RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cake

Chocolate Decadence

This is a dessert served on the Carnival Cruise ships (or at least it used to be in the late 90s), which I have made several times for my Mother as her birthday cake.  It is one of her favorite cakes, right up there with THE Mocha Crunch Cake, and just as rich…and decadent.  They aren’t kidding when they named this dessert, it really is chocolate decadence.  No better way to describe it.

I originally made this according to their recipe, which is actually broken up into parts, referring to basic recipes in the “Chef’s Notes” in the back of the Carnival Creations cookbook for everything but the mousse layer.  The cake consists of four recipes all combined to make one dessert: the cake layer, the mousse layer, the thin ganache layer, and the strawberry sauce.  I felt that the chocolate sponge cake they used was much too dry for the dessert, and lacked in chocolate flavor since it contained only a few tablespoons of the good stuff.  So I replaced it with my own simple one-bowl deep chocolate cake layer and was pleased with the result.  It’s my first attempt at my own cake recipe and while it’s probably not perfect, it was perfect for this dessert.  Moist, rich and fudgy, nicely complementing the rich rum-infused chocolate mousse.

I stuck with the recipe for the mousse, as that was always lovely and really is the star of the dessert.  It firms up in the fridge and when you take a bite, it’s akin to eating a lightly textured truffle with cake underneath.  Superb.  My middle sister says it almost seems like you’re eating candy rather than cake but I say…it’s the best of both worlds!

When it came to the ganache layer, I considered making a real ganache, using heavy cream, but realized that since this dessert is served from the refrigerator and real ganache gets rock hard when chilled, it would be prudent to stick with this thinner ganache (or what I’ll now call a chocolate sauce) which thickens a little in the fridge but it still nice and soft when you cut into it.

As for the strawberry sauce, their recipe doesn’t make nearly enough (individual tastes may vary, but my family enjoyed having a large puddle of sauce on their plate beneath the small slices I served.  Although the cake is wonderful alone, every bite seems improved when accompanied by a good dose of strawberry sauce!) and I wanted to use a bag of frozen strawberries I had in the freezer rather than buy fresh out of season, so I made my own recipe.  You can use any recipe you like for the sauce, but if you want to use mine, you can click the link to it below.

This cake went over very well with my family.  Although my Mom has always liked it, even in the days when I made it with the dry sponge cake underneath, the rest of my family never got very excited about it until I replaced the cake this time.  Apparently that was the only change it needed, besides the increased amount of sauce.  My little sister usually prefers citrus cakes (preferably unfrosted), but she proclaimed this “the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.”  I have to admit, I felt a little piqued at this since her devotion previously belonged to my beloved Mocha Crunch Cake, the cake I prize most…but I got over it because ultimately she still giving high praise to something I created.  I’ll take it. :)

The recipe is a bit time-consuming since there are so many parts, but you can pace yourself and make the sauce several days in advance, the cake the day before (wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating in the mean time), and since the cake needs to sit in the fridge overnight after you make the mousse and place the cake on top (which will later be flipped over), you can wait until the next day to make the ganache if you want.  Take it little by little and it won’t seem so overwhelming.

I hope you give this one a try for a special occasion–it is worth the effort and sure to impress!

Chocolate Decadence

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup warm water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup Myers rum
6 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Sauce
1/3 cup whole milk
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup chips)
1 teaspoon butter, softened

For serving:
Strawberry Sauce
Whipped Cream

Make the cake: Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, stir, and then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with a whisk until smooth, scraping down bowl. Pour into a greased and floured round 8” pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool five minutes on rack in pan, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 1-2 hours.

Make the mousse*: gently melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave; stir in whipping cream. Cool. When cool enough that butter will not melt, beat in butter. Stir in rum. In large bowl beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until very light; fold into chocolate mixture. In large bowl beat whipping cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture. Line an 8” round baking pan with enough plastic wrap that it comes over the sides; spread mousse into pan. Place cake top side down on top of the mousse and press down to make sure that every part of the cake is in contact with the mousse and that the top is flat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Make the chocolate sauce: Place the chocolate in a food processor or blender. Heat the milk until steaming hot, then turn on the food processor and, while running, pour the hot milk through the feed tube. Blend until smooth and allow to cool.

To serve: Place cake plate upside down on top of the cake, then flip over. Lift the cake pan off the cake (you may have to wiggle it or have someone hold down on the plastic wrap “handles” while you lift the pan).  Remove plastic wrap; spread chocolate sauce over the top and refrigerate for at least ten minutes. Cut into 16 slices; serve with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

*Veronica’s note: I only make this cake once every three or so years, so I can’t recall my previous experiences with the mousse very well, but this time I had problems with the mixture wanting to get too thick every time I let it sit so I could beat eggs or beat whipped cream. To soften it back up before adding those elements, I just rebeat it with the same hand-held mixer I had just used on the eggs or whipped cream, then folded them in. I’m not sure if this is usual or if I overheated my chocolate (which can make chocolate thicker if it doesn’t altogether seize up) so I wanted to mention it just in case others had this difficulty. It is surmountable so do not despair! :)

Per serving (without sauce or whipped cream): 473 calories; 30.5 g fat; 50.5 g carb; 3.2 g fiber; 5 g protein

2 tablespoons strawberry sauce: 42 calories; 0 g fat; 11 g carb; .6 g fiber; .1 g protein

Recipe source: cake and strawberry sauce recipes by Veronica Miller; mousse recipe, dessert concept, and chocolate sauce adapted from Carnival Creations.


Apple Cake Mabel

Posted on

Before we get to the cake, please remember to head on over to Steph’s Bite by Bite to check out all the wonderful goodies up for auction in the online bake sale, which started at 7 AM today and goes until 9 PM EST.  She’s raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I can’t wait to mail a batch of my Mocha Toffee Brownies to the winning bidder!  Good luck!

OK, now let’s get down to business.  I begged this recipe off my friend, Judy, when she mentioned she had made a sugar-free apple cake that turned out well.  I’m intrigued by anything that is sugar-free that also tastes good, as I have not had a lot of personal success with this.  I discovered that the cake was made with Splenda and shortening and this repelled me on many levels, but also awakened a creative desire to make it healthier with a natural sweetener and not only non-hydrogenated fat, but less of it.  As I mentioned in my post on chocolate chip banana bread, I’ve been experimenting with Truvia, a natural calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia plant’s leaves, so I used that in addition to brown sugar to give a better, more natural flavor.  I didn’t mess with the diet soda in the recipe, but it could easily be switched out for any variety of Zevia (a calorie-free soda made with stevia), or with club soda and additional Truvia.

Now, I’m not sure who Mabel is, or if she was even the one to come up with the original recipe, but I hope that she would be as pleased as I am with my adaptation.  It isn’t as light and tender as a traditional cake, but a little more dense like coffee cake, moist, perfectly sweet & spiced, with tender chunks of apple in every bite.  It is best served the day you bake it as it gets a little dry a couple days later, but it can be returned to it’s former glory with a few seconds in the microwave.

Apple Cake Mabel

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
4 oz cup (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup diet Dr. Pepper or cream soda
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Truvia
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 large apple, peeled & chopped

¼ chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.  Beat eggs until smooth & uniform in color, then add in brown sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated and mixture is slightly thickened. Add applesauce, diet Dr. Pepper, canola oil, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the apples, and beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Fold in apples and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the toppings over the top in the order listed and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

*Veronica’s note: I recommend using a sweet baking apple, such as Braeburn, Rome, or Gala.

Makes 15 servings. Per piece: 139 calories; 2.6 g fat; 28 g carb; 1.4 fiber; 3.2 protein

Recipe source: adapted from Judy L.

Peanutty Chocolate Truffles

Posted on

I got this recipe from my friend, Katy, around this time last year, and adapted it to increase the chocolate flavor, replacing the hot chocolate mix with Dutch-process cocoa powder.  If you’re a fan of chocolate and peanut butter like me, I guarantee you will love these!  Delicious, and so easy to make! These would be a great addition to holiday spreads or food gifts, particularly if you need something in a hurry.

For more Christmas cookie and candy ideas, scroll below the recipe.

Peanutty Chocolate Truffles

Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder is now widely available in supermarkets, but you can substitute regular cocoa powder if you are unable to locate any Dutch-process cocoa powder.
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder is now widely available in supermarkets)
1 cup finely chopped cocktail peanuts

Line baking sheets with wax paper. Beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in medium bowl until creamy. Add powdered sugar and cocoa and beat until incorporated. Mixture will be thick. Place peanuts in a flat dish. Scoop peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls; roll in peanuts to coat. Place on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm.

Recipe source: Katy R.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Chocolate Peppermint Chip Cookies

Sugar-Free Rugelach

White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies

Crispy Caramel Puffed Corn

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Peppermint Patties

Cherry Cordials

Cocoa Almonds

Cake Pops

Soft Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Triple Chocolate Caramel Corn

Cinnabon Caramel Corn

Easy Peanut Clusters

Nutty Toffee Popcorn

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Eggnog Pumpkin Bread

Easy Italian Creme Cake

Butter Pecan-Rum Cake

Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Caramel Walnut Brownies

Butter Pecan-Rum Cake

Living with our parents for eighteen years or more, we’re bound to take on some of their characteristics and qualities during that impressionable time, whether good or bad, and whether we’d like to admit it or not.  For the past decade, I have been working on undoing many of those that I deem unacceptable, such as being overly critical and dramatic, and have been moderately successful.  One of the many bad habits that I haven’t been able to completely shake is the tendency to buy things that I really don’t need, simply because they are on sale.

Yes, I was raised by a woman who can’t resist a sale.  I believe this may be a common thing among women(?), but perhaps not to the degree that my mother takes it. 

My parents (now empty-nesters) have three refrigerators and two freezers, and Mom has stocked enough canned & frozen foods (purchased on sale, of course) to last them at least six months without making a trip to the grocery store.  Ironically, she does the same thing with produce, of which at least half goes bad before they can eat it so she ends up wasting money rather than saving it, at least in that area.  I often see an entire crisper drawer full of avocados, tomatoes, onions, etc, and many are still there two months later in a much sadder state.

Though I have never shopped sales to this degree, I have purchased my fair share of unneccessary items simply because they were a good price.  A butter pecan cake mix, for example.  Not an item I needed or was very interested in, but it was on sale so I had to have it.

For two months, I glanced guiltily over at that mix each time I opened my cupboard where I keep most of my baking supplies.  I finally, finally took the cake mix down and found a recipe on the back for butter pecan-rum cake…and that’s all she wrote.  I made it immediately and after Dennis and I ate 1/3 of the cake ourselves, I brought the remainder to work where it was promptly devoured. 

The butter & sour cream really make the cake super-moist–even the next day after storing it with a big hunk missing.  And the addition of rum is just perfection with the butter pecan flavor. 

The moral of the story?  Next time your husband complains that “you’re just like your mother,” make him this cake to show him that’s not always such a bad thing.

Butter Pecan Rum Cake

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist butter pecan cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup dark rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract
4 eggs
1/2 cup Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
2 teaspoons dark rum or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube (bundt cake) pan. In large bowl, beat dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, sour cream, butter, 1/4 cup rum and the eggs on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes (it will turn into liquid velvet!!!). Spread in pan.

2. Bake 46-52 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely, about 2 hours. (My cake rose up very high above the pan but by the time it was time to remove it from the pan, it had settled back down even with the top of the pan.)

3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave frosting uncovered on Medium (50%) 15 seconds. Stir in 2 teaspoons rum. Pour over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down sides. Sprinkle pecans over frosting. Store loosely covered.

Makes 16 servings.
High altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 52-58 min.

Recipe source: Betty Crocker

Don’t Waste That Cake!

Posted on

I bake a lot of cakes, which means I throw away lots of cake.  Not because I ruin them, but because I have to level off the dome on top in order to layer them without trouble.  That extra cake, if I’m being a good girl and not stuffing it in my mouth, gets tossed most of the time.

Not any more!  Cake Balls/Pops to the rescue!

I just posted the recipe and step-by-step tutorial for cake pops and you can use the same concept to save a cake that stuck to your pan, came out too dry or heavy, or to use on the extra cake that you levelled off.

If using an entire cake, go ahead and follow the recipe as instructed.  If the cake is very very dry, you will probably have to add the entire can of frosting to it.  For cake tops, I use just about a spoonful of frosting and then mush it all up with my hands, just like with cake pops.

I ran out of lollipop sticks, so I just made cake balls (also called “cake truffles”) this time.  Roll them up into quarter-size balls and put on a plate; refrigerate until very cold (I always do this 24 hours or more in advance of the dipping but a couple hours should be enough).  You’ll need about 3-4 squares of white or chocolate candy coating.  Melt it and dip the balls using a spoon, tapping off the excess chocolate before placing on wax paper to set.  If adding sprinkles, do it quickly before the chocolate hardens.  You can also drizzle any leftover candy coating over the tops or melt another color to drizzle over the tops.

This works with any flavor cake mix.  So far I have tried red velvet , chocolate and white.  Have fun with it!

By the way, I lied when I said I don’t ruin cakes.  Though I haven’t in a while, it’s been known to happen.

This was the 14" base of a wedding cake. It was the biggest cake I'd ever made and I didn't realize you had to freeze the layers before trying to lift and stack them. I'm surprised it didn't crack completely in half when I hefted that huge layer on top of the other one!

This was the middle 10" tier of the same wedding cake, which I ruined when I applied the fondant that the bride had insisted upon, despite my insistence that I couldn't do it. I guess I showed her!

There was no hope for this cake. I ended up baking and frosting two whole wedding cakes and barely got the second one done in time for the wedding. Had I known about cake balls & pops back then, I would have saved back some of the cake for that.

Though I've had other cake tragedies, this is the only other one I photographed. This is Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake.

To end this on a happy note, here’s some pics of the wedding cake after I completely redid it.  I didn’t even attempt the fondant because I didn’t want to risk ruining a second cake when I had absolutely no more time to spare.  Thankfully, the bride was very pleased with the cake (though nothing like the one she originally wanted) and had no complaints!

Brenda's Wedding Cake 8-8-08


Me with the cake.

Cake Pops

Posted on

**Update 5/12/11: If you are here looking for answers to cake pop questions, please check my Cake Pops FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide before leaving a comment.  I also have a recipe for making cake pops or balls with leftover or broken cake here, a recipe for Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops, and a recipe for Cupcake Bites (cake balls that look like little cupcakes–the easier version of cake balls).  For my full pops index, click here.**

These pops are essentially cake truffles on a stick and are very simple to prepare: Bake a cake, mush it up with frosting, roll it into balls, insert a stick, and dip it in chocolate! These things really are a hit with kids because they are so fun, but adults seem to enjoy the delicious truffle-like confections equally well.

Want to make some? Here are step-by-step instructions, complete with videos.

Cake Pops
Makes 40-50 pops
Printable Recipe

What you will need:
1 (14.25 oz) box cake mix, any flavor
1 (16 oz) tub frosting, any flavor (you will not need all of it)
or 1/3-3/4 cup homemade frosting (I use my Cream Cheese Wedding Frosting)
1 (24 oz) package of almond bark/candy coating (white or chocolate)
Lollipop sticks
3″x4″ cello bags
Curling ribbon

Bake the cake mix according to package directions. Once it’s cool, crumble the cake into a large bowl. I prefer to process mine in the food processor to fine crumbs. Place in a large bowl and stir in half of the frosting container or 1/3 cup of your homemade frosting. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined and thick like a truffle center. Mix in additional frosting if necessary.  You just want enough to get the crumbs to stick together when you roll them into balls.  Do not add so much that the mixture becomes soft and mushy!

Roll mixture into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. I usually do this step the day before and then dip them the following day.  Do not freeze them before dipping or it may cause the chocolate to crack after they are dipped.

Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the flat end of the cake balls. (Bakerella says to insert a little less than halfway, but I go more than halfway b/c I imagine they stay put a little better when dipping.)

The cake balls will have a flat bottom from resting on the cookie sheet. Insert the stick into this end so the top will be round.

Carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered, remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too. Immediately cover with sprinkles before the chocolate has a chance to set, then insert in a styrofoam block to harden.

You want the chocolate to come over the platform you created when inserting the chocolate-dipped stick, but you don’t have to cover it all the way to the stick.

Tap off the excess chocolate.

Add sprinkles before the chocolate has a chance to set.

I wrap my styrofoam board in plastic wrap to keep it clean so I can reuse it.

See the two hiding in the corner?

I ran out of sticks so I just made these two into cake truffles. To do this, drop one ball at a time into the chocolate and lift out with a fork, tapping off the excess chocolate. Place on wax paper to set.

This video illustrates the dipping process. Forgive my PJ’s–I made these first thing in the morning. OK, it was afternoon. I’m lazy on Saturdays. And every other day. Once the chocolate has set, put a cello bag over the top and tie the neck with some curling string and tie into a bow or curl.

I found these at Wal-Mart in the cake decorating section near the wedding supplies

Recipe Source: based on Bakerella’s recipe & instructions

*Update 1/19/12: I have disabled comments on this post, since there are over 400 and many of them are the same questions asked and answered over and over again. If you have a question, please refer to the FAQ. Thank you!*

Rich Chocolate and Caramel Cake

Posted on

My friend, Jaci, in Texas contacted me last week to order a cake for her sister’s birthday. Her sister and I are both in Kansas and she figured since she was unable to make a cake for her herself, she’d get the next best thing.

After she told me that Liz loves chocolate and caramel, I started brainstorming and finally settled on this conconction: two layers of devil’s food cake, filled with caramel buttercream, iced with whipped caramel ganache and decorated with ganache and caramel sauce. With all the chocolate, caramel, cream, and butter involved, this is definitely a special-occasion cake!

Rich Chocolate and Caramel Cake

1 recipe of your favorite chocolate cake, made into two round layers and cooled (I used a Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix)

Caramel Sauce
1 c sugar
6 T unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
1/2 c heavy cream

Caramel Buttercream
6 T unsalted butter, softened
1 T dulce de leche, room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
2 T caramel sauce, room temperature

Whipped Caramel Ganache
1 c sugar
1 ½ c heavy cream
1/8 t salt
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened

Simple Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare the Caramel Sauce at least 4 hours in advance: Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar has begun to melt and is brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Using a heat-safe spatula or spoon, pull the melted sugar toward the center until all sugar is melted and caramel is deep amber in color, about 3 minutes more. Continue pulling and stirring until all the sugar is melted. It will be amber in color. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter, vanilla and salt. When mixed, whisk in the heavy cream. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and allow to come to room temperature. After removing 2 T for the buttercream, cover and refrigerate the remaining sauce.

Prepare the Caramel Buttercream: Beat the butter, then mix in the dulce de leche until smooth. Beat in the caramel sauce and then the powdered sugar.

Prepare the Whipped Caramel Ganache: Make a dry caramel with the cup of sugar by putting it into a large saucepan and setting it over medium heat. When the bottom starts to melt and the sides turn brown, start pulling the melted sugar toward the center. Continue doing this, constantly pulling & stirring, until all the sugar is melted and it has turned a deep amber color. Remove from heat.

While the sugar is melting, take a minute to bring the cream to boiling and then remove from heat.

Immediately pour the hot cream into the burnt sugar as soon as you remove it from the heat. It will bubble like crazy and scare the heck out of you, but just keep stirring until all the caramel is dissolved into the cream. If some of the caramel seizes up, put the saucepan back on medium heat and stir, stir, stir, until all the caramel is dissolved and you have a thin, smooth mixture.

Let the mixture sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile, measure your chocolate into a metal or glass bowl. Pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate and allow to sit for a minute before stirring. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Allow to sit until the mixture is room temperature, about fifteen minutes. You can pop it in the fridge to speed the process, stirring every few minutes.

With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter into the caramel ganache on low speed and then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thickened and lighter in color, about 2 minutes.

Prepare the Ganache: Bring the cream just to a boil over medium heat (or in the microwave). Place the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Allow to sit for a couple minutes and then stir, stir, stir, until the chocolate is completely emulsified and you have a smooth, shiny dark ganache. Allow to cool slightly before using. You’ll want it still slightly runny but not hot.

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a plate and spread the caramel buttercream over the top. Place the second cake layer over that and then smooth the whipped caramel ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish the cake with the ganache and caramel sauce.  Serve at room temperature.  The butter and chocolate in the whipped ganache get hard when refrigerated, which isn’t as fun to eat as a light & velvety frosting. For a pretty presentation, you could drizzle some caramel sauce over each plate before placing the cake slices on them.

If you wish to write a message with the ganache as I did, you will have to let it set up further, so wait until it’s the consistency of thick buttercream before attempting that.  Otherwise, it will just leak out of your pastry bag and you’ll have smears and pools of dark shiny ganache on top and your sentiments will look like a threat rather than the good thoughts you’d intended. :)

You can use the extra whipped caramel ganache to pipe a border around the top and bottom.  There will be enough leftover whipped ganache to make 1-2 dozen cupcakes, so do it and take them to work to brighten everyone’s day!

Recipe by Veronica Miller

A word of warning: because of the light, velvety texture of the whipped ganache, it couldn’t support the weight of the ganache and caramel I put around the edges of the cake and the sides slid down to the bottom of the cake eventually.  (Luckily Liz got her cake while it was still pretty and everyone enjoyed a piece before this happened). Next time I make this cake, I will pour the ganache over the iced cake and let it ooze down the sides so that the weight is evenly distributed. Then I’d use caramel buttercream (I’d double the recipe so there’s enough for decorating) to write on top. I’d recommend the same to you, unless you plan on serving the cake shortly after applying the ganache.

These are (poor) photos of a birthday cake I made last year that illustrate my suggestion about pouring ganache over the top and letting it ooze down the sides.

Thanks to Liz for providing the following photos!

The beautiful birthday girl with her cake. Happy birthday, Liz!

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Posted on

I have been making this dessert every fall for about five years because not only is it my favorite fall dessert, but it is usually requested at our Thanksgiving gathering.  Although “Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake” is the official name, I feel that “Pumpkin Bars” is more apt and usually refer to them that way.  The bottom layer is like a cross between cookie and cake and the pumpkin filling is sweet, perfectly spiced and ultra creamy (not what I would call gooey, though it does jiggle when you take it out of the oven).

If you want to know how this recipe rates, here’s is the list of my top five favorite desserts (that I make):
1. Laura’s Cherry Crumble Bars
2. Laura’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
4. Dark chocolate Raspberry Cake
5. Zesty Lemon Pound Cakes

And if you still don’t believe me, here’s further proof that this is a must-try.  I brought this to the charity bake sale at work last week and it sold out faster than anything else.  I watched one woman scrape her container of every crumb after finishing the slice she bought, then go back to buy another only to find they’d all sold in the time it took her to eat it.  When she found out I’d made it, she made me promise to bring more next week!

She is not the first to catch the butter cake fever and won’t be the last.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (I usually do 45 minutes). Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

From Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

Easy Coconut Layer Cake

Posted on

This year I told Dennis and everyone else that the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a cake made by him.  He took on the challenge enthusiastically.  Keeping his skill level in mind (the first and last cake he baked was ten years ago), I came up with this cake for him to prepare which uses a box mix and Cool Whip for the frosting.  Watch the video to see what we all thought of it!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If the video doesn’t play for you, you can click here to watch it on Myspace.

Easy Coconut Layer Cake
This cake has a filling that soaks in while it chills in the refrigerator for three days, making it super moist!
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 white cake mix
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable
¼ cup water
4 egg whites

¾ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut

16 oz Cool Whip
1-2 cups toasted coconut (sweetened, shredded)

Beat cake ingredients on low for two minutes, scraping sides of bowl.  Pour into two 8 inch round cake pans that have been greased and floured and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sit pans on wire racks for ten minutes, then invert and allow to cool completely, about an hour.

Prepare filling while cake cools. Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended.

Cut each cake layer in half to make four layers total.  Place one layer on a cake plate and spread ¼ of the filling (about ½ cup) over it.  Repeat with additional layers, putting the last ¼ of the filling on the very top.  (At this point, Dennis poked straws, cut to the height of the cake, through the layers to keep them from shifting). The filling will leak out between the layers so once you’ve got them all stacked and the filling in place, spread the extra that leaked out all around the edges of the layers so that the filling will keep the sides moist and soak in there as well.

Place in a cake box or container and refrigerate for 24 hours to let the filling soak in somewhat..  Frost with Cool whip on day two and on day three, sprinkle with the toasted coconut just prior to serving.

Caramel Banana Cake with Black Walnuts

I made this cake as an experiment to see what a caramel frosting that didn’t require cooking would taste like.  The only way I’d ever prepared it before was to heat a brown sugar/butter/cream mixture and then let it cool, which produced a very rich, albeit delicious, frosting.  This one doesn’t require heating and produces a much lighter & fluffier frosting and I prefer it to the other.

I got the original recipe from my friend Cheryl, but I changed the yellow cake to a banana and used black walnuts b/c I absolutely love the combination of the two and thought they would pair well with a caramel frosting.  My neighbor, who I gave a piece to, is still raving about it two months later.  I think she just wants more cake. :)

Caramel Banana Cake with Black Walnuts
Adapted from Cheryl’s Caramel Yellow Cake recipe

Banana Cake
1 (18.25 oz) Pillsbury yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)

1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk (I used evaporated)

Caramel Frosting
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk (I used evaporated)
16 oz. box of confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Black Walnuts
Caramel ice cream syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all cake ingredients and beat on low until moistened, then two minutes on medium speed (or two minutes by hand), occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula.  Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for 34-38 minutes, or until a tester comes out either clean or with a few moist crumbs.  Top will be golden brown, especially around edges.  Turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely, about an hour.

Meanwhile, put the filling ingredients (except for the vanilla) into a saucepan and heat over medium until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour into a metal or glass bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Prepare the frosting.  Cream the butter with the brown sugar, then add the remaining ingredients & beat a few minutes, scraping bowl with a spatula, until creamy and well combined.  If not using immediately , place plastic wrap directly on top of frosting and smooth flat with your hand all the way to the sides of the bowl, completely sealing it off from the air (otherwise it will develop a crust).

Once cake & filling are completely cool, level the cakes if they are domed on top.  Put the first layer on a cake plate and spread the top with the filling.  Put the second layer on top and frost the entire cake with the caramel frosting.

Press black walnuts into the sides and drizzle caramel syrup over the top.

%d bloggers like this: