Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls

It’s October and once again, I’m asking myself where the time has gone. I’ve already been in school for over a month now and we are starting to prepare for midterms soon. Despite it, October is one of my favorite months. Usually, that means layering up, not looking too weird with a fuzzy scarf or vest or pea coat. However, I’m in Southern California where it seems as if summer wants to extend her stay. To bring in some kind of fall, I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls for my friends that are coming over later. I remember the first time I tried making cinnamon rolls…it was a complete flop. The yeast was either already expired to begin with or I used milk that was too hot, and thus, the rolls did not rise. They came out to be these tiny one inch circular hard biscuits that had a swirl of cinnamon brown sugar inside. Since then, I have told myself no more. Until now. A while ago, I found the absolute best Monkey Bread recipe. It tastes just like cinnamon rolls, so I figured it would be perfect to use.

Cinnamon Rolls

While this dough is probably the easiest anyone can ever make, it does take patience. And time. LOTS of time. You want to allow enough time for the dough to properly rise, for the needed reactions to take place, for the gluten to be able to rest, all that science-y chemistry stuff.

Cinnamon Rolls

To begin, make the dough. Combine the milk, water, and butter into a glass pyrex cup. As it is heated, the milk and water will begin to melt the butter. Microwave until the liquids reach 110 degrees, or just slightly warm to the touch. Once it reaches that temperature, add in the sugar and yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Cinnamon Rolls

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, measure in the flour and the salt. On low speed, slowly add in the milk mixture. Once it is all mixed in, turn it on high and beat until it comes together, about three minutes. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet where it cannot be managed. If it is too sticky, add in more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Cinnamon Rolls

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased (with butter or oil) bowl and cover with saran wrap. Set it in a warm area of the house or outside if its hot and allow it to double in size. I allowed mine to rise for about two hours.

Once it has doubled and you are ready to use, punch it down and roll it out onto a floured surface. You can see the bubbles that have been released from the yeast.

Cinnamon Rolls

Roll it out into as even of a rectangle as possible. Make sure the dough is not sticking too much to the counter otherwise it will be hard to roll up.

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I use the rolling pin to almost flatten one of the long edges. This way, It will be able to seal up each roll without too much of a noticeable seam.

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After I roll it out, I give it a little time to rest as I make the filling. Simply melt the butter in a bowl and whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Using an offset spatula, spread it out into an even layer of the cinnamon mixture onto the dough. Get every edge except the one that has the thinner border.

Slowly begin to roll up the dough, making sure to keep it tightly rolled up as you go until you get a log. To slice the cinnamon rolls, you can cut it in half, line it up, and cut them in half then in half again. That will give you eight nice sized pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls

Line them up into a baking dish. I’m using my cast iron to bake it in.

Cinnamon Rolls

Leave enough space between each one so that it has room for the dough to spread out and proof during its second rise.

Cinnamon Rolls

Place it back in a warm area and allow the dough to rise one more time for another hour. You will notice it to be ready when it has a puffed appearance.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure you turn the pan halfway to ensure even baking. As it’s baking, whip up the maple cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup.

Cinnamon Rolls

When the rolls have finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately spread the frosting over the rolls. This will allow the frosting to melt and fall into every crevice of dish.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

These rolls are incredibly easy to make. They make the house smell amazing, the textures are very fluffy and light, and the cinnamon is powerfully present. I think my friends are gonna enjoy these tonight!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Dough

2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 c warm milk, about 110 degrees

1/3 c warm water, about 110 degrees

1/4 c granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one package)

3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more if needed if dough is too sticky

2 tsp salt

Brown Sugar Filling

1 c packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1/2 c butter, melted (1 stick)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 package cream cheese frosting (8 ounce)

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup maple syrup

Liberally butter a baking dish with softened butter. Set aside.

In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Dough should still be sticky, but dry enough to handle.

Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn it around to grease the dough. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Once it has risen, punch the dough down, and turn the dough out onto a floured counter surface. Use a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle. Use the rolling pin to flatten one of the long edges to create flat border. This will help the cinnamon roll seal. Let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Melt the butter in a glass bowl, then whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. With an offset spatula, spread the mixture over the dough in an even layer, avoiding the flattened border edge. Begin to roll the dough into an even log.

Cut into two inch pieces, and line it up in a buttered baking dish. Allow there to be some space between each roll as the dough will continue to expand during the second proofing. Cover with saran wrap and set it back in a warm location for an hour.

Once it has puffed, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Turn the pan halfway during baking to ensure it browns evenly.

While it bakes, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. On low speed, add in the powdered sugar. Once it is incorporated, turn the speed high and let it whip. Slowly drizzle in the vanilla and maple syrup until fully incorporated.

When the buns have finished baking, remove from the oven and slather on the maple cream cheese frosting immediately. It will slightly melt the frosting and allow it to seep into the crevices of the rolls. Enjoy immediately.

Carrot Cake

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“What’ve you been up to?” is the question I have encountered most yet have no idea how to respond every time I am asked. Part of it is because I have been attending to the most random this and that chores and errands, yet another part sheepishly acknowledges the sleeping-relaxing-and-doing-nothing part of my summer. Nonetheless, I cannot believe school begins again in a little over a month and my list of things to do is still so long. With so many things buzzing around, I find myself making my classic carrot cake, the very one whose recipe I have used since freshmen year of high school, six years ago! I made a Mini Carrot Cake version when I first began this blog, but decided I needed to update it and show the steps on how it’s made (aka the three steps that are required). I loved and stuck to this version because the cake comes out gloriously light and fluffy, unlike the dense pound cake like ones you may find at the grocery stores. Each bite is full of flavor and spice, and you can eat it knowing it’s good for you (at least compared to my Ultimate S’mores Brownies).

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To start out, measure out all the ingredients. Have the carrots already grated and ready to use! I measure out the dry ingredients directly into my sifter to save an extra dish to wash.

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With a whisk, mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl. The mixture will be gooey and thick.

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Sift in the dry ingredients and mix those in as well! Try not to over mix.

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Then, switch to a rubber spatula and add your carrots. If you want to add nuts, you would do so at this stage as well. Make sure to lightly toss the nuts in flour beforehand to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

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Fold all the carrots until they are completely incorporated.

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Transfer to three 8inch rounds that have been buttered and floured with a parchment paper round lining the bottom. Bake it for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted has come out clean! As it is baking, make the cream cheese frosting.

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Look at how yummers it looks! This is probably the easiest yet most decadent cream cheese frosting you can ever make. I always use a 1:1:1:1 ratio for the ingredients– 1 box cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 1 Tbsp vanilla, and 1 pound of powdered sugar. Over time, I have added one ingredient to it to make it extra special, and that is 1 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream. It lightens the frosting without adding any extra sweetness to it and makes it heavenly!

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Once the cakes are cooled, you can layer and frost your cake! I only used two out of my three layers because I wanted to save the last layer for consumption at a later time! I kept the cake simple and let the flavors do all the talking. Please don’t judge the way I cut my cake above…I don’t know what I was thinking. The cake was just so good….Now, I’m off to share this deliciousness with some dear friends– until next time!

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Carrot cake

makes ONE three-layer 8inch cake

4 eggs

1 ¼ c vegetable oil

2 c white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 c grated carrots

1/2 c chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well), optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, white sugar, and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in carrots.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool in pans before removing, then allow to chill in the refrigerator until cold before icing!

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick of softened butter, unsalted

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 box powder sugar, more or less depending on consistency

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Beat together all the ingredients until completely mixed together and combined. Use to ice cooled cakes and if desired, chop some walnuts and sprinkle on top to decorate.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

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I am SO excited for this week!! Want to know why? Well, even if you don’t I’m going to tell you anyways. No, it’s not because it’s Valentines Day on Saturday. I think that it’s a Hallmark created holiday in which some people use as the only time to express love and gratitude for one another. But that’s another story. It’s because when you go grocery shopping, you see strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, chocolate, all sorts of items that I usually buy for baking, on sale!! Ok fine maybe the sale has something to do with the fact that Valentines day is on Saturday, but let’s just ignore that.

Because Valentines day is happening whether I like it or not, I have lined up some of my favorite recipes for this week. Every now and then I remember that I am a student, so we’ll just see how many recipes I am able to get to. I’ll also be making these recipes as how-to, step-by-step tutorials with photos and details so if you wanted to make them in your own kitchen, you would be able to follow along!

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Starting off the week are my all time crowd favorite, red velvet whoopie pies. These are perfect to make and share with your friends or family. I remember in high school I made these almost every other week and brought them to school to share with friends. And every time, they disappeared almost as quickly as I brought them out. Over the years I have forgotten where this recipe is from but have developed some tricks to ensure that each and every batch comes out exceptionally fluffy and full of flavor. For this batch, I cut the recipe in half because, well, the more I make, the more I eat. That being said, the quantities shown is less than what you would have.

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The PECHERPLE

This cake most definitely takes the cake. Haha, pun definitely intended.

I made this cake for our church’s annual Thanksgiving potluck. I knew that there would be pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, fruit tarts, cookies, the usual and expected things. But this year, I wanted to try something different and do something no one has possibly ever seen before. And that is when I thought to make the “Pecherple.”

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The idea comes from the “Cherpumple” which I took the concept from, but the only difference is, I used a different inside pie and outside cake. For mine, the Pecherple are 3-6in pies; Peacan Pie, Cherrie Pie, and an Apple Pie all baked into their own cake layer of spice and yellow cake from cake mix, then layering them all together into one giant cake. And I kid you not, this cake is a monster. I even downsized it by an inch diameter but it was still huge. The original Cherpumple uses 3- 8in Cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies baked into 3- 9in yellow, spice, and white cake mix. I cannot even begin to imagine how huge that must be and how much it weighs.

The ingredients of this cake are fairly simple. Three pies, three cake mix boxes, and the ingredients that are stated on the cake box. You mix up all three batters, and take your cake pan and sink a pie into each batter, making sure it is all covered. Bake until the batter is completely done and set it out to cool completely. Once it is cooled, turn it out and ice with cream cheese frosting. There are several variations people use for their frosting but I always use my own because I must say so myself, it’s pretty fab.

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The finishing product came out to be a cake over one foot tall weighing more than 10 pounds. I had to have my little sister sit in the back seat holding the cake making sure it wouldn’t topple over on itself while I drove it to church. Not only that, but I had to stick kebob skewers into it to keep it straight up.

This is most definitely a bake-once-in-a-lifetime kind of cake because of the sheer size of it. Just keep in mind that it uses three whole cake boxes. I did not even know how to make the first slice into it since it was so huge! While this concept is a little bizarre, this turned out much better than I had thought it would, fed so many more people than I thought it would, and was well worth the try.

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Pecherple

adapted from The Cherpumple by Charles Phoenix

feeds 50 people

3- 6in pies (Pecan, cherry, and apple)

3 boxes of cake mix of any flavor (I used 2 spice cake and 1 yellow)

eggs, oil, and water according to the box mix directions

Cream Cheese Frosting, double the recipe, recipe follows.

Chopped Walnuts, optional

Mix each cake batter according to the directions on the box. Butter and flour 3- 8in cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour 1/3 of each cake batter into its own pan. Place one pie in each, and pour the rest of the batter in, making sure to completely cover the pie. Bake the cake according to the box instructions.

Once the cake layers are completely baked, they must cool completely. To layer, make sure the cherry is on the very bottom as it contains the most juice and is most prone to drip. Slather the entire cake with cream cheese frosting and top with walnuts.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box powder sugar, sifted

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 box cream cheese, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add in vanilla. On low speed, slowly add in powder sugar until smooth and creamy, and it is ready to use!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

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Happy October!! Ok so I’m a day or so late but better late than never! Is it just me or is it hard to believe that it’s already the 10th month of the year?? Needless to say, I guess every first of the month, whether it’s February or December, I am taken back at how fast time is flying by. Now that we are officially and well on our way into the month of October, it’s time to celebrate the Fall!! Oh wait…SoCal doesn’t have a fall because all it’s trees are palm trees…sigh. I’m still waiting to pull out my boots and pea coats and leg warmers and scarves. I’m still waiting for the cool breeze and sound of crunching leaves underneath my shoes. I’m still waiting for the smell of dewy grass and fresh mist gently covering the ground. Sadly, I know I’ll be waiting for a while more.

In order to make up for SoCal’s lack of Autumn, I wanted to ring in the fall with a pumpkin spice cake! The absolute best pumpkin cake I have ever had was from a box cake mix from Trader Joe’s. Since trying it, I have never had a desire for other stores pumpkin cake, nor had a desire to try and recreate it from scratch since it is just sheer genius in itself. I happened to have a box on me and decided it was time! The apartment smelled so good as the cake was baking and cooling and it really felt as if Fall was upon us!

Wishing I could be back home to see the leaves change color, but my cake will do for now!

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Pumpkin Spice Cake: Follow recipe on box, but substitute water for milk to create a fluffier cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c (1 stick) room temp unsalted butter

1 package cream cheese, room temp (8 oz)

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb. box powder sugar

1/2 c whipping cream

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Cream butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly, add in 1/2 of powdered sugar until smooth. On medium, drizzle in all of whipping cream, then whip on high until very light and fluffy. Slowly add in remaining half of sugar until desired it is the consistency. Use to frost the cake and dust the cinnamon and nutmeg over the top.

Red Velvet Ombre Rose Cake

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Better late than never! I made this cake a couple weeks ago for my friends bridal shower! I just never had the chance to really go through my photos until now!

The bridal shower was a Hello Kitty theme because the bride loves hello kitty! And so I had an idea to make her a pink velvet cake, and also wanted to try the ombre technique because I had never done it before and wanted to try it! Well, the cake turned out to be red. While the batter that I made was a nice deep-ish pink, it baked out to be red. Wah. Oh well, I tried! I decided to use the recipe from the infamous Magnolia bakery because so many people on so many different blogs I was researching on kept referring back to this recipe. So I figured, why not, might as well!

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I baked the cake a day in advance to ensure that the cake is able to completely cool down to room temperature, otherwise if you ice a warm cake, the icing will melt and create a big droopy mess. No good. So after it baked, I set it out to cool to room temperature in the pan before I took it out, wrapped it in serene wrap and put it in the refrigerator.

The next day, I made the cream cheese frosting and the buttercream to ice the cake with. Now, if this was any other cake, like a vanilla or a chocolate, I would have just used buttercream all the way. But for a red velvet cake, you HAVE to use cream cheese frosting. It’s just a rule. Yet, I knew that the cream cheese frosting wasn’t going to have the consistency that I would have wanted it to have to pipe the roses. The food coloring would change the consistency, it would be too sweet, then too runny, etc. So to simplify it, I made the filling and the crumb coat using my go-to cream cheese frosting, and the roses using buttercream.

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Both turned out beautifully, and the food coloring in the buttercream created the ombre beautifully. It was a bit of a hassle having to do three separate colors but the end results were completely worth it. I finished it off with some small decorative pearls, stepped back to look, and was very happy with the results.

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After the cake was cut and tasted at the bridal shower, I could see why all the blogs referred back to Magnolias Red Velvet recipe. It is moist and has just enough cocoa powder in it so you can taste it, but is still subtle enough where it doesn’t overpower the entire cake. The cream cheese frosting was just enough for all four layers of cake because I had spread it as thin as possible. And, the buttercream roses were a showstopper and held up throughout the entire bridal shower. I must say, beautiful cake, beautiful shower, and a beautiful bride to be! Praying for you that Christ may use your marriage to be a blessing to everyone you guys encounter! <3

Magnolias Red Velvet Cake: http://www.recipelink.com/msgbrd/board_21/2005/DEC/5888.html

Cream Cheese Frosting: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/red-velvet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe.html

Buttercream: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/quick-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-recipe.html

How to make the rose swirl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBbgmoe8EAA

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Mini Carrot Cakes

The last time we went to a cafe, I mesmerized at their cakes. They ranged from mini cakes to 9 inch cakes and the beauty of them was that they just had a simple white buttercream frosting on the outside– no extra frills, no extra icing and no flowers of artificial color. Instead, the cakes were just pure white all around and dusted with either some kind of powder, chocolate shavings, or chopped nuts on top. Their cake variety ranged from red velvets, chocolate, and some others, but the one that caught my eye was the carrot cake. It looked beautiful on the outside and like always, I started thinking about how I can make it myself.

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I don’t know where I got this recipe from; the first time I made it was with my best friend in high school, and it has been my go-to carrot cake recipe ever since. My favorite part of this recipe is that you just need one big bowl, and you just whisk it all together until it all comes together. And that’s it. It is really just that simple. 

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To make them into mini cakes, I used ramekins to make the circular mini cakes, and I got mini bread loaf pans, 5 for $2, to make square mini cakes. In the end, I didn’t like the mini square cakes because they were smaller than I wanted them to be, so in the future, I would just get more ramekins and use them instead. I buttered and floured them, poured in the batter and let it bake.

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I wanted to decorate the mini cakes in the same manner that the cafe did, it having a simple white outside with just some kind of simple topping. Of course, carrot cakes have to have the classic cream cheese frosting. To ensure that it can get a clean white outside, I gave it a crumb coat first before giving it a final coat of cream cheese frosting. And while some carrot cake recipes add walnuts and raisins into the batter to bake, I decided to use them as the topping.

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This two-three inch mini cake was made over the course of two days. The first was to bake and ensure that it cooled down completely at room temperature, and the second day was to make the crumb coat, refrigerate it to set, and then the final coat and toppings. This time around, I had the help of a close sister. Every time we bake together, I am always blessed by our conversations with one another.  Thank you for your help and your company!!

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Carrot cake

4 eggs

1 ¼ c vegetable oil

2 c white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 c grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan, or for this particular project, I butter and floured two ramekins and 5 mini bread loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, white sugar, and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in carrots.

Pour into prepared pans. If baking in the 9 x 13 pan, bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. If in the mini pans, bake for about 30 min. Let cool in pan completely before icing. If you want to cool it overnight, set in an airtight container or ziplock bag to contain the moisture.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick of softened butter

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 box powder sugar, more or less depending on consistency

1 tsp vanilla

Beat together all the ingredients until completely mixed together and combined. Use to ice cooled cakes and if desired, chop some walnuts and sprinkle on top to decorate.

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