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I’m a really big fan of this whole it’s your birthday let me bake you a cake thing that goes on once a year.

I could 100% do without my birthday. It’s not an age thing, I could care less about getting older, it’s more of an I’m bratty and don’t like holidays or special days kind of person. That being said, having someone bake me a cake of my choosing is probably one of the best things ever.

A couple of years ago this German Chocolate Cheesecake Cake made me extremely happy. And now this year, a pumpkin cheesecake cake. Notice a trend? I think I might need a cake + cheesecake intervention. Especially considering the fact that this cake lasted a full week, which means that I’ve had at least 6 pieces of it all to myself. Happy Birthday to me!

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Call me crazy because this recipe doesn’t have anything to do with chocolate, but I am enamoured by this cake. Two amazing layers of pumpkin cake, which honestly would be great on its own slathered in some cream cheese icing but why would we do something as boring as that, sandwiched in the middle with a cheesecake filling and then topped off with a pumpkin cream cheese icing (holy amazing) with sugared pecans. That’s fine right? Not over the top at all.

The only problem was that the inside of the cake was definitely not photogenic. So a picture from the original recipe and one from amateur hour over here. I think we know whose is whose. Regardless, feel free to be awestruck like I was.

And thus begins the hunt for next years birthday cake. Wish me luck…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake 

Recipe from http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/11/02/pumpkin-cheesecake-cake/

 

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I realize that this post might be a bit out of season but here it is. My favorite month of the year? Easy, September. Hello sunny warm days and cool sweatshirt evenings, the start of football season (go Seahawks), a new school year, fall leaves and everything else good. Yes my favorite season is fall. Close runner up? Summer. Duh. Holidays, the lake, water skiing, camp fires, traveling, there is nothing wrong with this situation.

Foods associated with my favorite seasons: pumpkin, apples, cranberries, and pumpkin (it’s that important that it needs to be repeated) for fall, and berries, fresh fruits and produce, s’mores and bbqs for summer.

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Where I’m going with this is that it was fate for me to make these cupcakes. Pumpkin s’more cupcakes? Hello best of both worlds/seasons.

I have to be honest here, I’m not a cupcake fan. They just don’t make any sense to me. I’m probably the ugliest eater ever so that works out perfectly when I’m handed a cupcake. Can’t I just have a full piece of cake all to myself that I can top with ice cream and eat with a fork like a lady? What a joke. But whenever I’m with the Minnesotan we bake cupcakes. Turns out they are growing on me. Especially thanks to these.

These cupcakes were pretty up there. The pumpkin was delicious, the graham cracker crust was a bit over the top, the hidden chocolate was my favorite, and the marshmallow topping was definitely all right. Again some honesty, next time I’d switch things up a bit, keeping the pumpkin and chocolate combo and topping it all of with a cream cheese icing.

Yes there will be a next time.

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After all, now that we’re entering into winter I’m going to need something to do to keep myself from getting depressed about all of this rain and darkness. 7 more months until summer. But who’s counting.

Pumpkin S’more Cupcakes

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Graham Crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with lines.

Combine the melted butter and graham crumbs together, mixing well until combined.

Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon into each cupcake liner, pressing with the back of a spoon to form a crust.

Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups brown sugar      1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla                       1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup pumpkin                1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda                1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt                         1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup milk

Whisk egg and sugar together in a large bowl until combined and no lumps remain.

Add in vanilla extract and butter, then whisk in pumpkin puree.

Add in flour, baking soda, powder, salt and pumpkin spice, then add in milk and stir until combined and smooth.

Drop about 1/4 cup of batter on top of each graham cracker crust, filling the liners 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until cupcakes are set and spring back at the touch. Let cool completely.

Fudge Ganache filling
4 ounces mini chocolate chips
2 tbsp heavy cream

Combine and heat the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a pot over the stovetop stirring frequently until melted and combined.

Let sit until cupcakes are cool, then fill a pastry bag with the chocolate and insert the top straight down into the cupcake, squeezing the ganache inside.

Marshmallow Frosting

2 large egg whites            1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar     1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl. Place over top of a double-boiler that contains simmering water and whisk constantly 3-4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are slightly warm.

Remove the bowl and using a beater, initially beat on slow, gradually increasing the speed to high.

Beat 6-7 minutes until glossy and thick, then beat in vanilla until combined.

Frost the cupcakes.

Torch the frosting or place in the oven on grill to create the toasted effect.

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Sex in a Pan

I know, I know. I’m the world’s worst baking blogger. I’m unorganized and I don’t have everything figured out. I don’t bake things ahead of time so that you can actually use them when it matters most. Like this dessert, which I made for Mother’s Day, which was yesterday. Maybe next year your could make this for mom?

Christmas baking? Let’s talk about it in January, when we’re all supposed to be New Years Resolutioning it up. Easter desserts? Did you want to talk about the Easter eggs that I have sitting on the kitchen table? Or how about this one…Halloween candy that is also sitting on the kitchen counter. My bad.

It’s not that I don’t like the stuff, believe me, I do. I just have my priorities. Take today for instance. I could come home from work and have a mini Easter egg or treat size Oh Henry, or I could take a nose dive into this.

Sex in a pan. Have you had it before? I’m quite happy to admit that I have had it multiple times, a seasoned pro if you will. Seriously though, once you have this it’s all that you ever want. Today it was all that I could think about at work.

I think I get why it’s called what it is. I want it, and I want a lot of it.

I digress.

Layer 1 = a basic crust with walnuts for some crunch.

Layer 2 = cream cheese deliciousness.

Layer 3 = chocolate pudding

Layer 4 = whipping cream and chocolate shavings.

A confession on my behalf. From past experiences with this dessert I wanted to make sure that the layers weren’t spread too thin so I bypassed the 9 x 13 pan and opted for the 8 x 8 instead. Big mistake if you want to have layer 4 pre-assembled. Best idea ever if you are okay with serving yourself whipping cream at the table. Which I clearly was.

 

Better idea? Getting off of the computer right now and heading to the fridge and spending some quality time with my new best friend.

Sex in a Pan

Crust

1 cup flour     1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix the above ingredients together and pat into a pan of your choosing (9 x 13 recommended but not what I used).

Bake 10 – 15 minutes. Cool.

Cream Cheese Filling

1 cup icing sugar           1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whipping cream    8 oz cream cheese

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Using a beater, mix the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Pour over the cooled crust.

Chocolate Pudding

1 large package chocolate pudding    2 cups milk

Combine the ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Allow the pudding to thicken.

Spread the pudding over the previous layer.

Whipping cream

Beat 2 cups whipping cream with some vanilla and sugar.

Spread over the previous layer and top with grated semi-sweet chocolate.

Refrigerate until ready to serve and after serving.

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Rhubarb Cobbler

It’s back, it’s back, it’s baaaaack!!!! And I couldn’t be any happier.

Rhubarb. I’m super serious about the stuff, except I still don’t know if it’s a fruit or a vegetable. As if that changes anything though.

What I do know is that growing rhubarb in the backyard is a great idea. This plant couldn’t be any easier, no replanting, very little maintenance, and most importantly, could it taste any better? I think not.

Probably one of my favourite all time life deserts is a Banana Rhubarb Crisp and yes it has already been made this spring (and what is a favourite all time life desert? I don’t even know, it just feels right, it makes sense). But stewed rhubarb is amazing on ice cream, combining rhubarb with strawberries couldn’t be better and don’t even get me started on rhubarb galettes. Ps. I have never once in my life exaggerated anything. Ever.

And here is the latest rhubarb dessert to be added to the list. Rhubarb Cobbler. Yet another good idea. I probably wouldn’t go so far as to call this a cobbler, more like a cake. As if that’s a problem though.

Regardless this is good, I ate a lot of it, and, I regret nothing.

PPS. am I the only one who thinks that rhubarb couldn’t be any prettier? Anyone?

Rhubarb Cobbler

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun

3 cups rhubarb chopped into 1 inch pieces

3/4 cup brown sugar      1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups flour             1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda           1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp melted butter      2 eggs

1/2 cup milk                  1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sugar                   1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and beat only until smooth.

Spread the batter into the buttered baking dish, then evenly spread the rhubarb mixture over the batter. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds.

Bake for 40 minutes or until puffed and brown.

Serve warm. With ice cream. As if you needed to be told that.

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A muffin and orange juice. A cupcake and cookie. An apple and a chocolate and peanut butter granola bar. Don’t forget dipping the knife into the peanut butter, then the raspberry jam, and then licking the knife…and then repeating multiple times. Pretty classy hey?

So, that’s maybe what I’ve had to eat today. I’m feeling embarrassed. Who the heck eats a cupcake and then a cookie at recess? Oh right, this girl.

What else do I want to eat? These. Delicious chocolate cake with cheesecake in the middle…because I haven’t baked anything similar to this in the past…not these, or those, for sure not this, or this either…are you noticing a trend? I really need to branch out.

Fortunately these aren’t around the house anymore, otherwise they would be busy causing trouble and would probably end up being tonight’s dinner. So much for a balanced diet.

At least everything today tasted good?

 

 

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese filling

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Almond-Sugar Topping
1 cup chopped almonds            1/4 cup sugar

For the Cake
3 cups flour                 2 cups sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder     1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water         ¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar     2 tsp vanilla

For the Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar      2 eggs
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

Make the Almond-Sugar Topping: Combine the chopped walnuts and the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Make the Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl whisk together the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix together until just combined and there are no traces of dry ingredients. Set aside.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add the sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs and the salt and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan.

Slowly pour all of the cream cheese filling over top, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible (do not try to spread it after you pour it).

Pour the remaining cake batter over top of the cream cheese filling.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the walnut-sugar mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Have you ever been “that person” at the grocery store before? Because a few days ago I was “her.” The one that holds up the line, leaves the line, and then budges back to the front of the line all within a matter of a minute. Add me to the most hated person at the grocery store list.

Trust me though, my actions were justified and you would have done the exact same thing. It was a colleagues birthday at work the other day so naturally I took on the role of baking treats, carrot cake cupcakes to be exact, as per her request. After school I headed to the grocery store to pick up a few of the ingredients that I was missing, one of which included pecans. I stopped in the baking aisle, surveyed the packaged pecans and figured that $3.00 for a 100 gram bag was a bit excessive. Buying bulk was the smart and sensible thing to do, why spend more than I needed, and really, who wants to pay $3.00 for nuts. Yes. I am that cheap.

After spending way too much time gawking at all of the delicious bulk items, I came to my senses and poured the pecans into my bag. Let’s just say that I was a little bit too generous with the pouring but figured that I couldn’t put the pecans back. And really, nothing says “it’s time to bake again” like a few too many nuts.

Off to the check out I bounded, eager as ever to get baking. My four items were quickly rung up and came to a total of $24.50. I’m sorry, that’s not possible…except it was possible. Thank you nuts for adding up to a total of $11.35. Seriously ridiculous but whatever, I figured. Just pay and check out. I gave the lady my card, started the transaction and then half way through panicked, hit the cancel button and admitted that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t spend that much money on the nuts.

Long story short, the cashier sighed heavily, the eyes of the customers behind me rolled, I profusely apologized for being “that girl” then booked it for aisle 4, snatched the last $3 bag of pecans out of the hands of some grandma (okay not true, maybe I’m a bit dramatic), raced, aka budged, back to the front of the line, paid for my now $14 purchase and left the grocery with a smile on my face and a heavier change purse. Mission accomplished.

The lesson I learned: always buy the bagged nuts. It doesn’t make sense, sometimes things in life don’t, but just go with it.

Also go with these carrot cake cupcakes. And don’t forget the cream cheese icing. Because what is carrot cake without cream cheese? Oh right, it’s what I call breakfast, or muffins.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups flour           2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt               2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg     1/2 tsp all spice
2 cups sugar          1 1/4 cups oil
4 large eggs           3 cups grated peeled carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)  1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice in a medium bowl.

Whisk sugar and oil in a large bowl until well blended.

Whisk in eggs 1 at a time.

Add flour mixture and stir until blended.

Stir in carrots, pecans, pineapple and raisins, if using them.

Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

Cream Cheese Frosting

One (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter       1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat all of the ingredients on medium until fluffy.

Ice the cupcakes.

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Samoa Cupcakes

Friends are a good thing. Friends who bake are even better. This week I got to spend some time in Minnesota with one of my closest friends and her precious family. Needless to say we got our bake on.

Banana chocolate chip muffins? Done and done.

Samoa Cupcakes? Holy cow did we ever demolish them.

Girl Guide Cookies are popular here in Canada, but like most things, we lack the variety that the States has. Thin mints and normal vanilla or chocolate cookies are all that we have access to. Mention samoas, tagalongs, trefoils and do-si-dos and you have me completely lost. Sometimes I wish that I could import an American grocery store into my neighbourhood…

Even though I had no idea what a samoa was, when my friend mentioned that she had found a recipe for samoa cupcakes I decided that they needed to be made. Just a word of warning, these cupcakes are INCREDIBLY sweet (and that’s coming from someone who could eat sweets all day long!) and do take a bit of preparation time, but they are a thousand percent worth it.

Think chocolate cake, iced with caramel buttercream, topped with a caramel and toasted coconut sauce, sprinkled with more toasted coconut, and finished off with a chocolate drizzle. A bit over the top, no?

Regardless, these are a delicious indulgence and the rave reviews that we received were worth all of the effort that we had put in. I can only imagine what we will think of to bake the next time that we are reunited.

Samoa Cupcakes

Adapted from Chef in Training

Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix and required ingredients

Prepare and bake cupcakes according to package directions. Let cool completely
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup sugar                2 tbsp water

1/4 cup heavy cream     1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter                   1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups icing sugar (more if needed to reach desired consistency, which we did)

In a saucepan, stir together sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth.

Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.

In another bowl, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low and add icing sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the caramel sauce.  Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).
Once cupcakes have cooled, frost onto cupcakes.
Toasted Coconut
1 cup sweetened coconut
Place coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes.
Caramel Sauce
20 Kraft Caramels      1/4 cup milk
Melt Caramels and milk together in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until it has reached a smooth melted consistency.
Stir in 1/2 cup of toasted coconut.
Place the caramel-coconut mixture into a ziplock bag and seal.  Snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag and squeeze a little onto the tops of each frosted cupcake.
Take the remaining 1/2 toasted coconut and put a little on top of each cupcake.
Chocolate Drizzle
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips       1 tsp. oil
Melt chocolate and oil in microwave for 30 second increments or until it has reached a smooth melted consistency.
Pour into a ziplock bag and seal.  Cut a tiny snip off one of the bottom corners and drizzle onto cupcakes.

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