Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything. A nice light lemon flavor, a tad bit of oatmeal and the soft chewiness of a sugar cookie. While they are perfect for the warmer months ahead, they would also be a nice addition to your holiday cookie baking. Since I wasn’t sure how they were going to taste, I halved the recipe and ended up baking only 24 cookies. Big mistake! These cookies were such a hit I should have baked the full amount. But just in case you don’t need 48 cookies, you can easily halve the recipe below.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 3/4 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookies

*Can also use old-fashion oats

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lines two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Pour additional sugar into a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll in the sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the cookie about halfway down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe slightly modified from Taste of Home

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!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! The holidays are quickly winding down. Truthfully, and I think most would agree, the holidays just seemed to fly by this season. Mainly due to the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With Thanksgiving falling so late there was less than a month to get everything ready for Christmas. Besides posting my annual Cookie Palooza recipes I just didn’t have time to blog anything else during the month of December. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do a lot of baking though. There were chocolate covered pretzels, Almond Biscotti (these were so good that I ended up baking a second batch the day after making the first), a few cakes (one of which was supposed to be a tangled lights decorated cake but turned into a congratulatory cake for my oldest niece after competing in her very first gymnastics tournament and placing in a few of the events), and of course cookies, cookies and more cookies. I baked about 300 cookies in one day and by the end of the day the smell of sweets and sugar was just too much for me to handle.

So here we are in a new year and a new decade. Truthfully it didn’t really dawn on me that a new decade was upon us until I was watching the news and they started talking about it. I was just thinking of how the year had gone by so fast. And granted one could say that about every year, but, 2019 in particular seemed to fly by to me. I was thinking about things that happened and they didn’t seem like months ago but more so days ago. I have heard that one of the perils of getting older is that time goes by faster. Maybe it’s because you have a greater realization of things happening. As a kid I think you forget more than you remember but as an adult everything that happens gets filed away so it’s easy to measure things by the events in our lives. My dad has been gone 4 years and I still measure things from before and after his death as well as before and after he got sick. I’ll remember something or see something from a particular year and I measure it against these dates. Not always a good thing. But, it is a good reminder to me of how quickly things can change and can happen. It’s true what they say that life can change in the blink of an eye.

And for many a new year means resolutions to change things in their lives or do things differently. I myself have never made a New Year’s resolution. I personally believe that there is no time like the present to make a change for the better. Every day you are given the opportunity to do things better and/or differently than the day before. So why not grab on to that as opposed to waiting for the year to change. Let’s say you fail at your resolution in February, does that mean you should wait 10 months to try again? Absolutely not! So, instead of resolutions I’ll look back and see if I have grown as a person over the course of time. Of course there are things that I would like to be different, but, at the end of the day I am content. And being content makes it a bit easier to work on those things that I would like to change.

So, what’s on my plate for 2020 so far… A semi-monumental college reunion that I may or may not attend and a pretty exciting vacation! And of course more baking and crafting. Next month marks 8 years that I have been blogging. And while I may not have the amount of followers that others have, I am still trudging along and thankful for those of you who do follow me and welcome any and all new readers. I enjoy baking, crafting, photographing, writing, and everything else that makes up my blog so I will continue on! Besides, good things come to those who wait.

I leave you with two pics…

A pic of the Christmas cake I made (this was totally not the design I had in mind for this cake, but, I had a frosting fail at 10p on a work-night so I had to improvise and was happy with the outcome)…

And the cake I made for New Year’s Eve – I decided to try out the decorated sheet cake trend. After piping the designs on to the cake I then sprayed it with Wilton’s Color Mist in pearl and sprinkled it with a mixture of festive sprinkles…

Happy 2020!

 

 

 

Sprinkle Fault Line Cake

Earlier this summer a new cake trend began flooding my Instagram feed… A Fault Line Cake. Initially I thought it would be extremely difficult to create. And I am sure some of the ones I have seen are – ones with macaroons, lemons, edible decorative paper and so forth – but, the one that caught my eye and seemed somewhat easy to practice on was a sprinkle one. Essentially, the center of the cake exposes a design between two thick layers of frosting. Sort of like a fault line separating after an earthquake and exposing the ground beneath.

I first attempted this trend a few weeks ago and it was a complete DISASTER! Since I was just trying out the technique I attempted to take some short-cuts… mainly use store bought frosting. Chocolate frosting at that and I really should have known better. Not that there is anything wrong with store bought frosting – I have used it quite often to decorate – but, it was hot outside (and inside my house) and I have learned that store bought frosting just doesn’t hold up as well in the heat as homemade. Also, I made a six inch cake using boxed cake mix thinking that would give me enough height for the cake and I was wrong on that account as well.

Here’s what happened… I baked a yellow cake mix into a two-layer 6-inch cake and it came out just fine. Then, I started to frost it and the issues began. Like I said it was hot on this day so I decided to refrigerate the frosting for about 20 minutes so it could firm up a little. Once it was firm, I started by crumb coating the cake and it just wasn’t going on smooth, but, I plowed ahead. Once I finished with the crumb coat I placed the cake in the refrigerator so it could set. After about a half hour I removed the cake from the refrigerator and attempted to add more frosting to the middle of the cake to adhere the sprinkles and it was a mess. The crumb coat never got a crust on it so when I added more frosting it was all just coming off. I continued and finally got a layer of frosting around the middle of the cake and then added the sprinkles. But, since I had to add such a thick layer of frosting to the cake to get it to adhere my sprinkles got swallowed up by the frosting. It was such a fail. At this point I just gave up. I realized that the frosting was just not going to cooperate and that the cake didn’t have enough height to look good.

Fast forward a few weeks later and with a free weekend ahead of me I decided to try once again. I made some tweaks this time though. I decided to make a three-layer 8-inch cake and for the frosting I whipped up two batches of Martha Stewart’s Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. It’s my go-to frosting whenever I have to decorate a cake. It has a great consistency that makes it perfect for frosting, piping and/or tinting.

I opted to go with a box cake mix again. I used a yellow cake mix to make two 8-inch layers and then a chocolate mix to make one 8-inch layer. I used the remaining chocolate batter to make 6-inch cake.

Once the cakes were done I let them cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. I then wrapped them in plastic wrap and placed them in the refrigerator overnight. I used to just leave my cakes out at room temperature, but, I have found that refrigerating them makes it easier to torte, layer and frost.

The next day I made two batches of vanilla frosting and my short-cut chocolate mousse (beat a package of Jell-O chocolate pudding mix along with a cup each of heavy whipping cream and whole milk until thick). I then torted and layered the cake, filling the layers with the chocolate mousse. Next I crumb coated the cake and placed it in the refrigerator for about a half hour.

After the half hour I removed the cake from the refrigerator and added an extra layer of frosting in the middle of the cake…

And then added sprinkles to that layer of frosting.

I then placed the cake back in the refrigerator for another half hour so the frosting and sprinkles could set.

I transferred frosting to a piping bag and snipped the end off and piped the frosting around the cake, except for the part with the sprinkles.

I then smoothed the frosting and added some 1M swirls on top of the cake and sprinkled them with sprinkles and my cake was done. I finally created a successful Fault Line Cake. I wonder what new cake trend will be flooding my Instagram feed next.

Lime Pudding Cups

The best desserts in the summer are of course no-bakes ones. No one wants to turn on their oven when it’s 90+ degrees outside, but, sometimes you can make a slight exception and light up your stove for a quick delicious treat like these Lime Pudding Cups. These came up on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and I knew instantly that I wanted to make them – partially because it meant using up the last of some heavy whipping cream I had in my refrigerator that was expiring soon and more importantly because they reminded me of one of my favorite desserts… Key Lime Pie.

The prep and cooking time for these is less than an hour. That includes juicing and zesting the limes, cooking the pudding on the stove and then letting it cool before straining and dividing it. (Okay, maybe it’s more like less than 45 minutes). Once all that is done you place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so the pudding can set. While they are in the refrigerator you whip up some homemade whipped cream to top them and refrigerate it until they are ready.

Once the pudding has set top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, crushed graham crackers (to crush, I placed 1 graham cracker in a Ziploc bag and then rolled with a rolling pin) and lime zest.

And as simple as that you have a refreshing summer dessert that’s sweet and citrusy!

Lime Pudding Cups

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus more for topping

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 4 medium-sized limes)

Crushed graham crackers, for topping

Sweetened whipped cream, for topping (use store-bought or follow recipe below to make your own)

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine the heavy cream, sugar, lime zest and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir the mixture often until it is reduced to 2 cups. About 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Let cool for 20 minutes and then strain the mixture through a sieve into a measuring cup, discarding the solids. Divide evenly (about 1/3 cup in each) among 6 ramekins. Place in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours.

To make the whipped cream: Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until the mixture thickens and then beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Once the pudding is set, top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, some of the crushed graham cracker and lime zest.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy National S’mores Day! This year to commemorate the day I decided to make S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies. Now quite a few years ago I made a S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie – this was before I was aware of this celebratory day for this campfire staple – and it was exactly as the name suggests, an actual s’more (marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker) baked into the center of a chocolate chip cookie. For these cookies today the ingredients for a s’more are incorporated into the cookie. The graham crackers are crushed and whisked together with the flour and cocoa powder while the marshmallows and milk chocolate chips are folded into the cookie dough once all of the other ingredients have been mixed and combined.

The resulting cookie is one that’s perfectly chocolatey, a little gooey thanks to the marshmallows and has a hint of graham cracker.

S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 30 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 cup flour

1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Prep baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

The night before you make the cookies place the marshmallows in a bowl and leave on the counter uncovered. This will “age” the marshmallows and help them keep their shape while baking.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy.

Slowly add the flour mixtures, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once the ingredients are full incorporate stop mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips and the marshmallows.

Using a cookie scoop form the dough into balls and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving room for spreading. Chill the dough on the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and baking the cookies for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will be set on the outside and soft in the middle.

Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe modified from Food52

Bourbon Bread Pudding

With the summer in full swing you might have enjoyed a hamburger or hot dog by now. And with those summer BBQ staples comes one dilemma I’m sure most have you have faced… left-over hamburger and hot dog buns. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. I was facing this very dilemma after my July 4th BBQ. I bought extra buns just in case, and while most of it went I still had some left that I just wouldn’t be able to finish on my own. So, I started thinking what I could make with them. A Bourbon Bread Pudding sounded like a good option.

To start, I soaked a cup of raisins in a quarter cup of Jim Beam Bourbon. I let them sit for about 2 hours until most of the bourbon had been soaked up by the raisins. You can actually do this step a day or two before you plan on making your bread pudding.

Since the hot dog buns were still fresh, I had to make them “stale” so that they wouldn’t fall apart too much when I added the liquid. To do so I toasted the bread. I began by slicing 8 hot dogs buns into cubes. Without splitting the buns in half, I sliced them in half lengthwise and then sliced them again into cubes. I placed them on a baking sheet and toasted them a 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Until the cubes were toasted, but not burnt.

Once the bread had cooled I transferred it to a large bowl and added in a quart of whole milk. Using my hands I pressed the bread into the milk until all of it was absorbed.

In a medium bowl I whisked together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon.

Once the egg mixture was well combined I poured it over the bread mixture and then gently folded everything together. Finally I folded in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that hadn’t been soaked up by the raisins as well.

I poured the mixture into 9×13 baking dish that I brushed with melted butter and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes.

When done, the edges of the bread pudding were brown and pulling away from the baking dish. And while the center was still a little wet, I knew that it would firm up as it cooled.

And while it cooled I made a bourbon sauce to drizzle over the bread pudding. In a medium saucepan I melted a stick of unsalted butter over low heat. I then added in sugar and an egg and whisked everything to combine. As the mixture continued to cook over low heat I constantly stirred it until it began to thicken. At this point I removed it from the heat and whisked in bourbon.

The sauce was the perfect topping to a slice of the bread pudding, all that was missing was a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

 

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

Bread Pudding:

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup whiskey bourbon

8 hot dog buns, cut into cubes

1 quart whole milk

3 large eggs

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Bourbon Sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup bourbon whiskey

 

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the raisins and 1/4 cup of bourbon whiskey, cover and let sit until the raisins soak up most of the liquid. At least one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crispy, about 12 – 15 minutes. If you find the bread still soft on the bottom, flip and bake for a few more minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a large bowl. Add the milk and using your hands press the bread into the milk until it’s absorbed.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs together and then whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon. Pour this over the bread mixture.

Fold the two mixtures together until well incorporated and then gently stir in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that wasn’t soaked up by the raisins.

Pour the melted butter into the bottom of 9×13 baking dish and using a pastry brush (or napkin) coat the bottom and sides of the dish with the butter. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish and bake in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

The bread pudding is ready when the edges begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the baking dish.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the bread pudding is cooling you can make the bourbon sauce.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and egg and whisk to blend it. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the bourbon.

Serve the bread pudding with the bourbon sauce drizzled over it.

Recipe modified from Simply Recipies

Stars and Stripes Cake

The unofficial kick-off to the summer is upon us… Memorial Day. And thankfully it’s shaping up to be a great weekend where I am. Lately every weekend seems to have at least one day of rain or unseasonably low temperatures. Not good for the yard work I have to get done. My lawn is so high that my dog seems to be avoiding walking on the grass when I let him out. Not that I can blame him, certain parts of the lawn seem to be taller than him, he’s a Chihuahua. And he’s a not teacup sized one, he’s pretty average so that should give you an idea of just how high my lawn is. But, my goal this weekend is to get out there and clean things up. Wish me luck! After I am done with the front yard I have to then tackle the backyard. So, are you planning on firing up your grill this weekend and having a BBQ or are you just going to be taking it easy and enjoy that extra day to the weekend? If it’s the former have you thought about dessert? Today I am sharing with you a fun twist on a stars and stripes themed cake that would be perfect. I will say that this cake takes some patience and the ability to forge on when (and if) it doesn’t seem like it’s going to come together. See, the stipes on this cake are vertical as opposed to horizontal. Huh? Yes, the cake layers are rolled together to form the stripes. Are you still scratching your head?

I began by preheating my oven to 350 F. I sprayed a half sheet pan (13 x 18 inches) with baking spray and then placed a piece of parchment paper in the pan and sprayed it with baking spray as well. Now, I do have a cookie sheet this size that I was tempted to use, but, opted not to because sometimes the sheet twists while it’s in the oven and I was concerned that my cake would then spill over or I would end up with a twisted cake. I ended up using this pan. Which I did purchase at my local Target.

After making the batter for the cake I poured it into my prepared pan and baked it for about 18 minutes. A couple of notes on making the batter. Make sure you use a whisk attachment when making the meringue with. I have made meringue before and I have always used my whisk attachment on my stand mixer, but, I was absentmindedly following the recipe and I used my beater attachment and my eggs whites never became meringue no matter the speed or time my mixer was going. Also, while the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of red food coloring, I ended up using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of McCormick’s Red Food Coloring. I started with the tablespoon, but, the cake was looking a little pink and while I knew that the color would gets darker as it sits and as the cake baked I wanted to be sure I ended up with a vibrant red in the end.

Immediately after taking the cake out of the oven I sprinkled it with confectioners’ sugar and placed a cotton towel over the cake. I placed a baking sheet over the towel, bottom side to the towel, and then flipped the cake onto the towel. I carefully removed the pan and parchment paper from the cake. Starting on one of the short ends of the cake I began rolling the cake and towel together into a log.

I then placed it on a wire rack to let the cake cool completely.

While the cake was cooling I made the frosting. I would liken the frosting to a whipped cream cheese frosting. I began by beating three 8oz. bars of cream cheese with confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until it was smooth. With the mixer on low, I then added in vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Once the whipping cream was incorporated I increased the speed to high until the frosting was smooth.

Once the cake was cooled I placed it in an extra-large baking sheet to unroll it so I would have room to work. I unrolled it and this is where my patience and perseverance were tested. As is common with rolled cakes, my cake cracked in certain spots. I cut the cake into three long strips, about 4 inches wide each, and then spread frosting on each of the strips. I should have spread more, but since my cake had cracked I was concerned that if I used too much frosting I would have ended up with a big mess.

And now, the fun part. Rolling the cake together. I started by rolling one of the strips together, from short end to short end. I placed that piece on another strip, making sure to line up where the first strip ended with the start of the next strip. I repeated this for the final strip and then turned the cake flat side down on a cardboard cake round to frost.

I frosted the cake with a thin layer of frosting and then refrigerated it for 30 minutes. Unfortunately my cake wasn’t perfectly round due to the seam on the cake. I did my best to fill that seam with extra frosting to make the cake round, ultimately I decided that would be the back of the cake.

After the half hour I finished frosting the cake and used a small offset spatula to give the cake a slightly striped design. Next, I placed three different sized star cookie cutters on top of cake and sprinkled blue sanding sugar into them and I used a straw to spread the sprinkles into the corners of the cookie cutter. I carefully removed the cookie cutters and my stars and stripes cake was done.

And here’s a look inside the cake once sliced.

Overall this cake was delicious. Even though it’s red, it’s not quite a red velvet cake. This cake is much lighter and has a stronger chocolate flavor.

 

Stars and Stripes Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

8 large eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup canola oil

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 

For the Frosting:

3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

Blue sanding sugar, for decorating

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet with baking spray, line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and set aside.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly beat in 1/2 cup of sugar. Increase the speed to high and continues whisking until stiff shiny peak form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a bowl and set aside.

Using the beater attachment on your stand mixer, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the same bowl you used for the meringue (no need to clean) on high speed until double in volume. Beat in the water and canola oil.

Sift the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then stir together until just combined.

Add in the food coloring and beat on high speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Stir a dollop of the meringue mixture into the batter and fold in using a rubber spatula. Add the remaining meringue and continue folding together the two until no white streaks remain.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and using an offset spatula spread the batter evenly in the pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, loosed the edges of the cake with a knife and dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Place a cotton kitchen towel over the cake and then place another baking sheet on top of the towel.

Flip the cake onto the towel and remove the pan and parchment paper. Starting on the short end roll the cake and the towel together into a log. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools make the frosting. In a bowl beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. With the mixer on low add in the vanilla extract and whipping cream. Once incorporated, slowly increase the speed to high and continue beating until smooth.

Once the cake is cool, unroll the cake on a large baking sheet. Divide the cake into three long strips, about 4 inches each. Spread an even layer of frosting on each of the strips, use about 1/3 of the frosting. Be sure to frost under the curled ends as well.

Roll one of the strips into a tight spiral. Move the spiral over to the next strip. Make sure to line up the ends, and then roll the cake into a fatter spiral. Move this piece over to the last strip, once again lining up the ends, and roll the cake into a large spiral.

Turn the cake flat side down onto a cake cardboard or a cake platter. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake. You will need to use more frosting to cover up the seams. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting.

Place different sized star shaped cookie cutters on top of the cake and sprinkle blue sanding sugar inside the cookie cutter. Use a small brush (or straw as I did) to spread the sugar into the cookie cutter. Carefully remove the cookie cutters and refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Recipe from Food Network

Margarita Cheesecake

Instead of drinking a margarita this past Sunday for Cinco de Mayo I opted to bake one instead in the form of a cheesecake. While this was a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the light lime flavor also makes it perfect for the upcoming warmer months of the summer.

I began by making the crust. I crushed Nilla Wafers into crumbs and then combined it with melted butter and then pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I then placed it in the refrigerator until the cheesecake mixture was ready. While I used Nilla Wafers for my crust, you could opt to get the salty rim of a traditional margarita in the form of a crust made with crushed pretzels instead.

Using a hand mixer I bet three room temperature 8oz. blocks of cream cheese until it was light and fluffy. I then added in sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest. I continued beating everything on medium speed until it was well combined. I then added in four eggs one at a time. On the off chance you taste the filling and think that it’s too much alcohol don’t worry, the alcohol flavor will burn off while the cheesecake is baking. On the converse side, if you feel like it’s not enough now would be the time to add in more.

I poured the filling into the prepared pan and then placed it on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the center was just set.

A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined sugar, lime juice and sour cream in a small bowl. After removing the cheesecake from the oven I spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed it back in the oven for an additional five minutes.  This gives the cheesecake a nice topping and one other thing I like about it, it hides any cracks.

I then placed the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool and then placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours for it to chill.

Before serving, I removed the ring from the pan and garnished the cheesecake with thin slices of lime.

Margarita Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs*

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, divided

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier**

3 tablespoons gold tequila**

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 teaspoons lime zest

4 large eggs

Thin lime slices, for garnish

 

*I used Nilla Wafers

**I used the 5cl/50ml sized bottles. Each had exactly 3 tablespoons. For the tequila, I used Jose Cuervo Gold.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Refrigerate.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and the lime zest and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the center is just set, about 50 minutes. In a small bowl combine the remaining sour cream, sugar and lime juice and stir well to combine. Pour this over of the cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Return the cheesecake to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Before serving, remove the ring from the pan and garnish the cheesecake with the lime slices.

Recipe from Food Network

Churro Cake with a Spiced Chocolate Sauce

With Cinco de Mayo just a few days away (and it falling on the weekend this year) you may be searching for some fun and delicious recipes to make. If you’re thinking of making churros but aren’t keen on the idea of having to fry them or just want a fun alternative how about a Churro Cake with a Spiced Chocolate Sauce for drizzling over it. And don’t worry, you will still have the cinnamon sugar coating that makes a churro extra yummy.

I began by combining my dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt – in a medium bowl and setting it aside. In the bowl of my stand mixer I beat butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until it was light and fluffy – about five minutes. I then added in four eggs and two egg yolks, one at a time. And finally I beat in sour cream. With the mixer on low, I added in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with milk. Once the mixtures were combined I poured it into a Bundt pan that I sprayed with baking spray. I tapped the pan down on my counter a few times to release any air bubbles and then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes. Once the cake was done I let it sit in the pan for about 10 minutes and then inverted it on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake was cool I placed it along with the cooling rack over a large bowl. I combined cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set it aside. In another small bowl I melted three tablespoons of unsalted butter in the microwave. Next, using a pastry brush, I brushed sections of the cake with the melted butter and then sprinkled the cinnamon-sugar mix over the section. Pressing the mixture on to the cake to adhere it. Hence me placing the rack over a large bowl, any excess melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture simply fell into the bowl, making for an easier clean-up. You want to do this in sections, if you simply brush the entire cake and then tried sprinkling it with the cinnamon sugar it will not adhere to the cake as well (or at all) since the butter will seep into the cake.

Next, I made the chocolate sauce to go along with the cake. I combined half and half, chile powder, dark brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan. I brought it to a simmer over medium heat and then removed it from the heat and added in semi-sweet chocolate chips. I let the mixture stand for a few minutes and then stirred it until it was smooth.

The best way to eat this… With the chocolate sauce drizzled over the cake. YUM! This cake was hit amongst my friends with some of us going back for seconds and practically drenching the cake with the sauce – it’s that GOOD!

Churro Cake with a Spiced Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup whole milk

 

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

For the Spiced Chocolate Sauce:

1 1/4 cups half-and-half

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon chile powder**

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*

 

*original recipe called for 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

**If you want your sauce to have more of a kick add in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of chile powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prep a Bundt pan by spraying it with baking spray (or brushing it with butter and then coating it with flour).

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then the egg yolks. Beat in the sour cream. Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the milk. Beat until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula and then place in the oven for about 50 – 55 minutes. Until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then loosen the edges with your cake tested or butter knife and invert the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled make the topping.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Place the cake along with the rack over a large bowl. Working in sections, brush the cake with the melted butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cake, pressing to adhere it to the cake.

To make the spiced chocolate sauce combine all of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate chips. Let it sit for 2 minutes and then stir until smooth.

Serve the cake with the spiced chocolate sauce.

Recipe from Food Network