Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Orange Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Hey All!

When I was younger, for some reason, my family would always have those dark chocolate oranges. They were my favorite thing in the entire world. So when trying to come up with some good bake sale cupcakes, I figured I'd try to recreate my favorite into a cupcake. I really hope you guys enjoy!

Orange Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting. (Makes 42 cupcakes)

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp orange extract
2 1/2 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup buttermilk

4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
12 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tbsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in 1/3 of flour mixture. Next, the orange juice. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Then buttermilk. Then, mix in the remaining flour mixture. Lastly, mix in orange and vanilla extracts and orange zest, until all ingredients are combined. Divide evenly among muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

For frosting, beat butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder until fluffy. Once melted chocolate has cooled, beat into butter mixture. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Lastly add  in vanilla and orange extracts and orange zest.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 30 minutes before frosting. Enjoy!

Feel free to send your questions, feedback and pictures to

Sunday, August 22, 2010

S'mores Cupcakes

Hey Everyone!

So I was watching an episode of Cupcake Wars last night and one of the contestants made a S'mores Cupcake and I thought that would be such an awesome challenge for me! I decided to make it differently than she had and I hope you guys like the results. I based my chocolate cupcake off of Martha Stewart's Devil's Food Cupcake. I made a couple of changes, so I have rewritten the recipe the way I made it. To see the original, please visit

When I was little, we used to spend some of our summer down at our family cottage in Wareham, MA. We were lucky enough to be right on the water, so my cousins, sister and I would all set up a campfire and do toasted marshmellows, s'mores and tell ghost stories. Still to this day, those are some of my favorite summer memories of my whole life. I really loved how these cupcakes reminded me of all those beautiful summers at the cottage.

I included some pictures of the cupcakes as well as some of the view at our beautiful cottage. Enjoy! As always, send your pictures, comments or questions to!

Someone mentioned they weren't able to comment on my post. I believe you need to have a gmail account to comment. Feel free to send me an email or tweet me on twitter @caithowland, and I'll answer any questions you have. Sorry if that's an incovenience! :/ Love you all xoxoxo

S'mores Cupcakes (Makes 48)

Chocolate Batter:
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Graham Cracker Crumble:
1 package graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp almond extract

Marshmallow Frosting:
2 7oz container Marshmallow creme
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond extract
1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners. Using a food processer, grind graham crackers to crumb. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter. After butter is melted, take off heat and mix in graham crackers, brown sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.

Combine cocoa powder, espresso and hot water until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Heat butter and sugar over medium heat in saucepan until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar mixture until cooled. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla and cocoa/espresso mixture. Add a third of the flour mixture, then half of the sour cream. Continue alternating until all ingredients have been incorporated.

Spoon mixture into cupcake liners, fill 3/4s of the way. Sprinkle graham cracker mixture over top of batter until mostly covered. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes.

For the frosting, using electric mixer, beat1 stick of room temperature butter in large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add in marshmallow creme until fully mixed. Next add in powdered sugar in 4 increments. Lastly, add in vanilla and almond extracts. Add 1/2 tbsp of milk and check consistency. Add other 1/2 tbsp if necessary. Place frosting in piping bag with large tip to fill cupcakes.

Insert piping bag in middle of cooled cupcakes, being sure to only go 1/4 of the way down. Squeeze piping bag to fill middle and frost a little on the top as desired. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or serve warm.

I like to fill the cupcakes while they are still warm, but you can of course wait a few hours if you'd like them fully cooled. Waiting the few hours will help with presentation, as the marshmallow frosting is all gooey if you frost it soon after they have back. I personally like it warm, but try it both ways and let me know what you think!

Baked Brie with Apple Sauce

Aloha Everyone!

Sorry it's been a while, it's been a crazy week for me! Anyways, yesterday was my dad's birthday so I figured I'd celebrate him and share my favorite dish he makes, Baked Brie with Apple Sauce! I'm also going to share some pictures from the beautiful checkerboard cake I made him. Maybe someday soon I'll share that recipe too, I want to experiment a little more with the recipe first though :)

Baked Brie with Apple Sauce

1 wheel of brie cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
3 tbsp butter, with extra to grease pan
2 apples
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 baking dish with butter. Tightly wrap cheese wheel with puff pastry on top and bottom, pinching sides tightly together. Place in baking dish. Chop butter into pieces and place on top of brie. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Peel and core apples and chop into small chunks. Allow to simmer with water, sugar and cinnamon until soft. Pour over brie before serving.

Here are some of the pictures of my dad's epic birthday cake! Hope you like the recipe, email me some feedback :)

A special message to my dad: Dad, you are amazing. You have been such an inspiration to me my whole life. You are such a hard worker, and an amazing cook. I love you so much and thank you for everything you have done to get me to where I am today. You are the best dad I could ever ask for. Stop being so hard on yourself for your cooking, I hope to be half the cook you are someday! I love you!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Almond White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey Everyone!

Two posts today because I didn't post on Friday or Saturday <yikes!> I've had a rough couple days and nothing makes my day better than baking up some goodies. Today I decided to experiment with a cookie recipe. Jon gave his stamp of approval so I decided I would share with you guys.

One thing with all of my baking recipes is I always add almond extract. To me, it just seems to bring out the sweetness in the food, but never makes it too sweet. I really recommend for you guys to try making it with almond extract at least once, and if you don't like the flavor, you can just skip it all together. I also loooove using white chocolate because it just gives a unique twist on our old favorite, chocolate chip cookies.

I made my cookies without any nuts, but you can definitely add a cup or two of nuts if you prefer. Anyways, here is my twist on the always amazing chocolate chip cookie!

Almond White Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1. tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in both sugars to combine. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture in 3 parts. Mix in white chocolate chips and nuts (if used) by hand. Place rounded tablespoon cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Thanks everyone for reading and following me. Send in your pictures, comments or questions to

xoxo Cait :-*

Chicken Parm

Hey Everyone!

So I don't have an ounce of Italian in me but my stomach doesn't seem to accept that. I absolutely love Italian food. I am not a huge marinara fan, usually I go for alfredo. However, chicken parm is something I never can say no to. Chicken parm is one of Jon's favorite meals so this was one of the dishes that I really wanted to master a few years ago. I love to use this recipe for his birthday, or our anniversary. I sent it to one of my friends and she made it for her father's birthday and said she had a great response. I hope you all have the same results.

As always, be sure to send in your questions, comments and pictures!

Cait's Chicken Parm

4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 tbsp dry parsley
2 cups and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Prepared Pasta
2 cups alfredo or marinara sauce (whichever your preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Rectangular baking dish with 1 cup of sauce spread along bottom. Prepare pasta as directed on box. While pasta is cooking, set up 3 plates or bowls on counter. First has flour, salt and pepper- use fork to blend ingredients. Next has beaten eggs. Last has bread crumbs, parsley and 2 cups of parmesan- reserve remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan. On cutting board using parchment paper and meat mallet, beat chicken breats to 1/4 inch width. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each breast in flour mixture, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Cook the chicken in the hot oil on both sides until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Pour prepared pasta over sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over pasta. Top with prepared chicken. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese over top baking dish. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

If you guys don't have a meat mallet, use your rolling pin or frying pan. Its a great way to take out your aggression, lol.

Hope you guys like it! Send me those pics-
xoxo Cait

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Aloha Kakahiaka! (Good Morning)

It is early in the morning, or late in the night depending how you look at it. It is 6:38am here in beautiful Hawaii and I still have not gone to sleep. I decided to take some excedrin migraine which has caffeine in it, at 10pm. Sooooo I stayed up all night watching old episodes of Big Brother. After I got bored with that, I decided to be productive with my time and write out another of my favorite recipes, Spinach-Artichoke Dip. This dip is something I always order at restaurants and something I've always found myself critiquing. I loooove cheese and I always felt that the dips needed more cheese and more salt. So I researched online and failed a lot experimenting, but finally came up with a dip that I like to serve with bagel chips or tortilla chips. Unless my friends are terrific actors, this dip is always well received at parties.

As usual, please send me some feedback since anyone besides my friends is impartial and I'd love to get some unbiased opinions :)

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 12oz jar of quartered and marinated artichoke hearts

1 cup coarsley chopped spinach
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves minced or grated garlic
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1 cup finely shredded low moisture part skim mozarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded 3 cheese blend (Parmesan, asiago, romano)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to lighty grease 8x8 baking dish. Coarsley chop spinach and artichoke hearts. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle extra shredded mozarella on top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Calorie Count: 12 servings at 176 calories (does not include serving chips)

I'm going to be serving this dip at a party this weekend so I will definitely come back and post a picture or two so you all can enjoy the tastiness with your eyes before you try out the recipe! :)

Please excuse any craziness this blog may contain, my thoughts are jumbled due to lack of sleep. Love you all <3 xoxo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Cake


Okay so have you read the title yet?? Yeah, we're doing gooey butter cakes the way they're meant to be done, with Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

I fell in love with Gooey Butter Cakes watching Paula Deen on Food Network. She made a Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. Unfortunately Jon doesn't like Pumpkin so I was the only one who appreciated its yumminess. So I was forced to get creative and start reworking the gooey butter cake to something Jon and I both love. And after much experimenting I got this amazing cake out of it that is always requested for bake sales and parties.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Cake

1 8 oz container softened cream cheese
1 1 lb box powdered sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, whichever you like)
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

1 box brownie mix
1 egg, beaten
1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. First combine brownie mix, egg and melted butter in mixing bowl. Pat mix into prepared baking pan. Next, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. Add eggs one at a time to mix. Next, beat in peanut butter. Then mix in butter, vanilla and almond extracts. Make sure it is fully combined, and then pour over top of cake mix.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Cake will be slighty gooey in middle. Let cake cool before serving.

The cake is also very yummy if you let set in the fridge for an hour or so, it won't be warm, but it will be easy to serve and just as tasty!

Calories: 16 servings, 393 calories per serving

Feedback is always appreciated,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Blog- Amaretto French Toast


So everyone is always asking me for the recipes of all the crazy concotions I whip up. I've decided I'll start a blog, easy for me to keep track of my recipes and share them with everyone! It makes my life a lot easier because I've been searching everywhere for a scrapbook/ recipe book, where you can basically build your own cookbook. I saw one a while ago and decided against getting it and I've been kicking myself ever since. With this, I don't have to do any scrapbook work, just typing, which I'm pretty good at. I can't make any promises about my grammar or spelling, haha.

So, I figured my very first blog I should start with the very first recipe I mastered, French Toast. I used to be a horrendous cook. One of the first meals I tried to pull off for Jon (my fiance) was a Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole. After 4 hours in the oven, the outside of the chicken was like rubber, the inside was bleeding and the rice was stuck to the bottom. We were starving so we threw away the chicken and braved through the overcooked recipe. Jon is definitely a keeper. I attempted it again a few years later and realized my mistake before was not foiling it before putting it in the oven.

Anyways, even though I couldn't cook chicken to save my life, I was always amazing at French Toast. Anytime I'd stay over a friends house or go on a trip with the family, I would make French Toast for one of the breakfasts. I've experimented over the years and finally came up with what I think is amazing French Toast. I usually make it with wheat toast because I always have that on hand, but it is also amazing with Sweet Bread. The recipe below serves 14 slices of standard wheat toast.

Please give me feedback if you do try it out at . I swear I'm not that much of a loser that I created an email for a blog no one will read besides my friends. However, you need a gmail email to start the blog. :)

Amaretto French Toast with Cream Cheese Icing

12-14 slices of bread, depending upon thickness

2 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Amaretto liquor
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

8oz softened cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Amaretto liquor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat griddle or skillet with butter or cooking spray and heat to medium. Mix milk, eggs, flour, sugar, Amaretto, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together in large mixing bowl. Turn each slice of bread to coat in batter and transfer to skillet. Cook toast to golden brown and transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm while remaining cook.

For cream cheese icing, beat softened cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add sifted powdered sugar and beat in. Beat in both vanilla extract and Amaretto.

I usually take the cream cheese icing and make french toast sandwiches with cream cheese in the middle, but you can also use it over the french toast in place of syrup. Or you can skip the icing altogether and enjoy with good ole maple syrup! Enjoy and don't forget to send in your feedback, pictures, etc!

2 Slices without Cream Cheese Icing is 306 Calories
Cream Cheese Icing has 183 calories per serving, 14 servings in recipe.


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