Blackberry Birthday Cupcakes

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! This weekend was my birthday, the big quarter of a century, now I feel old birthday. So I made cupcakes. (And yes I also went to The Sweet Tooth Fairy and got my free Birthday cupcake!)


The Best thing about making your own Birthday cake/cupcakes, is you make sure you get EXACTLY what you want. And this year I decided I wanted Blackberry Cupcakes baked in cute pink liners with blackberry frosting, blackberries, and pink sprinkles on top. So that is exactly what we had. And they were delicious.




I found this recipe in the recipe book “One Sweet Cupcake by Janell Brown”. This book has so many delicious recipes! Its almost as great as pinterest! 😉

Although these cupcakes were near perfection I have decided that I like cupcakes with fillings best. Next time I think I will add a blackberry custard or something to the middle of these.


Halloween 2014

There are a lot of things about Halloween that many people have come to dislike. Those are the parts I have always chosen to ignore. For me Halloween is about carving pumpkins, dressing up, party’s, and candy. I think that is all anyone should really focus on. So that is exactly what I lovingly made my family do this year. And it was awesome.

We picked our pumpkins fresh from Papa Macdonald’s garden and carved them with the Pray’s. Nick was extremely ambitious as he began his pumpkin carving…. I went a little more simple while still avoiding the standard Jack-O-Lantern. Even Decker got to have a cute pumpkin 🙂

My Maleficent Carving

My Maleficent Carving

Nick's Spider Man

Nick’s Spider Man


Decker’s Mummy

Dressing up is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it is for going on a date, to the ballet, a party, or Halloween, you can bet I am going to take the time to get all dolled up. So this year, while my opinion can still count more than Nick and Deckers…..I decided that we would all dress up together. I had Decker’s outfit planned out for months, but I just wanted something quick and easy for Nick and I. So I got creative and came up with this…

The Pray Family Zoo:



Nick got to be our Zookeeper. His costume was so easy to put together! I grabbed a few things from his closet, made a few patches and I was done.



Mine was also very easy, but slightly more time consuming. I made a tulle tutu, added some peacock feathers, glued feathers into a fancy hair piece, spent much longer on my hair and makeup than planned… and boom an easy peacock costume.



Decker’s of course took much longer. I made his lion costume from the McCalls 6105 pattern, but changed the ribbon for the mane into faux fur fabric for a much cuter more convincing lion. I even went above and beyond making little mittens for his hands and a bag to collect candy in. 🙂


Overall I think the costumes were a huge success.

And what would Halloween be without cupcakes!?


I had made these Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes for a Ward Party the week before, but thought they needed some tweaking. So I adjusted the recipe and came up with this for Halloween.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes (makes about 15)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs


  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  • 3/4 cup (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
  • In bowl of an electric mixer, beat filling ingredients together on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil and eggs.
  • Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  • Scoop a spoonful of batter evenly into the muffin tin, about half-full. Drop about a tablespoon cream cheese filling into the center of each cup.  Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  • In bowl of an electric mixer beat butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, beating just until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Frost the cupcakes and top with crushed graham cracker crumbs.

Adapted from recipes from Damn Delicious and The Capitol Baker

A perfect end to an awesome Halloween 🙂

Raspberry Filled Lemon Cupcakes

We fed the LDS missionaries last night, so of course I had to make cupcakes. But when I when to take pictures of them this morning there was only one left. So I quickly took a picture of that lone cupcake and then gobbled it up before anyone else could 🙂


My Dad recently brought me a whole bunch of fresh raspberries from his garden. I have been happily enjoying them everyday for about a week before I remembered that I had about a thousand cupcakes recipes I wanted to try once I got fresh raspberries. So I went through all my recipes and came up with these by using different parts of different recipes.

Raspberry Filled Lemon Cupcakes

Yield: about 1 dozen cupcakes


For the raspberry filling:

  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 cup water

For the lemon cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 ¼ and 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

For the lemon buttercream frosting:

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For garnish:

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

For the Filling:


  1. Place 5 ounces of the raspberries, 1/2 tablespoon of water, and the white sugar in a food processor. Pulse several times to chop raspberries; blend until pureed, about 30 seconds.
  2. Place cornstarch in a small bowl. Using a spoon, mix in a small amount of the water (5-6 drops), mixing to form a paste. Slowly drizzle in more water, mixing, adding water, mixing, etc, until all water has been added. Pour mixture into the raspberry mixture in the food processor and blend again until smooth.
  3. Push the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds, pressing against the mixture to be sure you get all the berry goodness.
  4. Pour raspberry mixture into a saucepan and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Let the raspberry filling cool.

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl (not plastic), clean and dry the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/8 cup of the milk until just blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until just blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture. Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites (including any liquid that may have accumulated on the bottom of the bowl) and gently fold in until well combined; no white should remain.
  4. Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop, divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling each liner about 2/3 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes, turning the pans around halfway through the baking time. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove them from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

To make the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the heavy cream and lemon juice and beat for one minute longer; the frosting should be light and fluffy.

To Assemble:

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled, hollow out the center of each cupcake using the cone method, a cupcake corer, or a knife, and spoon about 1 tsp of raspberry filling in to each hollowed-out cupcake. Replace the top of the cupcake. Frost as desired, taking care not to push the curd out of the cupcake with the weight of the frosting. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
  2. Serve and store at room temperature, though the frosting will soften significantly at temperatures above 75° F.

Recipes adapted from Amanda’s Cookin’ and Smells Like Home




Samoa Cupcakes

Sometimes when I make cupcakes I let myself get rushed. By the time the cupcakes have cooled I don’t always want to take the time to frost them super cute, so I just pipe on a big blob of frosting and call it good enough. But this time I decided to take the time to make them look perfect….it was an ALL day affair. But by the time it was done, it was totally worth it!


To be honest I don’t think I had a Samoa Girl Scout Cookie until I was practically and adult. We didn’t have Girl Scouts in Beaver and for a while I just thought Girl Scouts were some made-up thing in the movies….. But when I finally realized that little girls really do run around selling cookies, I knew I had to taste these magical cookies called “Samoas”. And of course they were as good as they looked in the movies. So when I saw a Samoa Cupcake recipe I knew I had to make them.

These cupcakes might be my favorite yet! With gooey caramel, rich chocolate, and toasted coconut its hard to resist eating the whole batch… just like its hard to resist a whole box of cookies….

This recipe is from Cooking Classy

Yield: 12 cupcakes


    • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
    • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
Caramel Sauce
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 Tbsp water
    • 3 Tbsp salted butter
    • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream (poured into the same cup so it can be added all at once)
Caramel Buttercream Frosting
    • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (I used 1/4 cup unsalted 1/4 cup salted)
    • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp caramel sauce
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup toasted coconut, cooled and slightly crushed into smaller pieces


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together 1/3 cup butter and 3/4 granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, occasionally scrapping down the sides and bottom of bowl. Blend in vegetable oil. Add in eggs one at a time mixing just until blended after each addition and adding in vanilla with second egg. Whisk together milk and buttermilk in liquid measuring cup. Working in three separate batches and beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the milk mixture and mix just until combined after each addition. Spoon batter into paper lined muffin cups filling each cup nearly 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup batter in each). Bake in preheated oven 16 – 19 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the Caramel Sauce:Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat sugar and water over moderately high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally. Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. Wait 3 seconds then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow caramel to cool several minutes then pour into a glass jar to cool completely.
  • For the Caramel Buttercream Frosting:In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and blend on low speed until mixture comes together. Add 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp completely cooled caramel sauce and vanilla and whip on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (you can add another 1 Tbsp caramel sauce as needed to thin if desired).
  • To assemble the cupcakes:
  • Add chocolate chips and heavy cream to a small microwave safe bowl and heat mixture on 50% power in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth and stirring well once it’s fully melted (about 30 seconds) to cool slightly. Dip tops of cupcakes in melted chocolate mixture and allow excess to run off, the return upright to wire rack and allow chocolate to cool, about 10 – 20 minutes. Pipe caramel frosting over tops then sprinkle with a spoonful of toasted coconut. Drizzle tops with remaining chocolate and caramel sauce. Serve while chocolate is melty or allow to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

I haven’t made cupcakes in a while. For a few days I even thought this craze might be calming down. But then The Sweet Tooth Fairy posted a picture on Facebook of their July flavors and that cupcake craze came right back punching my sweet tooth in the gut. I was tempted to grab the baby, jump into the car, and go get a cupcake right then and there.

But the baby was asleep…So I flipped through my thousands of Pinterest recipes, zested a lemon, tossed some blueberries, and made these delicious cupcakes. They hit the spot and my cupcake cravings calmed down.


There is something about lemon and blueberry that goes so well together. It is probably one of my favorite combinations, right up there with peanut butter and chocolate. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and tastes even better in the summer when you just need something sweet and refreshing. Even the colors compliment each other well, cuz who wants mismatched cupcakes! 😉

This recipe was from Table For Two. The cupcakes were nice and fluffy and the frosting was to die for! I usually have way more frosting than I need, even when I pile it high. But this recipe didn’t make a ton, just enough to lightly spread over the cupcakes. But it was good enough that I will definitely double it next time; it deserves to be piled high!


Recipe type: Dessert, Cupcakes
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  25 mins
Total time:  45 mins
Serves: 12 cupcakes
  • 1½ cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 10 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries (you can use frozen, too)
  • For the frosting:
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, add 1½ cup all purpose flour plus 1 tbsp. of all purpose flour. Whisk together with sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter and egg. Then whisk in buttermilk, milk, and the lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl of the dry ingredients and stir and mix until all is incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with the remaining 1 tbsp. of flour. This ensures that the blueberries won’t sink to the bottom of the batter when you add them to the batter.
  5. Add the flour coated blueberries to the batter and gently fold them in until all incorporated.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly divide batter amongst the 12 muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes come out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. In the meantime, while the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting by beating together, in a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream cheese and butter with the lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. Gently add in the powdered sugar and the lemon juice. Beat until the frosting has come together.
  9. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, place frosting in a piping bag and pipe frosting on top of cupcakes. Garnish with three fresh blueberries. Repeat for all cupcakes.

Coconut Mango Cupcakes

I haven’t made cupcakes in a while and decided it was time for more. Mangos were on sale so I thought Mango cupcakes would be perfect for the summer! My family was up this weekend for a wedding and camping so I thought it would be a perfect treat to test out on them!



I pinned a bunch of different recipes and then decided to mix a few together. I settled on a coconut cupcake with mango filling and cream-cheese mango frosting. So yummy!I took the cupcake recipe from The Kitchn and the filling and frosting from Peace. Love. & Yumminess.

Here are the conversions and recipe parts combined!

Coconut Milk Cupcakes

makes about 15 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line standard sized muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until batter is well combined.

Sift together the already sifted cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter alternately with the coconut milk until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Stir in coconut and vanilla extract.

Pour batter into cupcake liners no more than two-thirds of the way full. Bake for 25 – 28 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Mango Curd 

  • 1/4 and 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup fresh mango puree
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 c. mango puree
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

To make the filling

  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar.
  2. Add the mango puree, followed by the egg yolks.
  3. Continure to cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens (6-7 minutes), stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap into the top of the filling.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

To Make The Frosting

  1. In a large bowl combin cream cheese and butter until combined.
  2. Add in the mango puree and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
  3. Add powdered sugar gradually until it is as sweet and thick as you prefer.

To Assemble the Cupcakes:

  1. When cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone out of the top using a paring knife.
  2. Spoon the mango filling into the cupcake until just reaching the top.
  3. Remove the bottom of the cone you cut out of the cupcake, placing just the top back on the cupcake where you filled with the mango filling.
  4. Frost cupcakes how prefer.
  5. If wanted toast the left over coconut and sprinkle on top.


Graduation Dress and Cake Bites

This weekend we went home for my little sister’s high-school graduation. We were making cake bites for her celebration and trying to decide what she would wear under her gown. She was thinking it would be nice to have a new dress, but being in Beaver there is no mall to run to. I told her I had just made a new dress but it wasn’t quite what she had in mind. She suddenly asked, “Hey could you just make me one real quick?” It was about 4 hours before she had to leave. Not completely taking her serious I asked if she even had any fabric. She apparently was serious and pulled some grey knit my mom had stashed away. She explained what she wanted and within an hour I had whipped up a new dress for her to wear to graduation.


I was pretty proud of myself. Usually when I sew something that quickly without a pattern I end up making at least one mistake, sometimes big ones. But this dress went smoothly with no mistakes, no tears, and looked great.


To make this dress I used a basic cap-sleeve T-shirt to draft the top of the dress, stopping it at my sisters natural waist line. I then make the skirt part measuring the length from her natural waist down to her knee. I angled the dress in at her natural waist line, out at her hips, and straight down to the bottom. I sewed a thick band around the neckline and used a double needle to hem the bottom and the sleeves.

Overall this dress was super quick and easy to make and looked great on her. Congratulations Dill we are proud of you and excited to have you at UVU next year!!!


The cake bites were cute and we had some great flavors, but I think they still need some work before I share any recipes on them!