i'm beginning to see a running (and delicious) theme here. my sister enjoys baking with coffee, and that's NOT a bad thing. last month she made an amazing peppermint mocha chocolate cake and this previous week, she whipped up some chocolate caramel espresso cupcakes that are SO good! scroll down for the full recipe. 

INGREDIENTS for the cupcakes

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream

caramel to taste


INSTRUCTIONS for the cupcakes

preheat your oven to 350 degrees

line two cupcake pans with liners

mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl

whisk the cocoa powder + hot water in a small bowl. set aside

stir together (over medium heat) the butter and sugar

transfer to a  stand mixer bowl and whip until creamy

add eggs, vanilla, caramel, and cocoa mixture, and then the dry ingredients.

mix until smooth and pour into pan. bake for approx. 15 mins


INGREDIENTS for the icing

1 cup butter, softened

4½ to 5 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla

5 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk, I prefer heavy cream

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons of brewed coffee

vday at bb's.jpg

INSTRUCTIONS for the icing

in a medium bowl combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cream/milk and salt

beat for 5 to 7 minutes until light and fluff

pour in the coffee

add more powdered sugar as needed for thicker frosting

 add cream/milk, a little at a time, to thin frosting.

score another one for claire and for coffee! the icing on these babies are seriously so good and taste just like coffee ice cream. the chocolate and the caramel in the cake really brings out the espresso taste. are you a fan of coffee foods? or do you like to stick to drinking it? or do you not like it at all? i'm pretty good with all of it's forms. haha. enjoy!

cake recipe adapted from here, and icing from here


we're getting so close to christmas! here's claire, returning with some awesome stocking stuffers! passing off the gift guide baton... now!

hey friends! it's claire - back again with the third installment of the T+T holiday gift guide. this one's all about the stocking stuffers! i've searched for my favorite little gifts that will be the perfect topper on a wrapped present, or an awesome suprise inside a stocking. 

  1. christmas mug / forever 21

  2. white + rose gold headphones / forever 21

  3. getaway passport holder /

  4. mini tassel garland / oh happy day!

  5. softest face brush / forever 21

  6. sticker book /

  7. diana + meg edition camera / lomography

  8. peach lotion / urban outfitters

these gifts would make for the best stocking on christmas morning. i know i'd love to get any of these presents this holiday season! with these guys - you can't go wrong. -claire


i love coffee. i get the same exact drink every time i walk into a starbucks, white chololate mocha with two pumps of toffee nut syrup. once christmastime rolls around, i switch to the peppermint mocha - and all the holiday feels come flooding in with the first sip. when my sister told me about this recipe she found that turns my favorite christmas drink into a cake, i was ALL FOR IT!

peppermint mocha chocolate cake-35.jpg

hey guys! it's claire, molly's sister. i found this recipe off of the urban outfitters blog and just knew i had to test it out for myself. keep scrolling to get started!

INSTRUCTIONS for the cake

preheat your oven to 350 degrees and begin by combining all your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. add in the milk + water, eggs, and  veggie oil + peppermint extract, mixing thoroughly in between each addition. distribute evenly into three pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

INGREDIENTS for the cake

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water (room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

INSTRUCTIONS for the frosting

combine all ingredients together, until "light and fluffy", or until you've reached your desired consistency. use a long serrated knife to shave off the tops of the three cakes, once they've cooled. after evening them out, spread the frosting on top of each layer, sprinkling crushed peppermint candy on top of the frosting in between each layer.

INGREDIENTS for the frosting

  • 2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • crushed round peppermint candies or peppermint candy canes

INSTRUCTIONS for the chocolate ganache

melt your chocolate in a pot over medium heat, stirring to keep an even consistency. add in the cream and stir once more, so that you get a nice, smooth ganache. using a spoon, spread the ganache around the sides and the top. if you want that "naked cake" look, use a cake scraper around the edges, so that the vanilla frosting shows through.  

INGREDIENTS for the chocolate ganache

  • 1 1/2 cup bitter or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream

slicing up the perfect piece. ^^

i'm in love with this photo ^^^

peppermint mocha chocolate cake-33.jpg

and there you have it! i loved making this cake, and so did molly. it's the the perfect treat for a cold winter day, a friendly christmas party, or anything in between. while you're enjoying your delicious cake, i'll be over here thinking up new ways to make coffee into cakes, because - why not? merry christmas!  


after creating the first T+T gift guide, i asked my sister to pick her favorite beauty essentials for the next entry! i know you'll love each of her picks - so will all the beauticians on your list! here's claire!

when molly asked me to curate the second gift guide - one for the beauty lovers - i knew exactly what to put on it. 

  1. white + rose gold curling iron /  sephora

  2. green tea eye mask / sephora

  3. fresh sugar lip balm / sephora

  4. dry bar hair set / sephora

  5. naked 3 palette / sephora

  6. rosemary + willow oil / urban outfitters

  7. first aid beauty kit / sephora

the dry bar kit is high up on my christmas list, and the fresh sugar lip balm would be extremely nice in the brisk chicago wind! these gifts are be perfect for everyone, from the beyónce wannabe to the beauty guru. merry christmas! -claire