Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Tidings and Cupcakes

Happy belated Easter and Passover and Marathon Monday! I hope you all had some great spring weather and delicious eats, hopefully with your family or friends or at least a furry companion. My Easter was spent in Vermont visiting the local eats and taking in the sunny spring weather. This was the second annual Jew-ish Easter where I spent the weekend with a friend of mine (who is in fact Jewish) exploring local brunch places and taking in the scenery. He and I go way back to freshman year of college and most of my travel adventures involve our group of friends being ridiculous. Most of our buds are science people but he and I are not so we talk about everything else like politics and music. 

If you're ever in Burlington, Vermont or are planning a visit, here are some great things to do! We started at the Magic Hat brewery where the staff are super friendly and hilarious. The tour is free and comes with a beer sample flight. As you can see, the samples are perfect size for Yoda. Yoda is my traveling gnome, he goes on all my adventures and inevitably always finds another Yoda to befriend. After the tour, we hit up American Flatbread Company which has amazeballs pizza, no joke. For our Easter brunch, the ultra crunchy and organic restaurant Magnolia's provided us with eggcellent meals and mimosas before we visited the Ben & Jerry's factory. Get on it!

This is my traveling Yoda with a Yoda-sized beverage
When I was a kid, I spent Easter at my dad's house. At a very early age, it was instilled in me that Peeps were the king of all Easter candy and that egg hunts were just not going to cut it. Instead of just hunting around the yard for treasures, my dad would write clues that would lead us to eggs, candy and gifts. The clues definitely got harder and harder as the years went on but I can still remember the last hunt we had. My brother had outgrown the tradition but I was keen to keep it alive and got very stumped on one of my clues. My dad assumed that I knew what era musicians would be played on a Victrola which was a fair assumption but I did not. So I learned me some Benny Goodman in the process of getting candy. Winning!

One for you, two for me!
Well, I didn't have an egg or a treasure hunt but I did get some peeps! I also made some treats for work that were meant to look like they were frosted with grass and had eggs nestled inside but the icing looked more like slime. Oh well, it still worked! This recipe is from the Food Network magazine. I've been traveling a lot lately so I picked this up in an airport on my way out of town. The magazine has an abundance of colorful recipes for spring and the lemon cupcakes were just calling my name.

Note to self: blend almonds, then add flour
Although these aren't gluten free or made with almond flour, we do have ground almonds incorporated into regular flour. My recommendation would be to grind up the almonds first, before you add the flour in there, to ensure there are no almond chunks (I did not do this so got a little more nuttier cupcakes). Even though these are lemon cupcakes, they only use a little bit of lemon zest and juice. A little goes a long way!

I ran out of regular liners so had to use pirate cupcake wrappers---darn
I discovered that I didn't have enough regular cupcake liners so had to choose between shamrocks, pumpkins or pirates. Pirates won in the end. While the cupcakes were baking, I looked up frosting recipes. I decided not to use the one from the magazine so I could whip up something simpler. Joy of Cooking has a quick and easy frosting recipe that was easily turned green for grass. It's not the best icing if you're trying to sculpt or frost things prettily though. This could have been because I didn't measure the milk so ended up with very soupy frosting but I'm on a mission to find better icing recipes for doing fun decorations like roses.

Action shot!
Unfortunately, the cupcakes got gobbled up before I could get an after shot so no final product! Fail blogger, over here. But use your imagination, delicious lemon cupcakes frosted with green while little jelly beans and M&M eggs are nestled on top. These can easily be adapted for a spring party or even Mother's Day!



  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (I used whole)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners (or non-stick spray). 
  2. Combine the flour and almonds in a food processor and grind until the almonds are ground finely (alternatively, grind the almonds first to chop them up and then add the flour to combine). 
  3. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixture until combined.
  4. Whisk the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl. 
  5. Add the flour mixture and whisk together until combined. 
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely. 

Frosting from Joy of Cooking

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons of milk 
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, mix the powdered sugar and softened butter together.
  2. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If you add too much milk, add more powdered sugar to thicken the mixture.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and food coloring. Blend until the mixture is fully combined. You may need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and finish mixing by hand instead of with an electric mixer.
  4. To frost the cooled cupcakes, you can either use a knife or a frosting bag. The icing will harden slightly as it dries on the cupcake.
  5. Top with candy or leave plain!


  1. We always stop by Ben & Jerry's when we go to Vermont.
    I will try your cupcake recipe one day.

  2. Thanks so much for following! Enjoy the ice cream (and cupcakes) :)