Vanilla "Bunny Tail" Coconut Cupcakes

So. Apparently Easter is right around the corner? It's amazing how quickly these holidays sneak up on you. Before I know it... boo! It will be Halloween! But really, how excited are you for Easter?
Maybe it's because this winter has been so long & grueling, that I am looking forward to everything Easter brings. Family, sweet treats, devilled eggs, tulips, chocolates, treasure hunts, spring cleaning... wait. Not so much that last one, but you get the point. Easter brings the fun!
And nothing is more fun than these cute-as-a-bunny-tail vanilla cupcakes! Boy are they delicious (no really, "J" and I have almost devoured a whole batch... before Easter)! The cake is the perfect density, the buttercream icing is rich & sweet, and the shredded coconut on top adds a cute "fluffy" bunny tail effect! I know my niece and nephew will love these (if they make it to their house)!
Vanilla "Bunny Tail" Coconut Cupcakes
These cute-as-a-bunny-tail vanilla cupcakes are the perfect addition to your family gathering this Easter. The simple vanilla cake is flavourful & moist, not to mention perfectly complemented by the rich buttercream icing.

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated (via Epicurious)

2 1/4 cups self-rising cake flour
1 cup almond milk, at room temperature 
6 large egg whites, at room temperature 
2 tsp almond extract 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp table salt 
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pan by inserting paper cupcake liners.
2. In a bowl, combine almond milk, egg whites, and extracts. Mix with fork until blended.
3. In a large bowl, mix together cake flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and beat with an electric mixer at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
4. Add all but 1/2 of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for an additional minute.
5. Divide batter among lined cupcake pans, filling them 2/3 of the way.
6. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 27-30 minutes.
7. Set aside and let cool before frosting.

Buttercream Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt (I used a maple sea salt)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp heavy cream

1. Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment, and mix sugar and butter on low speed, 2-3 minutes.
2. As it starts to come together increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
3. Add salt, vanilla, and cream. Beat on medium for another 1-2 minutes. Add more cream as needed.
4. Either use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge and allow to soften before using.
PS. I also want to call attention to the adorable (and beautifully decorated) cupcake cookies! I picked these up last weekend (while out with the girls on our #CarbSafari2) from the cutest little bakery in Waterloo called Honey Bake Shop. If you are ever in Waterloo, I highly suggest checking them out!

My Top 7

1. It's the First Day of Spring! // Today was truly a beautiful spring day. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and temperatures stayed above 0C for most of the day! Did I get outside to enjoy it. Nope. But it was still nice to see the sunshine streaming through my office window.
2. Caprese Panzanella Salad // It's safe to say I have eaten this salad every day this week. I am obsessed. Perfectly ripe tomatoes... fresh mozzarella cheese... sweet basil... tangy balsamic... crunchy croutons. Ugh. I die.
3. Mini Eggs // Easter weekend is a mere two weeks away. Two weeks! I think Easter would sneak up on me much faster if it weren't for mini eggs. As soon as I see them on the shelves I know Easter can't be too far off.
4. Featured! // My dreamy, white guest bedroom makeover is getting lots of press these days. I was featured on the Urban Barn blog, Stephanie of Lealou gave me shout out in her "Links I Clicked This Week" post, and Polish the Nest featured my nightstand on Instagram. Thanks of all the support!
5. Waterloo Foodie Tour // Tomorrow some of my favourite food ladies are coming into town for a little foodie tour! We'll be heading up to Elora for some fresh baked bread, hitting up Timeless Materials for some props, visiting Vincenzo's for some sweets, and ending up at Taco Farm. Fun day ahead!

6. Maddy // God I love this pup. That is all! #MyLittleGirl
7. LinkedIn Workshop for Entrepreneurs // I'm excited and honoured to be leading a 1 hour workshop on "LinkedIn Strategies to Grow Your Business" with WINC Waterloo on March 24th! If you're an entrepreneur who is interested in learning how to use LinkedIn, check out my workshop details. If there is enough interest after the fact, I may turn it into a webinar. What do you think!?

Happy Weekend Friends!

Irish Coffee with Bailey's Whipped Cream

I don't know about you, but I'm a "don't-talk-to-me-until-I-have-a-coffee-in-me" kind of girl (this mug totally applies to me, and is on my wishlist). I cannot be held responsible for my actions should you encounter me straight out of bed without a coffee in my hand. There is such a moment of clarity and happiness when that first sip hits my lips. It's like "aahhh, now I can start my day."
Irish Coffee for St. Patrick's Day
Up until a few years ago enjoying a shot of Bailey's in my coffee was as "Irish" as I got. That is until I had my first, real Irish coffee at The Buena Vista in San Francisco. What a place! The Buena Vista's technique for pouring the perfect cup of coffee took years to perfect, but in 1952 they found the ideal coffee/whiskey/cream ratio and have been using that recipe ever since.  
Irish Coffee for St. Patrick's Day
While I may not drink an Irish coffee everyday, I can't think of a better occasion than St. Patrick's Day to indulge in a glass! So cheers to another St. Patrick's Day... may the luck of the Irish be with you!
Irish Coffee
There's no better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a mug of freshly brewed Irish coffee. The strong & flavourful coffee is taken up notch with a shot of whiskey, while the Bailey's infused whipped cream provides a sweet richness to every sip.

Yield: 3 glasses of Irish coffee

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 oz Irish Whiskey
3-4 cups hot black coffee
Optional garnish: cinnamon and chocolate shavings

1. In a stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream and Bailey's until light and fluffy.
2. Divide the brown sugar between three glass. Pour 1 oz of whiskey into each glass and stir until sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour in hot coffee and stir. Top with Bailey's whipped cream, a dash of cinnamon, and some chocolate shavings (if using).

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar & fat" ~ Alex Levine

5 Casual Items to Wear Every Weekend

Weekend Casual Outfit

I'm not going to lie, it's been quite the week. After being out last weekend with the stomach flu (oh god I hope that never happens again... ever!), I am looking forward to spending the weekend catching up on blog related projects (I've got a fun partnership in the works!), hanging out with friends, and IF time permits... cleaning my house!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend friends! Stay healthy out there!