Orange Cornmeal Cakes with PB Chocolate Buttercream

After a much needed break (AKA my job was basically forcing me to take daily afternoon naps…ask Roberto, he’s come home to me asleep more times than I can count), KBB is back in action!

While I knew that this incredible baking job that I started back in November would be hella rewarding, I did not think that would still be struggling this bad with the 2:30am wake-up time! We allllll know that this girl LOVES the morning, I mean, I was waking up to do marathon training runs at 4am last summer, but to actually think at 4am is a totally different ballgame!

Anyways! No one really needs to hear me rambling on and on and on…

I hope that everyone had an eventful few months—even though January-March have never been my favorite of the year, at least they’re just about over and we can focus on the best ¾ of the year!!

Hi Spring! Hi Summer! Hi Fall!

So, as we get into the most lovely, colorful, fully in bloom months, I have learned that here, in Atlanta, Spring isn’t exactly what I’m used to. To me, it’s rain, then SO MANY FLOWERS, cool mornings, mild days…but oh no, it was 85˚ this week…it’s still March. Ahh, at least there’s already beautiful tulips all over! Another plus to this wildly early summertime weather? Farmer’s Markets! They all begin April 1st! What?! YES!

The bakery I work at is all about dem markets, meaning 3 days a week you can see us Lil’ Tarts representin’ our baked goodies around the city! Woo! Bring on busy season from April-December, I’m ready—insert muscle emoji here.

Oh…but this isn’t just a blog where I chit chat for 3 pages, it’s actually about baking. And recipes. And slightly interesting content. So, while I mayyyyy have been MIA (or asleep) for that past few months, at least I came out of hibernation with this bomb recipe—a not-too-sweet cake with a surprise filling and an irresistible frosting!

As (I hope) you all know, my cornbread is amazing. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but, like, it’s so good that I normally eat about half of it, mainly sneaking bites so that I don’t get that girl, are you going to leave me any?!?! look from my darling husband! Now this may be the next best idea I’ve had aside to my cornbread—turning it into CUPCAKES! Whaattttt. Dessert cornbread you say?!

As it warms up, my sweet tooth goes down ever so slightly just because I’m too hot to consume anything that’s not butter lettuce, a green smoothie, popsicles and cold, cold pizza. Okay, sort of exaggerating but you get the idea, right? I came up with this subtly sweet dessert for moments just like described above, and it helps that it’s packed with orange zest to give a refreshing element to it! Hmm, how can we make it even better? Adding a Maine blueberry jam to the center? OKAY! Last, but not least, I had to add something chocolate, because, come on, it’s me…who are we kidding, right?! So all of this goodness is topped with a chocolate peanut butter buttercream…excuse me while I go scarf one down.

So, as I came up with this ingenious idea to turn my cornbread slightly sweeter and force it to become a cake, I’ve also accepted the fact that it’s going to be a bit hotter than I’m used to for a lot longer than I thought possible, but, hey! Give me a box of popsicles, maybe a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and these cupcakes that are bursting with citrus, jam and chocolate, and I think I’m on board!

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

cornmeal cake ingredients

Brown Sugar—4.25 oz, or ½ C

White Granulated Sugar—2 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—4 oz, or ¾ C

Cornmeal—2 oz, or ¼ C + 2 TBL

Salt—1 tsp

Baking Powder—1½ tsp

Cinnamon—1 tsp

Orange Zest—1 TBL, or 1 large orange


Milk—4 oz, or ½ C

Olive Oil—2.25 oz, or ¼ C



Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a large bowl, combine both sugars, the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, olive oil and orange zest.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.

Like a 12-count cupcake pan with liners.

Fill each up about 2/3 of the way.

Optional: sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar for a nice crunch/texture before you bake.

Put in your preheated over for 12 minutes, rotate, then another 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before frosting them!


peanut butter chocolate buttercream ingredients

Peanut Butter—2.25 oz, or ¼ C

Butter (room temperature)—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)—6.25 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Cocoa Powder (sifted)—1.25 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 TBL

Orange Extract—½ tsp

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp



In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter until very smooth.

While this is creaming, sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

In another measuring cup, combine the milk and both extracts.

Once your butters are nice and smooth, slowly add half of your sifted ingredients.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in half of your wet ingredients.

Add the final amount of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder, then the remaining milk/extracts.

Scrape down the bowl.

Turn your mixer up to about medium speed and allow to whip for a good 10 seconds, making your buttercream smooth and fluffy.

Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you may use this to frost with!



As this first step you may omit, I highly recommend that you don’t!

First, using a paring knife, cut out small little cones out of the center of each cake.

Fill them with jam—I have used a Maine blueberry jam, but any kind will work! I find that orange + blueberry complement each other oh so well!

Once each center has been filled, use either just an offset spatula or piping on a nice dollop of buttercream using a round tip, to both completely cover the jam as well as add a good 2 TBL of it on top!

This can be as messy or as clean as you’d like—all depending on your technique and preference!

I have used a medium-sized round tip in my pastry bag to cover the jam with the buttercream, and then also to put enough on before spreading out with the offset.

Finish with any type of sprinkle or sugar that you’d like, or just leave plain as is!


Bon Appétit!

Peanut Butter Carrot Dog Cookies

I am going to just start by saying that this is, by far, the best recipe that I have on this site! I mean, it’s a cookie recipe for two of my furry, four legged best friends—Doc and Jillie!

For any and all of you who follow me on social media, you know that saying that I am obsessed with those two cuties is an understatement! They live with my mom, in Maine, and let me tell you that absence sure does make the heart grow fonder. I am one of those crazy ones who calls my mom to chat with them on the phone, who is always asking for photos, who spends more time with them when I am home visiting than anyone else…

…Roberto just loves that about me!

So, why did I decide to make this recipe right now of all times?! WELL! I was able to go home for a few days this past weekend, and I just couldn’t resist making these. This weekend was jam packed with friends and family, truly nonstop—and so little Doc and Jillie deserved a special treat as well!

What I love about this recipe is that there are only a handful of ingredients in them, and they can all, most likely, be found in your pantry right now. There’s no weird additives, no names you can’t pronounce, just some wholesome, healthy foods to keep your pups happy!

To start, I knew that carrots were a must. These two will whine forever sometimes until they get their carrot snacks—plus it’s super cute to have them do little tricks for them, of course! Also, any way to get some great vegetables into their diets is good with me. Next, a fat, such as peanut butter, is a great alternative to butter any day. Please make sure your pets are not allergic to peanuts/nuts before using any type of nut butters in these cookies!

I have used a combination of oats and whole wheat flour, but if you would rather use an almond meal, or another flour that you know your pets prefer, that is 100% an option. Luckily, the gluten structure is not important in these cookies!

An egg, some milk and/or water will bind these together, and before you know it, you have a great dough!

You may cut these cookies into any shape you would like. I have used a big and a little heart shaped cutter because, well, these two babes have stolen my heart forever! And to make all of you doggie parents out there feel at ease, both Doc and Jillie gobbled these up—and I even taste tested the batch a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t overly sweet as well as had a good texture…they are people-safe, too!

So, to all of my fellow pet infatuated folks out there, give those little ones something to show how much you appreciate them—the ones who will always snuggle, always play, always go for a walk, and always love you—they deserve it!


Carrots, shredded—2oz, or ¾ C

Peanut Butter—8 oz, or 1 C


Water—4 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 oz, or ¼ C

Whole Wheat Flour—12 oz, or 2 C

Oats—1 oz, or ¼ C



Preheat your oven to 325˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the shredded carrots and peanut butter.

Add the egg.

Alternating between the liquid and the dry ingredients, add to the mixer.

Once all is mixed together well, turn out your dough onto a lightly floured work surface.

Roll out the dough until it is about ¼” thick.

Using whatever cutters you would like—I used large and small heart cutters because, well, there’s a big and little doggie receiving these!—cut out cookies until you have no more dough left!

Unlike normal roll out cookie dough, this dough can be rolled and rerolled as many times as needed.

Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a Silpat or nonstick spray.

Bake for 15 minutes, flip them, and then another 15 minutes, so that they can get nice and toasty on each side.

*Note: if you want them softer or crunchier, the baking time may be adjusted, the 15 minutes is more on the crunchy side!*

Allow to cool and let your sweet little doggies enjoy!


Bon(e) Appétit!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

Question—have you ever realized that you had all of these quirky habits as a child and then one day, as an adult, you’re like well what happened to them?! When did I become this semi-normal grownup?

WELL, my sweet baking friends, that happened to me the other day and I just couldn’t get it out of my head!

I woke up the other day simply craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. All I wanted the entire day was my simple PB&J&C. We will get back to the C shortly. Sadly, as a sort of adult, I don’t usually make myself a good old childhood sandwich—I’m constantly thinking about what the best nutrients for my body are, how I can fuel myself each day so I’m not falling asleep by noon or waking up with a stomach ache from too much ice cream.

Adulting is way too hard.

Back to my ever so important craving.

I used to come home most days after school as a child to either an empty house, or my stepdad working, aka Katie makes her own snack time. Now, Roberto will make fun of me until the end of my life for this—but here it is, out in the open for the world to see—the two top afterschool snacks I would make myself.

1. Either about half of a box of noodles with butter and cheese,

Or 2. A toasted peanut butter, jelly, and chocolate chip sandwich.

Carbs and I were, and still are, BFF’s. Just picture this though, warm, toasty bread, melty peanut butter and chocolate chips with cold jelly…I mean come on! It doesn’t get much better than that does it?!

Lately though, I have just been needing one of those sandwiches, which is where the inspiration for this cake came about! So, I give you an ever so rich peanut butter cake matched with even more moist and delightfully light strawberry cake, all sandwiched together with smooth dark chocolate buttercream.

It’s my childhood dream of a cake! …I will still take that sandwich though…

While maybe some days we aren’t feeling young enough to pack up this old favorite in a little baggy, cut into cute triangles with a side of sliced apples, this cake is my more adult version. I swear, put it out for your friends, kids, families, young, old—all will like it, my 25 year old self guarantees it!

peanut butter cake ingredients

Butter, room temperature—2 oz, or 4 TBL

Peanut Butter—3 oz, or ¼ C + 2 TBL

Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C


Vanilla—2 tsp

Flour—12 oz, or 2 C

Baking Powder—2 ½ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Milk—8 oz, or 1 C



Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar.

Once smooth, add in the eggs, one at a time; and then the vanilla.

Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternating with the milk, slowly add this to your mixer while it is on low.

Once all of the ingredients have been added, scrape down one final time to make sure that all has been incorporated evenly.

Prepare an 8” cake pan by spraying with nonstick spray and then either lining the bottom with parchment paper or sprinkling a light coat of flour on it.

Pour the cake batter into your pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top springs back when touched.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before assembly!


strawberry cake ingredients

Butter, room temperature—4 oz, or ½ C

Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C


Vanilla—2 tsp

Flour—12 oz, or 2 C

Baking Powder—2 ½ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Milk—6 oz, or ¾ C

Strawberries, cut—5.5 oz, or ½ C



Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.

Once smooth, add in the eggs, one at a time; and then the vanilla.

Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate cup, combine the milk and strawberries.

Whether you want to use an immersion blender or regular blender to combine the fruit and milk is up to you—this will make sure that the berries are added evenly by blending them!

*If you do not have a blender, very finely chopping the strawberries will work just as well!*

Alternating with the strawberry-milk, slowly add this to your mixer while it is on low.

Once all of the ingredients have been added, scrape down one final time to make sure that all has been incorporated evenly.

Prepare an 8” cake pan by spraying with nonstick spray and then either lining the bottom with parchment paper or sprinkling a light coat of flour on it.

Pour the cake batter into your pan and bake for 40 minutes until the top springs back when touched.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before assembly!


chocolate buttercream ingredients

Butter, room temperature—8 oz, or 1 C

Confectioner’s Sugar—15.5 oz, or 3 ½ C

Cocoa Powder—2.5 oz, or 1 ½ C + 2 TBL

Vanilla—2 tsp

Milk—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL



In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter until very smooth and light.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl and the paddle.

Sift together the sugar and cocoa powder.

When the butter is ready, slowly add in your sifted ingredients.

Add in the vanilla and the milk.

Once everything has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

Turn the mixer on high for about 5-10 seconds, just to get a nicely whipped and smooth buttercream.

Now it is ready for assembly!



This cake can be assembled in oh so many ways, or just slather on a bunch of butterceam onto an entire cake and eat it that way—but I have decided to do checkerboard.

To do this it is simple.

First, cut off the tops of each of your cakes to make sure that they are even and flat.

Next, cut each cake in half—giving you 4 layers total (between both cakes).

To make the checkerboard, use a large circle cutter—or I used a 6” cake pan—to cut out the center of each cake.

Next, using a smaller cutter, cut the center out of the larger circle you just cut out.

Now you should have cut each layer into 3 sections.

To put back together, take a larger circle of one flavor, the middle sized circle of another flavor and then the smaller circle to match the outside flavor.

Example—large PB cake, medium strawberry cake, smallest PB cake.

Do this with each layer, although it is easiest to assemble when you are frosting each layer.

Next, coat the bottom layer with buttercream, spread evenly and put the next layer of checkerboard cake on top.

Do this until you have used all of the cake layers.

For the top and sides, I have left this cake a little messier than usual—because it is a peanut butter and jelly cake and we all make ours a little differently!

Once assembled how you would like, cut a nice large slice for yourself and enjoy.


Bon Appétit!

Chocolate Anniversary Cake

Ready for a crazy fact on this Monday morning? Roberto and I have been dating for 6 years. Something even more wild? In almost 7 months, it will be wedding time! As our last little dating anniversary, I wanted to make it just as special as our first one oh so many years ago! But first—we reflect!

Back to what seems like so long ago, but really just 2010, on our first date. Roberto planned a super fabulous dinner at an Italian place near school, I nervously sweat through maybe 3 shirts, and just ended up wearing something super plain and jeans with a lot of zippers on them…

So, with Italian food being in my top 5, you’d think I would have been so excited, but I barely touched my food, ate too much bread and didn’t even get dessert. Yeah, horrible representation of myself that night!

Luckily, Roberto knew me before that, and had seen me eat a ginormous pizza to myself..

After the fail at a romantic Italian dinner, we then decided to watch football, which is not something to be nervous about, right? Wrong. I got so nervous about the date that I straight up fell asleep. With Roberto there. Embarrassing, no?

I believe that in that first date I did almost everything I could to ruin any potential we had—poor outfit choice, barely ate anything, fell asleep mid game, probably drooled and snored a lot.

But alas! Look at us now, I can’t stop eating and, while I may still fall asleep early rather often, at least I know he’s seen the worst of me.

So, for our last little celebration before the wedding (!!!) in September, this rich chocolate cake was a must to make the day truly special! I wanted to make it as decadent, as fun, and as simple as the two of us—which means enhancing the flavors ever so slightly to really make them pop.

With the addition of coffee to the chocolate cake, your mind will be blown with how rich it becomes. While the coffee flavor is quite faint, it helps the chocolate cake truly shine, and I promise you will never taste anything so delicious and moist! The filling is my personal favorite match made in heaven: chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t even think that I need to explain why this is the perfect buttercream of all time! All of that super yummy, ooey gooey fabulousness of peanut butter basically wrapped in chocolate? Sign me up for a spoonful or two!

Lastly, the quick little meringues as a tasty garnish on top give these cakes just the pop of color and crunch that you need! Making them is a cinch, and they are so versatile—a perfect vehicle for all flavors and colors, and they allow you to dress up this full of love, anniversary cake!

While these crazy 6 years with Roberto may have started on an awkward, strange note, they have only become more weird and wild. To me, there is no better way to celebrate than with a glass of champagne and lots and lots of this chocolate anniversary cake!

cake ingredients

Sugar—9 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Flour—6 oz, or 1C + 1 TBL

Cocoa Powder—2 oz, or ¾ C

Baking Powder—1 ¼ tsp

Baking Soda—½ tsp

Salt—½ tsp

Corn Syrup—1.25 oz, or 2 TBL

Milk—3.75 oz, or ½ C


Vanilla Extract—1 ¼ tsp

Brewed Coffee—3.5 oz, or ½ C

Butter—6 oz, or 1 ½ sticks



Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the corn syrup, milk, eggs, vanilla and brewed coffee.

Using your paddle attachment and mixer, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.

Once you have creamed your butter, add in half of the dry sifted ingredients and half of the wet ingredients.


Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the remaining sifted ingredients and wet ingredients.

Once all combined, pour cake batter into your prepared 10” cake pan.

To prepare your pan, spray with nonstick spray and then sprinkle a very light dusting of flour on it, making sure to fully (but thinly) coat the bottom and sides of your pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when touched

Allow to cool completely before cutting and decorating.


buttercream ingredients

Butter, softened—4 oz, or 1 stick

Peanut Butter—4 oz, or ½ C

Confectioner’s Sugar—15 oz, or 3 C

Cocoa Powder—2.5 oz, or 1 C

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Milk—4 oz, or ½ C



In the bowl of your mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the softened butter and peanut butter.

Sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

Once your butter/peanut butter is smooth, slowly add in the sifted ingredients.

When combined, stream in your extract and milk.

When everything is added to the bowl, whip on high for about 30 seconds, to really make your buttercream nice and fluffy!

Now you can spread on the cooled cake.


meringue ingredients

Confectioner’s Sugar—9.5 oz, or 2 ¼ C

Egg Whites—4.75 oz, or 4 large

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Food Coloring—optional



Preheat your oven to 200˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the sugar and egg whites.

Using a medium sized pot, create a double boiler with the bowl from your mixer.

Turn a burner on, to medium, and continue to whisk so that the sugar can dissolve.

Using a candy thermometer, cook this egg white/sugar mixture (constantly whisking) until it reaches 115˚-120˚ F.

When you have reached the correct temperature, transfer to your stand mixer, attach the whisk, and turn to high.

Whip for about 5-8 minutes, until stiff, shiny peaks form.

Add in your vanilla/flavor—which is optional.

Add in your food coloring—also optional!

When you have reached a medium-stiff peak with the meringues, transfer to a piping bag that has been fitted with a star tip.

Also—you may use a heavy duty Ziplock bag for this, and piping tips are not required, just make for a fun design!

On parchment paper or a Silpat, pipe out whatever meringues you like—I like rosettes, kisses and hearts, very simple to do!

When you are finished piping, place in your preheated oven for about an hour, rotating every 20 minutes, until they are completely dried out.

Decorate your cake with your fun and festive meringues!


to decorate

I made these into little anniversary cakes—super simple and basically individualized.

First, trim off the top of your cake.

Using a round cutter, cut out as many circles as you can, a 10” should make from 6-8, depending on the cutter size.

Cut each cake in half.

Spread a dollop of buttercream on the bottom layer of your cake (no simple syrup required!).

Place the second layer on, and spread more buttercream on top, decorate with meringues, sprinkles, or just eat like that!


Bon Appétit!

Healthy Granola Bars

Have I mentioned that I am the ultimate snacker? While I try to make the better decisions like carrots and nuts, if a chocolate chip gets in my line of sight, I can’t help myself and just go for it!

With winter upon us and Storm Jonas covering our little city of Charleston in about 18” of snow, the most physical activity that we’ll be getting anytime soon is shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling, meaning that choosing healthy and filling snacks is a must. Do I wish that I had a little bit more self-control and focused more on meals and less on snacks? Absolutely! But then I wouldn’t be able to eat these insanely good granola bars, or these Whole Wheat Muffins packed with protein, so maybe snacking is the way to go!

On Thursday when I headed to the supermarket the day before the big storm hit, I stocked up on the must haves—fruits, veggies, lots of milk, coconut flour, chips and salsa…

I got home, and was like yes, chips and salsa are fabulous, but if we want something hearty, healthy and filling when it’s time to find our cars under the snow, we need a little something else. Roberto and I really love a good granola bar, but sometimes they can be full of ingredients that no one has ever heard of, and that’s just a no go in this house!

Cue in these granola bars.

The base had to be oaty and nutty for me, always! From there, you can really add anything—spices, seeds, fruit, chocolate! The option of a nut flour is definitely there, but coconut flour adds a slight sweetness, so you can add little to no sugar in the rest of the bar. I love all types of dried fruit, and the dried cranberries can be swapped for something else. The crucial points in this bar? Oats, coconut flour, honey and peanut butter. It is best to use honey over agave or maple syrup because it has more of a viscous texture compared to the others and therefore will hold the bar together better. Almond flour and butter instead of coconut flour and peanut butter? Certainly—you can change that!

If I haven’t won you over so far, get ready for this. This recipe makes 8 bars. Each bar comes in at a delicious 225 calories, 13g of fat and 5g of protein! Tell me you aren’t grabbing your mixing bowl right now!

These granola bars are super healthy, full of great quality ingredients and will fuel all activities—from shoveling to stacking wood to all of your winter storm fun!


Oats—1.5 oz, or ½ C

Coconut Flour—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Pecans, chopped—2 oz, or ½ C

Dried Cranberries—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Cayenne Pepper—¼ tsp

Cinnamon—½ tsp

Chia Seeds—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Salt—¼ tsp

Honey—2.5 oz, or ¼ C

Peanut Butter—3.25 oz, or 1/3C

Vanilla Extract—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Chocolate Chips—3 oz, or ¼ C + 1 TBL


Preheat your oven to 300˚ F.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, pecans, cranberries, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chia seeds and salt. Mix.

In a heat proof bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter.

Heat in the microwave, or it can be over the stove in a pot, until the peanut butter is nice a melted. *I like to use crunchy peanut butter for this recipe, it gives the bars an added crunch factor—but creamy is fine too!*

Once melted, add in the vanilla extract, and pour all into the dry ingredients mixture.

Using either your hands or a spatula, mix until combined. Your granola mixture will feel slightly stiff, but that’s what you want!

Fold in the chocolate chips.

*You may add the chocolate chips in with the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with the melted peanut butter and honey. The end result in taste is the same, but the chips will melt, making your bars more a chocolate color!*

To bake, I use a square 8”x8” pan, line it with parchment and press the bars evenly into the pan.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, until the oats just start to brown.

*You could also freeze the bars instead of baking to hold their shape, but I love the crispy oat texture and taste!*

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Cut into bars—you will get 8 out of this pan, and they are only 225 calories each!

Bon Appétit!