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#31 Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

26 Jun

This post is kind of a re-do of a previous one that was never really completed. I made these cupcakes a few months back for my friend’s birthday, but of course I read the recipe wrong and used normal sized cupcake tins when they were supposed to be in mini ones. So, instead of making about 40 of these cupcakes, I had about 12.

I ended up making a whole different batch of cupcakes because I was supposed to be bringing over at least 30 cupcakes. When I came home from that birthday dinner, the 12 cupcakes were all eaten by the family (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law). I didn’t even get to take a picture of them! Since they were so good, and I technically didn’t make them correctly, I decided I’d try them again.

The thing about these cupcakes is that you are supposed to flip them upside down and then put the ganache on it. Of course, in the recipe they make it seem like its just the easiest thing in the world to flip a cupcake pan over and all of the little cupcakes will just fall out perfectly. Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me. I attempted it that way, simply flipping it upside down. Yeah – dont do that. Even after making sure each tin was perfectly greased and dusted with cocoa powder, they still managed to get stuck in there. Trust me, take the extra 5 minutes and use a knife to scrape the sides of the cupcake, AND THEN, flip them over.

These really turned out amazing. I think they’re better in the smaller sizes, just cause you can pop them in your mouth and then scurry away out of the kitchen without anyone knowing you ate one…

Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes with Ganache

Recipe from Cupcakes edition of Better Homes and Garden


Cooking Spray

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (for dusting the pan)

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 ounces SemiSweet Chocolate, chopped

2 tbs Instant Espresso Powder

1 tbs Boiling Water

1/4 cup Kahlua (or rum/coffee liqueur)

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1 cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract


1. Preheat oven to 350.  Use cooking spray and generously spray each 1 3/4 inch muffin tin. (Mini Cupcake Tins). Then put a little cocoa powder in each tin and coat the bottom and sides of the cup. Shake out excess.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Place chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute; stir. Microwave another 20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

4. In a 1 cup measuring glass, dissolve coffee crystals in the boiling water. Add enough cold water to measure 3/4 cup total liquid. Then add the rum to this cup. Set aside.

5. In a large mixing bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beat to combine. Add egg, beat well. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture with rum/liquid mixture to chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating on low speed after each addition.

6. Spoon batter into each muffin cup, filling it about 3/4 full. Be careful not to put too much in!

7. Bake about 10-12 minutes. When they are done, the tops of the cupcake should spring back slightly when you lightly touch them. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes. Using a knife, gently scrape the sides of the cupcake on all of the tins. Then flip the pan over onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

8. Put a baking sheet under the wire rack with all of your cupcakes on it. Spoon the ganache on top of each one. Finish off with some sugar crystals or fluer de sel.




#25 Salted Caramel Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

19 May

The title pretty much says it all. The picture of this cupcake in the magazine I found it in was absolutely saliva inducing (that doesn’t sound as sexy as I thought it would). I was going to scan it and show you guys, but then mine didn’t turn out as amazing looking as theirs, so just work with me here.

I got the recipe out of this amazing cupcake magazine I found at a Bristol Farms near by. I flipped through a few pages and pretty much had to buy it. If you’re interested in it, it is put out by the Better Homes and Garden magazine and it’s called, shockingly, “Cupcakes”. It starts with the basics like a chocolate cupcake and the different frostings to go with it but then later into the issue you come across outrageous stuff, like this cupcake here. It’s an amazing issue, I’ll definitely be making more from here.

The Santa Cruz Fam is coming to town Memorial Day Weekend. Get Ready!

Back to cupcakes…

If you’ve been paying attention thus far, you may have noticed I forget ingredients while baking, or straight up forget to buy them. I didn’t forget to put anything in this time (thank goodness) but I didn’t realize I needed sour cream (weird) for the frosting around the edge. I changed the recipe and just made a ganache and heard no complaints, although maybe it would have been even more amazing with the sour cream. We’ll never know…unless you bake it the right way and send me a message letting me know how it is! 🙂

Also on top, I made use of my Fleur de Sel salt that I ordered for those damn Vanilla Bean Caramels that NEVER work out for me. I figured that I should use the salt on something that actually turns out. I also ended up using that Caramel sauce on some of the cupcakes because I ran out of the other caramel that I made to go with it. I didn’t so much as run out as Torey and Yael were over and they kept eating it…

"Hold up a cupcake, I'm going to take your picture!". Commence fake smiles.


I almost just sat here and typed up the whole recipe and then luckily found that they uploaded it to their website, phew! Check out the recipe HERE.

Make sure you don't go too overboard with the caramel...

I usually bring whatever I bake into the office, but I also brought some into the aquarium and they were devoured LITERALLY within 5 minutes.  I came in to grab a parking pass, dropped off the cupcakes, came back in from my car and they were all gone. I’d call that a success. Also, what a coincidence, they were filming Top Chef: Just Desserts upstairs on the pier. I thought that was pretty nifty! Although I was a bit disappointed to watch their PA’s plating their final desserts for the camera. Thats the chefs job not some awkward large bearded man? Sorry. Totally ruined it for me. Not to mention they left a huge pile of trash behind next to the aquaium. I’m all for my desserts people but I’m also all for the environment.

Hope the rain this week didn’t freak you out! Enjoy the weekend 🙂


#24 Rice Crispie Treats with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cups

10 May

I’m not sure why, but for the past week I have been craving Rice Crispie treats but felt it was too silly to make. Changed my mind.

Instead of making just regular Rice Crispies, I melted chocolate and chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter cups on top. When I was a kid my mom use to make Rice Crispie treats with us and would always melt chocolate on top. These remind me of my a little bit of my obsession – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So good.

Start with the butter and marshmellows

Melted marshemellows and butter

Add in the Rice Crispies and then immediately put into a pan, so it doesn't stick to the pan you cooked it in.

Melt some chocolate, spread over the top, and sprinkle chopped up candy on top.

Oh Hi Henry!

I suggested this recipe to James a few days ago and so he decided to make it as well and I asked him to take a picture to show you guys his version! He did it a little differently by using a Baby Ruth bar and not using a rectangular pan, but it still works/looks/and im sure tastes great.

James' version of this recipe. He decided to melt chocolate and a baby ruth bar on top instead. Still looks yummy!

Rice Crispie Recipe


1/2 cup Butter

8 cups of miniture marshmellows

10 cups of Rice Crispie Cereal

3 cups of melted chocolate chips

A bunch of chopped up candy bars


1. Melt the butter in a large pan on the stove.

2. Add in the marshmellows and melt completely. Keep stiring for another 2 minutes.

3. Add in the rice crispies and do a few quick stirs. Then quickly transfer into a 13×9 inch cake pan and pat down with a metal utensil (I used a butter knife but you could use whatever).

4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 1 minute intervals, stiring in between each. Pour melted chocolate over rice crispies. While chocolate is still wet, add chopped up candy on top.

I hope you all give it a try! It’s super easy and it takes about 10 minutes really. So fast!



#22 Chewy Fudge Triple Chocolate Brownies

28 Apr

I always felt like baking was my escape from reality. When I am stressed, annoyed, frustrated, whatever -I go bake something. It’s therapeutic to me. In the same way that cleaning and organizing are my happy places. I dont need any music or any other distractions to keep my mind active, just give me the kitchen and my cookbook and I’m happy.

Clearly, that wasn’t the case Wednesday night. I have these great vanilla beans that my sister in law gave me from South Africa and I’ve been meaning to use them so I found a great Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe. I had a lot on my mind and managed to mix and bake an entire batch of cupcakes – minus the 5 eggs. Needless to say, those cupcakes are sitting in a tupperware glaring at me from across the kitchen. I guess some things really do take priority in my head no matter how much I love baking.

The cupcakes have amazing flavor otherwise, so definitely be expecting those in the future. Just maybe when my head is cleared up so I dont forget major ingredients again.

Surprise Happy Vivi Picture!

In attempts to not feel defeated by the kitchen, I made some brownies tonight for a co-worker. We sneakily (is that even a word?) asked him what his favorite dessert was the other day and so I made some brownies. A simple amazing dessert. Always. Unless you forget, oh say, the chocolate or something.

Eight-year-old me and my cousin licking the utensils after making brownies.

As a kid, my mom and I would make the box mix of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies and all you would need is a bowl, a spatula, and a wooden spoon. These days, when I bake it requires half of the kitchen appliances. But I must say, there is something seriously amazing about batter on a wooden spoon.

Recipe courtesy of the amazing Annie’s-Eats blog. If only I was 1/4 of as awesome as she is.



#19 Flourless Chocolate Torte

18 Apr

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. Seriously, everyone would always be all impressed and I just would think to myself – really?

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?

Its really important to butter and dust with cocoa powder the pan so that it doesnt stick. Trust me, its not pretty.

Fold in the whipped egg whites.


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 Passover (which is fitting since it is once again Passover) with a jewish star on top.


I uploaded the recipe here



#18 Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

20 Mar

Happy Late St. Patricks Day! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while but felt I should wait until St. Patty’s Day to test it out.

I had an amazing morning working at the aquarium. A group of 3rd graders from inner city LA came and were just absolutely hilarious. They got off the bus and had big eyes like “oh my god we’re at the beach!!!!” It was beyond precious. During a break after the class left, I was talking to one of the other interns who was asking what St. Patrick’s Day is for when I realized…I have no idea.

So I looked it up..and I still don’t really get it but it’s basically a holiday about St. Patrick from Ireland. More of an excuse to drink and pinch people for not wearing green if you ask me :). In my research I did find out that they dye the Chicago River green every year in honor of it. You’ve got to check out this video of it. They dump 40 lbs of green vegetable dye for it to stay this Nickelodean gack color for 4 hours. Seems extremely outrageous if you ask me.

Back to the baking.

I ended up making these Friday morning and let me say that opening up a beer at 10am just isn’t appealing, on any level. Felt like the morning after a party, but I got past it.

Guinness and Irish Butter (I felt it was appropriate)

I’ve always been intimidated by cupcakes that had filling in the center. It just seemed like a lot of work and cutting out the center didnt look so simple either, but I was wrong. It was easy and kinda fun too because when you cut a cone out of the cupcake you have to cut a little piece off so that it fits back in with the ganache, so you get to eat a bunch of little pieces of cake along the way :).

Use a pairing knife and cut a cone in the center of the cupcake

Pipe some ganache into the center and then put the cone you cut off back on top!

Ta-da! No one will know that you cut it open once you put the frosting on.


Half good

Highly suggest making these, any time of the year 🙂

For the cupcakes and the ganache, I used this recipe CLICK HERE

But for the frosting I used THIS recipe…CLICK HERE.

#16 Chocolate Macaroons with Espresso Ganache

3 Mar

Dipped in ganache

The story for this recipe is a little different than the other ones. Back in December, we had a little holiday office party where we did a Secret Santa gift exchange. I promised my co-worker, Debby, that I would make her one batch of whatever she wanted, just to tell me when!

In passing earlier in the week, she mentions that she wants macaroons and I instantly say okay I’ll make it this Thursday. It gets to Thursday afternoon and I realize I really need to look up a good recipe to make these. Being half jewish and the only macaroon I ever really knew about was the JEWISH ones that my grandfather use to eat that everyone else hated. I couldn’t figure out why on earth anyone would request these to be made.

While I’m looking up recipes, I keep seeing these little sandwich things that they’re calling French Macaroons. Finally, it all clicks. I had to text her to make sure of which one she wanted, but of course she wanted the French ones. Honestly, Id like to know of one person besides my Grandfather who enjoys a Jewish Macaroon.

Little did I know, apparently these macaroons are not so simple to make. Even my sister in law said that she refuses to make them because they are so fussy. Of course, she says this as I’m half way through making them and thinking to myself, oh great.

Out of the oven!

In the end, they tasted great. Well, I though they tasted great. But they didn’t turn out the way a perfect little macaroon sandwich should be. The cookies were super fragile, because I think something did not work out right with my batter. And then my ganache never fully set up so I ended up dipping the cookies in the ganache. I definitely want to try making these again, they were really tasty. I guess I just need to start earlier and pay a little closer attention to it all.

Silpat = my new love.

[Apologies for the lateness. I just started training for my internship at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. I’ll post about that in the next few days when I get around to posting what I make tonight.]

Love you all