Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes Dipped in Dark Chocolate Ganache

Everyone has their own opinions on where is the best place to get a great cupcake here in LA. Some people say Sprinkles, others say Magnolia, maybe Susie Cakes, I could keep listing them but you won’t believe where I’ve found a great cupcake. Recently, I caved when I walked past the dessert section of Trader Joe’s and snuck a 4 pack of these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling into the cart. Normally, I do not participate in store bought cookies, cakes, or any dessert for that matter. I know that I will generally still uphold this rule, but I now have a MAJOR exception for these cupcakes.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Trader Joe’s made the best cupcake that I have had in months. I KNOW. It’s absolutely absurd. Totally insane. You’re probably asking yourself how many drinks I had before tasting this cupcake, but no alcohol was involved.

The problem with so many cupcake shops is that the cake is boring and the frosting is overly sweet to try and balance it out.

These cupcakes are the perfect balance of a great cake and instead of a sugary frosting, it has a dark chocolate ganache instead which is so rich and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget this peanut butter filling which is basically slightly sweetened peanut butter, A.K.A Heaven.

Like the rest of the desserts I see in stores, I said to myself “I have to remake this”, and oh did I.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

There are no more words. This is THE cupcake.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled CupcakesI know…


Chocolate Mousse Cake {Birthday Celebration}

While the majority of you were off celebrating your fathers last weekend, I was having a birthday! [woohoo] Every few years my birthday and Father’s Day overlap and cause funny little arguments within my family. Silly little competitions such as where we are going for dinner and if it should be called Father’s Day dinner or Madeline’s Birthday dinner. This year, I kind of won and got to choose the place and the title, but I won’t go rubbing it in anyone’s face.

I like to say that my dad wouldn’t be celebrating Father’s day without my birthday, which would be true…if I wasn’t the youngest of three kids.

Remember when Kinects were cool? It was clearly a while ago since my autocorrect is telling me that i’m spelling “kilt” wrong. Also, why am I wearing the same shorts as my brother and a collared shirt? I look like a boy, good job little Madeline.

Every time I thought about my birthday this year, I kept thinking about what kind of cake I wanted. When I was a kid, all I wanted was Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. A mint chocolate chip ice cream cake. Or better yet, Dairy Queen! They had this ice cream cake that had little chocolate cookie crumbs sandwiched in between a layer of chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Sadly, the Dairy Queen’s around here are long gone, I’ll just have to save that for my trip to Minnesota next week!

This year I wanted to make something new and a little more challenging then usual. Challenging was definitely right. The exterior of the cake looked pretty mouthwatering but the inside, oh the inside was a mess. Luckily, I’m a firm believer in taste over presentation so things turned out okay.

That beautiful chocolate cake was ideally supposed to have three thin layers of cake, separated by a chocolate mousse, and then topped with a chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, I found out that I’m apparently not so hot at cutting multiple layers of a cake out of one 9 inch cake. The bottom layer turned out perfectly, but the next two fell apart a little bit…next time I think I’ll make just two layers of cake so that they are thicker and easier to cut/handle, instead of trying to make tiny 1 inch layers.

Regardless of my mini failure at perfection, I still think this cake warrants being shared so I share with you the recipe in hopes that you’ll give it a shot and come back and tell me how you kicked that recipes butt. This cake was the perfect summertime celebration cake. As much as I love a good chocolate cake covered in a chocolate buttercream, when it is as hot as it is in the valley, you need something cool.

Note: The recipe said that this cake serves 8 people, which was very frightening. Seven of us ate about 1/3 of it. So if you plan on making this, invite over lots of people! Or eat it all yourself, no judgement.





I hope that you all had a lovely time with your family, appreciating how great it is to have people who support you and your crazy ideas.

Happy Father’s Day. Happy Birthday.

Happy Happy Happy!



Fair warning, I spread out making this cake over two days so that I wasn’t spending hours in the kitchen.

This entry was posted in cake.

Triple Lemon Loaf

This loaf of lemony goodness has converted me to the brighter side.

Before this lovely recipe I was always a little “eh” about lemon recipes. Sometimes it was really refreshing, sure, like after a hot day in the summer a nice lemon sorbet would be fabulous! But when it really came down to it, chocolate was always the answer. Always.

“Do you want the lemon meringue pie or the brownie covered in caramel and pecans?”

Stupid question. Brownie. Done.

But this cake/loaf/bread, whatever you want to call it, is exceptional. Maybe it is because there is lemon in the cake, then a lemon syrup is poured over it, and then to top it off a lemon glaze. So yeah, there is a lot of lemon, but if you’re going to go for lemon you may as well go hard!

The cake is so moist and packs a little punch in your first bite, but not over powering, it’s just the right amount.

It rained all day today with lightening and thunder so bad that the house vibrated. So this cake was a nice reminder that summer is almost here, and that this crazy weather is just a mini speed bump.

If you’re going to bake this in a decorative loaf pan, beware! I oiled that thing up like it was nobody’s business, but the top of it still stuck in there!

Luckily, the second one came out perfectly! Lesson learned: decorative pans just aren’t worth the grief for this.

Tip: Wait 30 minutes for the cake to cool because when you pour that glaze on it’s going to soak into a warm cake, like mine did. I really wanted to wait, I really did. It would have looked so pretty if I had waited. But I couldn’t…I’m sorry.

This recipe is from the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking written by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito who run a bakery, called Baked, in good ole’ Brooklyn.



Toasted Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes life surprises you. You’re just going about your normal routine, and then adorable 7 year olds completely make your week, and your cupcakes taste infinity times better than you thought they would.

We taught an incredibly sweet group of 2nd graders this week at the beach. Just imagine smiley, super excited but well behaved little munchkins listening to everything you have to say like its just the most incredibly thing they’ve ever heard. If that in itself wasn’t enough to make my week, I may have fallen in love with a 2nd grader. This little boy followed me around, asked me lots of questions about the ocean, invited me over to play with his pet sand crab sometime, and told me that I’m beautiful. I mean seriously? When this kid grows up, he’s going to be such a heartbreaker.

To top it off, two days later we taught another class of 2nd graders, from that same school, and one of the girls came and told me that my little man went back to school and told everyone how pretty I was. Seriously?! I can only hope my future children are as sweet as you, little man.

Now let’s talk about cupcakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a fan of vanilla cupcakes. And by not a fan, I mean I just plain don’t like them. I’d rather not eat a cupcake at all if it’s going to be vanilla. I’ve tried a few recipes, and I’ve had them from cupcake shops, but they are never as satisfying as chocolate. Team Chocolate!

And frankly, I’m not a huge coconut person either!

So why did I make coconut vanilla cupcakes? I have no idea.

I was thinking about what I wanted to make and for some reason this popped in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I’ve never even had a coconut cupcake! But you know what? These were SO GOOD! How good? I averaged about 2-3 a day for 3 days. I’m half ashamed and half proud about that last statement.

If you’re not a vanilla person, or a coconut person, I think these would change your mind. The cake has vanilla & almond extract in it, as well as some toasted coconut mixed in. So the cake itself is not so much coconut as it is almond/vanilla, but the coconut in the batter adds a nice texture and flavor to it. I toasted the coconut instead of leaving it raw, which I think was a fabulous decision. The tangy but sweet frosting is a cream cheese frosting with vanilla & almond in it to compliment the flavor of the cupcakes, and don’t forget the layer of toasted coconut on top! Mmmmm, yes.

I never thought I would crave a vanilla cupcake…until now. I hope you guys had a week that was as lovely as mine :).



Rum Cake {Emphasis On The Rum}

I started drinking coffee again.

I stopped drinking coffee & almost all other caffeine back in December. My weird little body started to get confused about how coffee is supposed to make it feel. Instead of feeling perky and awake, you would find me passed out on the couch within 30 minutes. Coffee = sleep. Why? I don’t know. So I figured, hey let’s try and give it up for a while and reset the system, so to speak. (Not like I did anything else to cleanse my system, if anything I up’d the amount of sugar intake)

I never gave myself an end date to this “coffee break”, I just figured one day I would decide it was ready. That day happened five days ago when I was meandering around Cost Plus (honestly, how amazing is that place) to find they now sell Cafe Du Monde’s coffee!

If you haven’t heard of Cafe Du Monde, you should. It is down in Nawleans (New Orleans), and they serve the best beignets. Don’t know what beignets are? Are you ready? Fried dough, covered in a serious amount of powdered sugar. That paired with a nice cup of coffee with chicory….yum.

So here I am, Day 5, and I feel AWESOME. Go Coffee, go!

In honor of Mardi Gras and the copious amounts of alcohol my friends are enjoying down south, I made you guys a ridiculous rum cake. Seriously. My face was tingling a little after eating a large piece. This is most definitely NOT kid friendly.

Mixer, meet Rum. Rum, meet mixer.

The best part of this cake is when you get a bite with the walnuts. When I make this again, I’m definitely adding more walnuts to the recipe, instead of just as a layer on the top of the cake.

Right out of the oven, pre alcohol syrup soaking.

I don’t think you understand how moist and delicious this cake is. You could dial down the alcohol to water ratio for the syrup that is poured over it, and this would still be an amazing cake. So glad I found this recipe over on Always Order Dessert‘s blog.



#65 Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

My childhood was filled with Funfetti cake. You know, that amazingly delicious box cake mix that seems like no one could ever make from scratch. Since I have become involved in the kitchen on a level higher than box mixes, funfetti cake has been the hardest thing to let go.

Recently, I have made two different types of ice cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Brown Butter Ice Cream. The best home made ice cream has lots of egg yolks in it and both of these recipes that I shared recently use 6 egg yolks. I’m happy to tell you that this cupcake recipe uses 6 egg whites! So go make a pint of Vanilla ice cream and some Funfetti cupcakes – don’t waste those eggs!

How cute are these little cupcake feet!

There cupcakes are pretty much as close are you’re going to get to the mix. Just looking at the pretty little rainbow sprinkles melted into the batter puts a smile on my face. At first I was only going to try a little bite of it, but that was just silly so the whole thing was gobbled up in about mmmm 10 seconds. Seriously, these cupcakes are so tasty and moist (am I the only one that doesn’t like that word?) I almost didn’t put any frosting on top of it. But alas I did. I made a basic Vanilla Buttercream and only put a small amount on top, so that it didn’t overpower the rest of the cake.



#44 Blueberry Crumb Cake

Let me just say, I’m so excited to share this post with you guys! I bought this giant case of blueberries the other day when my brother and sister-in-law were in town with the baby. My intention was to make some blueberry muffins for the fam, but baking with an adorable little toddler running around dosent work for me. She’s just too cute!

I’ve already made blueberry muffins a bunch of time so I figured I would try something new with blueberries. Whenever I go to coffee shops, I get crumb cake with my coffee (or Madelines, which I made a few weeks ago!) This crumb cake definitely gives Starbucks and Coffee Bean a run for their money.

I found this recipe over on Bake or Break. This blog is full of stunning, simplistic pictures of food and inspires me to take better pictures myself.

I hope you’ll give these a try. You could package them up and bring them in your purse to the coffee shop, show them who is boss :).

Blueberry Crumb Cake

For the Cake
1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″x 13″baking pan with foil and butter the foil by melting butter and using a brush.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until soft and light (about 5 minutes). Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
4. On low speed, add half the flour mixture and mix well. Add yolks, mixing well, then add remaining flour mixture.
5. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top. Sprinkle blueberries over the batter.

For the Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1.Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in melted butter and combine with your fingers until the mixture is coarse crumbs. Scatter the crumbs evenly over the berries.
2.Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is firm. Cool cake in pan on wire rack.

Adapted from Bake or Break.



#35 Tiramisu

I love Italian food. All of the garlic, herbes, olive oil….ahh its just so good. Not only is the “real” food amazing, but the desserts are to die for as well. Whenever I go out to an Italian restaurant I always look for two things on the menu: bruschetta and tiramisu. I have attempted Tiramisu once before, except it wasn’t a traditional Tiramisu…It was more like a frozen Tiramisu and I may have gone over board with the rum. Lets just say one bite burned your esophagus on the way down.

This time, I made sure I found a great recipe and didn’t over do it on the alcohol, especially since I was bringing it into my coworkers at the Aquarium right before playing with a bunch of 3-5 year olds.

I think since I had such a random mishap with the last time I made Tiramisu, I assumed that it was hard to make for some reason. Wrong, very wrong. One of the easiest things to whip up and be done with AND one of the best parts is you don’t need to use the oven. Thats a serious +1 in my book because it has been way too hot in my kitchen to be wanting to stay in there for long periods of time unless its 530 AM or 10 PM.

Two layers of cookies in a small square dish

I knew I wanted to take some of the Tiramisu to different places so I made two into small square dishes, and then the last one was in a glass loaf pan. The two small ones had two layers of cookies in-between all of the lovely cream and mascarpone and the loaf pan had three layers of cookies.

Still working on my chocolate curls. They're a little pathetic.

For the recipe, I combined Giada’s recipe with another one I found because the thought of eating 6 egg yolks without being cooked at all messed with my head a little bit. Finding ladyfingers can be confusing for some people because your first reaction would be to go check the cookie isle. With most grocery stores that I have found them at, they’re usually in the bakery section or over by the produce near the raspberries and strawberries because they know people are using these cookies with fresh fruits.

Another side note: when spooning the rum/espresso mixture on to the lady fingers try not to over-soak them because that will lead to a runny and mushy Tiramisu.

Tiramisu Recipe


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages ladyfingers
  • 1 cup espresso, cooled
  • 2 tbs dark rum
  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and set aside.
  3. Split the lady fingers in half, and line the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl. Combine the espresso and rum in a bowl. Brush or lightly spoon espresso mixture on lady fingers. Spoon the cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat ladyfingers, espresso mixture and filling layers. Garnish with cocoa and chocolate curls. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.
    Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
I hope you give this a try!

#27 Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream

Update from last week’s post: They were gone in two days. I made about 30 of them and my family ate them in 2 days. They’re good, so good.

My brother, sister in law, and baby niece were in town this weekend. I must say this was one of the best weekends I have had in a while, and that says a lot especially since I have some outrageous allergies or a sinus infection. Either way, the sneezing and face congestion have been unbearable – but the baby and family time makes it all better 🙂

Saturday evening we had some more family over for dinner and my sister showed me how to make Bruschetta because I have been craving it like a mad woman for the past 2 months. It was AMAZING and so simple to make! Im going to make that when I have my kick off to the summer dinner party (I just decided to hold this dinner party…just now). On top of the awesome bruschetta she showed me how to make some basic marinara sauce, which we then used on our grill-cooked pizzas. Delish!

Jackie's Margarita Pizza

Jackie's Margarita Pizza

Since Jackie was in charge of dinner, I was supposed to be in charge of dessert. Hence the supposed to be. I sat with my brother, Brad, and looked through 4 of my cookbooks until we found this great looking recipe of that consisted of white chocolate, whipped cream and rasberries – sounds great to me! Too bad I didn’t read through the directions all the way….erg. You needed to refridgerate it over night – of course Madeline OF COURSE.

So instead I made a Lemon Pound Cake (which I was planning on making to go with this rasberrie and cream dessert thing) and we whipped some cream and topped it with some berries. It was very refreshing at the end of our pizza, Italian dinner. I did make the pound cake, but Jackie helped with the rest of it. Team work 🙂

Lemon Pound Cake. Don't forget the whipped cream and the powdered sugar

I got the recipe for the pound cake out of my big fat Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. The thing is like a baking encyclopedia. I love baking out of her book because I can just look up her recipes on the internet and post the link here instead of writing it all up – but for some reason Martha changed her recipe that is online. SO, I guess that means I am going to have to type this all up.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

From Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook


1 cup unsalted butter, room temp

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs all purpose flour

1 tbs baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tbs lemon zest (about two lemons)

1/2 tsp pure lemon extract

1/2 cup sour cream

5 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice (use those two lemons from the zest – save the extra lemon juice for a glaze)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spay two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon extract, and sour cream on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 mins).

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides in between.

5. Beat in the oil and lemon juice. Then add in the flour mixture, slowly, and beat until just combined. Dont overmix!

6. Divide batter evenly into pans and bake until lightly golden, and a toothpick comes out clean, 50 minutes. (For me, mine was done around 40 so I would keep an eye on yours).

For the glaze

Use the remaining lemon juice and whisk in confectioners sugar to taste. If there are clumps of sugar in your glaze, put it on the stove and melt them away. You can either pour over the cakes while they are still in the pan and let it soak in, or use a pastry brush and brush the cakes until the glaze is gone.


Whip some heavy cream,maybe a cup or so, depends on how much cream you like of course. Add small amounts of sugar until you like the taste. Top your pound cake with whipped cream and add some chopped up strawberries and rasberries.

Me and my lovely niece Vivi

I hope you all had an amazing Memorial Day weekend with your friends and families. I sure did 🙂



This entry was posted in cake.

#19 Flourless Chocolate Torte

April 10th is both my Mom and my Dad’s birthday – crazy right? Same day, same year.

This year, Dad just got back from traveling and had a nasty cold and requested a simple Flourless Chocolate Torte. If you have known me for a while, the Flourless Chocolate Torte is my go-to dessert. It’s SO simple but really elegant and will definitely impress people. You put a little powdered sugar on top and BOOM, you’re an awesome baker.

If you want something fast and yummy to make for a dinner party, this right here is the perfect dessert. Who doesn’t love chocolate anyways?

It is really important to butter your pan and dust with cocoa powder so this doesn't stick.

Fold in the whipped egg whites.

When you're done it should have some cracks on it, don't worry.

Another cute thing to do is to cut out a shape with paper, place it on top of the cake and then use powder sugar on top of it so it leaves a nice stencil. I made one a year ago for a Passover Party with a jewish star on top.

Mmmm, so moist.

Chocolate Flourless Torte


2          (8oz) Packages Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares, chopped.

½        Cup Unsalted Butter

5          Large Eggs – Seperated

1          Tbs Vanilla Extract

¼         Cup Sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Grease a 9 in springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.

3. Melt chopped up chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan on the stove, low heat. Stir until smooth. Set aside away from the stove.

4. Whisk together egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually stir in chocolate mix.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar, beating until dissolved and stiff peaks form.

6. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the remaining. Don’t over mix.

7. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before removing the sides.

8. Let it completely cool before adding the powdered sugar on top, otherwise it will just melt away.