Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

And here comes another fall inspired post!

I feel like I’m learning so much these days, and not just medicine related. I’m learning from friendships — about strengths & weaknesses of both myself & others, I’m learning from piano — about trusting your hands to fall into place, I’m learning from life — that overthinking is not always healthy.

I’m learning that perception is reality & perspective changes your outlook.

Life should be simple & blissful and full of cake:

Ingredients:
  • 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cream cheese frosting
    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 2 cups confectioners sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, & salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, oil, both sugars, eggs & vanilla extract. Combine wet & dry ingredients and fill in a lined cupcake pan (should make 12). Bake at 350*F for around 22 minutes or when center comes out clean.

For the frosting, use an electrical beater to mix the cream cheese and butter. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract.

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apple spice cake

Fall is finally here!!!

Fall is my favorite season. Not just because my birthday falls in it, but mostly because of the anticipation of the holiday season – the build up. The lights, the customized coffee drinks, cute winter boots, the spirit… is there anything in the world that compares?!

To welcome fall, I bought tons of spices & made this apple spice cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves & set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars; then add applesauce, oil, vanilla and mix until smooth. Combine the wet & dry ingredients and pour batter into a prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 40 minutes at 350*F

For the glaze: melt the butter, brown sugar, cream & salt over medium heat in a saucepan. Bring to boil and stir constantly for one minute. Then, remove from heat. Wait for a couple minutes and then slowly whisk the powdered sugar until you have a thick but pourable consistency. (If mixture is took thick — add some cream to thin it out). Immediately pour glaze over cake.

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This turned out perfect & exactly what I’d imagine fall would taste like. The blend of spices filled my home with their scent & I’m suddenly festive even though neuroanatomy (read: impending doom) is starting tomorrow.

Also, if I ever live in a climate where I can see leaves change color, I might just go crazy. autumn-forest-trees-yellow-leaves-branches-sunlight-2k-wallpaper-middle-size

 

{lighter} greek yogurt banana bread

And so continues the {lighter} series as I finish up week one of my gastrointestinal block…

Recipe found here.

I love reading little baking blogs with cute little stories but sadly I have none that are witty or related to baking, but I have this: make time for the things you love and the people you love. As I start my second year, I found myself giving up my weekly piano lessons and baking experiments. But, I am lucky enough to go to a school surrounded by peers and professors who value & push the importance of self care.

I rejoined piano lessons today, committing myself to learn and polish an arrangement of Canon in D I started learning when I was 12. There is something about sight reading with your right hand – and then your left – and then putting it all together that sends shivers down my spine. It is nothing short of beautiful.

And then, the day culminated in this:

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (& then some to sprinkle on top)
Beat the yogurt, mashed bananas and eggs. Add vanilla & brown sugar till combined. In another bowel, whisk the flour, salt and baking soda. Combine wet & dry ingredients. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan, sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top, and bake for 50 minutes at 350*F.
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Almond butter brownies {lighter}

So last week I made this banana chocolate cake, which is on the lighter side… it turned out well but I for one am not crazy about bananas.

This batch of brownies was incredible. It only takes 7 ingredients, 15 minutes to make… and you don’t have to feel that guilty about indulging.

I think the secret to making these amazing is to not skimp out on the ingredients – buy good quality stuff!! Here is a modified recipe:::

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Nestle TollHouse)
  • 1 cup softened almond butter (I used Justin’s Classic Almond Butter)
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (you could sub this with agave)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk (I used 2%)
  • chocolate chips (optional- I used Ghirardelli)

Blend the oats in a food processor until very fine… then stir all ingredients (except milk) together until smooth. Add the milk if your batter is very dry. Pour the batter into a prepared 8×8 pan. Press some chocolate chips on top & bake at 325*F for 15 minutes.

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These turned out fudgy and best of all – it didn’t feel like there was anything remotely light about them.

Happy Friday!!

Banana chocolate cake {lighter}

I finally made a somewhat healthy recipe that tastes good!!!! (notable failures: avocado cookies, black bean brownies, yogurt cookies……..)

I used this recipe.

Ingredients
  • 3 medium bananas
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips for topping
Mix the bananas and brown sugars. Add the applesauce, vanilla & egg and mix. In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the wet & dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into a prepared 8×8 pan. Sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips. Bake at 350*F for 35 minutes (check the center to make sure it’s done).
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Fudgy & delicious and somewhat light enough to justify being eaten for breakfast :9

Homemade pizza!

This needs to be documented for future use!!

I had two consecutive nights of homemade pizza (no regrets). The hardest part of making the cheeses was finding the unique ingredients (eventually found Rennet at Wards & citric acid at Earth Fare). Otherwise, followed these recipes exactly:

Dough | Mozzarella | Ricotta

The best part of making your own pizza is you can add as much or as little sauces/toppings as you want! Personally, no pizza is complete without caramelized onions…

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Boston creme cake

Inspired by the Boston creme donut, this recipe is also a “poke cake.” I previously made an Oreo poke cake and loved how simple it was.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 boxes (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 container chocolate frosting (I used chocolate fudge!)

Make the cake mix according to the box directions & allow to cool until only slightly warm. Use a large straw to poke holes evenly across the cake. Blend the milk + pudding mixes together separately and pour over cake. Refrigerate several hours to allow pudding to set. Then, open the frosting container and remove the foil. Microwave the container for 15 seconds and stir. Pour the frosting over the pudding layer and spread with a spatula. Refrigerate for several more hours.

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I love how simple yet delicious this turns out… definitely the cake version of the donut. Make sure you choose a pudding mix that you like the taste of (I used Hershey’s but wished I used Jello instead).

Also, happy 4th! :)

Homemade brownies

Historically, I have a bad rep for brownies. This is because of two unfortunate incidences. The first time I made brownies was when I was on my health kick – and made “black bean brownies.” The second time, I left them in the oven too long and they basically became cake.

My high school best friend made everything from scratch – except for brownies. “The texture never comes out right. It’s either like cake or fudge and I’m like I have to move on with life.”

So, this Friday night, I finally attempted brownies again. These are based off this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons buter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add vegetable oil and cocoa powder and mix. Then add eggs, vanilla extract, and mix. Mix in flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Do not overmix. Add the chocolate chips. Pour into prepared 8×8 pan and bake at 325*F for 25-30 minutes.

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A perfect Friday night consists of friends & pizza & brownies & food comas & sleep…

Chocablock {a la The Londoner}

The Londoner has been my favorite blog for years. I’ve been following her posts since back when I was doing IB in Saudi Arabia. I was super excited to try her triple chocolate loaf! It was my first time using almond meal and self rising flour!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 200 g semi sweet chocolate chunks
  • 200 g white chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Mix in beaten eggs. Then stir in flour, almonds, baking powder, cocoa, and milk. Stir in dark & white chocolate. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 300*F. (Will probably come out gooey in center – which is delicious so let this happen).

My cake cracked in the center (not sure how to avoid this) but don’t be alarmed.

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My pictures didn’t come out as good as hers (look at those!) but it did taste delicious! I loved the consistency/texture that the almond meal gave the cake. Also, it was the perfect amount of sweetness (surprisingly not overboard!). I think I might be growing up or something because I don’t like overly sweet desserts anymore. There needs to be a delicate balance.~

Chocolate chess pie

I made this yesterday for pi day (who am I not to celebrate?!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
Whisk together sugar, cocoa, espresso, and salt. Add butter and evaporated milk to mixture and beat with an electric mixture. Add vanilla and eggs and beat. Pour into the unbaked crust and bake for 40 minutes at 350*F. Allow to cool outside, then refrigerate overnight!

 

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So easy, so delicious, so worth it.

 

Also: U R a QT3.14