Lola’s Disney Side 4th Birthday Party!

Miss Lola Jennie turned FOUR in August! She wanted a Princess Sofia birthday party, and it worked out perfectly with the Disney Side @ Home Party box we were sent. It had crowns, amulets, napkins, plates, placemats, snack bowls, a food stand, a centerpiece, tablecloth, and activities for the kids in it. The favor boxes were Doc McStuffins (another favorite) filled with wands, nail files, stickers, Cinderella buttons, and other goodies. IMG_3808We bought balloons and Maverick was not a fan of the giant floating Princess Sofia! IMG_3809For a game, we had the princesses see how far they could walk with books on their heads. Me demonstrating: IMG_3813They each received a magical amulet after completing the book balancing game.Disney Side @ Home PartyOur big four-year-old! IMG_3815

For food, I made peanut butter and grape (purple for Sofia) jelly sandwiches, had watermelon, grapes, oranges, string cheese, animal cookies, and filled our Mickey Mouse cake pan with carrots, broccoli, and dip. Disney Side @ Home PartyIMG_3842Happy little party-goers!Disney Side @ Home Party

Our DisneySide Party box had an awesome cake mix from Duff of Charm City Cakes in it. It was a colorful rainbow cake that was so fun and easy to make! IMG_3843The kids loved seeing when we cut into it.  IMG_3856 IMG_3857Lola opening her gifts…I love her facial expressions! IMG_3867 IMG_3871 IMG_3873Trying to get her sweet face in the picture with her Lola sticker book from Cap’n Walt :)IMG_3875 IMG_3881Ada & Emma trying out Lola’s new bunk bed set from Nonnie!  IMG_3905IMG_3883Having Lola as a part of our family for the past four (1/2) years has brought us such joy! She has been a light in our world. She’s a mommy’s girl and snugglebug. She loves to make her sister laugh, play with her, pull funny faces, use Maverick as a pillow, sing, go to Primary, color, write, spend time with her Nonnie & Nana, ride her scooter & bike, and would swing all day if I’d let her. Love you Lo!!   

I was sent a Disney Side @ Home party box to help throw a magical party for my Disney-loving girls! As always, all opinions are 100% mine. 

Favorite Chocolate Cake

This cake. Oh my goodness. Once you’ve had this chocolate cake, you will never go back! It is moist, rich, and crowd-pleasing.Favorite Chocolate Cake - cake was discovered when we lived in Santa Cruz. Matt was in school full time and working nights at a restaurant. We were too broke to buy each other gifts, so for Mother’s Day, I told Matt that all I wanted was a chocolate cake. This recipe showed up in my inbox via Food & Wine and he’s made it for me every Mother’s Day since. We just made it to celebrate my cousin, Chris’, return from the mission field and I thought I’d share it with all of you!Favorite Chocolate Cake - buttered pans with cocoa instead of flour ensures no white spots on your chocolate cake.

To get perfectly level, flat, layer cakes: wrap pans in strips of wet cloth and bake. 

I use an old hand towel cut into long strips and the cakes come out of the oven beautifully level!Favorite Chocolate Cake - the cakes have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer or refrigerator until you are ready to frost them. This keeps the cakes moist and makes it easier to frost. Favorite Chocolate Cake -!

Favorite Chocolate Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cake
  • For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1⅓ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Chocolate Cake Instructions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and sprinkle with cocoa two 8-by-1½-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl (this takes a while). Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  5. Set one cake, right-side up, on a cake plate. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
  6. Chocolate Frosting Instructions:
  7. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over medium high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  8. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Use immediately.


Ada’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party!

Ada turned 5 last month! She reminds us daily that she is 5 now. We celebrated with friends and family in Frozen style, would you expect anything less? :)

I did all white food to make it feel like a wintry-snowy-land. Cauliflower & jicama with Ranch dressing for dipping. Powdered donettes, marshmallows (that everyone mistook for mints – so I’ll just do mints next time), turkey & Rondele cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Sprite & water to drink! .jpg

I borrowed all of my mom’s Christmas tree collection and I think they looked perfect around the cake! I used Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake, my buttercream frosting, then topped it with rock candy (I saw the idea from a friend who saw it on Pinterest) and an Elsa. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Ada was in awe :)

Frozen Cake -

I made snowflake sugar cookies and had a station with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate their own: .jpg

Sweet girlfriends playing ring around the rosie:

Frozen party -

Matt’s dad surprised everyone and showed up as Olaf!

Frozen party -

All the party goers after the piñata. Did you know that they have piñatas now that you don’t have to hit? This one had ribbons that hung down and each person pulls a ribbon until you get to the one that opens it. Ours didn’t quite open enough and I had to rip it more, but I thought that was so cool!

Frozen party -

My big 5-year-old while all of her friends sang Happy Birthday to her :)

Frozen party -

I think we got all of the Elsas in this picture!

Frozen party -

We also had Frozen playing on the TV and had some impromptu singalongs with popcorn after all the food and cake. I’d say it was a success!

Happy Birthday sweet Ada! Thank you for making me a Mommy 5 years ago and teaching me so much. Love you baby girl :)

Lola Turns Three & Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake

My baby turned three this month! Sweet Lola girl wanted a Tinkerbell party and picked out her tablecloth, plates, napkins, cups, and outfit to wear. We looked through the blog for dinner ideas and she chose Hot Beef Sandwiches au Jus, much to her Papa’s delight!

IMG 8007

This is typical Lola, not used to the spotlight while opening gifts.

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Showing off her baking outfit:

Lola's Bday.JPG

And deciding to blow out her candles with my help this year. Can you believe that sweet little face?! I just love the way she looks at me.

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

This little one is our lover. Always up for snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Always willing to share. Loves to do everything “Mine self!” Is talking non-stop and has the most contagious laugh. We love you sweet Lola-girl!!

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

I took a page from my Coldstone days and made an ice cream cake that fulfilled Lola’s “Pink with green on top” request. It was perfect on such a warm summer birthday celebration!

Press brownies into the bottom of a springform pan,

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

Pour and spread your softened ice cream on top and freeze.

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

Pour warm water around the edge of your pan and release.

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

Top with whipped cream if desired.

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -


Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake -

Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy, fuss-free homemade cake perfect for any party!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1 9x9 in. pan Ghirardelli Brownies, prepared
  • 1.5 quart Breyer's Strawberry Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 8 oz. Carton Heavy Whipping Cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. Bake brownies according to package directions and cool. Press brownies into the bottom of your springform pan.
  2. Scoop and spread the ice cream into the pan, on top of the brownies.
  3. Place the cake in freezer for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When cake is completely frozen, remove from freezer and run the edges of the pan under warm water until the form can be removed.
  5. Place cake on serving platter and add whipped cream, if using.
  6. Whipped cream:
  7. Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and desired color food coloring in stand mixer until stiff peaks form.


Ada’s Nutcracker Suite 4th Birthday Party & Sugar Plum Surprise Cupcakes

My first baby is 4 years old! She had a party with her Sunbeam class, cousins, & playgroup friends.

I was pretty proud of the invitation I put together on PicMonkey (I don’t do Photoshop)! I blurred out our address, that’s why it looks funny.

We decided on the theme because I’ve had these adorable cupcake toppers and liners for a couple of years and still hadn’t used them! We were watching the Nutcracker ballet on Netflix one day and Ada loved the dancing and everything so this idea was born and she loved it!

We had pomegranate lemonade and water to drink, chips, carrots, broccoli, & dip, orange slices, grapes, raspberries, and apples to eat. I love living near a Fresh & Easy again!! I made sure we had all finger food for little hands :)

I borrowed my best friend’s beautiful Nutcrackers to decorate with…they were perfect! Thanks T :)

We had Nutcracker magnets the kids colored (& left on my fridge…I brought them to church the next day to give to everyone).

Then we played pin the star on the stable with a wall-cling Nativity that a Secret Santa left for us. The kids were adorable while playing it and helped each other out so much. A couple of them (including the birthday girl) didn’t want to wear the blindfold. Kind of defeats the purpose of the game, but they were all still so tickled when someone put the star on top.

Then we sang Happy Birthday to Ada and she blew out her candle. Lovely see food :)

Ada requested pink and purple cupcakes with pink frosting just like the sugar plum fairy. Then I told the kids that if Ada was a good girl then the Nutcracker would show up at her birthday party!


Ada & Evelyn were both stoked on Mr. Nutcracker, the rest…not so much. It turned into beat up the Nutcracker!!

Everyone keeps telling me what a good sport Matt is, but the truth is that he loves it :) We both do!

We had the Nutcracker Ballet playing on TV; such beautiful music. Reminds me of being a snowflake and soldier when I was in it as a little girl!

In the party favor bags we had a Nutcracker sticker scene, assorted Nutcracker Christmas tree ornaments, and bouncy balls.

Thank you to all of you that came and showed Ada love on her birthday! She’s still talking about the time that all of her friends came over and played and ate cupcakes :)

Gray, Evelyn, Emma, Ada, Lola, Sephora, & Ava. Cole & Darby didn’t want to be in the group shots :)

Everyone just needs to look at Ava (white coat) in this picture!! bahaha

Happy Birthday Miss Ada! Love you and your independent, smart ways. Can’t believe you’re a big 4-year-old already! xoxo

The cupcakes were so much fun to make! I used the flavorings and food colorings that McCormick sent me, along with the OXO cupcake corer!

We had the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker, Christmas Tree, and Rat King. Ewww. Nobody wanted him!

Aren’t they pretty?

I flavored the batter and frosting with raspberry extract, then used the food colorings for dusty rose and purple.

And here’s the surprise! M&Ms tucked into the center of the cupcake :) It was so much fun to watch everyone get to the middle!

Sugar Plum Surprise Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: cupcake
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 24
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting
  • M&Ms candies
  • Food coloring
  • Raspberry extract
  1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Add 1 Tablespoon raspberry extract and mix to incorporate flavor.
  2. Divide batter into two equal parts.
  3. To one half, add 12 drops red food coloring and 4 drops blue to make dusty rose.
  4. To the other half, add 24 drops red food coloring and 16 blue drops to make pretty purple.
  5. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  6. Drop Tablespoons full of the pretty purple cake batter into the liners. Top with Tablespoons of the dusty rose cake batter.
  7. Bake cupcakes as directed, until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  8. Let cool completely before coring and frosting.
  9. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, use your OXO cupcake corer to remove the centers of the cupcakes.
  10. Fill each cupcake with M&Ms candies (I found that 1 teaspoon was perfect).
  11. For the frosting, add 6 drops of red food coloring plus 2 drops of blue to make dusty rose. Add 1 teaspoon raspberry extract to flavor. Mix until the color is completely even throughout.
  12. Frost cupcakes starting in the center to cover the candies and work your way to the edge.
  13. Enjoy!


Homemade Yellow Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

For Ada’s Princess Birthday Party, she wanted a PINK PRINCESS CAKE! I made the same Homemade Yellow Cake from Smitten Kitchen that I made for Matt’s Birthday, then topped it with Joy the Baker’s Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. The result was this perfectly pink concoction that hit the spot! I put a plastic tiara on top and called it good.


Homemade Yellow Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Food coloring
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter. Beating for 1 to 2 minutes, until well incorporated. Next, add the brown sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract, and beat until well incorporated. On low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. Scrape down sides as needed, add food coloring (if using), and beat until smooth. Spread on cake and enjoy!

My friend Melissa was so thoughtful and grabbed my camera, I wouldn’t have any pictures of me or the cake action if it wasn’t for her! Thanks :)


Princess approved!


Homemade Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting & How to Frost a Layer Cake

Hi again everyone…I have so much to tell you, so this is a mega-post! First of all, I have to say that I met Deb of Smitten Kitchen! She came to Santa Cruz (miracle, I know) on her book signing tour! I was so starstruck that I forgot to get a picture with her. This is the best I got, a grainy cell phone pic from way in the back of the hot & stuffy bookstore. But I was elated to meet the woman who inspired me to start a food blog and realize that even though you have a tiny kitchen, you can still make delicious food. It was awesome. I gave her one of my cards with my picture of her granola bar recipe on it and asked her what advice she would give a lowly food blogger like me. She said, “Keep it fun. If you aren’t having fun, something needs to change. Continue tweaking things until it’s fun.” Words to live by! I have wanted to make this cake of Deb’s for a long time since Matt loves yellow cake. It is just incredible. He was a happy birthday boy! I could’ve eaten all of the batter straight without baking it. The cake is moist, dense (but not too heavy), and everything that a birthday cake should be! I chose to make a different frosting than the sour cream one because I didn’t think my family would care for it. The fudge frosting was perfect! And I LOVE that it’s made in my food processor. Easy & fast! I did, however, forget to add the milk. So the night of it tasted awesome, but after being in the fridge it was pretty solid. So don’t forget the milk!

I don’t claim to be an expert on frosting layer cakes, but I have learned a few things over the years. The first time I made a layer cake, it was a German chocolate one for my mom’s birthday. We took it over to my Nana’s house and it had cracked down the middle and we just poured the frosting inside! It was hilarious. I wish I had a picture of that cake wreck, it still tasted amazing but was a hot mess. Nana told me that’s why she sticks to sheet cakes :)

Make sure your cakes are completely cooled before frosting them. You can even make them ahead, wrap them in plastic wrap, and store them in the fridge or freezer.

First, place a dollop of frosting on the center of your cake plate. This will anchor the bottom layer and keep it from sliding.After you have leveled out the bottom layer with a serrated knife, center it on top of the frosting.Place a good amount of frosting on top of the first layer and spread to the edges. You don’t have to spread all the way to the edge, the weight of the top layer will squish it out for you.

Next, level the second layer. Place it on top of the first layer with the top side down.

Next, plop a few cups of frosting on top of the cake.Spread a thick layer carefully, making sure not to pull up any crumbs. I know some people do a crumb coat then follow with another coat of frosting but I don’t have time for that business. Just be careful and use lots of frosting and you’ll be fine!Start spreading the frosting down over the edge, adding more frosting to the sides of the cake and spreading carefully.Continue until all of the cake is covered evenly and your little helper can’t wait any longer!Wipe up excess frosting from your plate. Voila! You did it! Now go eat your beautiful creation :)

Homemade Yellow Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • For the cake:
  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk well-shaken
  • For the frosting:
  • From Smitten Kitchen who adapted it, barely, from a Sky High recipe
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4½ cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, or butter them. Line bottom of pans with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar with the paddle attachment at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each egg. At low speed, beat in the buttermilk until just combined (batter will look curdled). Add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing just until each addition is incorporated.
  3. Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans, then drop pans on counter several times to get rid of any air bubbles. (This part makes a ton of noise and makes my girls scream and giggle!)
  4. Bake the cakes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
  5. Frosting Directions:
  6. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

So I’m beginning to think that I need a peanut butter & chocolate category on the sidebar. I might have a problem! This cake jumped off the page of Joy the Baker’s cookbook when I saw it, so I made it for my mom’s birthday. Joy frosts her cake with peanut butter frosting in the book. I, of course, had to go with chocolate. How can you resist peanut butter and chocolate married together in a cake?!

The cake is dense, the frosting is fluffy: another perfect match. I loved eating this right out of the fridge with a cold glass of milk. Mmm!

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • For the cake:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
    For the frosting:
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Scant ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup Ovaltine powder (I used Nestle Quik)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together peanut butter, butter, and sugars until fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute in between each egg. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the bowl. Slowly pour in the buttermilk. When the batter just begins to come together, add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low until flour is incorporated, then remove bowl and finish combining batter by hand with a spatula.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared cake pans. Place on racks in oven and cook for 15 minutes. At this point, switch pans to alternating racks and cook for 15-25 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in pans. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
    The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
    makes enough to frost one 2-layer 8 or 9 in. cake or 24 cupcakes
  8. In an electric mixer using paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Mixture will be thick, but continue to beat for about 3 minutes.
  9. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add 2½ cups of powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low to incorporate as you add the milk and vanilla. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high. Scrape down bowl as needed and beat until smooth.
  10. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the cream and Ovaltine or Nestle Quik. With the mixer on medium speed, pour the cream mixture in a slow stream until the frosting reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. If the frosting seems too thin, beat in more powdered sugar. Spread onto cooled cake and enjoy!


White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

For Ada’s 2nd birthday, I made her cupcakes to bring to the park and eat with her little friends and their moms. They were so moist and as close as I’ve gotten to Sprinkles’ vanilla cupcake yet! I still need to work on the frosting…I’ll probably have to add another stick of butter to get it like theirs.

I used Ticings on top of the cupcakes, and they looked absolutely adorable! They are so cute and easy to apply. I love that it looked like I spent a ton of time making a fancy design, when I just peeled the sugar icing off of the page and laid them on top of the frosted cupcake. After that, I dipped each one in a mixture of pink and purple (papal according to Ada) sprinkles. A 2-year-old’s dream come true!

This is my husband’s trademark, taking bites of things and leaving the rest behind.

Ada approved whole-heartedly and full-sprinkley!

These recipes are from Mary Engelbreit’s Sweet Treats cookbook that was a gift from my sister years ago. The cake has a few extra steps, but really is SO worth it! The frosting is simple and I use it for everything from frosting cupcakes to cookies. Enjoy!

White Cake Recipe (adapted from Mary Engelbreit)


2 1/2 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk

6 large egg whites, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line cupcake pans with paper or foil liners (I made 24 cupcakes with this recipe).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions.

In another large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on low speed just until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat just until stiff peaks form.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold about one quarter of the whites into the batter. Fold in the remaining whites in 2 or 3 additions, until just combined. Pour the batter into the pre-prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks and wait until completely cooled to frost.

Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipe


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt


In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed.

As an added bonus, Ticings is offering my readers a 10% discount on any order $10 or more! Head over and check them out, they have so many options for making your desserts pop! Use promo code take10 at checkout. 

Glazed Apple Harvest Cake

This recipe comes from the fabulous kitchen of Robin Leishman. Seriously, her kitchen is fabulous. Her Kitchen-Aid pops up from under the counter…it’s amazing! She is well-known in my hometown for the delicious food that comes out of her kitchen. She’s been quoted as saying, “When I open up my heart, food comes out.” Or something sweet like that :)

This recipe is like eating a caramel apple in cake form & will make your home smell like autumn. We recently went to Clearview Orchards, so I used the fresh Fuji apples we had so much fun picking.

Glazed Apple Harvest Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cake
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • ½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ c. flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 c. finely chopped sweet-tart apples
  • For the glaze:
  • ⅓ c. unsalted butter
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Cream first 5 ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer or stand-up mixer. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. At low speed, add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Fold in chopped apples.
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking pan. Spread mixture in pan and bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes (my oven tends to cook things very quickly and only took 35 minutes). Remove from oven and put on a cooling rack. Immediately top with ½ c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional).
  3. To make the glaze, bring to boil all ingredients except for vanilla. Once everything comes to a boil, turn down heat so it doesn't boil over. Cook for one minute then stir in vanilla.
  4. Kara's note: if you only want nuts on half of the cake - put the glaze on first and then sprinkle the nuts on top. Otherwise, the glaze will carry them to the other side and non-nut eating people will be sad. Trust me on this one, I learned from experience once before!
  5. Then add glaze & let cool.

Try to keep little fingers out of it…Ada wanted to dive right in!