Review: LouAna Coconut Oil & Hazelnut Baci Cupcakes

With all the holiday baking going on right now, I find myself longing for those traditional holidays recipes but at the same time love trying out new things. I have dabbled a little with coconut oil in my baking and cooking and decided to give LouAna Pure Coconut Oil a try in some of my holiday recipes. Coconut oil is the latest buzz ingredient with a neutral flavor and aroma which allows for its incredible versatility. It is a natural alternative to butter and other oils, and contains zero trans-fat. While other oils and butter are high in artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and low in HDL cholesterol (known as “good” cholesterol), coconut oil has been proven to actually raise HDL levels in the body.


I decided to try this oil out in two different ways in one recipe – Hazelnut Baci Cupcakes which consist of hazelnut cupcakes topped with Nutella buttercream, chopped hazelnuts and even white chocolate Baci. Side note: Baci is the Italian word for “kisses” and the name for a truffle filled with milk chocolate, hazelnut gianduia, and a whole hazelnut, and coated with dark chocolate. I first experienced these little nuggets while on a trip to Italy with my highschool Italian class. In the U.S. I typically have only been able to find them at stores like Home Goods, and recently stumbled upon the white chocolate variety. I knew instantly that something special had to be made with them.

White Chocolate Baci

For these cupcakes, coconut oil was used in place of the canola oil and butter in the batter and even some of the butter in the frosting. The end result was a soft, fluffy cupcake topped with creamy frosting, and admirers that were clueless to the switch. These cupcakes may not be diet friendly, but I am a sucker for cutting out even minimal amounts of guilt from my baking and cooking. When you cannot taste the difference, why not make those little substitutions?

Hazelnut Baci Cupcakes

One year ago: Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage and Baby Spinach

Two years ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Three years ago: Buttermilk Pancakes
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White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

If you are like me, the winding down of yet another college football season makes me sad. Some of you couldn’t care less but I’m going to tell you why you should – peanut butter and chocolate Saturdays are coming to a close. Regardless of the outcome of the Big Ten Championship game tonight, Ohio State will be playing in a bowl game. Which means that after today there is only one PB+C Saturday left and I know how many of you care about that combination.

These little cupcakes are a bit unorthodox for a Buckeye treat, using white chocolate instead of regular, but sometimes it’s good to change things up. I even made mini cupcakes instead of regular sized ones in order to appease all the people in my life that like to cut every dessert portion I serve in half (Stephanie). Not to mention my obsession with baking things in mini muffin pans recently, such as the wonton cups and mousse cookie cups. These mini white chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes are topped off with a white chocolate buttercream and a dose of spirited sprinkles. I’ll share if you can finish the end of this chant: “O-H!”

What do you think I should make for the last PB+C Saturday of the season?

 White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

One year ago: Cranberry Fritters

Three years ago: Berry Medley Smoothie
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Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

If you recall, last week I posted a savory recipe for a Chicken & Sweet Potato Potpie using the Baker’s Secret 9-inch pie pan. Today I am sharing a sweet recipe using their muffin/cupcake pans because who doesn’t enjoy a good festive cupcake?

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes 1

The combination of pumpkin and chocolate is not visited enough, in my opinion. I discovered the joy of those two flavors mixed together when I made the Pumpkin Kissed Gingerbread Brownies. This time they come together in the form of a cupcake, with a cinnamon buttercream. Complete with fall leaves sprinkles.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes 3

Don’t forget to enter to win your own Baker’s secret pie pan and muffin pan by clicking HERE and using the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the post. Giveaway ends tonight!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes 2

Two years ago: Stuffed Flank Steak with Potato Cakes and Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake
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Guest Post: Horror Show Pistachio Zombie Cupcakes

Halloween is nearly upon us. Take control of your own little monsters and whip up these zombie cupcakes together, using many of your favorite candies!


This sweet post comes to us courtesy of Ben DeMeter from When he’s not creating delicious content for the ACS Blog, Ben is doggedly pursuing his campaign to get cake accepted as one of the major dietary food groups. He currently lives in Houston, TX.


Zombies have been feasting on humanity for decades. This Halloween, it’s time to strike back. Let the undead menace discover what it’s like to be gnawed on by whipping up a batch of these Horror Show Pistachio Zombie Cupcakes. Green, delicious and shockingly easy to make, they’re sure to be a hit at your next holiday party.


I based this recipe for off of the Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes Recipe from EatLiveRun. There are only three ingredients in the cupcakes themselves, which makes them a can’t-miss for amateur bakers or parents with “little helpers.”  Add some whipped pistachio buttercream frosting and a few candy decorations and you’ve got soft and spongy treats that both look and taste good enough to raise the dead.


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Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

I wish all lotions, soaps, etc came in bottles that did not use pumps or wands. Why? Because they NEVER reach all the way to the bottom, forcing you to either throw away several uses of perfectly good product, or feel like a penny-pincher for trying to scrape out every last bit. I fall into the latter category and I am not ashamed. I bought the stuff and you better believe I am going to use every last drop that I can get. People say that when I am no longer living on a grad student stipend, my time and effort won’t be worth it anymore but I disagree. It’s less about the money and more about the fact that I don’t like to waste things. This is true of food items as well, as I am constantly finding ways to use up leftover ingredients from a recipe that did not use it all. I call it resourceful.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes 1

Anyway, that rant has little to do with these cupcakes although the heavy cream I used for the frosting was leftover from all my ice cream adventures last week. I made these cupcakes for Beth’s non-baby shower themed lunch (she’s not into the whole baby shower/gift opening thing even though she’s about to pop). When I asked what flavor cupcakes she was craving she said orange or something tropical, but nothing fancy. Well you know I can’t make a cupcake and not make it a least a little special, so I made orange creamsicle cupcakes with a swirl of two different frostings on top: orange and vanilla buttercreams. And in case the flavor wasn’t obvious enough I topped them off with orange gummies.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes 2

One year ago: Mango Frozen Greek Yogurt
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Funfetti Ice Cream Krispie Cupcakes #IceCreamWeek

Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway, and our party week ends TODAY! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!

Today we are celebrating Jen of Juanita’s Cocina‘s Birthday with an Ice Cream Party! To show her some love, we invite you all to head over to her website today to wish her the happiest of birthdays. You can also stop by her Facebook wall to wish her a Happy Birthday there as well!

No birthday is complete without some sprinkles so for the party today I brought funfetti ice cream on top of individual funfetti krispie treats, which are what I decided to call funfetti ice cream krispie cupcakes because, well, they look like cupcakes! You can either pick them up and shove them into your face, or be more civilized and use a spoon or fork. Actually I think this treat is a great time to use a spork.

Funfetti Ice Cream Krispie Cupcakes

If you’d like to check out today’s #IceCreamWeek recipes, drool over the blogs below:

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Ice Cream Cake by Cravings of a Lunatic

Ice Cream Crunch Cake by Juanita’s Cocina

Birthday Ice Cream Bombe by girlichef

Japanese Yuzu Citrus Ice Cream by Ninja Baker

Coconut-Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Cups by The Kitchen is My Playground

Salted Caramel Ice Cream by Cookistry

Chocolate Malt Ice Cream Cake by Food Babbles

Funfetti Ice Cream Krispie Cupcakes by The Spiffy Cookie

Brownie Fudge Ripple Ice Cream by Poet in the Pantry

Please join us today, Saturday, August 17th at 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) for our PinChatLive Event happening simultaneously on Pinterest and G+. We’ll be announcing the winners of our giveaway and talking ice cream! Please join us for our Ice Cream Social at 2 pm! We have ice cream cookbooks up for grabs. We also have 10 Ben & Jerry’s Swag Prizes up for grabs. So check out our Pinterest Board, #IceCreamWeek during the event at 2 p.m. today to win one of these amazing prizes!

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Black Cherry Oatmeal Cookie-wiches

Two years ago: Caprese Salad Grilled Cheese Sandwich
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Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

I have a bad habit of forgetting about Cinco de Mayo every year because my birthday is the day before and it is also Star Wars Day (may the fourth be with you). I pretty much have the most amazing birthday ever, right? But when I was contacted by Karla of Truco Enterprises recently, asking if I’d like to try out any On The Border products, I knew it was a sign that I wouldn’t be missing out on posting any recipes for the holiday this year.

Of course, the first thing I was drawn to was the strawberry margarita mix. What’s Cinco de Mayo without a good margarita in hand? As a bonus, On The Border’s margarita mixes are made with all natural flavors and juices, setting them apart from many other manufacturers. After seeing many different margarita cupcake recipes, I knew I had to try making a strawberry margarita cupcake with their mix. And I have to say, they taste fantastic and look brilliant! I even gave them a sugar rim just like the drink itself. Obviously these are not kid friendly cupcakes since they do contain small amounts of tequila, but you can substitute with extra margarita mix if you want a “virgin” cupcake.

These are actually displayed in a huge margarita glass that I own, and will likely need to fill it up with the actual strawberry margarita beverage with the remaining mix on Sunday! Yummy :-)

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

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Strawberry Stuffed Cupcakes

Just in time for Easter weekend, I present to you this fun and easy cupcake. You all know how much I love stuffing cookies and cupcakes with various truffles and what not, but this time I went with something more natural – a whole strawberry! It is a basic white cupcake that gets a small part of it cored after baking in order to fit the strawberry inside. Then top it off with some fresh strawberry buttercream and you’ve got one heck of a spring-time cupcake.

Strawberry Stuffed Cupcakes 1

After celebrating Passover with my brother’s in-laws this past weekend, I don’t have much planned for Easter this weekend. I am working a regular day in the lab today, and am going to a Circa Survive concert tonight. Not exactly festive, but still fun! I will be attending my friend’s annual Easter brunch on Sunday so maybe I can bust out some bunny ears for that ;-).

Strawberry Stuffed Cupcakes 2

Two years ago: Eggplant Parmesan
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Review: Wilton’s Two-Tone Cupcake Pan Set & Hidden Pot o’ Gold Cupcakes

I have shared quite a few stuffed cupcakes on this blog of mine. Today you get to see what happens when Wilton and I team up because their latest creation is a Two-Tone Cupcake Pan Set, allowing you to create a perfect center of colored batter inside of a cupcake of another color. Imagine all the festive possibilities! With that thought in mind I decided to go all out for a St. Patrick’s Day cupcake, but before I get too excited about those awesome cupcakes let’s talk about this two-tone cupcake pan set (you can also purchase the insert alone in case you already have a fully stocked baking arsenal).

Hidden Pot of Gold Cupcakes 1

Normally, you would mix up a batch of your favorite cupcake batter. But before coloring, reserve about a cup of the batter in a separate bowl for the cupcake centers. Then color the outside or inside batter however you please. The insert fits right into three cavities of a regular cupcake pan (I even checked with a non-Wilton pan to make sure), and then you either spoon (if you batter is more runny) or pipe (for thicker batter) into the appropriate sections (2/3 full) for how you would like your cupcakes to appear. Once all three are filled, you simply lift it straight up, hold it just slightly off the top of the batter to let it drip and then transfer it to the next row and repeat!

Hidden Pot of Gold Cupcakes 2

However, I decided to make things more difficult on myself by using a chocolate batter for the outside and yellow on the inside. As you can imagine, it’s a little difficult to dye a brown batter to yellow. As a result I ended up with slightly more batter than needed and filled up my cupcakes 3/4 full (as you can see) instead of the recommended 2/3. They baked perfectly fine but came out with slightly higher domes than normal. Also, the two batters were slightly different in consistency – The yellow was slightly thicker but again this didn’t cause any problems with the end product. That being said, one thing I recommend doing before filling in your cupcakes is to spray the insert with nonstick spray, especially if your batter is thick! Otherwise it will stick and you won’t get your perfectly shaped centers.

Hidden Pot of Gold Cupcakes 5

Now, can we please talk about how freaking adorable these cupcakes are!? When they existed in my brain they weren’t nearly as cute as they turned out to be in real life. And before I even made them, I had a difficult time deciding on a name for them: “Follow the Rainbow Cupcakes” or “Hidden Pot o’ Gold Cupcakes”? Obviously you can see which one won, and I chose it because I felt it fit the theme of using the two-tone insert. These cupcakes have a chocolate stout outside batter, and a yellow-dyed vanilla inside (hence “hidden” pot of gold). For the clouds, I dotted on a Bailey’s frosting and then dusted with powdered sugar to make it look more puffy and cloud-like. Top it off with a rainbow striped candy and viola! You have a full rainbow cascading over some pretty, delicious clouds.

Hidden Pot of Gold Cupcakes 3

Thank you Wilton for yet another awesome baking tool! I’m absolutely in love with the cupcakes I made (they’re so cute it hurts) and I definitely see more two-tone cupcakes in my future. But what I am most thankful for is that the insert it is top-rack dishwasher safe because hand washing after getting nonstick spray and batter all over it would be a challenge in order to get it out of all the crevices.

One year ago: Split-Pea Soup

Two years ago: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
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Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

I feel like my baking rate has gone down significantly, which is likely due to trying not have as many sweets lying about to tempt me. But when I saw these skinny cupcakes on Sally’s Baking Addiction, I knew they were destined to be made in my oven. After all, I never miss an opportunity for some peanut butter and chocolate lovin’. However, even thought they are titled as “cupcakes” I actually ate them more often in the morning than as a dessert. So they can either be a treatful breakfast, or a healthier dessert.

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

Two years ago: Irish Car Bomb Brownies
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