Cherry Cheesecake Muffins

Happy Halloween!! These muffins are so fun for holidays! I picked up a $10 skull pan from target to make them extra spooky. You could definitely use a muffin tin as well. I made them for our kids sleep over and everyone was so excited!

The muffin batter is insanely easy and the light cheesecake filling comes from whipping the cream cheese mixture until it looks like whipped cream. You can use any fruit filling. Pumpkin or apple butter would also be amazing. We liked the cherries for the spook factor 😂

Ingredients:

1/2 cups of apple cider

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

3 tbsp of melted salted butter

2 tbsp of vanilla extract 

1 tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp of nutmeg 

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp baking soda 

2 cups of AP flour 

Topping 

1/2 granulated sugar 

3 tbsps of cinnamon

Filling

8 oz of room temp cream cheese

8 oz of room temp butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 tbsp of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of fruit filling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together.

Add in the apple cider,melted butter, vanilla and eggs.

Do not over mix. The batter should be thick.

I like putting my batter into a ziplock for more control but you can spoon out as well.

Grease or spray your pan. Add in the batter. Filling 3/4 of the way. (These will rise!)

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and set.

Roll in the cinnamon sugar and let cool.

Whip the butter and cream cheese on high for 2-3 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add the cream in, a little at a time. Mix on high. You may not need all the cream. You are just looking for a thick whipped cream texture. Refrigerate while the muffins cool.

I like using the handle of a spoon to hollow out the middles of the muffins.

Fill half way with the cream cheese mixture and top with a spoonful of fruit.

Let me know if you try these out!! Enjoy!

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Parmigiana Chicken with wine sauce

We love a good pasta dish especially when the weather cools down. This dish gives you all the flavor with less calories than most Italian restaurants.

Crispy chicken tenders with a parmigiana crust top our capellini with garlic and mushrooms. Best part of this recipe is you can add or swap ingredients. Don’t like mushrooms? Add tomatoes or olives. Love mushrooms and want to toss in sun dried tomatoes? Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken tenders or chicken breast

1/2 cup of potato starch or AP flour

1 cup panko

1 cup grated parmigiana

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup of milk or almond milk

1 cup of Marsala wine or dry white wine

2 tbsp of butter (grass fed works best)

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 cup of chopped button mushrooms

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Juice from one lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pasta of your choice and 1/2 cup of pasta water

Directions:

Cook your pasta and reserve 1 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a bowl, mix the panko, parmigiana, and Italian seasoning

Toss your chicken in the starch/flour. Dust off any excess

Dip into your milk

Toss in the panko mix. Make sure the chicken is fully coated.

Heat a skillet over medium high and add olive oil. Cook chicken until both sides are crispy and brown. Internal temp should be 165 degrees.

Set chicken on a cooling rack or paper towel.

Add the butter, garlic, and mushrooms to the skillet.

Cook until garlic is fragrant and the mushrooms are tender. Add the wine.

Let reduce to around a quarter cup then add the pasta water and lemon juice.

Let simmer until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the parsley.

Add chicken back in and serve over pasta.

I hope you try this super easy pasta! We will definitely be eating this all fall/winter.

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Spiced Apple Cider Cake

This September marks 7 years for kelliericecakes.com! It is hard to believe how much time has passed! To celebrate I made a spiced apple cider cake with thick cream cheese espresso frosting, apple butter layers, and candied pecans.

I know these layers look extra thick, but the frosting is more cream cheese and not as sweet. I wanted to have an extra creamy no bake cheese cake vibe.

I bought a roll of cake collars online. It is hard for me to decorate any other way because this is so simple and easy! I froze the cake layers, then as I built I sprinkled them with apple cider, a layer of apple butter, hearty layer of frosting and repeat. When you peel the plastic back you have a rustic mess free layer cake!

This is the PERFECT fall cake! All of the sweet spiced bites remind me of everything I love during the fall season.

Ingredients

For the cake-

1 box of spice cake

3 room temperature eggs plus 1 yolk

1 cup of apple sauce unsweet

1 cup of apple cider plus more for sprinkling on the cakes

1 tbsp of Rodelle Vanilla Paste or vanilla extract

For the frosting-

16 oz room temp cream cheese

1 stock of salted butter

1 tbsp Rodelle Vanilla Paste or vanilla extract

2 tbsp instant espresso

2 cups of powdered sugar

1/4 cup of heavy cream

2 tbsp of shortening or coconut oil

Apple butter

Candied pecans

(I found both at my local grocery store)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

Prepare three 6 inch cake pans

Mix the cake mix, eggs, apple sauce, vanilla paste, and apple cider

Pour evenly into cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until the middles are set

* I prefer to freeze my layers for easier building, but you are welcome to let them cool and use right away.

Beat the cream cheese, shortening, butter, espresso and vanilla paste. Slowly add the powered sugar.

I go back and forth with the cream and sugar until the frosting is thick and creamy. You just don’t want it to be too sweet.

Take one cake layer on a flat surface and wrap with a cake collar. I find them on Amazon for $10 a roll.

Use a piece of tape to secure.

Sprinkle a tsp of apple cider over the layer. Spread a layer of apple butter, top with cream cheese mix, add your next cake layer and repeat. Finish with frosting and pecan pieces.

Happy fall baking!

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Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Fall is finally here! I go back and forth between pumpkin and apples. Honestly, I would have been baking with both way sooner if my family had let me 😂. These very easy baked apple cider donuts are a perfect way to dip into the season!

I bought my donut pan at Target for $10! You can use a muffin tin as well. The easiest way to fill the donut tin is to fill a ziplock with batter and snip the corner. It makes things way less messy.

These last up to 4 days in a sealed container or ziplock. I actually prefer them the day after so all the sugar soaks into the outside.

Ingredients

2 cups of apple cider

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

3 tbsp of browned butter

2 tbsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups of AP flour

Topping

1/2 granulated sugar

3 tbsps of cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Heat apple cider to a simmer. Let reduce to half.

Mix your sugars and cooled butter. (You can also just melt the butter, but browning it gives a little extra something)

Add in the egg and vanilla

Once your apple cider has reduced let cool and add to your wet ingredients

Mix in the dry ingredients- flour, spices, baking soda and powder.

Mix until everything is just combined. Don’t overmix it’s ok if it is a little lumpy

Grease or spray your pan

Pour batter into a ziplock. Cut the corner and fill pan 3/4 of the way

Bake for ten minutes or until golden

Mix your remaining sugar and cinnamon, dip donuts while still warm

These donuts are delicious alone or with a hot cup of espresso!

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Pumpkin Banana Snack Cake

I was going to wait until September 1st to share this recipe, but it is just too good not to share! Plus I am sure we all have overly ripe bananas hanging out!

This cake is so light and fluffy with banana chunks. The brown sugar topping keeps it from drying out. I played around with a lot of different sugar combos and dark brown sugar works the best!

This is best kept at room temperature wrapped up for 3 days. (If it lasts that long!)

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas

1 can of organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 eggs room temperature

1 stick of salted butter softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar (plus more for topping)

2 tbsp of vanilla extract (or pumpkin spice extract if you have it!)

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp nutmeg

1 3/4 cups of AP flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line baking dish with parchment or grease to prepare

I prefer a standard brownie tin square but a loaf pan works too!

Mix sugar and butter until whipped

Add banana and pumpkin until incorporated

Add eggs and vanilla

Add in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.

Sprinkle brown sugar over the top. You don’t have to cover every inch because the sugar is going to melt into a yummy crust!

Bake for 40-45 minutes until cake has risen and middle is set.

You can eat it right away, but we actually prefer it the next day! The brown sugar melts into the cake and it is absolutely magical!

Enjoy!

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Cherry Cobbler

My whole life I have loved anything with cherries. I can never understand how someone could prefer apples or peaches. This cherry cobbler is so easy to put together, but has so much flavor!

I can make this entire dessert in 30 minutes. My kids always think I am a magician. Second best part? Your entire house with smell incredible.

Something about the brown sugar with the almond extract and oats just makes it really special. You could definitely swap out for another fruit, but in my option the nothing compares to a tart cherry.

In the notes I added you can brown the butter. I definitely recommend if you have the time. It adds an extra layer of depth and nuttiness that pairs perfectly with the oats.

You can eat alone warm or top with vanilla ice cream. Fresh whipped cream would also be delicious!

Ingredients

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of quick oats

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup of melted salted butter (brown the butter for extra flavor!)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 cans of low sugar cherry pie filling

1 tbsp of Rodelle Almond Extract

1 tbsp of Rodelle Vanilla Extract

Parchment paper and an oven friendly dish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter and add in 1 tsp cinnamon, almond extract, brown sugar, flour, oats.

Mix until you have a very dry crumble. You can even use your hands to break up the butter and sugar.

Mix together remaining cinnamon, vanilla, and cherries.

Prepare a dish with parchment. Add the cherry filling. Top with the crumble.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm!

I added the links to my favorite extracts above. You can also search the site directly or check your local Walmart! Using quality extract makes a huge difference in getting those intense flavors without an artificial aftertaste.

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Caramelized Onion and Beef Pizza

Pizza is a huge hit in our house! We love making it at home and changing up the toppings.

This pizza plays off classic flavors, but it just a little more special with sweet caramelized onions, crispy ground beef, and calabria chilies.

You can use whatever cheese you love, but I really like the Tillamook Italian blend. The thick cut pieces of provolone and mozzarella melt nicely. Then top everything with a handful of fresh herbs!

Ingredients

  • Premade crust or dough of your choice. I used the DeLallo pizza dough kit
  • 1/2 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup of white onions sliced
  • 1 cup of marinara
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 3 tbsp of chopped Calabria chilies
  • 1 cup of cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped herbs

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 450
  • Roll out your dough or place premade crust on a baking sheet
  • Drizzle olive oil and spread out chopped garlic
  • Bake based on package directions and set to side
  • In a sauté pan, cook your ground beef
  • Drain out the excess fat and add onions, sugar, and butter
  • Cook until onions are golden and tender
  • Spread marinara and chilies over the crust
  • Top with cheese then sprinkle meat and onions over the top
  • Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly
  • Top with herbs and enjoy!!!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

This is such a fun way to make chocolate cake. Deep chocolate fudge cake topped with the crackled meringue and fresh whipped cream. It is a cross between a brownie and macaron.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to try something a little different. When Patrick and I first started dating I would make a dark chocolate cake for two. This reminds me a lot of that flavor profile, but instead of icing a nice crispy meringue topper.

We used strawberries, but raspberries would be equally delicious. Between the fudge cake and meringue I drizzled hazelnut spread for a little extra richness.

Ingredients-

2 cups of dark chocolate

3/4 stick of salted butter

1/4 cup AP flour

3/4 cup of almond flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar divided

1 vanilla bean scraped or tbsp vanilla bean paste

6 eggs, 4 separated

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

Whipped cream and berries for topping

Directions-

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melted butter and chocolate together. In sauce pan or microwave for one minute on high. Add 1/4 cup sugar and brown sugar.

Let cool slightly and whisk in two eggs plus 4 egg yolks. Add in your vanilla bean/ paste. Mix in the salt, AP flour, and almond flour.

Pour into a lined spring form pan. I used an 8in pan for height and put parchment paper down to prevent leaking.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just set enough to hold the meringue.

Warm your hazelnut spread and drizzle over the cake. This does not need to be perfect.

Whip the remaining egg whites and sugar together. Add in the cream of tartar as it whips.

Once the egg whites are glossy and slightly stiff, slowly fold in the cocoa powder. Do not mix, whip, or go to fast. This will deflate your eggs to crumbles.

Spoon over the cake and slightly spread.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until the meringue is set. It will have a slight crust to it.

Let cool and top with whipped cream and berries!

My favorite Cocoa Power is from Rodelle. You can get a giant bag that lasts forever and adds the perfect dark chocolate richness.

Sprinkles I found at Homegoods!

If you want an even more dramatic top just add two more egg whites to the meringue mix.

Enjoy!

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Easy Empanadas with Jalapeño Dip

There is a Cuban restaurant around the corner that makes super simple delicious empanadas. Beef or chicken, crunchy with an amazing dip.

I do not know anything about an authentic empanada, but I do know what would go well with a similar dip.

My version has roasted onion, potatoes, butternut squash, ground beef, and mozzarella. I used frozen empanada dough from my local grocery store. These seem to be pretty accessible. I found them at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix.

Best part is how easy it is to make these! I froze the filling and was able to make them in minutes.

Ingredients

For the empanada

Ground beef cooked and drained

2 cups of butternut squash and gold potatoes cubed

1 small yellow onion chopped

Mozzarella cheese (I like fresh grated for extra melt)

Empanada dough ( I’ve found this in the frozen section at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic

For the dip

1 cup sour cream

1 small ripe avocado

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 fresh jalapeño seeds removed

Juice from 1 lime

Directions

Let your empanada dough defrost.

Roast your squash, potatoes and onion until fork tender.

Add to your beef.

Season and mix.

Take a dough circle and fill it with the beef fixture leaving room to fold over.

Top with cheese.

Fold the circle in half.

I dip a fork into water and push the ends together. Just make sure it is nice and sealed.

You can bake or air fry at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (or until golden)

You can also deep fry at 350 degrees for 1-2 minutes per side.

For the dip

I dump everything into my blender and blend until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. This keeps fresh for up to 5 days in a sealed refrigerated container.

You can also freeze the empanadas. They reheat beautifully! I hope you try these out. Definitely experiment with your fillings! I want to try a breakfast version soon!

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Arancini – Fried Risotto

What is it about the cool weather that makes you crave all the comfort foods? With the temperature dropping we have been eating a lot of risotto. Usually we have so much left over and I don’t know what to do with it. So I was thinking why not fry it?

I used our favorite classic parmesan risotto and made a light crispy crust. Serve with your favorite marinara and extra cheese!

Best part is stuffing them with fresh mozzarella. You end up with a yummy bite reminiscent of mozzarella sticks.

Even picky eaters with love these!

Ingredients

2 cups of risotto chilled

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of panko or bread crumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3 eggs beaten

2 cups of marinara sauce

Canola oil for frying

Fresh Parmesan and parsley for topping

Directions-

Roll risotto into even sized balls

Cut mozzarella into bite size pieces and place inside each risotto ball

Just make sure the cheese is covered

Heat oil to 350 degrees

Season flour with garlic and Italian seasoning

Roll each ball into the flour, dip into eggs and cover with panko

Fry until golden

They will start to float when they are heated through

Season with salt and pepper

Serve with marinara Parmesan and parsley

Enjoy!!!

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