Category: candied citrus

Vanilla cake with a twist of lime.

Vanilla cake with a twist of lime.

So I get married, Jay goes to Europe, and I get the urge to make a cake.

I never, ever make cakes. Mainly because I’m impatient, an you have to wait for cakes to cool before you take them out of the pans, then cool enough to frost them, etc. It’s a pain in the ass. I am not a cake person. Cupcakes, yes! Those are fun. And they cool fast. But cakes? No. Especially layer cakes. OH MY GOD HOW ANNOYING ARE LAYER CAKES?!

So I cheated with this one, and made it one layer. And added lime zest. And candied limes.

Zesting limes!

I had a lot of limes.

About three/four weeks before the wedding I got sick. Really sick. Bronchitis and sore-throat-like-swallowing-knives-sick. I was sick for well over a week, and my stubborn ass wouldn’t go to the doctor. Then, four days before the wedding, Jay got sick.  FOUR DAYS. He (thankfully) went and got super antibiotics and by the day of he felt fine. Then, the day of the wedding, my dad was sick. Two days after, my mother got sick. What the what? I’m telling you- people are dropping like flies around here. Stupid early spring sickness.

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A monster mash-up of Halloween goodies!

And so here we are. As much as I can’t believe it, it’s fall. Another October, another Halloween is upon us. The air is getting drier & brisker… & yes, I do love this time of year. I’ll desperately miss my garden, fresh fruits, canning up a storm & the sunshine. This summer went by too fast & wasn’t quite as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be. But there ain’t no use in moping, especially about things I can’t control. Besides, this really is my favorite time of year. The best part, though, aside from Halloween (of course) is the fall baking. Pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, allspice; all those delicious, warming, spicy ingredients. Not to mention the incredible creative opportunities Halloween gives you in terms of decorations!


Part of the charm & intrigue of Halloween is the fright factor. That things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-“what-was-that-sound” factor that gives you the chills- but you love it. The reason why people go on scary roller coasters or watch horror movies. That same feeling, that’s the best part of Halloween. I try to make that a part of everything I make around this time of year, not to mention I try to include the fall flavors that everyone loves. Of course, I’m biased. Like I said, this is my favorite holiday. I think some of my favorite things about it, in addition to the “scary” aspect, are all the traditions & symbols. It has such strong Celtic roots, I find the origins of the things we do today to be really interesting. Some of which I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks in detail… for now:

Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o’-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory.[5] The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween,[6][7] but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips.[6] The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837[8] and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.[9]

The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy).[10] Among the earliest works on the subject of Halloween is from Scottish poet John Mayne in 1780, who made note of pranks at Halloween; “What fearfu’ pranks ensue!”, as well as the supernatural associated with the night, “Bogies” (ghosts), influencing Robert BurnsHalloween 1785.[11] Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.

Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, or mythical monsters.[12] Black and orange are the holiday’s traditional colors.

I’m aware not everyone enjoys this day as much as I do, and I guess my personal opinion that they’re a bunch of boring, humorless stick-in-the-mud’s is irrelevant, but either way I think it’s fun & harmless. What could be more fun than dressing up as something you aren’t & getting free candy? I don’t know. It sounds pretty friggin’ amazing to me. So being it’s my favorite holiday, I have lots of treats for you to choose from for your spooky fall baking needs. I’ve done compilation posts before, as a matter of fact this past year, 2010-2011, I did one for every holiday, Halloween being the first. But being I did it early on each season, I excluded all the new ideas I had & implemented afterward. So this year it’s a truer compilation: all (or most) of my muffins, cupcakes & other treats; all with a Halloween or fall theme. Some are slightly more complex than others, but all of them are pretty simple when you get down to it & they really don’t take a lot of time or effort (or money, or experience really) to execute.

If you have any questions about where I bought supplies, etc, or just about the cupcakes/treats in general, feel free to comment or e-mail me.









And of course, if you’re looking for something in particular, you can always go through the archives, specifically the seasonal ones, like the pumpkin or apple categories. Another particular favorite of mine not pictured are the infamous apple cider donuts, they’re perfect for Halloween shenanigans. You could go bobbing for apple cider donuts! And if you’re into pumpkin seeds, I have two recipes, both plain & brown sugar/spice versions. And the two recipes second to last on the list, the cinnamon/vanilla & tres leches coconut, would both be perfect for Dia de los Muertos as well (which is what I used the latter for myself).

Almost any cupcake recipe or cookie recipe can be altered or decorated to fit in with Halloween. Use your imagination… you never know what you may come up with. If worse comes to worse, and you’re stuck for ideas, ask a kid! Kids have the best imaginations and come up with the best stuff, especially for Halloween. A kid’s brain works on a totally different level, they’re practically un-offended by everything, which is perfect.

And stay tuned this month for many more creepy (& not so creepy) fall-appropriate recipes & ideas.

True “blood-orange” cupcakes.

If you follow my site at all, you know I’m a big vampire fan. Some people are into zombies, I’m into blood suckers. Not so much Twilight, those movies are absolute shit (the books were marginally better, as is always the case)… but definitely Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles & definitely True Blood. I was into the books before I watched the series, but the series has me (& my mom!) hooked. Of course, he was my favorite character in the books but after seeing the show, the actor that plays Eric doesn’t hurt matters any. I even went as a Merlotte’s waitress for Halloween.

Anyway, season 4 of True Blood starts June 26th, and it just so happens to be that my favorite book (or one of ’em) in the series was book 4, or Dead To The World. So while that may be almost a month away, I felt the need to come up with some cupcake-y way to celebrate this, and also use some of the fresh fruit that’s available now that the weather is warmer. Back in October, I made some True Blood Velvet cupcakes and they went over so big, the official Tru Beverage website actually wrote an entire post about them and linked to me! In case you missed all that, here’s my little blurb about it from back then:

Before I get started on this post, I want to say how awesome it is that on October 13th the official Tru Blood Beverage website wrote a post about my True Blood Velvet cupcakes on their news page! So exciting, especially for me, I’m a huge fan of the show True Blood & the Sookie Stackhouse books. It was really spiffy that they noticed me & my lil’ ol cupcakes. I really geeked out over it for a while, truth be told (and still am, kinda). If you missed the post, and can’t find it, don’t worry. If you check out my press page, you’ll see a screenshot of what was written.

So using that as inspiration, I decided to go with blood oranges for my cupcakes. The True Blood Tru beverage is flavored blood orange, so I thought that would be absolutely perfect! Of course, finding the blood oranges weren’t as easy as I thought, but I managed to find ’em!

Blood oranges, in case you’re wondering, are:

a variety of orange (Citrus sinensis) with crimson, blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange; its skin is usually pitted, but can be smooth. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.[1] The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.[2] Sometimes there is dark coloring on the exterior of the rind as well, depending on the variety of blood orange. The skin can also be tougher, and harder to peel than other oranges.

While all oranges are likely of hybrid origin between the pomelo and the tangerine,[3] blood oranges originated as a mutation of the sweet orange.[4]

Within Europe, the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red Orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status.[5]

They’re gorgeous. They look just like oranges, but when you slice them, the inside is a deep blood-red color, and so is the juice. How appropriate, right? It looks normal on the outside, but inside… muahaha.

I decided to do a blood orange cupcake, and frost it with some very lightly flavored vanilla buttercream, and then top them with a candied slice of blood orange. The slices became almost stained-glass like, which gave a lovely look.  Black liners are from Bake It Pretty (but I can’t seem to find them on their site now, so they might be sold out).



  • 1 ¾ cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup blood orange juice
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • dash of orange food coloring
  • dash of red coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
  3. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl, and do a quick sift with a whisk. Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients a little at a time alternating with adding portions of the orange juice to the creamed mixture. Add two dashes of food coloring until the batter is desired color (remember, it’ll get lighter once the egg whites are folded in!)
  4. Fold in beaten egg whites gently, one half at a time. Spoon batter into cupcake liners.
  5. Bake  for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For those of you who aren’t True Blood fans (THE HORROR!) or if you want to make them for a summer party or picnic, you can make ’em plain blood orange cupcakes too. The orange liners are also from Bake It Pretty.




  • 1 blood orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


  1. Slice the blood orange as thinly as you can manage. Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add blood orange slices and keep on a low simmer, turning them over after 30 minutes. Simmer for a total of 45-60 minutes, or until the peel on the slices starts to become translucent.
  2. If you want to make more oranges, simply increase the amount of water and sugar (such as 1 ½ cups of each for 3-4 oranges).

So all you Trubies out there… make these on June 26th, crack open some Tru Blood’s and GET PSYCHED.