Hummingbird Cupcakes

A springlike cupcake flavored with banana, pineapple and pecans

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Today’s post is extra special. Not only am I sharing the perfect spring cupcake, but also I’m throwing Erin of The Speckled Palate a baby shower with some very talented bloggers. (Be sure to check out what they brought to the party at the bottom of this post!)

Baby Shower 2

I first found Erin’s blog when searching for a Vegan Blueberry Muffin recipe. Typically when I make muffins I can never get a crisp exterior. Erin’s, on the other hand, were perfect and restored my faith in muffin making. Ever since then I have followed her blog always in awe of her amazing creations. Some of my favorites include:

Hummingbird Cupcakes
Erin, you’ll be meeting Lady Baby any day now! Cherish every moment. Before long, she’ll be baking and taking awesome photos, just like her mommy!

Hummingbird Cupcakes

On to these cupcakes – I’ve been wanting to make a Hummingbird Cake, but haven’t had a chance. Last week I had some overripe bananas taking up space on the kitchen counter. & it hit me! Make your favorite vegan banana muffin & hummingbird-ify it. So I did just that. The crushed pineapple make these super moist and may be my new go to secret weapon.

So yea, these are really just muffins in disguise, but everybody’s gotta get dressed up for a party, right? ;)

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Check out the other bloggers’ treats:

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Hummingbird Cupcakes
 
Author:
Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecan halves
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp almond milk

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl. Once mashed, mix in oil and sugar.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and mix into banana mixture.
  5. Fold in pecan halves and crushed pineapple.
  6. Divide up evenly into prepared muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. Beat margarine. Add powdered sugar. Beat until combined. Add vanilla extract and almond milk. Beat until fluffy, about two minutes. Spread on cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Classic cookies jazzed up with cherries and drizzled with chocolate

Cherry Cookies

If you worked in a bakery, what would your job duties be? Would you greet customers, bake the goodies, or decorate the treats? Today I had further proof that I could not decorate the treats. I always have these crazy ideas for these beautiful, extravagant treats, but they always fall flat.

Cherry Cookies

Today I was working on some “top secret” cupcakes and had high hopes I could pipe on a perfect swirl of icing. However, they just didn’t work and I had to use a knife to smooth them out. I even took a cake decorating class!

Cherry Cookies

These cookies are one of those fantasy treats. I’m embarrassed to admit I devoured a bag of chocolate covered cherries in like two days. But then I thought – wouldn’t that make a great cookie combo? These use the same base as most of my other cookies. If you aren’t a perfect decorator like me, don’t worry about it – they’re still pretty delicious ;)

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 24

Ingredients
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, divided
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Combine oil, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla in large bowl.
  3. Melt ½ cup of white chocolate chips in microwave at 50 percent power.
  4. Add melted white chocolate to sugar mixture. Add almond milk.
  5. In measuring cup, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into liquid mixture.
  6. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cherries.
  7. Divide into 24 equal pieces. Roll into balls and flatten with palm of hand. Top with extra chocolate chips if desired.
  8. Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire racks.
  9. Melt chocolate chips. Dip cookies in chocolate and place on parchment lined pan. Drizzle with remaining chocolate. Allow chocolate to set.

Red Velvet Bars

Vegan red velvet bars perfect for Valentine’s

Red Velvet Bars

On this Wednesday before Valentine’s, I am going to share with you one of the sweetest and most sincere forms of love I have observed. Now this all goes back to last week’s post about my favorite place. Remember those kitty cats I mentioned?

Well, I used to run through said “magical place” with my dad – now I just walk through there with Winston – since I’m still recovering from this injury. (& it’s officially been diagnosed as an inferior public ramus stress fracture [too detailed? maybe I'll give you an update soon ;) ] )

On our runs, we would always see these cats. I didn’t really realize they lived there until I started walking.

Red Velvet Bars

They all congregate behind the city’s main office, which is adjacent to the park. When we first starting visiting them, they would always run away. Overtime, I have been able to pet all of them (I’m a bit cat obsessed. Are you? It’s totally not a bad thing.)

Park Sunrise

The Park at Sunrise

With my mom’s help, we came up for names for all of them.

  • There’s Gracie, a smaller calico. She acts like she’s in charge. And is a little bit of a B, if you know what I mean.
  • Then there’s Reese. She’s a larger calico. My mom thinks she may be Gracie’s mom, but I’m not so sure. She’s more reserved and took the longest to touch.

Park Sisters

  • Waverly is a white and black cat. She is the most independent. The other cats all hang together, but she tends to stay to herself (which is perfectly fine and mirrors me.) She also tends to get a bit bullied by the other cats.
  • & finally there’s Bridge. He is a long haired black cat. He always comes running over to greet us.

Bridge

The love bit all ties in because whenever they hear us coming they all come out and rub together. It’s like one big chain of cats. They are so sweet to one another.

Red Velvet Bars

Now on to these bars. To be honest, when I first tried these I was a bit disappointed. I had them after the Lemon White Chocolate Bars, so I guess my expectations were pretty high. I didn’t think they were red enough and I didn’t think the flavor was bold enough. I was intent I wasn’t going to share the recipe, but then by the third try I found out I really kind of loved them.

These would make a great Valentine treat to make your loved ones. They’re not too hard to make, so they make a great treat if you have plans on making a big meal.

Red Velvet Bars
 
Author:
Serves: 24

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces lite silken tofu
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.75 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • ½ – ¾ cups powdered sugar for glaze
  • ¼ cup almond milk for glaze

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. In a blender, combine silken tofu, oil and ½ cup almond milk. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. In measuring cup, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add to liquid mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in red food coloring. Fold in white chocolate chips
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. While bars cool, prepare glaze if desired. For three bars, mix 3 tbsp powdered sugar with 1 tsp almond milk. Mix thoroughly. Add more milk/sugar, until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle on bars. Double amounts if glaze is desired on all bars.

Need a Valentine treat for your dog? Try these!

Lemon White Chocolate Bars

An irresistible lemon bar studded with white chocolate chips

Lemon Bars

Do you have a special place that you feel is all your own? A place you go to that makes for feel safe?

My special place is my local park.

Lemon Bars

I know it might seem crazy, but there are just so many things about it I love. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it, but here are some of the things – the kitty cats that have made it their home, the birds, the trees, the creek, the people, the caretakers. All of them make up a very magical place.

Lemon Bars

Another magical thing: these lemon bars. I had some silken tofu that was about to expire and couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered this Cranberry Lemon Loaf and these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies.  I thought the bars would be more dense, but they turned into this amazing cake. They definitely don’t need a drizzle, but if you want to take them over the top – add one – it can only enhance these amazing bars.

Lemon White Chocolate Bars
 
Author:
Serves: 24

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces lite silken tofu
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • ½ – ¾ cups powdered sugar for glaze
  • ¼ cup almond milk

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. In a blender, combine silken tofu, oil and lemon juice. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Mix in sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. In measuring cup, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add to liquid mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in white chocolate chips and lemon zest.
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. While bars cool, prepare glaze if desired. For three bars, mix 3 tbsp powdered sugar with 1 tsp almond milk. Mix thoroughly. Add more milk/sugar, until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle on bars. Double amounts if glaze is desired on all bars.

 

Cinnamon Pinwheels

A cinnamon flavored slice and roll cookie 

Cinnamon Pinwheels

Is there anyone you see every day, but don’t know? They always wave and have a smile on their face? There are several in my community, but one particularly stands out – the school crossing guard.

I live just a block from the elementary school and walk my dog past there a couple times a day. He gets to school before the sun comes up and leaves well after the last child has gone home. Every car that goes by or person that walks by is greeted with a wave and smile.

Cinnamon Pinwheels

On several occasions, I have seen people pass through the intersection with scowls on their face. Once they see the crossing guard waving, the driver’s face lights up. They then return the wave and smile.

It’s amazing how such a simple gesture can mean so much. I know I truly appreciate his presence and I hope others do, too.

Cinnamon Pinwheels

Other things I appreciate are simple and beautiful cookies. For an emotional baker, these really aren’t too hard to prepare, as long as you don’t expect perfect results. While making these, I remained patient and these turned out a-ok.

They are a pretty light cookie with only a subtle cinnamon flavor, but still delicious none the less.

Cinnamon Pinwheels

Wave or smile to someone today. You’ll make their day ;)

Cinnamon Pinwheels
 
Author:
Serves: 48

Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon flavoring or extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • Dash of cinnamon

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick baking sheets, or line baking sheets with parchment paper/ Silpat.
  2. Mix sugar, oil and extracts in large bowl. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in measuring cup. Pour into liquid mixture and mix well.
  3. Divide dough in half. Mix cocoa powder and food coloring in one half.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Once chilled, roll one half of dough into rectangle on parchment paper. Roll the other half into a rectangle of equal size on parchment paper. Carefully transfer one dough on top of the other. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Tightly roll doughs together into cylindrical log. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes.
  6. Slice dough into ¼ inch thick pieces and place on baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool for five minutes. Transfer to wire racks to complete cooling.
  7. *Doughs can also be rolled separately and cut with cookie cutters.