Currently viewing the tag: "Easter"

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Ah, Easter! The holiday everyone has been waiting for. The Easter dinner is all set up, everyone has brought a dish for others to enjoy, and everyone seems to be present. But, wait! What about the Easter Bunny? Isn’t he tired of the same old basic carrots? That’s where today’s recipe comes in: Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

Sweet, spicy, textured (thanks to the shredded carrot), and tangy (with a rich cream cheese frosting), this cake definitely gives carrots a good name.

Additionally, these carrot cake cupcakes are great for celebrations and Easter activities. Kids eagerly awaiting Easter can have a great time creating and decorating cupcakes with you. Easter Bunny meet-and-greets can be made all the sweeter with these small and portable cupcakes.

Enjoy creating these delectable cupcakes (whether alone or with a helper or two) and have a happy Easter!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


For the Cake

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ginger

⅛ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

¾ c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

¼ c. apple sauce

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¾ c. brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

1 ½ c. shredded carrots

For the Filling

4 oz (1 c.) cream cheese

½ stick unsalted butter

1 c. powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Green food coloring

Orange food coloring

Tools Needed

Liquid and dry measuring cups, 3 bowls, mixer and beaters, spatula, cupcake bag and liners, piping bag, tips, two small bowls, and two forks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In 1 bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, apple sauce, and extract. Beat until well combined. Add sugars and shredded carrot to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula; add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients mixture. Beat until everything is well combined, intermittently scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Line cupcake pan with liners (or grease the cake pan). Pour in batter.

Place in oven and bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake/cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: Place butter and cream cheese in a bowl and soften them (the surface should give to pressure but should not be melted). Add sugar and extract and beat until smooth. Once done, take out and let cool.

Separate into 3 separate bowls: one bowl should have very little and the other bowls should split the rest of the icing equally. Put each color in a piping bag and fit with a tip.

In the bowl with the least icing, add green food coloring. In another bowl, add orange food coloring. One bowl should have completely white icing.

Icing the cupcakes: making sure the cupcakes are room temperature, pipe on (or put on with a knife) the white icing on the entire surface of the cupcakes (including the edge; this ensures the surface doesn’t dry out).

Pipe on an orange carrot (a simple triangle will work, but be as creative as you want!). Pipe on the green leaves at the top. Serve.

*You can also use candy to decorate the cupcake if desired.

by Maxine Troxell

Spring is finally here, and Easter is just a couple of weeks away.  Time to dig out your recipes for your Easter dinner. One of my favorite dessert items is coconut cake. My Aunt Erma used to make the most delicious cakes. She had won a lot of prize ribbons for her cakes from the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, Frederick County Fair, and other baking contests. Below is her recipe for her prize-winning coconut cake.

Coconut Layer Cake


3 cups sifted cake flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoons baking powder

5 egg whites

2/3 cup Crisco

1 1/3 cups milk

1 teaspoon coconut extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, twice. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. 

Add 6 tablespoons sugar, slowly, and beat until mixture stands in soft peaks. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream Crisco and add 1 ½ cups sugar, gradually.  Cream until light and fluffy. 

Add flour alternately with milk, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Add beaten egg whites and flavorings. Beat about 1 minute.

Grease and flour three 8-inch, two 9-inch, or one 13×9-inch pan.  Pour in batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until cake springs back after touching.

Cool then frost with your favorite frosting and generously top with coconut. 

“Helping You Find Plants That Work”

by Ana Morlier , The Crazy Plant Lady

What feels like the last holiday, Easter, will soon be here. The last opportunity to attain candy (other than buying it yourself) is coming up. For gardeners, the chocolate Easter candy isn’t the only thing to look foreward to. Spring has sprung!

Even if you aren’t a green thumb, you too can join the excitement as everyone gears up for planting season. I’m not exactly “sowing” I’m a planting professional, but I did want to recommend an awesome and highly beneficial perennial to your garden.

Readers of The Banner, I present to you a candidate that resolves all your garden worries!

The Early Lowbush Blueberry — The All-Star Greenery

Here are a few highlights of the early lowbush blueberry:

It flowers from April through May, so not only can you catch sight of the blooms, but pollinators can get a head-start on assisting your garden;

Its (fruits) are edible;

It’s native to Maryland;

You’ll attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. In some cases, even the Maryland favorite, the Orioles, box turtles, chipmunks, and other animals, come to this bush;

It’s used for any soil condition.

I know that was a lot of excitement for what seems like a boring shrub, but when I saw that it fits this much criteria for my mediocre gardening skills, I got pretty excited. With the timing of the blooms so close to the current date, you’ll have your first view of spring beauty promptly! The flowers come in colors from white to pink, so they won’t be hard to miss. In the fall, the leaves turn a light crimson. 

Some things to watch out for:

Naturally, it actually thrives after forest fires because the factors of competition from other plants and shade from trees is eliminated. It is a good idea to expose it to as much sunlight as you have room for, and provide lots of space to grow;

As stated, this shrub attracts pollinators and animals alike, so if you want blueberries for yourself, you have to watch closely and take preventative measures. Be careful not to use any sort of pesticides or chemicals, as this can be hazardous to other beneficial species;

Prune away any dead or weakened leaves or branches;

While soil texture doesn’t matter, this is an acid-loving shrub. The Spruce recommends “A slow-release, soluble, ammonium nitrogen granular variety that is marketed for plants like rhododendrons or azaleas.”;

It produces rhizomes, which are roots that penetrate and spread out deep underground. This can provide competition for other plant life, so allot lots of space for the shrub.

If you are afraid of any harm from gardening, don’t worry (Bee happy)! Bees are perfectly friendly, as long as you leave them alone (which I find quite unbelievably adorable). If you “hive” a fear of bees, and one comes close to you, stand completely still. They won’t understand what the buzz is all about and will leave you alone. It’s usually wasps and yellow jackets that will bug you the most, and they come out more so when summer is in full swing.

The early lowbush blueberry is without thorns, spines, or prickles, so you don’t have to be too cautious when picking blueberries or just checking on the plant. When harvesting, be gentle with the young sap. Hand-picking is the easiest on the plant and, in my opinion, the most fun!

This plant is quite a delight—beautiful colors, tasty fruit, and ground cover. I hope you have a berry good planting season!

*Credit to Go Botany, University of Maryland Extension, The Spruce, Maryland Biodiversity Project, Punopedia, and the Honey Plants Calender.

Not Just for Easter



I am considered a novelty around this time of the year; Easter is when people usually want to purchase me. I am warm and fuzzy and so adorable, and it is easy for people to fall in love with my wiggly nose. Unfortunately, when the holiday is over, people come to realize that I am in need of the same care and attention as dogs and cats. Many of us end up at animal shelters or are just let loose in the wild. Letting a domesticated animal loose in the wild doesn’t often have a happy ending, but, happily for me, it did.

I am a curious bunny, which is what saved me. I hopped up to a human and that human was my “mom’s” cousin. They took me in, and I now live with two Peking ducks (who are soon having lots of babies for me to play with), several Mallard ducks, a handful of chickens, a hamster, two dogs, and a cat.

There are many breeds and sizes of rabbits. I happen to be a domesticated short-hair rabbit, with several brown spots. Can you guess why my name is Freckles? When my mom saw me, it was instant love; we have been inseparable ever since. When my mom was litter-box training me, which bunnies do very well, her dad just could not fathom a bunny living in the house. So, he built me a super-duper bunny condo, and now I have everything a rabbit could ask for. When I first arrived, my mom would sit outside my condo and talk to me for hours, which she still does. I enjoy listening to her voice; it is very comforting, and I usually fall asleep in her arms. When I see her coming, I get so excited that I jump up and down in my condo until she picks me up, and then it is snuggle time!

When the weather is cold, I stay in the garage. That is when I play bowling with the hamster; he goes round and round in that little ball!  The cat and I have a mutual stay-away-from-each-other agreement.  The dogs like to sniff me. I would prefer not having those wet noses pressed to my butt, but they are harmless.

My mom spoils me with fresh tomatoes from the garden, berries, and, my favorite, timothy grass.  When the weather is warm, my mom puts the play yard up on the lawn, and I am in bunny heaven. I jump around, dig in the dirt, munch on the grass, and play chase with the dogs through the fence, which keeps their noses out of my business.

In the past decade, people have come to realize that rabbits are great companions, just like cats and dogs. We are fascinating, funny, warm, and lovable furry friends. Before you decide to purchase us as a novelty, please do research on what type of rabbit best fits your family and how to care for us.

Speaking of friends, my mom is coming, and I have to practice looking cute…it’s snuggle time!










Freckles with “Mom” Emily.