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Chocolate Trifle w/ Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Trifle

This is the sweet I made for my sweets today.

This was also not what I had intended to make for them.  On Valentine’s Day, we tend to make it more about the kids than ourselves anymore.  So, the plan this year was to do steak, potatoes, asparagus, and a great dessert.  We thought it would be fun to watch the movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  (Did I Say that right?  I never do……..)

Little did I know how much that movie would impact my dessert making skills.

I had this great idea to fix these individual chocolate cakes with this great ganache topping with little Wilton sugar flowers on top.

Everything was going great until I got to here:


I was all like, “Oh yeah!  I got this!  Came up with this on my own.  Going to rock this and my family is going to think I’m a rockstar!”

Yeahhhhhhhhhh……. not so good after that.  Everything went wrong!


First, this happened………………





Thank goodness I still had this.  FYI:  I used a boxed cake mix.


I heart boxed cake mixes.

Not a stinkin thing wrong with boxed cake mixes.

Just sayin………..   When people say, “oh my goodness!  This is the best cake I have EVER had!”

You simply say, “Awe!  Thank you!” And leave it at that.   😉


So, I went with Plan B.  Start stuffing wine glasses and make a trifle.


I stuffed with left over cake and fresh raspberries, with some of the raspberry buttercream icing I made earlier for the cakes.

Wanna know how I made the frosting?

This is what I did:


I took two sticks of softened unsalted butter and using a hand mixer, beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Then, I slowly added 6 cups of powdered sugar, alternating between 1/8 cup of skim milk in between when the mixture got too dry.



I added a 1/4 cup of raspberry puree to the frosting, which I made by first…………


taking a pint of fresh raspberries and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and pulsing in a blender until it was


smooth.  Since I had little left over (approx. 1/4 cup) , I used it again later in assembling the trifle.


It made the BEST tasting Raspberry Buttercream Frosting.  I often use fresh berries to flavor and turn icing a pink color instead of using red food dye b/c I have an allergy to it myself.  Needless to say, I have never had Red Velvet Cake and I often dream of how it may taste.  But alas, I shall never know.   Oh well.

Anyway, back to the trifle!


Like I mentioned earlier, after layering in no particular order, the cake, fresh raspberries, and the frosting…….. I added a dollop of raspberry puree and then some more cake and frosting.


Then, I added some more frosting ( I know!  Enough already with the frosting!) and berries and finally, the Wilton sugar flowers.

It could have been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with the catastrophe that was my cake making skills, but a very wise Pastor once told me, “Never compare your Behind the Scenes to someone else’s Highlight Real”!

So, here I am.  Melted cakes and all,

telling you that you can turn a mess into something beautiful and tasty  afterall.


I wish y’all a Happy and Sweet Valentine’s Day, from my







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Lee’s Lemon Cupcakes

Lee's Lemon Cupcakes-2

So, my oldest turned 11 today………………  11 , y’all!

It breaks my heart…………..  mostly because it means I’m getting old.


It doesn’t break my heart to share the cupcake recipe I made for her birthday.

A little while back, I shared a recipe of a cake that was my cake version of this very cupcake.  Confusing?  Hopefully not.

We bought some cupcakes that were called “Lemon Bliss” Cupcakes at Sam’s Club.  They were instantly a HIT!  Problem is, they are a seasonal item and you can’t get them all the time.  One of my favorite things is to try to recreate foods that I have tried and put my own twist on them in the process.  The cake was awesome and we had it for her birthday last year.  You can check that post out here.

This year, we decided to do the actual cupcake version so we made a few adjustments.


With the cake I made, I used whipped cream as the “icing”.  This time, I decided to go with buttercream and lemon pudding in the middle and also filled the inside of the cupcake with the pudding like a hostess cupcake.

The result was pure AWESOMENESS!  The great thing is this cupcake is not heavy at all!  I didn’t say it was’t fattening, just not heavy.  So, I guess you might want to be careful since you could probably eat a few without blinking an eye.  😉



Have fun and let me know how your’s turn out!

Recipe:  Lee’s Lemon Cupcakes

NOTE:  It may be helpful to read entire recipe before starting.

Makes 24 Cupcakes (filled half way) or 20 Cupcakes filled 2/3 way high


– 1 Boxed Lemon Cake , plus additional items needed for cake such as eggs, oil, water (etc.)

– 1 Box Instant Lemon Pudding, plus 2 cups milk needed for Pudding instructions.

– Lemon Buttercream Frosting (Recipe Follows)

– Cupcake Liners

– 1 Cupcake filler tip

– 1 Tip for Buttercream Frosting

– 2 Large Freezer Ziplock Bags

Lemon Butter Cream Frosting:

– 2 Sticks room temperature softened unsalted butter

– 6 Cups Confectioners Sugar

– 1/2 Cup Milk (I use Skim)

– 1   1/2  Teaspoons Lemon Extract


– Line Muffin Pan with liners and mix and bake cupcakes according to cake instructions.  Allow to cool completely.

– Meanwhile, make Lemon Pudding according to package instructions and put in fridge for 15 minutes to allow to “set up”.

– Make Buttercream frosting by beating 2 sticks butter with a hand mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Slowly add confectioners sugar and alternate between milk and confectioners sugar until all has been used.  Add lemon extract and beat until completely smooth and all lumps from sugar are gone.

– Once cupcakes have completely cooled, take a large ziplock bag, snip one corner of bag at an angle and insert large long decorating tip for cupcake filling into bag.  Fill bag with Lemon Pudding Filling.  Seal bag and set aside.

– Take other large ziplock bag and snip a corner of bag at angle and insert another large decorating tip of your choosing for Butter Cream frosting.  Fill bag with Butter Cream Frosting and set aside.

– Take cooled cupcakes and inserting the tip of the Lemon Pudding bag into center of cupcake, gently squeeze bag until you can see the lemon pudding filling come out of top.  Finish filling remainder of cupcakes.  You should have left over.  Do not throw away!  We will use at end.

– Take Butter Cream Frosting back and make a swirl around top outer edge of cupcake twice, allowing for a “circle” to remain on center of cupcake.  Finish frosting remainder of cupcakes.

– Take remaining lemon pudding filling bag and fill remaining center “circle” on cupcake until pudding is level with butter cream frosting.

– Your done!  Enjoy!

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Banana Bread Muffins

Banana Bread Muffin

So, I’m literally obsessed and have an addiction to these Banana Bread Muffins.

In fact, I think it is safe to say that my whole family does.

I made these yesterday.  The recipe made 48 mini muffins and today, at 6:00pm.  They are literally all gone.

My poor family…… We have no self control.


These are actually a great after school treat, but unfortunately, my kids do not understand the idea of moderation.  Else they would have had these several days after school.  Maybe we need to work on that concept.



These are really great as a traveling alternative to grabbing fast food.  We tend to go out of town early in the morning and this involves us buying breakfast on the way a lot.

With the Holidays coming up quickly and people going out of town, why not make these the day before and pack them to go?


I promise they will go FAST!

Check out the video below that I made for these yummy little muffins!

Happy Baking!



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Cinnamon Twists

Pickmonkey Cinnamon Twists

When I was growing up, both my mom and grandma took us to a grocery store called, The Fresh Market.  To my knowledge, they are across the United States, so I’m sure you are probably familiar with it.

Apart from having organic food items, they had and still do have an  AMAZING Bakery!

Well,  it was considered AMAZING to a little child growing up.

We all had our favorite things we loved and pretty soon those things became something we couldn’t live without when we would go to there.  At least that is what we would tell anyone who took us, in hopes we could sweet talk them into buying something for us.

We weren’t spoiled, right?

I remember my sister’s favorite were the Chocolate Eclairs.  Mine were whatever Sugary Confection looked good that day…… (I never have met a baked good I didn’t like).  AND…….My brother’s were the Cinnamon Twists!  (Which also, eventually,  became my favorite as well)

Well, when my brother and I moved away from Raleigh, we moved to an area that didn’t have a Fresh Market.  Well, at least not initially.

Within a few years of living here, they actually, to our surprise, built one, not too far from our house!  I was literally in heaven!  Nothing will get this girl more excited than when a new awesome grocery store hits town!  The first thing on my list to buy there were going to be……. you guessed it,


However, that wouldn’t happen.  🙁

I went to the store and didn’t see them.  After asking an employee where they were, he told me that I must have been a Fresh Market customer for a LONG time, because they stopped making them years ago.??????????

WHAT?!?!?! , I thought?

I guess I hadn’t gone that often when I still lived in Raleigh, because I reckon I would have known this!?!?

They had some “other version ” of them now.  But Y’all!!!!  Let me just tell you…….

“Other Versions” just don’t cut it when you want the REAL VERSION of something.  Not when you grew up having One Version of it and One Version only.  Uh uh!

So, long story short…..  (TOO LATE!)

I decided to make my “OWN VERSION”!

So, I hope you like them.

Here is what I did:


I took one sheet of Puff Pastry.  I used Pepperidge Farm’s, but use whatever brand you like.  I only had one sheet, so the recipe will be based off that.  If using 2 sheets, and I definitely recommend doing that, because you will want MORE!……. just double the rest of the ingredients.


Lightly dust a counter surface with flour so that you can work with the pastry sheet and it will not stick to the counter.  *You honestly don’t need much.


Mine came lined with sheets of parchment paper, so I thought it would be a great idea to use this as a “ruler” of some sort or at least something that would give me a straight edge to cut the strips with.  Using a pizza cutter,


I cut several strips of the puff pastry.  Make sure to cut an even amount, as you will twist two together.  *NOTE:  I would go back and cut the strips thinner next time.  They don’t have to bake as long when they are thinner.  However, these did just fine and tasted great!


Then, I took a very small amount of milk and brushed it lightly on the strips to act as a “glue” for the cinnamon and sugar.


I mixed together 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with a 1/4 cup of sugar.


I heavily sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar mixture over all of the strips.  Then, I turned them over and did the exact same thing to the other sides.


Time to TWIST!  Take two strips and cross them at the top, pinching together.  Taking both strips, I twisted them all the way down and pinched them again at the bottom to seal.


This is what they look like when twisted.  Then, I cut them in half and made sure all the ends were pinched together as well.


Smaller cut strips getting ready to go into the oven on 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  (*Thinner ones will be less)


And VOILA!  Make sure to let them cool completely.  As they cool, they will become stiffer and will in turn have this “crunch” to them that is simply DIVINE!  That is exactly the way they used to be at The Fresh Market too!  🙂

I have to say that I was proud of myself.  I surprised my brother with a few and I really hope he liked them!  If he didn’t he can give them back because I know a few peeps around these parts that will gobble them up!


When the kids came home from school, they devoured them.  Even my oldest, who is not a big sweet person (not sure she is really my kid……)  LOVED THEM!

Then, both her and her sister decided that they would go best with Apple Cider.  If you haven’t seen my Cider Recipe, you can check it out here.

Until next time…….



Recipe:  Cinnamon Twists

– Flour for dusting

– 1 Frozen Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed

– 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

– 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

– Small amount of milk for brushing Pastry



– Take a small amount of Flour and lightly dust a counter or cutting board surface.  Take Puff Pastry sheet, and lie flat on lightly dusted surface.

– Using a pizza cutter or knife and straight edge, cut strips in puff pastry sheet, remembering to do an even number for twisting purposes.  Cutting thinner strips may work better.  However, wider ones work just as well.  Line strips on working surface.

– Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the Cinnamon and Sugar.

– Using a pastry brush, lightly brush surface of pastry sheets with milk.

– Heavily dust each strip with Cinnamon/Sugar mixture.  Flip strips over and repeat on other side.

– Carefully, take two strips and criss-cross strips on one edge.  Proceed to wrap strips around each other and secure other end just like the beginning.

– Lay strip down on cut in half, remembering to pinch the cut edges together so that they will hold their shapes.  Repeat steps with remaining strips.

– Lay strips on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until puffy and golden brown.  Sprinkle with additional Cinnamon/Sugar mixture if you wish.

– Allow the strips to cool completely.  *If you do this, they will become crispier and fantastic!  If you eat them to soon, they will not be as crispy!


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