Isn't this cake pretty? Dusted with icing sugar, with decorative cutouts of snowflakes, nothing reflects the winter season more. Plus, the lemony flavour reflects the fact that January is citrus season!

The reason behind making this cake was because of two ingredients that I wanted to use up--plain yogurt and lemons. So...what does one do? Go to your trusty friend, Ina Garten, who has never let you down.

This is one of her "lighter" recipes, in the sense that it doesn't include any butter. However, it does include a fair amount of oil, which I cut back by half and still ended up with a dense, moist, lemony cake. I think I should have added a bit more lemon zest, because it wasn't lemony enough for me.

The recipe originally calls for a lemon glaze to be poured over the top, but it was snowing the day I baked this, and that's how the icing sugar snowflake topping was born. I traced out snowflake shapes from one of my cookie cutters, placed the cutouts on the surface of the baked yogurt cake, and dusted away...

I highly recommend this recipe, especially if you happen to find yourself with an excess of lemons and plain yogurt. Or make it just because the Barefoot Contessa is awesome.
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I and green? Is this deja vu? Surely Christmas must have already passed! I did make these chocolate cupcakes before Christmas; my post is just a wee bit late...

I made these cupcakes for a Secret Santa exchange, and I think they just looked so pretty with their red-and-green-flecked tops. Put sprinkles on anything, and it just makes everything look so much more fun.

I mixed and matched recipes from two sources: the cupcake recipe was from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, which is a book that I've had for almost a year now (I got it last year as a Christmas gift), but have not used nearly enough as I would have liked. The cream cheese frosting was from The New York Times Dessert Cookbook, which I never grow tired of flipping through. It seems as if each time I peruse this book, I always find a new recipe or story. It's an awesome collection of recipes, which I'm glad to have found for only $8 (at Borders, in the U.S.A. These are the kind of sales that I love!).

First, the cupcakes. The original recipe was for a red velvet cupcake, but I decided to forego the "red" part. As a result, the batter and the final cupcakes took on a weird, brown-greyish hue, which looked quite unappealing (or at least to me, it did). Nevertheless, I baked them off and was pleasantly surprised to find that they rose pretty evenly. I always find that whenever I make cupcakes or muffins, they always have a domed top, which was not the case here. While they were cooling, I made the cream cheese frosting. No matter how long I let the cream cheese sit out at room temperature, or how many times I sift the powdered sugar, I always manage to end up having lumps in my cream cheese icing. How do I make it perfectly smooth? Any suggestions to help a fellow human out? I disliked the lumps, but after much whisking and smushing and beating, those lumps still remained. So I frosted the cupcakes anyways. And nobody mentioned anything about the lumps. Or maybe everyone was just being polite.

I baked these on the first day I came back home from school, and it felt awesome. I have to say I've missed baking in my own kitchen.