Dinner or Dessert?

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Is it dinner? Is it dessert? I say make it both!

I was inspired to make these cupcakes from one of my all time favorite baking books, Hello Cupcake. I have passed by these cupcakes time and time again while working on other projects. And finally the perfect occasion presented itself!

It was our friend Adam's birthday. You see, Adam is Italian and loves to cook. And hollicakes had a lightbulb moment...make spaghetti and meatballs cupcakes!

In addition, I wanted to share with you guys my take on "box mix secrets". AKA how to make box cake mixes taste like homemade! (or close to it!)

I started with these pretty basic ingredients.

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So my white cake mix said to add 1 1/4 cup of water, 3 eggs & 1/3 cup oil.

Instead I added 1 1/4 cup of vanilla almond milk, 4 eggs and 1/3 cup oil. I would never use water in a cake mix. Instead switch it out with milk, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Something that will give it that extra rich yummy-ness.

The extra egg also gives it another level of rich. And you can switch out the oil for butter, but in this case I did not.

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Behold, perfect white cupcakes!

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I made a standard buttercream frosting, adding 3 drops of yellow food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to give it the same color as noodles!

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OMG. Look how cool that looks! It really couldn't be easier, you just pipe the frosting randomly. Swirls, loops, whatever!

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Get crazy with it! Swoop the frosting over the edges of the cupcakes too!

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Next, take your fererro rocher candies and toss them in low sugar strawberry preserves. (Why low sugar? It has the best marinana-red color.)

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Dollop the "meatballs" over your frosting "noodles"!

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Grate some white chocolate "parmesan cheese" over the top...

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And there you have it. A unique dessert for the pasta lover in your life!

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All I can say is driving to lunch with spaghetti cupcakes sitting in your lap is scary!!

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Happy Birthday Adam!

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<3hollicakes
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Happy Summer! Let's have a beer...

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Hi my friends! I'm back with a beer inspired cupcake recipe for ya. Remember that time I made the Blue Moon Cupcakes? Well this recipe is a spin off those, but instead of Blue Moon, I'm featuring my newest favorite Michigan-brewed beer, Oberon.

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Michigan beer? What's Oberon?

So the story goes, in June of 1993 Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo became the first brewery in Michigan to serve beer by the glass to the public. How cool is that? Bell's Eccentric Cafe has 20 beers on tap, including seasonal small batch varieties that are not distributed outside the pub.

The Eccentric Cafe also offers food everyday until 9pm, including a pulled pork sandwich prepared with Bell's beer! And there's no better place to enjoy a sandwich & a cold beer than in the Bell's Beer Garden, which features live music on the weekends!

Here's what Bell's has to say about Oberon:
Bell's Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell's signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer.

These photos were taken in the Beer Garden, where the sunflowers are in full bloom!

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Here's what you need...

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Oberon Cupcakes
-makes 24

3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
orange food coloring
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 c beer +1/4 cup for brushing
1/4 c milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment until light, about 2 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated.
4. Add vanilla, food coloring and orange zest and beat.
5. Mix beer and milk in a measuring cup. Add flour mixture and beer mixture alternating each. Mix on medium speed until combined.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
7. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.

Don't forget the beer!

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And the orange zest!

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Batter ready to bake!

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Time for some frosting!

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"Beer Foam" Meringue Frosting

3 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange juice
1 c sugar
1 T corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 c water

1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, corn syrup, water and cream of tartar. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick and bubbly, about 160 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla and orange juice until soft peaks form. Slowly add hot sugar mixture, beating continuously. Beat for 7 minutes until stiff peaks form.


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This frosting is marshmallowy- fluffy & lightly orange flavored, just like the foam of your beer with an orange slice in it! Yum!

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Someone drank lots of Oberon while playing kickball this summer!

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In the Bell's Beer Garden!

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Hope the bartenders and servers loved the cupcakes! Thanks for letting us have a mini photo shoot in the garden! =]

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Have a good summer everyone! Cheers a beer at your local brewery!

<3hollicakes


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Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

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Happy spring everyone!

The weather has finally decided to warm up a little over here in Michigan. That means its time for some light & fruity cupcakes!

One dessert that I think has the perfect balance of tart & sweet is a simple lemon meringue pie! But I'm not much of a pie making girl, so I turned the springtime classic into a cupcake!


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I started with a light lemon cake, filled with a tart homemade lemon curd and topped with a toasted meringue frosting. The perfect dessert for Easter!

Lets start with some cake...

Lemon Cupcakes
-makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla.
2. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
3.Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.


Some cute liners for Easter!

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The batter is pretty thick once combined.

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I like this recipe because they are light and fluffy!

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Now we need some filling...

This is probably the most foolproof and easy lemon curd recipe I've ever made. It came out a little bit tart (which I like), so if you prefer a sweeter filling then you can add 1/4-1/2 cup more sugar.


Lemon Curd
-makes about 2 cups

6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar (extra for a sweeter, less tart filling)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest


1.In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
2. In a medium saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil, it will overcook and actually curdle the eggs. If this happens, depending on the severity you might be able to save it by stirring vigorously with a metal whisk while the curd is still hot.
3. Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.


I made my lemon curd the day before so it could chill in the fridge overnight.

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Don't forget to prepare your cupcakes for filling, I used the cone method!

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I used a small pairing knife to cut out the cones, then trimmed them reserving the top of the cupcake. The cone trimmings are perfect for taste testing =]

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You could always pipe the filling in, but I found using a teaspoon was just fine.

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Now that the cupcakes are filled, its time for some frosting!!

So a traditional lemon meringue pie uses a French meringue, raw egg whites whipped with granulated sugar.

But since I needed a more stable topping for cupcakes, I decided to go with an Italian meringue; which is sugar syrup cooked to the soft-ball stage (234-240 degrees) poured into firmly whipped egg whites.

Italian Meringue Frosting
-enough to frost 24 cupcakes

3 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup water

1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is at soft ball stage(234-240 degrees).
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add hot sugar mixture, beating continuously. Beat for 7 minutes until stiff peaks form.
3. Frost cupcakes immediately, frosting will set once cooled. Store cupcakes in refrigerator up to 3 days. Best eaten on same day, or if brought to room temperature first.


Pouring the hot sugar into the whipped egg whites.

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I love how this meringue looks so shiny and white! It dulls some once set though.

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Cupcakes lined up and ready to be toasted!!

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Be careful not to light your cupcake liners on fire though! (I almost did, oops!)

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Look at that yummy filling!

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I hope everyone had a great Easter!

<3 hollicakes

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Local Beer & Baileys.

St Patty&#39;s Day Cupcakes UPDATED 1


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm pretty excited about this post because I decided to put a different spin on the traditional Guinness & Baileys cupcakes!

A little backstory - Ever since Dylan & I moved to Michigan we try to have date night every Friday. And there are so many awesome restaurant choices, we rarely eat at the same place twice. Except Latitude 42, Portage's first microbrewery.

We first walked in at about 7 o'clock on a Friday night a few weeks ago. It was packed and the wait was over an hour. We were a little surprised, because since we moved out of crowded SoCal, we haven't experienced too many long waits at restaurants. But there were 2 seats open at the bar and I was starving (as usual) so we took them.

One of the first things you notice is the size of the building, about half being the restaurant & half the brewery with large windows inside and out. As well as a long list of house made beers and specialty menu items using them, such as their Beer Cheese Soup & the Dark Chocolate Stout Cake for dessert.

You can also buy Latitude 42's beer to take home, in 32 or 64 ounce growlers. Which is exactly what I did. I decided on All Night Long, a stout beer brewed with Sulawesi (Indonesian coffee beans) and organic Ecuadorian cocao nibs. Sounds perfect for baking with right?


I made these Dark Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with a ganache filling and a Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream!

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Want some recipes? Here we go...


Dark Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
-made 33 cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup DARK cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1/2 cup regular unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup stout beer
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add oil, beer, milk, eggs & vanilla and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth. Expect batter to be thin.
3. Fill liners 3/4 full and bake cupcakes 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool completely before frosting. Brush tops of cupcakes with beer, if desired.


Ingredients ready to go.

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The dry ingredients.

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Add the wet and mix it up. Mr owl is supervising!

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While cooling, I brushed the tops of the cupcakes with more beer!

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Time for some filling!


Irish Cream Chocolate Ganache

2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ( I used dark, but you can also use milk chocolate)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream liquor

1. Heat milk and butter over medium heat on stove & bring to a light simmer.
2. Pour over chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted. Add Baileys & stir until smooth.
3. Refrigerate until ganache is thickened but still fairly soft, about one hour.


I used a piping bag & tip to fill my cupcakes, but you could also cut out cones and fill cupcakes that way as well.

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I filled them by counting to 4 and using even pressure for each cupcake.

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Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream
-made enough to generously frost 27 cupcakes

5 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream liquor

1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla & Baileys, and beat just until combined.
4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.


Whisking my egg whites and sugar.

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Lets frost those cupcakes!

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Beautiful Baileys Buttercream.

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Now for the drizzle...

Take what is left of the chocolate ganache and microwave for 10-20 seconds, stir to smooth it out.

I used a plastic squeeze bottle but a little ziplock bag with the corner snipped off will work just as well.

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Keep a steady hand while drizzling.

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Took some of these yummy cupcakes to mine & Dylan's combined birthday dinner at Latitude 42!

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St Patty&#39;s Day Cupcakes UPDATED 3



Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

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Snowball Cupcakes

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Welcome back hollicakes!

After about a year hiatus & some crazy life changes, I am finally back at it!

Over the past few months, I quit my baking job at the Fairmont Hotel and moved to Michigan to be with my boyfriend Dylan. This is my first official post as a Michigan resident!! So far I've only experienced a whole lot of winter. And when I say winter, I mean 100+ inches of snow. Something this CA born and raised girl has never experienced! And it has been amazing. And beautiful. Oh and I can't forget REALLY cold.

I know you're here to see some cupcakes, but let me take a moment to show you a few photos of things that inspired me to make these cupcakes! It may be March but winter is still in full swing over here...

Our new home in Michigan! With my little pup outside...

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Cute little deer come hang out in the backyard all the time.

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Enjoying our time in the midwest & built our first snowman!

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Okay, okay, onto some yummy cupcakes!

So I've been pretty obsessed with the snow, coming from CA, I've never seen this much snow on the ground. I love watching it fall and how the sun shines & makes it sparkle.

That means...

...must make snowball cupcakes!!!

With cute little deer friends too.

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Snowball Cupcakes (adapted from Sweetapolia's Fluffy Vanilla Cake)
-made 27 cupcakes

5 large egg whites
1 whole egg
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour, sifted
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter a few pieces at a time with mixer on low speed until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture.
5. Add 3/4 cup milk, and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture a little at a time until batter is smooth. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
6. Fill liners 3/4 full and bake 14-16 minutes, making sure not to over bake.


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Whipped Coconut Buttercream

3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons coconut milk (optional, you can use regular milk instead)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip butter for 5 minutes on medium speed until butter is pale and creamy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
2. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light & fluffy.
3. Pipe 1/2 inch layer of buttercream on each cupcake, smoothing and rounding over with offset spatula. Place shredded coconut in shallow bowl and immediately dip frosted cupcakes in coconut. Gently moving cupcakes in circular motion until coconut sticks to the frosting. Careful not to push too hard and flatten the top of your "snowballs".


Hopefully these cupcakes get you through the rest of this long winter!

Its almost springtime =]

<3hollicakes
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