Vegan-Vanilla, rainbow cupcakes

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

I don’t typically share my cupcake recipes, since they are my little gifts and my bread-and-butter. Today I’m breaking my own rule. I debuted the Vegan Rainbow cupcake at MiaBella, just a few weeks ago and it was a hit! It’s simple and a very fun way to make a very colorful and tasty cake, without the use of eggs or dairy.

My inspiration was my sweet little girl. She was turning 11 and she wanted a rainbow cake. She also wanted one of her best friends to enjoy the cake and she is allergic to eggs, so I figured I’d give it a try to color my favorite Vegan-vanilla cake recipe. It worked!

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

It’s fluffy and beautiful. Another fun idea – it works great for stacked cakes too! Here was my sweetheart’s 11th birthday cake, made with the same recipe.

Vegan rainbow cake - recipe via

For the purists to enjoy a truly Vegan cake, you need to use a “butter” substitute that is truly Vegan. I do not like shortening and will never use it to top cupcakes. This brand, is the very best Vegan alternative that I’ve found and you can use it exactly like butter. There is also a soy-free version. I must confess that since I’m not Vegan, I’d switch to salted butter in a heartbeat.

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

Back to the cake! Let’s make it happen! Here’s the recipe and How-To:

Mili’s Sweets Vegan-Vanilla Rainbow Cake/Cupcake Recipe 

Here’s what you’ll need (per color):

1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 cups all purpose flour (Please don’t try to substitute for gluten-free flour. Believe me, I tried and it was an epic fail!)

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

Here’s what you’ll do:

In a measuring cup, place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Next, pour the coconut milk to the one and one half cup line of the measuring cup.  (Please note that this recipe also works very well with soy milk.) Allow to stand for 5 minutes. This will allow the milk to thicken and curdle.

Next add the canola oil and pure vanilla extract, to the measuring cup with the milk and vinegar mixture.

In a mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients, including the all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix until there are no more lumps. I use a scraping attachment of my standing mixer to achieve a smooth batter.

If you are just making Vegan Vanilla cake or cupcakes, you can stop here. If you want to make a rainbow, we have to add a few steps.

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

The easiest and best way to make a rainbow is to measure all of the wet ingredients into separate batches, using separate measuring cups. To make a rainbow, I lined up 6 mason jars. If you are making a small batch, I recommend only making 3 recipes so that you can split each batter up and color them. This should yield about 18 cupcakes. If you need to make a larger number of desserts, I recommend making six total batches and coloring them separately.

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

Once the batter is smooth, add the food coloring. To make a rainbow, you need red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. My kids supervised the whole project, to be sure I was accurate. I use gels and squirt them in. I’m guessing it’s about a 1/2 teaspoon per batch. You can add more, depending on how vibrant you want to colors of the cake to be. I place each colored batch into gallon-sized ziplock bags.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via milissweets.comWhen your cupcake tins are lined with paper cups, it’s time to get to work. Cut a very small hole at one corner of the first bag of batter and pipe in a small amount to cover the bottom. Go up from there until you have purple. It’s important that you hit the edge of the paper with the batter, for the best result. The most beautiful part of the cupcake is the rainbow line that can be seen on the wrapper. You will want as little batter of each color as possible per cupcake. You’ll end up with very full cups, no matter how hard you try for them to be the typical 2/3 up. It’s OK and it will all work out in the end.

Place in the oven for 16-18 minutes, or until the center of the front cupcakes test dry. Allow to cool before frosting. I used gold, edible luster dust as the finishing touch to this cupcake. My kids can’t wait for me to make them again!

Vegan rainbow cupcakes - recipe via

xox, Mili

spring-ahead with floral

spring floral, via milissweets.comI am truly inspired by gorgeous floral arrangements. I get so excited about them! They are the highlight of most any beautiful party or dessert table. Honestly, the very best thing, and only decoration you really need for a party or dessert table should be fresh floral arrangements, done well, by a gifted professional.

My dear friend Karen Crawford put these stunning arrangements together for me and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them! I wanted something over the top incredible for a little girl’s princess party dessert table that I had set and catered, as part of a charity auction fulfillment.

spring floral via

They were incredible and I still gush over them!

spring floral via

The hosts held the birthday party in their own back yard, for their sweet princess, who was turning seven. They chose the backdrop and placement for the dessert table and I had the pleasure of providing the other details.

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They wanted to achieve the main colors of the Disney Princesses, so we went with shades of pink, purple, green and red for the candy.

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I set out their choice of Double Dutch and Strawberry cupcakes for all of the little girls to enjoy.

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The best part of this job, was being trusted by the family, to make it very special for their special little girl. I was so happy that they were so happy – especially since the money they spent on the auction, went to the school that my children attend. It was a win-win!


beyond brittle

beyond brittle - recipes via

I’m taking this old-school candy to a whole new level! You are going to love how simple this is to make – with an end result that is both delicious and beautiful.

I’m sharing how to make the best, basic brittle recipe, to transform this candy into any flavor you wish. I’m also including three awesome, nut-free recipes to enjoy: Sesame Brittle, Granola Bar Brittle and Toasted Coconut Brittle.

Mili’s Sweets Basic Brittle Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Tools: sauce pan, candy thermometer, wooden spoon, offset spatula, cookie sheet, silpat mat. If cutting into squares, you’ll also need parchment paper and a large knife.

beyond brittle - recipes via

Here’s what you’ll do:

Put all ingredients, except for vanilla (you’ll save this for the end) into your saucepan. Place on the stove at medium heat.

Melt all of the ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once melted, place the candy thermometer into the saucepan.

From this point on, you’ll constantly stir the mixture. It’s going to take 20 minutes to get to 300 degrees, or the “hard crack” stage.

Once you reach 300 degrees, take the saucepan off of the heat and remove the candy thermometer.

Add the vanilla and stir it in. The candy is complete.

This is the moment that you’ll stir in the components to make it a specific flavor.

Here’s what it looks like while it’s cooking:

beyond brittle - recipes via

Now, let’s take it beyond brittle. I’m sharing how to transform this candy into something really special and creative.

Here’s what I prepped for three different brittle recipes. All you need to do is add one cup of ingredients for each separate batch/flavor. This will be added once your mixture has come to 300 degrees.

beyond brittle - recipes via

Mili’s Sweets Sesame Brittle Recipe

Follow the recipe for Basic Brittle (above) and add:

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Use a wooden spoon to stir the seeds into the hot candy mixture, after the vanilla has been stirred in.

Pour onto a baking sheet, covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Spread smooth, to about 1/4″, with an offset spatula.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

beyond brittle - recipes via milissweets.comIf you are a symmetrical-junkie like me and like your desserts to be presented in a neat and clean way, then this would be the time to cut the brittle.

Invert the brittle onto parchment paper or a cutting board and use a large knife to cut into squares. The longer you allow the brittle to cool, the harder it will be to cut. If you like a broken-brittle, then allow it to cool for an additional 10 minutes and simply break the candy apart with your hands.

Mili’s Sweets Granola Bar Brittle Recipe 

Follow the recipe for Basic Brittle (above) and add:

1/2 cup organic rolled oats

1/3 cup dried cherries

3 tablespoons salted sunflower seeds

sprinkling of semi sweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand, mini chips.)

beyond brittle - recipes via

Here’s what you’ll do:

Stir all of the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) into the brittle mixture, after it has reached 300 degrees, and you have already added the vanilla.

Pour onto a baking sheet, covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Use an offset spatula to spread the mixture. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

Allow to cool completely or cut into portions before it has completely cooled.

Mili’s Sweets Toasted Coconut Brittle Recipe 

Follow the recipe for Basic Brittle (above) and add:

1 cup toasted coconut

Here’s how to toast coconut:

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Spread one cup of sweetened, shredded coconut onto a baking sheet that is covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

beyond brittle - recipes via

Add the toasted coconut to the hot brittle mixture, after the vanilla has been added. Reserve some of the toasted coconut to sprinkle over the top of the brittle, once it has been spread.

IF YOU CAN HAVE NUTS: I’m a nut-free momma so you won’t see peanuts or cashews in my recipes. However, if you and your family can enjoy peanuts and tree nuts, simply add one cup of your chosen ingredient into the basic brittle recipe mixture and you’re set.

This is a really great treat to serve at a party, for a special movie-night at home, or if you happen to sell goodies at your local farmer’s market.



beyond brittle - recipes via


Glenny - February 23, 2014 - 2:23 pm

My candy thermometer arrived…guess what I’m making? :) - February 23, 2014 - 2:28 pm

Hi Glenny! This is so easy and delicious. You and your family will love it! Big hugs! Thanks for commenting. xox

roasted garbanzo beans

roasted garbanzo beans - recipes via

There are so many reasons why I love roasted garbanzo beans: they are super versatile, easy to prepare, delicious and healthy.  This superfood is an awesome protein-packed, nut alternative. Above all, they remind me of my Nonna. During Lent, my Italian grandmother would take some from her apron pocket and put them in my hand to enjoy. It’s extremely important to me, to pass on her memory through food and tradition.

Since Ancient Italy, and in many parts of the world, roasted garbanzo beans have been a popular snack. The recipes I’m sharing for roasting and seasoning this legume (also known as chickpeas) make the process even easier than the ancient way, and with flavors so that you’ll never be bored of them.

roasted garbanzo beans - recipes via

I’m sharing the classic, “Nonna” recipe, and also have simple recipes to add a ton of flavor with versions in Chai Spice, Cinnamon-Sugar and Tajin.

Mili’s Sweets Roasted and Seasoned Garbanzo Beans

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup uncooked, dry garbanzo beans

1 cup filtered water

1 tablespoon canola oil

pinch of iodized salt

Tools: oven, cookie sheet, silpat mat or parchment paper, bowl

Here’s what you’ll do:

Take one cup of the uncooked, dry garbanzo beans. Rinse them in water. Drain and place in a larger bowl. Cover with one cup of water. Allow to sit out for 8 hours or overnight.

The beans will almost completely absorb the water and double in size.

roasted garbanzo beans - recipes via

When you are ready to roast, set your oven to 350 degrees.

Dry the excess water by patting the beans with a towel. Toss with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Spread the beans evenly, over a cookie sheet, that is prepared with either parchment paper or a silpat mat. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt.

For a softer snack, bake for 30 minutes. For a crunchy snack, most similar to roasted nuts, bake for 45 minutes.

Now it’s time to add the flavor! After your beans have been roasted and are still warm, place them in a bowl and toss them in a spice-mix.

roasted garbanzo beans - recipes via

Mili’s Sweets Cinnamon-Sugar Garbanzo Beans 

Toss warm, roasted beans with the following:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Mili’s Sweets Chai-Spice Garbanzo Beans

Toss warm, roasted garbanzo beans with the following:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mili’s Sweets Tajin Garbanzo Beans

Tajin is a seasoning made with Mexican chiles, lime and salt. It’s a great balance of flavor. (I’ve even used it on my Mango Con Chile cupcake and my husband loves it sprinkled on fresh fruit.)

Toss warm, roasted beans with 2 teaspoons of Tajin.

Now, for the classic flavor and the simplified, ancient method that reminds me of the love shared from my Nonna’s apron pocket:

Nonna’s Classic Roasted Garbanzo Beans by Mili’s Sweets 

This is the easiest and healthiest way to prepare roasted garbanzo beans.

Here’s what you’ll do:

This time there’s no canola oil and the only seasoning is a sprinkling of salt before they go into the oven.

Just as with the seasoned versions, you’ll prepare the dry, uncooked beans by allowing them to absorb water overnight. When you are ready to roast, set the oven at 350 degrees, pat dry and arrange on a cookie sheet, that is prepared with either a silpat mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Bake for 45 minutes. The harder, nut-like crunch is the very best way to enjoy this classic, unseasoned version.

* STORAGE TIP * For best results, beans that use canola oil for seasoning purposes, should be eaten the same day that they are roasted. Roasted beans that have been prepared without oil, or with “Nonna’s Classic” recipe, can be stored in an airtight container and enjoyed at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Enjoy and save some in your pocket for later.


roasted garbanzo beans - recipes via

french-toast brulee

orange french toast brulee, recipe via milissweets.comThis is the ultimate, special occasion breakfast-dessert, and the best breakfast that I make for my family. You’re going to love French-Toast Brulee! If you don’t have a kitchen torch to “brulee,” no worries. The basic recipe, minus the torching is still super easy and tastes amazing as-is.

I remember the moment when french toast entered my list of “the best things I’ve ever eaten.” I was in my early 20s, and traveled often to Manhattan for my job. I was staying at the Soho Grand and across the street is this quaint Argentenian cafe that serves breakfast called Novecento. I ordered the french toast and it blew my mind! It was so good, that I’d never forget it and I’d never make french toast the same again.

It was full of flavor, never dry and topped with fruit. It wasn’t torched but it really inspired me to always use fruit juice as the main component for the dipping batter and for the topping. (By the way, I haven’t thought about the restaurant’s name in 15+ years but for some reason, the name stuck. Plus, I have a memory like an elephant.)

french-toast brulee, recipe via milissweets.comI’m going to share a couple different ways to make my “French Toast Brulee” recipe, but there are so many more ways to make this ultimate dessert over the top, by substituting different juices and toppings, based on my recipe. I switch this up all the time! With this post, I’m sharing my “Orange Brulee” and “Peach Brulee” flavors.

peach french-toast brulee, recipe via

Mili’s Sweets French-Toast Brulee Recipe

Here’s what  you’ll need:

3 eggs

1 cup fruit juice or nectar

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

zest of a whole fruit (when using citrus)

artisan bread, cut into 1/2″ slices

for brulee topping: kitchen torch and granulated sugar

french-toast brulee, recipe via milissweets.comHere’s what you’ll do:

First, I’ll share with you how I make it all the time, with orange juice, or “Orange Brulee.” With this recipe, and when using citrus fruits, I recommend adding fresh zest of the fruit. For this flavor, I use the zest of one large orange, and keep all of the other ingredients the same.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

I’ve been getting my hands on the absolutely gorgeous eggs from my friend’s hens. Leticia and I came to the conclusion that I cannot have my own chickens and I was OK with that. Now, I just want to support her big ‘ol coop of 50, free range birds. There truly is something special about farm-fresh eggs!

Now, take three eggs and whisk them in a bowl. Add all the other ingredients listed, and whisk together. Here’s what it will look like, if you decided to add the cinnamon.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

Slice your bread. For the Orange Brulee, I used Ciabatta. Take a skillet or pan and heat to medium. If you’re using a non-stick pan, you won’t need to grease the pan. However, I like to use about a teaspoon of salted butter, and melt it in, before adding the bread.

Dip each side of the sliced bread, into the dipping-batter. Once the pan is hot, add all slices that will fit at one time. When you see golden crust around the bottom, flip. They should be golden and with all of the egg cooked through. I flip mine twice on each side, to be sure they are done. They cook quickly so don’t keep them on one side for too long.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

Once they are done, transfer the cooked bread onto a cookie sheet or baking pan. It’s almost time to have fun with your torch. Spread about a teaspoon of granulated sugar onto each piece of cooked French Toast. Torch each piece quickly, to burn the sugar. Plate and serve.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

Some people can’t wait to even get their pieces on a plate! It’s fine and fun to let kids be kids, but I’m not always talking about the kids. xox

french-toast brulee, recipe via

Remember my post for peach cobbler, when I canned the extra fresh-cooked peaches and reserved nectar? I couldn’t forget about them and turned this left-over into something special with this recipe.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

Here’s what you’ll do for “Peach Brulee” French Toast:

For this flavor, I used what I had on-hand, both wheat and classic sourdough, sliced into 1/2″ pieces. I’ll only use artisan breads for french toast, because I prefer the texture.

french-toast brulee, recipe via

You’ll need to have the cooked peaches on-hand. After making the peach cobbler from scratch, I had a small mason jar filled with cooked peaches and the nectar in the fridge. I took the one cup of nectar that I needed for the dipping-batter and saved the rest to make a peach nectar reduction that I used in place of maple syrup.

french toast brulee, recipe via milissweets.comI recommend heating the peaches before serving. Not everyone likes the cooked peaches, which will be a little softer since making them fresh for the peach cobbler, as they marinated in the nectar. However, everyone will love the peach nectar reduction, and it only takes a few minutes to pull-off.

If you want to switch up this recipe, I recommend using different juices and nectars to make flavors like passion fruit, apricot, lemon-poppyseed and bananas foster.

Take care and enjoy!

xox, Mili

[…] I’ve been making with peaches as the star ingredients, (peach cobbler, peach baked alaska, peach-brulee french toast, peach reduction/syrup, canning cooked peaches, etc.) I’d thought I’d add something […]

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