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.

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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.

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.

 

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I found this recipe and thought it was the cutest idea ever! These are the closest to ice cream that I will get.  I think they really do look like little ice cream scoops!

These are really easy to make and pretty quick, too.  If you’re making them for a group, though, you’re going to want to double or maybe even triple the recipe, though, because it only makes 8 cupcakes.

Also, listen to the directions (unlike me), let them cool COMPLETELY before trying to ice them.  I made the mistake of trying to ice them while they were still lukewarm and the icing still ran off in places as you can see in the picture below.  Oops.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

– 2/3 cup all purpose flour

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/8 teaspoon salt

– 1/3 cup baking cocoa

– 2 tablespoons butter, softened

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 2/3 cup buttermilk

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 egg white

– 8 flat-bottomed ice cream cones

– colored sprinkles (optional)

– 8 maraschino cherries (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alterately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed after each addition, just until blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Add egg white, mixing well.

Fill cones to within 1/2 inch of top; carefully place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; cool completely on wire racks.  Spread evenly with frosting.  Top with colored sprinkles and a cherry if desired.  Serves 8.

Frosting:

– 2 tablespoons butter, softened

– 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

– 2 tablespoons buttermilk

– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add buttermilk; beat until spreading consistency.  Stir in vanilla.  Makes about 2/3 cup.



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!

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

One day Zack came home from work with an idea…he decided we should make cupcakes with Mountain Dew in them.  I’ll admit that I was pretty apprehensive, because I don’t drink soda and honestly can’t even remember what Mountain Dew tastes like, but I still agreed.

We’ve had the recipe for probably a month, but just got around to making them at the beginning of the week.

They actually turned out pretty well and were a big hit with his employees!

Mountain Dew Cupcakes

– 1 box lemon cake mix

– 1 box lemon-flavored instant pudding mix (3.4 oz)

– 12 oz Mountain Dew

– 3/4 cup vegetable oil

– 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix.  Add soda, oil and eggs.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake approximately 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

 

The recipe called for a glaze-type icing, but I decided to make a lemon-buttercream frosting.

 

Frosting

– 1 cup vegetable shortening

– 1 tsp. lemon flavoring

– 9 1/2 tsp water

– 1 tablespoon meringue powder

– 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, lemon flavoring and water.  Next, add meringue powder and mix with an electric mixer.  Then, SLOWLY add in confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time (if you add too much at a time, your hand mixer will blow up!).  After all combined, beat about a minute longer until nice and creamy.

Then, use GEL food coloring to color your icing green.  If you use liquid food coloring, it will mess up the icing consistency.

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!

Owl Cake!

For our second week of cake decorating class, we had to bring an un-iced and un-decorated cake to class with us to decorate.  I made a chocolate cake and, of course, decided to put an owl on it.  Owls are my absolute favorite!


I know the photo quality of these pictures really isn’t the best, but Zack wasn’t with me to take pretty pictures and all I had with me was my cell phone.

This cake also has a strawberry filling.  I wish I had taken a picture of it once it was cut.

I think it’s a cute, fall cake.

Colorful cake.

For the past few weeks, Mom and I have been taking a cake decorating class.  It’s been a blast and I’ve come to really enjoy decorating cakes.

However, they take hours to do, so I’ve only done 3 so far.

Here’s the first cake that I did.  Zack and I actually did this one together.  He did everything that’s green on the cake and I did the rest.  We wanted to have a little fun with the actual cake part, too, so we dyed the cake neon colors.  Unfortunately, we used a yellow cake mix, so the colors didn’t turn out as bright as intended.

We had a lot of fun decorating this cake! (and it tasted delicious, too!)