Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Cherry Orange Hot Cross Buns

Cherry Orange Hot Cross Buns

There are very few things that beat the taste of a warm, traditional hot cross bun, especially on Easter morning! This is a perfect recipe for your Easter brunch, served alongside mimosas and coffee. This recipe includes all the traditional hot cross buns flavors, with a few surprises! Dried cherries replace raisins, orange zest brightens up the spices, and orange icing completes these rolls for a delicious Easter treat.

We have two small dogs, and one small toddler in our house, so raisins (which are very toxic to dogs), are off the the table as it were. And the cherries in these rolls turned out to be my very favorite part! Cherries are a little lighter and brighter than raisins, which I love. Soaked overnight in brandy, they are bursting with delicious flavor! Please note: all the alcohol is completely cooked out of these rolls.

Buns Ingredients: 

1/4 cup brand, rum or apple juice
1 cup dried cherries (double check that there are no pits)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warm milk
1 package yeast
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested

Icing Ingredients: 

1 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine the dried cherries and brandy in a small bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the cherries to soak 12 hours, or preferably overnight.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, brown sugar through flour, and set aside. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast into the warm milk. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 3-5 minutes or until it starts to foam. Add the eggs (reserving the one extra yolk), butter and extract, mixing until combined. Add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until just combined each time. Stir in the cherries and orange zest.

The dough should be soft and a little sticky, but not so sticky that it's sticking to the sides of the stand mixer bowl. Add extra flour, a tablespoon at a time if this is the case. If the dough can be formed into a ball and doesn't stick to your hands, it's done.

Knead the dough lightly, either with your hands on a floured surface, or in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Grease a large mixing bowl liberally with melted butter. Set the ball of dough into the bowl, turning once so the top is also greased. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. I always turn my oven on to the lowest temperature (for my oven that's 170 F), and once it's preheated I turn it off. Then I let the dough sit in the warmed (but off!) oven.

When the dough has risen, punch it down to release any air bubbles that have formed. Grease two baking dishes. Divide the dough into 14-16 balls, pinching the bottoms so they stay moist while baking. Cover, and let rise again for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Now for baking! Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the extra egg yolk with a teaspoon of water. With a pastry brush, brush the rolls with the egg wash. Then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.

While the rolls cool, prepare the icing. Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and orange juice in a small bowl, whisking with a fork until smooth. If it's too thick, add more orange juice a teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a pastry bag (no need for a tip), and pipe the icing in a cross over each cooled roll. Serve immediately!

Cover leftover rolls tightly, and store on the counter for 1-2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Yeasty breads always have lots of steps, but that doesn't mean they're more difficult. These rolls are actually incredibly easy to make! While the bread is rising, you can do other things around the house, run errands - whatever! And when you come home the house will smell like delicious homemade bread. Believe me - soooooo yummy!!

My favorite little taste tester approves!

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Kirsten Bell
Traditional Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Traditional Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Easter is just a week away, and I can't wait! All the egg hunts, Easter baskets, and yummy food await! This is the first year we're doing a real Easter egg hunt with Charlotte, and I'm so excited! When I think of traditional Easter desserts, the first thing I think of is carrot cake! This is a moist cake, with lots of spices, topped with delicious ginger cream cheese frosting.

It's amazing how much moisture there is in carrots and apples! Make sure you use fresh carrots, not pre-grated ones. If you buy them already grated, they'll be too dry. Believe me, I tried it! Plus it's really easy to grate carrots, so it's not worth paying a premium! 

The ginger in the cream cheese frosting is so good. Fresh ginger is beyond delicious, and really sets this carrot cake apart. You can of course omit it, but I promise you won't want to!

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups freshly grated carrot
1 apple, skinned and grated
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 

1 cup butter
16 oz cream cheese
5 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
8 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated


Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through nutmeg. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time.

Add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in the carrots, apple and pecans.

Distribute the batter between the three cake pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and ginger. Beat until light and fluffy.

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Kirsten Bell
A Blue & White Easter Brunch Tablescape

A Blue & White Easter Brunch Tablescape

Blue and white is one of my all-time favorite color combinations. It's so fresh and classic, and works for any event! This year as I was putting together my Easter brunch table, I knew it had to be blue and white with pops of beautiful, bright colors!

On the table: 

I love layering plates! It creates such depth to the table, and an opportunity to create a much more interesting table. I chose plates all in white and blue, and love how it turned out! I love how each plate has a different pattern and texture - it's so visually appealing.

The beautiful scalloped tea plates are perfect for small bites and appetizers to start the meal, the salad plates for salad (shocker), and the dinner plates for the main event! I secretly get a little excited when I see lots of plates because it means the host has something really special planned!

Since this is for a brunch, of course I included these beautiful coffee cups! I love the details - it's the perfect cup to linger over, slowly sipping and enjoying a brunch with friends! If you're planning an Easter dinner instead of brunch, still keep the coffee cups! Many people enjoy some coffee or tea with dessert.

The serving pedestal and tray may be my favorite pieces on the table! I love their beautiful, bright colors and floral design. There is such attention to detail - I absolutely adore the little flower on the base of the pedestal! The dahlia napkin rings are so pretty, and everyone who sees them is instantly delighted. They're so well made, and are a beautiful detail for each guest to enjoy.

I hope you have a beautiful and happy Easter, surrounded by good company, delicious food, and an egg hunt or two!

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Kirsten Bell
Cadbury Egg Cake: Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Cadbury Egg Cake: Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

My dad and I have always shared a love of salted caramel. That salty sweet combination is my favorite, and the creamy, buttery melt-in-your-mouth taste of good caramel is magic! Maybe the love of good caramel is hereditary, because my daughter has been choosing salted caramel ice cream lately! (Win, win because then I can steal a bite!)

I could seriously eat this salted caramel buttercream by the spoonful. It's soooo good, and combined with the rich and moist chocolate cake and chocolate ganache drip? Well let's just say you won't have anyone saying no to a second piece!

If you're looking for more Easter/Springtime inspiration, check out my blue and white brunch tablescape - a classic, simple and elevated table for any event! 

For this recipe, I'm using my favorite store-bought salted caramel sauce. You can totally make it on your own too, if you have a favorite recipe! I'm currently working on perfecting mine, and will update this post when it's done. Using a high quality caramel for the frosting is crucial. A lot of caramel sauces have pretty weak caramel taste, which we don't want. Go big or go home!

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup butter, softened (two sticks)
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Buttercream Ingredients: 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
salt to taste
Optional garnish: Cadbury Caramel Eggs

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients: 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottom of three 6" round cake pans. Set aside. 

In a small pan, heat the butter and coffee until the mixture is steaming and the butter is melted. Let cool. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through baking soda. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the butter mixture once cooled. Add the dry ingredients into the now combined wet ingredients in two batches. Fold together until just combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and baked at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Salted Caramel Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Ganache Directions: 

Whip the butter and salted caramel sauce until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, and then add the vanilla extract and salt as needed. Spread the salted caramel buttercream between each cake layer and the outside of the cake. Put the cake in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

For the ganache: Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together in a small bowl. Drip the ganache over the top of the cake, and garnish with Cadbury Caramel Eggs just before serving!

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Kirsten Bell
Style Meets Soiree Guest Post: Spring Tablescape

Style Meets Soiree Guest Post: Spring Tablescape

Happy Sunday everyone! Today I'm sharing a special guest post with you, from my friend Kara! Her entertaining and decor blog Style Meets Soiree is such a source of light and bright inspiration, and I love seeing what she creates! Today she's sharing her spring tablescape with you - full of beautiful tulips, thoughtful details and fun Easter touches. Check out her post below, and be sure to follow her on Instagram (@stylemeetssoiree)!

Spring is the time of year when nature gets a makeover, so why shouldn't your tablescape get one as well? Spring is the best time of year to use bright, fun colors to decorate your tablescape. Which is why I decided to decorate this table using pops of my favorite spring colors! 

With Easter being the first holiday of the season, it's also the great time to bring out a few of your Easter decorations to incorporate into your design. 

Tulips are the perfect flower to decorate with at this time of year because they just scream "spring", don't they?! I decided to use bunches of tulips in bright spring colors at the center of my table in two oversized glass hurricanes. 

I also love to pull out my favorite peony dinnereware from Q Squared for entertaining at this time of year, which I decided to use for my place setting for this tablescape. The whitewashed hyacinth placemat gives the setting a natural, earthy feel. 


To add a touch of ''Easter" without going over the top, I scattered embellished easter eggs down the center of my table and around the flower vases. I then tied white starched hemstitch linen napkins with satin ribbon in a sun drenched peony hue at each of the place settings for the final touch. 

I hope that you have fun and enjoy giving your table a makeover. Whether you decide to go over the top with bright spring colors or not, the important thing is that decorating your table is entirely up to you! So don't be afraid to get creative! 

You can find more from Kara on her blog Style Meets Soiree and on Instagram (@stylemeetssoiree)! 
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Kirsten Bell