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‘Joy’ almond citrus cupcakes

Another weekend, and another batch of cupcakes, dreamed up by Abby, based on some concoction that did well in Cupcake Wars.

So this week we made citrus almond cupcakes.  The cake recipe was based on my honey almond cake recipe (see here) that I’ve always had great success with.  We added in some orange zest, thanks to a suggestion from one of my friends who had some of the original cake (thanks Jess!).  For the frosting, we made a simple buttercream frosting, with some orange juice in it, then decorated with colored frosting, candy pearls and a sliced almond.  Abby called them her ‘pumpkin’ cupcakes.

Well, actually no, Abby wanted to relate these to one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), so because eating oranges gives people joy, these were the ‘Joy’ cupcakes.  See for yourself!

2015-10-24 'Joy' almond citrus cupcakes

I think they look pretty cool!  And they tasted awesome as well!

Every time Abby watches the Cupcake Wars, I get a little scared at what she would like to do next.  On her list, that I can remember, includes things like savory cupcakes with jalapeno cream cheese, green tea cupcakes …. eeek!  Wish me luck you all!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures in the kitchen with Abby.  Remember if you like this website to pass it onto your friends and family, and get them to sign up if they want the recipes as soon as I post new ones!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Let there be light’ cupcakes

It’s been a few weeks since my last ‘cooking with kids’ post, but rest assured we’ve been doing lots in the kitchen.  I just haven’t had the time to post either the blog, or the photos!

Abby is still really keen on making cupcakes.  Basically turning most of my cake recipes into cupcakes.  And obviously making them gluten and dairy-free for little old me …!  So this week, she wanted to do a pineapple mango cupcake that she had seen on … you guessed it … Cupcake Wars.  But since we didn’t have most of the ingredients to do it exactly like on the show, we adapted it.  And had lots of fun doing it.

We took the lemon polenta cake (recipe here) that we had recently adapted with orange instead of lemons and added buttercream frosting (see here) because we knew that worked well as cupcakes.  This time, instead of the lemon zest in the cakes, we chopped up some pineapple and added a bit more juice, and a little bit more cornmeal/polenta to make sure we had the right consistency.  

The frosting was meant to be a mango whipped cream with a decoration of a white chocolate fondant rocket.  I thought that was slightly out of our range of decorating skills and expensive to try to make gluten and dairy-free.  So we improvised with a white chocolate buttercream frosting (using some sugar-free white chocolate syrup that we’ve found here), and then cutting some dried mango pieces into suns.

'Let there be light' pineapple cupcakes

‘Let there be light’ pineapple cupcakes

So, you may ask, why are these called ‘let there be light’ cupcakes?  Well, Abby is really keen on our food truck dream and she wants to help make cupcakes for it.  And all of her cupcakes she wants to relate to a verse, or verses in the Bible.  Hence, the mango suns (instead of the white chocolate rocket) and this was tagged as when God created the sun and the moon (Genesis 1:14).  Hence – ‘let there be light’ cupcakes.

There is a postscript to this story.  These cupcakes we made for my ladies Bible Study group that meets at my house every week.  One of the ladies is also gluten and dairy intolerant, and so are some of her kids.  She took two of the leftover cupcakes (yes, we didn’t eat all of them in one night!) home for her kids and her son loved his so much that he wanted it for his birthday cake.  So Abby and I offered to make the cake and the frosting, and Jenn took on the task of decorating it.

Aaron's cake

Aaron’s cake

Awesome job isn’t it?  Haven’t yet heard how it tasted, or how it was received by the rest of the family, but I was impressed by how this kind of snowballed.

And … I just found out that another of my friends is using the lemon polenta cake recipe and making it to bring to dessert for a lunch.  Amazing … and I feel very humble that a small little website like mine, and a small little recipe, could gain so much enthusiasm and joy.  And that’s what I do this for – to make other people happy.

Thanks for reading.  Remember, if you like what you read, or see on this website, you can subscribe to get new recipes delivered to your inbox as soon as they are published.  I’ve got a number of them that I’m going to be posting in the next few weeks, so you have been warned.

And tell your friends and family … and be joyful in the Light!

Until next week, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


Chocolate cherry pistachio cupcakes

The end of September is always a busy one for our family.  Grant and Henry’s birthdays are 8 days apart.  This year, I asked each of them what sort of birthday cake they’d like … and this year they both came up with rather elaborate ideas (which will be the subject of a post next week after Henry’s birthday!).  Anyway, as I was making the first part of Henry’s cake, I had some batter left over from the chocolate base part of it, and suggested to Abby that she use it to make some cupcakes … her favorite.  

This was part of an awesome Mummy-Abby afternoon that included a Mexican lunch followed by frozen yogurt, then baking followed by chilling out watching a kids movie.  I had a really good time and hope this was one of those moments that stick with Abby when she starts going through her rebellious teenage years.

2015-09-27 Abby cooking cupcakes

So the base cupcake was adapted from the chocolate olive oil cake recipe (see here).  We didn’t have olive oil, so we used canola oil instead.  Then Abby wanted it to be a little ‘spicier’, as according to the Cupcake Wars show she’d seen, so we added a pile of cinnamon to it.  We tried to make mini cupcakes, but didn’t spray the pan too well and couldn’t get them out of the tin without breaking the tops off.  We used them as experiments, and then the ones we were able to extract without breaking the tops off, we gave to Grant to take for his men’s Bible Study session.

And, because Abby is into all things decorating (and following the ideas from Cupcake Wars), she hollowed out a small gap and put a cherry in each (from a tin of cherry pie filling), then we made some pistachio butter cream frosting, followed by some crushed pistachios and green candy pearls.  See for yourselves the result:

2015-09-27 Chocolate pistachio cupcakes

I think they look pretty impressive!  But since we used actual butter, I haven’t tried any with the frosting.  I HAVE tried the cake and will update you with how Henry’s birthday cake to end all cakes ends up next week.  It’s going to be epic!

But I am so proud of Abby and look forward to her next creation idea (which she has lots of!).

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


Chocolate chip cookie dough brownies

This is a recipe that Abby’s been wanting to do for ages.  And I’ve been wanting her to do it for ages to use up a tin of condensed milk I’ve had in the pantry for ages.  We had a great opportunity to make it this weekend – full of gluten, dairy and ‘normal’ sugar – and give most of it all away.  Our neighborhood had a block party this weekend, and I naturally volunteered us to bring dessert … and then I kind of went over the top with other things that I brought as well as this.  But this was definitely the highlight of the party – it was the first dessert to be totally consumed – so proud of Abby!

2015-09-12 Choc chip cookie dough browniesOk, so the recipe we used is here – but we topped it off with the cookie dough truffle recipe (here), just so I could use up the condensed milk.  I also actually prefer this choc-chip cookie dough recipe compared to the one with the brownies, but you can try both versions and let me know what you think.  When I was eating gluten and dairy, these didn’t last long in our house either … and not many got eaten by the family!

Abby did really well with the baking – I just basically stood and directed, rather than getting in and doing much more.  She’s getting to be really good at the baking side of things.  And the eating of the dough from the bowls, spoons, spatulas … I’ve taught her well!

We’re coming to the end of her list of what she wanted to make during Mummy-Abby time, but I’m sure this will continue for quite a while yet.  There are so many more of my recipes that she can try as cupcakes …!

Hope you enjoyed reading – let me know in the comments if you would like us to take on a particular challenge for our baking time together!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Strawberry cupcakes

Can I just start this post by saying how awesome Abby is?  She had a friend over for a sleepover last night and when I went down to see them this morning, I found that Abby had done all the ironing for the week WHILE her friend was here.  How cool is she?

Anyway, this is the next installment in the translation of cake recipes into cupcakes.  Abby has had this recipe in her sights for a long time now – it’s on the list she originally wrote out as to what she wanted to make with me during Mummy-Abby time way back in February.  I don’t have this recipe on my website because it’s a direct copy of one from Sally’s Baking Addiction (see here).  I have made it once before, as part of when I was doing the US National Food Day Challenge, last year.  It was great.  It was yummy.  I wanted to make it again.  And Abby wanted to make it into cupcakes.  So, win-win for us both.

This afternoon, after Abby and her friend FINALLY woke up, and did some stuff together, the 3 of us converged on the kitchen to make these cupcakes.  And the result:

2015-09-05 Strawberry cupcakesSo these were gluten-free (gluten-free flour blend) and dairy-free (almond milk), but the ganache was the same as Abby used on her marble cupcakes (see here).  OK, so I did the icing, and it’s not as pretty as Abby’s have been, but it was a little difficult just with ganache!  Now, since the marble cupcakes were NOT gluten OR dairy-free, I made sure to leave one of these strawberry cupcakes aside without the ganache so I could have one.

And the verdict?  Well, it was nice and moist and yummy.  Abby and her friend loved them.  Henry loved them.  Everybody loved them!  So, thank you to Sally’s Baking Addiction for the recipe and to Cupcake Wars for the inspiration of making these into cupcakes.  Yes I know that Abby just made cupcakes yesterday and we made some more today.  And in the next few days there may be another post where Henry and I spend some time together in the kitchen.  Keep you waiting with bated breath!

Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on anything you read on this website.  And please spread the word if you like what you read to your friends and family – the more the merrier!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Marble cupcakes

Yep, it’s cupcake time again.  Still.  Abby had a vision of what she wanted to make … and this is the result!

I had made a raspberry marble cake once, I think.  It was for my mother-in-law’s birthday many years ago (and I think I gave a slice to one of my friends who had their birthday on the same day – you know who you are!).  It was a chocolate-raspberry-vanilla cake, with raspberry puree through it and a chocolate buttercream frosting.  And it was yummy, but I remember it as being a little dry, so I haven’t really made it again since.  

The recipe is definitely not in the realm of my recent baking exploits.  It is NOT gluten-free, dairy-free OR refined sugar-free, but I’m sure it could become so if I tried hard enough.  But I don’t really want to – I’ve got so many other things I want to try!

But Abby had a dream, and I tried to help her accomplish it.  And her dream was to change it up a bit (I think she’s been spending too much time in the kitchen with me and my experimenting!).  So instead of a brown-red-white marble cake, she wanted a green-blue-yellow one.  Hmmm … And she had all the flavors worked out as well.  The blue would be blueberry flavored, the yellow would be lemon flavored and the green would just be a food coloring for the vanilla cake.  And it would be blueberry puree through it all.  And it would be in cupcakes, rather than a full cake.  And she wanted to have a white chocolate ganache topping, followed by a pink buttercream frosting.  Good to have a dream, I guess – it’s not unusual for me to come up with weird and wonderful combinations (cough!!).

So, here’s how they turned out:

2015-09-03 Marble cupcakesThey look pretty good, don’t they?  I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of the whole buttercream frosting on top of a ganache, I thought the frosting would slide off!  But Abby had seen it a number of times on Cupcake Wars and she was determined to try it.  And she did.

The verdict?  Grant said there was a lot of flavors going on in a little cupcake.  Abby said they were a little more dense than what she expected, but she still liked them, and so did all her friends that she gave one to.  I didn’t try it – it was a good practice for me to be in the kitchen and not be sampling everything all the time … this time it was because I didn’t want to get sick from the gluten and the dairy, but it was still fun hanging out with my awesome daughter.

Stay tuned for the next installment of changing my cake and bread recipes into cupcakes … I’m sure there will be more!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Polenta cupcakes

Apologies for those of you who have signed up to get updates and haven’t received anything from me for a while.  Be assured that I’ve been busy in the kitchen, there was just a glitch in the add-in that sent out the automatic e-mails.  As always, please feel free to comment whenever and wherever you would like – I’d love to hear from you.

So this weekend, we had another Mummy-Abby time where cupcakes were made (and eaten).  This time, it was based off my lemon polenta cake recipe (see here) but as I didn’t have any lemons on hand, and I did have 2 oranges that were on their last legs, I thought, why don’t we just substitute oranges for the lemons?  Well, here’s the result:

2015-08-29 Polenta cupcakesAbby had a great time measuring out all the ingredients and helping mix it all together.  Then she got to use my brand new cookie scoop to dollop the batter into the pan (just like on Cupcake Wars).  The cupcakes rose really nicely to form the dome on top.  And once cooled, we made some buttercream icing (with vegetable shortening instead of butter) and got it just about the right consistency so Abby could pipe them onto the cupcakes (just like on Cupcake Wars).  Do you see where this has been heading?

Every cake recipe I have made, Abby is thinking of turning into cupcakes … stand by for strawberry bread cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, etc.  She’s already made the banana bread recipe (see here) into cupcakes with a white chocolate frosting and they turned out well.  Amazing what a little determination can do!

We had some friends over for dinner where I made Aji de Gallina, with these polenta cupcakes for dessert, along with a banana custard pie, using the winner of the snickerdoodle challenge as the crust, and some dairy-free, gluten-free custard powder that my in-laws brought over with them from Australia on a recent visit.  Everything worked out really well, but I’d like to say the cupcakes were the highlight.  So proud of you Abby!

Thanks for reading about our adventures in the kitchen.  Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!




S’mores mini cheesecakes

Abby and I have been creating in the kitchen again.  Well, this time mainly Abby dreaming up the recipe and wanting to try it.  You may recall we tried to make a gluten-free dairy-free mini caramel cheesecake a while ago (see here) and while the cheesecake worked ok, the caramel topping was definitely not worth it.  Abby has been enthralled with Cupcake Wars, and when she remembered the mini cheesecakes, made in cupcake pans, she wanted to try it again, but with a twist.

Enter the s’mores cheesecake.  Same almond meal base as before.  The cheesecake part we made into chocolate by adding cocoa (Grant and Henry both said it wasn’t ‘chocolate-y’ enough) so either we need to add way more cocoa, or some dark chocolate to get the right taste.  And the topping, we made out of melting some mini-marshmallows with some corn syrup and dolloping it on top.  Very gooey.  Very yummy, but not the marshmallow frosting that everyone else seems to know how to make.

2015-08-23 S'mores mini cheesecakes #1


Ok, so Abby had another reason for the three layers, not just the s’mores lookalike.  She calls them her ‘Trinity S’mores’ – God is the base, the foundation of everything.  Jesus is the marshmallow frosting because it was poured into the cheesecake and Jesus poured his heart out for us.  And the chocolate cheesecake was the Holy Spirit because, well it was the third part of the trinity.  Three parts to one dessert – the trinity!

2015-08-23 S'mores mini cheesecakes #2


So the verdict was – yummy, but still needs some work before adding the recipe to this website.

Both Abby and I would love to read any comments you may have – any encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



The Brownie experiment

Last weekend it was all about zucchinis.  This weekend it’s all about brownies.  4 different recipes to be exact …

According to Wikipedia (the expert on all topics!), a brownie is ‘a flat, baked dessert square’ that is ‘a cross between a cake and a soft cookie in texture’.  I was given a few recipes that I’ve been wanting to try for a while and this weekend gave me the opportunity to do so.  All of these recipes were gluten-free (obviously), dairy-free and refined sugar-free.  Grant made a comment that I’m really pushing the refined sugar-free angle with a lot of the more recent recipes I’ve made, but I understand these are still treats and should only be irregular snacks, not every day!  They may be low in sugar, but the calorific value is still there and should be accounted for if you’re watching your weight.  Having said that, comparing treats with and without refined sugar, while they may be similar in calories, I know my stomach feels much better with the no-refined sugar option.

And here’s how it went:

Brownies - sweet potato Sweet potato brownies (from Deliciously Ella) – I was given this recipe from a lady at work, who was visiting from London.  She mentioned that every year she did a 2 month detox, where she ate gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and refined sugar-free.  She said she loved this recipe, and since it contained one of my favorite vegetables (sweet potato), I was hanging out to make this recipe.  So I did, and the end result?  Well, it was a lot more gooey than I really expected, and it wasn’t really my idea of a fantastic brownie, but still ok to use in a taste test with the rest of the brownies!
Zucchini brownies (adapted from a recipe from Henry’s teacher last year, thanks Janet) – When we visited Henry’s teacher last year to buy her second-hand couches for our new house in the US, she gave me a whole pile of zucchini and a recipe for zucchini brownies that she said was awesome.  So, I tried it, and substituted a whole pile of ingredients to make it gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.  And the result – well, this time around it was awesome.  Using ingredients like almond flour, applesauce, honey and flaxseed, I think I made it a little healthier than the original recipe.  And it was definitely yummy, which I guess is all that matters! Brownies - zucchini
Brownies - quinoa Quinoa brownies (from a cupcake recipe I’ve had for ages) – I went through a real quinoa phase just after I discovered I was gluten-intolerant and found a recipe book that was all about quinoa.  Unfortunately that book has long gone, but I still have my hand-written copy of the recipe.  This was originally for cupcakes, and contained normal granulated sugar and butter.  Actually, funny story, last time I made the cupcakes, I left the butter in the microwave and totally missed putting it into the batter …!  So I changed some ingredients to switch out the butter and sugar for more natural ingredients and put it in a brownie form, rather than cupcakes.  These actually took the cake (no pun intended!).  They were great … and very more-ish!
Almond butter brownies (from my healthy chocolate mint brownies) – A good ol’ favorite of mine.  Real simple ingredients, including almond butter, maple syrup, an egg, cocoa and vanilla … and that’s about it.  This can have the tendency of being a little dry and crumbly, but if you’re careful about the proportions, they’re quite nice and definitely worth the wait for cooling down after being baked! Brownies - almond butter

So, 4 different types of brownies.  I gave a few sampler plates away and the majority of people I gave these to liked the zucchini and the quinoa ones the best.  I may have confused the issue slightly with the frostings that I used, as many people said they liked the banana ones best (I used bananas in two of the frostings instead of powdered sugar!).  I will be posting the recipes for both these brownies on here shortly … sorry to Deliciously Ella as I don’t think the sweet potato brownies really got many votes!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my brownie adventures – let me know in the comments below what you thought!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home!



Flourless ‘molten’ cupcakes

It’s been a while since Abby and I have spent much time in the kitchen together.  Our Mummy-Abby time has been more about going for walks, watching movies etc, but she really wanted to make these cupcakes after she was inspired from watching a number of episodes of Cupcake Wars on Netflix.

Molten flourless chocolate cupcakes

The original recipe came from a friend of ours who put together a whole pile of gluten-free recipes for me, just after I found out that I was gluten-intolerant.  I looked at the recipe in preparation for spending time with Abby in the kitchen and realized it used milk chocolate AND white chocolate.  As most of you may know, it’s pretty difficult and expensive to get dairy-free milk chocolate and almost impossible to get dairy-free and gluten-free white chocolate.  I tried to think of a way I could make these dairy-free without it costing an arm and a leg, including trying to use peanut butter chips instead of the milk chocolate for the cupcake, and then dairy-free chocolate chunks for the inside.  But then Grant just convinced me to take a Lactaid and make it with ‘normal chocolate’ considering I probably would only eat one and leave the rest for other people.  So that’s what we did.  

We followed the recipe to the letter – including the ‘real’ cream instead of coconut cream, and butter instead of margarine or coconut oil.  Abby was very helpful in making the batter, and pouring into the prepared pans (and licking the bowl – I didn’t think it was worth taking another Lactaid just to lick out the bowl!).

2015-08-08 Abby pouring lava cupcakes


Fortunately we had Grant’s parents to help us finish the cupcakes – we made about 20 of them and they were very yummy.  I took some to work as well … and they went like hotcakes.  I wonder, can cupcakes go as quickly as hotcakes?  Sorry, digressing there for a moment!

2015-08-08 Lava cupcakesSo, everyone was happy.  Abby was happy because she got to make these awesome cupcakes.  I was happy because I got to spend time with my amazing daughter.  The family was happy because they got to eat something yummy.  The guys at work were happy because … well, they love everything I bring in for them – it’s free food for them, after all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures in the kitchen with Abby.  I’d love to hear any comments – feel free to add comments below or e-mail me.  Or send me any suggestions for something you’d like to see me try.  Or just give me some encouragement!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



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