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When I say Queen of all Cakes I mean that this Chocolate Mousse Cake is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Of course you take in the equation the quality of the ingredients, hence Lindt chocolate is one the best brands in the world. But, however, even if you’re using some other chocolate I think that this cake would turn out just fine.

I made this cake as a birthday surprise for my partner. It took me lots of hours to make it but it was worth it. My partner loved it, and the guests that came to his birthday party were impressed.

The cake pieces were served with decorative spoons that were filled with Lindt milk chocolate ganache, for better presentation. You can decorate the spoons however you want. I used sprinkles, but you can put shredded coconut, nuts, white chocolate, marshmallows, crushed candy, dried herbs and flowers, etc.

The cake base is made from a brownie recipe, because I wanted it to be more chewy. I used 85% cocoa dark chocolate, which turned out to be very strong and almost bitter in taste, so next time I’m making this cake base I will definitely use less dark chocolate (maximum 75% cocoa). Also, if you’re not that big fan of extra dark chocolate, for the dark chocolate mousse layer use chocolate with maximum 75% cocoa.

This cake has lots of steps and can seem to be very complicated to make, but if you’re well organized and read the recipe thoroughly before you start making the cake, I think that you wouldn’t have any problem. After all, some little more effort is worth it for having the opportunity to taste this decadent chocolaty cake.

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Lindt Chocolate Mousse Cake
Lindt Chocolate
Lindt Dark Chocolate
Lindt Dark Chocolate
Lindt White Chocolate
Lindt White Chocolate
Lindt Milk Chocolate
Lindt Milk Chocolate
Lindt Chocolate
Lindt Chocolate Mousse Cake
Lindt Chocolate Mousse Cake
Lindt Chocolate Mousse Cake
Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles
Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles
Lindt Chocolate spoons

Ingredients:

Cake Base:

160 g dark chocolate (70 – 85% cocoa)
80 g butter (softened)
180 g sugar
4 eggs
50 g all purpose flour
50 g cocoa powder
1 shot of espresso

Gelatin Mass:

15 g gelatin powder
80 ml lukewarm water

Dark Chocolate Mousse:

3 egg yolks
1 egg
45 g sugar
30 ml water
1/3 gelatin mass
240 g dark Lindt chocolate (75 – 85% cocoa)
200 g heavy cream

Milk Chocolate Mousse:

3 egg yolks
1 egg
45 g sugar
30 ml water
1/3 gelatin mass
240 g milk Lindt chocolate
200 g heavy cream

White Chocolate Mousse:

3 egg yolks
1 egg
45 g sugar
30 ml water
1/3 gelatin mass
240 g white Lindt chocolate
200 g heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:

300 g milk Lindt chocolate
300 ml heavy cream

Directions:

1.First you start making the cake base. Preheat the oven to 175 °C/350 F. Line the base of a 28 cm/11 inch springform pan and grease the sides with butter

Springform Pan
Springform Pan

2. Make an espresso and set aside to cool. Melt the chocolate on a double – boiler, until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Remove from heat and set aside to cool

3. Mix butter and sugar with electric mixer in a bowl until it’s pale and thick. Add eggs gradually in the mixture. Mix well after each addition

4. Sift flour and cocoa in the mixture, add espresso and fold gently with a whisk or a spoon. Add melted chocolate and mix well until uniform

Nesting Bowls
Nesting Bowls

5. Pour the batter in the springform pan, flatten the surface, place the pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes

6. After the cake base is baked, let it cool on a room temperature. Release the ring from the pan and cut the head of the cake with serrated knife, so the top of the cake is flat

7. Wash the ring of the pan and place it again around the cake base

8. Prepare the gelatin mass by mixing the lukewarm water with the powdered gelatin. Leave the mixture in the fridge

9. For the dark chocolate mousse, first you whisk the heavy cream until you get soft peaks. Keep it in the fridge

10. Melt dark chocolate on a double – boiler. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and leave the bowl on the double – boiler to keep the chocolate warm

11. Put egg yolks, egg, sugar and water in a stainless steel or glass bowl and whisk until uniform. Place the bowl on a double – boiler and heat gently (low – medium fire), while mixing all along with an electric mixer on low – medium speed or a whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. This may take a while, but don’t forget to mix all the time, otherwise the eggs will coagulate and become like scrambled eggs. Once the desired consistency is reached, take the mixer bowl out of the double – boiler and whip on high speed for few minutes, until the egg mixture cools

12. In the meantime, melt one third of the gelatin mass on low heat and remove the melted chocolate from the hot steam. Add the melted gelatin mass to the egg mixture and mix a little. Add the warm chocolate and mix until uniform. Remove the heavy cream from the fridge and fold in the chocolate mixture in three parts with a spoon

13. Pour the mixture into the ring over the cake base. Give it a little shake to flatten the mousse and keep it in the freezer for about an hour or two

14. For the milk chocolate and white chocolate mousse the procedure is the same, only you use different kinds of chocolate. Before adding every new layer make sure that the previous one is hard enough, so that the layers won’t mix. After the mousse is hard, remove the ring and put the cake on a serving plate

15. For glazing the cake I used chocolate ganache. I recommend using milk chocolate and good quality heavy cream. Put the heavy cream in a pan and heat it on the stove until it starts boiling. Remove from heat and pour it over the milk chocolate pieces. Wait a little bit until the chocolate start melting. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature

16. Pour the ganache over the cake, first pour in center, then slowly but steadily pour around edges, allowing ganache to drip down the sides and cover the cake. Before the ganache hardens, put Lindt Chocolate Truffles on the edges of the cake, so every piece would have one truffle

17. I left little part of the ganache to fill decorative spoons for serving the cake. Decorate the spoons with sprinkles or anything else you have in mind before the ganache hardens.

Bon Appétit

Lindt Chocolate Mousse Cake

There is nothing more fulfilling when you prepare food for your loved ones, especially on days like Valentine’s Day. Every year I make Valentine’s Cookies for my partner, or sometimes I get an order from my friends for their partners.

This year I decided not to make classical sugar cookies because their taste is very basic. Instead I added shredded coconut in the dough and they turned out very tasty, I almost ate them all before I got to decorate them 😛

For decorating I used white and red background made of royal icing, and I drew most of the cookies with edible pens in yellow, blue and black color (I only had those colors). If you are creative there are countless designs you can make with these Valentine’s cookies, especially if you have these pens, because you can concentrate on the details. But please be precautious before you start drawing your cookies, the royal icing MUST be totally dry, or you will make holes in the icing. That’s why I ice the cookies the day before and wait overnight before I start drawing.

For those who don’t have too much time for decorating, I would suggest using sprinkles. The cookies will look good without making much effort.

Food Colorings
Edible Pen

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Rolling Dough
Valentine's Cookies
Valentine's Cookies
Valentine's Cookies
Valentine's Cookies
Valentine's Cookies
Valentine’s Cookies

Ingredients:

Coconut Sugar Cookies:

250 g butter (softened)
150 g powdered sugar
2 eggs
400 g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 g shredded coconut

Royal Icing:

1 egg white
150 g powdered sugar
Food colorings

Directions:

1. In a large bowl beat butter with powdered sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and continue mixing

2. Add flour and baking powder in two batches and mix on low speed. Add the coconut and continue mixing until everything is well incorporated. Knead the dough by hand to form a ball

3. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to chill or 20 minutes in the freezer

4. Preheat the oven to 200 °C/395 F. Line 3 baking trays with parchment paper

5. Roll the dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin, around 6 mm thick (I use this adjustable rolling pin, with removable multi-sized discs to ensure getting the desired thickness of the rolled dough). With cookie cutter cut any shapes you like. Line the cookies on the baking trays and bake them around 10 minutes, depending on their size. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely

Adjustable Rolling Pin
Nesting Bowls

6. For the royal icing beat the egg white until frothy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until you get thick mass. If the frosting is not enough thick add more powdered sugar until you get the right consistency. If you’re using food colorings divide the mixture, add the food colorings and mix it until the icing is homogenous. Pour it in a piping bag and start decorating.

Valentine's Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s February, the month that symbolises purification and love. In this new month we should analyze our past and become aware of our current emotional state; are we satisfied with our life or are we imagining some other life we want to have?

When I need inspiration to look back into my soul I always open my notebook with quotes I collect. They are like my quick reminder that I need to slow down, live in the present moment and be grateful for the love I have in me and around me.

I selected these love quotes for you, so you can be reminded to grow your love inside you and all around you.

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There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. – G. Sand

Never miss an opportunity to show your love. – P. Coelho

When you’re in love, you’re capable of learning everything and knowing things you had never dared even to think, because love is the key to understanding of all the the mysteries. – P. Coelho

They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything. – Bil Keane          

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you. – P.Coelho

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. – Charles M. Schulz

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. – Audrey Hepburn

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. Love is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. – Ann Landers

Be Love!

February is the month of love, when we should all become aware about the love within us and all around us. With becoming grateful for that unexplainable force that drives our lives we attract even more love. And that is a circle that never ends, it’s just getting bigger and bigger with time. As the circle expands, our love expands, the bonds with our loved ones become stronger and new people come in our lives so we grow our love around them. It is all up to us how much love we will testify in our lives. If our hearts are full with unconditional love, without waiting for the love to return, we will witness fulfilled life, happy life, abundant life. What else do we need?

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I wrote this post because when it comes to men it’s really hard to choose perfect gift for them. It doesn’t matter the occasion, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Christmas…Every year I have struggled to find the perfect gift that my partner will like, and spent days wandering around the city shops. This year I decided to make all the wandering from home, on internet shops. It’s less time consuming and you can find very interesting stuffs you can’t find or notice elsewhere in a physical shop.

I found few gifts I liked for men, and I hope I will give you ideas for this year’s Valentine’s Day, or any other day you plan on surprising your loved one 🙂

1. Books

The 5 Love Languages for men
Cracking Code to Marital Bliss
Mindful relationship habits
What women want in a man

2. Love Key Chain

Valentine's Key chain

3. Picnic Blanket

Picnic blanket

4. Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Electric Wine Bottle Opener

5. Underwear

Men Underwear

6. Backpack

Backpack

7. Grooming Kit

Grooming Kit

8. Bathrobe

Bathrobe

9. Cooking Apron

Valentine's Cooking Apron

10. Wine Aerator

Wine Aerator

11. Stainless Steel Bottle

Stainless Steel Bottle

12. Board Games

Ticket to ride, Board game
Chess
Cards against humanity
What do you meme?

13. Pajamas

Pajamas 
Unique Valentine's Gifts for Him

14. Gift Jar with Love Messages

Gift Jar with Love messages for Valentine

15. “Mr and Mrs” Glasses

“Mr and Mrs” Glasses

16. Slippers

Slippers for men

17. Kindle

Kindle

18. Exercise Belt

Exercise Belt

19. Foot Massager

Foot Massager

20. Travel Coffee Maker

Travel Coffee Maker

21. Love Note Pillow Case

Love Note Pillow Case

22. Sport T-Shirt

Sport T-Shirt for men

23. Snickers

Sketchers Snickers for men

24. Personalized Mug

Personalized Mug
Unique Valentine's Gifts for Him

25. Personalized Socks

Personalized Socks
Unique Valentine's Gifts for Him

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Who doesn’t want themed parties? They are so fun to attend to, even more fun if you’re organizing them. Me and my sister organized this Bee Themed 1st Birthday Celebration for her son, because he is impressed by children TV Shows with bees. It was a small Bee party, so we weren’t stressed about preparing large quantities. My sister was cooking all the savory dishes, I was in charge of the sweets (except the cake – we hired a cake boutique to prepare it for us) and for designing the printables, and my mother contributed with few dishes herself.

For the savory menu we served:

  • Mini croissants filled with cheese
  • Mini pizza kifli (my mother’s recipe, made of yeast dough, formed like mini crescents, brushed with ketchup and sprinkled with oregano and sesame seeds…delicious)
  • Skewers with cheese, black olives and cherry tomatoes
  • Mini toasts with cream cheese and mixed vegetables
  • Deviled eggs decorated with black olives and cherry tomatoes
  • Charcuterie plate with prosciutto, blue cheese, yellow cheese, olives and vegetable mix
  • Choux pastry filled with two types of cream salads: Russian salad (made with potato, carrot, green peas, cheese, pickles and mayonnaise) and French salad (made with cucumber, walnuts, white cheese, deli meat and sour cream)

For the sweet menu we served:

  • Sugar Bee Cookies decorated with royal icing
  • Blueberry vanilla muffins, decorated with vanilla buttercream, oreo cookies and royal icing bee decorations
  • Cake pops made with chocolate cake sponge and strawberry jam, dipped in white chocolate and decorated with royal icing bee decorations
  • Walnut nutmeg cake decorated with vanilla buttercream and royal icing bee decorations
  • BEE CAKE

Most of the food was made one day ahead, like the cream salads, choux pastry, bee muffins, walnut nutmeg cake and cake pops. On the day of the celebration we made the deviled eggs, mini toasts with cream cheese and vegetables, charcuterie plates, skewers with cheese, black olives and cherry tomatoes, mini croissants and mini pizza kifli.

I was making the cookies for 3 days, easy and slowly, because I wanted to enjoy the process. The first day I baked them, the second day I iced them with royal icing (white, yellow and black) and on the third day (fun day) I was decorating them. I used edible pen for decorating, because it’s so much easier than using a piping bag. This way you can concentrate on the details and if you make a mistake you can easily fix it. But before you draw on the cookie with the pen, make sure the icing is totally dried, otherwise you will make a hole on the semidried iced cookie.

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I also made royal icing bee decorations for the other desserts. I made them on a parchment paper and I waited overnight for the icing to be fully dried. If you have leftovers, just put them in a glass jar and keep them in the freezer.

We really enjoyed this Bee Party, especially the children. Can’t wait for the next year to come so we can make another themed celebration. Please share any ideas about themed parties we can make for our children.

Honey Bee Birthday Party
Happy Bee Day
Bee Cake
Bee Day Party
Bee Cake
Baby Bumble Bee Party
Bee Celebration desserts
Bumble Bee Celebration
Bumble Bee Themed Party
Bee Love and Happiness
Bee Cookies
Bumble Bee Cupcakes
Bumble Bee cookies decorated
Bumble Bee party food
Royal icing bee cookies
Fun To bee one party ideas
Happy Bee Day Party Ideas

Happy Bee Day!

Tuiles are a french dessert, often served as as an accompaniment of other dishes, like ice cream, panna cotta, tart, mousse, etc. Tuile is a french word for tile, which resembles with the curved shape of this cookie.

These cookies are like thin wafer, made from butter, egg white, flour and powdered sugar. They are crisp and sweet, and I usually eat them like sweet chips, accompanied with a cup of coffee.

Their curved shape is made while they are still hot. After baking the tuiles in the oven and while they are still soft they are transferred fast on a rolling pin until they get hard.

In this recipe for french tuiles I added silvered almonds so they can get crispier structure. You can buy silver almonds in almost every bigger store, but I intend to make them at home. I usually make bigger batch, so I store them in a glass jar and keep them in the fridge. I use the almonds for many recipes I make to give a little bit of crispiness in the dish.

How to make silvered almonds?

Put the almonds in a bowl and pour boiled water over them. Let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until their peel become soft and easy to slide off easily. Drain the almonds, let them cool a little bit and start peeling off their skin.

Set the almonds on a chopping board and slice them as thin as you can. Spread the chopped almonds on a baking tray with parchment paper and put them in the oven on 150ºC for around 3 minutes, so they will be dried and a little bit toasted. You can store the silvered almonds in a glass jar and keep them in the fridge to prevent rancidity (Silvered almonds become more rancid than whole almonds) and use them in different recipes, like desserts, salads, soups, beverages, cereals, ice cream, pancakes, rice, pasta, etc.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 25 g powdered sugar
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 30 g silvered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • A dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. In a bowl mix the egg whites, powdered sugar, melted butter, flour, salt and half of the slivered almonds
  3. Cover baking tray with a parchment paper and scoop 1 teaspoon of dough and leave enough space between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with the other half of slivered almonds
  4. Bake them for 8 – 10 minutes or until the french tuiles are slightly golden but still white in the center. Remove them from the oven and lift them up with the help of a kitchen spatula and place them on a rolling pin to give them their curved shape. When the tuiles are firm transfer them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Bon Appétit

These spicy jam filled sandwich cookies are very decorative, long lasting, you can make them in different shapes and sizes and experiment with different flavors. I would recommend to left the cookies stay for one or two days, so they become softer with moisture migrating from the jam to the cookie. But it doesn’t mean it’s a sin for those hungry eaters if they eat everything on the first day 😀

You can use any kind of jam you like: orange, tangerine, lemon, strawberry, apricot, plum, peach, raspberry, quince, apple, etc. I used strawberry and peach jam, because I had those in my fridge, and it turned out great.

In the dough I put clementine zest and cinnamon, so I can enjoy the taste of foods that remind me of Christmas. You can experiment with the dough with different flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, lemon zest, orange zest, clementine zest, etc, or you can substitute small part of the flour with ground walnuts or almonds.

If you keep track of your weight, I’m recommending putting less sugar in the recipe. These cookies have jam, so it doesn’t change a lot in taste if you reduce the amount of sugar in the dough.

Keep the jam filled sandwich cookies in a closed container, in a dark and cold place, or in the fridge, so they can stay soft and fresh for a longer time. I made these cookies few days before Christmas, and I served them on Christmas Day. They were soft and chewy, much tastier than the first day I made them.

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For rolling the dough I use this adjustable rolling pin with removable rings. This rolling pin evenly flattens the dough to ensure uniform baking. I use it for cookies, pizza, pie crusts or everything else that needs uniform thickness.

Ingredients:


225 g butter (softened)
200 g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
350 g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 clementine
1 tsp cinnamon

12 g jam (for 1 cookie sandwich)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl beat butter with sugar with electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon and continue mixing until everything is well incorporated

2. In another bowl mix flour and baking powder and add them gradually in the butter mixture. Mix the batter by hand until soft dough is formed

3. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to chill

4. Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper

5. Roll the dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin, around 6 mm thin. With cookie cutter cut any shapes you like. Poke a hole on half of the cookies with a smaller cookie cutter. Line the cookies on the baking trays and bake them around 10 minutes, depending on their size. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely

6. When they are completely cooled, spread the jam on the cookie base and cover with the poked cookie.

Sugar cookies sandwiches

Bon Appétit

Every fall I roast butternut squash or pumpkin and I consume it as it is, with a dash of cinnamon; perfect healthy dessert with no added sugars and fats. But when I have leftovers I usually find a way to incorporate this fruit in another recipe. I add it in a cheesecake, pasta sauce, soup, homemade bread, smoothies, cookies, etc.

These butternut squash cookies are an old recipe I make almost every autumn. They are made with butter, honey, nuts, dried fruit and spices. This recipe is the healthier version of chocolate chip cookies, packed with fiber and other nutrients.

They are soft, chewy and delicious, and they can be a great present for your friends and family. For better presentation I wrap them in cellophane and secure them with a ribbon.

Butternut squash cookies
Butternut squash cookies

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Butternut squash cookies

Ingredients:

1 egg
250 g butter (softened)
130 g brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
250 g butternut squash (cooked)
150 g chopped nuts (walnuts and almonds)
150 g dried fruit (raisins and cranberries)
600 g flour
10 g baking powder
1 tsp spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, powdered ginger etc.)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl beat butter with brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, honey and baked butternut squash and continue mixing until everything is well incorporated

2. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder and spices and add them gradually in the butter mixture. Then add the chopped nuts and dried fruit and mix the batter with a spoon or by hand

3. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to chill

4. Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper

5. Form walnut size balls out of the batter and press them with fork on the baking tray. Bake the cookies 5 minutes on 180 °C, and then lower the temperature on 150 °C and continue baking another 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Butternut squash cookies
Butternut squash cookies

Bon Appétit

Winter is coming tomorrow, and at this time of the year I make all kinds of desserts at least three times a week. I know it sounds much, but with all my friends and family coming over all the time it’s enough to make everyone happy before the holidays. 

I make these chocolate muffins as a base for different cupcakes. For the frosting I always use butter and powdered sugar. I usually add melted chocolate or peanut butter, but now I decided to use baked pumpkin and cinnamon to add festive taste to my desserts. And it turned out great. 

These chocolate pumpkin cupcakes are easy and fast to make, taste like Christmas and can be a great choice for your Christmas celebration.  

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

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Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Servings: 12

Chocolate muffins:

120 g butter (softened)
100 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
180 ml milk 
120 g all purpose flour
30 g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
50 g dark chocolate chips

Pumpkin Frosting:

200 g butter (softened)
200 g powdered sugar
180 g pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C/350 F. Place muffin liners in a muffin tin 

2. In a large bowl combine the butter with the brown sugar and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing. Decrease the speed to low and add the milk

3. In another bowl mix in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add them gradually in the butter mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix the dough with a spoon

4. Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 20 minutes

5. For the pumpkin frosting take a large bowl and beat softened butter with powdered sugar. Add the pumpkin puree and cinnamon and continue mixing until the mixture is homogenous

6. Take a piping bag with a nozzle, fill it with the frosting and decorate the muffins any way you like.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Happy Holidays!