Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Happy Holidays! A time of get-togethers, good food and even better desserts! If you are looking for a delicious cake to make for any of your get-togethers that has a festive touch to it this Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake just might be the one. A delicious creamy cheesecake is sandwiched between two red velvet cake layers and then frosted with a tangy and slightly sweet cream cheese frosting!

To ensure that your cake layers and cheesecake are the same size, use the same pans to bake them. While two pans may be the same size, one may have straighter edges than the other. I baked my cake layers and cheesecake in 8-inch round cake pans. You could also use 9-inch ones but keep in mind that your cake layers and cheesecake won’t be as high.

And while I did have to smooth the sides of the cheesecake a bit to get it flushed with the cake layers once the cake was assembled, I am sure it would have been a lot worse if I hadn’t used the same pans for all the layers.

And after a crumb coat…

I finished frosting and decorating the cake.

This cake will take you 2-3 days to bake and assemble depending on when you bake and/or refrigerate your layers. I opted to bake my cake layers on day 1, wrapped them in plastic wrap once they cooled and then refrigerated them. The following day I made my cheesecake layer and refrigerated that overnight. And finally, on the third day I made the cream cheese frosting and assembled the cake. You could also opt to bake everything on the same day and then refrigerate overnight, or the cheesecake one day and then the cake layers the following day and then assemble the cake once the cake layers have cooled. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that the cheesecake layer will need to be refrigerated at least 6 hours before assembling. Regardless of the baking schedule you choose you will end up with a delicious cake that will be perfect for your holidays, any other festive occasion or just because!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Ingredients:

Cheesecake:

3 8oz blocks cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Red Velvet Cake:

1 15.25 of package of Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)

3 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk*

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8oz block cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 cups Confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*Make your own buttermilk by adding 5 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough whole milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until the milk becomes thick and appears curdled.

Directions:

For the Cheesecake:

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang, and set aside.  

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour with hand mixer on low speed until just combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and continue beating on low until incorporated. Add the eggs 1 at a time and continue beating until everything is combined.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan inside of a larger pan (larger cake pan or a roasting pan) and fill with water halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Afterwards, crack the oven door open and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and then refrigerate overnight.

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the buttermilk, eggs and oil with a hand mixer on medium speed until well combined. Using a fine mesh sieve (or a sifter) sift the cake mix over the buttermilk mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined and then use a rubber spatula to gently stir the batter together a few times. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 26-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you are baking the cake layers ahead of time wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Add the cream cheese, butter and Confectioners’ sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on low until combined. Raise the speed to medium high and continue beating the frosting until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating on medium speed until incorporated.

If the frosting is too soft to use refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until desired consistency.

To Assemble:

Level the red velvet cake layers and crumble the cut pieces and set aside.

Spread a dollop of the frosting in the center of a cake board and place one of the cake layers on it. Spread a thin layer of the frosting on the cake.

Carefully remove the cheesecake layer from the aluminum foil and place it on top of the cake layer. Gently spread a thin layer of the frosting on the cheesecake and then top with the remaining cake layer, cut side down.

If need be, use a paring knife or long spatula to smooth the sides of the cheesecake to be flush with the red velvet cake layers.

Crumb coat the cake – cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If the remaining frosting begins to get too soft place it in the refrigerator for the last 5-10 minutes.

Reserve about a cup of the frosting and then use the remaining frosting to cover the entire cake.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the crumbled red velvet cake.

Transfer the reserved frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe dollops on top of the cake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake

I must say, I haven’t gone crazy this year with baking pumpkin desserts. I had a couple of recipes I wanted to try – which I did – and there were others that I came across that I passed on. Could it be that my love of pumpkin is fading? Mmm…. I don’t think so. I’ve just been focusing on getting some other things done and finding and creating other recipes to make. Now, if you love pumpkin and you love churros today’s cake is for you… It’s a Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake.

The base of the cake is a white cake mix that is doctored with some spices and of course pumpkin puree. The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering at all and the puree gives the cake a nice light orange hue. Not the artificial looking orange you may see with some pumpkin desserts thanks to the addition of orange food coloring.

And to get the churro effect, once the cake has completely cooled it is rubbed with a cinnamon sugar mixture. I must say, I liked that the recipe didn’t call for the cake being brushed with melted butter before coating it with the cinnamon sugar. I think the cake would have been almost too wet then since the pumpkin helps to make the cake incredibly moist. And yes, there were no issues getting the cinnamon sugar to stick to the cake without it.

Along with the cinnamon mixture on the outside of the cake, there is also a swirl of it on the inside which gives each piece of the cake an extra spice and sweet kick.

If you are in the mood for actual Pumpkin Churros, try the recipe below:

Pumpkin Churros

Pumpkin Churro Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 15.25 box of white cake mix

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Swirl:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a medium bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl sift together the cake mix, flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, salt and baking powder.

In a separate large bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients – buttermilk, pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract – until well combined. Add this mixture to dry mixture and whisk together until well combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and then sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cinnamon sugar evenly over the top of the batter and then pour the remaining batter into the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Invert the cake on a platter or cake board and rub the remaining cinnamon sugar around it.

Recipe from Sweet Meli Bakery

Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake

If at first you don’t succeed you must try again. That’s what’s been happening with some of the cakes I have been posting as of late. I have been trying to come up with recipes myself as opposed to relying on Google to give me a nice list of whatever idea pops into my head. On my first try it’s sometimes a complete fail, a great flavor but horrible texture or a so-so flavor and the right texture. And let’s be honest, if you can’t get the flavor and texture to be just right the cake is just not good to eat. That’s what happened with the first pumpkin cake I made for today’s Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake. I used an entire can of pumpkin puree for the cake and the end result was a cake that had an odd indentation around it, but tasted good. I had a feeling that it was the result of too much liquid (i.e. wet ingredients) in the cake and my suspicions were correct. I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit and ended up with a cake that had smooth edges and a much more cake-like consistency.

So, what makes this a tiramisu cake? Well, if you are thinking ladyfingers you won’t be finding any on this cake. It’s more about the flavor. The filling is basically the same filling that is used in your typical tiramisu… A custard that is mixed with mascarpone cheese and homemade whipped cream. To get that coffee flavor, each cake layer is brushed with a coffee and Kahlua mixture. And to top it off, the cake is covered in a Mascarpone Kahlua Frosting (YUM!). I had some leftover frosting after finishing the cake and I may have enjoyed a spoonful or two of it. It’s not sweet at all and the Kahlua gives it a very light coffee flavor. And finally, the cake is dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder to get that finishing look of Tiramisu.

The end result, a pumpkin cake that is perfectly complemented by the traditional flavors of Tiramisu.

If you are looking for a more traditional Tiramisu with the flavors of pumpkin instead, check out the recipe below from a few years ago.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake

For the Pumpkin Cake:

1 15.25oz box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

For the Tiramisu Filling:

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

1/3 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coffee soak:

1/4 cup coffee

2 tablespoon Kahlua

For the Mascarpone Kahlua Frosting:

1 1lb. mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups Confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Kahlua

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust on top of the cake

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the cake mix and pumpkin pie spice. Add in the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, eggs and milk. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium and beat until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 24-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Whisk in the milk and stir constantly until it boils. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a container and cool to room temperature. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Beat the heavy cream and vanilla together until stiff peaks form.

Beat the mascarpone cheese and chilled egg yolk mixture together until blended. Fold the whipped cream mixture in until no streaks remain. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting:

Add the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, Confectioners’ sugar, Kahlua and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Start the mixer on low and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium high and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. At first there may seem like there is too much heavy cream but as you continue to beat it, the heavy cream will be incorporated, and the frosting will become light and fluffy.

To assemble:

If necessary, level the cake layers. In a small bowl whisk together the Kahlua and coffee and brush it on the top of both cake layers.

Place the bottom cake layer on a cake board or serving platter. Transfer about a cup of frosting to a piping bag and pipe a dam around this bottom layer and then fill with the tiramisu filling. Place the second cake layer on top and then crumb coat the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting. You should have enough frosting to pipe decorative dollops on top of the cake. Finish the cake by dusting the top with cocoa powder using a fine mesh sieve.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

I’ve been willing Fall to get here for the past few weeks. I am sure I have mentioned it before, it’s my favorite season. Cooler weather, the leaves changing, baking without overheating my house, the list goes on and on. There are a few flavors synonymous with this time of year, mainly pumpkin and apples. And while I normally like to welcome Fall with a new pumpkin recipe, I decided to go with the apples this year for a Caramel Apple Bourbon Upside Down Spice Cake. A bit of a mouthful!

A little backstory on this cake. I got the idea from watching a Fall themed movie on Hallmark Channel back in the Spring. I wrote the idea on a post-it and finally revisited it a few weeks ago. And of course, there were a few fails before I finally ended up with a cake that looked and tasted delicious. My first cake collapsed in the middle. My cake tester led me astray! The cake was slightly undercooked in the middle and there was no saving it. The fail though led me to change the flavor of the cake so it was kind of a good thing. Initially I doctored a French vanilla cake mix and decided the flavor just wasn’t right, so I switched to a spice cake instead. That definitely screams Fall more so than French Vanilla. So, I bought a spice cake Mix and made a few tweaks to it. I also decided to bake the cake in a tube pan to ensure it would bake completely without drying out. Well, it still wasn’t quite right. I used heavy cream when I made my bourbon caramel sauce and I just didn’t like the way it looked after flipping the cake. And while the cake tasted good, I just wasn’t getting enough spice from it.

Thankfully my third attempt was a success! First, I decided to omit the heavy cream from my caramel sauce. Second, I went with a yellow cake mix and added in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves (those yummy warm spices of the season) to really get a strong spice flavor. And third, after I poured the caramel and arranged the apples in the pan, I placed the pan in the refrigerator while I made the batter for the cake. This allowed the apples to set in the caramel so that they wouldn’t move when I poured the batter into the pan. This actually happened with my second attempt at this cake. I had arranged my apples in a nice design and they moved all around once I poured the batter in. I didn’t take any chances with my third attempt though. I spooned the batter into the pan just to be safe.

Just look at how the apples looked before I added the batter. I definitely wanted that look on top of my cake once it was done.

And thankfully since I made those tweaks my cake looked amazing once I flipped it out of the pan. YAY!!!

And even better, the taste and texture of the cake was spot on.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Upside Down Spice Cake

Ingredients:

For the Bourbon Caramel Apple:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup bourbon

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)

For the Spice Cake:

1 15.25 box of yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Make your own buttermilk by adding 4 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough whole milk to make 3/4 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until the milk becomes thick and appears curdled.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray and set aside. You could also use a Bundt pan.

For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and butter and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is melted and combined remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Return to the heat for about a minute and stir to combine. Let cool slightly.

Pour the caramel sauce into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices in the sauce making sure to overlap them.

While you make the cake batter refrigerate the pan with the apples and caramel sauce so the sauce can set. This will help the apples stay in place when you add the batter.

For the Spice Cake:

In a medium bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until combined. Using a fine mesh sieve (or a sifter) sift the cake mix with the spices over the buttermilk mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on medium speed until just combined.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and spoon the batter over the apples. Give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto a cake platter or other rimmed dish. Let the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and enjoying. It’s important to let the cake cool before slicing so the apples can set on the cake. If you slice it too soon the apples will slide off.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

My first attempt at making this cake was a fail. I settled on using a box cake mix as my starting point and doctoring it with additional ingredients besides the ones called for on the box. I must have added in a few too many ingredients because the cake had a weird texture – kind of rubbery – and the bottom of it had a dense appearance. And the flavor just wasn’t there. Thankfully on my second attempt the flavor and texture were spot on.

On my second attempt I kept things a bit simpler. Along with the eggs and oil measurements suggested on the box, I swapped the water for coffee and added in sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Adding the coffee helped to really enhance the chocolate flavor, as did the Kahlua. While box cake directions say to mix everything together at once, I opted to beat together all my ingredients except for the cake mix until they were well incorporated and then sifted the cake mix over the mixture and beat it in on low speed until it was just combined. More or less following the method of most cakes that are made completely from scratch.  

Once my cake layers were baked and cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. I find that it’s easier to level and frost cold cake layers. The cakes are less likely to break apart and there’s much less crumb.

The next day I made the frosting. Contrary to my recipe directions below, I added all the ingredients for the frosting into my stand mixer at once. Either works. If you follow method, I suggest beating everything together on medium speed until the ingredients are incorporated and then raise the speed of your mixer to medium-high for at least 5 minutes to get the frosting light and fluffy. Don’t fret if the frosting appears to be curdled or separated. Just keep beating it, it will come together. I probably beat mine for just shy of 10 minutes. I made this frosting on a fairly warm day so it was a bit soft once it was done so I popped it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so it could firm up. I checked it every 10 minutes to make sure that it wasn’t getting too firm. I didn’t want to have to wait for my frosting to “defrost” after all that.

Once it was ready, I transferred about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set it aside. After leveling the cakes, I spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of them and then placed the other one on top. And finally, I frosted the entire cake with the remaining frosting. My plan was to make this a naked cake so I was well aware that I wouldn’t have enough frosting to completely cover it.  

Once the cake was frosted, I piped dollops of frosting around the cake leaving space between each to fit a strawberry. I opted to slice my strawberries in half, but you could place whole strawberries between the dollops as well. Just make sure to leave enough room. You could also omit the strawberries altogether and just decorate the top of the cake with dollops of frosting.

And then it was time to enjoy a slice. This cake was delicious! The frosting reminded me of strawberry ice cream. Not overly sweet with just the right amount of strawberry flavor thanks to the fresh strawberries added to the frosting. And it was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate cake.  

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 large eggs

1 cup coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Kahlua

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 15.25 package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food)

For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup diced strawberries

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Additional strawberries for topping

Directions:

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, coffee, vegetable oil, sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Sift the cake mix over the mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on the racks.

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, diced strawberries and heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high speed until the ingredients are incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft to spread refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm up.

To assemble the cake: If decorating the top of the cake, fit a piping bag with a large star tip and fill with about a cup of frosting and set aside. Level the cake layers if necessary. Spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of the cakes and top with the other. Then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Finally, pipe dollops of the reserved frosting on top of the cake leaving space between each to place either a whole or halved strawberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Tres Leches Bundt Cake

Happy Cinco de Mayo! To celebrate the day, I’m sharing a recipe that’s a slight twist on the traditional Tres Leches Cake, a Tres Leches Bundt Cake. I love a good Tres Leches Cake, but I thought that a Bundt version would absorb the tres leches topping a little better so that the cake wouldn’t be as wet. And I was right! One thing though, since the Bundt cake is a bit denser than a regular cake it’s best to pour the tres leches topping over the Bundt cake while it’s still warm and the crumb of the cake is soft. If you wait until the cake is room temperature or cooler the cake will still absorb the topping, but, it will just take a bit longer and it might not spread throughout the cake as well. If that does happen it’s all good as you can use some of the reserved tres leches topping to drizzle over your slice. And while the recipe didn’t call for it, I decided to spruce up the top of the Bundt cake with a little whipped cream and sliced strawberries. It was also a good way to hide the holes I poked in the cake for the topping.

Tres Leches Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Tres Leches topping:

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1/4 cup whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and Kosher salt. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) on medium speed beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three parts alternating with the milk.

Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted come out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving dish. While the cake is still warm poke holes into it using a fork or a skewer. Make sure to poke the holes all the way thru the cake.

In a small bowl whisk together the condensed, evaporated and whole milk until well combined. Pour about 3/4 of the mixture over the cake. Make sure you pace pouring the milk mixture over the cake to give it time to be absorbed by the cake. Once the cake has absorbed the milk mixture cover it and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Reserve the remaining milk mixture to drizzle over slices of the cake.

Recipe from A Classic Twist

Spice Market Carrot Cake

I’ve been using the same recipe for carrot cake for years. It’s a basic recipe with the only add-in being walnuts. No pineapple, coconut and/or raisins that you find in some recipes, but it’s delicious and moist nonetheless. I did try a different recipe a year or two ago and it just wasn’t that good. One of the reasons it never made it on here. I recently came across a recipe though that was completely different from any one I had seen before, a Spice Market Carrot Cake, that I instantly knew I wanted to try. I decided to make it for Easter this year. Which led me to wonder why is carrot cake so popular for Easter? Does it have anything to do with rabbits and their affinity to carrots? While I couldn’t find a definitive answer, I did learn this tidbit…  Carrot cake became popular in the 1970’s during the dieting craze. People apparently thought that by using carrots in a cake it would make the dessert seem healthier. I can get behind that. It’s like the theory that chocolate is a vegetable (some say fruit) since it’s a product of the cacao bean.

So, what makes the Spice Market Carrot Cake so special? It has a Moroccan-inspired flair thanks to the addition of ras el hanout – a Moroccan spice blend – and dried fruit (for the cake I made I went with apricots, but, you could use pitted dates instead).  Thankfully I didn’t need to go in search of ras el hanout and was able to make the blend myself using allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric and nutmeg. And to top the cake off, a twist on the traditional cream cheese frosting that I personally think is the best frosting for carrot cake, a Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting that includes ground ginger and the zest and juice of an orange.

This cake was a hit! All the flavors worked well together, and while I normally love nuts in my desserts, especially walnuts, I didn’t miss them one bit in this cake!

Spice Market Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon ras el hanout*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

3 cups (1 lb.) finely shredded carrots

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey

1 cup chopped dried apricots

For the Frosting:

1 orange – remove 2 teaspoons of zest and squeeze for 2 tablespoons of juice

1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 – 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

*To make the ras el hanout stir together 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon & turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, coriander, nutmeg and allspice.  

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 3 8-inch round baking pans with baking spray.

To make the cake: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, ras el hanout, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, carrots, oil and honey.

Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined and then stir in the chopped apricots. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and then bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

I like to wrap my cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before frosting, but, you can frost them once they are completely cooled.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the orange juice and ground ginger and continue beating until both are incorporate. Switch the speed to low and gradually add in 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Continue beating until well incorporated. Gradually add in an additional 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is spreadable. Stir in zest.

Frost and stack the cakes and then decorate as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Almond Tiramisu

If you love the flavor of a Good Humor Toasted Almond Bar you are going to love this dessert. The recipe calls it a Toasted Almond Cream Cake but I am calling it an Almond Tiramisu since the ingredients and assembly are quite similar. Where it differs is that instead of dipping the ladyfingers in a coffee mixture you dip them in a milk mixture that contains Amaretto. You can use any type of milk that you like as well. As with your traditional Tiramisu this one also has a layer of mascarpone cream, it’s just given an extra almond flavor kick with almond extract and some more Amaretto. There’s also a layer of coarsely chopped almond slices and Amaretti cookies, that also get used for the topping.

When you slice into it, you can see those perfect layers of deliciousness that you get from any Tiramisu… The layers of ladyfingers and cream.

Looking for more variations on Tiramisu. Check out these recipes:

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Tiramisu Pudding Cakes

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Almond Tiramisu

Ingredients:

7oz. package of Ladyfingers – about 24 cookies

Mascarpone Cream:

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

Amaretti Topping:

20 Amaretti cookies*

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Dipping Mixture:

1 1/2 cups milk**

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

*If you can’t find Amaretti cookies, you can substitute with almond cookies or biscotti

**I used whole milk, but you can substitute with the milk of your choice

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor add the Amaretti cookies and the sliced almonds and pulse until both are coarsely chopped. Set aside.

Mascarpone Cream: In a medium bowl stir together the mascarpone and almond extract until well combined. In another bowl beat the heavy cream along with the sugar, vanilla extract and Amaretto with hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture until incorporated. Continue to fold in the whipped cream mixture in batches until the two are well combined and no streaks remain. Set aside.

Dipping Mixture: In a shallow bowl combine the ingredients for the dipping mixture and whisk together.

To Assemble: Dip the rounded side of half of the ladyfingers in the dipping mixture and then arrange them in the bottom of an 8 x 8 – inch square baking dish. Top with half of the mascarpone cream and then sprinkle with Amaretti / almond mixture. Repeat the layers once more, ending the remaining Amaretti / almond mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Slice into squares to serve.

Recipe from Mangia Bene Pasta

Strawberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner you may be on hunt for a pink or red dessert. You can always turn to a tried and true Red Velvet cake but what about something a little different like a Strawberry Cake. Now, strawberry cake can pose some issues. Basically, how to get the strawberry flavor into the cake without it ending up being a soggy mess thanks to the extra moisture of the strawberries. You could dice up some strawberries and add them to your batter, but, that’s not really a strawberry cake. There’s also the option of reducing the strawberries into a syrup and then incorporating that into your batter. But, a much more simpler way is to use freeze-dried strawberries. For this cake, I simply processed the strawberries in my food processor to turn them into a powder that I then incorporated with the rest of my dry ingredients.

Once my batter was ready I decided to bake it in a 6-inch heart pan. If you don’t have a heart pan on hand you can bake it in a 6-inch round cake pan instead. You could also do an 8-inch pan, but, your cake won’t have as much height to it and you will also have to adjust your baking time.

Typically, most strawberry cakes are topped with a strawberry buttercream. I opted not to do that for one simple reason. I only had enough freeze-dried strawberries to make the cake! So, I did a little brainstorming and thought that a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting would work well with the cake. I came up with a frosting that still has the flavor of cream cheese with just the right amount of lemon. I literally could eat this frosting by the spoonful.

To frost the cake, I decided to go a little fancy and use a small star tip to decorate and then sprinkled some Valentine’s Day sprinkles around the perimeter.

And I am happy to say that the cake and frosting worked well together! You can’t tell from the picture, but, my cake was a very light pink. If you want a cake with a deeper pink or red hue you can add in some food coloring once you are done making the batter to get to the color you want.

Strawberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For The Cake:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 oz. freeze dried strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1/4 cup milk, at room temperature

1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

1 8oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 6-inch pan with baking spray or coat with butter and then dust with flour.

Using a food processor pulse the strawberries into a powder. 

Whisk together the strawberry powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add in the sour cream, milk, lemon zest & vanilla and continue mixing until well combined. Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer) beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth and creamy. With the mixer speed on low add in the sugar until well incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and add in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract until all incorporated.

Cannoli Cake

Happy Holidays! Are you in the throes of holiday baking and eating your way through more sweets than you would like to admit? Well, today I am bringing you a cake that you would be a nice addition to your holiday dessert table and to be honest is my favorite cake flavor… A Cannoli Cake! And it doesn’t skimp on the flavors and ingredients of the delicious handheld dessert… Ricotta and chocolate chips.

The cake itself is made with a French Vanilla box mix (I used a Duncan Hines mix) and the cannoli flavors comes from the filling made with ricotta cheese, cinnamon, three different extracts, confectioners’ sugar and of course chocolate chips. It’s all topped off with a mascarpone cheese frosting and sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips are used to decorate it. It sounds like a lot, but, trust me it’s not. All of the flavors/ingredients work well together and you won’t feel guilty for enjoying a slice because it’s just so good!

Cannoli Cake

Ingredients:

1 package French Vanilla Cake Mix, plus additional ingredients to prepare per packaging

Filling:

2 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

2 8oz. packages mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup sliced almonds

mini chocolate chips, for top of cake

Directions:

Prepare and bake cake mix per package directions using two 8-inch round baking pans sprayed with baking spray. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the filling: In a large bowl fold together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and all extracts until well incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the frosting: In another large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar, almond & vanilla extracts and milk until creamy.

Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving plate and spread 1 cup of the filling over it. Top with the other cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake within 1inch of the edge. Frost the sides and top edge of the cake with the frosting.

Press the almonds on the sides of the cake and the chocolate chips around the edge of the top of the cake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Taste of Home

%d bloggers like this: