Hidden Heart Cake

Are you looking for something fun to bake for Valentine’s Day but are thinking that it’s too late? Well, this may just be the cake for you. All you need is 2 boxes of cake mix (I used white & chocolate), a loaf pan, a 2-inch heart cookie cutter and pink (or red) food coloring. While I used a white cake mix tinted pink for the hearts inside of a chocolate cake, you could try pink hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a white cake, red hearts inside of a yellow cake and so forth. It’s really up to you.

To begin, I prepped a box of white cake mix per the directions and then tinted it pink with a few drops of gel food coloring. I poured it into a loaf pan that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes, the cake wasn’t quite done but was browning considerably along the top so I dropped the temperature to 325 F and baked it for another 10 minutes. I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then transferred it to a wire rack to cool completely.

After the cake cooled, I sliced it into approximately 1 inch slices. Some of the slices were a little thicker, some a little thinner. In the end, it didn’t matter.

Next, using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from the slices of cake and set them aside. Those mini hearts were for a different baking project that turned out to be a fail… Oh well.

You will have a bunch of cake scraps left, I ended up snacking on a few pieces and then tossing the rest. If you make cake pops, or have been wanting to make cake pops, save these scraps for just that.

I then prepared the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I spread about a 1/2 inch layer of the batter into the bottom of my loaf pan that I prepped with baking spray.

Next, I arranged the 2-inch hearts in a row down the middle of the pan, leaving a small space between the first and last heart and the pan, but, making sure the hearts in the middle were close together. This is why I said that if your slices aren’t exactly 1-inch thick it won’t matter. Once you line them together it will all be good.

I used a ladle to slowly pour the rest of the batter along the sides and on the top of the hearts. You don’t want to just pour the batter into the pan, this could disturb the hearts and you could end up with chocolate in between them. I did make sure that the hearts were completely covered with the batter. You don’t want a heart peeking out of the top of the cake… that would ruin the surprise.

I then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes. I inserted a cake tester and the inside was still a little underdone so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked it for an additional 10 minutes, similar to what I did with the pink cake. Once again, I let the cake cool for about 20 minutes in the pan and then removed it and let it completely cool on a wire rack.

Once it was cool it was time to slice and see if my hidden heart cake was a success (and it was)!

Pistachio Quick Bread

I’ve been using Jell-O pudding mixes for quite some time now as a base to make mousse fillings for my cakes. I’ve actually started picking up different flavors of the boxes to switch up my filling flavor. While there is nothing wrong with vanilla and chocolate of course, a chocolate cake with either a caramel or banana mousse flavor wouldn’t be too bad either. I sometimes wonder though what other desserts they can be turned into and then recently I found the perfect recipe to use a box of pistachio pudding, a Pistachio Quick Bread. Combined with a package of white cake mix and a few other ingredients you have two delicious loaves in less than an hour. For a little more texture and crunch add in a cup of chopped of pistachios to the batter, or scatter them along the top of the batter before baking. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe with a box pumpkin spice Jell-O (I finally found them at the supermarket, as you may recall I used my last box to make a Chocolate Roll Cake with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling) and a box of yellow cake mix. Baking from scratch is great, but, taking short cuts and sprucing up a box of store bought cake mix is never a bad thing.

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Pistachio Quick Bread

Ingredients:

1 Box White Cake Mix

1 3.4 oz. package of pistachio pudding mix

4 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup canola oil

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 8×4-inch loaf pans with baking spray (or grease with butter) and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix and pudding mix. Add the eggs, sour cream, water and oil. Beat on low for 30 seconds to combine and then raise the speed to medium and continue mixing until well blended (the batter will be thick)

Divide the batter amongst the two prepared pans and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle come out clean.

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

The original recipe included a cinnamon sugar swirl which I decided to omit. The link for the recipe with the swirl is below.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Pumpkin Bread

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

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

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Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

3 (1 1/2) cups sugar

1 (1/2) cup vegetable oil

4 (2) eggs, lightly beaten

16 ounces (1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin

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

2 (1) teaspoons kosher salt

2 (1) teaspoons baking soda

1 (1/2) teaspoon baking powder

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (1/2) teaspoon ground allspice

1 (1/2) teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 (1/4) teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 (1/3) cup water

*Please note the amounts in parenthesis are for 1 loaf

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe from Food Network

Zucchini Spice Bread

Another mini road trip meant it was time to bake another dessert that wouldn’t require refrigeration. This time I went with a Zucchini Spice Bread. If you are not a fan of zucchinis, or vegetables for that matter, no worries the addition of some warm spices masks the fact that a vegetable is the main ingredient in this delicious loaf cake. Luckily for me, I love all vegetables – even those bitter Brussels sprouts. Trust me; they can be delicious when made the right way.

I began by grating a medium-sized zucchini. While the recipe called for the zucchini to be coarsely grated I opted to finely grate it which I think added to the moisture of the bread.

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Next I whisked together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves.

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In another bowl I used a hand mixer to mix together canola oil, light brown and granulated sugar, two eggs, vanilla extract…

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And finally the zucchini.

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I then added in the flour mixture and mixed it until it was just combined.

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After pouring it into my prepared loaf pan – I sprayed it with baking spray – I baked it in a preheated 350 F oven for about 50 minutes.

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The cake smelled delicious right out of the oven and I couldn’t wait for it to cool so I could try a piece.

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After letting it cool for a half hour in the pan and then transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely I was finally able to slice into the loaf and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. It was incredibly moist and the spices were a perfect touch. Next time I make it though I will probably add in some walnuts for a little texture and added flavor.

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Zucchini Spice Bread

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

A pinch of ground cloves

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions 

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan (I used a 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 inch pan.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, light brown and granulated sugars, eggs and vanilla; mix in the zucchini. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (do not over mix.)

3. Spread the batter in the prepared pan bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Banana Nut Bread… A Single Loaf

As some of you may know I have a tendency to let bananas sit for a tad bit too long which means I won’t eat them – I prefer my bananas not to have any spots on them – but instead I bake with them. Over the course of my blogging I have made Marbled Nutella Banana Bread, Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes, Banana Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins, Banana Cream Pie, and the first banana recipe I posted, Banana Nut Bread. Which I just made again, although the first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with two loaves, this time though I only had three of the six called for bananas so I decided to halve the recipe and am happy to say it worked out perfectly, so I decided to share that with you today. I must say I never particularly cared for Banana Bread until I made it myself and this recipe was definitely key to me liking it. It’s the perfect amount of banana flavor and sweetness.
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Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
3 large bananas, very ripe, mashed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts*
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 F & grease one loaf pan.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the cream mixture. Stir in the bananas and chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*The original recipe called for pecans

Blood Orange-Olive Oil Cake

I recently picked up Martha Stewart’s newest cookbook – Martha Stewart’s Cakes  – and after going through it I was eager to try out one of the many delicious recipes in it. I was all set to make a butter cake until I came across some blood oranges in my local supermarket and remembered a Blood Orange – Olive Oil cake recipe from the book.

The oranges…

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After zesting and peeling the oranges….

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I squeezed a few segments to get 1/4 cup of juice. While it probably would have been easier just to squeeze the juice into a measuring cup this oddball method was what my hands reached for first.

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After mixing the orange zest and sugar together with my fingers (per the instructions) I then added in the juice and buttermilk and whisked it together with my hand mixer… not my fingers!

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I then added in three eggs and extra-virgin olive oil. No worries… There wasn’t a hint of taste of olive oil in the final outcome and I must say the olive oil produced a very moist cake. If you want some more information on baking with olive oil check out this website.

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And finally I added in a sifted mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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I knew this cake was going to be a winner when the batter itself already had a wonderful aroma and it wasn’t even in the oven yet.

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I then poured it into a prepared – I sprayed it with non-stick baking spray – 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and baked it in a 350 degrees preheated oven for about forty-five minutes.

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I first let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for fifteen minutes and then turned it out on the rack to finish cooling overnight.

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Once the cake cooled I made a dark chocolate glaze to drizzle over it. I did so by chopping up two ounces of bittersweet chocolate and then poured warmed heavy cream over it.

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After letting it sit for a few minutes I whisked it together.

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And then drizzled it over the cake.

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I couldn’t wait to slice it into it and was not disappointed. The cake had a nice orange taste and that little bit of chocolate on top was just perfect! The recipe actually called for a honey-sweetened blood-orange compote to go along with it but I opted not to make it and I definitely didn’t miss it.

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Blood Orange – Olive Oil Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 blood oranges

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9-by-5 inch with non-stick baking spray. Finely grate enough rind from oranges to yield 1 packed tablespoon zest.

2. Peel the oranges and then working over a bowl squeeze the segments to obtain 1/4 cup juice.

3. Combine sugar and zest in another bowl; using your fingers, rub together well. Add juice and the buttermilk; whisk to combine. Add eggs and oil; whisk to combine. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; add to buttermilk mixture, whisking until smooth.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely.

5. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate, let stand 5 minutes, and then whisk together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake and let set about 1 hour.