Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin, Cream Cheese and San Francisco

Here are the muffins I promised you a few days ago. I tried to get them up by Friday but it's hard blogging with a squirmy baby in your arms and typing with one hand while trying to balance a laptop on the armrest of the recliner. :-) But as they say, "better late than never" right? These muffins were fantastic so I'm glad to be sharing them with you today. Before I go any further, here's a picture of Hayden. After all, I know that's why you're really all here and I'd hate to make you scroll all the way down to the end of this post to see him. ha!

Last November I went to The Foodbuzz Fest in San Francisco. It was so much fun and it's coming up again next weekend. Unfortunately and fortunately I can't go this year because I'm a new mom and my baby needs me. Oh, what a great excuse to have! Once the fest was over, Mr. H joined me in SF for a couple days of rest and relaxation. While shopping around Union Square and the surrounding area we spotted a cupcakery by the name of Cako (pronounced Cake-O) and had to go in. Mr. H got a chocolate cupcake with coffee buttercream and I got their seasonal cupcake- pumpkin cream cheese with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. That was truly one of the best cupcakes I've ever had.

I was hoping to be able to attend Foodbuzz 2011, just so I could go back to this bakery (amongst other destinations). I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true. It was a memorable cupcake. A couple weeks ago when I was dreaming about these cupcakes, I got online to browse some of my favorite blogs and found that Cassie of Cassie Craves had just posted Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with a cinnamony streusel topping. Hello, come to momma! I then remembered that I bookmarked this exact recipe last year and never got around to making them. I was not going to let another year go by without making them.

I made these muffins right away and took them to my doctors office at my 6 week checkup. I gave away 22 muffins and kept 2 for Mr. H and myself. He didn't want his so I gladly ate it. I only wish that I kept more of them because they were delicious. They aren't quite as rich and sinful as the Cako cupcake I had in San Francisco last Fall, but they were moist, tender, full of spice and had a substantial amount of cream cheese baked right into the center of them. The topping was slightly crunchy and loaded with cinnamon. There are some great textures going on in this muffin and since they're called muffins and not cupcakes you can eat them for breakfast and not feel the least bit guilty. For those of you heading to San Francisco next week I hope you'll head to Cako and eat a cupcake for me. For all you others, make these muffins!

If you're looking to make a loaf instead, this Cream Cheese Rippled Pumpkin Bread is my favorite!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins adapted from Cassie Craves and Annie’s Eats

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For The Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For The Muffins:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1- 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For The Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For The Filling: Combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours. (I made this a couple days in advance and left it in the fridge til I was ready for it.)

For The Muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

For The Topping: Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly: Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).

Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.

Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Makes 24-26 muffins

If you're looking for Halloween recipes, give one of these a try:

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hayden's Birth Photos

I don't know if I ever told you guys, but a dear friend of mine, Lori from LFE Photography, was allowed in the operating room when Hayden was born. She photographed the whole process from the moment we left home to following him and Daddy to the nursery to get cleaned up. I'm so glad we have these photos because the morning of his birth went by so fast and was such a blur. Having these photos gives me option to go back and see all the beautiful moments I may have missed. Lori took several hundred photos, but here are just a few.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Thank you Lori!

Photos taken by LFE Photography

Tate's Bake Shop Winner and Teaser Muffins

The winner of the Tate's Bake Shop Giveaway is #50 Heather of Pages by Heather that said "Dark chocolate, yes please! And whole wheat...yipppeee :) And on the not so healthy side...I love pecan pie!" Oh Heather, I love pecan pie too! Enjoy the cookies and the cookbook!

And because I'm so behind on getting recipes blogged, here's a little tease. These muffins are coming soon!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall= Apples, Spices and L.L. Bean Catalogs

I love baking with apples and spices this time of year. And this cake incorporates chunky apples, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about them. Makes me think of crisp cooler days, the changing colors of leaves and mugs of warm spicy beverages. Fall is my favorite season, simply because the scenery is so beautiful. I dream of moving to the east coast and living in a scene out of LL Bean. Ahhh, yes! Anyone out there share the same dream?

Every year when the Fall and Winter LL Bean catalogs come out (Lands End too!) my friend and I head to the book store with a stack of catalogs, pens and pads of paper in hand to make our wish lists. My wish list is mostly comprised of mens stuff since I don't shop for myself much, which is fine since we both mentally shop for our husbands anyway. Sipping our pumpkin spice lattes, we go through page by page, ooh and ahh, and comment about our favorite colors and what we think our spouses would look good in. Only my husband gets to the catalog first and highlights and circles what he wants long before I ever get my hands on it, so that makes it easy for me. It's fun and it's cheap entertainment!

But part of the appeal for us both is the idealistic setting in Maine. Living in Texas, we don't get the changing of seasons. It still looks and feels like summer only it's in the 80's and 90's rather than 110 degrees! Texas will never look like Fall in the LL Bean catalogs, but that's okay because it gives me something to look forward to with my friend. And having a slice of this cake brought me a little closer to that feeling as well. I accidentally chunked my apples too large, but in the end it turned out fine, albeit rustic looking. This cake was a nice blend of spices and stayed moist in the fridge for several days, although it was best at room temperature. The maple in the frosting was a nice but subtle compliment to the cream cheese and the nuts (I choose pecans over walnuts every time!) added a nice crunch. If you're needing a little bit of Autumn in your life, give this cake a try. While I really liked this cake, the apple cake with brown sugar glaze is still my favorite.

To see other cakes baked by the Cake Slice Bakers, click here.

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting adapted from The Cake Book

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Dust the pan with flour, or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour. (I sprayed my pan, lined it with parchment, then sprayed the paper once again).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment (I used a hand mixer) beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the buttermilk in two additions and mixing just until blended (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour). Stir in the chopped apples and nuts by hand with rubber scraper.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until it is golden and toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Frost the top of the cooled cake with maple frosting (recipe follows). Cut the cake into squares and serve it directly from the pan.

Store in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to 3 days. Bring cake up to room temperature before serving.

Maple Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring or 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

In a bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth.

beat in the vanilla, maple, spices and salt. Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Raise the speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Happy Dreaming!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's Cookie Month- Celebrate With Tate's Bake Shop Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Last December, I was sent a few packages of Tate's Bake Shop cookies and a signed copy of their cookbook. I made their Cappuccino Shortbread which was deelish! I bookmarked a few other of their recipes, but I have yet to make them. So many recipes, so little time! You know how that goes, right?

Well, now is the time for one of you to be able to make their recipes and try their new Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, because it's cookie month and Tate's is offering up 3 bags of their new award winning cookies and a signed copy of their cookbook to one lucky reader! Tate's Bake Shop just won a GOLD sofi award for these cookies and they want to share the love. The cookies are thin, crisp, crunchy and definitely made by hard working hands. The whole wheat was a little strong tasting for me, but the dark chocolate more than made up for it. The cookies are slightly salty since they use salted butter in their baked goods, which gives it that perfect sweet and salty element.

There are three ways to enter this giveaway. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

  1. Go to, browse through their baked goods, then come back here and tell me what you'd like to try in the comment section. (Mandatory Entry)
  2. "Like" Tate's Bake Shop on Facebook.
  3. Become a fan of Tate's Bake Shop on Twitter.

Giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be chosen in a couple days via If you're interested in purchasing Tate's baked goods from their website, you can enter discount code: COOKIE at checkout for a 15% discount. Offer valid through the end of October.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Holy Sheet!

Holy sheet! This cake was good! I got the recipe from my chocoholic friend, Memoria, from Mangia da Sola. I know she'd be happy that I made this cake but I'm pretty sure she's cringing at all those glorious pecans nestled in that delectable icing. While she loves chocolate, she hates nuts. Memoria stop cringing...I can see you! haha!

Mr. H is a Texas sheet cake lover. I've made it countless times for him, for his birthday and just because. I usually make the Duncan Hines version, because that's his favorite, but I've also made PW's version. I like them all but this one was different in that the cake part of the recipe calls for chocolate syrup and the frosting contains chocolate chips, not cocoa. In my opinion, it yielded a richer, sweeter , fudgey cake with a gooey frosting that my MIL kept raving about. Memoria claims she had a "food orgasm" when she ate this, and I'm pretty sure my mother in law did as well. She's already requested that I make this again and we're not even done eating this one!

If you're a Texas sheet cake lover or if you've never tried it before, this is a great recipe to start off with. I always like to add a little ground cinnamon to the frosting, but of course that's optional, as are the chopped pecans. You can add the nuts to the frosting or sprinkle them on top like I did. Doing it this way kind of reminded me of the Little Debbie brownies I used to eat as a kid. Either way you make this cake, it is sure to please. Just be sure to have a tall ice cold glass of milk nearby to accompany it. Enjoy!

Chocolate Sybil Cake from Paula Deen via Mangio da Sola


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate syrup


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2 inch pan.

For the cake: Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl. Add to creamed mixture, continuing to beat. Add vanilla and chocolate syrup to batter and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Just before cake is done, prepare frosting.

For the frosting: Put butter, chocolate chips, sugar and evaporated milk and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stirring ingredients together, boil for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour over warm cake.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Land O' Lakes Winner and My Love

The winner of the Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread breakfast giveaway is #60- Jenna from The Dean Family who said, "What a great giveaway! I can think of way too many uses for that spread...mainly for cornbread and hot rolls though! YUM!" That sounds like a perfect way to use it to me! Enjoy!

And for all the others out there who requested a picture of my love. Here he is sleeping peacefully-- something he doesn't do between the hours of 2-4am. ha!

I'll be back in a couple days with a new recipe!

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