I love cupcakes, especially for a party. Faster and less messy to serve than cake, cupcakes lend themselves to about a zillion easy decorating possibilities too.
I don't have a ton of patience to make my cakes look like works of art, so I find cupcakes way less intimidating. Inspired by the proverb attributed to the month of March (‘in like a lion, out like a lamb’), these adorable cupcakes are my new favourite creation and were a huge hit for my daughter’s birthday. Obviously you can use your favourite cake recipe; the one below is scaled to make just ten cupcakes but it can easily be halved or doubled, depending on how many you need. For the lions’ manes, I used Chicago Mix popcorn; some lions were caramel corn, some were cheddar, and everyone was happy.
For the cupcakes
For the frosting
To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350F and line 10 compartments of a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for one minute. Add the vanilla and melted butter and beat until well combined.
Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. Add the milk, and beat until just combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until evenly blended.
Divide the batter evenly among 10 muffin cups (fill each about 2/3 full). Bake for 15 – 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting; if you have time, frozen cupcakes are even easier to decorate.
Make the frosting by beating icing sugar and butter together until smooth. Add vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of milk plus the food colouring. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 – 3 minutes). If the frosting appears too thick to spread easily, add additional milk as needed, one teaspoon at a time.
To decorate, trim the domed top off each cupcake with a serrated knife, to make a flat area for the lion’s face. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a knife. Add eyes and mouth, then place popcorn around the outside to form the mane.
Makes 10 cupcakes.
This recipe combines a few of most people’s favourite things into one delectable, unforgettable savoury delight. They’re a magical combination of buttery biscuit dough laced with pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings, and I could honestly eat these things all day long.
Most pizza bun recipes rely on yeast dough (the same stuff pizzas are made with) which needs up to an hour of rising time before you can work with it. Quick biscuit dough, on the other hand, can be mixed, shaped and popped into the oven within minutes. Use your family’s preferred pizza toppings; you can even use store-bought refrigerated biscuit dough if you’re really pressed for time.
I can’t wait to add some caramelized onions and chèvre to my next batch. Then after that, it’ll be prosciutto and thinly sliced pears. The possibilities are endless! Of course, like all good pizza creations, these biscuits are great straight out of the oven or straight out of the fridge; they're perfect for packing in lunchboxes too!
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cream of tartar in a medium bowl.
Using a box grater, shred the cold butter into the flour mixture. Toss with a fork or your fingers to evenly distribute butter into the flour.
Add milk and stir until just combined.
Scatter a little flour on your work surface and turn the dough out onto the floured area. Knead 8 – 10 times until dough comes together; note that it will still be somewhat sticky.
Lift up the dough and scatter more flour on the work surface. Use your hands to flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 9 x 14 inches. Lift the dough up as needed and scatter a bit more flour to keep it from sticking to the work surface.
Working with a long side of the rectangle closest to you, spread the pizza sauce on the dough, leaving a 1 inch border free at the top.
Scatter pizza toppings over sauce, followed by cheese.
Starting with the edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a cylinder, pressing on the border to seal the roll.
With a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch slices; lay them flat on the parchment-lined baking sheet, about an inch apart.
If you like things really cheesy, sprinkle a little more mozzarella on the pizza rolls.
Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until biscuit dough is puffed and brown and filling is bubbly.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Leftover biscuits freeze well.
Makes 14 pizza biscuits.
I adore baked goods with apples in them. They give so much flavour without adding too much sweetness.
So when I received a few Pazazz apples (similar to Honeycrisps) from a farm in Nova Scotia, I knew I had to bake something special with them. I thought about muffins, but then I had a brainwave… what if I cook the muffin batter in my waffle iron? I’ve been known to waffle just about anything – fruit filled puff pastry packets and mozzarella poppers, to name just two – so muffins just made sense. The best part? They cook in just 5 minutes! On a rushed morning, that’s a big deal. Another bonus is that these waffles make a great grab-and-go breakfast. I can't wait to try other muffin batters in my waffle iron. Heck, I might even add a scoop of ice cream and serve them up as a fun dessert option.
In a large bowl, combine oats and milk and let stand for 5 minutes to soften oats (this will make them cook faster). After 5 minutes, add beaten eggs, melted butter, vanilla, maple syrup and sugar. Stir to blend well.
Preheat waffle maker.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger; add to oats and milk mixture and stir just until blended. Sprinkle chopped apples over top and stir to blend.
When waffle maker is fully preheated, very lightly grease it with a bit of canola or coconut oil. Spoon batter into the waffle maker (I used about 1/2 cup per waffle for my four-compartment waffle iron so 2 cups in total).
Cook 5 minutes in waffle maker; remove and serve warm or at room temperature. They’re great on their own but even more delicious with a little drizzle of maple syrup. Leftover waffles can be frozen and reheated in the toaster or microwave.
Makes 12 – 16 waffles depending upon your waffle maker.
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