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Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Candy corn upside-down cakeHow to get your food blog noticed. (Foodcandy)

Homemade Velveeta. Not kidding. (Foodista)

Here's what you do with your homemade Velveeta: make fudge. Really. (CakeSpy archives)

DIY Cashew-coconut creamer (Have Cake, Will Travel)

Help my friend Gluten-Free Girl bring her all-purpose gluten-free flour to market! (Kickstarter)

Frankenstein Monkey Bread. It makes me happy. (Pillsbury)

Learn how to illustrate like a pro (ME!) with this free e-guide! (Craftsy)

Seriously. Homemade Snowballs. (WannaBGourmet)

Cute: "Wicked dessert puffs" with store-bought puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms)

Cake, and loss of a loved one. A beautiful essay and recipe. (Shauna Sever)

New favorite website! (Bite Me More)

Stuffed pumpkin cupcakes. I'm so into this. (Epicuricloud)

Candy corn rice krispie treats. These just make me happy. (Baking Bites)

Dessert wines for an all-dessert dinner. (!!!!) (Jameson Fink)

Pumpkin wheat dinner rolls (I know they're not sweet per se, but imagine using 'em for French Toast?). (Heather's French Press)

Chocolate cake with instant fudge frosting. Instant! (Crumbs & Cookies)

Book of the week: McCall's Cooking School: Step-by-Step Directions for Mistake-Proof Recipes. If you love retro cookbooks like I do, this one is worth your investment.


Illustrated Guide With Unicorns: How to Make a Rainbow Cake


Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Lemon-Poppy Seed Pull-Apart Bread

CakeSpy Note: The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far.

I'm sorry, but there's a town called Mound, Minnesota? If I ever went there I'd only eat Mounds candy bars, I can promise you that.

Luckily, Cathy Wiechert of Mound, Minnesota has moved beyond the candy bar to this tasty lemon-poppyseed pull-apart bread, which is her entry in this year's Bake-Off. Good luck, Cathy!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Pull-Apart Bread

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 25 Min
  • Makes: 8 servings


  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 1 large lemon (1 tablespoon grated peel and 1 to 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to hang 2 inches over long sides of pan.
  2. In small bowl, mix granulated sugar, poppy seed and lemon peel. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 3 tablespoons butter uncovered on High 20 to 25 seconds or until melted. Separate dough into 8 biscuits.
  3. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Brush both sides of each biscuit layer with melted butter, then dip into poppy seed mixture. Starting at one short end of pan, place biscuit layers on their edges, just touching each other, until pan is loosely filled. Sprinkle any remaining poppy seed mixture between biscuits.
  4. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. To prevent excess browning, loosely cover with foil, if necessary. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack, using parchment paper as handles. Cool 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and drizzling consistency. Drizzle glaze over pull-apart bread. Serve warm.

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Cinnamon Crunch Cookies

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below. Hooray! A Bake-Off entry from my home state of New Jersey! Donna Scarano of East Hanover, New Jersey, has come up with a recipe which amazes me with its inclusion of a clever ingredient: crushed cheerios!

Click to read more ...


Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Chocolate Chip Cookie Snack Mix

CakeSpy Note: The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Chex mix was a big deal during my childhood, and my memories have remained fond through the years. While I don't regularly snack on it anymore, I think it's about time for it to make a comeback in my life, thanks to this chocolate chip cookie-enriched version by Sonya Goergen of Moorhead, Minnesota. It's a tasty update on a classic and a finalist in this year's Bake-Off!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Snack Mix

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Min
  • Makes: 24 servings


  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 4 cups Chocolate Chex™ cereal
  • 4 cups Vanilla Chex™ cereal
  • 1 bag (5.5 oz) gluten-free yogurt-covered pretzels (2 cups)
  • 2 cups salted mixed nuts


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Shape dough by 1/4 teaspoonfuls into balls. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and set. Cool 2 minutes; carefully slide parchment onto cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add cooled cookies; stir gently to mix. Store in airtight container.

How to Draw Clothes on Illustrated Characters

Want your illustrated characters to look just as fashionable as you? Master the art of adding texture and flow to clothing with the helpful article I wrote on the subject. Complete article here.


"Paleo" Banana Avocado Chocolate "Ice Cream" Recipe

Banana Avocado Chocolate Ice Cream. It might sound crazy, or at the very least like some crazy health food, but I promise all the yoga has not gotten to my head. I still enjoy goodness above wholesomeness. 

But let me tell you: this stuff is good. Combining banana with avocado really brings out the green fruit's (yes, fruit) sweetness, and, well, chocolate works well with both. Three simple ingredients come together to make this surprisingly satisfying and refreshing "ice cream". In my opinion it's more like pudding, but I guess if you're on the Paleo diet you need to take comfort where you can? 

This recipe is an excerpt from Paleo Ice Cream: 75 Recipes for Rich and Creamy Homemade Scoops and Treats.

Banana avocado chocolate "ice cream"

Avocado is perhaps the only food that is considered healthy by all nutrition experts. For this reason, many people are always looking for new ways to get avocados into their diet. My favorite way to eat more avocados is by eating. . . ice cream. If you like your ice cream pretty sweet, you can add a tablespoon or 3 of honey in the food processor as well.

YIELD: About 1 pint

  • 4 very ripe medium bananas, sliced and frozen 1 ripe medium avocado, scooped and frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy and enjoy! You might have to push banana pieces down into the mixture if they stick to the sides of your food processor. If you would like a harder consistency, freeze ice cream in your ice cream maker until your desired texture is achieved. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also enjoy this banana chocolate pudding recipe.


30 Non-Pumpkin Fall Treats

I'll just go ahead and say it. What's the big deal with pumpkin?

Don't get me wrong. I like pumpkin. When done right, I can even love pumpkin. But when fall rolls around, you'd think there's no other flavor, such is the proliferation of the gourd-geous stuff.

To inspire fall baking that accommodates the other seasonal produce and flavors, from apples and beyond, I've come up with this list of 30 awesome non-pumpkin fall treats for you to bake and enjoy. No particular order to these; just thirty I think are fab. 

1. Apple pie bars.

Including oats and apples, they might seem somewhat healthy, but trust you me, it's an illusion. These bars are all about the tasty brown sugary topping and caramelly innards, and cakey but firm base. (CakeSpy)

2. Applescotch cookies.

 Made using a cake mix, these apple cookies taste toasty in the fall, and come together in minutes. (CakeSpy)

3. Quince custard cake.

I'm intrigued by this mix of a lesser-known fruit and creamy custard. (Apt. 2B Baking)

4. Fig "Brownies.

Actual health food! But still tasty. These brownies employ figs for their tasty moisture. (Sarah Jio)

5. Honeycrisp apple bread.

 More seasonal than banana bread, more delicious than sandwich bread. A perfect way to secretly eat cake and call it breakfast. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

6. Caramel Apple Magic Bars.

Look at that oozy caramelly top. Don't you want to swim in it? Or at the very least eat a stack of these? (The Domestic Rebel)

7. Homemade Mellowcreme pumpkins.

Why buy when you can make your own, which taste even better, and come together pretty quickly? (CakeSpy for Craftsy

8. Sweet potato biscuits.

Sweet. Moist. Carbohydratey. Need I say more? (Taste of Southern)

9. Apple pie bread pudding.

This bread pudding has all of the flavors of your favorite (non-pumpkin) fall pie. (Flavor Mosaic)

10. S'mores martinis.

Make s'mores and drink them too with these adult-friendly sweet martinis. (Excerpted on CakeSpy

11. Maple apple pie with walnut topping.

Maple isn't necessary a fall flavor, since it's harvested in the spring, but it works so well with apple and nut that it's joyfully allowed on this roundup. (The Spiffy Cookie)

12. Apple Cider Doughnuts.

Growing up, these were one of our quintessential fall treats on the Jersey Shore. I think you'll love them, too. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

13. Apple cinnamon chip blondies.

It's pretty well publicized that I prefer blondies to brownies. These ones look autumn-fantastic. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

14. Sage Shortbread cookies.

These shortbread cookies are SAVORY! I know that sounds nutty, but try them with soup. (The Green Chalkboard)

15. Figgy pudding

Bring us some, right now! Figs are in season, so stock up and make this dessert from now til the official eve of figgy pudding-dom (you know, Christmas). (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

16. Butternut squash cake.

It's not pumpkin, but it still has that lovely, earthy aroma and flavor. (Betty Crocker)

17.Quince jam thumbprint cookies.

Quince, once again! This time, in jam form, in tasty little thumbrpint cookies. (In Erika's Kitchen)

18. Apple pie breakfast bake.

A Bake-Off finalist from the past, this recipe is a winner on every morning it graces your table! (As seen on CakeSpy)

19. Brown sugar buttercream.

It may or may not contain crack. Not technically fall-flavored, but it goes with everything toasty and comforting, so it's on the list. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

20. "Carnival" caramel apples.

Can't you just taste the outdoor fun? Extra points if you make them with apples you picked. ( Taste of Home)

21. Caramel Apple Nachos.

These are pretty cute, and they even look healthy, even though that is not my primary concern.(Consumer Queen)

22. Brussels Sprouts Cupcakes.

Believe it, my friends. Whether you want to or not. (CakeSpy)

23. Pear and custard tart.

Pears are in season. Custard is always a welcome accompaniment! (As seen on CakeSpy)

24. Chocolate Cauliflower cake.

Seriously. It exists and is apparently very good. (Chocolate Covered Katie)

25. Brown sugar ginger cream cake.

Pears! Cake! And plenty of rich brown sugar pecan butter topping. YUM! (CakeSpy for Garlic My Soul)

26. Triple-dipped apple s'mores.

Take your favorite outdoor treat and add apples that you just picked, because of course you're all fall-like and outside picking apples. Right? (Country Living)

27. Cinnamon roll pear bread pudding.

This Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist recipe is perfect for cool fall mornings: indulgent with a touch of health. It will keep you going! (As seen on CakeSpy)

28. Macaron mushrooms.

Well, OK, they're actually sweet. But mushrooms are in season, so consider them an homage! Via Bubble and Sweet.

29. Apple pie.

Plain and simple is best sometimes. (Craftsy)

Note: also check out the history of apple pie, here!

30. Cheesy sausage bread.

I know it's not sweet but wow, totally sweet! Have it for "dessert" after all these treats. (BHG)

What's your favorite (non-pumpkin!) fall treat?


Union Pie: The State of the Union is Delicious

Image: Me, Myself and Pie by Sherry GoreIf there's one thing that I gained during my year living in Philadelphia, it was a deep love of Amish cuisine. Living next to the Reading Terminal Market, it was all at my fingertips--well, from Wednesday through Saturday, that is. 

This is all to say that I am immediately intrigued when I see a new book featuring Amish recipes. So suffice it to say that I was super excited to receive the new, pie-centric Me, Myself, and Pie by Sherry Gore. And guess what? It's as awesome as you might think an Amish pie recipe book would be. Full of recipes from the expected (Shoofly Pie) to the downright unusual (Union Pie, which is featured here) and with many lovely sweet and savory recipes in-between, I think that this book is a fine addition to any baker's repertoire, especially if you liked my second book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts, and have an interest in the stories behind sweets. (Like how I just plugged my book there? Yup, just did it. BUY IT.)

I am excerpting the recipe for "Union Pie" from the book. This recipe immediately intrigued me because A) I'd not seen it before, and B) in the picture, it looked almost like a pie filled with tar, so dark was the filling. Turns out it's a slurry made primarily of molasses, buttermilk, sour cream, and spices. Well. I'll let Sherry Gore take it from here with the headnote and recipe--enjoy!

Thanks to Harper Collins for letting me reprint the recipe, which is from Me, Myself, and Pie by Sherry Gore.

Union Pie

I love this pie! Made with sour cream, buttermilk, and dark molasses, this custard confidently charges in like a brisk cup of licorice coffee to preserve the harmony between your fork and your sweet tooth. United we stand, indeed.


  • One 9-inch unbaked pastry pie crust


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine sour cream, buttermilk, molasses, and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the flour mixture into the sour cream mixture and combine thoroughly.
  4. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking for 20–25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Have you ever heard of Union Pie?


Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Creamy Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

 What is better than peanut butter and chocolate? Cupcakes jammed with the killer combo, of course! This recipe takes a good thing and makes it even better with the addition of cake (which is cleverly made with gluten-free cookie dough!). Thanks to Klaren Gerhart of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for coming up with this clever and tasty recipe.

Creamy Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 45 Min
  • Makes: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated or powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with baking cups.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add cocoa, vinegar, vanilla and 1/2 cup water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling about 2/3 full.
  3. In a small bowl, beat peanut butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 2 minutes or until well blended; stir in chocolate chips. Spoon or pipe 1 rounded tablespoonful peanut butter mixture in center of each muffin cup.
  4. Bake 23 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake around edges comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Store in covered container.


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