Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting For Two

I just want a cupcake dammit.

That’s all.

Just one little innocent cupcake.

Well, maybe 2. Just in case I’m having “one of those days.” OK 2 cupcakes. That’s all I want.

But you can’t just make 2 cupcakes. No. You need to make 12. Or 16. Or 18. Or 24. Or 25 because there is always that liiiiiiitle extra batter left over, but you just have to throw it out because you don’t have an extra cupcake pan to make that one little extra cupcake.

I think the cupcake people got together with the hot dog and hot dog bun people and together they decided to mess with our heads. Why can’t they just sell the same number of hot dogs as there are hot dog buns in a package?! Really. Stop messing with me. I’m on to you hot dog people. On. To. You.

So I thought I was doomed. Doomed to make an unnecessary 10 extra cupcakes.

And then I saw these.

There are just certain things in this world that make me happy. And a cupcake recipe that makes only 2 cupcakes is on the top of that list.

Whoever thought of this idea deserves a medal. Seriously. All I want to do is hug this person for an awkwardly long amount of time. And I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

But what blew this recipe out of the water was that it was a pumpkin cupcake.

TIS THE PUMPKIN SEASON!!!

I love everything about fall and I love everything about baking with pumpkin. I seriously have such a difficult time deciding on what to bake in the fall because literally EVERYTHING makes my mouth water. I want to make every.single.fall.recipe.

But I have neither time nor money to accomplish that. Baby steps dear child.

But these Pumpkin Spice cuppies? Had to make.

I love my KitchenAid. It’s the closest thing I have to a relationship at this point. But I know it needs a break, just like I need break from it. It’s a healthy break. Don’t worry. We have a totally healthy relationship. He gets cranky sometimes, I overuse it sometimes. But the love is there.

So when I see recipes in which I don’t need to use it for the entire recipe, I’m a fan.

This came together in a snap. Just what I needed.

And the taste? Oh my goodness gracious.

This not only became one of my favorite fall recipes, but it just became one of my favorite cupcake recipes ever. The cupcake had the perfect balance of pumpkin taste with that warmth that the pumpkin pie spice and gloves brings. The texture of that cake was also great. It wasn’t very cakey that usually comes with baking with pumpkin. It had a nice solid, moist texture.

The kicker though? That Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting.

Like, I need to make more of that. ASAP. Weird that I thought of tripling the frosting recipe for 2 cupcakes? AFTER I ate them? This frosting needs to become a part of your life. Hell, make a cinnamon vanilla frosting face mask and wear it at night. I don’t care. Just make it.

Amazing.

It really is a great thing that this recipe only makes 2 cupcakes. I seriously could do some damage. Like “eat myself into a food coma and not fit into any of my clothes” damage.

You work hard. You deserve a treat.

Please make these. Because if you don’t, I’m going to have to and I can’t handle it.

My clothes will thank you. And you will thank yourself for making these.

Everybody wins.

PUMPKIN SPICE CUPCAKES WITH CINNAMON VANILLA FROSTING FOR TWO

Recipe by Bakergirl

Ingredients:

1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 heaping teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with two liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together egg white and sugar until thoroughly combined. Whisk in oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until fully incorporated.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, and salt. Gradually stir into pumpkin mixture until just combined. Stir in milk. The batter will be very liquidy.
Divide the batter between the two cupcake liners, filling slightly more than 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool completely before frosting.
CINNAMON VANILLA FROSTING
Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon shortening
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions:
beat together the softened butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the milk and mix at high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in cinnamon and frost cupcakes!
And yes, I used my KitchenAid for this frosting. I couldn’t make a clean break. And plus, I was just too lazy to do it by hand. Whatevs.
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Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Glaze

This one is for Grandma.

8 months ago, I lost one of the most important people in my life.

I try and celebrate her everyday because she deserves that much. But as we go through our lives, day by day, things begin to get in the way. Work starts to take over our minds, weekends get filled with the things you don’t have time for during the week. Thoughts get filled with stress, worry, ingredients, recipes, time, money, etc. Spending quality time with the people you love most in this world, traveling to places, reading books, going this way, going that way. And then all of a sudden she’s not in your thoughts 24/7 like she should be.

As time passes, there have been moments right before I go to bed thinking “Did I think of Grandma today? Did I honor her today?”

It seems simple enough. A thought here…a thought there. But when did a thought or a memory lose out to thoughts about a game, or a recipe, or work, or what I should have for dinner tonight?

She deserves to be thought of every single day. Because no matter what was going on in her life, she ALWAYS was thinking of her family. She called everyday to see how everyone was. When a family member wasn’t with her, she asked about them. She wanted to know how they were. Her family was always on her mind. No matter what.

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS.

Also, NOTHING would make my Grandma happier than by not only have everyone together, but having everyone together…eating.

Food and Family. My Grandma in a nutshell.

And the woman could go to town at the dinner table. Sometimes it really was a sight to see. She was a champion.

I like to think that’s where I get my eating habits from.

I also think she’s where I get my love of cooking and baking.

Grandma was never much of a baker, but man, the things she would cook in the kitchen.

And just like any Italian mom/grandma she absolutely LOVED cooking for her family. Cooking was one of her ways of showing how much she loved us. And when she got older and more fragile and couldn’t cook for us anymore, I think that really broke her. And it broke my heart.

But still, whenever we would sit around that dining room table together as a family, I don’t think she could have been any happier.

Food and Family.

Two things that had so much meaning for my Grandma, now have so much meaning in my own life. And I have her to thank for that.

So while I may not think of her everyday minute of everyday, every time I am in my kitchen cooking and baking (and eating), I am honoring her. And I know it’s when I am in the kitchen that she is with me, by my side.

ALWAYS.

This past weekend was her birthday. So what better way to honor her by getting some family together and sharing a nice family Sunday dinner. She would have loved every second of it. And of course I wanted to honor her in my own way.

Grandma loved apple desserts. Apple turnovers, apple pie, etc. It may have been because it was easy to get those desserts sugar free (she had diabetes), but that’s neither here nor there. I just always remember her eating apple desserts all the time. So whenever I have a apple-y dessert, I think of her. So that’s what I wanted to make for her birthday.

But naturally I needed to add a little touch of Deanna. And naturally I did that by adding brown butter.

Whatevs. Grandma would be proud.

Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Glaze.

And it’s as good as it sounds.

Between the shredded apples, apple cider and apple sauce, the cake is incredibly moist and incredibly apple-y with a wonderful texture.

The brown butter vanilla glaze is simply hands down my FAVORITE glaze I have ever made. And honestly, when is adding brown butter to ANYTHING not good? It just adds so much depth to anything you add it to. But the real kicker in the glaze? Vanilla beans. Yes, you still use extract, but adding the actual vanilla beans just brings it all together.

And did I mention that you put the glaze on the cake when the glaze and the cake are still warm? And that the glaze is thick enough that even though a ton of glaze seeped into the center of the cake there was still SO much thick awesome sauce glaze that it really wasn’t an issue? And did I mention that all I wanted to do was take the semi-hardened ball-o-glaze that went into the middle of the cake and sit in a darkened room where no one could see me while I ate it in my own personal glaze glory?

No? Well, that totally didn’t happen.

This cake is  just the perfect fall dessert and the perfect dessert to honor Grandma.

She totally would have loved it, and totally would have tried to sneak an extra piece even though she totally shouldn’t.

I would not want to be the person in charge of testing her blood sugar readings if she had a slice of this.

Grandpa? Oh, he loved it. Look at him just attack his slice. Doing Grandma proud.

It turned out to be a beautiful but bittersweet day. One where we had a wonderful day enjoying each other’s company but also wishing Grandma could be here with us.

But I know she is always with us.

Especially when we’re together. Especially when we’re all sitting around the dining room table eating, laughing, telling stories and enjoying each other’s company over food.

ALWAYS.

APPLE BUNDT CAKE WITH BROWN BUTTER VANILLA BEAN GLAZE

Recipe by A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Apple Cake Ingredients:

1 T. butter and some flour for preparing the pan
4 medium apples – peeled, cored, & shredded (use the big holes on your grater), to make about 3-1/2 cups shredded apples – I used 2 Granny Smith, 1 Gala, and 1 McIntosh
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-1/3 c. white sugar, divided
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. mace
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce
4 large eggs
1/2 c. apple cider
2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan by smearing butter over every little nook and cranny of its interior. Then add some flour and tilt your pan so flour sticks to all of the buttery surface. Set pan aside.

Stir the shredded apple with lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the white sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining 1 cup white sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, apple cider, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Then add the flour mixture and combine once again. Add the apples and mix until the apples are evenly distributed. Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto your serving platter.

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Glaze Ingredients:

2 to 3 T. half and half
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
vanilla bean seeds scraped from 1/2 a vanilla bean (split bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds)
4 oz. butter
2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

First, pour 3 tablespoons of half and half into a small bowl and set aside. This is just to take the chill off, while you prepare the rest of the glaze.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sifted (don’t skip the sifting!) powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the butter until golden brown. It should smell delicious and toasty. If it smells burnt, you went too far! This should take about 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully pour browned butter into the powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds, leaving the darkened butter sediment behind. Add 2 tablespoons of the half and half, then add the vanilla. Stir vigorously until smooth. You want the glaze to be somewhat thick, but easily pourable. If it seems too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of half and half. Pour the glaze over the cake while both the glaze and cake are still warm.

Let the glaze set…then DIG IN!!

Banana Doughnuts with Peanut Butter Frosting

If I never eat another piece of bread or a croissant ever in my life, I’ll be more than OK with that.

Italians don’t do breakfast. And honestly, neither do I. Give me a banana and a coffee, and I’m set.

In Italy, all they do is cappuccino and maybe some fruit. So you would think I would fit right in. Yeah, so did I.

The thing that had happened was we had to eat breakfast in the hotel because we always had to leave to start our day really early. But for me, I don’t eat breakfast until I’ve been up for a while. I can’t really eat as soon as I wake up. But I knew I should eat breakfast every day on vacation because our schedule was so full, I didn’t want to not eat and be starving before it was time for lunch.

And the only breakfast option was the breakfast buffet at the hotels every morning. What did this consist of, you ask?

Rolls of bread, croissants, coffee, cereal, some cold cuts, and eggs.

I’m not a huge milk fan, so I didn’t want cereal. I don’t really like eggs when I can’t see them being cooked. It’s a thing I have. If they’re not from my house, I don’t eat them. And ham cold cuts in the morning when my appetite isn’t its strongest is not the definition of appealing to me.

So what was left? Rolls and croissants and coffee.

Every. Single. Day. Roll of bread, a croissant and coffee. At first, having them was no big deal. I love bread. I truly do. And to make it even better, I was in the land of Nutella. What could be better than slathering some Nutella on bread or a croissant? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing better.

Fast forward to about day 6. Just looking at a roll would make me break out in the bread sweats. Not even the glorious Nutella could save me at this point. There are just times you reach your limit.

What I wouldn’t have done to have some french toast or even some frozen waffles. And maple syrup. And some breakfast sausages. I started dreaming of biting into a true breakfast sausage and longing for the snap of the skin when I sink my teeth into it. I would have done anything. Hell, a simple banana would have looked like gold. A muffin? A doughnut? I would have taken anything. Just please. Don’t give me another roll or croissant.

Italy, I get it. You don’t do breakfast. I understand that. I AM you. But there are times when a girl just wants variety.

So when I got home, I made doughnuts. I needed to make something to make my breakfast nightmares go away.

But I couldn’t just do chocolate doughnuts or vanilla doughnuts. No. This situation was far too serious. I needed something epic. Something that would this slap that roll of bread in the face and show it who’s boss.

Banana Doughnuts with Peanut Butter Frosting. Oh, and did I mention that there is brown butter in that frosting?

Yeah. No biggie.

Come on. You’ve all done it. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Right? So good.

That’s what these are. Peanut butter banana sandwiches. Just in doughnut form. And what ISN’T better in doughnut form? And add some brown butter? JACKPOT.

Italy…listen to me. Serve these doughnuts in the morning, and everyone in Italy will become breakfast people. And it will keep a certain American tourist happy. Because I’m coming  back. You know that, right? And I know you have no problem feeding me for all the other meals. My pants can attest to that.  But if you could simply just add these to your breakfast routine, that would be molto bene.

Ok, so how about a trade off. You make these for breakfast, and I’ll ease up on your gelato. There has to be a shortage from my visit. I apologize.

So we have a deal? Awesome.

Grazie, Italy.

Have a doughnut on me.

BANANA DOUGHNUTS WITH PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

Recipe by Shutterbean

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • hot water
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 2 nonstick, 6-count doughnut pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and the oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon the batter about three-quarters full into the prepared pans. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out dry, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool completely on a rack.

Put the salted butter in a small pan and heat over medium-high heat until melted and nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes. Place the peanut butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted & smooth (about 15-30 seconds). Add the browned butter to the peanut butter and slowly stir in the confectioner’s sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of hot water into the mix. Dip the bottom (smooth edge) of your doughnut into the peanut butter frosting.

NOTE!! These pictures are not mine. Naturally, my memory card is not working right now, so I can’t download my photos. These wonderful, beautiful photos are from Tracey from Shutterbean, The link to her website is in the recipe. Once I can download my photos, I’ll replace these great photos with my amateur, not nearly as good, photos.

Ciao

(Taps microphone)

Testing, testing, 1, 2.

Ahem.

Hi. Hello.

Remember me? Well, here I am. Back from Italy.

I’m sitting here trying to wrack my brain as to how to put my trip into words.

…I’ve been sitting here staring at this screen for 15 minutes.

I can’t form what I experienced into words. I’m trying, but everything I type just does not come across how I want it to. Like, no matter what I write, I will never be able to share my true feelings and thoughts about what I experienced.

Take my pictures for example. I took 1150 pictures and looking through them now, I feel like I didn’t capture everything I experienced. I kept snapping photo after photo after photo, and it still feels like I didn’t capture it all.

So to sit here and try and write what I thought of Italy literally is the most difficult thing to do.

So for now, I’ll just hold onto my thoughts and remember my trip through my memories and feelings that I can’t express through words.

But don’t worry. It’ll all come out. Promise.

But I know what you’re looking for. Cookies. Cakes. Cupcakes. Brownies. Dessert, dessert, dessert.

And I’m looking for them too.  I’ve missed them. I’ve missed being in my kitchen baking. And I’ve missed sharing things with you.

I’m here now and more than ready to get started. Just a little patience please while I get adjusted. I already have so many things I want to share with you, and I need to get organized and decide what on earth to do first.

But get excited.

I totally am. Shiz is about to go DOWN!