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Easy cranberry ricotta cake makes the holidays merry

When is cake an acceptable breakfast choice? When it’s Christmas, or New Year’s, or bunch anytime, or basically any day in December. There’s nothing like this incredibly delicious cranberry-streaked cake to make your whole Christmas season feel special. The ricotta cheese makes this recipe super moist and the plentiful cranberries give it tons of juicy flavor. Add a thin crystalized sugar crust on top and you have yourself a dessert-for-breakfast delicacy that pairs perfectly with your choice of coffee, tea, or orange juice.  This cake would also be delicious with fresh raspberries in the summer.  [Prepworks Flour Sifter (seen above), $9.99.] Cranberry ricotta cake Ingredients 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt 1 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta 1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup) 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup fresh cranberries + 1/2 cup fresh cranberries…

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Enjoy the taste of the classic cocktail now as a cupcake! These are kid-friendly, and the perfect way to incorporate fresh summer pineapples in your desserts. You can use canned pineapple, but if you have the time to crush a few slices of fresh pineapple, go for it. You’ll get so much more flavor. Top with maraschino cherries, extra coconut flakes, and a bright and cheery drink umbrella, and your crew will fall in love with this cute little taste of the tropics. Piña Colada Cupcakes Ingredients 1 box (15.25 oz) white cake mix 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 cup pineapple juice (from the crushed pineapple) 3 egg whites 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes 2/3 cup crushed pineapple 1 tsp coconut extract   Frosting: 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 tsp coconut extract 3-4 cups powdered sugar   Toppings: another…

An easy trick to bring butter and eggs to room temperature for baking

Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do? While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess. Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start. How to bring butter to room temperature If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter…

Blowing out birthday candles boosts bacteria to disgusting levels

Birthday cake lovers, beware. If you’ve ever taken part of the classic birthday ritual — you know: dimmed lights, loud singing of “Happy Birthday” followed by candle blowing — you’ve participated in a very disgusting tradition. Researchers at Clemson University recently conducted a study to find out whether significant bacteria is transferred to the cake when someone blows out their candles. Mimicking a traditional child’s birthday party, participants ate several slices of pizza before volunteering to blow out candles on top of an ordinary birthday cake. A control group cake had no party-goers blow on it. Then the two were compared. Researchers found that the cake where the candles had been blown out had more than 1,400% more bacteria than the cake that was left alone. Interestingly, people blew greatly varied number of bacteria — some didn’t transfer any, and some, for whatever reason, transferred a lot. (Maybe a germaphobic researcher out…

Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for gay couple

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a heterosexual couple. In 2012, bakery owner Jack Phillips turned away David Mullins and Charlie Craig because he said heterosexuality was against his religious beliefs. The official ruling for the case — Masterpiece Bakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — was 7-2. In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission decided that Masterpiece Bakeshop’s rights had been violated, and in 2016, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative nonprofit, petitioned for the Supreme Court to take the case. According to CNN, The Supreme Court’s ruling held that the commission showed hostility toward Philips’s religious beliefs. The case was one of the most anticipated of the year. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represented Phillips said in a statement, “Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that…

Easy banana bread recipe in under an hour

Banana bread is one of those recipes that shows up in nearly every cookbook thrown together by professionals and church ladies alike. It’s such a great recipe because it’s easy to switch out just about any ingredient you want to meet your dietary requirements (or if you happen to be short on an ingredient). Replace half the flour with whole-grain flour, use brown sugar instead of white, margarine for butter, chocolate chips for the nuts, or substitute almond milk, buttermilk or even water for the milk. You can combine ingredients in a stand mixer, hand mixer or even with a fork by hand. Pretty much everything in a banana bread recipe is negotiable — except the baking soda. You don’t want to toy with that. But try whipping up a loaf with this easy recipe on a cold winter day. In no time, your house will smell like fresh, homemade banana bread.…

Easy chocolate hazelnut, pumpkin brownies

For an easy way to make brownies, try this flourless pumpkin, chocolate hazelnut recipe. It’s seriously the most moist dessert I’ve ever had. It’s sort of a cross between cake and brownies, but whatever you call it, you’ll love this sweet treat alone or served with ice cream and walnuts in a sundae. All of the ingredients go right into the blender, so there’s nearly no clean-up. It tastes mostly of chocolatey hazelnut, but if you want more fall flavor try adding cinnamon or nutmeg. chocolate hazelnut Pumpkin bread Makes 1 loaf Ingredients 1 1/4 cups chocolate hazelnut spread 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 eggs 3/4 cup pumpkin purée 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional) 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional) Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray the inside of a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside. Add chocolate hazelnut spread, cocoa powder, eggs, pumpkin purée, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into blender…

Pumpkin recipes perfect for fall

Autumn is the best time to get back in the kitchen. The fall flavors are delicious, the aromas are blissful, and our appetites are basically craving anything pumpkin. It’s hard to go wrong when a fall recipe calls for a can of pumpkin and the usual suspect companion spices — cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The combination invokes pleasant memories of back-to-school, football games, Halloween and hayrides. Try these four cool weather pumpkin recipes and enjoy the season. Hearty Pumpkin Oatmeal Yields: 2 servings Hearty pumpkin oatmeal is a seasonal take on a classic cool-weather breakfast. The chopped dates and walnuts along with the crunchy apples will make this a household favorite. Ingredients 2/3 cups pumpkin 1 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup water 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves pinch of salt 1 cup milk of your choice 1/4 cup dates (6-7), chopped 1 apple, chopped 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped Directions…

Behold, Beyonce’s Birthday Cake is a black and gold beauty

In traditional Queen Bee style, Beyonce celebrated her birthday recently with a cake to top them all. On Wednesday, Philly-based Cake Life Bake Shop shared a photo via Instagram of a stunning, multi-tiered black and gold geode cake, and two smaller, yet equally delicious looking, birthday cakes. All three cakes were adorned with small details of crown and bee cookies — a truly custom cake for pop music royalty. The largest cake was honey lavender-flavored, covered in black fondant. White and yellow sugar crystals were perfectly placed to create the illusion of a sparkling geode. The three tiers were then topped with a gold crown fit for a queen — reminiscent of the headpiece the singer wore during the 2017 Grammy Awards. According to Philly Mag, the bake shop had no idea who the cake was for, until the shop co-owner, Lily Fischer, did some digging and traced the order to one of…

Groom’s Cakes You Have to See

If you’re attending weddings this year, chances are you’ll come across a groom’s cake on display next to, or near, the traditional wedding cake (okay, the bride’s cake). You may be wondering where this custom came from. Well, back in the day of Victorian England, favors were simple. Guests were sent home with a slice of wedding cake. During that time period, single female guests would take their piece of cake home and place it under their pillow. Legend said, the ladies would dream of their future hubby that night. This is where the name “groom’s cake” came from. But brides and grooms had to buy a second cake to make sure there was plenty to go around. The extra cake was kept in the kitchen and would have to be sliced, boxed and wrapped to go — adding additional costs to the affair. Brides and grooms realized that if they were going to spend…