Almond Joy Cupcakes

If there is one thing about me you should know, I love cupcakes.
If there are two things you should know, I love contests.
When I saw that The Cupcake Project was hosting a contest with Scoopalicious,
I knew I would be entering!

I decided to make an Almond Joy Cupcake. 
I saw a few recipes online that said they were "Almond Cupcakes" but they were not.
You can not take a simple vanilla cupcake and add almond extract to it and then call it an almond cupcake!
Um no!! While I'm sure the taste was good, I wanted a realllllly good almond cupcake.
I'm kind of a snob like that.

So without further delay, my entry to the contest. 
The gosh-darn-most-truest almond cupcake, with a layer of dark chocolate ganache, topped with a scoop of coconut gelato. It. is. heaven.

Almond Joy Cupcakes
based on this Canadian Living recipe
makes 6

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg 
1/4 tsp almond extract
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup almond flour/meal
10 raw almonds, ground to medium coarseness
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/8 tsp salt 
1/4 cup milk
6 whole raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F.
 In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in egg and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. 
Stir into butter mixture and slowly add milk. Spoon into cupcake cups or greased cupcake pan.
Place a whole almond atop each filled cupcake cup.
Bake in 350°F oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. 
Transfer to rack; let cool. 
Chocolate Ganache
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark chocolate mini chips
Place chocolate chips into a small heatproof bowl
Heat cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat until boiling.
Pour hot cream over chocolate chips into bowl.
Let sit for a few minutes so the chocolate melts.
With a fork, stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth and evenly dark.
Let the bowl sit on your counter until cool enough to be spreadable, but not hard.
Spread evenly over the 6 above cupcakes.
 To Assemble
Once the ganache has been spread over the almond cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop to scrape a layer of coconut gelato out of the dish and gently place gelato atop the frosted cupcake.
Garnish with 5 whole almonds each, placed to form a star.

  • The whole almond inside the cupcakes sinks down to the middle and makes a nice crunchy surprise. 
  • The ground almond and almond flour make the cupcake nice and moist.
  •  I suggest using Wilbur Chocolate for all your baking needs. It is simply the best, I'm not being paid to say so! The ganache I made twice: first with nestle, and that was so awful I pitched it. It was gritty! The second, I was about to run to the store for some Wilbur when I remembered I still had a small bag of chocolate chips! I was so happy I was close to tears. Chocolate does that to me. Especially good chocolate.
  • Serve the cupcake at room temperature, top with the gelato just before serving. It is so much better than freezing the whole thing and serving a frozen cupcake.
  • Lastly, I made only 6 because I knew I would eat them all! Feel free to make in multiples! 
The orange flecks shown in the picture do not actually exist in the gelato. I checked the ingredients before I purchased it to make sure there was no other fruits in it.

I sincerely hope you try this treat. Even if I do not place in the contest, these cupcakes are still a treat worth savoring and I'm glad to have them in my repertoire.

Have a lovely day! ~Naomi


Lavender Honey Ricotta Cheesecake

My husband's favorite dessert is cheesecake. If I bake other treats or goodies, they usually go un-eaten by him just because he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. 

So I take it upon myself to make cheesecake for the special occasions: his birthdays and our anniversaries. 

I also like to make a different cheesecake each time. 

As this is my blog, and I can do what I want, I'm gonna make this post about the cheesecake I made for his 27th bday this past February.

Lavender Honey Ricotta Cheesecake
based on Giada de Laurentiis's recipe on foodnetwork.com


  • 8 ounces purchased almond cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lavender honey
  • 4 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. 
  3. Finely grind the cookies in a food processor. 
  4. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  5. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
  6. Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. 
  7. Blend in the honey. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
  8. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. 
  9. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. 
  10. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. 
  11. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
  12. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.


Nicole's Cherry Almond Cake

See that picture above? 
 That was one lucky girl's birthday cake. Mine? Ha! I do all my best work when I'm going to give it away. No, this lucky girl, Nicole, was a coworker. And she was turning 25 and had to work night shift on her birthday. And when that happens, parties will be had in the break room! Surprise!

Red Velvet & Brownie Swirl Cake

 1 box red velvet cake mix
1 box brownie mix
2 cans chocolate buttercream frosting
sliced almonds for decoration
large jar of maraschino cherries
water and eggs as needed for box recipes
replace vegetable oil with almond oil


Preheat oven to temperature stated on red velvet cake mix.
In a large bowl, mix ingredients for red velvet cake as stated on box, except using almond oil in place of regular vegetable oil.
In a separate large bowl, mix brownie mix as stated on box but also using almond oil instead of vegetable oil.
Lightly grease 3 round 8" cake pans with cooking spray.
Divide red velvet mix equally between two pans.
With brownie mix, make several stripes of batter on top of red velvet. Marble brownie mix into red velvet with a knife. (Or see this blog for another example of marbling)
Bake until tooth pick come out clean, approx 20 min.
Baked, the brownie batter is hidden 

Cool on rack completely.

Cooling, with the extra brownie batter in ramekins

To Assemble:

Place one of the cake layers on a plate, frost top only. 
Place second layer atop the frosted bottom layer. Frost top only.
Place third and final layer on top. Frost top and sides evenly.
Next, decorate side of cake by pressing sliced almonds against it one by one.
Now place remainder of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star shaped tip.
Pipe small spots along bottom rim and top outer rim of cake. You will want to make a nice thick rim on the top of cake so the cherries don't roll off if your cake is rounded on top.
Decorate the top with cherries covering the whole top and then pipe dots of frosting in between the cherries. 

There was none left by the end of our 12hr shift!

 This was such a delicious moist cake! Any chocolate lover will adore it.


Maple Pecan Breakfast Bread

Thanks to my lovely long weekend, I will be baking up a storm.
Yesterday I made this delightful recipe that I found while reading my blogs.
It seemed to speak to me from the computer screen: "Make this now!"
And so I did. 
And it was goooooood.

I've made a few of Mama J's recipes. This one was the best so far.
I followed all the directions except for two.
1: I used half the amount of butter in the pecan topping.
2: I baked it in my cast iron skillet.

This breakfast bread is something I will for sure make again.
But next time, I need to make it for my parents.
This it a dish that is so bad for you that it is good. I can't risk keeping a whole skillet of it in my house again! It's just too tempting to scarf down half of it in one sitting.

Things I would do differently next time: use a smaller skillet so the pieces are not as thin, and practice patience by allowing the skillet to cool a bit more before drizzling the icing on top. 

Left overs, here I come!



“I love black because it affirms, designs, and styles. A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke.” - Yves Saint Laurent

 It's a lovely day to dress up with no where to go and nothing to do. I had worked hard the past 5 days and now I have 5 days off! 


Dress: Mossimo from Target
Belt: vintage from Grammy
Shoes: Michael Antonio from Beyond the Rack


Strawberry Lime Tart

"I know you're not suppose to say yum when you're eating... but Yum!" -Julie, Julia

That pretty much sums up this tart.
I was looking for a recipe for a strawberry tart due solely to the fact that I recently became the proud owner of a new Tart dish (for $7.99 at Marshall's), and because, well... it is strawberry season and one must use them in their kitchen as often as possible!

So I searched far and wide and found a lovely looking Lemon Berry Tart and said to myself, "Self!" But then I decided against lemon. I had a jar of Lime Curd looking at me every time I open the cupboard and thought that to be a better option. 

So the seed was planted and I would not rest until I had my masterpiece! 
So let's get to the recipe shall we?

Strawberry Lime Tart

Tart crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, chopped up small
1 large egg

Ingredients for the crust

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups prepared lime curd (or see this recipe)
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and halved
For the Tart Crust:

1. Combine dry incredients in a large bowl

Flour, sugar, and salt mixed together, a TBSP of butter shown also.

2. With a pastry mixer, cut in the small pieces of cold butter until thoroughly combined.

3. Crack the egg over the bowl and cut that in too with your pastry mixer.

4. Once the mixture resembles some small peas with some small ball forms, tap the dough off the pastry mixer and combine the dough into a ball with your hands.

5. Punch the dough ball down and knead it a few times until it is no longer dry.

6. Cover the ball with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.
7. After the dough has been chilled, it will feel rock solid. Let it rest on your counter for about 10 minutes to soften enough so you can roll it out.

8. Roll dough into a large circle. You will see that I have a piece of plastic wrap on my counter, and a piece on top of the ball of dough. I learned this trick a few years back. When making pie (and tart) crusts, it prevents the dough from sticking to the counter surface and to the rolling pin without the need of adding extra flour.
Once piece of plastic wrap below, one above

9. Once you have a large circle of dough, make sure it will cover your tart pan. It should be about 2inches larger in diameter than your pan.

10. Using the bottom piece of plastic wrap, flip the crust dough over onto your pan. Your pan should be dry and ungreased. You do not need to worry about the crust sticking to the pan because of all the butter in the dough.

11. Remove the plastic wrap and press the dough down into the pan and up the sides. Do not worry if you have a gap on the sides, we can fix that. 

12. Take your rolling pin and roll the excess crust off the top of the pan where it sticks up from the sides. This excess dough can be used to patch any holes or thinner areas.

13. Prick the crust with a fork or sharp knife all over the base. This helps air escape during baking so you don't have a bubbly crust.

14. Now cover the dough and pan with your plastic wrap and freeze the whole thing for about 30 minutes prior to baking. (So the crust doesn't warp when it hits a hot oven)

15. Now you can turn your oven on to pre-heat 375*F

16. After 30min are up, take your pan out of the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and replace it with a piece of aluminum foil.

17. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and into your oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the foil. Then keep baking until the crust is golden brown (approx another 10-20 minutes depending on your oven).

18. When the crust looks perfect, set it out to cool on a rack. It must be completely cool before filling with the lime mousse. I let mine rest overnight on the dining room table.

For the Lime Mousse:

1. Pour your heavy cream and sugar into a medium sized bowl. Mix with and electric mixer or whip by hand until the cream hold soft to medium peaks. 

2. Little by little, fold in your prepared lime curd. If you are making your lime curd right before making the mousse, the curd should be chilled first.

3. I must emphasize that you do not too hastily add the curd to the cream or else the cream will deflate and you will not be able to whip it back into shape (true story).

4. When you have added the entire amount of lime curd, you may either choose to fill your crust now, of store the mousse overnight and fill the crust in the morning. 

To Assemble the Tart:

1. Dollop about 3 ladle's full of mousse mixture into middle of the tart crust.
One ladle full of mousse in a perfect golden crust.

2. With an off set spatula, spread the mousse evenly inside the crust.

(2a. Lick spatula clean. You deserve it!)

3. In a circular motion, arrange the sliced strawberries. You may not want to use halves if your berries are huge. I found half to be a good size for the local PA berries I picked up. You may want to slice them again.
Start at the outside rim

4. Ta-Da! Now time to cut into this bad boy and eat a slice or two.
A tart like this deserve to be put on a pedestal!

This may or may not be my second slice...
Good Luck! Let me know how yours turns out!



Obligatory: About Me

I talk a lot... Though sometimes not at all. 

I'm presently 25yrs old. Married to a cute boy I've known since I was 10yrs younger. We live in a rented house in a quiet Pennsylvanian town. I am by day a Pediatric RN, by night a pastry chef/ fashionista/ dress designer. But aren't we all? Well maybe not the "day" job. But certainly the WWW is filled with millions of ladies who strive to get their blog recognized and make a name for themselves. I hope I don't appear as such. I just need a creative outlet and thought I'd give this ol' writing thing a whirl. I love the girly pretty things. I love the feeling of pie dough under my fingernails. I love rain storms and wine.

Today is DAY ONE of this blog. Let's see where the interwebs lead, shall we?