains of paradise with a mortar and pestle; set aside.

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  • In a large bowl, mix together the apple pie filling, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, evaporated milk, vanilla and ground grains of paradise.

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  • Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.

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  • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the apple mixture. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the dry cake mix layer.
  • Bake for one hour or until golden brown.

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  • Serve warm or cold.

Note: I turned the baking dish after 30 minutes. If you want, top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel.

Printer Friendly Recipe

Nutella Frosted Saffron Cupcakes

I decided to make Saffron Cupcakes for my Saffron dessert post.

Hmmm. What kind of frosting?

Well, of course I had to pair these yummy cupcakes with Nutella frosting!

The result was better than expected and the flavor combination was perfect….

I took some cupcakes in for my coworkers to sample. They loved them!

You will find both recipes below….

Enjoy! Denise

P.S. if you want, swap out the frosting with Saffron Buttercream instead….

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Saffron Cupcakes

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
2/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Saffron
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates, chopped
Powder Sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-bundt cake pan with cooking spray or line your cupcake tins. Set aside.
  • Place saffron in the mortar and pestil. Press to crumble the threads.

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  • Warm milk for 45-60 seconds. Add saffron and allow to steep for ten minutes.

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  • Add cake mix, steeped milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.

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  • Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

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  • Fill each mini-bundt halfway. Smooth tops with a spoon.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

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  • Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • Fill the center of the mini-bundt cakes with Nutella Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  • Top with chopped with chocolates.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.

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Nutella Frosting

1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
3-4 tablespoons Hazlenut-flavored Creamer
1/4 cup Nutella

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  • Mix at a medium speed until you get to a creamy frosting consistency.

Note: If you prefer a traditional cupcake, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Frost as you like with the Nutella Frosting and place half of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on top.

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Sunday Share: 11/27/2011 {Recipe Finds}

{Sunday Share}

What is “Sunday Share”?

The Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page, {Recipe Finds} are shared daily. I find cool recipes on twitter, blogs, Pinterest and internet searches and love to share them…

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Now, it’s time to get ready for the December holidays!  Woo Hoo!

Below are links to {Recipe Finds} which were featured. Be sure to check out these great sites, blogs and recipes.

Next weeks “sharing” will feature holiday recipes.

If you have a recipe that you want “shared” which follows the week’s theme, please email me . I will be sure to read your post. If it fits the current week’s focus, I’ll share.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Denise

Recipe Finds – Just Because

Recipe Finds – Holiday Cooking/Baking

Holiday Tips

Sunday Share: 11/20/2011 {Recipe Finds}

{Sunday Share}

What is “Sunday Share”?

The Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page, {Recipe Finds} are shared daily. I find cool recipes on twitter, blogs, Pinterest and internet searches and love to share them…

Be sure to enjoy the time with your family and friends. Life is full of blessings — be sure to take time to “appreciate the moment“.

Below are links to {Recipe Finds} which were featured. Be sure to check out these great sites, blogs and recipes.

Next weeks “sharing” will feature holiday recipes.

If you have a recipe that you want “shared” which follows the week’s theme, please email me . I will be sure to read your post. If it fits the current week’s focus, I’ll share.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Denise

Recipe Finds – Just Because

Recipe Finds – Holiday Cooking/Baking

Holiday Tips

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting {Semi-Homemade}

It happened again… I had a last-minute “make & take” opportunity….

What to make? Hmmm.

Recently on Pinterest, people have been sharing recipes for  2 ingredient cupcakes using store-bought cake-mix and canned pumpkin puree.   It reminded me of a posts that I did last year for Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Gingerbread Bon Bons  where I made cake balls with Gingerbread cake-mix and pumpkin puree.   

So, I decided to make Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting.  For this recipe, I opted for a semi-homemade approach and spiced up store-bought frosting.  (If you want a homemade recipe for a sweet spiced buttercream frosting, check out my post for Spicy Mocha Cupcakes).

This recipe is not only easy….most likely you already have the ingredients in your pantry.

Enjoy!

Denise

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes Espresso Spiced Frosting

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting

Yield:  16 Cupcakes

1 Box Butter Fudge Cake Mix    ( I used Duncan Hines “Moist Deluxe”)

1 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 teaspoon Cardamom (optional but recommended)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line cupcake pan with baking cups and set aside.
  • Add the cake mix, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and the cardamom to a large bowl.
  • Mix on low for 30 seconds.  Adjust the setting to medium and beat for an additional 4 minutes.
  • Pour batter into the baking cups (2/3 full).
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into center of cupcake.
  • Cool for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Frost with Espresso Spiced Frosting (recipe below).
Espresso Spiced Frosting

12 oz container of Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 teaspoon Espresso Powder

1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Espresso Spiced Frosting

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

Coo Coo for Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

A few weeks ago, I was browsing the grocery store at lunch time.     A chocolate display caught my eye….in particular.. ground cocoa beans.   I’ve been reading recently about the health benefits of cocoa beans. 

They are very tasty…not as bitter as I expected them to be….and the flavor seemed to linger.   Pure chocolate flavor at its best without added sugar…. 

Hmmm…Creative Cooking Opportunity…

The Versatile Vanilla series was so much fun.  Chocolate is next !

Below is my recipe that is inspired by Caribbean flavors…chocolate, bananas, coconut, rum and spices.

Enjoy!

Denise

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

Yield:  12 Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 Bananas (very ripe)

1/2 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut

3/4 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon Rum extract

1/2 teaspoon Coconut extract

1/3 cup Ground Cocoa Beans

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a muffin tin and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, add oil, eggs, bananas, coconut, sugar, rum extract and coconut extract.  Use a mixer to blend ingredients.

Preparing Caribbean Cocoa Beans Muffins

  • Add dry ingredients to banana mixture.  Mix well.

Preparing Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

  • Stir in the ground cocoa beans.

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins Preparation

  • Divide batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins Prep

  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (until cake test comes out clean).
  • Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Caribbean Cocoa Bean Muffins

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake (aka Torta Imposible)

Chocolate Flan Cake (Torta Imposible or “impossible cake”) is a decadent, layered dessert with Chocolate Cake on the bottom and Flan on the top.

You are probably wondering why they describe it as “impossible”….

Well, when the cake pan goes into the oven, the flan ingredients are on the top and the cake batter is on the bottom.

Then two hours later, when the dessert comes out of the oven, the cake is on the top and the flan is on the bottom.

My favorite step is to invert the cake pan onto a platter.  It is definitely a “TADA” moment.  The caramel runs all over both the Chocolate Cake and Flan layers.   It is very hard not to slice it right there and then.  But do let it refrigerate and the flavors will marry even more because as Chocolate Flan Cake refrigerates, the chocolate cake absorbs the caramel like a sponge.

I like to think that nothing is impossible  and had to master this recipe after reading about it several years ago.   It has since become a family favorite. 

Below is the recipe…  

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake

12 Servings

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 1 (18 oz.) box Butter Fudge Cake Mix
  •  3/4 cup Water
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 stick Butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

Flan Ingredients

  •  8-12 oz Caramel Sauce (depending on how gooey you like it)
  •  1(14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  •  1(12 oz.) can Evaporated Milk
  •  1/2 cup fresh Milk
  •  8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 Vanilla Bean
  •  1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large bundt pan with nonstick spray.  Pour caramel sauce into prepare pan.  Set aside.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions (adding cinnamon and cardamom).

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake PreparationGypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Pour cake batter into cake pan (over the caramel).  Tip:  I typically only fill my cake pan a little more than 1/2 way.  Then make cupcakes with the rest of the batter (or leave more batter for the kids to have fun with. 🙂 )

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation...

  • Pour condensed, evaporated and fresh milks into a blender.  Split and scrape the vanilla bean.  Add the tiny vanilla beans to the blender along with the cream cheese and the cardamom.  Mix well.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation...Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake PreparationGypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Pour flan mixture very slowly (with a ladle) over the cake batter.

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

  • Spray aluminum foil with non-stick spray.  Cover bundt pan very tightly with the aluminum foil.  Set the bundt pan into a large pan and set on the oven rack.  Carefully pour hot water into the larger pan to a depth of 2 inches.
  • Bake for 2 hours.  Note: Do Not Take the Aluminum Cover Off During Baking Process.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil.  Invert cake onto a large platter.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving. 

Gypsy Spiced Chocolate Flan Cake Preparation

Source:  Recipezaar

Versatile Vanilla – Very Vanilla Shortcakes (Plus Bonus Recipe for Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes)

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage….

Today’s Vanilla post features a dessert recipe… There are many Vanilla dessert recipes that come to mind.

 Custards…Cake…Cookies…Ice Cream… The list is long…

I was inspired by a new kitchen gadget that my Mom recently gave me.  We went to visit her and she pulled it out…laughing…because she had meant to give it to me as one of my Christmas gifts…

What was it? None other than a Xpress Redi Set Go*… I was inspired by one of the recipes that came with this gadget for a “Cookizza”.   I adapted it and below is my take on the “Cookizza” to feature Vanilla.  (there is a bonus recipe below for those that do not have this appliance).   

Thanks for the cool gift Mom!

Enjoy!

Denise

*Please Note: this is not a product endorsement or recommendation…

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Very Vanilla Shortcakes

Servings: 8 (makes 2 shortcakes, each serves 4)

6 tablespoons lite butter, softened
1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1-1/3 cup Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Powder

  • Spray appliance with cooking spray and pre-heat using manufacturer instructions.
  •  Mix together all the ingredients with a spatula.

  •  Spread 1/2 mixture into base.

  • Close and bake for 5 minutes.

  •  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • Repeat steps 3-5 for remaining batter.
  •  Cut each shortcake into 4 wedges.
  • Top with Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce and Sprinkles.

Blogger’s Comments:

I served it up with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. You can top with whatever you like. Whipped Cream and Berries with Vanilla Sugar would be really good too…

Since some people may not have this nifty appliance, we used the other half of the recipe to make Dessert Pancakes… See the the bonus recipe and pictures below…  The topping options are endless…

I will be making peach cobbler soon and plan to use this as the topping and bake it.  Another fun option would be to use the batter to make mini-muffins.   This recipe is not only Very Vanilla … it is Very Versatile…

 

Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Bonus Recipe – Very Vanilla Dessert Pancakes

Servings: 10 Dessert Pancakes (1 pancake per person)

One Batch Very Vanilla Shortcake Batter

  • Heat griddle and spray with butter flavored cooking spray.
  • Drop batter onto griddle by tablespoon.

  • Cook like you would pancakes.

  • Top with your favorite dessert toppings.

More With Mustard – Dessert Recipe for Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

Continuing on with the Mustard spiced menu theme, below you will find a dessert recipe that features the spice Mustard.

Yes…I found a way to incorporate the spice Mustard into a dessert recipe.

When dried Mustard is baked, it takes on a very pleasant background flavor that is not sharp.  So, I decided to make a poppyseed cake with lemon glaze (and added dried mustard to the batter to give it that “special something”).

I was very pleased with the results.  You can detect a nice flavor in the backdrop….most would never guess that dried Mustard was the secret ingredient.  For this recipe, I decided to doctor up a few store-bought ingredients for convenience….

My cake tasters gave this recipe a “two thumbs up”.

I love to do the unexpected with a spice.   We often buy spices for a recipe and then it sits in the spice cabinet unused.  Most spices only have a shelf life of 6 months.  So, make the most of them!  At the bottom of the article, I’ve included some interesting spice information about Mustard.

Enjoy!

Denise

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Lemon Glazed Mustard Spiced Poppyseed Cake

I box Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1-1/4 cups Water or Milk
1 stick Butter, softened
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons dried Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Coconut Extract
2 tablespoons Poppyseeds
1/2 container Vanilla Frosting.
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely chopped
Juice from half of lemon

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.
  3.  Place cake mix, butter, water and eggs in a large mixing bowls.
  4.  Beat on low for 30 seconds. Adjust speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
  5.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.
  6.  Bake for 45-50 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
  7.  Cool completely. Remove from pan.
  8.  Place frosting in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds (or until a glaze consistency).   Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  9. Drizzle over cake

Interesting Tidbits about the spice Mustard:

Researching Mustard, I was surprised to learn that Mustard seeds are a great source for omega-3 fatty acids.  There is also interesting information out there on research that has been done on Mustard seed’s potential anti-cancer effects.  Mustard seeds were traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory.  People used Mustard seeds to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, and migraine headaches.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.