Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

I LOVE Hot Fudge Cakes!  It’s basically like a brownie with warm, gooey hot fudge oozing out of it.  It’s a delicious mess.

Zack shares my love for them, so I decided to give making one a try.  When it is still in the pan, it looks like regular brownies.  Then you cut into it and realize the whole underneath part is hot fudge.

I put a scoop of ice cream on top of Zack’s as you can see above, but I just ate mine place (thanks, lactose intolerance!).  Seriously, though, it was AMAZING plain.

It says nine servings, but good luck getting 9 servings out of it!  I think Zack and I ate the whole thing in about 2 days.  Oink.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  9 servings.

– 1 c AP flour

– 3/4  granulated sugar

– 2 T baking cocoa

– 2 t baking powder

– 1/4 t salt

– 1/2 c milk

– 2 T vegetable oil

– 1 t vanilla

– 1 c chopped nuts, if desired

– 1 c packed brown sugar

– 1/4 c baking cocoa

– 1 3/4 c very hot water

– ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 T cocoa, the baking powder, and salt in ungreased square pan 8x8x2 inches.  Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla with fork until smooth.  Stir in nuts.  Spread in pan.

Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 c cocoa over batter.  Pour water evenly over batter.  Bake at 40 minutes or until top is dry.  Cool 10 minutes.

Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes.  Top with ice cream.  Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Hershey’s Kisses Birthday Cake

Once upon a time there were two high school girls.  They had known each other for years, but had never been very close.  Both worked at a local nonprofit organization and got stuck organizing a social gathering for the organization.

The social gathering was a lot of work to plan and it was a blast to attend.  The two girls bonded throughout the process and they became completely inseparable.  They found out that they had very complementary personalities and almost identical senses of humor.  For the remainder of high school, they spent as much time as possible together.  They were the definition of best friends.

However, high school ended and they had decided on schools that were on opposite sides of the state.  It was really hard on both of them.  Although they no longer got to spent a lot of time together, they still maintained a relationship and hung out over breaks.

Three years into college, they still consider each other a best friend.

I thought that little story was important background info before I discuss this cake.  I made this cake for that girl’s birthday.  Her birthday was actually at the end of November, but we didn’t have a chance to get together until this week.  Hey, who would complain, she got multiple birthday celebrations! 😉

Mackenzie, the girl from the story, is a wonderful friend and I really enjoyed making this cake for her.  She seemed to like it and it was really great to spend some time with her.

Hershey’s Kisses Birthday Cake

– 2 c sugar

– 1 3/4 c AP flour

– 3/4 c cocoa

– 1 1/2 t baking powder

– 1 1/2 t baking soda

– 1 t salt

– 2 eggs

– 1 c milk

– 1/2 c vegetable oil

– 2 t vanilla extract

– 1 c boiling water

– vanilla buttercream frosting

– hershey’s kisses

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9″ round baking pans or one 13x9x2″ pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat w/ electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes for round pans, 35-40 minutes for rectangular pans or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, turn onto wire racks.  Cool completely.  Prepare vanilla buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

– 1/3 c butter or margarine, softened

– 4 c powdered sugar, divided

– 3-4 T milk

– 1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed in large bowl with creamy.  With mixer running, gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until well blended.  Slowly beat in milk and vanilla.  Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add additional milk, if necessary, until frosting is desired consistency.

Frost cake.  Remove wrappers from chocolates, garnish top and sides of cake with chocolates.

Mini Bread Loaves

Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, my mom has Christmas dinner at her house.  Her two brothers, their families, her parents, and her fiancee’s mom all come.  It is a great event full of joy and holiday festivities.

The older adults decided not to exchange gifts this year and decided to just buy for us younger folks.  I still wanted to do something nice for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, so I decided to make some mini breads for them.

My mom bought me a set of mini loaf pans a while back and I had been looking for an excuse to use them.

The first set of breads that I decided to make was Cream Cheese Pound Cakes.  Well, I had no idea how long to bake them (or how full to fill the pans) so they did not turn out very well.  I burned the edges and the pans overflowed.  Luckily, I set the mini pans on a baking sheet, so that they didn’t overflow into the oven.

Since they turned out so ugly (and the edges were definitely unedible), I decided just to keep these and will be using the middles of them for something, I just haven’t figured out what yet.

I’m not throwing away the recipe, because the middle of the loaves was really good, I just needed to work on baking times and the actual filling of the pans.

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cakes

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake ~ 50 minutes.

– 1 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 3 c sugar

– 6 large eggs

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 3 c AP flour

– 2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  With mixer on low, add flour and salt in two additions, beating until just combined.

Generously coat 5 mini loaf pans with cooking spray; immediately pour in batter (pans will seem full).  Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, ~ 50 minutes, check after 30 minutes.  If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Turn out the cakes, cool completely with top sides up, on a wire rack.

 

These turned out much nicer.  These actually looked like cute little mini loaves.

I wish I had taken a picture of how I gifted them to them.  Mom and I wrapped the baby loaves in saran wrap and put ribbon around them (and labels saying what they are) and put them in a little snowman gift bag.  They were adorable.

Plus, there is something so special about homemade gifts.

 

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

– 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding

– 1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding

– 1/2 c sugar

– 3/4 c vegetable oil

– 3/4 c water

– 4 large eggs

– 8 oz sour cream

– 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, pudding and sugar with a wire whisk to remove large lumps.  Add oil, water and eggs, stirring until smooth.  Stir in sour cream and chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

These turned out the best looking.  Both the banana bread minis and the chocolate chip pound cake was very moist and fresh looking.

Everyone who got their little bread bags seemed to really appreciate them.  Seeing others happy because of stuff that I have made makes me so happy.

I love my family so much and am so thankful for them.

Banana Bread Minis

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total 50 minutes.

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 1 package (3.4 0z) banana cream flavor instant pudding

– 4 eggs

– 1 c water

– 1/4 c oil

– 1 c mashed, fully ripe bananas (about 3)

– 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 5 foil mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer 2 minutes or until well blended.  Add bananas and nuts; mix until just blended.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Mom’s Birthday – 2 Cakes!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday.  Her fiance, his mom, Zack and I took her out to dinner to celebrate.  I, of course, decided to make her a cake.

I had been so excited about making this cake and just knew it was going to turn out great, because it combined two of her very favorite flavors – peanut butter and banana.

I baked the cake part in the morning and it turned out great.  Then, I caramelized some bananas and put them in the middle of the cake as a filling. I made the peanut butter frosting… and that is when disaster struck.  The first batch I made, I added way too much milk.  It started running off of the cake.  I panicked a little, but scraped that off as best as I could and then made a new, much thicker batch.  It did not go on great, but it looked okay, so I stuck it in the fridge to crust up a little, so that I could smooth out the icing.

Well, when I tried to smooth it out, the icing started rippling.  It was the ugliest cake I had ever made… I knew that there was no way that I was taking that cake to a public restaurant, especially for someone’s birthday as important as my mom.

I looked at the clock and realized we had to leave for the dinner in less than an hour.  I knew I didn’t have time to make another full two-layer cake.  Luckily, I had a recipe for a sweet potato crumb cake that I had been wanting to try that didn’t take that long.  I decided to make that for her (she loves sweet potatoes, too).  It came out of the oven just in time. I slipped it into a casserole carrier straight from the oven and off we went to the restaurant.

Mom, and everyone else at the dinner, really liked the cake.  I was really upset about the first cake, but at least I was still able to make mom a cake.

Happy Birthday to the best mom ever!

I am going to include the recipe for the peanut butter/banana cake because it was my own fault that it didn’t work out.  I added too much (and then too little) milk to the icing!

Here’s a shot of the caramelized bananas.

See?  It is SO embarrassing.  I’ve never made such a bad cake.  Compare this to Mermaid Birthday Cake or Beer Cake or even Fall cake.  I didn’t even want to put a picture of it on here, but I know everyone will be supportive.

Peanut Butter Banana Passion Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Cake:

– 4 T butter, softened

– 1/4 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 c warm water

– 1 c buttermilk

– 1/4 t vanilla extract

– 2 c AP flour

– 1 t salt

– 1 t baking soda

Caramelized bananas:

– 3 or 4 medium bananas, cut into coin shapes

– 1/4 c granulated sugar

Frosting:

Yield: 2 1/2 c

– 1/3 c creamy peanut butter

– 2 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 2 t honey

– 4-5 T milk

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the water, buttermilk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Alternately add the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, beginning and ending with the buttermilk.  Mix well 1 minute.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, then remove, and cool completely on wire racks.

Make the caramelized bananas:

Heat a well greased skillet over medium heat.

Put the sugar into a bowl or onto a plate and thoroughly cover the banana coins with it.  Place into skillet and cook until caramelization occurs, about 5 minutes.  Then flip and cook until the other side is done, about 1 minute.  Place on the bottom tier of your leveled cake. Maybe even have a bowl-like cut into the cake.

Make the frosting:

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, extract, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed.  When well combined, add just enough milk to make an acceptable spreading consistency.  For me, 5 T was too much and 3 T was too little!

Here’s the yummy cake that I was really pleased with.  Not the typical birthday cake, but it still made Mom happy.

Sweet Potato Crumb Cake

Cake:

– 1/2 c butter

– 1 c brown sugar

– 3/4 c sweet potato, boiled and mashed

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 2 t cinnamon

– 1/4 t ginger

– 1/4 t nutmeg

– 2 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 1/2 c flour

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1 c mini marshmallows

Topping:

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1/4 c brown sugar

– 1 t cinnamon

– 2 T melted butter

– 1 T flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all topping ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter in a small skillet until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes and pour into a medium bowl.  Add brown sugar, mashed sweet potato, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, stir well until incorporated.  Beat eggs in, separately, making sure to mix well after each addition.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, adding the 1/2 c oatmeal after the dry ingredients are mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing well.

In a greased 9×13 baking pan, evenly spread 1/2 the batter over the bottom.  Smear marshmallows over the batter and spread the other 1/2 of the batter over the marshmallows.  Sprinkle the oatmeal crumble topping and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

More Thanksgiving Desserts

I work for my parents at a place called Jenfab Inc.  (Yes, it is named after me and yes, my parents are still business partners even though they’re divorced).  It’s a really fun job.  I work in the office part-time doing odds and ends and help out the other office workers.

Every year Jenfab has a Thanksgiving dinner for employees.  It’s always catered, but this year I decided to make a cake and take it to the dinner.  It was a huge success!  The entire thing was gobbled up really quickly.  Plus, I got to practice my cake decorating skills which always makes me happy.

I think it turned out rather cute.

Fudge Cake

– 1/2 c shortening

– 1 1/2 c sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/2 c + 1 T water

– 2/3 c cocoa

– 1 3/4 c AP flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 c sour milk (1 c milk + 1 T vinegar)

Grease bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch layer pans.  Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla.  Stir hot water into cocoa to form a smooth paste; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture.  Pour batter into pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until take tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Frost with homemade frosting.

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

– 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 1/2 c baking cocoa (here’s where I mucked with the recipe a little.  I didn’t have 1/2 c of baking cocoa left, so I filled the 1/2 cup measuring cup about 3/4 full and then filled it the rest of the way with hot cocoa mix.  It turned out perfect.)

– 1 t vanilla

– 4 c powdered sugar

Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  Beat until combined – about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides and add cocoa and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Beat for an additional couple of minutes.  The texture becomes lighter if you beat for a few minutes.

~~~~

Every year my mom’s side of the family has Thanksgiving dinner together on Thanksgiving day.  The location varies, but this year it was at my Granny’s house. I volunteered to bring desserts…shocking. 

I decided on these desserts for a couple of reasons: 1) every Thanksgiving dinner needs a pecan dessert and an apple dessert.  2) no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a pie of some sort.  3) I recently discovered my uncle has a peanut butter obsession just like my mom and I. 

The entire peanut butter dessert was scarfed down.  It.Was.Amazing.  I ate so much of it that everyone thought I was going to be sick. 

My aunt said, “you should do this for a living…these are amazing!”  If only I could…

The highlight of everything occurred after the dinner, though.  My granny asked me for the recipe for my pecan squares.  I almost fell in the floor.  My granny is the stereotypical perfect-baking-everyone-asks-HER-for-recipes type granny.  Her asking me for a recipe was the ultimate compliment. 

I love the holidays!

Pecan Squares

– 2 c AP flour

– 2/3 c confectioners sugar

– 1 1/3 plus 1 T butter, divided

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c honey

– 3 T whipping cream

– 3 1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

Sift together flour and powdered sugar.  Cut into 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork, just until mix resembles coarse crumbs meal.  Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2″ up sides of lightly greased 13×9 baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.  Cool.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 c butter and whipping cream to a boil.  Stir in pecans and pour into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into 2-inch squares.

Apple Crumb Pie

Pastry:

1 c AP flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/3 c plus 1 T shortening

– 2-3 T cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 T at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1-2 t more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a bowl.  Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to firm up shortening slightly, which makes the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough.  If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside down pie plate.  Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate.  Unfold pastry and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.

Pie:

3 lbs granny smith apples

– 2/3 c light brown sugar

– 2 T flour

– 1 t cinnamon

– 1/2 t ground nutmeg

– crumb topping:

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c softened butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine apples (pared, cored, and thinly sliced) with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Place in prepared pastry shell, mounding in center.

Prepare crumb topping.  In a small bowl, combine crumb ingredients and blend with fingertips until crumbs are formed.  Sprinkle evenly over apples.

Place pie in lower third of the oven.  Bake 50-60 minutes.  Cool.  If desired, dust with confectioners sugar.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total: 2 hr 50 min.  Makes 12 servings.

– 1 pouch Betty Crocker peanut butter chip cookie mix

– 1/3 c vegetable oil

– 1 T water

– 1 egg

– 1/2 c butter

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c whipping (heavy) cream

– 4 T chocolate syrup

– 2 T chocolate covered peanuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Makes cookies as directed on pouch, using oil, water, and egg. Bake and cool as directed.  Cut each cookie into fourths.

Melt butter and brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth.  Stir in peanut butter until well blended.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.

Place half of the cookie pieces in bottom of 2-quart glass bowl.  Drizzle cookies with chocolate syrup.  Spoon half of peanut butter mixture over cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

 

Birthday Cake

One of Zack and my friends is turning 21 this weekend.  Zack is going to celebrate with him, but I am staying home since I’m not yet 21 and can’t participate in the festivities.  Plus, this way they get to have a boys night out.  They will have a great time 🙂

Obviously, I used this as an excuse to bake a character cake.  (Not that I needed an excuse, but still…).

I really enjoyed making this cake and it really wasn’t very hard.  The only thing that I am not really 100% pleased with is the words on the cake, but it was my first time adding words to a cake, so I’m still pleased with how it turned out.

Of course it had to be a beer cake…he IS turning 21 after all.

I used a star tip and piped stars on all the sides.  It gave it an extra 3D effect and I really liked it.

Zack said that everyone really liked the cake!  Yay!

It’s a peanut butter cake with vanilla butter cream frosting.  Mm!

Peanut Butter Cake

Prep: 10 min.  Bake: 40 min.  Cool: 1 hr 10 min.  12 servings.

– 2 1/4 c AP flour

– 1 1/2 c sugar

– 1/2 c peanut butter

– 3 1/2 t baking powder

– 1 t salt

– 1 t vanilla

– 3 large eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottoms and sides of pan with shortening, lightly flour.

Beat all ingredients together with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.  Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Pour into pan.

Bake rectangle pan 35-40 minutes, 9 inch rounds 25-30 minutes and 8-inch rounds 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

 

Pumpkin Roll

For those of you that know me personally, this post is probably going to blow your mind.  For those of you that don’t, let me explain.  I’ve had a STRONG aversion to pumpkin food since first grade.  Why, you ask?  Well, in first grade, my class roasted pumpkin seeds.  The smell was so aversive to me that I threw up in class.  Yeah…embarrassing.

Since then, I have refused any and all pumpkin foods…never even tried any.  After being bombarded this fall season with pumpkin desserts, dishes, and everything in between, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to try making something pumpkin.

I searched around and came across a recipe for a pumpkin roll.  It sounded easy and I had most of the ingredients on hand, so it wouldn’t have been any real loss if I had to throw it away.

 

I put off making it for a week or so, because I was so worried that I was going to get sick.  Then one day, I decided to be brave and just do it.  THANK GOODNESS that I did.  As soon as that delicious smell came wafting through the house, I knew I had been crazy for missing out on this deliciousness.

I could hardly contain my excitement to try it long enough to let it cool.  Somehow I managed to wait for it to cool enough to add the filling (and then endured the long wait until after dinner…).  It is delicious.  It has such a great combo of spices that perfectly accent the pumpkin.  Plus don’t get me started on that amazing filling.  Even Zack really liked it and he was kind of apprehensive about pumpkin food, too.  Since then, I’ve made pumpkin pie fudge (equally delicious).

Sign me up for the pumpkin fan club, because this stuff is amazing!

Pumpkin Roll

Prep: 20 minutes.  Cooling: 60 minutes.  Cooking: 13 minutes.  Yields: 10 servings.

Cake:

– 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

– 3/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c cup granulated sugar

– 2/3 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin

– 1 cup walnuts (optional)

FILLING:

– 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature

– 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

– 6 tablespoons butter, softened

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– powdered sugar (optional, for decoration)

For cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper.  Grease and flour paper.  Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.  Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel so that when rolling it up, the cake will not stick.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick.  Beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.  If using a dark colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.  Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel.  Carefully peel off waxed paper.

Roll up cake and towel together, starting with 10″ end.  Cool completely on wire rack.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth.  Carefully unroll cake.  Spread cream cheese mixture over cake.  Reroll cake.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Halloween Goodies

I’ve been waiting for this all month.

I have a special section in my recipe binder entitled “Halloween” and I’ve been looking at it for weeks just waiting until I got to try them out.  Well, yesterday was finally the day.  At Zack’s place of employment, they are dressing up today and doing all sorts of Halloween-esque things, so I used that as an excuse to send these goodies with him.

I had a recipe for popcorn owls that was ADORABLE and the recipe I was most looking forward to trying out, but it was a disaster.  I thought about still including the recipe in here, but it was THAT much of a disaster that I threw it away.

I’ll still include a picture of the one owl I attempted.  To make them, you made popcorn balls (one big and one smaller) and stuck them together to form the body and head of the owl.  You then were supposed to decorate them with various candies and adhere them to the owl using marshmallow creme.  Well, the marshmallow creme did not hold and caused everything to slide right off, so I tried using some frosting.  Same problem.  I was disappointed.

See how awful it looks? Somebody needs to go to cosmetology school. I had to hold the eyes on until the last second when  I took the picture, because they slid off that fast.  They would have been adorable had they worked.  Oh well, at least my other stuff turned out well.

Quick Ghost Cookies

These were so easy to make and I think they’re adorable!  I talked to my mom yesterday and she was making a batch of these, too.  I guess great minds think alike!

These would be cute with mouths painted on, too, but I was pretty tired by this point (I made these next to last), so they will have to wait until next year to get mouths.

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes

– 1 lb white candy coating, coarsely chopped

– 1 package (1 lb) Nutter Butter peanut butter cookies

– miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Melt candy coating (in microwave, double boiler, or candy melter), stirring occasionally.  Dip cookies into coating, covering completely.  Place on waxed paper.

Brush ends with bakery brush dipped in coating where fingers touched cookies.  While coating is still warm, place 2 chips on each cookie for eyes.  Let stand until set.  Store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 3 dozen.

Miniature Witches

I loved making these.  It is strictly just assembling the parts (which I like) so it is more like you are doing a craft instead of baking.  I would definitely make these again.

You could used canned icing to decorate these, but I just used some left over icing from when I made cake pops (shown below).

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes

– 1/2 cup vanilla frosting, divided

– 36 mini semisweet chocolate chips

– 12 large marshmallows

– 1 drop each green, red, yellow food coloring

– 1/4 c flaked coconut

– 12 chocolate wafers

– 12 mini peanut butter cups

– 12 milk chocolate kisses

For the face of each witch, place a dab of the frosting on the bottom of three chocolate chips; press two for eyes and one for each nose onto each marshmallow.

For hair, combine green food coloring and a drop of water in a small resealable plastic bag.  Add coconut and shake well.  Spread a small amount of frosting on the side of marshmallows.  Press coconut into frosting.  Place 2 tablespoons of frosting in a small heavy duty resealable plastic bag.  Tint orange with yellow and red food coloring, set aside.

For hats, spread some of the remaining frosting in the center of the chocolate wafers, press the peanut butter cups upside down into frosting.  Lightly spread bottoms of chocolate kisses with frosting.  Place on the peanut butter cups.  Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag, insert a small star tip (I used tip 16).  Fill the bag with frosting and pipe stars around the base of each peanut butter cup.  Secure the hat to each witch with a dab of frosting.

Yield: 1 dozen.

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

If you had asked me two weeks ago if I would try this (or even bake it) I would have looked at you in utter disgust.  My whole life I’ve had a strong aversion to pumpkin food, but I finally gave in last week and made a pumpkin roll…and it was delicious.

I had some pumpkin left over from it, so when I saw this recipe I knew it had to be added to the Halloween goodies menu.

I’m a big fan of fudge and this is AMAZING.  It has such a good flavor and it literally melts in your mouth.  It’s easy to make, too.

– 2 cups white sugar

– 1 cup light brown sugar

– 3/4 cup butter

– 2/3 cup condensed milk

– 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

– 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

– 1 package white chocolate chips

– 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

– 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the sugars, butter, condensed milk, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.  Heat until all the ingredients are combined and begin to boil.  Stirring constantly, allow the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes or until it reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from pan and quickly stir in the white chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, nuts (if using), and vanilla until all ingredients are fully combined and the chips are melted.  Immediately pour the fudge into your prepared baking dish and let sit on a wire rack for at least 2 hours to cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

Cut fudge into squares before serving.

Halloween Cake Pops

I love the idea of a cake pop.  Bite size pieces of cake, mixed with icing, covered in chocolate?  Count me in!  I’ve been wanting to make some for a while, but hadn’t had a reason to until now.

The only “bad” thing about making cake pops is that there is so much idle time…wait for the cake to bake, wait for it to cool, wait for the balls to harden in the freezer, wait for the coating to harden…

I would definitely make them again, though.  I was very pleased with the way that they turned out.  I made half of them with the Halloween sprinkles like shown below and half just plain chocolate.

Here they all are arranged in their bouquets.  Aren’t they adorable?  I individually wrapped each one in a treat bag so that they would be easy to grab and take with them.

Cake:

– 2 1/4 cup AP flour

– 1 2/3 cup sugar

– 2/3 cup shortening

– 1 1/4 cups milk

– 3 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 5 large egg whites

– food coloring, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of 9×13 pan.

Beat all ingredients together except egg whites and food coloring in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Beat in egg whites on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Stir in food coloring, if using.  Pour into pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack completely, about 1 hour.

Buttercream Frosting:

– 2 sticks butter, softened

– 1/2 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

– 1 lb confectioners’ sugar

– 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy.  Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar and continue creaming until well blended.

Add vanilla, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or milk.  Blend on low speed until moistened.  Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.  Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Make Pops:

– cake

– icing

– 1 bag melting chocolate (12 oz) any color

– 1 bag lollipop sticks

– 1 bag treat bags

Once the cake has completely cooled, begin gently crumbling the cake.  Place sections of the cake into a large bowl, 1/4 of the cake at a time.  When you’re finished, you should have a bunch of very fine cake crumbs.

Use two forks to work the icing into the cake.  Keep working until the icing is no longer visible.  It will eventually blend in entirely.

Next, roll the mixture into balls – make them about walnut size – a small ice cream scoop could help with this.

Pop them in the freezer, uncovered, for at least an hour.  The cake balls need to be very firm before coating them.

When cake balls are nice and firm, go ahead and melt your candy coating, stirring occasionally.

Insert a stick sideways into each ball (paying attention to flat part on bottom).  Now you can either dip in chocolate or spoon it over top.  Be sure to thoroughly coat bottom of ball where it meets the stick.  Lay them back down onto waxed or parchment paper, paying attention to flat part (put against parchment again).

Now decorate & put into treat bags!

Fall Cake

Last night I was supposed to have my final cake decorating class.  We were instructed to make a cake and ice it so it would be ready for decorating in class as a type of final project.

After I spent almost two hours making the cake and the icing, I got a phone call saying that my teacher had gone into labor and that class was cancelled and wouldn’t be rescheduled for a few weeks.

I went ahead and iced the cake really quickly, not bothering to make it look perfect.  I didn’t want the whole thing to go to waste.

I bought a big thing of fall sprinkles and saw a great opportunity to use them.  I quickly sprinkled them on top of cake and TA-DA! a cute and easy fall cake.

Zack took it to work with him this morning for his employees.

I wish I had a picture of the inside.  It is a white cake that I marbled with green gel coloring.

To make the inside of the cake look marbled, reserve about a cup of the batter in a separate bowl and pour the remainder into the cake pan.  I used a 3″ deep 8-inch round pan.  Color the reserved cup of batter whatever color you want your cake to be marbled with.

Then, pour that cup of batter on the top of the batter in the pan in a spiral fashion.  After pouring all of it on top of the batter, take a knife and cut through the spiral several times.  Make sure you cut all the way to the bottom of the pan.

I made the mistake of only cutting halfway into the cake, so only the top half of the cake is marbled.  Oops.  Oh well, it was only my first time every trying how to do it.

Then, just bake as your normally would.  This should give it a cool effect when it is finished!

Artist Palette Cake

One of the guys that Zack works with has been asking me to make him a cake for a long time.  Yesterday was his birthday, so I decided to finally make him one.

He’s really into art, so I put a palette on top of the cake. The cake part is a white cake that’s been colored neon.  This time the colors turned out just as neon as I hoped.

The top layer before it was leveled.

The bottom layer before it was leveled.

It took a couple of hours to do this cake, but I love the way it turned out!