Monthly Archives: September 2011

Carrot Cake with Butterscotch Sauce

One of the things I love the most about this time of year is the comfort foods. I enjoy the warm cozy meals and spending time with family. This dessert is definitely on my favorite comfort food list! Last November, when we were visiting my husband’s family, my Mother-in-Law made this delightful cake. It was one of the best cakes I have ever tasted!! She topped it with a homemade butterscotch sauce and served it with a bit of vanilla ice cream. I was in heaven!

It turns out that this cake is a favorite family recipe. After copying the recipe from my Mother-in-Law, his Grandma also gave me a copy of this recipe (along with her famous chocolate cake) and when I came home I realized I already had a copy of the recipe from my Husband’s Aunt. Now I’m going to share it with you!! You could definitely top it off with a cream cheese frosting, which would be amazing! However, I really liked it with the caramel/butterscotch sauce. When I made this sauce, my husband said it was the best caramel sauce I have ever made. I have to admit that I haven’t had much success in the past making caramel, but this turned out fabulous! Definitely a keeper!! I also served it with homemade vanilla ice cream. Just thinking about this cake warms me up and makes me feel all cozy inside. Definitely a perfect comfort food!!

14 K Carrot Cake
Pieper Family Cookbook

Sift together:
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Add and mix well: 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
Add 3 cups finely grated uncooked carrots
Add 1 cup chopped nuts
Bake on a cookie sheet at 350°F for 30-40 minutes

Creamy Butterscotch Sauce
Better Homes and Garden

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, stir often. Increase heat to medium. Stir in sugars, corn syrup, water, and salt. Stir constantly and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stir often. Remove from heat and stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Remaining sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Linked up at:

Zucchini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Surprise! Surprise! Guess what? Today I have another amazing zucchini post for you. Okay, maybe a zucchini post isn’t much of a surprise. I promise that this will be my last one. Actually, I can’t make such promises, because there is still zucchini in my garden. But I don’t have any baking plans for it yet. Besides making a few more loaves of zucchini bread. Oh…and that other treat I almost forgot. It looks like you *might* be getting one more.

I love these spicy, delightful cupcakes. I found the recipe a couple of years ago when I was going through my mother’s large collection of Taste of Home magazines. This particular recipe was printed in the August/September 1997 issue. I was glad to see that the recipe is also online.

While I loved the original recipe’s frosting (I made these a couple of years ago too), I couldn’t help but try this salted caramel buttercream from Fearless Homemaker. She posted the recipe the day before I baked these delicious cupcakes and I thought it was fate! They turned out fabulous!

I also have to share this lovely photo that we took for our online business, I am completely in love with these black spiral picks.

I love decorating cupcakes and I was excited to have a chance to try out some new decorating tips I bought a while ago. Glorious Treats has a great tutorial on frosting cupcakes.

Where are the recipes?! I am not going to post the recipes here, I’ll let you get them from their original sources:

Zucchini Cupcakes from Taste of Home: I only made one adaptation to the cupcake recipe, I used vanilla extract in place of the almond extract.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting from Fearless Homemaker.

For more great zucchini recipes check out my previous posts:
Quick Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Cobbler (tastes just like apple, nobody will know the difference)
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Heart Wedding Cookies

You may have thought I was done with the wedding posts. I have already shared two types of sugar cookies that I made for my sister-in-law’s wedding, here are the rest. After making a few dozen teacups, I decided to do some easy hearts in her wedding colors. I absolutely love the gray and yellow combo.

I wanted to practice a little with my monogramming skills, but after doing a few, I decided to keep the rest plain (and spend the rest of my decorating time doing little details on the wedding cake cookies).

I used the Sugar Cookie Recipe from Our Best Bites and the Royal Icing Recipe from Bake at 350.



Quick Zucchini Bread

Whenever I bake zucchini bread, I think back to the first day I met my husband’s mother, 8 years ago. We were between semesters at college and my boyfriend (now husband) took me home to meet his family for a week. I was so nervous…what if they didn’t like me?! The 12 hour drive took for-ev-er. I really shouldn’t have worried, his mother met us at the car and quickly gathered me into a hug. The next thing I know I am eating the most amazing stew packed with garden fresh vegetables and a tomato base….amazing! She also served us some delicious zucchini bread. It was absolutely fabulous. I can hardly remember any other meals that I ate 8 years ago…but this one is forever engraved in my heart. The instant I met his family, I completely fell in love with them. While I’m not sure if this is the zucchini bread recipe she used that day or not, this recipe came highly recommended to me from my husband’s aunt. It is found in his extended family’s cookbook.

Quick Zucchini Bread
(Pieper Family Cookbook)

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil**
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)*
1 cup raisins (optional)*

Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix together until moist. Pour into two greased and floured 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Delicious fresh, but even better after frozen and thawed.

* Feel free to add the nuts and raisins, I personally prefer bread without nuts and I haven’t tried it with raisins yet.

** I know this is a lot of oil. I’ve made this bread three times this summer already. The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly. After baking I realized that my bread pans were too big and the bread was really flat (no pictures), but super delicious. The second time, I substituted half of the oil for applesauce. The resulting bread was still good, but I still liked it better the first time around (These pictures are from this second attempt). The third time, I used a cup of fresh ground whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup applesauce (3/4 cup oil). It tasted healthier, but I still have to admit I like the original recipe the best.

Wedding Cake

This week I posted some cookies that I made for my sister-in-law’s wedding. Here is their wedding cake! The bride was inspired by this cake on Pinterest, and this cake turned out just how she wanted it (Since she was in and out of the kitchen while I was decorating it, she was able to tell me exactly what she wanted). The adorable couple cut the cake early in the reception and served it along with their refreshments. The cake was lemon with a vanilla buttercream frosting. We used the lemon cake recipe from Sweetapolita (without the blueberries–Although, I have made that cake before blueberries, lemon filling, and all–it was fabulous).

Notice I said “we,” really I meant my husband. He actually baked the cakes while I was hanging out with his sisters in Seattle. Isn’t he an amazing husband?! When I was stressing out a bit about making the wedding cake (I have never made a two tier cake before, I had to make it the day before the wedding, and I wasn’t going to be working in my own kitchen), here is how our conversation went:

Me: “I’m a little nervous about making the wedding cake” (see reasons above)
Husband: “It’ll be okay. I’ll help you.”
Me: “Really?!”
Husband: “I’ve always wanted to make a wedding cake. Haven’t you?”
Me: “Of course I have. You really want to?”
Husband: “Yes, but it is a lot more fun when it is for an actual wedding.”

My husband not only saved my sanity, but it was also a fun experience to decorate a cake with him. The wedding was absolutely wonderful and everything turned out so beautiful. We also loved spending time with our family.


Wedding Cake Cookies

I love decorating cookies. And these wedding cake cookies were especially fun because I enjoy adding little details. Some day I would love to make cookies to match an exact wedding cake. But this time I was just able to play. And I loved it!! I made these cookies with the intention of taking them to the bachelorette party with my sisters. Then I completely forgot them at my in-law’s house (2 hours away). So, instead we enjoyed them on the wedding day with the family.

In the above picture, the all white cookie on the right is similar to the design of my sister-in-law’s cake.

I especially liked this cookie with the lattice because it is similar to my wedding cake. And I had to do a few scrolls, I find them quite relaxing and therapeutic. Actually, I find the decorating stage in general to be relaxing…as long as I’m not in a rush (Prep and cleanup on the other hand…not so therapeutic. If I didn’t have to clean, I would decorate cookies a lot more often).

I used the Sugar Cookie Recipe from Our Best Bites and the Royal Icing Recipe from Bake at 350.

Teacup Sugar Cookies

A couple of weeks ago, I had the awesome opportunity to make cookies for my sister-in-law’s tea party themed wedding. I also made a few other goodies that I’m excited to show you this week (including her wedding cake!!).

I loved how each of them turned out unique. While I loved the colorful teacups, I decided to keep a few white with “silver” edging. I used the gray icing and then added some white pearl dust to give it a little shine.

In case you want to know all my decorating secrets (I’m happy to share them with you, be sure to ask if you have any questions):

I used the Sugar Cookie Recipe from Our Best Bites and the Royal Icing Recipe from Bake at 350. Let me tell you, they taste good! If you are looking for some great recipes, check these ones out! BTW I use AmeriColor brand meringue powder.

The dots and stripes were super hard and complicated….jk!! It is a little hard to tell from the pictures, but the dots and stripes are all level with the rest of the icing as opposed to details in the previous picture that were applied after the base layer was completely dry. The method used to get the flat details is often referred to as wet-on-wet. All of your flood icing needs to be the exact same consistency (Quick tip…thin out all of the icing, then color it the necessary colors. It’s a lot easier that way!!). Outline the cookie with thicker icing. Then after it has dried for a bit, flood the cookie with the base color. Then while the icing is still wet, add the dots. If you want to try it yourself, Bridget from Bake at 350 has an awesome tutorial.

Be sure to stop back by later this week for more wedding treats and I might even sneak in another zucchini post.

“I Can’t Believe it’s not Apple” Cobbler

If you have been browsing my site for the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably noticed that I have been using a lot of zucchini recently. No worries…I still have more zucchini posts for you. And if you are not a zucchini fan, don’t give up on me yet…in a week or two, when my kitchen and garden is no longer being overrun by squash, I will be back to decorating cookies and making completely unhealthy desserts that don’t involve veggies. :) In the meantime, here is an amazing recipe for you to try out!

A while ago, I saw a post for fake apple pie using zucchini. I was intrigued and knew I definitely needed to give a try once my zucchini was ripening in full force. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find that original post, which is rather embarrassing due to my love of Pinterest and the fact that I probably posted a comment on the blog saying I was going to try the recipe. (So, if you have posted a zucchini pie recipe, feel free to leave your link in the comment section and I will link this post up to you)

I have to admit that I was quite skeptical that zucchini could be substituted for the apples in a pie and nobody would notice the difference. But I am now a believer. I even decided to trick my husband tonight when I served this dessert and I called it apple cobbler. After he told me it was really good and he took a few more bites. I couldn’t resist telling him my secret…there were no apples in the cobbler. Say what?! The apples are really zucchini?!?! Yep! It’s that amazing!

So, if you have some extra zucchini laying around, you might just want to give this a shot. Actually, you really should give it a try. It sure beats another meal with steamed zucchini on the side (although, I do love it that way to…I just like to spice it up a little every once in a while…and in this case with some cinnamon and nutmeg).

Zucchini Cobbler

Filling: (adapted from
6-8 cups zucchini
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Crust/Topping: (a family favorite from my grandma)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine (you could use more if you want)

Peel, cut, and slice zucchini and remove the seeds. I cut them into slices that would look make them look like apples. (See photos above). Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook zucchini slices in boiling water for 2-3 minutes* (I would simmer them on medium/low for 15 minutes next time around, possibly in lemon juice…see updated notes below), until they are barely tender. Remove zucchini and drain very well and cool (I didn’t let them cool…but it would probably be a good idea). Strain off as much water as you can. Combine all the remaining filling ingredients (except zucchini) in a bowl. Add in the zucchini and mix until coated. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish you could also use a 9×9 if you want the cobbler thicker. I used a round dish this time.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and egg together with a fork until it resembles a coarse cornmeal (you could also use a pastry cutter or a couple of knives). Pour over top of the apples. Do not mix. Melt butter in the microwave and lightly drizzle on the top (this time around, I thinly sliced the butter and evenly distributed it around the top instead of melting). Bake for 50-60 minutes*. (Watch to make sure the top doesn’t over cook. You might want to loosely cover it for part of the cooking time).

Serve warm with ice cream.

*I baked mine for about 55 minutes and some of the zucchini was a little firm. It still tasted great. Next time I would either increase the boiling time at the beginning or the cooking time a bit.

**Updated–After posting this recipe this morning, I came across a couple of other zucchini cobbler recipes (here I thought I was being somewhat original). They both called for lemon juice. I’m wondering if that might help with the texture of the zucchini a bit.  They also cooked the zucchini for 15 minutes on medium/low in a saucepan  before adding the cinnamon sugar mixture. Here’s a link for you to check out too: A to Z Caramel Crisp from Shugary Sweets. The other recipe is in a comment on this recipe from HowDoesShe.

I would to hear your results if you try out this (or any similar) recipe substituting zucchini for apples.

Can you believe that this is really zucchini? Neither can I. I think something is missing from this picture. Oh right…the ice cream! A scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream…much better!

Oh, and in case you were really wanting some hearty meal to eat with your zucchini. Go ahead and check out this super easy Cheesy Zucchini recipe from HowDoesShe. We  had it for dinner tonight with a little diced ham. It was pretty tasty…even my two-year-old ate it.

Linked up at:

Tidy Mom

Cast Party Wednesday

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Our home is built on a really small lot in the city. We only have a small front yard and no backyard (there is a parking lot right outside our back door). While my husband and I dream of someday being avid gardeners, right now we are fairly content working a vegetable and herb garden into our landscaped flower beds. And since we love zucchini, we planted a ton of seeds which means we have a lot of zucchini. If you have ever grown zucchini you probably know exactly what I mean. Lately, I have been adding it to everything.

These cupcakes are a fabulous way to use zucchini. The moment I saw them, I knew I had to make them ASAP. They are incredibly rich and deliciously chocolaty. I bet you can trick everyone into eating them without anyone even knowing that there is a vegetable hidden inside. If you look very very closely, you might just see a little green.

While I love the cupcake with the rich chocolate frosting, I decided to use some leftover vanilla butter cream (powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk) on a few of the cupcakes. They were fantastic both ways.

I used a vegetable peeler and carefully shaved curls off of Hershey’s milk chocolate fun sized candy bars. I have to admit that it was rather tricky in my warm kitchen. I love the gourmet look!

Oh, the recipe?! Are you absolutely dying to try these too?!! Well you should be! You can find the recipe over at Two Peas & Their Pod. The recipe batter made 24 regular cupcakes for me (I am 99.9% sure they are regular sized….However, I just learned that my bread pans are larger than normal…which explains a few things). I also ran out of frosting, but as you can see…I really loaded it on there. You will probably be fine if you just spread the icing as shown in the original post.

You can also find some other delicious zucchini recipes on their blog! Be sure to go check out the recipe for Two Peas and Their Pod’s Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes.



Oreo Ice Cream

I have been planning on making some cookies and cream ice cream all summer long! I keep buying Oreos with this ice cream in mind. Unfortunately, Oreos don’t seem to last long around here. This week I finally got my chance to make the ice cream…and boy was it good! So good! But then something rather tragic happened. I dished up this fantastic bowl of ice cream to take pictures. It was a hard feat this time around…I had a hard time waiting to take a bite.

After a couple of shots, I leisurely enjoyed eating this bowl of creamy cookie amazingness. Then I got busy decorating wedding cookies. (BTW we are currently on our way back home from the wedding today…so stay tuned for the cookies and wedding cake posts in the near future.)

Hours later I realized that the rest of the ice cream was still on the counter…a quart of creamy cookie soup. Bummer. I guess I will just have to make it again. Actually, it is so good that it will make a frequent appearance in our kitchen.

Oreo Ice Cream

1 cup fat free milk*
2 cups heavy cream*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
7-10 Oreo cookies

Mix all the ingredients except cookies together until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to process (I usually skip this step). Follow freezing directions for your ice cream maker.

While ice cream is freezing, chop oreos into pieces. Once ice cream is done processing, fold in cookie pieces. Transfer to freezer safe container and freeze until ready to serve (about 1-2 hours).

* You can use almost any combination of dairy you choose for these 3 cups depending on your preference.

Adapted from Cuisinart.

Linked up at:

Cast Party Wednesday

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...