Apple Upside Down Cupcakes

Pineapple Upside Down CupcakesIn honor of Thanksgiving this week, I figured I’d post something seasonal. There are SO many great items in season right now! I thought I’d try a fall take on a summer classic: pineapple upside down cupcakes.

 

And as many of my experiments go, this one called for slight changes to a known recipe, patience,…and prayer.  See, my “experiments” don’t always turn out so hot. <Case in point>

 

This one was going toward an order that was due as well….so, you know, no pressure or anything.

But it turned out really well! No oven fires, not gloopy and underbaked, nothing!

I’ll be making this one again for sure.

 

Apple Upside Down Cupcakes

Makes 27 cupcakes

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 red apple (I used Gala)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1  3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray cupcake tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Peel, core, and finely chop each apple. Then, mix pieces of chopped apple together to get a red/green blend.

    Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

    Before the layering fun began…

  3. Spoon 1 scant teaspoon melted butter into the bottom of each cupcake cup.
  4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. (Or use 1/2 tsp if you’re a cinnamon lover)
  5. Spoon 1 teaspoon brown sugar  mixture into each cupcake cup. Stir around with butter in the cup to blend a bit.
  6. Place ~1.5 Tablespoons chopped apple into each baking cup. Basically, enough to cover the bottom of the cupcake cup.Pineapple Upside Down CupcakesPineapple Upside Down Cupcake
  7. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil, water, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.
  9. Add flour mix to liquid ingredients, whisking until combined.
  10. Pour cake batter into the cupcake cups, filling almost to the top.  Do not overfill!
  11. Bake at 375 F for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick stuck into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  12. Let cupcakes cool at least 5 minutes. Carefully run a knife around each cupcake to loosen a bit. Lay out a piece of wax paper on the counter and carefully flip cupcake pan onto wax paper to release the cupcakes.  Tap on the bottom of the pan to help the process.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

A few tips:

  • If you like your cake to be a bit more like spice cake, replace the “cake” part of this recipe with your favorite spice cake recipe.
  • I didn’t use very much brown sugar in the bottom of each muffin tin because I’m ever conscious of the amount of sugar I put in recipes. You may use more if you wish for a bit more “caramel” texture/taste.
  • My cupcakes were pretty reluctant to flop out of the pan. Holding the pan upside down about 4″ off the counter for a little bit helped them to flop down one by one. Even still, I had to scrape a bit of the goopy topping out of the pan and put it onto its respective cupcake.

I hope you love these! They got rave reviews, and I hope that they will become one of your fall faves!

Make them and have suggestions on improvements?  Comment and let me know!

Peak Performers

No new recipes this week, and no new cakes (took the week off!!). So, what to post….

 

One thing I’ve wanted to do for a WHILE is post about the blog’s “peak performers” as we call them at work. The posts that have been getting the most attention. And then share one recipe that is my current favorite.

It still baffles me that my posts have gotten SO MUCH attention!! Now, I’m not complaining at all.  Matter-of-fact, I’m humbled that a tiny blog from Texas can get so many views. Next stop, my own tv show on Food Network and a cookbook!!

Ha! Totally joking. That’s quite the long shot. But hey, it’s worked for some people before.  My eyes will forever be on the spotlight.  Suppose I’ll have to get better about coming up with new recipes and cakes …and taking time to post more often…before that will ever happen.

Alas, for now I’ll share some of the recipes that have been the talk of the town internet.

**Disclaimer: Pretty please with a cheery on top. Please share links to your favorite recipes from this site.  There have been a ton of fakers lately claiming these recipes are theirs.  Which isn’t cool, yo. Thanks!**

  1. Banana Pudding Cake
    Alright, so this is definitely the star of the site. I’ll be posting an updated post with pictures and step by step instructions. The thing that I like the most about this cake is that it’s a showstopper without spending a ton of time on decorating. Also love it since it was a cake created specifically for my grandpa and dad for their birthdays!IMG_0968
  2. Granny’s Peanut Butter Fudge
    One of my favorite recipes. Period. My grandma Trula (aka Granny) used to make this for the family all the time.  Every holiday, party, and sometimes on a random day whenever we wanted something sweet. She was an amazing woman and I miss her dearly. But am happy to have a replica of her recipe so we can still make her PB fudge on holidays. IMG_0529
  3. Granny’s Peach Cobbler
    Another Granny Trula classic!! This isn’t your typical cobbler.  This is more like a cake cobbler since the breading portion isn’t just a thin layer on top.  But I love it that way. I usually like the cobbler portion better than the fruit portion anyways. Yes, I’m the girl who takes a little more than her serving of “crust” and leaves behind a lot of fruit. No shame in my game!
  4. Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Yum!! Chewy cookies are better than crispy ones any day.  There’s also a lighter version!
  5. Banana Pudding
    A favorite from my mom’s side of our family.  We have this at every holiday. (Apparently we like desserts on holidays…) This isn’t your typical southern banana pudding. It’s better!! Why? because we use shortbread cookies instead of ‘nilla wafers most of the time, there’s cream cheese in it, and all of the banana flavor comes from the bananas in it. The pudding itself is vanilla flavored.  I do NOT like “banana pudding” that is banana flavored pudding with some sliced bananas thrown in.  That’s not banana pudding. Southerners do it right!

So there you have it, the top recipes on the blog.  Aka~ the Popular Group as they would’ve been known in high school terminology.  And while I love these recipes (they are family favorites after all), I also love the misfits.  My favorite recipe right now?

Well I have two:

  1. Pumpkin spice muffins – of course! Fall is almost here!!
    I love pumpkin bread at Starbucks (well, really, I love everything from Starbucks…I’m a gold member there.) but holy calorie-laden sweet bread, people!! So I prefer this recipe.  A little more healthful, a lot more homemade, and it makes my house smell amazing.
    Nutrition info for these:  168 Calories, 7.5g fat (1.3g Sat fat), 24g carbs, 13g sugar, 1.3g fiber, and 3g protein
    Nutrition per slice of Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin: 420 Calories, 13g fat (4.5g sat fat), 71g carbs, 47g sugar, 2g fiber, 6g proteinApple Butter Pancakes
  2. Apple butter pancakes – another fall fave
    Pancakes = delicious, apple butter = AWESOME. So put them together and you have greatness. Plain and simple.

Hope you enjoy some of the top performing posts!

Which one is your favorite??

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Special announcement from the Little Bit Sweet baker.

….wait for it…..

I’m engaged!!!! I don’t typically talk about my personal life on this blog, but this deserves a special announcement and shout-out to my wonderful (now) fiancee. 🙂_MG_5440-3220567144-O

Funny thing is, the first question that almost every person has asked me is “are you going to make your own wedding cake??”

They laughed, but I’m considering it. Though it would be nice to eat a cake I had no part in baking. And the stress may not be worth it.

 

Anyways, now that that big news is out it’s time for today’s post.

It’s spring time and I’m getting tired of the same old cupcakes.  Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, plain, plain, plain…..

Time to switch it up! Or, rather, flip it upside down.  Introducing pineapple upside down cupcakes!PineappleUpsideDownCupcakes

Pineapple upside down cake was my grandpa Bart’s favorite dessert. I used to watch as my mom made it for him for his birthdays.  It always seemed like such a tedious process and quite the gamble because you never knew if it would come out of the pan.  Gooey mess stuck to the cake pan and then slopped onto the cake just wasn’t as appealing.  And yet, she made it perfectly every time.

Yes, it’s even more of a gamble trying to get these little guys out of the cupcake pan. But it’s so worth it! A crowd pleaser AND I didn’t have to make buttercream frosting. (A process that, honestly, I hate doing.)

PineappleUpsideDownCupcakePineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, not packed
  • 24 maraschino cheeries
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple slices in juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1  3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Juice from pineapple can + enough cold water to equal 2 cups
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray cupcake tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Spoon 1 scant teaspoon melted butter into the bottom of each cupcake cup.IMG_2193
  3. Spoon 1 scant, unpacked tablespoon brown sugar into each cupcake cup.
  4. Place a maraschino cherry in the middle of the brown sugar mix in each cupcake cup.
  5. Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Set aside.  Place pineapple slices onto cutting board and cut each slice into 6 pieces. Place 3-4 pieces of pineapple around the cherry in each cupcake cup.IMG_2194
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Grab your measuring cup with pineapple juice and add cold water to equal a total of 2 cups liquid.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, pour juice/water mix, oil, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.
  9. Add flour mix to liquid ingredients, whisking until combined.
  10. Pour cake batter into the cupcake cups, filling just to the top.  Do not overfill!IMG_2195
  11. Bake at 375 F for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick stuck into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.IMG_2196
  12. Let cupcakes cool at least 5 minutes. Lay out a piece of wax paper on the counter and carefully flip cupcake pan onto wax paper to release the cupcakes.  Tap on the bottom of the pan to help the process.  For really stubborn cupcakes, may have to loosen a bit with a knife before inverting.

I haven’t calculated nutrition info for this recipe.  It’s a “sometimes” food.  😉

These are definitely best (in my opinion) served warm.  So yummy!!

 

 

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

There have been a lot of changes in my life lately.  Sadly, that includes a few of my great work friends moving to far off places.  This week, my fellow dietitians and I bid farewell to one of them.  (Hey Katherine! We will miss you bunches.)

And just like we always do, we said goodbye with a lunch potluck at work.  Why? Because dietitians love food.  And when we have potlucks, there is great food to share.  Katherine is vegan, so we had lots of yummy vegan-friendly dishes.  Including…ta-da!!….vegan cupcakes!! (That are also Gluten Free!)

And what are cupcakes without frosting, really?  But regular vegan “butter”cream has been done in my kitchen before.  I needed something new.  As I searched the aisles of Central Market for some inspiration, I stumbled upon Tofutti.

I’d never tried this before.  I know of some vegan cheesecake recipes that call for Tofutti, but never really knew what it would taste like or how else it could be used.  The package said “better than cream cheese”, to which I thought “good, because cream cheese is yucky.”  (Unless in cheesecake form.) And I’ll admit I was a bit turned off by the taste of Tofutti, too.

But I gave it a whirl in my mixer. The creation was a hit!

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or frost an 8″ cake

  • 8oz Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, coconut oil, or softened vegan buttery sticks
  • 5 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. With an electric mixer, cream together Tofutti and shortening (or other fat of choice). I use my stand mixer for this process.
  2. Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape sides of the bowl often.
  3. Beat in almond extract.
  4. Frost your favorite vegan cupcakes! I used my vegan chocolate cupcakes for this batch.

 

And because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, here’s a V-day dressed version. 🙂

Lighten Up!: Sweet Potatoes with Crumble Topping

Every time I’m in the kitchen with my mom, it’s sure to be a good time.  Yes, because I’m spending time with her and catching up (though we talk on the phone daily). But mostly because we spend half of the time making dumb comments, intended or not, and laughing.  You’ll read a few of the latest in the next few posts.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Mine was fantastic because I was able to get a couple days off to spend with family.

Well, and the food was great.  Let’s be honest, that alone makes it a good day.

Usually, my job is to make the turkey and help with a select few things.  This year, my aunt took over the turkey, which meant it was 100% cooked and no pieces had to be microwaved.  Apparently my family prefers their turkey sans salmonella.

I know, they’re picky. 😉

But I really appreciate that she cooked the turkey, lots of other yummy things, and had our family over at her house for Thanksgiving.  (Thanks, Aunt Chrissy!!) Plus, I got to focus my attention on sides and revamping my sweet potato recipe!

I love sweet potatoes.  Like, I don’t make them for myself often because I’ll eat them all.  That and because I can’t be trusted around an open bag of mini marshmallows. And my sweet potatoes recipe has always been good, but nothing really awesome.  Maybe because it was MUCH lighter than your traditional southern yams recipe.  (It IS my recipe after all)

Now I have a new version to offer that is, really, just as light.  But with far more flavor, texture, and looks prettier. Which, lets face it, means everything in the blogging world.  A pretty picture can really mean the difference between “Oh yes, I’ll try that recipe” and “A post with no pics?? Booooring!!”

So I bring to you the new and improved sweet potatoes recipe, with pictures. 🙂

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Crumble

Makes 6 servings

  • 40oz can yams in syrup, drained and rinsed
  • Zest of 1 orange (~2 Tbsp)
  • Juice of 1/2 orange (~1/4 cup)
  • 1  1/2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light pancake syrup
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    Topping:

    • 1/4 cup instant oats
    • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • Dash nutmeg
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, mash together the drained and rinsed yams (sweet potatoes), orange zest, and orange juice.  Mash until desired texture.  Add brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla.  Mix well.

Spread mixture into the bottom of a 9X9 inch baking dish.

In a separate bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Add melted butter and oil.  Mix together until well incorporated and crumbly. Add walnuts and marshmallows and mix well. 

Sprinkle onto top of the sweet potatoes.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Then place under broiler on high for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows become slightly browned.

So there you have it, a little lighter than most traditional sweet potato casseroles. Not sure of the exact nutrition information because there isn’t information for drained and rinsed canned yams.  Bummer…

Let’s just say it’s lighter, very little added fat…even though there is a fair amount of sugar between the brown sugar, marshmallows, etc.  But still, lighter.  And still delicious! Hooray!

Back soon with an updated post on our family’s banana pudding recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Revisited

Little Bit Sweet now has 100 followers!!!!! Yay!

Thank you to every single reader!  I hope that you are enjoying the posts.

To those that haven’t followed…whatcha waiting for?!  Super cool site, recipes, nutrition tips from time to time, and more. I’m really trying to expand my audience. Can you tell?

*cough* May also wish to like Little Bit Sweet on facebook! *cough*

Ok enough of the shameless plugs…

Today, I’m revisiting a recipe that was posted last fall.  This time, it’s revamped and even better! There’s a little less sugar (couldn’t tell a difference), a little vanilla extract to still add sweetness, and 1/2 of the flour is now whole wheat.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Slightly modified from this recipe on Instructables.com

Makes 12 muffins

  • 5oz canned pure pumpkin
  • 4 Tbsp liquid egg whites (like the kind from Egg Beaters)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • Cream cheese swirl:  1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese + 1 tsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners.

Whisk together pumpkin, egg whites, canola oil, water, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

Add flour mixture into wet ingredients in 2 additions. Mixing just until combined.

Fill muffin liners 3/4 full.

Slightly warm neufchatel cheese in the microwave, until it’s a little runny. Stir in sugar.

Add a small amount of mixture to top of each filled muffin tin.

Using a toothpick, slightly swirl cheese mixture into muffin batter.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

You can make them mini muffins, too!

These are really good with coffee or tea.  Just fyi 🙂

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Ever have those days where you look in the fridge and think…”I need to use up all of this produce, what am I gonna make??”

Today was one of those days.  Why?  Because I haven’t used all of my co-op basket and my produce was starting to look a little, umm, less than stellar.  It’s like a race against the clock.

Also, I haven’t been to the grocery store this week and I’m having to get creative.

Oh! And this was the first time I was going to have vegetables since I got my wisdom teeth out.  How I’ve missed veggies!!  Yes, I could have pureed them.  But, gross.

 

So for the days where you are scrambling for dinner without a grocery trip, or when you have produce that’s dying, soup is a wonderful way to go!  After all, why spend the money on produce if you’re just going to let it go bad?

Soup is one of those money saving meals that is also a GREAT way to get your kiddos to eat vegetables (without knowing it).

The basis of a good soup is usually bell pepper, onion, celery, carrots, or a blend of the four.  This one started with bell pepper and corn because they were both wilting in my fridge. Add some vegetable, chicken, or beef stock and whatever other veggies you like and voila!  Dinner.

Here’s the recipe for today’s concoction hodgepodge soup.  Is it pretty?  Eh, not really.  But it’s delicious!!

Topped with a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Yummy!!

Corn and Potato Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 Tbsp light butter
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

Melt butter and oil in a large pot. Add bell peppers and cook until tender (~4-5 minutes).

Add corn kernels and 1/2 cup broth to pot.  Cook additional 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Stir to combine.

While corn is cooking, pierce potatoes multiple times with a fork or knife.  Rinse with water, do not dry. Microwave on high 4 minutes, or until tender. (The water on the skin of the potato will evaporate in the microwave, but helps the potato cook)

Carefully remove potatoes from microwave and remove skins if desired.  Dice one potato and place in a blender.  Add 1 cup of corn/pepper mixture and 2 cups broth to blender.  Blend on high until pureed.

Add pureed blend back to soup pot and stir.  Add remaining 1 cup of broth, stir.  Stir in broccoli florets and remaining diced potato.  Allow to cook additional 7-10 minutes, stirring often, or until broccoli is tender.  Season to taste.

Estimated nutrition information:  170 Calories, 4.2g Fat, 1g Saturated fat, 27.4g Carbohydrates, 4.2g Fiber, 4.4g Sugar, 5.7g Protein, and 129% DV Vitamin C!!
***The nutrition information for the recipe varies widely depending on the size of your potatoes and corn.  Estimated nutrition info is for medium potatoes (little larger than a computer mouse) and medium ears of corn (about 7-8 inches long). Butter used in estimation is 50 calories per Tbsp. Also, I didn’t include sodium as that varies depending on how much salt you use to taste.***

So there you have it!  A creamy, delicious soup that isn’t filled with a bunch of cream of saturated fat.  Yay!