Grown-Up Dirt Cake Cups

adult dirt cake cups My Mom is a gourmet cook, and used to spend hours (sometimes even days) preparing fancy birthday cakes for family members. There was of course the multi-step Black Forest Cake for my dad. Then there was the snake cake, per my sister’s request….green fondant dyed different shades of green to look like the skin, a red fondant “tongue”, and even black eyes. I have no idea why a little girl would want a cake shaped like a big green snake for their 5th birthday (or however old she was), but nonetheless my Mom made it. And then there was me. Me, who could have any fancy cake in the world, and what do I ask for? Dirt cake! Don’t get me wrong, dirt cake is delicious, and I could eat buckets of it (which I’m sure I probably did), but looking back now I wonder what I was thinking choosing dirt cake….

It’s been years since I had my last birthday dirt cake, but for some reason, when I was making sugared flowers last week, memories of crushed Oreos and layers of fluffy, creamy pudding came to my mind. Except this time, it was sans worms, with a dash of alcohol mixed in, and topped with pretty edible flowers.

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Grown-Up Dirt Cake Cups
Serves 4
A grown-up version of the childhood favorite dirt cake
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  2. 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup mascarpone
  4. 2 tablespoons of vanilla
  5. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  7. Edible flowers, for garnish
  1. If you haven't already, start by pureeing the chocolate wafers in a Cuisinart until they turn into fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dust any extra cookie crumbs out of your Cuisinart, then add in the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugars and vanilla. Blend for a few seconds, until creamy.
  3. In small glass cups or jars (or mini flower pots, if you want to be really authentic), begin layering the cookie crumbs and the cream mixture. I did one heaping tablespoon of cookie crumbs, then one heaping tablespoon of cream mixture, then repeated that, ending with the cream mixture on top. Finish the top off with a light dusting of cookie crumbs and an edible flower.
  4. These can either be served immediately or stored in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours (although keep in mind, the cookie layer won't be quite as crunchy after several hours).
  1. To make these really grown-up, simply replace the vanilla with the alcohol of your choice. My favorites are: Baileys, Kahlua, Amaretto, or Grand Marnier.
Runway Chef

Dress & Dine- Easter Brunch

Easter Brunch One of my favorite things about Easter has always been the big breakfasts we would have following church and our Easter baskets. Of course, the best part was the hot cross buns, of which I would have at least 4 (following a healthy appetizer of 20 chocolate eggs, nonetheless). I still enjoy making big breakfasts for holiday mornings, but cooking up brunch for friends has also become a favorite way to entertain. This month’s Dress & Dine would be perfect for either occasion, whether it’s for a spring or Easter brunch and whether you are hosting family, friends or both. 

spring brunch entertaining entertaining ideas easy easter brunch ideas Dress// As the hostess for a morning gathering you want to be comfortable, yet put-together, in something that is practical yet elevated. Loose fitting maxi skirts or pants made from flowey, breathable fabric (preferably with a stretchy waistband) are my go-to. I’m loving poplin striped shirts for spring, and tying this one at the waist is the perfect way to make the shirt look simultaneously dressy and casual. While hosting, I like to keep my accessories at a minimum, instead choosing a bright pink shoe, a loosely braided hairstyle and a statement watch to make my outfit come alive.

To dress the table, I kept things simple as the food already added quite an array of color. I used a glass vase for the skewers, and a variety of serving dishes to add texture. I gave a few additional pops of color with some spring colored towels. To finish the table off, I scattered a few artichokes throughout. I love artichokes as decor because they add a subtle hint of color while also neutralize the table and unifying all the decor together. Their shape also provides another variety of texture.

Dine// A DIY breakfast bar may sound complicated to set up, but don’t be fooled by the name. This breakfast skewer bar couldn’t be easier and your guests will love the fun of “making” their own breakfast. I set up this skewer bar with both a sweet (mini donuts and fruit) and savory (prosciutto and asparagus, my twist on Easter ham and asparagus, along with mini egg cups) option. For drinks, I put a springtime spin on everybody’s favorite brunch drink. Instead of mimosas with orange juice, I served mine with a strawberry guava juice. The pretty pink color was the perfect finish to this spring/Easter brunch skewer bar.

Sweet Skewers
Donut Holes
Fruit (strawberries, raspberries, melon, pineapple, kiwi and star fruit are all great for spring colors)

Savory Skewers
Asparagus (Oven-roasted and cut into bite-sized pieces)
Mini Egg Cups (egg, cheese, seasonings)

To make the mini egg cups, simply beat together eggs, grated cheese (I used parmesan), and some seasonings (I used salt, pepper, chives and parsley). Pour into well-greased mini muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and cooked through. Serve immediately.

easter brunch what to wear to brunch spring brunch ideas spring casual outfit breakfast table mini baked eggs brunch ideas fruit spring brunch brunch how to dress for brunch spring entertaining ideas Poplin striped top *A special thanks to my father-in-law for letting us shoot this at his house.

DIY Easter Egg Candles

easter eggs No matter how old I get, there are many things I will never outgrow. Chocolate milk, coloring placemats at restaurants, watching the Little Mermaid and crafting (I am secretly still 5!). While I never turn down the opportunity to dye an Easter egg, I wanted to switch things up a bit this year.

Somehow through all our moves, the eggs that Mr. Runway Chef and I first dyed together have never broken….so of course I decide to break them instead! But only to update them in to candles. It’s a fun way to hold on to something from the past, while looking at it in a whole new candle light!

DIY Easter Egg Candles

candles made from easter eggs

Easter candles

To make the easter egg candles you will need:

  • Dyed eggs (I used some we had saved from the first batch of eggs we ever dyed together)
  • Tea lights (use 2 per egg)
  • Wick (or you can make your own)
  • Tools: a double boiler, a spoon, a glass measuring cup (to help pour), foil (to cover your workspace for easy clean up), paintbrushes/pencils/wooden spoon & tape (to hold the wicks well the wax sets), and a container to set these up in
  • Optional, food coloring (if you would like to color the wax) and essential oils (for scented candles)

easter crafts Begin by gently breaking off the top portion of the egg.

melting wax Next, remove the wicks and metal holders from the tea lights. Set the metal holders aside, and begin melting the wax over your double boiler.

how to make candles While the wax is melting, set up the eggs. Place each one in a metal holder from the tea lights. Line them up in a semi-shallow container and then lay the paintbrushes across the tops of the eggs.

making easter egg candles

Measure your wicks and cut to the appropriate length, making sure to leave enough room to allow you to tape it on to the brush. Secure the wick in place with the tape.

steps to making easter eggs into candles Once the wax has melted, if you choose to dye and scent the wax, now would be the time to do so. Otherwise, working as quickly as possible, pour the wax into the measuring cup and then into the eggs.

easter crafts

Let the eggs harden over night. Remove the tape and brushes, trim the wicks and enjoy!

Easter candles Easter Egg Candles

Edible Easter Egg Nests

easter egg nests The incredible edible egg nest…or something like that. No, not because these pack in the protein or some good health benefits (because, let’s be honest, they don’t) but mostly because they’re, well, just plain old incredible edible deliciousness. Did anyone else ever make these when they were growing up? They are definitely a fun throwback and regardless of how old I get or the fact that these are super duper easy, not an Easter goes by where I don’t make these at least once….Yes, I’m that much of a kid at heart:) This year I switched it up a bit by trying a new flavor combo and they turned out almost as good as the originals.

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Edible Easter Nests

Chocolate Version
3 cups chow mein noodles
3/4 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Egg candy 

Fluffer Nutter Version
3 cups chow mein noodles
1/2 cups peanut butter
1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
 Egg candy


To make the chocolate ones, melt the chocolate in a large bowl for one minute. Stir in the noodles and make sure everything gets well combined and coated (don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!).

To make the fluffer nutter ones, melt the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the marshmallow fluff and continue microwaving for 30 more seconds.

You can make the actual nest by shaping them in small clumps on a wax paper lined cookie sheet, or what I have found to be easier is using a greased cookie sheet. After shaping each nest, refrigerate until the chocolate has harden, at least 45 minutes. Fill with “eggs” and enjoy!

Easter Popcorn Mix

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.

But sometimes those little 100 calorie bags are, well, 100 calorie tasting.

Adding some additional treats (including the Easter M&M’s that were just begging to be eaten) did the trick to make this popcorn go from boring to freaking fantastic!

It probably also made it go from 100 to 400 calories….but when it’s for a holiday calories don’t count right?!

Easter Popcorn Mix

3 100-calorie bags of popcorn (or about 6 cups)

1/2 c. of peanut butter

1/2 c. peanuts

1/2 c. chow mein noodles

1 bag of white chocolate m&m’s


Pop the pop corn and set aside. In a large microwavable bowl put the peanut butter and half of the m&m’s. Microwave for  1 minute, then stir to combine (mush the m&m’s with the back of a spoon if necessary). Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined and the peanut butter is evenly coating everything. Cool and serve.