Tag Archives: dessert

Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse

I know that lemon desserts tend to be more popular in the spring and summer, but I promise you that this Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse is so yummy, you’ll want to indulge year round. This recipe makes around 8-10 individual servings, depending on the size of your glasses or bowls.

Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse

Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 box lemon pie filling (I used Dr. Oetker's but you could also use jarred lemon curd such as Dickinson's)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. for serving
  1. Prepare the lemon filling according to the directions on the box. Once cooled slightly, pour evenly into 8-10 glasses or small bowls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add chocolate and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.
  4. Top each of the lemon-filled glasses or bowls with an equal amount of the mousse. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Garnish with fresh berries before serving.


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Apple Spice Cupcakes

Long time, no blog! To say that life has been hectic lately would be an understatement. And with all the competition for my time these days, my little ladies won out over blogging. But I’m back with the perfect fall cupcake recipe- Apple Spice Cupcakes! I’ll be making these again in a few weeks when Lila turns one (how is it possible that my little bug is turning one?!), they were that good.

Apple Spice Cupcakes

Apple Spice Cupcakes

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • Eggs and water called for on box (omit any vegetable oil in the directions)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup shredded fresh apple (I used Gala apples)
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • Cinnamon
  • Caramel ice cream topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 cupcake cups with silicone or paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, water, and applesauce. Gently fold in the shredded apple.
  3. Fill liners ¾ of the way with cake batter and bake for 19-23 minutes.
  4. While the cupcakes are baking, cream together the cream cheese and butter for the frosting. Add the vanilla and slowly stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to frost the cupcakes.
  5. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting and sprinkling with cinnamon and drizzling with caramel.


Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

There’s something about summertime that makes me crave lemon desserts. As I type, I have lemon and white chocolate mousse setting in the refrigerator, lemon crinkle cookies on my to-bake list, and at least a few batches of homemade lemon bars under my belt. It helps that my husband and 3 year old daughter love lemon as much as I do. And thank goodness for that or I would probably be a good 15 lbs heavier by now!

My daughter, Olivia, is always asking me to make cupcakes. When she last asked, I was in one of my lemon moods, so I decided to try out lemon cupcakes. I love the combination of lemon and blueberry, and I thought a tangy but sweet cream cheese frosting would be the perfect complement. I took these to daycare for her to share with her friends—there wasn’t a single one left when I picked her up.

lemon cupcakes

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil, and eggs called for on box
2 tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup blueberries, plus extra for garnish if desired

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter, softened


1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 cupcake cups with silicone or paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake batter following the directions on the box. Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice. Gently fold in blueberries.

3. Fill liners ¾ of the way with cake batter and bake for 19-23 minutes.

4. While the cupcakes are baking, cream together the cream cheese and butter for the frosting. Add the vanilla and slowly stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to frost the cupcakes.

5. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting and garnishing with a blueberry.

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m not a huge baker—not from scratch anyway. I make no secret of the fact that I think boxed cake mixes are not only acceptable but quite delicious. Sure, I doctor them up and get creative, but it’s not everyday that I make a cake from scratch. When I saw this recipe for lemon cake from Cooking Light (and the great reviews it got), however, I decided it was worth the effort.

I did stray from the original recipe when it came to the frosting, choosing instead to use my go-to recipe for cream cheese frosting. The result was ah-mazing! Seriously, this is one of the best cakes I have had. I love lemon desserts, so maybe I am just a sucker for the tart mixed with the sweet, but this was really, really good. Yes, my cake was a little lopsided and not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but I somehow didn’t mind that too much as I was shoveling it into my mouth!

lemon cake with cream cheese frosting

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


16 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon rind spirals (optional, for garnish)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

4. Place granulated sugar and ½ cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tbsp lemon rind and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. To prepare icing, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar.

7. Place 1 cake layer on a plate and carefully level with a knife if necessary; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake and around sides. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Dipped Cheesecake Pops

Olivia got a Ballerina Cookbook for Christmas and about once a week asks if we can make one of the recipes. This usually translates to, “Mommy, I’ll pick it out and pretend that I’m going to help. You do everything else.” Her latest pick was Sugar Plum Fairy Pops, or little balls of cheesecake, dipped in chocolate, and covered in various toppings.

After a couple of failed attempts at balling up sticky, mushy cheesecake, I gave up and just cut the cake into bite-sized squares. Tasted just the same but WAY easier. Once I stopped trying to roll impossible cheesecake balls, these were really easy.

Cheesecake Pops

Chocolate-Dipped Cheesecake Pops

1 prepared cheesecake
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp shortening
Lollipop sticks
Sprinkles, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and any other toppings you’d like


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the cheesecake into 1½ inch squares and place on the baking sheet. Put a lollipop stick in the top of each square and push down so that it goes almost through the other side but not quite. Freeze for about 3 hours or until hard.
  3. Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  4. Remove the cheesecake pops from the freezer and dip each one, making sure the chocolate covers them entirely. Return each pop to the baking sheet and sprinkle with toppings.
  5. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until ready to eat.

Makes about 24 cheesecake pops.

Cheesecake Pops

Carrot Cake Mini Whoopie Pies

I made these carrot cake mini whoopie pies for Easter dessert, and they were a huge hit! The original Cooking Light recipe calls them sandwich cookies, but for all intents and purposes, they’re whoppie pies. The kids gobbled them up, despite the fact that they were very obviously full of veggies. The fact that there was delicious cream cheese frosting oozing out from the middle probably didn’t hurt. I will absolutely be making these again (though next time I am doubling the recipe)!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

2 cups shredded carrot
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp grated orange rind
3/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg
4.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Combine carrot and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a bowl; toss to coat. Place carrot mixture in a fine mesh sieve; let stand to drain for 10 minutes. Discard liquid.

3. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until melted. Add oil, rind, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and egg; stir with a whisk until well combined.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar (about 1/2 cup), cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add carrot mixture and butter mixture; stir until just combined. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets for a total of 28 cookies (14 per baking sheet); gently pat dough down to form 2-inch circles. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until set. Remove pans from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Combine cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat at low speed 1 minute or until well combined (do not overbeat). Spread about 1 tablespoon icing on flat side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie, flat side down. Repeat the procedure with remaining cookies and filling.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago, we had lunch at Ray’s to the Third in Arlington and split a milkshake for dessert. The “Elvis” milkshake is a blend of banana, peanut butter, butterfingers and bacon (yes, bacon) … and it is AMAZING.

So in honor of my husband’s birthday today (Happy Birthday!!), I decided to try and recreate this ridiculously good combination in the form of a cupcake—though I did decide to leave off the bacon simply because I wasn’t up for making my own candied bacon this weekend.

But seriously, if you’re in Northern Virginia and happen to be near Ray’s to the Third, you need to try that milkshake.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 cup water
1/3 cup applesauce (I use this in place of oil)
5 oz peanut butter chips
1 tbsp flour
Chocolate Frosting (store-bought works too)
1 Butterfingers candy bar, crushed


1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 cupcake cups with silicone or paper liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, water and applesauce and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, add peanut butter chips and flour. Toss to coat the chips and then discard the excess flour.

4. Slowly fold in the peanut butter chips to the cake batter, mixing well.

5. Fill liners ¾ of the way with cake batter and bake for 19-23 minutes.

6. Allow to cool completely before frosting and topping with a sprinkle of Butterfingers.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

I recently made these frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites from Fabulessly Frugal. I liked the idea that they were a two-bite, healthier dessert option that I could easily store in the freezer. So one Saturday, I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and went to work. Once the little bites were frozen, I popped them off the sheet and put them in a freezer bag for easy storage.

While I don’t think my husband was a huge fan, both my three year old and I loved them! I do recommend letting them sit out for a few minutes before eating them so they thaw just a bit. That way, they’re soft and creamy, just like banana ice cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

3 large bananas
½ cup chocolate chips (either semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
Toppings (optional- peanuts, coconut, etc.)

1. Line a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment or wax paper.

2. Cut up the bananas into ½-inch pieces. Each banana should give you around 6-8 pieces.

3. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about a minute. Then stir until smooth.

4. Dip the banana pieces in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture, being sure to coat all sides.

5. Place them evenly on the parchment or wax paper.

6. Top with toppings if desired.

7. Transfer to the freezer for about an hour until hardened. Once frozen, you can store them in a freezer bag or an air-tight container.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

I have a confession to make. Before now, I had never made cupcakes and frosting from scratch at the same time. I had make cupcakes from scratch and then cheated with frosting from a tub—and vice versa. So this was a big deal for me. It made me feel like I should call my grandma to tell her because I knew, as a former wedding cake baker and caterer, she would be as proud of me as I was of myself.

After my Sunday marathon baking session, I take my proverbial hat off to people who bake from scratch all the time because it is no joke. The result was outstanding, but I have officially decided that I prefer cooking to baking—it’s less strict … more room for deviating from the recipe. But if you love baking, you have to try these cupcakes. They were so good that even I {the self-proclaimed non-baker} will be making them again! 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

For the Cupcakes:
Yields 24 cupcakes 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Blend in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, blend together the sour cream and vanilla.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake until the cupcakes are just set and pale golden, about 20-22 minutes.  Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost as directed below.


For the Frosting:

9½ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sour cream


1. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

3. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

4. Frost cupcakes immediately before the chocolate hardens and the frosting sets.

Recipes from Annie’s Eats


Orange Apricot Cupcakes

When I was planning my wedding, I went to a bridal convention with a friend. It was there that I tasted the best cake/filling combo I had ever had—orange cake with Grand Marnier and apricot filling. I couldn’t make it happen for my wedding day, but I’ve been making cakes and cupcakes in this delicious combo ever since! It’s especially good with homemade cream cheese frosting and a little sprinkle of orange zest.

 Now, I have made cupcakes from scratch, but for these, I usually just grab a box of yellow or white cake mix and get to work. The light, spongy texture of box-mix cupcakes works really well for filling {and I’ve never had any complaints}! 

Orange Apricot Cupcakes

1 box butter yellow cake mix
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest plus a little extra for garnishing
1 jar apricot preserves

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
½ stick of butter, brought to room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp whipping cream
4 cups powdered sugar


1. Preheat your oven to 325°. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, water, oil, orange juice and the tbsp orange zest using an electric mixer on medium speed.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners (yields approx. 24) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

4. Fill a decorating bag (fitted with a Wilton #12 decorating tip) with some of the apricot preserves. Insert the decorating tip into the top of each cupcake and fill with the preserves. It might take a couple of tries to get a feel for the right amount. Use a knife to level off any excess filling.

5. For the frosting, blend together the cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Slowly add in the whipping cream until your frosting is at the desired consistency.

6. Frost each cupcake, sprinkling the top with a bit of the extra orange zest for garnish. Enjoy!