mardi gras recipe roundup

Mardi Gras is international pancake day!  Unfortunately, unlike on World Nutella Day, I wasn’t able to bake up a batch of pancakes on this exact day (there are math tests to be studied for and much needed showers to be taken).  
But not to worry, I came up with this quick little round-up of all of the pancake recipes here on Cannella Vita.  Breakfast for dinner anyone? 😉
With love, 
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

pina colada cupcakes


I do a lot of wondering
It’s just how my brain works. I’m always asking questions.
Maybe it’s because I’m young, maybe it’s because I’m restless.  I’m probably a little bit of both.


If you could peek into my brain at any given moment, it would look something like this:

What hair color do they put on the driver’s license of a bald man?  How many times will I fall in love? Why does extra sharp white cheddar cheese taste so good on stale Ritz crackers?  Do my socks match today? Why can I never find the tape? If tomatoes are a fruit, isn’t ketchup technically a tomato smoothie? Why do I ask so many questions?  Did I forget to log off of the library computer? Are cats and dogs are really smart and just acting dumb to freeload off humans?  Did the teacher notice I was on Pinterest all class? Can Pokemon only say their name, or are they named after the only thing they can say?


Why do my hands always smell like buttercream?

Ok, so I know the answer to the last question…


It’s because I’ve been going through a total cupcake craze. Borderline full-on obsessed.  I just can’t get enough of piping neat little swirls of buttercream.  I love the big cloud of confectioner’s sugar hovering around my stand mixer and all of the sticky, Ziploc bags of frosting (my mom on the other hand isn’t so enthusiastic…). The first thing I do when I step in the house is preheat the oven to 350 and fill a muffin pan with paper liners.  This has been going on for a while.  I need help.  But for now, just take a look at these Pina Colada cupcakes while I run to the store to buy more confectioner’s sugar.

With love,
Erica


Pineapple Cupcakes:

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2 minutes).
On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.
Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350*F oven for about 22 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Recipe yields 24-28 cupcakes.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients 

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup crisco
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons milk

Place butter, crisco and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
Slowly add the milk until you reach desired consistency.
Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

To Assemble:

Additional Ingredients
sweetened coconut
maraschino cherries

Frost each cupcake with a swirl of coconut cream cheese frosting. Roll in sweetened coconut. Top with a maraschino cherry.  

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

oatmeal dark chocolate chip pancakes

Last Friday was the Sadie Hawkins dance at school.
Scratch that.
Last Friday was the “Girls Ask Boys Winter Formal.” Apparently “Sadie Hawkins” isn’t politically correct enough for my school.  I’m technically on Spirit Committee… I should know these things.

My friend Veda and I had a track meet before during the dance. 
When my coach told me I had to sprint 400 meters, I though he was kidding.
He wasn’t kidding.
I gagged a bit just thinking about it.  Then after it was over, I gagged all over the place.  Yeah, I’m a real superstar on the track team. 😉
But at least I bring brownies.

When I finally got back home, it was already nine, and the last thing I wanted to do was get dressed. But I did.
I put on my dress, slopped on some red lipstick, hoop earrings, and heels.  Then I smooped my hair into a bun because I couldn’t even think of touching a flat iron (smooped isn’t a word, but “twirled” is way too elegant of a word to describe what I did to my poor hair).  In the end, it was half decent. Sort of like iCarly meets flamenco dancer. 

By the time we got to the dance, there were only 30 minutes left.  Everyone was already talking about who should have the after party.  Suddenly, I got a second wind.  Kind of like how I have a second stomach for dessert (no matter how stuffed I am), I have a reserve of energy for a good party (no matter how insanely tired I am).

But, as last minute plans usually go, no one ended up having one.

And you know what?  I was secretly happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party as much as the next person (I’m a high school girl, I’m normal I swear…), but by then all I wanted to do was put on my Pink sweatpants (the ones with strawberries on the butt), lie on my bed with a huge bottle of Blue Powerade Zero, and play “never have I ever” with my friend Veda (even though we know everything that we’ve “never” done, it’s fun anyways).

I dropped off to bed around 1:30.  It was a long day.

In the morning, I woke up refreshed and with a serious chocolate craving. 
And these pancakes happened.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg
a hand full dark chocolate chips

 
Place flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

nutella cupcakes

February 5th is World Nutella Day. Hold on… today is February 5th, and I just serendipitously have a Nutella recipe to share with you all. 

I missed International Bacon Day,  Biscuit Day, and even National Julienne Fries Day (August 12 in case you were wondering…).

I keep track of time by tests, track practices, hours wasted on Pinterest, and the occasional high school party — not by the food blogging calender of seasonal recipes and National Fondant Day.  I baked with pumpkin in July.  I made pina colada popsicles last week.  #YOLO 

But today, the odds were in my favor. And my crazy little baking whim just happened to coincide with an international holiday.

This is not just any old Nutella Recipe, this is the ultimate glorification of the chocolaty spread. This recipe uses two entire jars of Nutella.  Tempted?  Keep reading.

I started with my favorite, mind-bogglingly easy chocolate cupcake recipe,  filled it with generous spoonfuls of Nutella, topped it with a big swirl of Nutella buttercream (this stuff is dangerous I almost piped about half of it straight into my mouth), and a Ferrero Rocher. 

So on this glorious morning of Feburary 5th, let’s pay homage to Nutella by baking a batch of these sinfully awesome cupcakes.  If you’re in a pinch, a fresh jar and a big metal spoon would do.

What’s your favorite way to eat Nutella?

With love,
Erica

Erica’s Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients 
1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coffee granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Line 24 muffin wells with paper liners.
Beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and instant coffee mixture until well combined.
Distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells. (I like to use an ice cream scoop)
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1.5 pounds confectioners’ sugar

6-8 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening until well combined, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 3-5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Set aside 1/4 of the mixture to use as the vanilla buttercream.  Add the Nutella to the remaining mixture and beat for another 3 minutes.

How to Assemble:

Additional Ingredients:
24 Ferrero Rocher candies
melted chocolate for drizzling

  1. Bake chocolate cupcakes and allow them to cool completely.
  2. Hollow out each cupcake I used a cupcake corer, but an apple corer would work just as well.
  3. Fill a piping bag with a 13 oz. jar of Nutella and pipe the Nutella into the center of each cupcake. 
  4. Prepare the Nutella Buttercream, reserving 1/4 of the vanilla buttercream before adding the Nutella. 
  5. Prepare a piping bag with a round tip, and fill with Nutella buttercream. 
  6. Prepare a piping bag with a star tip, and fill with vanilla buttercream. 
  7. Pipe a swirl of Nutella buttercream on each cupcake, and drizzle with melted chocolate.
  8. Top with a swirl of vanilla buttercream and a Ferrero Rocher.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

vanilla bean ricotta donuts

This is the ideal brunch recipe.  When you’re lazy, sleepy, and expected to whip up a storm, these come together in one bowl, and are done and dusted within 20 minutes.  Unlike Aunt Jemima’s, these emerge from the kitchen to ohhs and ahhhs.  Plus they look oh-so-elegant when served with chocolate sauce and lemon wedges.



I imagine whipping these up on a hazy Sunday morning, wearing an adorable, little striped robe and sheepskin slippers.  There would be sunflowers on my windowsill in a little glass vase.
There would be frothy lattes in Antropologie teacups and music would be playing from a creaky record player.  I’d sprinkle these with powdered sugar, and the air would smell like lemons and vanilla. 

I know these kinds of things exist somewhere, I’ve seen them on Pinterest. 

But in reality, I don’t own an adorable striped robe, nor a creaky record player. In reality, I don’t have jars of sunflowers on my kitchen window sill, rather, I have half a batch of buttercream leftover from my attempt at making a s’mores flavored cupcake. 
 
In reality, I eat these on Tuesday afternoons standing up at the kitchen counter. With a jar on honey in one hand, and my iPhone in the other. 
In reality, I am wearing my dad’s “Old Guys Rule” shirt. 

It’s OK. No problem-o.  Life’s not supposed to happen like it does on Pinterest. 
No one in their right mind has the energy to go pick sunflowers before their first mug of coffee.  Life’s not supposed to be that sensible. I burned my mouth four times eating donut balls that were too fresh from the pot.  Did I learn my lesson? No. I’d totally do it all over again.  See? Nonsensical.  
I guess life’s kind of nonsensical like that.  It’s messy, fun, and sweet… kind of like these sinfully quick, deep-fried balls of dough dunked in honey. 

With love, 
Erica  



P.S.
If you do happen to have an adorable, little striped robe and a creaky record player, I respect you.

http://blog.nuji.com/


Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
8 oz (1/2 lb) ricotta, whole or skim
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Canola oil, for frying (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Deep-fry thermometer

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add sugar, eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot. Leave at least two inches of space at the top for safety. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium until it reaches 325-375 degrees F.

Fry a test doughnut: Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop a scoop of batter in and turn it occasionally. It should take 3-4 minutes to turn golden brown. Carefully remove and cut in half to check if it’s cooked all the way through. Test another if needed.

Fry the remaining doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the pot; fry in batches. Place doughnuts on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.  Depending on how big you scoop them, this should make around 12 donuts. 

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm with honey, jam, or melted chocolate.

Adapted from A Cup of Jo

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

recipe showdown: blueberry muffins

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Recipe Showdown.  My last showdown was “Sweet Potato Casserole.”  That was before Thanksgiving.  Santa has come, we have rung in the new year, I’ve finished exams… heck, it’s almost Valentine’s day.  
 
For the past four months, the most prominent thing on my blogging to-do list has been “DO A RECIPE SHOWDOWN” (the second most prominent thing is my attempt at drawing a croquembouche… but that’s beside the point).  
What’s been getting in the way?

To tell you the truth, Recipe Showdowns are hard. 

First, I have to scour the Internet for the best recipes out there, making sure they’re each a bit different to make the tests interesting.  
Second, I have to halve each recipe so I don’t end up with 10,000 muffins in my house (being the OCD little math geek that I am, this takes a while…)
Third, I have to buy all the ingredients, battling my way through the supermarket in search of “Cream of Tartar,” and other funky ingredients.
Fourth, I have to bake them all. (coordinating oven times, oven temps, my stand mixer, and my sanity is quite an ordeal). 
By this time all I want to do is drown my sorrows for a few hours on Pinterest.  But the Showdown is not even halfway done.
I still have to conduct tests.
Do I seriously want to conduct tests?  Ain’t nobody got time for that! By this time, I JUST WANT A DAMN MUFFIN. 
But alas, I conducted tests. On my parents, on my friends, even on a few random freshman… and I found the supreme blueberry muffin recipe. Oh, the sacrifices I make for you guys.
Once I sunk my teeth into the soft, pillowy, sugar-crusted, blueberry-studded muffin of my dreams, I  realized why the painstaking process that is Recipe Showdown is so worth it.  I also realized that the big, blueberry juice stain on my Lululemon yoga pants was so worth it.  It’s like a battle scar. A mark of honor. 
Lastly, I realized I should really drag my butt off Pinterest more often and do more Recipe Showdowns. 
With love, 
Erica

 

The Facts:
Almost biscuit-like,  these muffins have a super thick, almost cookie dough-like batter, which keeps the blueberries afloat and evenly distributed. 
These are light and fluffy, moistened with vegetable oil and a touch of sour cream.  They are topped off with a light crumb topping and a sprinkling of sparkly raw sugar.
These have the magical addition of brown butter in them (you all know how much I love brown butter!).  There is no sour cream in the batter. These muffins are topped off with a chunky streusel.
Tasters’ notes:
A bit dry and biscuit like...
Very crumbly
For all of the butter and sour cream, you would think that these would be lighter and less dense.
LOVE the raw sugar crust
Light and fluffy
Pretty
Very moist
Don't miss the butter at all!
Sweet
Love the brown butter taste!
A bit cake-like
Dense
Crumbly
Verdict:
My dad liked these the best (he said the others were too sweet, and he loves biscuits).  However, this was definitely not the conventional favorite.
THE SUPREME BLUEBERRY MUFFIN!
Brown butter is delicious, and it is definitely a close second, but the dense, crumbly consistency wasn't up to par with Cooking Classy.

The Supreme Blueberry Muffin
From Cooking Classy
Yield: 14 muffins
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
7 Tbsp vegetable oil* (the easiest way to measure: measure 1/2 cup remove 1 Tbsp)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp Raw Sugar
Prepare crumb topping by combining 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a food processor. Pulse just a few seconds until combine, it should be very fluffy (if you pulse it too much it will become dense). Pour crumb mixture into a small bowl and whisk in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar (please do not leave this ingredient out, it's the crowning jewel of these muffins, it's a MUST), set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a seperate mixing bowl, using a wire hand whisk (no electric mixer allowed here =), mix together 1 cup granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and sour cream for 1 minute. Gently whisk in dry mixture just until combine, batter should be slightly lumpy (do not over-mix, key to fluffy muffins). Fold in blueberries with a spatula. Divide mixture evenly among 12 - 14 paper lined muffin tins. Allow muffins to rest at room temperature 10 minutes, meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After muffins have rested, fluff crumb topping with a fork and sprinkle each muffin evenly with 1 Tbsp crumb topping mixture (if doing 14 muffins you will want to do a scant tbsp). Bake muffins 19 - 23 minutes until lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan before removing to wire rack to cool. © Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

ferrero rocher brownies

My track coach is a very wise man.  He always pushes the point that although painful, the 200 meter dash takes up a mere 30-seconds of your life, and that sometimes, one has to suck-it-up for a little bit to reap serious rewards.


I’ve applied his wisdom to less painful pursuits than the 200-meter dash — like getting a pedicure, shopping, and baking brownies. 


My friend Emilia and I treated ourselves to pedicures last weekend.  What could be better than an entire hour devoted to pampering yourself?  I can’t think of many things I’d rather do than get a pedicure (except for maybe shopping or baking brownies… keep reading).  Every moment is pure bliss… except for those few minutes at the beginning when the lady scrubs the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone.  I am painfully ticklish, and it takes every ounce of will power to not start screaming/crying/laughing.  But once that’s done, I’ve still got another 45 minutes of bliss to go.

I love shopping for shoes, and often find myself falling head-over-heels for the latest, crazy pair.   Suddenly, there’s nothing I’d rather do than buy them on the spot, take them home with me, rip the tags off, and walk around in them for the rest of my life.  However, I’ve learned the hard way that buying shoes (and ripping the tags off) without trying them on is a recipe for blisters and tears.  Although frustrating for an impatient girl like me, waiting to try them on saves me a box of band-aids.

Just like enduring the pumice stone and waiting to try on shoes, these knock-your-socks-off brownies require a bit of will power as well.  I had to unwrap not one, but two boxes of Ferrero Rochers to put in these brownies, and couldn’t even eat one.  However, after struggling through, and waiting for these to (almost) cool, I got to stuff three of these super fudgy bad boys in my face. Totally worth it. 

With love, 
Erica

P.S. I think I’ve found my new go-to brownie recipe! Tartine’s brownies are the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy, with a beautiful, crinkly crust! 

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs (the original recipe calls for five eggs, but I don’t like tall brownies)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drop the Rocher candies evenly throughout the brownie batter (4 rows and 5 columns).  Make sure you cover each Rocher with a bit of brownie batter so their tops don’t get burned while baking. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Adapted From Tartine and Mrs. Renaissance

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

creamsicle cupcakes

This morning, I got a text from my friend Tessa,
“2 hour delayyy! Woot woot!”

At first I thought, “thank god! no school!”

Then I realized that I had already gotten out of bed.
Then I realized that I was going to wear heels, but couldn’t now, so I had to re-do my entire outfit to match my snow boots.
Then I realized that I would need more than a long-sleeve t-shirt for track, so I had to repack my entire gym bag.
Then I realized that my schedule would be different due to the delay. So I had to repack my entire backpack.
Then I realized that I was late.

Moments like these remind me why I can’t wait for spring, when I can trade my clunky snow boots for strappy sandals,  my long-sleeve t-shirts with breezy tank tops, and my scalding hot coffee with Orange Creamsicles.  

Starting in March, the ice cream truck starts pulling up to my school.  They have Sno-Cones, Popsicles, and ice cream.  However, as a creature of habit, I always get the Orange Creamsicle.

Creamsicles are my mom’s favorite too, (like mother, like daughter) — and I couldn’t imagine ordering anything else at the ice cream truck.  I don’t know why I love them so much.  The citrusy, fresh orange juice against the mellow, rich and creamy ice cream is to die for.

It’s the perfect balance between refreshing and rich.  It’s the perfect thing to eat on the field when I have a free period at the end of the day. (Shh… don’t tell the P.E. director that I eat ice cream on the field…)

So although spring seems really far away, and you probably can’t even think about holding and ice cream cone right now,  try bringing a bit of sunshine into your kitchen with these creamsicle cupcakes! It’ll knock a bit of the dreary winter chill out of you, and give you something to do during your two hour delay from work or school.

With love,
Erica

P.S.
There seems to be a pattern here — recreating my favorite ice cream flavors in the form of cupcakes (I made these banana split cupcakes last week)

Ingredients
1 white cake mix
1 3-ounce package orange Jell-O, less 2 teaspoons to reserve for the frosting
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest.
Frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup butter; softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons orange Jell-O
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
orange candies (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, orange jello, water, orange juice, oil, eggs and zest. Beat with a mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes.
Divide batter evenly among muffin wells with an ice cream scoop (I filled mine about 2/3 full). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For frosting, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until you get you desired consistency for piping. Set aside about 1/3 of the frosting mixture for the white part of the frosting.  Add the 2 teaspoons of orange jello to the remaining 2/3 of the frosting and beat well to combine.
Set up your piping bag with a large round tip.  Fill it with the orange frosting.  Pipe the orange frosting onto each cupcake, beginning along the outside edge and spiraling in toward the center.
Set up a separate piping bag with a star-shaped tip and fill with the white frosting.  Pipe on the center of each cupcake.
Garnish the top of each cupcake with an orange candy.

Adapted from Celebrations.com

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

banana split cupcakes

Aren’t these cute!?

At my track meet on Friday, I couldn’t stop showing everyone the grainy pictures of these banana split cupcakes on my iPhone. 

“Hey, look what I made!”
“You can’t see it in the picture, but they’re filled with banana pudding — pretty fancy, huh?”
“Those are real maraschino cherries… in case you were wondering.”

… sorry to my track team for being so annoying.  But hey, they should put up with my baking bragging, because I provided two trays of my butterscotch blondies at the meet.  Sorry, not sorry. 😉

Anyways, since I’ve already told my track team about them, let me tell you why these cupcakes are awesome.

1) Banana splits are arguably more American than apple pie.  They’re also retro, funky, and remind me of fun, colorful diners and jukeboxes.

2) Sometimes, it’s too cold for ice cream (ahem, it was around 20 degrees yesterday).  These cupcakes are a warmer twist on a classic cold favorite.

3) The recipe is multi-step, hands-on, and slightly fussy.

Reason #3 may surprise some of you, but personally, I love fussy recipes.  The ones that have multiple steps and multiple flavors.

While making these cupcakes, I loved getting lost in the process of coring each cupcake, carefully filling each one with banana pudding and decadently frosting each one with layers of rich buttercream.  I relished meticulously coating each one with a seamless layer of nonpareils and carefully placing a glossy maraschino cherry atop yet another swirl of buttercream.  I get such a rush from putting my heart and soul into a recipe.  I even made a midnight run to the grocery store to buy more nonpareils and maraschino cherries. (Shout out to mom for taking me there at 11:30 on a school night! You rock!).

These would be perfect for a summer potluck or for a cloudy Tuesday in January when I’m missing the carefree flavors of summer.

Do you like fussy recipes?
With love,
Erica

Banana Cupcakes
Adapted from The Food Network 

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar.  Add the sour cream and vanilla. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixture together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and mix until just combined.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the oven until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Bakers Royale

Ingredients
2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
5-8 tablespoons water, warm
Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
Vanilla Buttercream
Ingredients
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more milk if needed for spreading consistency.
To Assemble Cupcakes:

Additional Ingredients
One package Instant Banana Pudding
Nonpareils
maraschino cherries

Prepare pudding according to the directions on the package.  Core each cupcake with either an apple corer or the large end of a cupcake tip.  Fill each cupcake with banana pudding.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with vanilla buttercream and start piping from the outside working in to the center to create one even layer. Freeze cupcakes for 20 minutes (so the frosting won’t melt when dipped in the warm glaze.  Dip each cupcake in warm chocolate glaze. Rim generously with nonpareils.  Return cupcakes to freezer for five minutes so that the glaze can  set. Remove from freezer and finish piping frosting on top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

 
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insanely easy nutella cookies

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make the fudgiest, butteriest, most delicious chocolate cookies on the planet without beating butter or chopping chocolate in less than 20 minutes?  Probably not. But hopefully by the end of this post, you will.

This morning, I had a cookie catastrophe.  Last night, I got home around 10 from a track meet.  I walked though the door and flopped into bed (I was still in my racing singlet).  I woke up around 11 this morning, and realized that I was meeting my friends Bella and Mimi for lunch at 12!  I threw on my leggings, and quickly slopped on some mascara.  Then I realized that there were no cookies. :0

I met Bella and Mimi at ballet school in seventh grade.  I have tons of great memories with them — gossiping in the locker room, running to Starbucks before barre, and making fun of our ancient Russian instructor behind his back.  We used to play a game to see who could pay attention to him the longest (I always lost).  The three of us haven’t been together in ages — the last time I saw Mimi I was an 8th grader!  This was a really important occasion, and really important occasions call for really good cookies. 

Sadly, I didn’t have time to whip together my famous compost cookies and I couldn’t even pick up a box of Oreos for my Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies!

Thank god for Nutella.

Thanks to that magical, chocolaty spread, these cookies came together in a matter of seconds — no butter left? Used all those chocolate chips? No problem! I didn’t even need to touch my Kitchen Aid.  By the time I finished doing my hair, they were already cooled and ready to eat!

When I came home from lunch, my mom had eaten one of the extra cookies that I left on the counter.  She said that they were out-of-this-world delicious, and one of the best cookies I’ve ever made. 

Everyone should know this recipe — because you never know when the next cookie catastrophe will strike!

With love,
Erica

 Ingredients
1 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except for the sea salt in a large bowl until well combined. Place dough in freezer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes roll dough into 1-inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until cookies are set, then very carefully transfer to a wire rack. Generously sprinkle with sea salt.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.