Golden Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Moist and tender with vanilla bean flecks, these Golden Vanilla Bean Cupcakes are a great “go-to” cupcake. Use the frosting of your choice–these taste excellent with host of different frostings and toppings.

Golden Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Soooooo…for those of you who were privy to my faux pas with accidentally hitting the “publish” button on a Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe before I actually had the post ready to publish, here is the recipe and some fun pics. But first, I’m going to wish you a Happy New Year. Continue Reading

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

The other day my two little grandsons were visiting at my house. When it was time for them to go home, Gavin, the five year old started looking for a blue plane with which he likes to play when he visits. I have toys and books for the boys that are just for use at my house, but the three of us have established a lending policy, too. Both of the boys get to borrow a toy or book until the next time they visit me. When they return the item that they borrowed, they get to take something else home with them. It’s a nice little tradition and helps to teach the boys responsibility while also allowing them to have a special new play item for a while.

Gavin had decided that he wanted to take a blue airplane, but he couldn’t find it. Toys often disappear under or behind furniture around here. Any given toy could be “misplaced” in any given room on any given visit. We find toys everywhere. One night my husband pulled back the cover on his side of the bed to find that there was a line of matchbox cars parked under the covers. His side of the bed also had some dried strawberry milk stains on it, so we knew who the “perpetrator” had been. It was a funny moment and we had to laugh despite the mess.

So, anyway, Gavin couldn’t find the blue airplane. He had looked under the usual furniture for the plane, but it was not there. I told him to go into the living room and look in more unusual places. A few minutes later Gavin came walking into the kitchen with a disgusted, irritated look on his face. “Mom-mom? Here’s one of your pumpkins from last year,” he said as he plopped a small ornamental pumpkin down on the counter top. He continued to look at me as though I was a completely scatterbrained dingbat.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

Hmmm. Somehow one of the miniature pumpkins which may or may not have been carried around in a certain toy shopping cart by one of the half pints, may or may not have either been deliberately or accidentally placed under the couch. The really interesting thing is that the pumpkin simply dried out instead of rotting. That’s good news. The amusing thing was how Gavin was blaming me for having been careless with the pumpkin. Seriously? What would I have been doing playing around with a miniature pumpkin?

The plane was never found and when I offered the dried pumpkin as a replacement, I was met with a glare. All of this was from a kid who has been known to keep rollie-pollies in his pockets and hide his dead goldfish behind the plant in the living room. Picky, picky, picky.

I had planned and written a different intro for this post, but what with the discovery of that dessicated pumpkin from under the living room sofa, I am saving the other intro for a different post. Some things are just meant to be.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

The recipe for this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake was derived from a previous post, Cinnamon Roll Cake. I made some substitutions and additions and holy smack-a-rolly I found a new path to food heaven. This cake has the stamp of approval from numerous health-care professionals of various national origins and political leanings. The two biggest questions were: 1) Does this have walnuts or pecans, and 2) Did you actually eat some of this yourself?

Regarding the first question, there were bets laid as to which nut I had used and much gloating and glee were had by the winners. (I used pecans.) Regarding the second question, yes I had actually eaten my own cooking, hence the reason for there being only 1 1/2 cakes brought to work instead of a full 2 cakes.

So that there will be no mistakes about the outstanding qualities of this cake, please note that it contains pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and sugar. As if this was not nigh unto completely sinful enough, I also added pure maple syrup to the glaze. Be sure to genuflect when you read the recipe.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Roll Cake as found at The Girl Who Ate Everything


    For the Cake:
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter, melted
  • For the Topping:
  • ½ cup real butter, softened
  • ½ cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, (optional) (always measure the nuts first then chop them)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9” x 13” glass baking dish. Please note: if you are using a dark metal pan, bake the cake at 325-degree F. If you are using a light metal cake pan, then the cake may be baked at 350-degrees F. (I used a glass baking dish.)
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs. Add milk, pumpkin, and vanilla and whisk together.
  4. Once combined well, slowly stir in the 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  5. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, pumpkin, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin spice. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.
  6. For the cake: Add the liquid ingredients from steps 3 and 4 to the flour mixture from step 2. Stir together just until ingredients are well combined. The batter is rather stiff.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly.
  8. Drop the prepared topping evenly over cake batter by tablespoonsful. They will be fairly close together. Using a knife, marble/swirl the topping through the cake. Simply move the blade of the knife back and forth through the cake batter and topping; across the pan, then up and down the pan. Place the blade of knife deep into the batter, even scraping the bottom of the pan. This batter is on the thick side and it will take effort on your part to get some of the topping to work down into the batter. Don't overwork the topping and cake batter together. You don't want to be a homogenous mixture. There will be areas where it is mostly cake and areas where there will be mostly topping. Some of the topping will rest on top of the cake, and some of it will go completely through the cake. If it looks like a big mess, then you have done it all correctly. 🙂
  9. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. You want to make sure that the cake is done, but don’t over-cook it. In my oven, the cake took about 35-37 minutes.
  10. Remove cake from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you assemble the glaze.
  11. Place powdered sugar, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.
  12. Allow the cake to cool before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This cake is very rich. It can easily feed 15.


Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

This post is dedicated to Jenna @ Jenna’s Everything Blog and is part of a virtual baby shower in her honor. Jenna is pregnant with little Alice and has about 6 weeks left before the grand opening. (That’s a funny line, isn’t it!)

I love Jenna’s blog. Her writing, her life, her photos all make me smile and leave me feeling happy.

This is my first time participating in a virtual baby shower, so I have been a little nervous. I mean, my blog post is a gift to someone! It’s not like I can give her a gift receipt and say, “just return it for something you need more or like better”. Which, in reality makes it a more personal gift, I suppose…something from the heart.

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

When I was trying to decide what to do for the shower, I looked forever at Jenna’s blog, trying to figure out what she would “like”. I saw a lot of fruit desserts, which is totally right up my alley. Desserts centered around fruit are my very, very favorite. That was true even before I developed a chocolate allergy. Fruit trumps chocolate, can you believe it?!

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Jenna, these are easy to make; very versatile, too. I took bits and pieces from different recipes, even including one of my own recipes (which I have never posted here), to make these bars. You can add any kind of topping, whatever puts a smile on your pucker upper. I used raspberries, raspberry puree, blueberries, blueberry puree, and left some plain. The cream cheese layer has a hint of lemon thanks to lemon zest and lemon juice.

The crust to these bars is made from Mother’s (brand name) Frosted Lemon Cookies and vanilla wafers, so the crust tastes all lemony, too! I almost like the crust the best.

Happy baby day, Jenna. You’re going to be a great mom.

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Yield: 24 squares

Recipe Sources and ideas: Filling and blueberry design inspired by Paula Deen's Savannah Cheesecake Cookies. Raspberry puree and swirl designs inspired by Annie's Eats Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes. The crust--All me, baby. All me.


    For the Crust:
  • 20 vanilla wafers
  • 30 Mother's brand Frosted Lemon Cookies
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the Cheesecake Layer:
  • 16 ounces (weight) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Fruit Puree (If you are using the fruit puree as a decorative topping to be baked with the cheesecake, use the recipe amounts as stated. If you want to have a fruit puree to drizzle over the bars, then double the recipe. I had some difficulty with the blueberry puree, so I am not including it here...long story.)
  • 3 ounces (weight) raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. Crush the vanilla wafers and the lemon cookies into fine crumbs. (Food processor, blender, rolling pin, etc.) Put in a medium bowl and pour the melted butter over the crumbs. Blend well.
  3. Press crust evenly and firmly into a 9" x13" baking pan. (I used a glass baking dish.) Bake for 8-10 minutes until crust is set. It should be golden brown, which is just a little bit darker than before it was cooked.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. (Low speed.) Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  6. Add the eggs and blend on low speed until incorporated.
  7. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and the paddle attachment. The zest has a tendency to collect on the paddle. Give the ingredients a quick stir to make sure that everything is well distributed.
  8. Pour on top of the crust. (Note: If baking with a decorative fruit puree topping, please see directions below.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until filling is set. It is okay if the middle jiggles just slightly. I like to do the toothpick test, though. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the filling. The toothpick will have some of the filling clinging to it, however the filling should not look liquid on the toothpick. If the filling has cooked properly, there will be little moist bits of it clinging to the toothpick.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut into squares. I cut the cheesecake into 24 squares.
  10. Directions for baking with decorative fruit puree topping
  11. In a blender, puree raspberries and sugar together.
  12. Put a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl. Pour puree into sieve. Stir the puree in the sieve with a spatula or wooden spoon to help separate it from the seeds.
  13. After pouring the filling over the crust, drop small dollops of puree over the surface of the unbaked filling. Using a small wooden skewer or a toothpick, gently swirl through the fruit puree dollops to create a marbled effect. Proceed with step #8 above.


Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Check out these other great bloggers’ posts for Jenna’s shower!

Cheesecake Cookie Bars

I’m off to work with these. Yummmmmmm.

This post has been linked to the following:

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

I had made what I thought was going to be an outstanding lemon cake and wanted to frost it with some strawberry frosting.  It just all sounded right in my head; and I’m sure that it would have been a spectaculor combination if the cake had kept it’s side of the bargain.

Although the cake was…well…weird, the frosting was amazing; worthy of my things-worth-eating-with-a-spoon list amazing.  I wish that I could claim ownership of the recipe, but alas it came from her majesty, The Martha. (Yes, Martha S.) 

Just three tablespoons of strawberry puree sends this frosting over the moon.  It turns an ordinary cake into something extraordinary.

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting
Recipe @ that’s some good cookin as found at this link
Printable Version

  • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined.
  4. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Fudge Mallow Cake

Fudge Mallow Cake

For the third recipe in my Memory Lane series, I most humbly present to you “Fudge Mallow Cake”.  And I mean humbly because I have had to jump through quite a few hoops just to offer you this gooey, messy picture of a really incredible cake.  What in the heck happened, you ask?  Thank you for your concern, but I shall not trouble you with my tales of cooking woe.  Oh, except for one thing.  I will tell you this so that you can laugh and then at least partly understand why the cake in that picture looks a bit…um…free-spirited.

When I finally got the cake all put together (only took three days–loooooooong story), I took the bottle of chocolate syrup out of the fridge to drizzle the syrup on the top of the cake.  However, the syrup was cold and stiff, so I put the bottle in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften things up.  At about 20 seconds I heard a soft high pitched sound which I recognized to be pressure being released from the bottle.

I sort of was scared to open the microwave because I didn’t want chocolate syrup to explode all over me, so I just stood there across the kitchen staring at the microwave as if it would suck me into a vortex of cooking insanity.  Then the timer went off and I continued to stare at the foreboding microwave, fearful of what lay behind door #1.  After a few moments I finally worked up the courage to walk across the kitchen and face my fate.

Resigned to having to clean up a chocolate disaster of monumental proportions, I opened the microwave door.  Unbelievable! White interior with no exploding chocolate despite the fact that the bottle was bulging and misshapen from the hot chocolate syrup within it.  I carefully removed the bottle, with the lid facing away from me, and walked over to the kitchen sink.  I covered the lid with a pot holder and pulled the flip top up.  I truly expected a chocolate volcano to erupt out of the end of the bottle, but there wasn’t even so much as a phtt!

I gently shook things around a bit to see if the chocolate was a liquid or a curdled solid.  I could tell that the syrup had softened up quite a bit and felt that it was actually just right for adding swirls to the top of the cake.  As you can see, I was wrong.  Mostly it was just right for making a big runny chocolate mess on my beautiful cake.  And what did I do…why I took pictures of the whole thing, focusing on the most interesting parts of the chocolate drips over the edge of the cake.  As much as I wanted to only present perfectly cooked food on this blog, life isn’t always perfect.  So welcome to real life.

This is the first cake I remember eating as a child, except that my mom’s cake looked considerably better.  I think I was about 4 years old and I can still remember how my mother looked from behind as she stood at the kitchen counter making this cake for a family reunion.  I know that’s probably an odd little memory, but there’s no accounting for the randomness of images that the brain chooses to keep.  Perhaps that particular memory has stayed with me because I was so intrigued by the different elements that this cake contains.  It’s like a German chocolate cake that decided to play dress-up in movie star clothes.  Aside from its humble beginnings with a boxed cake mix,  this cake gets all decked out with a luscious caramel-style topping, layers of marshmallow cream frosting, and swirls of chocolate syrup.  What more could a cake ask for?

Fudge Mallow Cake
Recipe by Terri’s mom @ that’s some good cookin’
Printable Recipe

The cake:

  • 1 German chocolate cake mix (the original recipe called for a homemade German chocolate cake…not a good plan for me)

Mix and bake according to package directions for a 9″ x 13″ pan.  Allow to cool before adding frostings.

Frosting #1:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 egg yolks at room temperature (save whites for frosting #2)

Combine above ingredients and cook over low heat until thickened to the consistency of pudding, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Frost cake with cooled mixture.

Fudge Mallow Cake  Fudge Mallow Cake

Frosting #2:

  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 7 ounce jar of marshmallow cream

Mix egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and corn syrup in the bowl portion of a double boiler. Place over boiling water. Beat ingredients with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat. Add marshmallow cream. Beat to spreading consistency, then frost cake on top of frosting #1.

 Fudge Mallow Cake  Fudge Mallow Cake
  • 1 bottle chocolate syrup (I used Hershey’s).  You will not need the whole bottle, so save some for another use…like maybe on a spoon…with peanut butter.

Using a spatula, add swirls with chocolate syrup.  Oh, and good luck with that swirl thing.  You might want to wait until you serve the cake and then drizzle some chocolate syrup across the top of the cake piece.

P.S.–Be sure to save a little frosting for yourself.  It will make you happy.
 Fudge Mallow Cake  Fudge Mallow Cake