Peter Rabbit and the Peanut Butter Cupcakes (Or Chocolate Ganache-Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes)

I need to pause this Mexican fiesta conversation and go back in time for a minute.

OK, maybe not like 1955 far back… but back to Easter because the chocolate ganache filled cupcakes I made for our beach picnic were 1.21 gigawatts of amazing (or so people said), and I promised you the recipe.

Peter Rabbit was all about them.

Don't you just love his little blue jacket?

Don’t you just love his little blue jacket?

I do. And Obviously it wasn’t an accident that the Reese’s Pieces egg on top matched the jacket. I did that shit on purpose.

The boys were way into them.

The boys totally noticed too.

OK, that’s probably a lie, but whatever. At least they liked the cupcakes so much that I didn’t have to take any home, which is the basically the whole point of baking.

So here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Ganache-Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18

Preheat Oven to 350. Place cupcake liners into muffin pans.

Make the ganache before starting cupcakes; the ganache will need time to cool.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4 C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or Chunks (do not exceed 61% cacao)

Bring the cream just to boil in a heavy sauce pan and remove pan from heat. Put chocolate in a bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for one minute before whisking until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until it has set up, about two hours.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 C Granulated Sugar
2 C Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
4 Large Eggs
1/2 C Buttermilk
1 C Creamy Peanut Butter (NOT natural)

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing until combined. Pour the buttermilk into the batter and blend. Add the peanut butter and mix. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the baking cups and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Remove pans from the oven, transfer the cupcakes to a rack, and allow them to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 C Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 8 oz Package of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 C Creamy Peanut Butter (NOT natural)
Dash of sea salt

Mix butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter together. Add dash of salt. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until fluffy.

Assembly

After the cupcakes have cooled completely and the ganache has set up, take a spoon and remove a small, circular section from the top of each of the cupcakes. Fill the cupcakes with the ganache and then top with frosting.

Decorate as you see fit, and then feed them to your friends.

Peter Rabbit and friends.

They’ll probably love you for it.

Pastel es Buena (Or Pablo Escobar, Manuel Noriega, and My Tres Leches Cake)

Friday I promised to hook you up with the recipe for the tres leches cake I made for Nicole’s Taco Bell themed birthday party if it wasn’t a disaster. I only had one bite because I generally consider cake to be a complete waste of calories, but I didn’t hate it.

Also?

A few people sought me out to tell me I should open up a bakery so I’ll take it as a sign that it didn’t seriously suck….

I must tell you, though: it absolutely resembled Manuel Noriega’s* pock-marked face at one point in the baking process.

Remember him from the 80s?

Dictator from Panama?

De Facto ruler of Panama? Source

Infamous drug trafficker and CIA informant?

Embroiled in the Iran/Contra scandal?

No?

Oh well.

He was super infamous back then, and his face totally looked like my cake.

See?

Do they make Accutane for cakes?

Do they make Accutane for baked goods?

Sorry, cake, the skewering was necessary to get the tres leches to sink into you properly.

Manuel, I really don’t know what else to say except that when you make a lot of money working with Pablo Escobar and the Medellin, sometimes you end up rotting in prison (but Jesus and your mom still love you, so that totally counts for something.)

Besides, we ALL had awkward pasts.

I know I did….

Second grade was not a good year for me.

Second grade was not a good year for me.

The fact that this is my father’s favorite picture from my childhood leads me to believe one of two things: 1) Love TRULY makes a person blind or 2) The man was hoping his only child would die a virgin. (If you know my dad either of these would be plausible hypotheses, by the way.)

I digress.

We were talking about cake.

Once you cover it up with whipped cream and toasted coconut, everyone forgets about the cake’s awkward adolescence.

When doesn’t whipped cream, toasted coconut, and a smattering of edible flowers fix everything, though?

Edible flowers and talking Taco Bell dogs make everything better.

Everything that isn’t fixed by a bottle of Bacardi and the talking dog from Taco Bell, I mean.

So, anyway, I know I’m saying all this stuff about how I basically hate cake and that it looked like an imprisoned Panamanian at one point, but the truth is that I scoured the internet for a tres leches recipe that would be as addictive as the cocaine that caused Noriega’s problems, and this one truly, truly sounded SO much better than the others.

And that’s why I picked it.

In the end, the birthday girl LOVED it.

Toasting with tres leches.

And that’s all that matters.

So here’s the recipe. I found it on Chow.

Get some.

*There’s also a Mexican field hockey player named Manuel Noriega, and a Mexican actor named Manuel Noriega Ruiz, or so the internet says. Just in case you were wondering….

Healthy Strawberry Banana Mousse (Or Fluffy Goodness for Your Mouth)

Wanna know something?

Ice cream is hands down my favorite dessert on the planet.

Hands down.

But if I’m being really honest with you, it hasn’t always been an easy relationship. I had an eating disorder in college that left me with some really bad feelings about my favorite dessert. We made up last year, which was kind of spectacular and uh-mazing, but that’s a better story for my other blog ‘cuz it’s kinda long.

Anyway…

Even though ice cream and I are playing nicely now, I don’t indulge every day. I prefer to save it for a special occasion.

If I want something with a creamy texture that isn’t off the charts sweet for a regular day I make this.

So fluffy.

Get in my mouth, fluffy goodness!

“What is that?” You ask.

It’s a strawberry banana mousse, and it’s super light and satisfying. It gives me a taste of something sweet and also satisfies my desire for a smooth, soothing texture without being bonkers on fat and sugar.

Here’s the recipe in case you wanna make your own.

Strawberry Banana Mousse

1/2 C Frozen Strawberries, Sliced
1/2 C Frozen Bananas, Sliced
1 C Whole Milk
2 T Coconut Sugar*

Place the bananas and the milk in the food processor, and combine until blended completely. (You have to use a food processor to achieve the fluffy consistency; a blender will make a smoothie instead.) Add the strawberries and the coconut sugar, and whip until fully combined.

It makes about 1 1/2 – 2 C.

You have to serve it immediately otherwise the airiness will diminish if you put it in the refrigerator or let it sit out too long.

*If you have sweet, organic frozen strawberries, you can get away with 1 T of coconut sugar. If you’re using the cheaper frozen kind you’ll probably need the full 2 T of coconut sugar.

OK, that’s all.

I’m off to write my football script for a while.

XOXO

More Peter Rabbit for My Purse! (Or Easter Cupcake Inspiration)

It’s another sunny Friday in SoCal, which is a reason to smile even if Buzz Feed says we’re three years into a vile drought.

This drought's for real. Source.

This shit’s for real. Source.

So, that is all terribly sad.

Wanna talk about bunnies instead?

Good, so do I.

I happened upon this darling Peter Rabbit cupcake kit when I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and it cried out for me to buy it.

I mean, who could blame me?

Williams Sonoma KNEW I needed a little more Peter Rabbit in my life.

More Peter Rabbit for my purse! Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

I’m going use them for the Easter beach picnic I’m planning with my friend Nicole. It’s her sister Elle’s birthday that day so we’re having an intimate gathering of close friends that will serve dual functions.

When I asked Nicole what flavors should fill my darling find, she requested lemon curd and chocolate peanut butter. (Not together. OBVIOUSLY.)

She loves the lemon curd cupcakes I made for my grandma’s birthday (you can find the recipe here), but I don’t have a go-to recipe for chocolate peanut butter, so I’m doing some research.

See, I’m trying to decide if I want to do peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate filling or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

What do you think?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Albus and I are heading out for a walk while our spicy maple ribs slowly get amazing in our oven.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to buy the cupcake kit but don’t want to leave your house, you can find it here.

P.P.S. I do actually care about the planet and if you do too, you should check out Chef Nathan Lyon’s article on the impact of California’s drought on the rest of the country here.

Adventures! (Or Love and Laughs)

My westside Valentine’s Day weekend was so much fun! There were some curveballs adventures, along the way, but whatever. Isn’t life basically just a series of beautiful messes events that don’t go exactly as planned?

I had an Australian guest staying at my place while I was gone, and I wanted to make sure my bedding was laundered by proper professionals for her, and that was the first thing that didn’t go exactly as planned. The short version of that cluster f*#$ involved me borrowing extra bedding from my friend Anna, and some serious discounts from a very contrite crew at my neighborhood cleaners. When I went to Anna’s to get her bedding, she handed it over along with the delicious breakfast sandwich she made especially for me!

Isn’t that the sweetest?

It had fresh squeezed lemon and shredded cucumbers in it. It was so yummy that I even cheated on my caveman diet for it.

It involved fresh squeezed lemon and shredded cucumbers. It was so yummy that I even cheated on my caveman meal plan and got into the bread like a beast.

Shortly after rectifying the bed situation, I heard from my Australian friend that she had missed her connecting flight and would not be landing until after midnight. This meant I didn’t get to my friends’ spot in Culver City until after 2 am. They left the keys outside for me, but they have a tricky door….

The first time I tried to put the key into the lock, the entire lock assembly came out in. my. hand. I’ll spare you the rest of the details that involve me sleeping in my car and peeing in their yard twice… and I’ll just cut to my 5:30 am rescue.

My friends found me wearing two layers of clothes, wrapped in a yoga blanket, and covered with a dog bed in the front seat of my car.

IMG_1142

Obviously, I had my own pillow with me.

We laughed. A lot.

Once I got inside, I was greeted by this darling towel display from my friend, Nicole.

Don't you wish your friends were this cute?

Don’t you wish your friends were this cute?

There were a lot of laughs all weekend, a trip to the movies, the bar for Valentine’s Day, game night in the marina, and even a trip to Surfas.

Surfas is a restaurant supply store, and their selection of sprinkles gives me evil genius ideas.

It’s like the Roy G Biv of candied sugar up in here.

For game night, I made my now famous peanut butter dip. I molded it into a heart because peanut butter dip can be shaped into anything.

Who knew?

It turns out peanut butter dip is more fun to shape than clay.

It’s like clay, only SO much better ‘cuz you can cover it in sprinkles and eat it with a spoon.

Everyone at game night was ALL ABOUT IT.

IMG_1144

Here’s Bryan waiting patiently for permission to attack it like a savage.

I also got to meet my friend Tony’s twins for the first time. They’re scrumptious! My photos don’t do darling Beau and Bay justice, so you’re just going to have to wait to see that double baby goodness another time. (Post here.)

Now I’m home with my own baby who ate something strange at daycare, and he’s having tummy issues. I keep kissing his head and telling him to puke on my exposed concrete floor instead of my $800 Anthropologie rug.

Don't worry, Boo, I love you more than any Anthropologie rug. Forever and ever. I promise.

Don’t worry, Boo, I love you more than any $800 rug on the planet. Forever and ever. I promise.

I’m staying home from my writers’ group tonight to keep an eye on my monkey and make sure he’s happy — all while making myself a spicy paleo pork chop with maple syrup.

More on that later. (Story here.)

XOXO

It’s All Love (Or Every Day Should be Valentine’s Day)

I know you’re thinking Valentine’s Day is so two weeks ago… but guys? It’s not. I’m all about love right now, and it started with this cake. 

Ombre frosting and gilded dino Valentine's Day Cake from Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is how dinosaurs show love. (They told me.)

I think Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap, but it’s probably because we let the whole thing get so out of control with candy and cards that we forget it’s actually about LOVE. When we shift the focus from love to the trappings of love, we make it a day filled with pressure and expectations for couples that also magnetizes the loneliness of the single people.

This year I wanted  everyone to feel included regardless of their relationship status, so I decided to make a Valentine’s Day cake for my coworkers. I wanted everyone to feel love — especially the people who were really feeling down about being single.

I believe there is more to love than sex, romance, and wedding bells. The Greeks had four words for it, and only one referred to the romantic kind. They recognized love comes in many forms, and I wanted to celebrate that.

Because I have a totally wacked sensibility, I thought the best way to celebrate my all-encompassing version of love was with a little ambiguous humor… hence the gilded fighting dinos. They’re so me. I mean, I love gold paint. Plus I can’t take ANYTHING too seriously. (Even cake.)

I used the Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe for the cake. Then I slathered homemade whipping cream and fresh strawberries between the layers.

Strawberry layer cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is what strawberries look like on a cake. In case you didn’t know.

Then I did some ombre magic with the frosting.

Ombre frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor

The magic involved my freezer… for a few minutes on each layer.

Then I threw it all together and topped it off with toys I covered in gold paint. The dinos are such a secret metaphor with so many layers of meaning for me that I smile when I look at them, but you can interpret them anyway you wish. They can serve your story too, and that’s maybe why I like them so much. They’re not just my story; they can be yours too.

Valentine's Day Cake By Dogs Dishes and Decor

Making all this stuff? Made ME happy too.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I made this card with my Martha paints.

Valentine's Day Card on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Cake? Is for everyone. Have some.

And now I leave you with this. It’s the Supremes. They started the love train.

It’s time to get on board.

Pinterest Made Me Do It (Or I Covered Everything in Sprinkles and Glitter)

I threw a baby shower today and I feel like I should probably tell you about it. Well, actually I didn’t throw it so much as I showed up with bags of baked goods and a whole lotta glitter… but that kinda counts, right?

I think it does, so just go with me here.

I may be a total tomboy obsessed with sports, insects, and stirring my compost, but I can’t ignore my inner sorority girl. She secretly rejoices every time someone asks her to tie a ribbon on something.

And baby showers?

Are like the perfect excuse to go all girly. And that makes me happy… because I spend most of my waking hours working with a preponderance of men.

See, I sort of miss the days of staying up until 3 am decorating staircases for rush parties. Steve Jobs once said you can only connect the dots looking back and when I do… I realize I was always tying a ribbon on something. From hours spent locked in my room elaborately wrapping Christmas presents as a kid to serving on the Homecoming float committee like every year in high school, I have always been obsessed with making things pretty. I just didn’t really realize it.

So if I’m being honest with myself, I can’t even blame Pinterest for my recent gold-painted escapades, but I’m gonna try. 

Here’s how it all went down.

Black White and Gold Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #baby #blackandgold #star

Pinterest made me do this.

Baby Shower Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #sprinkles #cake

And this.

Baby Shower Treat on Dogs Dishes and Decor #star #chocolatedipped #ricekrispietreat #baby

I can’t blame Pinterest for this, though. I came up with this idea when my mind was wondering at work. #yesiwasdrinkingandbaking

Baby Shower Favors on Dogs Dishes and Decor #startheme #babyshower

We had 40 guests at the shower, so this was just the tip of the titanic treat iceberg.

Oh, and remember how I had a meltdown before my Peter Pan Party because I didn’t have anyone to do my floral arrangements? Well, I’m getting over my fear of arranging flowers….

I’m not saying it’s my life’s calling or anything, but I’m getting more comfortable.

Black and White Baby Shower Flowers on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #blackandwhite

I’m making up with flowers one party at a time.

And because that wasn’t enough bows, I went and put one on the baby gift too.

Baby Shower Gift on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’m broken for bows.

So, anyway, all of that happened. And then I went to GJelina in Venice for dinner with my long lost Melissa who was visiting from New York and absolutely stuffed my face with burrata, Brussels sprouts, and butterscotch pots de creme.

And later this week? I’m gearing up for a Valentine’s day project that just might involve a dinosaur.

More on that later.

Now it’s time for me to lie on the floor listening to the Kaskade remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and pretend I’m tired.

Here it is, just in case you’re like me and your idea of a lullaby involves a techno remix.