First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring Girlfriends!!!

“Daffodowndillies are coming to town in a yellow petticoat and a green gown.”   Here’s some MUSICA to take you halfway to heaven . . .

“Daffodowndillies” is the charming name they had for daffodils during Elizabethan times. It’s very early, but here on Martha’s Vineyard, the daffodowndillies are in full bloom!  The cheery little sunshine flowers are everywhere, peeking out from under picket fences, scattered in clumps over hilly meadows fronting the sea, lined up in front of old rock walls; some look like they’ve just up and run away from home, they’re out on roadsides all by themselves with no house in sight.  With the weather we’re having, I forsee lots of Easter egg hunts this year, lots of spring celebrations. We had an Easter egg hunt here at the house one year when all my friend’s children were little.  It was so exciting, decorating all the eggs, and hiding them!!!  Oh I loved it, the kids were so cute in their little Easter clothes, tearing around the backyard!  My favorite part was decorating the children’s serving table.  I set it up on an old white, wrought-iron tea cart, tied the handle with pastel-colored balloons, made Rainbow Jell-O in a clear glass dish (so you could see the layers  of Jell-O), made a macaroni and cheese casserole, and cut up some carrot sticks; but the coup de grace were the cupcakes on a cakestand in all different pastel springtime colors.

Who doesn’t love the little cake things with the pink sugar icing?  So fun to decorate with gumdrops and sprinkles; much more fun than eggs!  Because of the connection between being “grown up” and childhood, cupcakes have, in the last few years, risen to the top of the food chain.  Even the word is charming, CUPCAKES.  Cuppycakes.  Who doesn’t want one. They are no longer the simple little frosted treat our mothers made as a matter of course . . .

. . . now entire stores have been built around them, where cupcakes are the only thing sold.  I have to say, not all cupcakes are created equally!  They have gotten as big as regular cakes for one thing.  There was this one little store, that shall remain nameless; all they sold was cupcakes.  So of course when we saw that word on the door, we had to go in.  In front of us, almost like a 31 flavors ice cream store, in every color of the rainbow, was an array of cupcakes laid out in a glass case, twinkling like jewelry, lit up with cake sparkles, shimmer dust, edible glitter, sugar pearls, chocolate jimmies, colored dots, bright candies cut out into hearts, stars, flowers, kitties, any imaginable thing. We figured, since all this store sold was cupcakes, that they had to be delicious.  But, as my mom would say, “That’s what you get for doing your own thinking.”  Because, although they looked pretty, the cake under all that decorated foldoral was dry and dusty, and the frosting, that looked beautiful and swirly,  was actually like eating a helmet.  It was hard; there were perfect teeth marks in it when we took a bite, like as if you had taken a bite of a stick of butter.

Cute is just not good enough in the realm of food!  Although it’s a nice start.  Why can’t we have both?  A charming little cake, moist and tender, with a light frosting that balances perfectly with the cake; cupcakes that aren’t too big, not too small; delicious enough for a tea party, wonderful in a lunch bag, perfect for an egg hunt breakfast.  Oh yes…that’s the way it should be.  And there is never a better time of year for cupcake adoration than right now. 

So, let’s go the carrot patch girlfriends and gather the ingredients we need to make little cakes that any bunny would love . . . Carrot Cake Cupcakes.

Chock full of nuts and fruit, they don’t fall apart when you break into them; the frosting is homemade cream cheese; these cupcakes are good enough to give to your children, almost classified as a vegetable if you expand your mind a little bit and are a creative thinker. The frosting can be colored any way you like.  Here we go, here’s how to make them . . . First off, in case you’d like to see the finished product . . . this is our goal . . .

I’m partial to pink and pastel frosting colors, but you can color the frosting and coconut bright green if you like, and make a springtime lawn on your cupcakes.

This recipe makes about 2 ½ dozen cupcakes; put liners in the cupcake tins and preheat the oven to 350°.  Here we go . . .

Set out cream cheese and butter to soften (for the frosting).

Put a can of crushed pineapple into a sieve to drain.

Beat 4 eggs in a large bowl . . .  I’ll give you the measurements at the end so you can print them out if you like.

Whisk in the brown and granulated sugars.

And then the canola oil.

Add flour, soda and baking powder; whisk until well mixed.

Grate the carrots and add them along with

all the rest of the goodies: cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, golden raisins, chopped walnuts and the drained pineapple.  Stir the batter well.  See what I mean?  Pure health food!

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3’s full; put the trays into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the middle of one comes out clean.

Cool slightly (now is the time to quickly down three of them).  Frost . . . with

Cream Cheese Frosting

So easy, just mix softened cream cheese and butter together with a box of powdered sugar and 3 tsp. of vanilla until smooth.  That’s it!  Now the fun starts:

Divide the frosting into four bowls; keep one white and add a drop of food coloring to each of the other bowls; think spring . . . grass green, daffodil yellow, and cherry blossom pink. 

Frost them . . .

Right now, with nothing else done to them, these are perfect cupcakes, creamy, delicious, crunchy, with nuts and fruit.  BUT. . .

They are so fun to decorate! 

Kellee has been busy putting together kits of cute cupcake toppers for spring in our web store, including my dancing chickens  . . . which you actually make yourself . . .

They are so easy!  Scroll down a bit for the cupcake recipe all written out for you to print.  Hope you LOVE them!  A little (more) season brightener!

Happy Springtime Girlfriends!  Enjoy your

C A R R O T  C U P C A K E S

  • 4 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ c. canola oil
  • 2 c. unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 c. finely grated carrots
  • 1 c. sweetened coconut
  • 1-8oz. can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1 c. golden raisins
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans.  See frosting recipe below and set out butter and cream cheese to soften.  Put the pineapple into a sieve to drain.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Whisk in oil and mix well.  Put in the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients and pour batter into cupcake liners.  Bake for 20 min. until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of cupcake.  Cool slightly and frost with

C R E A M   C H E E S E   F R O S T I N G

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese. softened
  • 1-1 lb. box of powdered sugar, sifted into bowl
  • 3 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.  If desired, divide frosting into several bowls.  Add one drop of food coloring to each bowl until the color is correct. Enjoy girls!

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390 Responses to First Day of Spring

  1. Susan Bryza says:

    Thanks for the springy blog, Susan. The cupcakes look delish! I’m planning to make them for our Easter dinner. Carrot cake is my husband’s favorite. Since I can never get the two layers to merge “perfectly”, I’m going to have to switch to cupcakes!

    Ever heard of the Bluebonnets in Texas? They are popping up along roadsides in the DFW area. It’s such a treat to see them each year. We had a poor display last year; however, due to all the rain, this year promises to be the best! My golden retriever was born during the bluebonnet season; therefore, her name is Bonnie Bluebonnet. People actually park on the sides of the highways to take pictures of their children and pets in the midst of a massive bluebonnet area!

    Thanks for the heartwarming blog!

    Susan (from Dallas)

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard about them, didn’t Lady Bird Johnson have something to do with them? I’ve always wanted to see them!

      • Chris Wells says:

        Please come and visit! You have SO MANY GIRLFRIENDS in Texas, you can come and stay virtually anywhere in the state you want! But you better hurry… gets hot here! and real quick!

    • Pam K says:

      Hi Susan from Dallas – I live in the DFW area too and am excited to see the bluebonnets this year. I haven’t lived here long, and when we moved here a couple of years ago and noticed the cars pulled over and people taking pictures, we didn’t know what to think! But it all makes sense. The bluebonnets are gorgeous. Can’t wait for them to bloom. Chances are we’ll pull over and snap some pictures with our two dogs. Pam from Dallas

  2. Joann says:

    Oh, isn’t that the perfect truth? Those gorgeous cupcakes we see, like in the grocery stores, are typically quite awful!! Sometimes, that frosting is even made with Lard…oh my.

    But this—it is just about health food—I’m going to try and make some of these for Food Friday at the vet hospital this week—lots of good energy for them!!

    Happy Spring Week!!


    • Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

      so….I recently read in a magazine that using lard, which was soooooo frowned upon, is making a comeback because the trans fats in Crisco are even worse for you. They are saying that lard at least is something that can be eaten in moderation. Amazing the turn around. So they say to use butter in pie crusts, or if you don’t want to use butter, then better to use lard than Crisco. amazing, isn’t it? (not that I have ever used lard, I’m just saying…)

      • sbranch says:

        Both lard and Crisco are bad for you… but oh, the flakey crust! It’s not like we eat homemade pie every day!

  3. Cheryl Ferguson says:

    Thanks much for the flowers and the recipe. I do love that name “cuppycakes” – super cute. I love what they are called in the UK too – fairy cakes. Isn’t that just the best? Happy spring to all the girlfriends!

    • Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

      Seems like everything from England is just a bit more charming! Love the name fairy cakes!

  4. Judy Dow says:

    I can’t wait to make these cute cupcakes. Love carrot cake,too, but never thought of making it into cupcakes. Thanks for another great idea. I thought your cupcake papers were darling!

  5. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…beautiful spring post today..our daffodils are up too..just can’t believe this mild winter and early spring..i am usually writing to you from my kitchen in st. louis..but we really have spring fever and are on spring break in FL!! packing up a light dinner and headed to the beach for sunset…very nice!!
    Love the cupcakes and will make them over the week-end to take to school on Monday as a treat to help soften the blow of spring break being over!!! thanks for the great post!! love, cindy

  6. Country Gal says:

    Awesome post and photos ! Boy oh boy do those cupcakes every look YUMMY !. My Daffodills are almost open and my Hyacinths are growing so are my Tulips . I cant wait to get all my Perenials in , planters and hanging baskets done ! Our weather has been like summer sunny and highs of mid 70s to 80s I think we by passed spring and have gone straight into summer weather ! Happy Spring to you all ! Have a great day !

  7. audrey Bell from LaBarque Creek, Missouri says:


  8. Karen Saunders says:

    I loved your colorful blog and Willard today. Spring will forever remind me of my Grandparents. They lived with us and I was priveledged to be a part of their lives. In the spring my Grandfather would set out in his old Desoto, that he drove 5 miles an hour, (I loved it when he drove me to the dentist because it took him so long!) and his fedora hat he was never without and drive the backroads and come home with a handfull of little purple birdbills to give to my Grandmother. He didn’t buy her expensive things because he didn’t have the money but I think she appreciated the birdbills more than any gift he could have purchased.

  9. Nann says:

    THANKYOU for your wonderful recipes. I’ve never made carrot cupcakes but by golly I am this year for our grandkids easter party. Your directions were terrific and they look devine. I wish I had one right now. Love all your ideas for presentation too. How fun you make them!! You’ve giving me spring fever girlfriend. And with the snow here I surely need it.



  10. Sara Holiday, FL says:

    Yummy!!!! I think I most certainly will make these!!!!

  11. Beth Keser says:

    Happy Spring! Can’t wait to try your carrot cake cupcake recipe! I love all things cupcake 🙂 my best friends daughter is my cupcake baking partner, and she loves all things British. I was so happy to find your British cupcake accessories on your web-store. Cannot wait to give them to her for her birthday later this week. We will then have a tea party with cupcakes. I am sure your name will come up!! Have you ever visited The Layer Cake Shop website? Found it through Country Living magazine -they have all vintage inspired baking supplies. Reminds me of you!

  12. Carol Maurer says:

    Happy happy Springtime to you Susan!!
    There are places where the sun is shining and the warmth from the sun is so loverly! But, not here in Eureka, CA. Rain this morning and all cloudy for the whole day! I have lots of flowers in bloom though so my yard LOOKS like Spring 🙂
    The cupcakes look so delious!
    Carol Maurer

  13. Annie H says:

    Thank you for your wonderful photos and recipes!! I enjoy your website so much & your books :)! I will be making the carrot cake cupcakes for my husband Dennis, who loves carrot cake. From Southern California.

  14. Laurie says:

    Love the daffodils…saw some on my walk today here in Southern California. The squirrels are chasing about and I saw some bunny footprints out front yesterday, so I know they’re around. My elderly parents recently moved here (right across the street) from Montana, and they are enjoying the new blooms. It’s so fun to see the garden come to life for the first time in a new home. There’s a surprise every month. Thanks for the recipe. Carrot cake is my hubby’s favorite.

  15. Keri F says:

    Hi Susan. This is “Keri with a K” in California (I met you at Mt. of Olives Church last year in Mission Viejo). Anyhoo, I am making your fab-u-lous carrot cupcakes tomorrow and can already imagine how yummy they will be. Mine will get a tsp or two of grated ginger in the icing to make it extra spring-y (is that a word?) Have you tried this? It’s incredible… warning – it’s addicting! lol. Cheers to Girlfriends!
    Keri in CA

  16. Oh, such wonderful and delicious looking treats! And so pretty too.
    HAPPY SPRING TO YOU SUSAN! Sounds like you are off to a good start. :o)

  17. Robin in SC says:

    Yummy yummy in my tummy, Hip hip hip hooray!!!!!

  18. Diane says:

    Cheryl, I love that- fairycakes! A perfect name for them. 😀

    Susan, I know what you mean, I’ve splurged and gone off my diet a few times, (okay I admit it) for those fancy cupcakes, and have had a few that were like lead they were so heavy and I know what you mean about the frosting – yuk! I think I will try yours for Easter- they sound fab!

    Happy Spring to all!

  19. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    and now for something completely different:
    I have to send you this little bit of info after reading your thoughts on Queen Elizabeth II in Willard. I am a lover of all things British Isles, (if you Google “Great Britain explained” you get this wonderful chart which explains the relationship of the islands and countries to one another), and a lover of inexpensive souveniers. This past April, wanting something tangible to mark the wedding of Will and Kate – I purchased a teatowel. It was the least expensive item from The Royal Collection (Google that also, marvelous!). Now we have the Diamond Jubilee, and the teatowels are the best! Colourful and vibrant and …useful! What to do with them? perhaps a pillow, perhaps framed I just cannot decide. Part of the excitement is the packaging. Well worth the $22.00 plus for a teatowel is the postmark “Royal Mail” and the customs stamp. This came all the way from Royal Collection Warehouse, Stable Cottage West, Royal Gardens, Home Park, Windsor, SL42JQ, UK. It sounds like music.
    I encourage all anglophiles – purchase these, and while you watch the pomp and ceremony of the Queen’s celebrations this season, wave the towel and say “hurrah, God save the Queen!”

    Marcia Sherman
    Sewell, NJ

  20. Alice in Wisconsin-land says:

    Maybe someone else mentioned this, I didn’t read all the comments – but with SO many attractive cupcake liners available – I wish there was a way that the design would show plainly AFTER the cupcakes bake. Afterward, no matter what liner used, the cupcakes all pretty much look the same (not talking about the tops of them). In many magazines though, the designs look bright and sharp … I suspect the crew does a little tinkering with them – like adding a fresh liner for the picture shoot.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never seen that happen in real life; I feel the same way. I think, and I do not know, but I am such a “scientist,” that the inks that would still show, might have toxic qualities. The butter and eggs are bound to bleed into an organic paper. Which I really hope all cupcake papers are! The pretty ones are still fun to play with . . . cheerful.

      • Janet says:

        Hi everyone! I agree as well about the little paper baking cups – they NEVER look the same after baking. Now I use those silicone liners and spend the $$ I save on decorating the tops instead. Susan, those “Dancing Chickens” are adorable! Bonus – the silicone muffin cups are a good “green” choice since they’re reusable – and I think they’re much easier to remove as well!

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      Quite accidentally, once, I put 2 cupcake liners (nested tog.) in my cupcake pan. When the baking was finished, I noticed how bright one of the cupcakes looked…it was the double-lined one.
      I have tried to do this with all my cupcakes since then but it’s easier said than done…when it works, the inside liner is “soaked” with the cake and the outside liner stays bright. Try it…

      • sbranch says:

        Are they “stuck” together?

        • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

          not with anything like glue…just “stuck” together from their original packaging. I’ve tried to nest 2 together but it’s really hard to get the pleats to match up well once they’re separated. …like coffee filters. Now I purposely try to leave a couple or more “stuck” together. Like I said…not so easy…there should be a better way!

          • sbranch says:

            You’re right! But still, I would worry about that ink.

          • Donna Hamilton, Arkansas says:

            I like the bright cupcake liners also and have found that if I put the “pretty & colorful” cupcake liner in the muffin pan first, then take a plain white liner inside that one. The colorful liner on the outside stays much brighter. It takes a little extra time, but well worth the effort….

  21. starr miller says:

    HI Susan,

    I can’t wait to make these ‘oh so cute’ cupcakes. Thanks a million. I look forward to all of your creative blogs !!
    Give kitties a pat for me.
    Happy Spring….

  22. shelley says:

    WOW they look fantastic can’t wait to try them. This is totally off topic but, I just received your Happily Ever After rug today. It is soooo cute, it is much larger than I thought it would be, and the colors so bold and rich. It is so perfect inside my front door, what a way to greet my guests.
    I am so pleased, thank you so much.

  23. Sue Rideout says:

    Ok Susan, it’s 9:22 pm here in Maine and you have made me sooooo hungry for a sweet cupcake! Will power is needed!!! Happy First Day of Spring

  24. Marianne says:

    So that explains it…..I got up this morning with a surprising and ferocious urge to get out into the garden and do some weeding. Me? Weeding? Isn’t that what I always pay someone else to do? Normally, I’d rather have a root canal. But the urge overcame me and after a trip to the basement for gloves, spade and shovel I found myself out in the SoCal sunshine pulling and straining with every ounce of strength I have to get every last weed out of the front yard (actually, we just had a major rainstorm here over the weekend and the weeds came right out with an easy tug, but it’s my story and I’m telling it my way 🙂 Suddenly, it occured to me that today just might be the first day of Spring. A trip inside to my Susan Branch 2012 calendar confirmed it, I have a major case of Spring Fever! And after today’s SB blog, I have the perfect fourth dish to serve my neighborhood girlfriends to tea next week….carrot cupcakes! To go with dainty egg salad sandwiches, lemon bars and hmmmm….need one more savory sandwich….need to check the Home Cooking link…..

    -Happy Spring Everyone!!!!


    • sbranch says:

      It has to be cucumber sandwiches! You can, if you want, cut the bread out in heart shapes! What a perfect party!

  25. Pam Baker says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just received my Willard and I must say…it was a much needed panacea for my soul. You bring love and light and cheeriness to the room with your email and blog. My personal style leans more to rustic cabin, camp and western…in my heart your style always has a secret room and I have fallen under your watercolor spell. Sigh. I have for years. I wear your PJ’s and have a calendar and use your stickers in my scrapbook. Thank you so much for being you and sharing you with us. That is not an easy thing to do. You mean so much to me. And…I feel I have taken you for granted. But not today. Thank you!
    Much love and affection,
    Pam Baker

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet Pam, thank you!

      • That was an extra good Willard, Susan. When I saw that you were talking about the Queen, I was delighted. She’s an inspiration to many people, myself included. I’d give a lot to go to London for the Jubilee celebrations in June. As far as the Emma Bridgewater mug… I looked at their website and they have the most fabulous line of Diamond Jubilee products. The mug you have is my personal favorite.

        Like you, I wrote to the Queen when I was little as well. In fact, on two occasions I travelled to British Columbia to see her – 1983 and 1987. I got to give her flowers, Margaret Thatcher, too. A really fun experience.

  26. Heidi says:

    Love the cupcakes and the tour of the Vineyard!! I haven’t been to the Vineyard in ages and my husband never – it is time for a family trip!!! A good friend at work has a cottage and I think she would love to share it so we can walk by your beautiful house. Just read Willard – Our peepers and frogs in CT are SO LOUD!!! They are so excited for this early summer?? weather!!! Enjoy!!!

  27. Jenny L. says:

    Love the daffodils. The beautiful flowers up north blow me away. We went to Maine 2 summers go and my daughter (the florist) and I were in heaven. A lot of the flowers my daughter uses in her arrangements were in our host’s front yard. Us Florida girls couldn’t get over it. Sure, it is pretty and green usually all year round and we have lots of flowers too, but I noticed the flowers up there have time to grow and it is like each petal and green leaf comes out perfect. In Florida, it is like flowers on steroids with all the sun and they just grow too fast and fade away just as fast. But I will take flowers any way I can get them – south or north. They soothe my soul!

    • sbranch says:

      There is something else … we live for months without any flowers at all. This makes us insane when they do come out, and the flowers are even more loved. It’s the deprivation that helps to make it feel like a miracle!

      • Janet says:

        Pupcakes! Oh that really is SO cute Gigi… I think that’s going to stick with me – I won’t be able to look at a cupcake in the same way anymore! I have “pupcakes” on the brain. You MUST get some video or at least a recording of her saying that. Too cute.

        In my family we all say “slad” for “salad” because one of my little brothers couldn’t say “salad” for the longest time as a toddler. To this day we’ll be in a restaurant and my sister might ask me “Janet, how’s your Caesar slad?” :>)

  28. Nancy S, Valley Forge, PA says:

    Love cuppycakes! In the city (Philadelphia) they have a “cupcake truck” that makes the rounds during the day, selling wonderful cupcakes…people line up to buy them!

  29. jeanne hedin says:

    I really, really, REALLY love daffodils! I totally agree that they are a little bit of sunshine. 🙂 I have a small yard but managed to carve out a corner for my “heirloom flowers”. I walked dirt roads, climbed fences and fought underbrush to collect bulbs from locations where I knew my great-great grandmothers’ homes once stood. I was delighted to find small, weed-choked daffodils blooming in early spring, deep in the Ozark foothills. I brought those bulbs, along with other flowers, home to Minnesota. Because the climates are SO different, I planted the bulbs and held my breath. A few years later, I am very happy to say that I enjoy those beautiful daffodils each spring! And this spring, thanks to your delicious-sounding recipe, I will be delighting my little gumdrops with cupcakes after Easter dinner! 🙂

  30. Gigi says:

    Oh how we love cupcakes too, and your recipe looks scrumptious! One of my little (extremely adorable 😉 granddaughters calls them ‘pupcakes’ which of course, we all think is so cute & sweet! So now, we all call them pupcakes. I’m thinking everyone should, don’t you agree ;)?
    Happy Spring!

  31. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Susan, I’m a Tole Painter. I – and my tole painting buddies – buy tole painting books, instructions, and packets by certain popular artists. I’m sure you know of them. Your artwork is the best. Any chance that you might create/publish a book or pattern packets in the future for the tole painting community? I know lots of us would be thrilled. I give your books as gifts and everyone I know loves your artwork. In the meantime, I’m content to dream…. 🙂 Just thought I’d put the idea out there hahaha – BTW – I love the name “Fairy Cakes” for the cup cakes! I read on your post – that’s what they’re called in the UK. Think I will use that name from now on. The grandkids would like that!

    • sbranch says:

      I love tole too, have a tray here that I just love. I will think about doing a book, I just wish I had more hands for all the wonderful things there are to do!

  32. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Happy First Day of Spring Susan! Your cupcakes look delicious, I can’t wait to bake them soon!!! I believe homemade bake goods are baked with “love” and that is the most important ingredient……..that makes them the best!!!! The weatherman is predicting temperatures in the mid 80’s on Wednesday, here in Dearborn, Michigan, so I will be up very early, so as to not heat up the kitchen during the afternoon hours. It is such a strange feeling wearing short sleeves, shorts and sandals in March……….I think Mother Nature likes to tease us!!!! Thank you for the recipe, my husband will be sooooooooooo happy, he loves his sweets!!!!

  33. Jack says:

    The first disaster will be a Carrot famine after everyone does your cupcakes for Easter:-)

  34. Jane says:

    I so hear you on the fancy cupcakes. Under the perfect frosting might just lie…a tasteless cupcake. I am the real deal. I try to make my frosting look nice but with four hungry little faces looking at me {years ago}, I had to slap it on and sprinkle on those candies. M&M’s are the best. I liked to do Swedish fish, too…they looked like they were diving into a sea of frosting! You have to put them in head first to achieve this look! ;-D

    We might have a little trip to Martha’s Vineyard this summer. It has been 10 years since we were there celebrating The Husband’s 50th. We stayed in Edgartown and loved it…a sweet B&B that I hope is still there. The Chadwick Inn on Winter St.? We rented a little red jeep and had a ball for a week!

    Hope you are enjoying the first day of Spring…it is glorious here!!

    Jane from Chicago

  35. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Needed an idea for my puppy’s first birthday…she wants to give her vet clinic and dog park friends a treat. Thank you, Susan, for the wonderful idea and yummy-sounding recipe. We can do this.

  36. Linda says:

    Spring? Where art thou? We had snow—haven’t had but a touch all Winter and what do we get this morning–the ground covered with snow–bah humbug Spring!I am getting cabin fever I think–yes, definitely…….liked your cupcakes.

  37. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    Our freesias led the way about four weeks ago, then about three weeks ago we had a few “volunteer” mini-daffydowndillies…I have no idea where they came from, but they are all gone now (all in containers, where did they come from?). My roses have bloomed once already, and I haven’t done any cleaning up or pruning this year! We had a gorgeous sunny spring day today, and Willard…well, nothing could be finer. I had to laugh at “Man of Wrath” as I have one of those! Hee-lar-ee-ous! I will def be checking out all of Miss Elizabeth’s fiction based on that one phrase alone. I am going to try these cuppy cakes with almond flour as I don’t do the wheat anymore, and see how they do…they frosting looks delish. Susan = joy + joy + more joy. 🙂 Thank you!

  38. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    Thanks for the cupcake recipe! Reading your blog always makes me hungry…I think I’ll have to make a cup of tea and have a graham cracker. More appropriate for 1:30 am. I’m not kidding myself….I’d much rather have one of your cupcakes! Because of your blog and encouragement I have been learning to do more with my p.c. I’m having so much fun adding recipes to my Susan Branch recipe binder! Cutting and pasting is so much fun. One day someone special will be so happy I did this.

  39. Just to let you know, Susan, that having read an earlier post and your reply that I, too, have deleted my Susan Branch pinboard on Pinterest. I have been wondering about the general integrity of Pinterest for some weeks now, and fully understand what you are saying as I have had photographs ‘borrowed without permission’ from Facebook. Unlike yourself, I don’t make my living from photography (yet) but as a fellow artist I fully understand where you are coming from.

    From my own point of view, I have a lot of friends who like to look at my photos, so I now take the precaution of shrinking them down so that if anyone did try to print them from a computer the resolution would be so bad they won’t want to!

    Can you please let me know if it is all right to share the freebies that you very often and so kindly share with us?

    It is an odd, and fast paced world in which we are living these days . . .

    • sbranch says:

      Do you know how sweet that is? You make me feel so protected! It’s such a tough thing, no one wants to be a complainer, I’m only one person, how does one fight the internet? When I give away free things, it’s for the love of this connection we share and not really meant to make a blog with, or to sell at a flea market, but so everyone can write letters to their friends with my art on it; the bookmarks are so they have a little gift to give away to their moms or best friends, screen savers are meant so the girls can have something cute from me for their computers, that kind of thing. Everyone keeps telling me to put watermarks across my photos and art — I hate to do that, makes it look so harsh. But who knows what the future will bring. Most everyone is wonderful and understanding, but there are those who would take advantage; I’ve found product from Thailand with my art on it — badly printed, makes me sad . . . Thank you so much for understanding!! It’s really a hard subject to bring up!

      • Great response, Susan. Sharing art is a wonderful thing. But, in order to share art, we have to be able to support ourselves so that we have time to make the art that we share! It’s not harsh or wrong to say. It’s funny that the people that are most worried about “whiners” or “complainers” are the one’s who are actually be taken advantage of.

        Watermarks aren’t a bad thing. I think you can even put little ones down in a corner.

        • sbranch says:

          Thanks Jake!!

          • Sharon Calvert says:

            OK … now I’m sad; after reading these posts, I too have deleted your artwork from my Pinterest boards … and they’re no longer as appealing to me. I didn’t realize the negative effects for you; sorry …

          • sbranch says:

            Very nice of you…very sweet!

          • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

            There was a little commentary on our local news here just a few days ago talking about this very problem re: “Pinterest” – I thought of you!

          • sbranch says:

            I think there are lots of people kind of worried about it…everyone who makes the art that’s going up on Pinterest has a little something to say about it.

          • Sandy Richmond says:

            Susan, I had one of your drawings on one of my Pinterest boards. It was one of your adorable little houses covered in snow.. When I posted it, I wasn’t even thinking of someone else grabbing it.. I just love looking at it. I just removed it,and won’t post any more..

          • sbranch says:

            Oh thank you Sandy . . . I just read something so upsetting. Pinterest has rules that say that all art posted to them is owned by them. Plus they have protected themselves from copyright infringement by having the Pinterest members agree that any copyright disputes are between the people who pin (the members) and the artists whose work they use!!! You can read more . . . there is so much of my art out there, scattered like when you blow a dandelion flower in the wind.

      • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

        I have to say, Susan, that I SOOOO appreciate your generosity in sharing things with us like the bookmarks and the computer wallpaper and the little notepads. I would NEVER presume to print them off to sell at craft fairs or whatever! I understand that the intention is for our personal use or to give as little gifts to our loved ones. Makes me sad to think that people would want to profit off your generosity and success. DO keep us informed….it’s not whining or complaining….it’s just being smart about what you’ve worked so hard for all these years. We love you….you have a very loyal following….hopefully no one takes advantage of you. Shame on that Thailand company!!! xoxo…kp

        • sbranch says:

          I just read something awful about Pinterest — finding out something new and more awful daily.
 You’re a sweetie Karen!

          • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

            Yikes!!! I just recently signed up for Pinterest but haven’t posted anything yet. After seeing this, I think I will UN-sign-up! Praying for protection for all your work, luv! xoxo…kp

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you so much Karen!

          • Sandy Richmond says:

            Thanks for educating all of us on this..

          • Thank you, Susan, for your understanding. Also, for that link. It is now making me reconsider my involvement with Pinterest completely. It is very worrying to read about copyright infringement lying with the pinner not the company. I have posted that link directly on to my Facebook page to get the message circulating amongst my friends, many of whom are pinners as are many of their friends too. I know you said it isn’t an easy subject to bring up, but it must be spoken about to protect everyone . . the people to whom the work belongs and pinners alike!

          • sbranch says:

            When I first found out about it, I was shocked to find out that all artwork and photos pinned to Pinterest automatically became the property of Pinterest, they can use it any way they want, even sell use of it. In their Terms of Use, they tell the members to get a signed release for the use of the art! But the members don’t read those terms and they don’t know that! As I looked further, I found out that it wouldn’t be Pinterest that would be held liable for this, it would be the members, most of whom have absolutely no idea! So unfair! So it really is all of us who end up in hot water, while they go skipping through the tuplips! I haven’t ever seen anything like this; like everyone else, I thought Pinterest was a great idea, until this!

        • Janet says:

          Well-said, Karen. That’s exactly how I feel too. We need more education on this issue in the media. I’m sure it doesn’t cross most people’s minds that before the Internet the only way you could have enjoyed Susan’s art was to buy it – and that a lot of work went into creating it – especially younger people who have never known life without the Internet.

  40. veronica says:

    I’m still in Irish mode. Here’s one…
    The Lad and His Lassie
    This Leprechaun fair’
    the one that I see.
    He’s holding her hand,
    this little Lassie.
    Their dressed all in green,
    and happy they are;
    Bringin’ us cheer,
    O’er land ’tis so far.
    They come only once
    a year , don’t you see;
    Their here for today;
    Tomorrow they’ll flee.
    A wee little Lad,
    ‘Tis truer than true;
    A heart full ‘o love,
    with kisses like dew.
    Lass, she is smilin’,
    her cheeks all a blush;
    Dew kissed and happy!
    Oh! what a rush.
    “Luck ‘o the Irish”
    they sing on their way;
    Dancin’ and merry,
    On this, ‘spring-like day…
    Happy Days to all!!!

  41. deb m says:

    Your cupcakes sound so yummy! I’ve been using Nutiva Virgin Coconut oil in some of my food. The medium chain triglicerides are good for the brain, and mine needs all of the help it can get, lol. I wonder if it could be used to replace your canola oil? Then you could call your cupcakes brain food!
    Thanks for the recipes, just in time for Easter!

    • sbranch says:

      I like the sound of the brain food. I use canola because it doesn’t have much of a flavor, you’d have to decide what you think about that Coconut oil. Sounds like it would taste good.

  42. Natalie says:

    Wonderful recipe thanks for sharing… brought back memories of my son calling cupcakes, (pupcakes), when he was little.. he loved his pupcakes!! Sometimes I’d make him say it over and over again just so I could hear him say pupcakes.. 🙂

  43. Lisa G. says:

    Boy, does that look delicious – I think I’ll make some cupcakes for Easter! I’ll plan on it.

    Susan, have you ever noticed how cakes made with oil (I use canola), have a nicer texture, less heavy, a nice crumb (I think it’s called)? I don’t think it’s my imagination. I used to feel irritated that cake mixes always seem so perfect – and I don’t like to buy them or make them! – and then it dawned on me that the oil may be the reason.

    • sbranch says:

      I think you’re right . . .

    • I love to bake cakes and am pretty famous for my chocolate cakes (with Seafoam Frosting… Heaven!)

      I have two recipes that work every single time and make the very best real American Devil’s Food Cake. The first is Hershey’s Special Chocolate Cake made with cocoa and oil. It’s moist, fudgy and easy – no sifting – all in one big bowl. I am sure that you can find this on the Hershey’s website. I get it from their 1934 cookbook.

      The other is from the 1963 McCall’s Cookbook. This is the real deal… made with butter, melted chocolate, sift everything five times, etc. It’s just a little richer in flavor and has a special texture that can’t be beat. Having said that, the first one is always my go to cake because I can whip it up in about 10 minutes!

      Nothing beats homemade cake!

  44. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Spring is Here! Loved my visit with Willard! HAD to go out & pull some weeds yesterday, warmed by the sun (me, no jacket!) peeking in and out of the clouds! I ♥ birthdays – mine was the 18th! And, my wonderful family had a great celebration & my wonderful BFFs gave me a little party too – reallll whipped cream in my coffee!!!! And, I got a card signed by my other BFF, you Sue! Ha, ha, ha, at least my other BFF didn’t write like you, she said she tried & just couldn’t get it!! You 2 gave me – “Einstein’s Dreams”, “The Enchanted April”, & “Where Women Cook”!!!! Thank you!!!! I love getting older!!! xoxoxo

  45. Linda says:

    Thank you for the “breath of fresh air” and the “sweet” inspiration and anticipation of Spring.
    i thought you and your readers may enjoy some pretty Spring Hats to “inspire”
    some sweet adornments.

  46. Darlene B (NYC) says:

    Happy Spring Susan and everyone!! The daffodils are in full bloom here too and such a lovely and welcoming sight to see!! All the cupcakes are beautiful and I will be making the carrot cupcakes for Easter. Thanks for sharing xoxo

  47. Cindy says:

    Happy Spring! Loved the daffie dills (my Grandson’s name for them)! Can’t wait to try the carrot cupcakes! Of course I loved your pics and paintings.
    Our Spring is almost over, so early! The red bud trees, bleeding hearts, and lilacs are just starting and they are beautiful! Pinks and purples! Can’t wait to read Williard!

  48. deborah says:

    What a gorgeous blog! When I think of all the time it must take you to snap these pics, and do all the work you do for US, it is amazing!

    I just got my Willard, and it, like this one, is so full of Spring time love, and beauty, it has made my day! Thank you for all you do for so many of us, and the joy and smiles you give us!!! Just love the colorful ideas here and in the Willard!!!

  49. Connie B says:

    Our Mn winter was similar to yours and Spring has come early. I knew something was up when the Cardinals greeted me with their calling song as I went off to work in late Feb.I keep waiting for the Robins to return from their Florida winter vacations. I realized that we usually still have a foot of snow at this time of the year and the Robins wait until it gets a little warmer. My crocus are blooming so I’m happy. I love this time of year when nature wakes up after a long sleep. No peepers yet but I love to listen to them at night during the summer. I received 2 seed/nursery catalogs not too long ago and am also planning my garden–am anxious to eat the cherry tomatoes right out of the garden. My Mother taught me companion planting as she was a great organic gardener. Happy Spring and happy daydreams for summer.

  50. Pam says:

    Thanks for the recipe Susan, those cakes look scrummy but it’s absolute torment as I’m trying to lose weight! I’ve already fallen off the wagon this week with a tarte au citron for Mother’s Day and last night a MINI (i emphasise mini lol) bag of Maltesers.

    • Jack says:

      Pam –get Atkins at the grocery for lunch as a big helper diet wise ….one little bar and a drink( you select) will satisfy and let you continue weight loss program –even with little eating mistakes

      • Pam says:

        Thanks Jack but not sure if you can get Atkins in England. Haven’t come across it before, what exactly is it?

        • sbranch says:

          Putting in my two cents, in case my dad misses this . . . Atkins was famous here for a low-carb diet book. There are foods in our supermarkets for people losing weight.

  51. Audrey Patterson says:


  52. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    Hi Susan! Happy Wednesday to ya!.. I was wondering.. and am not sure this is the place to find the information, but yesterday I went looking for my Willard after work and haven’t received it!… 🙁 very sad face here!!… I was signed up and received previous ones so am not sure what the deal is. I went on the sign-up again but am wondering if I will receive the current one or if there is someone who will send it to me @ [email protected]… sorry if this is not the appropriate way to go about it, but I REALLY don’t want to miss out!

    Thanks for all you do and for putting up with this maddening glitchy stuff!..Diana.

  53. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon Sweet Sue…First I Began My Morning… Reading… Savoring… & Enjoying…Your “Willard”…Glorious! 🙂 I am “In~Love: with The Spring Peepers…”Pinkletinks” “Tinky” The Singing Spring Frogs….My Buddies! Pure Magic 🙂 “The Secret Garden” & “Enchanted April” Two of My Favorite Films for this Time of The Year! & omggggggggggg “Morning Thunder” Beyond Scrumptious! Thank You! Now this Spectacular Springtime Blog….”Daffodowndillies”….Perfection! & You are so Right Daffodils are The Most Cheery Little Sunshine ☼ Flowers! I Must Buy Some Now! 🙂 & Oh My Goodness…Sweetest Sue…Your Artwork of The Bunny in The Carrot Patch…Pure Springtime Magic! ♫♥☼ & omggggggggggggg The Photos of Jack! Beyond Cute…Kitty~Kisses to Him from Me Please! ♥ so Today I shall Be Twirling into all Those Yummy Cuppycakes! (Licking all that Yummy Sweet Icing…) 🙂 Happy Springtime to All! Easter~Egg Colored Pixie~Dust Everywhere! Yay! xoxo Poof! ♫♥☼

  54. Jack says:

    Who can finish it ?
    I’m a little tea-pot
    Short and stout !
    This is my handle ,
    This is my spout…….

    • Angie(Tink!) says:

      When I Get all Steamed Up Hear Me Shout Tip Me Over & Pour Me Out! xoxo 🙂 Poof! ✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✫*¨*.¸¸.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫

    • dottie says:

      When I get all steamed up
      Then I shout
      Just tip me over
      And pour me out!

      First grade! Oh my memories of songs from first grade!

      Camels and bears and ponies are found,
      Prancing around on the merry-go-round,
      Toodle-y ooh, toodle-y ay,
      On the merry-go-round!

    • Pat Beckman says:

      When I get all steamed up
      tip me over pour me out
      Do you have a recipe got the jello rainbow dessert? Had one and can’t find it

  55. Laura says:

    This has probably already been said, but my first introduction of the term daffodowndillies was in The Secret Garden.
    I used to spend every weekend at my grandmother’s house, and she read to me every Friday and Saturday night. We took a few weeks to get through The Secret Garden, because I was only about 4 or 5, but we did, and the term has stuck with me ever since. In fact, when I see daffodils, I think immediately “Oh! The daffodowndillies are finally blooming!”
    There’s nothing like a good childhood at the hand of your grandmother. To this day, that book is one of my favorites, and the movie is also.

  56. ArlineLA says:

    And for us girlfriends who do not have any daffodils around — but have a Trader Joe’s, check it out. They have bunches of closed daffodils for $1.29. I splurged and bought 2 bunches. The next day they all open and bloom beautifully! What a bargain.

  57. Deb from Dixie says:

    Happy Spring!
    Daffodowndillies, red tulips, yellow forsythia and pear trees bloomin that look like an explosion happened in a cotton ball factory, and the white cotton balls landed in the trees……..pear trees line the roadways and the woods…….but best of all the wild lilacs that have been growing up the old trees for decades……20-30-40 foot tall trees hanging with lilacs………………the beauty of nature is just amazing. You drive down the roadway, look into the woods…….and white, purple, pink and yellow…….a palette of color…….makes you grateful for a spring day!
    Kitty sound asleep on the screen porch in her favorite white wicker chair…..warm breezes, sweet tea……and a recipe for some scrumptous cupcakes…….it’s a good day in Dixie!
    Happy Spring Susan and girlfriends!

  58. Well, Susan, you’ve just MADE my day ! Coming here always makes me smile bigtime. Sending love…..

  59. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Susan, I have to tell you how much I simply ADORE the artwork that is in your Willard this month (every piece you do is wonderful, of course!)!! Oh my goodness….TOTAL CUTENESS….the bunny under the hat…the bluebirds and the birdhouse….the straw hat on the picket fence!!! “Darlingness” (I think I made that up!) in my emailbox today! And the sounds of Spring that you’ve provided for us just make me say “Ahhhh……” I never heard of peepers before….sweet sound! I love Willards!!!!! xoxo…kp

  60. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    Loved Willard! Oh MY!!! And all my daffodils have been gone for a week or so now. I have one lone tulip out there and some other things that I don’t know what they are! LOL!! And the temps are so warm here for March. Loved the peepers on you tube. I never heard them called that! How so very cool! I always thought that sound was crickets! LOL!! Oh and the birds chirping! Ahhhhh, spring as you say! Love your flower garden and so glad you guys got out there and did some spring sprucing up! I have been sick for a couple of days so this Willard just cheered me up so very, very much! Thanks! Hugs to you Susan!!

  61. Verla says:

    Only one request. Would it be possible to make the recipes “printer friendly” so we could print them and not the entire post? Very anxious to bake these!

    • sbranch says:

      You can just copy and paste the recipe into an email and print it — it’ll be faster than waiting for us to get the printer-friendly thing going!!

  62. Susan, THANK YOU for the beautiful Willard I truly enjoyed it. I loved your drawing of the spring bonnet with the bunny under it….adorable. Now, I would adore your 50’s we are having the 80’s here and I must say they are too warm and it’s just too early to be sweating!!! The temps. are the highest in IN in 100 years which makes me worry what is coming for the summer 100’s?? My daffodils started blooming at the start of March, and are already gone and dried up….now the tulips are starting to bloom….we will not have any color here for April all the trees/flowers will be gone….sigh….I guess we take the beauty when we can get it…we truly could have the A/C on this week but are holding out for April thank goodness for ceiling fans. Jack looks so mature and the kitty look is almost gone? Great Willard as usual and do take time away from “us” to meet your deadlines and enjoy the Spring!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Jack is still a baby (at least in my eyes), his kitty look isn’t gone yet, he still has round eyes that almost bug out of his face! His life centers around the screen door — it’s been so warm we’ve had the door open, and there it is, the WORLD, out there, for him to see. He’s either there, or on an upstairs window sill staring into the yard. All those birds and squirrels are fascinating him.

      So happy you liked Willard Deborah! And I heard there is no correlation between a warm winter and an early spring, and what the weather will be like in the summer — I was wondering the same thing. I hope that weatherman is right!!

  63. Karen says:

    Loved Willard! I played the Pinkletink sounds and played them for ours here just outside Nashville. Ours were not able to understand yours as they kept croaking too fast, but feel they have so much in common … we have launched straight into spring in a week with bulbs, redbuds, crabapples, lilacs, Bradford pears, forsythia, and dogwoods blooming all at once! Thanks for your cheerful blog and website. Love it and always use your wonderful big desk calendar.

  64. NancyP says:

    March has been divine, here in Gilbert, Arizona (a Phoenix suburb). Except a cold front came through over the weekend, and suddenly on Sunday, the rain changed to violent hail, and it was divine! SO exciting, this fierce storm, 5 minutes of hail, and it looked like it had snowed! Everything covered in white- green grass, petunias and pansies and geraniums beat up (they are okay), this amazing force of nature to shake us outside, in awe, after the hail stopped, of course! My neighbor friend and i were the first out, hooting and hollering in delight, and she ran up to me and threw a snowball (ice, really), and both of us are over 40 years old- me, over 50! Funny how things like this bring out the kid again! Soon the entire neighborhood was out, sleds in tow, even! The blue sky broke through the black clouds, and suddenly the tiny ice balls in piles were glittering in the sun! Super cool! In a couple days, it will 80 degrees. March has not failed us!

    • sbranch says:

      My dad lives in Arizona, he was writing to give me a blow by blow of the storm! He loved it too!

  65. Oh my! These sound absolutely yummy! Real food, not just fluff!!
    I’m not at all into the science of baking. Could I use melted butter instead of canola oil? {I’ve been reading about canola oil and it is toxic. Yikes. }

    • sbranch says:

      That scared me since we use it so often, I checked with the Mayo Clinic and here’s what they say . . . FYI.

      • OMGolly, I have used Canola oil for YEARS thinking it was a healthier version (if thats possible) of the liquid oils. I have decided at the ripe old age of 57 that everything sooner or later is going to get us?? It is the preservatives put in our foods today, my Grandparents ate pure sugar on their oranges and smoked meats that hung out in a shed?? and that generation lived into their late 80’s…..Susan, if you hear differently about the safety of Canola Oil (more than that small article) please post it!!! Also, this “pink slime” they are adding to ground beef is totally disgusting and should be outlawed!!!! I always purchase ground sirloin/round hoping they haven’t tainted it with this slime. It is time the FDA protects people and maybe if they just think would they eat this food first, then they won’t pass it on to us the consumers!!! It isn’t rocket science and people deserve to be served pure healthy foods especially the meat that is processed….poor animals give up their lives and it really upsets me when a recall occurs and all that meat is destroyed!! Sorry to be on my bandwagon this morning!!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m one of those for more regulations on big business rather than less ever since it became OK to give us tainted chicken and eggs and became up to us to cook it within an inch of its life to kill the poison they sell us! Apparently they will do anything for money. Google “canola oil,” try to find sources you trust, such as hospitals, or colleges, where someone isn’t just trying to scare us. They love to scare us!

  66. Pat says:

    Ahhh…carrot cake in cupcake form…my husband’s all time favorite cake. Just read Willard’s newsletter – love the name “pinkletinks” for what we just call spring peepers. We live out in the country at the edge of the Northwoods and have a large pond by the house…tonight there is a cheery chorus of peepers…often they are so boisterous, we have to close the doors to the deck. But to hear them in mid-March is very unique. The ice is off the pond, our geese and ducks arrive daily and the pussy willows have all ready exploded. An early Spring indeed. And I am not complaining one bit!

  67. Mia Sophia says:

    YUMMERS! The cupcakes look devine and carrot cake is my husband’s favorite!
    Can’t wait to bake up a batch! Thank you for another beautiful blog and Willard…a double treat! Yay! You make the world so festive, colorful and full of polka dots. I want to come live with you. 😉 Happy Dafffodil to you and yours.

  68. LINDA says:

    My first WILLARD arrived today….I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it! Thank you Susan……

  69. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    I love the sound of the Peepers! We don’t have them here. Well, I do hear frogs sometimes near the creeks and ponds but we don’t have much “water” here. Our climate is so dry. When I was a little girl growing up in Des Moines, IA in the late 50’s – I went to a summer camp in a park downtown somewhere. I remember the trees, lake, and humidity. We made “sit-upons” to keep our fannies dry when we sat on the ground. Tiny little frogs or toads – about 1/2 inch big – would hop all around me. I loved them and to this day I love the little things. When we lived in MN – we had them in our yard! I was so excited. I became a little girl out in our yard again – catching them up and showing them to anybody that would let me! Funny little things can make one so happy 🙂

    • Sandy Richmond says:

      Cathy, I forgot about sit-upons. Thanks for jogging my memory! Mine was white with red flowers and I loved it..

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        And Sandy, thanks for jogging my memory about them, also. Though ours were made of newspaper and were white and black and “read” all over… LOL! 🙂 (You set me up for that one…)

  70. Rita May says:

    I loved the feature in your newsletter that allowed me to click on the recipe card for Morning Thunder and it printed out a pretty copy. Will you share how you did that. I’d love to add a ready-to-copy link like that to my blog.
    It didn’t work the same way with the carrot cupcakes. I did a copy and paste for that one.
    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts.

    • sbranch says:

      I made the card, then scanned it, then did a separate page for it, then I put the link into the Willard . . . hope this helps!

  71. Robin in SC says:

    Hi Susan, I have not recieved my Willard. I am signed up and have been getting them in the past. Do I need to sign up again? Thanks

    • sbranch says:

      Look in your spam — just a thought, another friend found hers there. If it’s not there, let me know!

      • Robin in SC says:

        It isn’t in my spam. Could you please resend it to me? I miss Willard!

        • sbranch says:

          I asked Kellee to do that for you, you should sign up again too probably.

          • Robin in SC says:

            I got it. Thanks so much! I’ve been getting Willard for awhile now. I saved the snail mail Willards and the email Willards are saved on my computer. I took your advice and signed up again. 🙂

  72. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    A cheery First Day of Spring to all! It is so fun to read posts from all the flower lovers. I love Snowdrops. They are the first bulbs that bloom here and perfect for mini flower arrangements. Thanks for sharing your photos, Susan and the JOY of Spring. Don’t you love the smell of spring in the air? It draws us to our “bit of earth.”
    …If I can get out of the kitchen that is, because the smell of homemade carrot cupcakes is calling my name right now. 😀

  73. Tracy Jones (Charlton, MA) says:

    Oh, how I love cupcakes! I really enjoyed this blog entry – so springy and colorful!

    Sue, I have a quick question for you. I looked closely but could not tell by your pictures. Even though you use paper cups, do you use non-stick cupcake pans? I know you like vintage cookware so I was wondering if your baking pans were all nonstick as well?

    Hmmm, that was two questions. 🙂 Have a great day…it will be 80′ in the Sturbridge area today!

    xo Tracy

  74. Kerry says:

    Hi Susan,

    I just made your carrot cupcakes, fantastic! digging away in the garden, and they are the perfect energy food. Thank you.
    I gave your book “Heart of the Home” to my husband for a wedding present 23 years ago and our whole family has loved it. I made Boston cream pie for our son’s 17th birthday ( he was born in Boston, but we live in the UK) it turned out marvellously. We make eggnog every Christmas from your Christmas book, which falls open at that page now. We have a set of American measuring cups, but have to work out the oven temperatures which are in degrees c here. Our British baking powder and bicarbonate of soda seem to work fine.

    Happy Spring time, love your work!

    • sbranch says:

      I sent American measuring cups to my girlfriend in England, it helped her too! I have a terrible time figuring out British measurements, ties my brain in knots to convert!

  75. Mary Eva says:

    Susan, I’m with you.. What could possibly be better than a cupcake? You don’t have to measure, weigh, or worry about it. It’s all diet since it’s portioned out for you right? Well, that is what I tell myself anyway. What I really LOVE is your tiered server. Beautiful, it is difficult to find one that doesn’t have a pattern on it. The pure white would go with anything. Thanks for all the happy thoughts you send our way through this Blog. It really brightens my days.

  76. Tracy says:

    Susan, I have a question for you and I’m not sure how else to contact you. I’m looking for a quote that I believe was on your desktop blotter calendar a few years ago. It said something about embracing the season you were in, or embracing winter, and I believe (but could be wrong!) that it was by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Any clues? Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm, I’m not coming up with anything. I want to say “Love the one you’re with!” Embracing winter, embracing the season . . . it’s not ringing a bell. Any other hints?

  77. Susan says:

    After being cooped up all winter, the warm (80) first day of spring was dee-lightful! So was your blog. It makes me want to eat those cupcakes, just not bake them! Too tempting to have sitting on the kitchen counter. Now how would I make just ONE? Just kidding….

  78. Susan says:

    PS. Could you would you ever do a cookbook just for PIE? There are so many cookbooks but not many just for PIE.

    • sbranch says:

      I would love to!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I must need a second cup of coffee–I read this and sat here trying to figure out what “P.I.E.” stood for!!! LOL! I’m sure it would be good, if you did it though you might get tired of painting a lot of different pictures of pies…but we “need” a Winter and Spring book first, don’t you think? 🙂

        • Janet says:

          “…I must need a second cup of coffee….” That is a riot! Laughed right out loud. Thanks Pat – you are one funny girlfriend… :>)

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Well, Janet–my very FIRST thought, being a fan of Anne of Green Gables and always having a dream of going to see the island was “Prince Edward Island”! But then I realized it was NOT P.E.I. !!! 🙂

  79. Patricia says:

    Happy Spring to you Susan! Your cupcakes look just wonderful. I can almost smell that carrot cake. I think I’d like to make some today. The trip you went on was such a good one to share. Thank you. As always its a pleasure to receive your emails.

  80. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Got me some Daffys yesterday. Such a happy flower. Enjoyed the willard, I always do. That and the taber newsletter. Life is good.
    Nanacy Jo

  81. judy says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am fairly new to the blog, so you may already know about what I want to share with you, but in case you don’t, I wouldn’t want you to miss it. It is the greatest celebration of Spring. Google decorah eagle nest. You will come to a live cam of a Bald Eagle nest in Iowa. It is just incredible. You literally look right inside an eagles nest as the male and female take turns sitting on their nest. They have three eggs and the first should hatch around March 23 to March 25. It is a gift to be able to witness such a miracle. Hope you find it and enjoy. Happy Spring! Judy

  82. Jack says:

    THREE FRIGGING CUPS GRATED CARROTS ? No wonder girls hit so hard — ya got all those grating muscles ….

    • sbranch says:

      O calm down. 🙂

      • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

        Jack – you and Susan make me laugh. You two make my day!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Jack, that is what food processors were invented for… 🙂

        • Janet says:

          When my mom made carrot cake, she used something called “junior carrots” [sounds like a prizefighter, doesn’t it?] which if I remember correctly is baby food for an older baby [one with some teeth, I think]. So there was NO GRATING INVOLVED! Maybe that would work for you Jack – none of us want to see you get worn out from baking – we need you here! I look forward to seeing your comments almost as much as your oldest child’s! Have a great weekend everybody…

  83. Jan says:

    Just a comment or two regarding the Willard. Loved your Easter bonnet and white rabbit – adorable!! I am a rabbit fan. Also the printable version of the breakfast smoothie – Yay! Thanks!!

  84. Margot says:

    Thank you for a carrot cupcake recipe, and thank you, thank you for Morning Thunder in the Willard!!! I have been digging and mowing lately. Things are changing too fast this Spring.

    PS Today I finally found a copy of Girlfriends Forever at the library in the town next to mine.

  85. Margot says:

    “I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.”
    ~ Phyllis Theroux

  86. Sheila Bayley says:

    Loved your Spring blog and also loved the night and bird sounds. I played them while I read the Willard. Made me want to go get my garden started. If the rains hold off, maybe I can get the garden rototiller-ed. Also can’t wait to try the carrot cupcakes and breakfast smoothie. Thanks for sticking with it long enough to get the letter out.

  87. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Ok….I have to come back later and look at the cupcakes again. I have the flu and they are just not lookin’ so good right now!! But they sure are pretty!!! You should see my street! All the trees look like they are covered with snow – or popcorn, depending if you are hungry or not (I’m not – flu…you know!) I swear the flowers on the trees are bigger than ever before. We’ve had such a non-winter and I think we’re done holding our breaths. There, I’ve said it out loud. If we have 15 inches of snow tomorrow you all can blame Margie. It’s my fault!! I don’t care…I’ll be staying on the couch with several books and the remote for the DVD player, feeling very pathetic and lonely. Now bear in mind that as soon as I feel better I will feel fabulous and very fortunate to have the life I have. OK, enough rambling….blame it on the Nyquil. Good Night, girlfriends. Talk to you tomorrow!!!

  88. Jack says:

    Those cupcakes are wonderful …….and I can get therapy for my Carrot Elbow when I go to my Northern Arizona Fitness , tomorrow ….!

  89. Terri J says:

    I laughed when I read about your ’31 Flavors of cupcakes’ experience, since we just recently had a similar experience. Though the cake and frosting really weren’t that bad, at the same time we both thought we’d had better at home, before (even from mixes) – so we sort of wondered what the competitor’s must have tasted like, if these were the winners of one of the ‘Cupcake Wars’ show. I can hardly wait to try this cupcake recipe, though. They look positively delicious and even nutritious. What better way to eat your veggies than in a cupcake?!
    The daffodils just started blooming out here in California. Amazing that they’re already blooming back east at the same time as here. Meanwhile, my daughter in Oregon called yesterday to say they have several inches of snow. Wacky weather this year, isn’t it? I think Mother Nature must have been getting bored with the same old routine. So I guess we just go along and enjoy the ride!
    Happy spring!

  90. Lady LBJ said, “Plant a tree, a shrub or a buuuush” (buuuush drawn out like mooooo sound) and that was her platform: to beautify America by planting flowers, trees, shrubs or a buuuush on our highways. I’ve heard/read she had planted many, many Multi-Flora Roses much to the dismay of farmers all across the USA. Those things are **prolific** and dastardly; very, very difficult to rid a pasture, meadow or mountain once they gain purchase.
    Re last Willard…Morning Thunder looks amazing though I’d trade dried milk for the protein powder. Did you know Celestial Seasonings has a highly caffeinated tea called Morning Thunder? It has a picture of a buffalo on box front.
    Now, enough nattering from me; I need to make cupcakes or, maybe, something chocolate. Happy Easter, Happy Spring! Happy, happy Everything!

  91. Patti says:

    I just have to say that I love “musica”. I always click and am never disappointed. Then what generally happens is I start clicking on the other links to other great songs on the right side and I spend 20 min or so listening to the best music. I make my way back to your post eventually and there waits another treat for me. Have a wonderful weekend Susan!

  92. Beth B says:

    I’ve been making your carrot cake for nearly 20 years. Pulling a carrot cake out of the oven right now! 🙂 Smells delicious in my kitchen.

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