Pumpkin Bread

It’s finally Fall and you know what that means – well, it’s already in full effect – Pumpkin Spice everything! It really is amazing how many different things come in Pumpkin Spice. I actually picked up a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios last week while grocery shopping. I haven’t tried them yet though. And while at Target the other day I saw Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn, but, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. There has to be a line drawn somewhere… LOL!

So, in honor of Fall finally arriving I bring you my first pumpkin treat of the season… Pumpkin Bread. A simple yet delicious treat that I was quite surprised I hadn’t made before. I opted to halve the recipe and use the remaining pumpkin puree to make Pumpkin Pancakes, unfortunately they didn’t come out that great – there wasn’t much pumpkin flavor. Hopefully I’ll attempt them again before the end of the season, if not, there are some other pumpkin recipes that I can’t wait to try and share. But for now back to the… Pumpkin Bread!

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Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

3 (1 1/2) cups sugar

1 (1/2) cup vegetable oil

4 (2) eggs, lightly beaten

16 ounces (1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin

3 1/2 (1 3/4) cups flour

2 (1) teaspoons kosher salt

2 (1) teaspoons baking soda

1 (1/2) teaspoon baking powder

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground allspice

1 (1/2) teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 (1/4) teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 (1/3) cup water

*Please note the amounts in parenthesis are for 1 loaf

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9 x 5 loaf pans (I opted to use baking spray which contains butter and flour.)

Stir together the sugar and oil and then add in the eggs and pumpkin. You could also use a hand or stand mixer on the lowest setting.

In a separate bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, the flour to the ground cloves.

Blend the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture, alternating with the water.

Divide the batter among the loaf pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Food Network

Cake, Cake and More Cake!

So, if you follow me on Instagram or if you take a peek at my Instagram feed on the lower right-hand side of this page you’ll notice that I post more of my baking adventures on there than I actually blog about. It’s for various reasons… Sometimes I’ve already blogged and shared the recipe or as this post is about, its pictures of cakes that I have made and decorated and don’t blog about because I am really bad at taking pictures of the step by step of decorating them. So, I decided that since I made a fair share of cakes this summer I would compile them into a post and give a little description of each.

Up first, a Lion Guard themed birthday cake that I made for a friend’s daughters’ 2nd birthday. Whenever I create these themed fondant cakes quite a bit of thought goes into them and a bit of Pinterest surfing. A week before I actually made the cake I did some prep work by cutting out all the leaves, flowers and animals and stored them in my refrigerator.

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And then the following week it was time to bake, frost, roll fondant and assemble. After covering the base cake with yellow fondant I painted it orange to give the effect of a sunset. To do so, I combined orange gel color with vodka. I didn’t completely mix the two so I would get different shades of orange as the gel color diluted into the vodka. Once the color was dry I attached all of the cut-outs I made the week before to the cake and topped it with some Lion Guard figurines I picked up from my local Disney Store.

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For the 4th of July I created this patriotic cake.

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The inside was patriotic as well…

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As a belated birthday gift for a dear friend I made this adorable cake topped with a bright big sunflower and some cute purple flowers that I am not sure the name of. To decorate the sides of the cake I piped ruffles vertically using a 1M tip.

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And finally, this past weekend I made this cake for another dear friend’s birthday. It was truly a death by chocolate cake… A chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and the filling was the mocha cream that I used for the Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake I blogged about last week. I knew I had to use that delicious cream again for something and what better way than with chocolate cake. I created the dark and white chocolate toppers for this cake by melting Wilton candy melts and then piping them into small drops using a Wilton 6B tip and then placing them in the refrigerator so they could set. The other drops are the mocha cream which I piped using the 6B as well as a 4B tip.

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And there you have it… My summer shown through decorated cakes!

 

 

 

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

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Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

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Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

Happy National S’mores Day! In honor of the day I am sharing with you a Malted S’mores Ice Cream recipe that I came across in a recent issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. And best of all… you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it.

To begin, I softened a pint of vanilla ice cream by letting it sit uncovered on my kitchen counter for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I roasted (in actuality lightly toasted, but we gotta go with roasted since this is a s’mores ice  cream) 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows in a 425 F preheated oven by spreading them on parchment lined baking sheet and popping them in for a minute or two. Don’t worry if they stick together while roasting, once they cool just pull them apart.

Once the ice cream is softened, mix it along with a 1/4 cup of malted milk power. Once the two were well blended I folded in the cooled marshmallows and 3 crumbled graham crackers. I used cinnamon graham crackers, but, I am sure that honey graham crackers would be just as good. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated transfer the ice cream to a metal loaf pan (or any other freezer safe container) and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

And you may be wondering, “How is this s’mores ice cream without chocolate?” No need to worry, the chocolate comes in the form of chocolate syrup as a topping. Add as little or as much as you like!

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And there you have it… A quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy your own version of a s’more on this National S’mores Day or any other day!

 

Malted S'mores Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened

1/4 cup malted milk powder

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

3 graham crackers, crumbled

Chocolate syrup, for topping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 F. On a parchment lined baking sheet spread marshmallows and bake until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Let cool.

In a large bowl mix softened ice cream with the malted milk powder.

Using a rubber spatula gently fold in the graham cracker crumbles and marshmallows.

Transfer to a freezer-safe containers and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Serve topped with chocolate syrup.

 

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

With berries in season there’s so many delicious treats you can make with them… Pies, Cakes, Muffins and probably something that doesn’t come as quickly to mind… ice cream! Ever since I got my ice cream maker a few years ago I am always trying to come up different flavors to make – Pumpkin, Lavender Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip – some common and some not so common. I’ve even made Hibiscus Sorbet. So, with a fridge full of blueberries I decided to make a vanilla ice cream base and then swirl in a blueberry compote, hence Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream.

To make the vanilla ice cream base I combined milk, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and blended it with a hand mixer on low speed until the sugar was dissolved. I then stirred in heavy cream and vanilla bean paste (you could use vanilla extract.) I covered the bowl and refrigerated it for about 5 hours (you could do as little as 1 to 2 hours, you just want to make sure that the mixture is cold.)

Meanwhile, to make the blueberry compote, I combined blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and let the mixture simmer until some of the blueberries burst and the mixture began to thicken. I removed it from the heat to let it cool and then covered it and refrigerated it as well.

Once the ice cream and compote were properly chilled it was time to combine them to make the Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream. Per the instructions of my ice cream maker, I turned it on and poured in the vanilla ice cream base and let it churn for about 15-20 minutes until it had a soft creamy mixture. With the machine still running, I then poured in the compote and let the machine run for about another 30 seconds until the compote had swirled through the ice cream and was lightly incorporated. I then transferred the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and placed it in the freezer so the ice cream could firm up – about an hour.

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And then it was time to enjoy… And one simple sentence sums up the flavor…. There’s nothing like homemade!

But, if you don’t have an ice cream maker here are two quick ideas on how to make your own Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream. Use the compote as a topping on your favorite vanilla ice cream. Or take it one step further and soften a pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream and then add it to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula fold the compote into the ice cream. Place the ice cream in a freezer-proof container and place it back in the freezer so it can firm up, about 1-2 hours.

 

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

For the vanilla ice cream

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract*

*can substitute vanilla bean paste

 

For the blueberry compote

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

Directions:

For the vanilla ice cream; In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed (or by hand use a whisk) to combine the milk, granulated sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

For the blueberry compote; In a small saucepan combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice and simmer over medium-low heat until the blueberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens. Let cool, cover and refrigerate.

Follow the directions for your ice cream maker to churn the vanilla ice cream. Once the ice cream thickens slowly pour in the compote and continue to churn for about 30 seconds to lightly incorporate the compote into the vanilla ice cream.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours to firm.

Vanilla ice cream recipe from Cuisinart

 

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Out of all the desserts I’ve made I think Tiramisu has been my favorite. In all honesty though, it’s always been one of my favorite desserts. Today, I’m bringing you a twist on the classic Tiramisu, a White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu. And now is the perfect time to make it with berries, including blackberries, being in-season.

To begin I soaked ladyfingers in a mixture of orange juice and blackberry liqueur and arranged them in a 11×7 inch baking dish. Don’t let the ladyfingers soak up too much of the liquid, you don’t want them to become mushy.

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Next, I melted white chocolate in a double boiler. I don’t own an actual double boiler, so, I created my own by simmering water in a pot and then placing a heat-proof bowl over the water without touching it. Once the chocolate had melted I let it cool slightly and in another bowl I beat cream cheese, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until creamy. I then stirred in the melted white chocolate. In another bowl, I beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks formed and took 1 cup of the whipped cream and folded it into the cream cheese mixture. And finally, I spread half of this mixture over the ladyfingers.

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On top of the cream cheese mixture I laid an even layer of fresh blackberries which I pressed lightly into the cream cheese. I then dipped the remaining ladyfingers into the orange juice / liqueur mixture and placed them on top of the blackberries.

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With the remaining cream cheese mixture I added in more confectioners’ sugar and then folded in the remaining whipped cream and spread this over the second layer of ladyfingers. To top it off, I melted a few tablespoons of blackberry preserves and combined it with a tablespoon of the blackberry liqueur and then drizzled it over the tiramisu and then topped it with some fresh blackberries.

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And after chilling for a few hours it was time to dive in…

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And it was delish… Sweet, but just sweet enough!

 

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Ingredients:

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tbsp. blackberry liqueur

24 ladyfingers

6oz. white chocolate, chopped*

8oz. brick cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Confectioners’ sugar, divided use

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 cups fresh blackberries, divided use

 Garnish

3 tbsp. melted blackberry preserves

1 tbsp. blackberry liqueur

*I used 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine orange juice and liqueur in a shallow bowl. Dip half of the ladyfingers in the orange juice mixture – a quick dip will suffice – and line the bottom of an 11×7 inch baking dish.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can create one yourself by simmering water in a pot and placing a heat-proof bowl over the water without allowing it to touch the water. Once melted let the chocolate cool for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese along with the vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of the Confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Stir in the melted chocolate and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.

In another bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and spread half of it over the ladyfingers. Lay about 1 1/2 cups of the fresh blackberries over the cream cheese mixture, pressing down slightly.

Dip the remaining ladyfingers into the orange juice mixture and arrange them over the blackberries.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of Confectioners’ sugar to the remaining cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread this mixture over the second layer of ladyfingers.

In a small bow mix together the melted preserves and liqueur and drizzle over the top of the tiramisu. And finally, top the entire thing with the remaining blackberries.

Chill 3-5 hours and Enjoy!

Recipe from Better Recipes.

Piñata Cake

Today I’m bringing you a cake that I’ve wanted to make for quite some time… A Piñata Cake!

I took the easy route and opted to use two box yellow cake mixes. Yes, you read that right, two boxes. To get the full effect of this cake it really needs to be 4 layers. And while I could have just used one box divided into 4, lets be honest, that wouldn’t have been much of a cake and more than likely the layers would be so thin that the two layers I cut the hole into would have fallen apart. So two boxes it is (and was.)

So, after baking my 4 layers following the directions on the box (I used Duncan Hines cake mix) I let them cool and then began assembling.

Up first, the base layer which I covered in frosting.

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Next, one of the layers I cut a hole into using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Truthfully you don’t want to go larger than that, if you do, you run the risk of the cake splitting in half since you won’t have much cake left in the ring left when making the hole. To ensure that my holes were evenly placed on both cakes I stacked the layers and then cut the hole. So, I placed one of these rings on top of the base layer and covered it with frosting, including the inside of the circle cut-out.

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I repeated this step with the second ring.

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Next, I filled the cake. I opted for M&M’s. It took an 11 oz bag of M&M’s to fill the hole. You can fill it with whatever you choose; M&M’s, sprinkles, gummy worms or bears, and so forth. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s nicely packed in and filled to the top so you get the full Piñata affect when you cut into it.

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Finally I placed the top layer on the cake and frosted it with a crumb coating. I did a crumb coating because…

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I decorated the cake with spiraling rosettes – which I created using a Wilton 2D tip.

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And after a few slices the M&M’s came pouring out. The M&M’s did start falling out after the first slice, but it took a few more to get them to really pour out.

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