Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
I have a confession to make…I don’t really like French toast. I choose pancakes over it every time, I just don’t get the appeal of soggy bread. Unfortunately, that guy I married loves it. But stuffed French toast is something I can handle and even enjoy sometimes.

And this French toast, it may have converted me. I mean, strawberry cream cheese with an orange zing? Kind of a dream breakfast. Using French bread kept the super sogginess at bay and added a nice chew to the dish. I just loved the freshness that the orange zest lent to the French toast.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
This would be a great addition to a brunch since it’s more fancy pants than the typical French toast. It’s also good for dinner, cause that’s how we roll.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
recipe slightly adapted from Sandra Lee

1  package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
2  Tbsp. strawberry preserves
1  Tbsp. shredded orange zest
4  eggs
1  cup milk
1 1/2  tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8  thick slices French bread
Butter
Strawberry or maple syrup
Sliced fresh strawberries (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together softened cream cheese, strawberry preserves, and orange zest until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Set aside.

3. With a paring knife, slice a pocket into the side of each bread slice (do not cut all the way through the bread). Fill bread slices with a heaping spoonful of cream cheese mixture.

4. On a griddle, melt some butter over medium heat. Dip filled bread in egg mixture and brown for 1 to 2 minutes per side in hot butter. Serve hot with strawberry or maple syrup, fresh sliced strawberries, and powdered sugar (optional).

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {Starbucks Copycat}

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
The other day I got a text from my aunt with a challenge…to recreate Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffins. Well, I can’t turn down a challenge, especially if it means I get to whip up something with pumpkin, my favorite dessert flavor.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
I can’t compare these to Starbucks because the day I planned on picking one up, for research purposes of course, my sugar levels were high at my appointment and my midwife decided to do another glucose check just to be safe. So I decided that it probably wouldn’t be the best thing to be scarfing down in case there is an issue.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
But what I can tell you is that these are some of the moistest (is that a word?) muffins I have ever made. The spices were rich and heavenly and don’t even get me started on the cream cheese filling. It was sweet and creamy which was a nice compliment to the pumpkin. Noah enjoyed eating just the tops of these muffins…smart kid.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
recipe adapted from food.com

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Chopped pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Dump onto on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and shape it into a long log that is not any wider than a muffin cup. Put it in the freezer while you mix and fill the pans, up to an hour.

3. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil and molasses together.

4. Unwrap the cream cheese mixture and cut with a sharp knife so each cream cheese disk equals 1-2 teaspoons.

5. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) a little over half full. Put a cream cheese disc in the middle of each, pressing down. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds.

6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (do not touch the cream cheese mixture).

7. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Shark Cupcakes

Shark Cupcakes 2
Like I mentioned yesterday, I love Shark Week. We go through the entire week ahead of time and DVR way too many shows then spend the week of glued to the TV once Noah goes to bed. It’s kind of ridiculous but I look forward to it every summer. And what makes Shark Week better? Cupcakes. Especially lightly fluffy cupcakes with wavy delicious cream cheese frosting and a surprise center to fit the shark theme. And the chance to make homemade fondant for the shark fins!
Shark Cupcakes 1
The inspiration came from these adorable cupcakes I saw on Pinterest. Aren’t they adorable? But just wait until you bite inside. See, they are gory too. I kind of love it.
Shark Cupcakes 5
Because of the filling, I decided to keep the cake simple and go with my favorite white cake recipe. Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut out the center and fill. Rather than pipe the frosting on, I decided to slather the cupcakes with it then take a knife which I dipped in the frosting then quickly lifted to make it appear like choppy waves.
Shark Cupcakes 6
When it came to the fondant, I simply rolled it out and used a little template I drew to cut out the shark fins (make sure to use a sharp knife). And they would look even cuter dyed gray but I ran out of black food coloring and the nearest store that carries the gel colors I like is about 30 minutes each way and it was one of those “ain’t nobody got time for that” kind of days. So, alas, the fins are white but still pretty darn cute in my opinion.

I sent these to work with Joel and his coworkers probably think I have a weird obsession. And this post probably isn’t helping matters.
Shark Cupcakes 4
If you are a shark lover like me, whip these up, put on your stretchy yoga pants and settle on the couch for Shark Week.

Shark Cupcakes

1 recipe white cupcakes
1 (18 oz.) jar strawberry preserves*
1/4 recipe homemade fondant, rolled out and cut into fins

For the frosting:

1 stick butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Once cupcakes have cooled, cut out a hole in the center of the cupcakes (not all the way to the bottom). Fill with strawberry preserves.

2. For the frosting: whip together the butter and cream cheese. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Whip for a few minutes until frosting gets light and fluffy. Swirl in blue or teal food coloring to desired look (I left a little white throughout to look like the surf of the ocean).

3. Slather cupcakes with frosting and lift knife or spatula as you are swirling it on to make it appear like waves. Top with fondant shark fins and enjoy!

*I didn’t use the entire jar but got pretty close.

Mini Lime Cupcakes

Mini Lime Cupcakes 2
I always love when a holiday rolls around because that means some themed baking is going to happen in my house. With St. Patty’s in a few days, I asked Noah what we should bake and he said cupcakes….so cupakes it is!

I have had this recipe pinned for quite awhile and have been waiting for the perfect recipe to bake up these little guys. I love that they are lime instead of the traditional mint or pistachio flavored cupcakes I came across for St. Patrick’s Day. I also love that they are itty bitty for easier portion control…unless you feel like you have to eat all the ugly ones since you don’t want your husband’s new co-workers to question your baking abilities….yeah, that totally didn’t happen.
Mini Lime Cupcakes 1
Noah calls these cupcakes green tiny little baby ones. I think that kid is pretty funny. You know why else he’s funny? He is a typical boy so clothing is sometimes optional, even when cooking. I decided if he ever has a food blog it should be named “The Naked Chef” and my mom thought the tagline could be “Don’t burn your business” or “No pants, no problem.” That’s how he rolls, see.
The Naked Chef
Sorry for the tangent, he just cracks me up. I think the socks totally make the outfit.

The cake had a light lime flavor but man did the frosting pack an amazing lime zing. They were just perfect for the springtime that we are all dreaming about. It’s actually supposed to be in the 60’s today but then get chilly again this weekend.
Mini Lime Cupcakes 5
Just wait and see what awesome cupcakes I found for Easter, you might just die.

Hope you all have a happy and safe St. Patty’s!

Mini Lime Cupcakes
recipe from A Farm Girl Dabbles

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
5 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. finely grated lime peel
Green food coloring (I always use gel food coloring because it’s more vibrant)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk

for the frosting*:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. finely grated lime peel
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lime juice, lime peel, and food coloring. Batter may look curdled, but that’s just fine. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions. Spoon batter into liners, about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean. This took about 12 minutes for me, but it will depend on the size of your tins, so pay close attention to your baking time. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before adding frosting. This recipe yielded 86 mini’s for me but once again, it will depend on the size of your muffin tin.

3. For the frosting: beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth.  With a medium-large plain round tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, or simply spread it on with a knife.  Sprinkle a bit of fresh lime zest over tops, if desired.

*The frosting only made enough to frost about 2/3 of my mini’s. I would recommend making a recipe and a half if you have a tiny mini muffin tin (the silicone ones seem to be bigger so if that is what you are using you should be fine with the original amount).

Mini Lime Cupcakes 3

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Apple Orchard
See these apples? We picked them….for free. And we took them home…for free! Seriously people, nothing is free anymore. I found out about this cute little orchard owned by the city last year but we never got around to checking it out. So when I heard that the apples were ready this year I put it as top priority in my phone’s to-do list. I take my lists VERY seriously.
Picking Apples
So we headed to the orchard and had a great time picking the apples.
Joel Picking Apples
Good thing that boy of mine is so tall!
Apple Streusel Cake
Many of the apples we brought home were dedicated to Noah’s favorite snack, lala, known to normal people as applesauce. We are still not sure where he came up with that one. To use up the rest of the apples, I went through all my recipes I have saved to find some yummy apple options.
Apple Streusel Cake
This was the first recipe I found and after giving Joel tons of options, it was his hands down favorite. I will be sharing another of his must have picks later. It was even Noah’s top choice (after lala of course). Whenever we give him two options he always picks the second one, no matter what it is. I’ll admit we sometimes use that to our advantage.  Anyway, I asked him if he wanted apple cake or apple pie. His response: “apple cake.” I reversed the order and: “apple cake.” I asked several more times with a conclusive result of: “apple cake mama.” Apple Streusel Cake

You can’t really blame them can you? Apple cake with streusel and a glaze…I’m totally with them! I don’t care for fruit in dessert all that much but I can absolutely get behind this.

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
recipe from Lauren’s Latest

For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup peeled, diced apple (1/4 inch pieces)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel:
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts

For the glaze:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons softened margarine or butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk, or enough to make it a glazing consistency

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center and pour all wet ingredients in. Slowly start mixing the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Toss in apple pieces and stir. Pour batter into prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir all ingredients for streusel together until butter pieces are small chunks found throughout mixture. Sprinkle over top of cake and bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from oven and cool.

3. Before serving, whip cream cheese and margarine together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and runny. Add the milk slowly until desired drizzling consistency is reached. Un-hinge spring form pan and place cake on serving platter. Drizzle with glaze and serve.

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will already know that my little man turned two recently. We had a big yellow party for him the weekend before his birthday but I still couldn’t bear the thought of him not having another little celebration on his big day. I made chocolate cupcakes and lemonade cupcakes for his party so I wanted to go a different route for his birthday. My mom and I brainstormed and finally came up with applesauce spice cake. Some of his favorite snacks include applesauce and raisins so I thought it would be a fitting cake for the man of the hour.

I searched around the internet and actually had a hard time finding an applesauce spice cake recipe that sounded just right. Many of them had cocoa powder in this which just sounded a bit odd to me. I wanted a true cinnamon, clove-y cake and I found it via 52 Cupcakes. The recipe was originally for cupcakes but I wanted Noah to have a cake so I baked up some of the batter in my awesome Wilton Mini Tasty-Fill Cake Pans then I baked the remaining batter in an 8×8 pan.

The cake was super dense and moist as a spice cake should be in my opinion! And the brown sugar cream cheese frosting was incredible. It’s unbelievable so three simple ingredients can combine into such deliciousness!

And I of course had to include some photos of Noah tearing it up!

Applesauce Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Martha Stewart via 52 Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
raisins, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray 8×8 and mini pans liberally with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On a low speed, add applesauce and then the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

4. Fill mini pans 3/4 full with batter. Pour remaining batter in the prepared 8×8 pan. The mini cakes took about 12-15 minutes and the 8×8 took about 20-25 minutes (my oven tends to cook quicker than a lot of recipes so it may take longer than this). Once cooled, frost with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (see below). You could fill the cakes with something but I just skipped it since it was going to be torn apart. Sprinkle frosted cakes with raisins.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar

In the clean bowl of electric mixer, mix cream cheese with 1 stick butter and 1 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream-cheese frosting on cupcakes. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Lemon Hush

Lemon Hush
This shortbread, cream cheesy, lemon pudding, cool whip masterpiece is one of my top 5 favorite desserts of all time! And it’s perfectly refreshing and Spring-y for Easter! I really want to sit here and tell you about how wonderful it is but you just have to try it….and on Sunday night Joel and I spontaneously decided to go to the Final Four games in New Orleans (starting Friday) so all of my free time is being spent on searching for things to do there. I just can’t concentrate on anything else.
Lemon Hush
Growing up in Kansas, Joel has been a KU basketball fan his whole life so this is a lifetime dream come true for him and the spontaneity of it all makes it even better because this is something we never do. I’m mostly excited about seeing the sights and eating! If any of you live in New Orleans or have visited, PLEASE leave some suggestions for activities/sights/attractions/eats.

So, I’m sorry for the limited details on this dessert because it really does deserve the attention but I’m just too excited! Just try it, I promise you will like it!
Lemon Hush

Lemon Hush

For crust:
1 cup flour
1 stick butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup walnuts

For layers:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Cool Whip, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
2 packages instant lemon pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut together crust ingredients until crumbly. Press into a 13 x 9 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

2. Combine cream cheese, 8 ounces Cool Whip and powdered sugar until smooth. Carefully spread over cooled crust.

3. Mix lemon pudding mixes and milk until thickened. Pour on top of cream cheese layer and smooth out. Refrigerate until firm then top with additional Cool Whip and walnuts.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What I Whipped Up Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday and These Chicks Cooked.