Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Swing into spring with these bright and tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins!

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

With all the beautiful things that spring has to offer — why is the rain still lingering? And what’s up with the wind?

Oh well, I guess the rain and wind are just part of the season changing! But I wish it would just be bright and sunny every day!

So, in honor of spring, and all the things I love about this time of year, especially the sunshine, I thought I would delight you with these pretty and pleasing Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

Funny story about these sweet, spring muffins — you see, my teen son has been obsessed with Dutch Bros coffee lately. Don’t you know, EVERY ONE goes there? We have two of these shops close to our home and when my husband is traveling, and I have to take my son to school, he begs me to take him to the “IN” coffee shop. I usually give in (sucker!), as it’s much easier for me to drive through to get my coffee, then make it at home (long story here — see this post).

So, one morning while waiting in the line of (1,000) cars to order, my son happened to spy the menu. He immediately asked, “What are muffin tops?” I quickly looked over to make sure I understood his question, just confirming he was talking about food, not someone’s figure (LOL)! And sure enough this special coffee place was selling the tops of muffins! And, as you know, the best part of the muffin is the TOP! Ingenious!

As I explained a “muffin top” to him, he was intrigued, and asked if he could get one for his breakfast. He scarfed it down immediately and told me it was incredible. Oh no, going to this place on a regular basis could cost me a small fortune!

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

Well, that got me to thinking…I  told him that I could make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and he could have them for breakfast. He thought that was a good idea, considering it’s a miracle if I can get that boy to eat anything in the morning. The following weekend, I gathered all my ingredients, lemons, poppy seeds, and the basics of flour, sugar and butter and I was happily on my way to bake!

I also decided to double the batch; that way my son could have them for his breakfast, I could take some to work for breakfast or a snack, and I could also give some to my traveling husband — everyone would get a special treat in the morning. And who wouldn’t want sweets for breakfast? No arguments in this family!

These poppy seed scattered muffins hve a dense yet fluffy texture and the combination of sweetness from the sugar and tang from the lemons is perfect! They also have a nice crunch from sugar sprinkled tops! Now, I did not make my muffins as large as the coffee place, but I did get “two thumbs up” from the kiddo! (mom smiling here!)

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS

  • Servings: 12-18
  • Difficulty: easy
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By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups and set aside.

Into a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – whisk until incorporated. In another medium bowl, add the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk and whisk until smooth; then whisk in butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Then fold in the poppy seeds.

Fill muffin cups about 1/2-3/4 full and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until slightly golden on the top. Cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to a rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter (depending on your muffin tin, this recipe will either yield 12-18 muffins).

(Note, this recipe can be easily doubled.)

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

Tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | Sweet Baked Life

If you are in need to of a quick and easy breakfast, whip up a batch of these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins — they’re delicious and will satisfy you and your family without having to wait in a long line at the hot coffee spot!

Happy Spring!

Sheila

 

{recipe adapted from Martha Stewart}


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Fluffy Crumb Cake

Freshly baked Fluffy Crumb Cake, warm from the oven is the perfect weekend breakfast!

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Oh, and did I mention the topping? Well, it’s literally the best part of this crumb cake — it’s the crumbs of course!

And who could not resist these buttery, delicate sweet crumbs on top of a moist and fluffy breakfast cake?

Not me.

Not my family.

And surely not you! Or so I hope!

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

This is probably the best crumb cake I have ever made. Seriously. It’s true.

The cake is scented with vanilla and not too sweet. And the topping…To. Die. For! It’s sweet and crumbly and will literally will make your heart jump a beat!  It’s stunning to look at; it stands up tall and the golden crumbs glisten in the morning light. And it’s even better to eat!

It’s an ideal breakfast for me to make for my family. You see, during the week, I usually grab some type of health bar, heat up some oatmeal, or sometimes even pack a couple of these mini frittatas, and I’m out the door. My days are long and eating happens quickly.

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

So really, over the weekend is usually the only time when I get to enjoy my meals. And I do. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day.

On Saturday and Sunday I still get up early (internal alarm clock!), which allows me to leisurely make something scrumptious. I whip up something quick, toss it in the oven, and wait for the amazing aroma to fill the house. Then, when my family wakes up, they immediately ascend to the kitchen to see what I have concocted.

It’s a dream to sit on the couch with my husband, indulge in the breakfast that I have baked, such as this Fluffy Crumb Cake, sip on a hot Cappuccino that he has generously made for me, and talk about our day or just life in general. It’s really the only time we do this — and I love each and every moment!

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

FLUFFY CRUMB CAKE

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour

Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×8-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

To make the crumb topping:  To a small bowl add the sugars, cinnamon and salt and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Then add the flour and using a fork, gently stir until the topping until it looks crumbly. Set aside until ready to use.

To make the cake: In a medium bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined then set aside.

Into a large bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy — about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. With the mixer on low-speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated then add 1/2 of the milk and mix until blended. Repeat ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread to create an even layer. Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the batter in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top begins to brown and a toothpick inserted to the top is clean. Cool slightly, then cut into squares. Serve warm or room temperature.

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Fluffy Crumb Cake | Sweet Baked Life

I hope that you relax and savor weekend mornings with a big piece of this Fluffy Crumb Cake —  it’s a great way to start the day!

Sheila

 

{Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy}


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Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies

Send an arrow straight through your loved one’s heart with these enticing Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies!

Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

With Valentines’ Day right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what wonderful homemade goodies to make your sweetheart, friends, co-workers or family.

And for me, these Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies are the perfect treat make for my boys. They love anything they can have and call “their own”, meaning if I make these cookies in mini cast-iron skillets, they each get their own pan full of soft, sweet, buttery cookies, dotted with rich chocolate M&M’s — all to themselves.

You see, around my home, we each have our favorites when it comes to treats and snacks. For some reason, we never can agree on one thing to buy and share. So when I go shopping, my list can get a bit overwhelming! My husband will ask for his favorite chocolate candy, ice cream, or salty potato chips and the like, and my son does the same thing. Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

If I happen to get a special treat for myself, I have to hide it as it will be gobbled up in no time flat. My husband will say something like, “Don’t worry, if I eat all of your {fill in the blank here with my special treat}, I will just go to the store and buy you more”.

Well, that does not work for me. The point is, I like to eat my sweets a little at a time, and savor each and every bite. If I buy a bag of candy, it can literally last me the entire month. Whereas with my hubby and son, well that bag would be gone in one day!

But I can’t really blame them for their love sweets. These guys are my loves and no matter what, I adore spoiling them with my baking adventures as much as I can! This time of year is no exception — time to bring on as many pink, pretty and delicious sweet treats as possible! Or as many as my boys will eat!

Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

This is why I like using mini cast-iron skillets to make desserts — we each have our very own skillet filled with goodness! No reason to fight over how many cookies we each get. The only fighting is when the boys have to decide who gets the extra skillet  — and for the most part, they end up sharing it!

My guys loved these Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies. The base is not too sweet – fluffy on the inside with a bit of crunch on the top and sides (just the way we like our cookies!) and the pretty pink milk chocolate M&M’s give the cookies an angelic feel and a blissful taste!

You will send your loved ones over-the-moon with these freshly baked skillet cookies — they will love you forever, and probably ask you for more!

Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

VALENTINE MINI SKILLET COOKIES

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Valentine Milk Chocolate M&M’s

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 4 mini cast iron skillets with non-stick spray and set aside. If you skillets are well seasoned, you can skip this step.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low-speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Dough will be thick.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the M&M’s and stir with a spoon until incorporated. Evenly divide the dough between 4 small mini cast iron skillets and press down gently to make an even layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature in either the skillet or remove and cut each cookie into 4 pieces.

Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies | Sweet Baked Life

I hope your day is filled with love and a batch of these Valentine Mini Skillet Cookies!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xxoo

Sheila


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Pink and Chocolate Cake

Time to welcome the month of love with this pretty Pink and Chocolate Cake!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Or for me, just another reason to make something drool worthy using the color pink!

But really, I don’t need a special day or month just for that! I try to incorporate my favorite color into my recipes as much as I can!

If you hadn’t noticed from this blog, there is pink everywhere, and some of my favorite posts include Birthday Cake Bark, Pink Lemonade Sheet Cake, Honey Vanilla Cupcakes, and Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars.

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE Valentine’s Day – heart decorations, lots of chocolate and of course, pink, pink and more pink!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

As you move past the pink, there’s the chocolate. Ah, let me tell you all about the chocolate cake — it’s out of this world fabulous! It’s moist, dense, and rich all rolled into one incredible, lip smacking cake. And the frosting is the best super fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth buttercream that you will ever experience!

Put the cake and the frosting together, and well, let’s just say you and your sweetie will be on cloud nine!

I loved it (well, duh!).

My boys loved it (amazing!).

My co-workers loved it (spoiled!).

And you will love it too!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

You see, I made a cake similar to this one about a month ago. For that version I added peppermint extract and chopped peppermint bark to the frosting. It was A M A Z I N G!

Unfortunately, I got very sick right after it was made (ok, not from the cake — I got that terrible flu!) and did not have the energy or desire to take photos of the beautiful cake. And by the time I was up to possibly dragging myself out of bed, well, the cake had seen better days!

So I decided to recreate my scrumptious cake for Valentine’s Day. However, when I was making it, I asked my boys if they wanted peppermint frosting or vanilla. And of course they said vanilla — go figure! I sided with them (I would have made the frosting peppermint!), as I wanted them to enjoy this special treat.

But if you love the flavor combination of peppermint and chocolate (like I do!), then by all means substitute peppermint extract (about 1/2 teaspoon) for the vanilla extract as indicated for the frosting recipe.

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

PINK & CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • Servings: 15-18
  • Difficulty: easy
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By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream (or you can use milk)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk
3-4 drops red food coloring

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11×7-inch baking ban with non-stick spray and set aside. This makes for a thick cake, if you prefer you can use a 13×9-inch pan and adjust the baking time.

For the cake, in a large mixing bowl whisk flour, granulated sugar and salt, and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Add the boiling water and turn up the heat to medium and allow mixture to boil for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and pour the hot mixture over the flour mixture and lightly stir.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Then pour this mixture into chocolate flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into prepared sheet cake pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted to the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high-speed for about 5 minutes – until light and fluffy. Occasionally scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Then, with the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, milk and the red food coloring, adding a couple of drops until you get the color you prefer. Turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Frost the cake using an off set spatula, and smooth to create an even layer. Slice into squares and enjoy! Note, this is a rich cake, so a little piece goes a long way. Yield: 15-18 squares.

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Spread the love with your special someone by sharing a big slice of this incredible Pink & Chocolate Cake!

xxoo

Sheila

 

{Adapted from my Texas Sheet Cake and Coconut Buttercream Frosting}