Recipe Box: Dawn’s Pumpkin Eggnog Croissant Bread Pudding with Buttered Rum Eggnog Sauce

Growing up, my mom’s bread pudding and my mom’s eggnog married to make the official taste of Christmas for our family. I decided to marry the two and see if I couldn’t start my own holiday tradition in my original recipe, Dawn’s Pumpkin Eggnog Croissant Bread Pudding. Well, it was a sweet and satisfying success! One person claimed it was the best thing I’d ever baked, one claimed it was the BEST thing they’d ever eaten (and they don’t even like dessert) and one claimed that it was orgas…well, you get the point. It was darned delicious and just perfect for the busy and bustling holiday season ahead!
I hope you enjoy it this holiday season as much as we did!

Dawn's Pumpkin Eggnog Croissant Bread Pudding with Buttered Rum Eggnog Sauce

Dawn’s Pumpkin Eggnog Croissant Bread Pudding
2/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup Captain Morgan spiced rum
6 large or 12 mini croissants (approx. 1 lb) cut into 1 inch chunks
Salted Butter to grease your baking dish
1 cup pumpkin pie filling
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Eggnog (I prefer the Pumpkin Eggnog for this recipe but any eggnog will work)
7 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 (or dash) tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp (or dash) of cinnamon

*If you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can also top with vanilla bean ice cream or gelato.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Put the craisins in a bowl and saturate with the spiced rum.
  2. Evenly distribute the croissant chunks on a cookie sheet and toast thoroughly for approximately 10 minutes. Turn them over or stir them at 5 minutes. Toast until golden brown. Let cool.
  3. Set the oven temperature to 350°. Butter your 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin pie filling with the cream, eggnog, eggs and sugar. In the buttered baking dish, toss the croissants with the craisins and rum. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top, making sure to cover all of the croissant chunks with the mixture.
  4. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the center is just set; tent with foil if the top starts to brown too quickly. Let cool to warm and serve with Buttered Rum Eggnog Sauce below.
Buttered Rum Eggnog Sauce
1 c sugar
1/2 c salted butter
1/2 c eggnog
1 Tbsp Captain Morgan spiced rum
Dash of nutmeg
Combine sugar, butter and eggnog and heat in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum and nutmeg. Serve warm over warm bread pudding (recipe above).

The ingredients...



Serving it up warm & delicious...



BF Asks: What foods and drinks signify the taste of the holidays for you?

Thirsty Thursday: Charlotte’s AppleJack Brandy Cider

This past Sunday, I hosted an intimate gift wrapping party for my friend, Lindsey, and I. The ultimate girly, holiday-prepping day, I had to serve Christmas cookies and, of course, Charlotte’s Cider. Whenever I make this cider, I think of Christmas in Nashville.

See, I lived in Nashville for 4 years and one year I couldn’t make it home to Dallas for Christmas. I was busy, my mom was sick and it just wasn’t the time to go. So I spent Christmas with my neighbors and it ended up being one of the most memorable Christmases I ever celebrated.

One of my best friends, Charlotte Cooper, made this delicious cider and we drank mugs of it all night long as we went caroling door-to-door in East Nashville.

Sometimes the unexpected Christmases that end up making the sweetest memories.

I hope this cider can be part of your holiday memories this year! Enjoy…

Thirsty Thursday: Charlotte's AppleJack Brandy Cider - perfect for the holidays!

Charlotte’s AppleJack Brandy Cider 

Perfect for the Holidays and Has an extra kick!

2 1.5 liters Martonelli Apple Cider

1/4 cup orange juice

2 ts lemon zest

2 ts orange zest

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

whole cloves

4 whole allspice berries

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of salt

1 Bottle Apple Jack Brandy


Bring to boil on medium high. Then turn to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

After simmering 30 minutes, add 1 bottle Apple Jack Brandy (Laird’s).

The ingredients...



BF Asks: What beverage gets you into the holiday spirit? 

Recipe Box: Sweet Georgia Peach Southern Dump Cake – a homespun recipe

A few weeks ago, I had a game night scheduled with my dear girlfriends with whom I used to work at Barbra Streisand’s. I love these girls. I have soooo much fun with these girls. And they love me for everything I am – the bad, the good, the goofy. Heck, they even love my dog more than most people.

But I also knew that no matter how busy I was, I couldn’t show up empty-handed. That was just not an option. They would be expecting something buttery, sweet and delicious. So I knew I had to deliver. But what to bake on a Friday afternoon when you have less than 2 hours to prepare?

My answer? My Sweet Georgia Peach Southern Dump Cake – a fave of my girlfriends for years. Perfect for an impromptu dinner party, an easy dessert on a beach vacation or the perfect treat to whip up in a jiffy, this cake will tantalize the tastebuds and delight the pickiest of dessert-eaters.

My Sweet Georgia Peach Southern Dump Cake - serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and your guests will be in heaven


And it’s a homespun recipe which means it’s homemade but with some ready-made products you probably have in your pantry right this second!

So bake it up, have a taste and share with the ones you love!
Sweet Georgia Peach Southern Dump Cake

1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches in juice (strain juice and set aside)
1 (18.25 ounce) Package yellow cake mix

1 (6 ounce package Peach-flavored Jell-O)

1/2 c Salted Butter

1/2 c Water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In the bottom of a 9 x 13 cake pan, place drained peaches. Sprinkle the dry peach Jell-O over peaches. Sprinkle dry yellow cake mix over Jell-O. Cut up butter in pieces and scatter over cake & Jell-O mixture. Pour 1 cup of the (previously set aside) peach juice and 1/2 cup of water over the top.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until top is golden.


BF Asks: What is your favorite in-a-pinch dessert recipe? 


Recipe Box: Dawn’s Comforting Egg Custard

Comfort Food. It’s the food from our childhood that soothed us, nurtured us, healed the hurt, made us well when we were sick, mended our broken hearts and made us happy when we were sad. These heart-and-tummy-filling foods are the ones we’ll turn to for the rest of our lives.


My ultimate comfort food: Dawn's Comforting Egg Custard


One of these for me is my mom’s egg custard that she used to make for me. I got chronic sore throats growing up and this was both tasty and soothing going down. It felt like a hug for my throat. I know, I know. That sounded, um, weird.

Nevertheless, it’s the oh-so-comforting dessert recipe I always go to when a friend has their wisdom teeth taken out, has a baby or just needs a little pick-me-up.
I hope you – and your loved ones – find as much comfort in it as me and mine have.

p.s. Serving the custards in cute-shaped dishes, such as hearts, is totally optional but I highly suggest it!

The Chantal heart dishes are optional...but highly recommended


Dawn’s Comforting Egg Custard

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

*Makes approximately 6 individual servings

6 Slightly beaten eggs

1 c sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 c Scalded whole milk

2 c Scalded Heaving Whipping Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Heat the milk and cream just until scalded (very hot) – not boiling. Take off stove and let cool.

Combine eggs, sugar and salt.

Slowly stir in milk and vanilla.

Fill six-ounce oven-safe custard cups, ramekins or bowls. Set in shallow baking pan on oven rack.

Pour hot water into pan 1 inch deep.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve warm (for a creamy crème brulee-taste) or chilled for a straight-up, comforting custard.

*Note: If you’d like to make one large custard, bake in a 2-quart casserole dish or standard cake pan for 60 minutes.


You know how I love a good bath? Well, even my desserts sometimes love taking a long, hot bath.

Recipe Box: Mama’s Cousin’s Southern Red Velvet Cake

There are a few cakes from childhood that dance deliciously in your memory, forever. They are the beautiful cakes that symbolize nostalgia and will always remind you a little bit of the magic of your youth.

For me, one of these is my Mom’s Southern Red Velvet Cake.

Mama's Cousin's Southern Red Velvet Cake

Actually it’s her cousin’s recipe so I call it, “Mama’s Cousin’s Southern Red Velvet Cake.” Whatever the name, it’s delicious. The rich red velvet cake pairs perfectly with the creamy, cream cheese frosting and it’s sweet, rich and delicious while still having a bit of a refined taste as it’s not too sweet. This might be attributed to the acidic elements of buttermilk or vinegar in the cake (yes, VINEGAR!!) but the two tastes of sweet and tart balance each other out so well.

So when my friend, stylist Jennie C., was having a birthday party and I found out that her favorite cake was red velvet. I knew immediately the recipe I would use. I promptly got on the horn and called Mama for the recipe.

While it’s messy to make – it seriously looks like an episode of True Blood at points…

– in the end, this cake beautiful to look at, gorgeous to display or take to a shindig and scrumptious to eat.

Mama's Cousin's Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes

Without further ado…

Mama’s Cousin’s Southern Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes

2 ounces red food coloring (I prefer the Wilton No-Taste Red)

3 tablespoons cocoa

½ cup vegetable shortening

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix food coloring with cocoa and set aside.  Beat shortening with sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add food coloring mixture and vanilla.  Alternately add flour, salt, and buttermilk, beating well.  Stir in vinegar and baking soda. For cake, grease bottom and sides of three pans and line each with wax paper (cutting off excess at top). Bake in 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Makes one 3-layer cake or one large loaf cake. For cupcakes, Bake for 18-24 minutes (makes approx 28 cupcakes). Let cake cool before frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting:  Cream together 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, 1 bag of confectioners’ sugar plus 2 tablespoons, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 stick butter, softened.




BF Asks: What cake from your childhood dances deliciously in your memory?

Thirsty Thursday: The Clover Gingersnap Champagne Cocktail at Happy Hour at The Orlando

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending a happy hour at The Orlando Hotel on 3rd Street here in Los Angeles. Lucky for me I did because I discovered my new favorite cocktail.

As I walked in, I was offered two selections – a variety of fresh, cold-pressed Clover juices (which just so happens to be housed downstairs) or champagne. Well, you know me…I thought, why choose? Let’s make a new cocktail for the occasion – so my friend, Edward suggested using the Gingersnap juice and, thus, The Clover Gingersnap Champagne Cocktail was born!


Thirsty Thursday: The Clover Gingersnap Champagne Cocktail

So what exactly is in this delicious drink? It’s very simple, really – champagne (naturally) and then Clover Gingersnap Juice ($8). This juice has Fuji apple, green apple, lemon and ginger and it is super scrumptious with a bit of spice.
I’m thinking it’s going to be a big pick for Fall because it seems to marry the citrus, zesty flavors of summer with autumnal elements like apple and spice.

So try it for yourself. And see if you enjoy it as much as we did!

Enjoying The Clover Gingersnap Champagne Cocktail at Happy Hour at The Orlando with my good friends, Jennifer Chan & Rose Curiel of E!


Just add 2 parts Clover Gingersnap Juice to 1 part champagne and presto-changeo – you’ve got yourself The Clover Gingersnap Champagne Cocktail.

Yep, happy hour indeed…





BF Asks: What cocktail kick are you on right now? 

Recipe Box (Homespun): July 4th Patriotic Tasty Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

First of all, Happy July 4th, friends!!!
What a fun day to celebrate being an American! And with this dessert, your enthusiasm can be shared with – and tasted by – everyone!

As my regular readers will tell you – I loooove coming up with a good homespun recipe! What’s a homespun recipe, you ask? A recipe that’s homemade uses an ingredient (or a few) that are store bought – such as cake mixes, prepared cake, etc.

So when I needed the perrrrfect July 4th dessert recipe in a flash, I knew I needed to come up with something special. I decided on an easy-to-transport trifle that includes some of my favorite flavors of the season: angel food cake, berries and cream. But how could I really make it special? Enter 2 layers of vanilla instant pudding and – here’s the clincher – Mascarpone. Whipped. Cream.

To save time – as I knew the berry slicing and layering would take some time – I bought a day-old, bakery-baked angel food cake at Ralph’s. It was cheap and I knew that if I baked it the day of myself, it would be too moist and would get crumbly. The pre-made angel food cake was perrrrfect. I will only make it like this from here on out.

So here’s the recipe for my July 4th Patriotic Tasty Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream to be shared with the ones you love on this very special day!

BeautyFrosting's July 4th Patriotic Tasty Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

July 4th Patriotic Tasty Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream


Pre-made Angel Food Cake, cubed (I use scissors but you can also just shred it into chunks with your hands)

1 large box Instant Jell-o Pudding, prepared (be sure to chill for a bit for firmness)

2 cups Mascarpone Cheese (it can be found at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 cartons strawberries, washed and drained

2 cartons Blueberries – washed, drained and sliced

Cubing my store-bought angel food cake

After cubing your angel food cake and slicing your berries, prepare your Mascarpone Whipped Cream. In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone and whipping cream and whip until smooth and creamy (I use a hand blender). Add in sugar and vanilla. Store in fridge until ready to use.

BeautyFrosting's Mascarpone Whipped Cream


If you’re an icing or pastry bag fan like me, load a bag with your mascarpone whipped cream. In a trifle dish or large bowl,  add a layer of the cream in a circle formation.


Adding the first layer of mascarpone whipped cream


Fill another pastry bag with the vanilla pudding. Fill in the circle of cream with pudding. Place cubed angel food to where it is covering the complete middle section.


Adding the angel food cake layer


Next up, place a row of blueberries on top of the whipped cream ring and in between the cake and pudding.

Adding a blueberry layer.


Add another ring of Mascarpone Whipped Cream on top around the bowl. Fill in the center with pudding.

Add another layer of Mascarpone Whipped cream.

Add the strawberry layer by “standing up” the sliced strawberries around the bowl, facing out. Then add more sliced strawberries in the center on the pudding. Add the angel food cake cubes wherever there is space.

Adding the strawberry layer.


Top with a smooth, heavier layer of whipped cream so it covers the entire mixture.

Add blueberries around the bowl in a circle formation. Top the center area with sliced strawberries.

BeautyFrosting's July 4th Patriotic Tasty Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Chill until ready to serve.

Can also be served in sorbet dishes. So cute!

In a sorbet dish!


Happy July 4th, beauties!




BF Asks: Please share your experience of making this by posting a pic on our Facebook page or Twitter!



Recipe Box: BeautyFrosting’s Chocolate Buttermilk Beer Birthday Cake

When I asked my sweet friend, Sarah, what she wanted me to bake for her birthday party, she didn’t have a preference. But the party did have a theme: Bier Garten!


After poring over tons of recipes, I couldn’t find the perfect one – one that used buttermilk in the recipe. So the only answer? I had to come up with my own Chocolate Buttermilk Beer recipe.

Now, here it is for you to enjoy! It was moist, not-too-sweet-but-just-sweet-enough and topped with a buttery, butterscotch frosting.

I then matched the writing on the cake to the colors on the invitation.

The Birthday Bier Garten invitation

Disclosure: I am not the best icing writer!

Regardless, I hope you all enjoy as much as we did! I made 6 dozen cupcakes and one cake and there wasn’t a crumb left  to be nibbled!

BeautyFrosting's Chocolate Buttermilk Beer Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting

BeautyFrosting’s Chocolate Buttermilk Beer Birthday Cake

(Makes one 2-layer round cake, 1 sheet cake or approximately 30 cupcakes)

2 Extra Large Eggs

1/4 c Salted Butter

1/2 c Sour Cream

1/2 c Buttermilk

1 c Stout Beer (such as Guinness Draught)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 c Cake Flour

1/2 c Cocoa

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 c Granulated Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside. Beat the eggs thoroughly until fluffy. Add in the sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla and butter. Combine well. Add in sugar. Fold in the flour mixture. And lastly, add the stout beer. Mix well.

Pour into 2 round layer cake pans or cupcake tins.

For cake, bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.
For cupcakes, bake at 350 for approximately 18-24 minutes.

Frost with:

Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup Salted butter, softened

1/3 cup butterscotch-caramel topping

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1 to 3 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream

*optional: If you want a more golden butterscotch buttercream frosting, add gold, orangeor yellow food coloring

Combine butter, butterscotch topping and vanilla. Alternately add in powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream until desired consistency is reached. If a more golden hue is desired, add in appropriate food coloring.

BeautyFrosting's Chocolate Buttermilk Beer Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting

BeautyFrosting's Chocolate Buttermilk Beer Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting



BF Asks: What’s your stout beer of choice? 

Recipe Box: Chocolate Cream Pie with Salted Buttermilk Crust

Any Classic Southern Easter can’t be complete without a classic chocolate cream pie.

And as we segue into summer, cream pies are essentials in the south for any good southern, backyard bar-b-q or picnic.

Some chocolate cream pie recipes can be tricky! But not mine, sweetheart! There’s no bitterness and absolutely NO bumps or lumps! Just creamy, chocalatey, chocalicious goodness!

Here is my recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie with Salted Buttermilk Crust.

Dawn's Chocolate Cream Pie

May you and yours enjoy it as much as me and mine do!




Dawn's Chocolate Cream Pie with Salted Buttermilk Crust


Dawn’s Chocolate Cream Pie with Salted Buttermilk Pie Crust


Mix in pan until smooth:

1 2/3 cups water

3 tbsp. cornstarch

5 tbsp. cocoa

½ cup sugar

Stir in and cook until thick:

1 14-oz. can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

3 extra large egg yolks, beaten

Add butter and vanilla and stir.

2 tbsp. salted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.

Pour into baked buttermilk piecrust.

Chill overnight.

Beat whipping cream, sweeten to taste, and add vanilla.

3 cups whipped cream

½ – 1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Top pie with whipped cream and refrigerate.



Dawn’s Buttermilk Pie Crust


Mix flour, shortening, and butter.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup Crisco butter shortening

3 tbsp. cold salted butter

Add buttermilk and vegetable oil and blend with pastry tool until sticks together.

1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk

2 tsp. vegetable oil

Divide and shape dough into two equal balls, flattening to make disks.

Place disks between parchment paper and put in plastic freezer bag.

Refrigerate and/or freeze until ready to use.

Foodie Friday: Danke BierBeisl!

Welcome to BierBeisl!


Dear BierBeisl,

Heading out on Saturday night with a couple of friends for a fancy dinner in Beverly Hills, I had no idea what we were in for. Thanks to you we had the best time! A night out with the girls for beers and sausage in Beverly Hills, who knew! I’ve never been a beer drinker but three little words from your bartender changed all that, StieglAdlerGrapefruit: half beer half organic grapefruit soda. How have I never had this before? I loved it! So thirst-quenching and the perfect suggestion for this lightweight.

Forgetting momentarily that I hadn’t come just for the beer, your amazing staff warmly navigated us through your authentic Austrian menu. Next destination? The perfect food companion to our beer – Kasekrainer! WOW, this Swiss cheese infused sausage was AMAZING! So juicy and delicious, the pretzel bread accompaniment took it over the top and we gladly devoured every bite! I kept thinking it doesn’t get better than this but you managed to changed my mind with the arrival of each dish. Our Austrian feast was both refined and comforting.

Home Cured Char ($15) with heirloom beets, pickled red onion, cucumbers, horseradish crème fraiche, tossed herb salad.

Marinated Duck Breast ($19) with white asparagus, kumquat compote and wild arugula, toasted pine nuts, broken balsamic vinegar. Beautiful dish!

Kasekrainer Sausage ($11) swiss cheese infused, light peppery, similar to “polish.” Tarragon mustard and fresh horseradish. My FAVORITE! So juicy every bite was a burst of flavor.

Original Vienna Schnitzel ($29) garnished with lemon and lingon berries, with potato salad. Razor thin with a light breading. Perfect with the sweet lingon berries and tart potato salad.

Asparagus Risotto ($28) with sauteed veal sweetbreads, meyer lemon, Parmesan, veal jus and tossed herb salad.

Creamy Veal Gulasch ($32) with homemade spatzle. sour cream, chives. The veal couldn’t have been more tender. This was SO RICH, I loved it.

Apfelstrudel ($9) with homemade vanilla ice cream. Flaky and delicious, not too sweet.

Stiegl Radler Grapefruit ($8) half Goldbrau/half all natural organic grapefruit soda, ideal thirst quencher and  low on alcohol and calories. I couldn’t stop drinking this. Turns out I AM a beer drinker!

 From the moment we stepped in the front door we were treated to your hospitality. The staff was attentive and accommodating. They really made our night out special. The space is intimate and embracing and the modern rustic décor is cozy. I would dare say the kitchen is drastically smaller than most kitchens in this zip code. Still we were amazed at the attention to detail in every dish and the incredible flavors that were coming out of the tiny open kitchen.

To Chef Bernhard Mairinger, your passion for Austrian food combined with your extraordinary talent in the kitchen made for an unforgettable experience. Thank you for my introduction to Austrian cuisine. I left your establishment with a giddiness small children find in a toy store. Kasekrainer sausage and Stiegl Radler Grapefruit! I’m telling absolutely everyone how fun it was to discover BierBiesl!

Auf Wiedersehen, until we meet again!

With Love and Gratitude,


9669 S. Santa Monica Boulevard

Beverly Hills, CA 90210





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