I deviated from the order of the Martha’s calendar and skipped ahead to her Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes… I needed something dense and comforting for a winter ski trip back in February, and I figured chocolate and marshmallows would do the trick.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll definitely be trying this recipe again. But I’ll probably be following the instructions a little more closely in places, and I’ll stray a little more for them in others. Let me explain…

The cupcakes ended up on the enormous side because Martha said the batch would make 12 cupcakes. We divvied out the batter into the cupcake tin and had quite a bit left over after filling each mould to about 3/4 full. Luckily, we reserved the rest for later, because the cupcakes turned out huge (think baseballs). We stretched the batter to make another 6 cupcakes and probably could have made another 2 if we had made each one in the first tray a little smaller. 

Moral of the story, aim to make 20 cupcakes from this recipe.

I would also recommend doubling the recipe for the marshmallow filling. For such a dense, brownie-like cupcake, the ratio of light and fluffy filling to cake was just not good enough. Martha recommends using leftover filling to decorate the tops of each cupcake, but we could barely get it to stretch to fill each one!

But where I doubted the recipe’s instructions, I shouldn’t have. The clean-freak that I am, I chose to cut a divot out of the top of each cupcake instead of underneath—and because I didn’t want the scant filling to be wasted on the bottom of my Tupperware, thank you! But I’m not overly proud of the way the presentation of these cupcakes turned out (not my best, do we agree?) and so I’ll probably suck it up and do as Martha says next time. 

Plus, I’ll have extra marshmallow to decorate the cupcakes beautifully:) Double whammy!

Finally, just because I’m on a student budget, I used 2 parts flour and 1 part cocoa powder to dust the cupcake tins. Just a tip. 

But—and I’m sorry it took so long to get to this part—these cupcakes really hit the spot, especially if you’ve got one of those winter chocolate cravings. Goes great with a cup of tea or a glass or red wine (guess which one I went with), and the sour cream in the recipe helps them stay beautifully moist and dense for several days. And the marshmallow filling is to die for. Marshmallow fluff and butter? How can that make anything bad??

Thanks to my lovely guest baker Hailey Durand for her cupcake vigilance… We’d have softball-sized cupcakes if it weren’t for her keen eye!

Next up, some eye-candy: homemade ice cream sammies with a variety of fillings.


After countless occasions of sore muscles and cramping from mixing frostings and batters, I decided to invest a chunk of my birthday money in facilitating my future cupcake/dessert endeavours. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and found myself a hand mixer. I like this one because it had funky whisk and bread hook attachments… and it was only $30.

It definitely made it easier to make the batter for the Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes I made this weekend (coming up in the next post!), but what I saved in cash I lost in cleanliness. The “Low” setting on the mixer is still borderline turbo speed, and I am still finding specks of cream cheese in unexpected places around my kitchen. 

This opens up a whole world of whipped creams, meringues, and frostings… Expect diversity!


I had a dinner party a while back, and my friend and I cooked a magnificent Italian feast of antipasto, risotto, meatballs with homemade marinara, asparagus, and salad (yes, I know, I’m also trying not to salivate). I decided to meander up the continent from Italy to Germany for dessert, and made Eiskaffee.

Eiskaffee: the German word for “iced coffee,”  this is basically a coffee ice-cream float with whipped cream on top. Amazing! 

Shared with me by a different friend, this is a version for those of us who already have way too much coffee (or who don’t like it at all—but I assure you I am not one of the latter). It’s just 2 parts ice cream to 1 part whipping cream whisked until the mixture is creamy and thick, approximately 3 minutes by hand, or one in a stand mixer. The consistency ends up being like a thin-ish milkshake, only more decadent… if that’s possible.
I melted down a few squares of chocolate with some espresso over a double boiler and then swirled a couple teaspoons of that into each serving of the Eiskaffee. Then I popped a couple pretty raspberries in there too to lighten the dessert up.
Voila! A very adult dessert to end a very adult dinner party.

I had a dinner party a while back, and my friend and I cooked a magnificent Italian feast of antipasto, risotto, meatballs with homemade marinara, asparagus, and salad (yes, I know, I’m also trying not to salivate). I decided to meander up the continent from Italy to Germany for dessert, and made Eiskaffee.

Eiskaffee: the German word for “iced coffee,”  this is basically a coffee ice-cream float with whipped cream on top. Amazing! 

Shared with me by a different friend, this is a version for those of us who already have way too much coffee (or who don’t like it at all—but I assure you I am not one of the latter). It’s just 2 parts ice cream to 1 part whipping cream whisked until the mixture is creamy and thick, approximately 3 minutes by hand, or one in a stand mixer. The consistency ends up being like a thin-ish milkshake, only more decadent… if that’s possible.

I melted down a few squares of chocolate with some espresso over a double boiler and then swirled a couple teaspoons of that into each serving of the Eiskaffee. Then I popped a couple pretty raspberries in there too to lighten the dessert up.

Voila! A very adult dessert to end a very adult dinner party.



Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry Cabernet Sauvignon Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting.

For my 20th birthday, I wanted to treat myself. I knew I was going to make cupcakes (duh), but I wanted these cupcakes to be the most decadent, to-die-for, adult cupcakes ever.

Chocolate, strawberries, and red wine? I think so!

For the Strawberry Cabernet Sauvignon Filling, you’ll need: 10 medium/large strawberries, 1/2 bottle cab-sav, teaspoon strawberry jam.

I made the strawberry cab-sav filling the day before so it could cool and set up properly. I chopped up about 10 plump, juicy strawbs into little pieces and put them in a saucepan with half a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (where did the other half go? I don’t know what you mean…) and a teaspoon of strawberry preserves. The pectin in the jam helped set up the compote as I reduced the mixture over medium heat and let it stew on low until it thickened up nicely. You wanna aim for a more thick than thin compote, because you don’t want to make your cupcakes soggy! Let cool in a container and refrigerate. I found that tasting it 3 or 4 times was necessary before I put it at the back of the fridge out of sight…

Because of all the crazy birthday festivities, I just went with a Betty Crocker box of dry cake-mix - the Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake (mmm, reminds me of bringing cupcakes in for class in elementary school). Follow the instructions and divvy the mix up into a cupcake tray. I used pink baking cups because it was my birthday. Oh yeah, and because of the pretty reddy-pink filling!

When the cupcakes are baked and cooled, use a sharp knife (or a melon-baller) to carve a little divet, 2-ish cm deep, out of the centre of each cupcake. Discard (or reserve for another night to have with tea). Spoon enough strawberry-cab-sav into the hole until it is level again with the top of the cupcake. Admire. Then eat the remaining strawberry-cab-sav jam.

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting, you’ll need: 2 packages of cream cheese, a half-cup stick of butter, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and approximately 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar.

I employed my strong roommate for this part because I don’t have a stand mixer yet. He mixed 2 packages of softened cream cheese (I think they were 8oz each?) in with a stick of softened butter and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then he sifted (and I made sure he did not neglect to sift…) a cup and a half of confectioner’s sugar into the frosting and stir it in gently so as not to make it all go flying. At this point, you should taste it and add anywhere from another 1/4 cup to 1 cup more of confectioner’s sugar until it’s the right sweetness for you. I think we added a total of 2 cups of sugar.

Then spread, dollop, or pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. I used my new fancy piping back with different tips, but a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off also works! Decorate… Admire once more. Then try not to eat any before you see all your friends for your birthday! Trust me, if I can manage, you can too.

Next up, I’ll be making and evaluating another Martha Stewart cupcake… 


January’s cupcake in my lovely new Martha Stewart cupcake calendar is a Spiced Cupcake with Citrus Glaze. I won’t copy the recipe because the recipe is trademarked (and I’m sure Martha has had enough legal trouble to last her for a while), so here is a link to the recipe on her site.

I made these for my boyfriend’s birthday so I let him choose the colours… He’s a big fan of super heroes so, naturally, he went for the red/yellow/blue colour scheme. Next time, I’ll probably go with the nice colour palette that Martha used because unfortunately, I didn’t have enough red dye to push the icing from dark pink to Superman Red. So the cupcakes turned out more like a gender-ambiguous baby shower theme instead…

But they tasted wonderful! A nice continuation of the flavours of the holidays, with the nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange.  The cupcake itself was beautiful and fluffy and a hit with our friends, who I would never have pegged to be the types to enjoy such “adult” flavours. 

To be honest, though, I found the icing to be a bit.. well.. gloopy. I guess a glaze either has to be thin and runny or a little thicker, and I didn’t want it pooling around the edges of the cupcake so c’est la vie! And the recipe didn’t yield the promised 48 cupcakes. I managed to make 17, and even then they were pretty small. 

Next from the Martha Stewart calendar (and perfect for Valentine’s): Cheesecake Cupcakes with Raspberry Hearts. Mmmmmm…



My fabulous and very talented friend Josh Crawford posted a photo of this masterpiece on Facebook tonight. Instead of making one for myself (I sadly have none of the necessary poisons), I’m sharing the recipe with you - with permission, of course! Maybe I’ll make one next weekend…
Oreo Cookie Martini
Oreo cookie crumbs to rim the glass (optional and not featured in photo)
1 oz chocolate liqueur 
1oz Godiva liqueur
1/2 oz chocolate syrup (Josh recommends Hershey’s)
2 oz milk

Thanks for sharing, Josh! xx

My fabulous and very talented friend Josh Crawford posted a photo of this masterpiece on Facebook tonight. Instead of making one for myself (I sadly have none of the necessary poisons), I’m sharing the recipe with you - with permission, of course! Maybe I’ll make one next weekend…

Oreo Cookie Martini

Oreo cookie crumbs to rim the glass (optional and not featured in photo)

1 oz chocolate liqueur 

1oz Godiva liqueur

1/2 oz chocolate syrup (Josh recommends Hershey’s)

2 oz milk

Thanks for sharing, Josh! xx


Short and sweet

I spent some time sitting in the poetry section of Indigo the other day (yes, literally sitting… It was raining out and I didn’t feel like leaving once I had picked up the things I needed). I usually frequent the cooking section, but with limited room left in my suitcase to fly back home the next day, I could bear the thought of finding something I would want and not being able to buy it.

SOOOO in the poetry aisle I picked up and began flipping through a compilation of William Blake poems. I liked this one because, as is usual for Blake, it made me think. And it is short and snappy and I know that with all our New Year plans unfolding, time for poetry is hard to find. I thought I’d also share a short one of my own short poems with you (the second one), now we’re on the topic.

What is Man?

The Sun’s Light when he unfolds it

Depends on the Organ that beholds it.

-William Blake

Paradise

Paradise is relative

As is your view of the world

Through the periwinkle windows to your soul

Which,

Relatively speaking

Are my paradise.

Cupcakes to come, folks!


Happy New Year everyone! My New Year’s resolution: be better with my dessert blog. Sorry for the sugar deprivation until now. But I have a plan!
Got a Martha Stewart cupcake calendar for Hanukkah/Xmas so will be baking each month’s cupcake for you to view and try out as well. Also to come: gingerbread cake with orange icing and candied ginger sprinkle. Mmm! I’m welcome to suggestions, so let me know what you want to see! 

Happy New Year everyone! My New Year’s resolution: be better with my dessert blog. Sorry for the sugar deprivation until now. But I have a plan!

Got a Martha Stewart cupcake calendar for Hanukkah/Xmas so will be baking each month’s cupcake for you to view and try out as well. Also to come: gingerbread cake with orange icing and candied ginger sprinkle. Mmm! 

I’m welcome to suggestions, so let me know what you want to see! 


As promised, here is the process of how the most divine food ever created goes from being on a tree to being a treat. Chocolate, the ubiquitous dessert, candy, aphrodisiac, and snack, actually takes unbelievable amounts of work for the small prices we pay for a bar in stores. A group of 15 of us picked and emptied cacao beans for about two hours, waited for 10 days for the beans to be ready, spent over an hour in the kitchen toasting and grinding… and the yield was only around 2 litres of what is called chocolate liqueur (see the last photo). But for those who like dark, organic, sharp chocolate (my hand is up!), it’s well worth the wait and the effort - you won’t find a more natural, satisfying chocolate taste anywhere else. Plus, if you ever get the opportunity to make your own chocolate from scratch, you’ll have the added satisfaction of having done all the work!

The cacao pods (in the first photo) are ripe when they are yellow to golden-red. To remove them from the tree, they need twisting (and you need to dodge the multitudes of spider webs and creatures buzzing around your head). Then, the pods are macheted open and the white, slimy caco beans are removed from the ribs inside the pod. These are actually rather tasty to suck on… but expect nasty, intestinal side affects if you have too many. Just saying.

The beans are then poured into boxes, covered, and left to ferment for three days. Once the flavour has enhanced, the beans are poured onto tarps to sun-dry for a week.

Once they are completely dry, they are toasted on high heat (they can be roasted in an oven at 250 degree Celsius, but we did it on the stove). Once the beans turn black and the husks start cracking, they get transferred to a heat-proof surface, like a silicone candy mat (or in our case, the wooden table with the plastic table cloth at our volunteer project accommodation), and everyone gets to work husking the cacao nibs. Then, using lots of elbow grease, the nibs are ground into chocolate liqueur, which is where the chocolate begins to look like the chocolate we see on a daily basis.

We stopped here (because we didn’t have have the ingredients necessary to refine and flavour the chocolate further), but the chocolate can then go on to be conched, refined, tempered, and moulded to be what we typically see in stores. As for me, I was content with a spoonful of fresh chocolate liqueur and a glass of milk!