This week we've been piling on layers and the warmest wool socks. It's darn chilly here! We're scheduled to get more icy weather this weekend, so businesses will close and the world will slow temporarily. What better opportunity to whip marshmallows into mousse while wearing flannel PJ's, right?

I consider these snowy verrines with garnet red berries my ode to January.  I can't believe we're nearing the month's end.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

-- John Updike

One thing that I've been loving lately - dresden trim.  Little foil stars and snowflakes... I just can't keep them off my confections. I use them for cupcake toppers and I like to tie them onto cookie-filled treat bags. They make everything so pretty. These were found at D. Blumchen and Co. if you're interested in getting some for yourself.

Things have been quiet around here this week, but my hands have been busy with new opportunities and happy things on the horizon.  There's also been rain - which I usually love, but this week it's been a non-stop-icy-cold rain of biblical proportions. We just might need an ark! And we certainly need the comfort of a good pie.

When it comes to pie, I always seem to gravitate toward deep-dish.  And ever since the creation of this pie, I can't seem to keep sprinkles out of my graham crusts. Although the sprinkles are optional for this pie, the extra touch of chocolate in the crust is nice -pretty too. If you can find chocolate vermicelli such as Deruyter brand (check your local international market) the chocolate flavor will be more pronounced than the usual cake-decorating variety of chocolate sprinkles.

Most banoffee pies have a soft texture that I find comparable to banana pudding or Tiramisu  This version is a little different.  It is still rather soft, but its toffee portion is more firm and caramel-like.  I love how well it holds up to slicing.  It has a great big cloud of whipped cream and a whole mess of chocolate curls on top - heaven!

If sprinkles make me happy, then sprinkles on a Kate Spade purse will make me turn cartwheels.  And I nearly flipped when I saw her Sprinkles Mallory Wristlet.  It's adorable and even though I'm no fashion maven, I simply had to have it.  It's just the sort of thing that I can't resist sharing so I'm giving one away!

I also made some delicious little lemon sandies and sprinkled them to match. They are as cute as a button and really easy to make, so even if you don't win the Kate Spade wristlet you can still have pretty sprinkle cookies any time you like!

These were intended to be a Valentine's day treat, but after tasting them I decided they're a good idea for any occasion! And it's not like these are any great deviation from the norm here - pink, ruffles and chocolate are a common affair at SprinkleBakes - at any time of the year.  So I decided to go ahead and post them today.

The chocolate cake recipe comes from my favorite quick "one bowl" batter, but I've pared down the quantity considerably.  This recipe makes exactly 9 standard cupcakes. You might squeeze in an extra cupcake (to make an even 10) if you effectively scrape every last bit of batter from the bowl with a rubber spatula. That means no sampling the batter or licking the bowl - which is why I will always end up with 9 cupcakes instead of 10.

One thing is for certain, these cupcakes are all about variety. You get a little of everything - rich chocolate cake, vanilla and strawberry buttercream, and a surprise flavor-filled bonbon on top! 

Happy 2013, friends!

Looking back at 2012, it was a book-signing, NYC-visiting, Etsy-ingwedding-cake-baking, kind of year. And although last year will be hard to beat, the coming year is wholly welcomed with open arms.  I just love a good fresh start, don't you?

This year's posting starts off with fancy little Earl Grey Tea Cakes all decked out in silver stenciling. Emphasizing differences in appearance and flavor is one of my favorite things to do with dessert, and the midnight black covering on these cakes is a definite contrast to the bright-tasting, fruity interior.

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