Thanks A Latte: Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Thanks a latte! That’s the response you’ll get when you unveil these pretty-as-a-picture cupcakes to your family and friends. But they’re not just good looking: I made them with Peanut Butter and Co.’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice peanut butter, so they have a truly unique flavor. I then topped the spicy-sweet cupcakes with a decadent cream cheese frosting which adds a pleasing tang to the earthy cake flavor.

Topped with an optional drizzle of caramel and outfitted with mini straws so that they look like a coffee shop beverage, these cupcakes reach stratospheric levels of both adorableness and deliciousness.


Chocolate Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

I have so many things to tell you. Maybe you're too cool for school and you won't be excited about them, but I am more than excited enough to be sharing.

First: I figured out a new way to turbo-ripen bananas for baking. It goes like this: preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Put the bananas (in the peels) right on the oven rack. Heat until they turn really brown. Remove, unpeel (careful, they are hot!) and mash 'em up. They work great for baking. 

Second: chocolate greek yogurt is a thing, and it's actually good.

I'm typically wary of yogurt (it's not ice cream!), especially when it has flavorings added. But Greek Gods sent me some chocolate greek yogurt for baking purposes, and I have to tell you, it's actually really tasty.

So that is a victory. A chocolate yogurt that actually tastes good! It's still not ice cream, of course, but it is very good.

Now, let's bring together these things in one delicious form while I share with you my latest oeuvre: Chocolate Greek Yogurt Banana Bread.

In spite of coming off as vaguely healthy, that is not my intent. My intent was to make something tasty, and I believe I have met my goal here.

Not too sweet, this is an ideal breakfast bread. It feels enough like a treat that you feel rewarded for waking up, but not so sweet that it gives you a sugar crash. I think it tastes great with butter and toasted nuts on top, but I urge you to choose your own adventure when it comes to how to eat it.

It's a nice, moist bread, so it's not too dry, owing to the yogurt and banana.

Overall, I am going to call this one a victory, as a recipe, and as an experience wherein I discovered things about myself (I can eat some flavored yogurt without wanting to die) and about bananas. 

If you'd like to join my life experience, here's the recipe.

Chocolate Greek Yogurt Banana Bread 

Recipe developed for Greek Gods - printable version here

  • 2 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek Gods Chocolate Mocha Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, or chocolate chips, or whatever add-ins you want 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (unless you're turbo-ripening the bananas, in which case set it a little lower, like 250 to 300, then set to 350 once they're done). Generously grease a loaf pan (9x5 inches or so). 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Give it a stir to combine, then set to the side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another big bowl if you feel like doing it by hand) really mash the bananas. I beat them with the paddle attachment until they were like a puree. 

Add the Greek yogurt, maple syrup and eggs. Mix until everything is creamy and smooth. 

Add the flour mixture, and mix ONLY until moistened (a few little lumps and bumps are OK). Fold in the nuts, if using. Pour/spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan. It won't come all the way up, but that is a good thing. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating at the 20 minute mark or so. The loaf should look set, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean. 

Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf pan to a cooling rack. Let cool completely. I serve this loaf right from the pan. 

What's your favorite type of breakfast bread?

September 27: National Drink Beer Day

Finally, it's National Drink Beer Day. So drink some beer, but put it in your cake (or cookies or bread), too, because baking with beer can yield delicious results.

I wrote what I think is a tremendous post on the basics of baking with beer: what types of recipes you can use, some different methods, and general tips. Hopefully it will inspire you to try your hand at baking with beer!

Full post here.

Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Admit it: you like big bundts.

I cannot lie: I do. And I'll bet that if you're human, you too have trouble resisting the sweet siren call of a big, beautiful bundt cake.

And who would want to resist a cake like this? The chocolate cake that acts as the base is made with olive oil, which gives it a rich flavor yet light texture. A layer of luxuriant chocolate buttercream comes next, made with bittersweet chocolate for a full, not too-sweet flavor. It’s finished off with a unique olive oil-chocolate ganache; the nutty-sweet-rich combination of flavors in this icing contribute to the robust chocolate flavor, yet also adds a level of sophistication and complexity to the dessert.  

Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake


Chocolate filled chocolate bundt cake assembly 

Prep time: 1 hour  

Total time: 3 hours, 50 minutes 

  • 1 chocolate olive oil bundt cake (recipe follows) 
  • 1 batch chocolate buttercream filling (recipe follows) 
  • 1 batch chocolate olive oil ganache topping (recipe follows) 
  • Optional garnish: sprinkles or candy-coated chocolates 
  1. Line the inside of the same bundt pan you used to bake the cake with plastic wrap, taking care to cover every portion of the inside of the pan with a slight bit of overhang. 
  2. Spoon the buttercream into the lined bundt pan, taking care not to upset the plastic wrap. Spread the buttercream so that it is as smooth and even as possible. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the buttercream is very firm.  
  3. Meanwhile, using a serrated knife, gently slice off the top third of the bundt cake. You will not need this portion of the cake, so you can put to the side (see ideas for using this cake in the recipe notes).  
  4. Once the buttercream has become quite firm, gently invert the buttercream on top of the cake (let the plastic stay on top for the moment). Gently press the buttercream into the cake to seal them together. Gently Peel off the plastic. The buttercream should rest fairly flush on top of the cake. Place the entire cake back in the freezer for about 20 minutes, so that it will be completely firm when you ice it.  
  5. Ice the cake with your prepared ganache topping, spreading smoothly and confidently as the ganache will begin to firm quickly as it makes contact with the cold buttercream. Place special emphasis on covering up the “seam” between the buttercream and cake on the sides, so that the cake.  
  6. Garnish as desired. Keep this cake chilled, but serve at cool room temperature.  

Chocolate olive oil bundt cake  

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time  

  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the cake pan 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt (or sour cream) 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and dust with cocoa powder a 10-inch bundt pan, and place it on top of a baking sheet.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Add the eggs, yogurt, milk, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on low for a few moments to moisten the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for 2 minutes, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. It will be a fairly liquid batter.  
  4. Pour the batter in your prepared cake pan, and place the bundt pan (still on the baking sheet) in the oven.  
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Chocolate buttercream filling 

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 10 minutes 

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened  
  • 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled  
  • pinch salt 
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and chocolate until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes on medium speed.  
  2. Stir in the salt, and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing each addition on low so as to avoid a sugar snowstorm in your kitchen, then increasing the speed to high as the sugar is moistened. This will be a rather stiff buttercream.  

Chocolate olive oil ganache topping  

Prep time: 10 minutes  

Total time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time  

  • 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  1. In the top of a double boiler set atop simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and cohesive.  
  2. Let the mixture sit at room temperature, whisking or stirring every 20 minutes or so, until it has set enough to ice your cake. This can take between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. If the mixture becomes too firm, beat it with a hand or stand mixer to smooth it out again.  

Recipe notes: 

  • Both the cake and the buttercream filling can be made ahead. The cake can be baked the day before, or it can be made up to two weeks in advance and frozen; if freezing, let the cake come to room temperature before assembling the cake. The buttercream can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let come to cool room temperature, and vigorously mix, before preparing the recipe.  
  • In Step 3 of the cake assembly, you’ll notice that a portion of the cake is cut off. This portion of the cake is not used in the recipe, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw it out. This cake can be cut into small pieces and used as an ice cream topping, transformed into cake pops, or cut into slivers and dipped in chocolate olive oil for a sophisticated snack. 

This is Happening: Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie

Well, hello. 

Dark chocolate and olive oil come together to form one of the most memorable and crave-worthy pies you’ve ever tried! 

It is a fact: the world is currently experiencing a salted caramel boom, and it’s unlikely it will ever end. Why would you ever want it to, though? I mean, salted caramel is an inherently perfect food, combining equal parts sweet and salty for a completely crave-worthy flavor experience. But it really, really, really shines in this pie, which is made with a unique olive oil-salted caramel filling which is nutty, rich, and totally delicious. The texture is simply perfect:  firm enough to hold its form for clean slices, but gooey enough to give a pleasant little caramelly ooze once served on a plate.  

But wait, there's more! That luscious caramel filling is then topped with a rich, flavorful olive oil ganache made with chopped and melted dark chocolate, and then topped with coarse sea salt. All served atop a crunchy cookie crust, this pie is a study in delicious contrast, and perfect for chocolate and caramel lovers.  

It's bound to become part of your frequent baking rotation!

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie - printable version here

  • Active time: 45 minutes  
  • Total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes, plus chilling  
  • Makes one 9-inch pie 

For the crust

  • 1 ½ cups finely crumbled cookies (graham crackers or shortbread cookies work well) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  

For the filling  

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt 
  • ¼ cup brown sugar 

For the topping

  • 5 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate (51% cacao was used in this recipe) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on top 

Necessary supplies

  • A 9-inch pie plate 
  • A 9-inch square or 9×13-inch rectangle baking pan 
  • A roasting pan, or a vessel large enough to hold the above baking pan with clearance on all sides 

How to do it: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the pie plate on the bottom and sides with olive oil. 

In a large bowl, mix the cookie crumbs, olive oil, and salt until it is a cohesive, evenly moistened mixture. Gently press the mixture into the greased pie plate, making sure to press the mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  

Place the pie plate in the preheated oven, and bake for 10 minutes, or until there is a slight matte look to the crust and it is fragrant and toasty-smelling. Remove from the oven and set to the side to cool completely. 

Increase the oven heat to 425°F. Now, grab either a 9×9 or 9×13-inch baking plate. Have nearby your roasting pan or slightly larger pan, in which the smaller pan can comfortably fit with clearance on all sides. 

Pour the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt into the baking pan. Give it a light mix to combine everything–it won’t come together in a smooth, creamy and cohesive mixture, but that is OK for now. Just give it a few stirs for even distribution, then add the brown sugar and give it another stir. Once again, combining everything into a smooth mixture isn’t hugely important right now. 

Place the pan with the sweetened condensed milk inside of the larger vessel, and slowly pour water in the larger vessel until it reaches about halfway up the smaller baking pan. Pour along the side so that none of the water gets into the sweetened condensed milk mixture (although it is not going to ruin the recipe if a little splash of water gets into the mixture). It’s better to do this with the smaller pan already in the larger pan, because you don’t have to worry about sloshing due to water displacement. 

Place a sheet of foil on the top of the baking pan with the condensed milk mixture. Leave it loosely wrapped as you will need to access the mixture throughout the baking process. 

Very gently place the entire bulking mass into your preheated oven, taking care not to let the water spill. 

The mixture will bake for two hours total, but you will require some mixing during the process. At 40 minutes, remove the mixture from the oven, lift the foil, and give the mixture a stir (you’ll see it starts to look more “mixed” at this point, although it may be somewhat bumpy or separated). Check the water level and replenish if needed. Place the pans back in the oven. 

40 minutes later (this is 80 minutes into the baking process now), repeat the previous step. Place the pans back in the oven. 

Once your 120 minutes have passed, turn the oven heat off, but leave the mixture in the oven for about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently remove the pan of condensed milk. Place it on a heatproof surface, and gently stir the mixture. It may still have some bumps and lumps but it will mostly dissipate as you mix. Once mostly smooth (a little bit of texture is fine), pour into the prepared pie shell. Let the mixture set completely at room temperature (this can take up to 2 hours) before completing the next step. 

Once the caramel has set (you can test it by tilting the pan; the mixture should stay put), make your olive oil ganache topping. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the olive oil until the mixture is silky and smooth. 

Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired. 

Refrigerate the pie for several hours, or until ready to serve. While the pie is eatable right away, it will be sticky and a little messy when cut. Refrigerating will ensure that everything “sets”, giving the pie an easier texture for cutting and serving. 

What's your favorite way to enjoy salted caramel?