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Who needs turkey? Gimme the cakes!

November 5, 2010

Actually, I really like turkey. So give me both. Despite how I feel about Thanksgiving’s history, I do love this time of year. I don’t like winter much, and snow is my kryptonite, but I love autumn. I love fall leaves, and pumpkin picking, and fall baking. And fall clothes! They’re clearly the best. So there’s a lot to celebrate for me when it comes to October/November. Plus, I can’t deny I like to eat. And a holiday celebrated by stuffing ones face with various items of deliciousness? I’m there.

For those of you in other countries, or who really could care less about what us asshole Americans do, here’s a little bit on the holiday to get you acquainted:

Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God.[1]

It is thought that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England.[2] The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans.[3] The feast consisted of fowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. William Bradford’s note that, “besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many,”[4] probably gave rise to the American tradition of eating turkey at Thanksgiving.

Of course there’s more to the story, and it ain’t pretty, but hey, whatever. I can’t lie- I like to eat. So I can’t hate on the tradition too much.

Anyway I did this for Halloween, and I thought I’d do it for Thanksgiving too since it’s convenient to have all my holiday (in this case, Thanksgiving-y) themed recipes in one spot. Here they are in no particular order; my top picks for Thanksgiving cupcakes!

These were amazing. Of course, purists may dislike it because the recipe asks that you use a box cake mix, but it’s worth it. They were dense, chocolate-y, had amazing spicyness and had a fantastic texture thanks to the addition of a can of pumpkin. They were excellent with the chocolate frosting, but would be equally excellent with a whipped cream topping, a seven-minute frosting or even a marshmallow Fluff frosting. The recipe can be found here: Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes

These cupcakes were a surprise, because I wasn’t anticipating them turning out as well as they did. The frosting was perfect too. The cinnamon in the cupcake makes it a great choice for Thanksgiving, but it’s not too heavy, so it’s a good idea for an after-dinner cupcake; after everyone has gorged on turkey & sweet potatoes. If you wanna read more about them, here they are: Snickerdoodle cupcakes with seven-minute frosting

Now these were amazing! I’m a big fan of brown butter, so I knew that these would make me really happy. Add to that cream soda and toffee? Forget it. Just fantastic. I ended up with none left after leaving Thanksgiving dinner last year- everyone insisted on taking some home with them. Take a peek at the recipe: Cream soda toffee cupcakes with brown butter frosting

Apple is a no-brainer for fall. And these just so happen to be the best apple cupcakes there ever were, EVER. Add to that the brown sugar buttercream and you have yourself a delectable treat. And I like to think it’s healthier because of all the apple. *ahem* Anyway, here’s the recipe: Apple cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream

Now you may not be looking for a cupcake recipe. Maybe you’re looking for a fall cookie, breakfast treat, muffin or a donut recipe? Well, you’ve come to the right place! The following just so happens to be Jay’s favorite cookie, and I’m sure you’ll love it too. And the rest? They ain’t bad either. You can’t go wrong with donuts, cookies, cinnamon rolls or scones in my opinion.

Delicious sugar cookies cut into leaf-shapes and topped with maple icing. How good does that sound? The recipe can be found here.

A tried and true fall favorite: apple cider donuts. And they’re really easy to make at home- trust me! A great baking project to do with kids. Go here for the full recipe.


The best cinnamon roll recipe, ever. Hands down. I love these on Thanksgiving morning while watching the parade. Just make the first steps the night before, allow the dough to rest overnight, then finish it and pop it in the oven that morning. Then the icing goes on while they’re warm. Seriously, they’re amazing. Get the recipe & more here.


Ahh, Ina. You never fail me. And these scones were yet another example of that. These were a HUGE hit with my family when I made them for Thanksgiving a few years back. The texture was perfect, the flavor was awesome and everyone loved the glaze. This is another really simple yet impressive recipe. Find out how to make them here.

There are tons more fall-themed and fall-flavored ideas on this blog. You just have to search for ’em a bit. Although, many of the cupcakes I’ve made for Halloween could work for Thanksgiving too, specifically the pumpkin, apple, cinnamon vanilla or mocha ones, and even the french toast cupcakes (which I myself are planning to recreate for Thanksgiving). Apple dumplings arealso an excellent choice, and really quick and easy. And pumpkin muffins are another great idea for breakfast, but so is pumpkin bread; a nice slice of that, all warm from the oven… Mmmm. Pumpkin muffins made with rum are a nice adult alternative. And olive oil cake? Amazing, with it’s orange-y flavor and rich texture. Although anything is really good for Thanksgiving, though, because everyone just really wants to be fat & greedy & shove food into their face. Most of the time, people don’t even notice the fancy decorations on the pies or cakes because all they want to do is stick their face in it. It’s true. Have you ever noticed how much food is put on the plates at Thanksgiving dinner? It’s ridiculous.

Which leads me to my next thought: how about, this year, for every 3 items you plan on making for your Thanksgiving spread, you donate one food item to a food bank? Whether it’s a canned vegetable or a box of au gratin potatoes or whatever. It’s time we stopped being so damn selfish in this country. And in this economy, when so many people have lost their jobs and have to rely on Food Stamps & food banks for their meals, I think all of us can afford to donate two or three cans or boxes of something to those who need it. And if you’re really feeling generous, in some supermarkets you can buy an entire meal for a family that needs it; from the soup to the turkey to the side dishes. Consider it, really. It’s the least we can do. If you’d like to contribute, there are places like Food For Others that can lead you in the right direction. Also, a quick Google search can help you find other places in your area.

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