Dreamy Buttercream

This buttercream icing is my absolute standby. It is creamy, delicious, fluffy, and not sickeningly sweet. It stands up well at room temperature and you can refrigerate it and stir it up to use again later. It can be flavoured, coloured, and veganized (though not to my liking) with little effort. It is awesome.

Irish Cream, White, Vegan, Purpled

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup unsalted butter – room temperature (you can use 1/2 salted 1/2 unsalted as well. Truthfully I’ve used 1 cup of salted too, I am not too picky about this, myself)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (use clear vanilla extract if you want a pure white buttercream. Again, I am not too picky about this)
  • 1 1kg bag of icing sugar (2.2lbs), about 4 cups
  • 4-6 tbsp very cold milk


Cream the butter and shortening in a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract and combine well. The mixture may not be totally smooth, but this will be resolved. Add the sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, add three tablespoons of the milk, combine very well. Add additional tablespoons of milk until you’ve reached your desired consistency. I find that four tablespoons is good for cakes and the full six is nice and fluffy for cupcakes.


  • Drunken Buttercream: Replace 3-6 tbsp of the milk with Irish Cream, Amaretto, Kahlua, whatever liquor you are trying to work into your icing.
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream: Replace the shortening with equal amount of peanut butter.
  • Vegan “Buttercream”: Replace the butter with vegan butter and make sure the shortening you are using is all veg.
  • Chocolate Buttercream: Add 4 tbsp to the finished butter cream. Add more as needed until a rich chocolate buttercream is reached. This does not make a really brown chocolate colour, it is a little grey-brown but tastes amazing.
  • I am going to try out a brown butter version and report back the results.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Surprize

A couple of friends of mine are vegan so I decided to try out a vegan chocolate cupcake recipe with a bit of a twist. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favourite combos!

Peanut butter and chocolate.

The cupcakes are turned out alright, the true test will be tomorrow when I take them to the cohort. While I like how fluffy and moist they are (of course I had a tester) they are a little bland and not as rich as I would like. The peanut butter ball in the centre competes with the flavours in the cake (which is weird because it is supposed to be chocolatey but the almond extract that they recommend is the culprit here) but is a nice surprize on its own.

Batter with coconut oil chunks and the batter ready for the oven.

Nice crispy tops with peanut butter balls.

I topped three cupcakes with a “buttercream” made from the leftover peanut butter filling, some vegan butter, shortening, extra icing sugar, and some almond milk. I HATE the flavour of vegan butter (Earth Balance) so I just made a small amount of icing with that and went with my favourite buttercream for the rest.

I clearly need to hone my icing skills.

I used Coconut Oil which I love but it seized when I poured it into the batter and I had a bit of a battle incorporating it. If you aren’t prepared to do a heat bath to melt the oil in the batter (ugh not my brightest moment), then best to stick with canola or olive oil.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Yield: 24 cupcakes

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used Dark Chocolate Almond milk)
  • 2 cups sugar (I used white sugar but might do brown next time to make it more rich)
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract (optional, I would opt out if you are going to pair the chocolate in the cupcake with another flavour of icing or filling)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Ball Filling

  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • pinch salt


1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl: non-dairy milk, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, almond extract. Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.

2. Now sift in the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, until the clumps are gone. If you are a dolt like me, place the bowl in a larger bowl that has some warm water in the bottom. This will help to melt the clumps of Coconut Oil, stir until incorporated.

3. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt. I normally use a spoon to start and then knead it together with my hands until it is shiny and well combined.

4. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two thirds full for each. Roll a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into a ball, press one ball lightly into the centre of each cup.

5. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

Spicy Cheddar Irish Soda Bread

St.Patrick’s Day had my head swirling with recipes for Irish Soda Bread, which made me uncomfortable. Bread… without yeast?!

Now, I am not crazy, I don’t think all breads must have yeast, or a sourdough starter, but I’ve been crazy for yeast since I picked up a fresh jar last month. But I just like the sweetness of yeasted bread; I love the smell as it rises and bakes. I love the chewy, stretchy goodness.

So, with all the talk of these soda breads floating around I scuffawed and tried to ignore it. But last night I was hungry. I hadn’t taken out anything for dinner and I didn’t feel like making anything involved. Remembering the tiny bit of shredded cheddar that had been sitting in my fridge for some time I decided that Irish soda bread was worth a try.

I started with Ina Garten’s recipe but made some changes to make it savory, cheesy, spicy, and delicious.

Spicy Cheddar Irish Soda Bread


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk (I used 1.5 cups milk with 1.5 Tbsp of white vinegar to make my buttermilk)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until well integrated (pea-sized chunks or smaller). Add the cheese (note that I think it would taste best with 1 cup of cheese but I actually only had 1/2 cup on hand). Mix the cheese in so that the pieces are coated in flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. The dough will be sticky, at this point I just got in there with my hands and mixed it up until it felt right (helpful huh).

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

When done, tear into it with a pat of butter. Taste particularly good with a glass of beer and 30 Rock on television. Yum.