In The Kitchen: Pumpkin Cupcakes & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

October 30, 2013

I tend to spend a ton of time in the kitchen during the fall season. I bake more than I cook, and enjoy it thoroughly. While I can make a mean turkey with the works - I would pick whipping up a delicious dessert over that any day! I love how my little one enjoys baking just as much as I do - and how we are carrying on the mother-daughter tradition of quality time in the kitchen. 

Here's one of our favorite fall recipes that's perfect for any holiday celebration. Simply change up the decor or keep it simple for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's light, moist, gently sweet, and perfectly spiced. My cake recipes tend to serve up large quantities. For a smaller batch, simply cut down measurements into 1/3 of what's stated below and reduce baking time by 2 - 3 minutes. If you prefer to make the miniature sized cupcakes, reduce baking time by 3-5 minutes.

(Makes about 3 dozen)

For the cupcakes:
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6  large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and whisk together.  Set aside.
3. In another large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix well.
4. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, and mix with an electric mixer just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each a little over halfway.
6. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine cream cheese and butter until thoroughly blended (on medium-high speed).
2. Gradually add the sugar.
3. Add the cinnamon and vanilla.

After piping on the frosting with a star tip, we did three different types of Fall/Halloween inspired cupcakes. For the pumpkin ones, we simply added "mellowcreme" pumkpin candies for garnish. The mini cupcakes were adorned with simple plastic bat and spider rings (from the dollar store that I had left over from a few years back). And for the mummies, we picked up a Wilton mummy decorating kit, here - Natalies pick! I'm always on the look out for fun decorating options that are super easy yet look great, so she can have a hand at the decorating with little to no supervision (seriously, at this age it's all about "I can do it all by myself!").

* Pardon the photo quality! Fall also means the sun sets way earlier and we didn't get that natural light. ;)

Hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out! Happy Halloween!

Holiday Giveaway From Minted

Thanks to minted, we have got our holiday cards covered! We picked a gold foil pressed design and combined it with a black and white family photo. I think it turned out fabulous, and we couldn't be happier! It's cheery yet still along the lines of our minimalist style. The gold foil is a unique touch. I'm extremely impressed with minted's outstanding customer service and the quality of their cards - not to mention, their designs are truly one-of-a-kind (all sourced from independent designers).

Because I adore minted, I want to share their products with one lucky reader. They're giving a generous $100 credit towards a holiday card order. The winner will be chosen by November 1, 2013 and contacted via email. 

Here's what you have to do to enter this giveaway:
1. COMMENT on this post by sharing your favorite holiday tradition, please leave your email address.
2. FOLLOW @craftandcouture and @minted on instagram and/or twitter
3. REPOST the photo above and tag #mintedholidaygiveaway and #craftandcouture

Good luck! :)


Style File: Ladylike

October 29, 2013

The irony in my style is that despite being a girly-girl  (i.e. lover of dressing up, shopping, etc), I prefer minimalist and structured looks over frilly and extremely feminine pieces.  I feel my best in my jeans and pants - like I can move, get things done, and pretty much conquer the world. Now that the skirt silhouettes are less boho-chic and more streamlined, I thought I would give them a shot. I picked up this Celine-inspired one at Zara, and couldn't be more happy or at ease wearing it. It's perfectly feminine (with its subtle flare and movement) and structured at the same time. My type of skirt!

Sweater:  GAP  //  Skirt:  Zara  //  Heels:  Alexander Wang  //  Purse:  Celine  // 
Sunglasses: Celine  //  Lips: Chanel glossimer #04


Style File: A Few of My Favorite Things

October 20, 2013

We all have our fair share of off days each month. Those days you feel an overwhelming lack of creativity, energy or excitement to do anything - even dress up. If I wore what I felt like today, it would have " need of a massage" written all over it. I find that the best remedy for that is to actually fight the urge to step out in those sweatpants, and put on something that makes me feel amazing. For me, they are simple and classic pieces. Over the years I've stocked up on essentials (by now you must know I primarily wear black, white and gray) that don't require much thought and effortlessly pair well with each other. So when those moments kick in,  I can take a step back, close my eyes, and just grab a few of my favorite things:

An oversized white button-up
I love these shirts so much I bought a handful. Soft, lightweight cotton in a borrowed-from-the-boys fit. More often than not, these amazing bargain finds are even more special to me than something priced 100x more. Forever 21 top here.

Dark skinny jeans
Super soft, stretchy, and supremely flattering J Brand super skinnies make for one happy mama.

Comfortable black heels
These affordable 2 inch-high pointy suede pumps were a steal at HM. Similar here.

Cozy scarf
Loved the softness and feel of this camel colored scarf  from HM. Similar here.

Whether its to hide a bad hair day, or bags under my eyes - a good hat or cap is essential. Forever 21 wool cap.

Leather Tote
My Cuyana tote is perfect in every way. I can take it anywhere, wear it with everything, and rock it night and day.

This list is proof that closet staples don't need to cost an arm and a leg ;) Look beyond the tags, name brands, and sizes - you'll be surprised at how easy it is to shop for timeless favorites.

What are your go-to classic pieces? Thanks for dropping by!

Splurge or Save: Wool Baseball Caps

October 16, 2013

Images Via

I love the way Stella McCartney effortlessly mixes sporty with tailored pieces. It's those unexpected details that make a great stand-out ensemble. She proves that even a minimalist head-to-toe look is anything but boring. Baseball caps have been a huge trend these past couple of seasons, but I've been particularly coveting the wool versions as seen in her Fall 2013 collection. It's the perfect accessory to tone down an otherwise super dressy outfit. I'll be pairing caps with almost everything in my fall wardrobe. 

S P L U R G E   O R   S A V E :
Stella McCartney Wool Baseball Cap $300  here

Eugenia Kim Joey Cap $188 here

Forever21 Modernist Baseball Cap $8.80 here

I just picked up the more affordable version by Forever21 (in both black and grey). It's a great alternative - you can't beat that price! Looks expensive and totally pulls off the same luxe minimalist vibe.

Thanks for dropping by!


Style File: Sweater Weather

October 13, 2013

Fall is in the air! Loved heading out in this cozy ensemble. The oversized sweater and boyfriend jean combo will be on constant replay all season long.

What will you be rockin on repeat this fall? Thanks for dropping by! Have a great week ahead :)

Sweater: Michael Kors, Thrifted  //  Jeans: Rag & Bone (old, Nordstrom Rack score) //  
Heels: Christian Louboutin  //  Purse: Cuyana  //  Sunglasses: Celine  // Cuff: Forever 21


Finally Found: Perfect Leather Leggings

October 11, 2013

Shopping with a budget in mind means it makes finding that perfect piece so much more difficult. I can go out and spend $1200 on a perfect pair of leather pants made from the best materials and immaculate construction - but that would be too easy and too tough on my wallet. I was born with this knack to make things more difficult for myself because I enjoy the hunt - that high out of getting something sooo good for so much less. Also, I don't tend to spend a lot on clothing. (Shoes and bags are the only exceptions to my bargain hunting ways.)

Last year I searched high and low for real leather leggings at or below the $500 range (the faux ones were just not cutting it for me) . You must know that that's pretty much like searching for a unicorn. I missed the boat on the ones Zara had for $399 (that lasted in the stores for like 3 seconds). Then one day I hit the jackpot and found a pair of Milly pants at Nordstrom Rack- loved the price so much I just got them, but the fit is really too loose (they're now for sale in my Poshmark closet). Then, I scored a pair by Theory at the Barney's outlet - much better, but the fit is more like a slim pant than skinny. And they're just a bit too long - still a love though!  I wear them a lot (just tuck the ends under to crop them). Unconsciously I've still been hunting down my dream leggings.

Finally...found! Search is over. I can finally walk past a leather pant without trying them on. SO happy. I'll be alternating between these and the Theory's all year long. Madwell's fit is amazing, and the leather is buttery soft and stretchy. Not to mention it's the perfect length. All for $550. Ok, a little above my intended budget, but trust me this is the best deal for the fit and quality you will find. Ever. 

In awe that I just wrote a 500-word essay on leggings. Worth it. Trust me. Get them here.

Splurge or Save: Patent Loafers

Images via

I adore Evangelie (such a pretty name) of Styleheroine. Her outfits never fail to inspire me - edgy, cool, minimalist...yet very easy and attainable. I'm obsessed with the Celine patent loafers she's rocking in these photos. Here are two affordable versions I've been eyeing:

(Top) Pour la Victoire Zarin here
(Bottom) ZARA patent leather slip-ons  here

The wallet-friendly versions are almost identical! ;) Thanks for dropping by, have a great weekend!

Style File: Sneaker Sunday

October 06, 2013

Looks like fall is going to be fashionably late! The temperature rose considerably this weekend - but no one is really complaining around here. Transitional weather means we get to make the most of summer pieces by pairing them with cozy wear. Today called for my over-worn Zara skorts and a simple oversized bargain sweatshirt from Forever 21. I initially paired this outfit with flat sandals, but felt like going for a little fun and sporty contrast today. It may or may not be influenced by all my hubby's Sunday sporting events! 

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

Sweatshirt:  Forever21  //  Skorts: Zara  // Sneakers: Nike (Eclipse II)  //  Purse:  Celine  //
Sunglasses: Celine  //  Necklace: Made by Caitlin Flemming


Currently Coveting: Fall Essentials

October 02, 2013

My favorite time of the year hands down, is fall. Layers, coats, fur and leather - bring on the cooler temps! Nothing makes me happier than cozy wear and accessories. My typical fall uniform consists of my fave pair of jeans, a comfy sweater, statement coat, booties, and a great handbag. Here are a few staples I'm coveting at the moment.

What are your go-to fall essentials? Thanks for dropping by!

Style File: Vintage Thrifted Coat

October 01, 2013

Waking up to cooler and cooler temperatures every morning! I rolled out of bed and into this super comfy and cozy oversized coat I picked up at a thrift store recently. Love wrapping myself up in comfortable layers. So excited to finally be able to wear all my fall favorites! Now off to pick up a salted caramel mocha...

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you are having a great week so far.

Coat: Vintage, Thrifted  //  Shirt: HM  //  
Jeans: J Brand  //  Heels, Purse, Sunglasses: Celine

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