I've got another delicious cupcake recipe for you! Click HERE to check out my latest yummy little joys! 
It's Halloween time, folks! Time to pig out on candy, then wish you didn't. Here's a great way to spend some time with your kids and have a blast decorating cupcakes for Halloween.

You will need:

Cupcakes ( Any will do, but I suggest these )
Frosting (light colors are best)
All the candy you can think of to decorate - I like M&M's, mini marshmallows, tic-tacs, licorice, edible gel pens, etc. Use your imagination.

Directions: Go nuts and have fun! Make scary ghosts, silly ghosts, pumpkins, spider webs, or anything else you can think of!

I know we're all trying to eat healthily, but we've gotta splurge sometimes, right? In my life, I have made numerous chocolate cakes and chocolate cupcakes. They are always good but never perfect. have scoured books, blogs, and Googled until I was googley-eyed. I've read reviews and ratings and still hadn't found the right recipe......until I found this one! My search for the ultimate chocolate cake is over! This recipe is from my favorite, Ina Garten.

This is perfect as cake or cupcakes. It makes a fabulous dessert when you have company, for a potluck, or cupcakes for the kids. I send in cupcakes and other baked goods to my husband's office (almost) weekly and these are a big hit. 


For the cake:

Butter, for greasing the pans
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe to follow)

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. ( I did not have any parchment paper, and I thought flour may leave a white mark on the cake, so I just buttered the pans and used cocoa powder. The cakes didn't stick. )  
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and oil. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. 
With the mixer still on low, add the coffee, and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, start making the chocolate buttercream. 

If you are making cupcakes, use standard cupcake liners instead of buttering and flouring the tins. Bake at 350˚ for approximately 15 minutes. I got 28 cupcakes and had frosting left over. 
To make the chocolate buttercream:

6 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (I omitted this, bc I didn't have it in my pantry)

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Stir just until melted then remove from the heat to cool to room temperature. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating an additional 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Again, I did not use the coffee powder, but if you are, dissolve it in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. 
On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Do not whip. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on top and on the sides of the cake. 
When I made the cupcakes, I felt it was only appropriate to include a photo of my kitchen sidekick. Little Miss Sugar is ALWAYS in the kitchen with me, no matter what I'm making. 
I don't know if this happens all around the country, but in the South, fall = baking. When I think of fall, I think of: apples, cinnamon, pumpkins, marshmallows, sweet potatoes, nutmeg, cloves, and cider. I could go on and on.

While looking through the pantry, I saw a can of sweet potato purée and a bag of mini marshmallows. Cupcakes are my thing, so I thought I would challenge myself and make a sweet potato pie cupcake. They turned out to be delicious and a big hit at hubby's office. ( I am known for sending in baked goods. Nothing wrong with a little job security, right? ) The cake is extremely moist and once the marshmallows go under the broiler, they puff up, get soft, and most importantly - STAY soft! Recipe makes approximately 22.

You will need:

1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sweet potato purée
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, and salt. 

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the sweet potato purée, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Mix in oil and maple syrup. 

Slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until smooth, but do not over mix.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until done. *If you touch the tops with your fingers, it should feel springy. It's okay if it's a little sticky - that's the full cup of maple syrup!*

As soon as they are out of the oven, top with a handful ( as many as will fit ) of mini marshmallows. Turn the broiler on, and place the cupcakes underneath. WATCH THEM CAREFULLY. It only takes a minute to let the marshmallows puff up and turn golden brown. After that, they can burn in an instant.

Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit more of maple syrup.