Mascarpone Cake

After making the Tiramisu Cheesecake I posted two weeks ago I still had about a cup of mascarpone cheese left. While I could have used it to spread on toast or crackers, I decided to bake something else with it. I came across a recipe for a Mascarpone Cake that sounded simple and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.

This is one of those recipes that most people love… It comes together in one bowl. No need for sifting or mixing your dry ingredients in one bowl and then combining them with your wet ones in another. You simply mix all of your wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones at the end. And after baking and cooling it’s time to enjoy.

This cake tasted just as the recipe sounded… delicious. It was reminiscent of a pound cake for me, just not as a dense. And not sweet at all. If you do you need a bit for sweetness to it, you can follow the original recipe and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar once it has completely cooled.

Mascarpone Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray (or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese and oil and continue beating until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared ban and 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen

Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today I am sharing the cake I made for Easter. I wanted to make something Spring-y this year and something that wasn’t the typical yellow or chocolate cake. Not that there is anything wrong with those. You can never go wrong with a classic! After searching around the internet for some ideas I settled on a Lemon cake with a Blackberry filling and Cream Cheese Frosting. I used to love lemon flavored desserts and then I went thru a phase where I just didn’t care for them. I must have eaten a lemon dessert that rubbed my taste buds the wrong way. Thankfully this lemon cake was just the right amount of lemon without being overpowering or sweet.

Now, this cake was almost a complete failure!  I made my blackberry filling a few days before and I followed a recipe I found online that seemed good but turned out to be overly sweet and was more syrup-like than a cake filling. I soon realized that the amount of sugar that the recipe called for was more so for a pie filling that also required a lot more blackberries than I was using. Now some people have that much of a sweet tooth but not me. Thankfully I bought two packages of blackberries in case of a mishap. The second time I added less sugar and I didn’t strain the blackberry mixture to remove the seeds. I did that the first time and I think that contributed to it being more of a syrup as well.  And once I refrigerated the mixture it was the perfect consistency to fill my cake.

And the first cake I made was a fail as well. I followed a recipe that called for altering a box cake mix and I have done this before with no issues. Well, this time my cake looked more like a pancake. Or an inflated pancake I should say. And even though I added in a good amount of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice my cake just tasted sweet with barely any lemon flavor. Granted the recipe I was following did call for a lemon box cake and I used a white box cake because I was concerned that the lemon would taste a bit artificial but that doesn’t explain why my cake had no height. As it was cooling on my kitchen counter, I was staring at it from my couch in my living room and I was trying to figure out how to get more height out of it. Ultimately, I decided to toss it and just bake a lemon cake from scratch.

After baking and cooking the cake, I wrapped the layers in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. After whipping up a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the layers of the cake and then piped a dam around the cake and filled it with the blackberry filling.

Next, I topped it with the other lemon cake layer, crumb coated it and finally frosted and decorated the cake.

The components of this cake worked well together. If you are not a fan of blackberries you could use raspberries instead and if you want to up the lemon flavor you can add lemon extract to the frosting as well.

Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the lemon cake:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Zest from 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup whole milk

For the blackberry filling:

6oz. fresh blackberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

For the cream cheese frosting:

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. The batter may appear to break apart at this point. It will come together once the flour is added in. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the milk. Continue mixing until the ingredients are just incorporated.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on wire racks.

For the blackberry Filling:

In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch and set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the blackberries and sugar over medium heat. Stir until the blackberries begin to breakdown and the sugar has melted and it turns into a sauce and begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add in the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine.

Transfer to a small container, with a lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cream cheese frosting:

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.

To assemble the cake:

If necessary, torte the lemon cake layers. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over one of the layers. Transfer about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag and snip off the end and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the layer with the frosting. Fill in with the blackberry filling. Top with the other cake and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake (crumb coat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then finish frosting the cake as desired.

Recipe for the Lemon Cake from Food Network

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Can you believe that Easter is just a little over a week away? Where is the time going? Today’s cake would be perfect for your Easter dessert. Coconut is a great Spring flavor and passion fruit is a flavor that’s not too common but pairs well with coconut. If passion fruit isn’t your thing you could try a key lime curd instead. Coconut and lime pairs together deliciously.

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To begin, I made the passion fruit curd. I wanted to make sure that it would thicken enough so I made it two days before assembling the cake. I have never seen passion fruit at any of the supermarkets I go to, so I opted to buy frozen passion fruit pulp  and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you are thinking of using passion fruit juice, I would just advise on using one that is 100% passion fruit juice, not a blend of other fruits. I began by combining egg yolks, passion fruit juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stirred it until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Since it can sometimes be a little difficult to determine this with the spoon I am stirring with I normally take a small spoon and run the back of it in the mixture to make sure it is thick enough. Once it was, I removed the saucepan from the heat and added in unsalted butter that I cut into chunks, stirring between each addition to make sure the butter was completely melted. I then strained the curd through a fine mesh sieve two times before placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of it and refrigerating it until I was ready to use. A quick tip, the second time I strained the curd I did so into the container I was planning on refrigerating the curd in.

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Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures while making the cake layers. I intended to take pictures of them once they were cooled and I was ready to use them, but I was running short on time. The weekend I made this week I decided was also a good weekend to finally paint my hallway. I had been intending to do it ever since I finished my living room remodel, but the paint cans just sat on the floor with me walking by them everyday and the task on my to-do list every week. Well, the paint cans just started to annoy me, and I didn’t have anything to do so I went ahead and started to paint. Initially I was going to prime beforehand, but I had a lot less primer than I thought and since the paint I was using was paint and primer combined I decided to just use that. Well, I ended up needing a another can of paint. And painting the second coat took a lot longer than I was anticipating so my cake suffered. I shouldn’t say suffered, but it didn’t get the full attention that I was planning on giving it! But back to the cake… I used a recipe that I have used in the past for coconut cupcakes and just baked the batter in two 8-inch cake rounds.

After making a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I sliced the small dome that each of the cakes had to flatten them and then piped a cream cheese border around one of the cakes to create a dam for the curd. I then filled the cake with the curd and placed the other round on top. I crumb coated the cake and after refrigerating for about 20 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I love cream cheese frosting, but I always find that it’s not the easiest to work with when it comes to piping. The cream cheese really makes the frosting soft, so I popped it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before filling a piping bag fitted with a large tip to pipe the rope border around the cake. It didn’t come out as neat as I liked but it was all good. I then sprinkled the top and sides of the cake with coconut and it was good to go. Note to self, don’t ever plan on painting and making a cake on the same day!

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So, the flavors of the cake – passion fruit, coconut, and cream cheese frosting – worked well together. If you want to up the coconut flavor in the cake, you can substitute coconut milk for the buttermilk. For this recipe you could use a cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to get the same consistency as the buttermilk. And you could swap out the almond extract and use coconut extract instead. One more suggestion, I would slice this cake while it’s on the colder side. Once it gets too warm the passion fruit curd makes it difficult to get clean slices of the cake. You could always slice while the cake it’s cold and then let the slices come to room temperature before enjoying.

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Passion Fruit Curd:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

7 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the Coconut Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract**

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk***

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decorating cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, at room temperature

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I refrigerated overnight to defrost

**If you are not a fan of almond flavor you can reduce the amount or substitute with coconut extract

***To make my own buttermilk I combine 1 cup whole milk with 5 teaspoons of vinegar in a measuring cup and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. You could also use a cup of unsweetened coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.

Directions:

For the curd (make a day or two in advance to assembling the cake): In a medium saucepan combine the passion fruit juice, egg yolks and sugar. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add it the pinch of salt and the chunks of butter, one at a time. Stirring between addition to ensure the butter has melted before adding an addition piece. Strain through a fine mesh sieve 2 times. Place in a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray, or grease and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could also use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In three parts, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between each. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the shredded coconut and divide the batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on medium speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

To assemble the cake: If necessary, torte the cakes. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag with the end snipped off and pipe around the perimeter of the cake to create a dam. Fill the cake with the passion fruit curd and top with the other cake. Frost the cake with a crumb coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Use remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Curd Recipe from Garlic and Zest

Coconut Cake Recipe from Food Network

Chocolate Comfort Cake

Similar to the Rum Cake I posted last month, this Chocolate Comfort Cake was made by doctoring a box cake mix. While some frown upon using a box cake mix there are some advantages to doing so, especially when you are doctoring them. They can save you time and by having all of the dry ingredients pre-measured and combined it can ensure a foolproof cake.

So, how can you doctor a cake mix? Add an extra egg for a cake that is richer. Swap out the water with milk or buttermilk, or with coffee for a chocolate cake. Add in cream of coconut or orange zest to a white cake, or a flavored extract. All of these will alter the flavor and texture of the cake to make it more homemade.

Using a dark chocolate cake mix I added in sour cream, freshly brewed coffee and a package of chocolate pudding mix to spruce it up.

Once the batter was prepped I poured it into a Bundt pan I sprayed with baking spray.

And after baking for about 55 minutes it was ready. I was concerned that the batter would overflow while baking but thankfully it didn’t.

After letting it cool in the pan for a few minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled it was time to enjoy a slice and this is definitely a comfort cake. Thanks to the add-ins it didn’t taste like a box cake at all.

 

Chocolate Comfort Cake

Ingredients:

1 package Dark Chocolate cake mix

1 small package of chocolate pudding mix

4 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup brewed coffee

1/2 cup sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray (or grease with butter and lightly coat with cocoa powder) and set aside.

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack completely.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Two years ago, I made my first Hidden Heart Cake in a loaf pan. This year, I decided to make another one, but, with a small twist. Instead of a loaf pan I decided to make it in a Bundt pan. I also made it more festive for Valentine’s Day by drizzling it with chocolate ganache and topping it with Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles.

To start I had to make a pink cake for the hearts. After prepping a mix of white cake per the box directions I tinted it pink. I then poured it into a Bundt pan that I sprayed with baking spray. Once it was done, I let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. It’s easier and cleaner to cut up a cold cake. I will point out that I was a bit concerned after making this first cake. It didn’t bake up with a lot of height so I was worries that the chocolate cake wouldn’t be able to completely cover the hearts, but, after a little more thinking I realized it shouldn’t be a problem since the hearts would be taking up some of the pan so the chocolate cake would bake up higher.

The following morning, I cut the cake into slices (about 2-inches each) and then using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from those slices. If you like making cake pops, you could use the leftover cake to make some.

I then prepped a box of chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I poured some of the batter into the bottom of my Bundt pan that I once again sprayed with baking spray. I did this to ensure that the top of the hearts would be covered by the cake.

Next, I arranged the hearts in the pan upside down. Remember, Bundt cakes are baked upside down and then you invert them once they are done.

And finally, I poured the remaining cake batter into the pan making sure to cover the hearts and getting the batter on the sides of the hearts closer to the outside of the pan.

I baked the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes. And once the cake had cooled in the pan for 15 minutes, I inverted it onto a wire rack to cool completely. You can see in this close-up shot that a little bit of the pink did peek through, but I knew I would be able to cover that with the chocolate ganache I was planning on pouring over the cake.

To make the ganache, I combined chocolate chips, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it for 35-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate chips had melted, and the mixture was smooth. I wanted the ganache to be a little thicker before I poured it over the cake, so I refrigerated it for about 15-20 minutes, stirring it every five minutes.

Before pouring the ganache on the cake, I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and then placed the wire rack the cake was cooling on on top of the wax paper.

Once the ganache was thick enough, I drizzled it over the cake and sprinkled the ganache with Valentine’s Day sprinkles. I then placed the cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache could set.

And then it was time to slice it and I happy to say that the cake came out perfectly. It tasted good and the hearts were distinguishable when the cake was sliced.

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 box white cake mix, plus the ingredient to prepare the batter

1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare the batter

Pink food coloring

 

For the Ganache:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray, or grease with butter and dust with flour.

In a large bowl prepare the white cake mix per the directions on the box. Once prepared add in pink food coloring and stir to incorporate the color. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight*.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. And prep the Bundt pan once again.

Remove the pink Bundt cake from the refrigerator and slice the cake into 2-inch thick slices. Using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter cut hearts from the slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl prep the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. Pour enough batter into the pan so there is about a 1/2-inch layer of cake batter on the bottom. Arrange the cut hearts upside down in the pan. They should fit in perfectly and be snugged next to one another. Pour the remaining batter over the hearts, and make sure to get it into the sides of the pan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted towards the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has completely cooled make the ganache.

Combine all the ingredients for the ganache in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 35-second intervals, stirring between each internal. Once the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth let cool for a few minutes before placing in the refrigerator so the ganache can thicken up. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Place a piece of wax paper on a large baking sheet and place the cake on the wire rack on top. Once the ganache is thick, drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle the cake with Valentine’s Day sprinkles and then place in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache can set.

Slice and enjoy!

*It’s not necessary to refrigerate the cake overnight. You can slice the cake the same day you bake it once it’s cool. I just find it easier to work with the cake once it’s cold.

Rum Cake

I might be a little late to post this cake. Typically, Rum Cake is made around the holidays and I had every intention of making this around Christmas, but plans changed. Let’s be honest though, Rum Cake is good anytime of the year. Anything good is good anytime! I will let you know upfront that this is a semi-homemade Rum Cake and is truly simple and easy to make. I’ve seen recipes online that contain nuts, additional extracts and so forth, but, not with this one. Do not fear though, it does not skimp on flavor nor deliciousness.

To make the batter for the cake I combined a box of yellow cake mix along with a small box of vanilla pudding mix, rum, water, vegetable oil and eggs. I then poured it into a Bundt pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

After baking for about an hour in a 325 F preheated oven the cake was done. I placed it on a wire rack and immediately made the rum sauce to pour over it.

In a medium saucepan I combined a stick of unsalted butter along with sugar and rum and cooked it over medium heat until the butter had melted, the sugar dissolved, and it began to boil. The mixture was the consistency of a thin syrup.  Just a note, you don’t want to make the sauce before the cake is done. It may become too thick to pour onto the cake it and it won’t get absorbed as well.

While the syrup and cake were still hot, I poured the syrup over the cake. I use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan so that the syrup could go down the sides of the cake as well.

I let the cake cool in the pan for about 45 minutes and then inverted it onto a wire rack to cool for a few minutes more before transferring it to a cake board and then covering it with plastic wrap to refrigerate. In case you are wondering, yes, the cake did absorb all of the syrup. When I flipped it onto the wire rack there was none left in the pan and the cake did not feel sticky or anything.

After refrigerating overnight, it was ready to be served. And it was a hit with everyone who tried it!

Rum Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 Box yellow cake mix

1 small package of vanilla pudding mix*

1/4 cup light rum**

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, at room temperature

 

For the Rum Glaze:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light rum

 

*I used Jell-O

**I used Bacardi Gold Rum

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray (or lightly grease and then coat with flour) and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the cake and using a handheld mixer beat on medium speed until smooth. Transfer to the Bundt pan and bake the preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack while making the rum glaze.

Wait until the cake is done to make the glaze. In a medium saucepan combine the ingredients for the glaze – butter, sugar & rum – and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Once the mixture begins to boil it’s ready. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Pour the hot mixture over the cake and along the sides of the cake.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 40 – 45 minutes and then invert onto the wire rack to cool completely.

The cake is best served cold so once it has completely cooled wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Hallmark Channel

Gingerbread Cake

While peppermint gets all the glory as the flavor of the holiday season there is another flavor that is just as popular… Gingerbread. And while you may only think of houses and cookies when it comes to gingerbread, it’s also a great flavor for a holiday themed cake.

So, what exactly is gingerbread flavor? Well, it’s a combination of spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and usually sweetened with molasses. I honestly think it’s the molasses that gives gingerbread it’s distinct flavor more so than the spices.

To make things a little easy I used a spice cake mix as the base for my cake and then added in some additional spices, molasses and other ingredients to doctor it up. I got the recipe from fellow blogger Baking with Blondie. She made cupcakes with her recipe whereas I opted to use the recipe to make 2 6-inch cake layers. Once they were cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight before frosting. Frosting cold cakes is a lot easier than frosting cooled, but still room temperature ones.

I left the cakes in the refrigerator overnight and before removing them I made a Spiced Almond Cream Cheese Frosting. This frosting is so good I could eat spoonful’s as dessert!

Once the frosting was ready I torte the cakes and filled and frosted them with the frosting.

And finally, I decorated the cake with gingerbread men (you could bake them or, do as I did and use store-bought ones), fresh rosemary and sugared cranberries.

Gingerbread Cake with Spiced Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup buttermilk*

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup molasses

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 box spiced cake mix

For the Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 8oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Gingerbread Men, Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, Sugared Cranberries for decoration

*I made my own by combining 2/3 cup whole milk with 3 teaspoons of white vinegar. Stir together and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. It will begin to curdle when ready.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 6-inch pans with baking spray and set aside.

To make the cake: In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the cake, except the spiced cake mix, and stir together until well combined. Sift the cake mix into the mixture and stir all the ingredients together until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and heavy cream. Continue mixing and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly combined.

Torte the cooled cakes and then frost about a cup of the frosting on one of the cakes. Stack the other cake on top and crumb coat the cake. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then use the remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Decorate with gingerbread men, sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary.

Recipe from Baking with Blondie

Sugared Cranberries

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

12oz. bag fresh cranberries

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cranberries until well coated. You will want to work fast as the cranberries may begin to burst.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cranberries to a parchment lined wire rack to dry for at least an hour.

Pour the remaining sugar into a bowl. Once the cranberries are dry work in batches to coat the cranberries in the sugar. Transfer to a clean piece of parchment paper and let the cranberries dry for at least an hour.

Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake

I was planning on bringing you another savory pumpkin dessert this week, but I just didn’t like the recipe I made last week for a Pumpkin Black Bean Burger. While the burger wasn’t bad, it was just overpowered with cumin, which isn’t a bad thing, but I just felt that it shouldn’t be the only thing you taste especially after topping the burger with other things. All is well though as I am bringing you a cake that has a lot going on, but it adds up to one thing… Deliciousness! It’s a Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe that I got from an issue of Food Network Magazine about two years ago. I came across it in my dessert binder while looking for another recipe. The original recipe called for the cake to be a four-layer cake. Baking two 9-inch cakes and then cutting them in half. I opted to bake the cake in three 9-inch pans to make it a three-layer cake and since I am not keen on meringue frosting, I whipped up the Marshmallow Whipped Cream Frosting I used for the S’mores Cupcakes I posted back in August.

So, you have a three-layer pumpkin cake that had graham crackers crumbs added to the batter separated by a chocolate filling that is made with chocolate and marshmallows and it’s all topped with a light and not overly sweet marshmallow whipped cream frosting… YUM!

 

Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 whole graham crackers

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup buttermilk*

 

For the Filling:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

12 large marshmallows or 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 cup cold heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 7oz. jars marshmallow cream

 

*Make your own by combining 1/2 cup whole milk with three teaspoons of white vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it thickens and appears to curdle

 

Directions:

Begin by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray three 9-inch round baking pans with baking spray.

In a food processor pulse the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and pulse to combine.

In a large bowl beat the butter and both sugars with handheld mixer until medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and add in the pumpkin puree. The batter will appear curdled. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and finally the remaining flour mixture. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and tap the bottom of the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then invert the cakes on the racks to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling make the filling. In microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate, marshmallows, cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of the heavy cream and microwave in 30 second intervals. Stirring between each interval. Continue microwaving until everything is melted. Continue stirring the mixture until smooth and then stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling, whisk the remaining 2/3 cup heavy cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk a third of this cream into the cooled chocolate mixture and then gently fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

To make the frosting, add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add in the marshmallow cream and continue beating until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or cake stand. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag and pipe around the perimeter of the cake and then spread half of the chocolate filling in the center. Repeat with another cake layer and then top with the final cake layer and then frost the cake with remaining frosting.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe modified from Food Network

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

It’s Fall Y’all! And you know what that means… It’s time for some pumpkin treats. Truth be told I feel like Fall came out of nowhere this year. Between working from home and barely going anywhere due to the pandemic the days are just passing by quickly and rolling into each other. Now that September is winding down though I’m doing my best to be cognizant of the days/dates to make sure I get all of my holiday projects and goodies done. I’m kicking off Fall with a Chocolate Pumpkin Flan.

While traditional flan uses eggs as the base to make the custard, this flan uses a combination of cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin. One thing that does remain the same though is the delicious caramel sauce. And I am happy to say that I was finally successful in making caramel sauce. I have tried in the past and all I have ended up with is burnt sugar. I was determined this time to get it right. One thing that helped, besides having patience, was using a smaller saucepan. I normally use a medium sized one and I think that was preventing the caramel from coming together. By using a smaller one it was easier for the sugar to melt into the water and begin the caramelization process. I also resisted the urge to stir it and instead swirled the pan every few minutes to ensure it wouldn’t burn.  As with a traditional flan, once the caramel was done I poured it into the pan I was using and then poured the batter for the flan over it. Oh, one other thing this flan has that a traditional flan doesn’t have… melted chocolate. If you didn’t know, chocolate and pumpkin go together really well. After baking in a water bath, initially I was thinking that I could bake a 9-inch pan inside of a 10-inch springform pan, but, after I added the water it seeped right out so I ended up baking it in a water bath inside of my roasting pan, I let it cool and then refrigerated it overnight before unmolding it. It didn’t come out easily, but, once it did it thankfully didn’t break apart.

Final verdict… It was delicious. It had the exact consistency of an egg custard flan but the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate with a hint of spice thanks to pumpkin spice. Which is just a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

So, even with all the craziness going on are you looking forward to the holidays? Me and a friend were saying the other day how when the summer started, we had no clue how the summer would be and what we would be able to do. And now here we are, the summer is over, and we made it through without doing anything really. With the extra time on the weekends I was able to get some projects done in my backyard and I am in the middle of remodeling my living room. All in all, I am sure most people are looking to put this year to bed. For now though, bring on the pumpkins, the mums and the scarves!

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

Ingredients:

2oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened and cubed

4 eggs

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute, or until almost melted. Stir until completely melted, set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan add 3/4 cups of the sugar and the water. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is golden brown and a syrup-like consistency. This will take 10-15 minutes. Do not stir the contents, instead swirl the pan every few minutes. Pour into a 9-inch round pan.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, combine the evaporated milk and cream cheese and mix together until smooth.  Add the remaining sugar, the eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin spice and melted chocolate and continue mixing until well incorporated. Pour the mixture over the syrup in the pan.

Place the 9-inch pan inside of a larger pan, a roasting pan is ideal, and fill the larger pan with enough water that it comes halfway up the sides of the small pan.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before inverting and unmolding. Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce left in pan over flan. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Kraft Foods

A Bake ‘n Fill Fail

Recently while doing a little cleaning and organizing I came across something I purchased years ago and never used… A Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Cake Pan. The pans were still in their plastic wrapping. Not really sure why I never used it, but having come across it I figured there was no time like the present to try it out. And obviously from the title of this blog post I wasn’t that successful! The cake part was fine, the fail was the filling… So, we’ll say it was a Bake ‘n Fail!

In case you have no clue what I am talking about. These pans were sold in a set by Better Crocker years ago. They first came out in the early 2000’s. Below is a link to the infomercial if you are curious. The whole idea was that you are able to create cakes with fillings (ice cream, fruit, another cake, etc.) or make a cool design like a baseball or a lady bug.

Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Pan

I decided to follow a recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling that was in the recipe book that came with the pans. I began by prepping two of the pans – the inside of the tall pan and bottom of the insert pan (this is the pan that makes the cavity in the cake so it can be filled). Normally I spray my pan with baking spray, but, I decided to follow the directions and greased them with shortening and then coated them with flour. Next, I prepped the batter. I added all of the ingredients for it into a large bowl and beat them with a hand mixer until they were blended together. I then poured it into the tall pan.

Next, I placed the insert pan over the tall pan and locked it into place and then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Thankfully the insert pan has small holes in it, which I am assuming is to allow the cake to “breathe” while baking, but, I used them to insert a cake tester to see when the cake was done.

After removing the pan from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes…

And then I removed the insert pan and let the cake cool completely in the pan for about an hour.

Next I made the filling. In a saucepan I combined heavy whipping cream, sugar and coffee liqueur. I cooked it over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. After removing it from the heat I stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips with a wire whisk until they were melted. And finally I stirred in vanilla extract before transferring the mixture to a large bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a chilled medium bowl I beat additional heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks formed. I then folded the heavy whipping cream into the cooled chocolate mixture.

And finally I spooned the whipped chocolate mixture into the cavity of the cake and then refrigerated the cake thinking that the filling would firm up. It never did! I even put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and that did nothing to it as well. So, I gave up and decided to invert the cake out of the pan and do my best not to make a mess. Well, taking the cake out of the pan was no easy feat. I had to pry a flexible spatula between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. I was FINALLY able to invert the cake out and surprisingly didn’t make a complete mess with the mousse filling that was definitely not mousse-consistency.

While I thought about throwing in the towel at this point I decided to go ahead and make the frosting for the cake. I added additional heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heated until it was hot. I then stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips and stirred the mixture until the chocolate was melted. After letting the mixture cool for a few minutes it was the perfect consistency to frost the cake.

I won’t show you what happened when I sliced into the cake. As you can imagine the filling just, I hate to use the word ooze, but, that’s pretty much what it did. It did taste good though! And I was able to spoon it over the cake after slicing myself a piece so it wasn’t a total loss. So, will I attempt to use the pan again? Absolutely, but, I think the next filling will be something like whipped cream folded with some fresh berries, or, I will use the filling I normally make for my other cakes. Oh, and yeah, I will be using baking spray next time. It hasn’t left a cake stuck in a pan for me yet!