Chocolate Cream Cake with Ganache Frosting

Hello there–  We are gliding into Christmas here.  Ani sent out an all family spread sheet– with arrival, exit dates for everyone.  Larry is off to do his shepherd part in the church’s Bethlehem walk for the next four nights.  Charlotte just came in the door from shopping with her dad, clutching a bag of Christmas gifts.  And I’m baking (of course!).

We had this cake with friends recently.  And I’m here to convince you to give it a try if you are responsible for dessert at a Christmas gathering ahead.  It’s deeply richly chocolate.  And the the cream filling is heavenly!  The berries are a nice little sweet touch on top– a cake fit for a Christmas celebration!!

CHOCOLATE CREAM CAKE WITH GANACE FROSTING

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 packet instant coffee

Filling:
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup powdered sugar

Frosting:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package), room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Garnish:
blackberries
mint leaves

Make the chocolate cake according to the directions on the box (mine used 3 eggs, water & 1/2 cup oil).  Add the instant coffee as you mix it up (for a little richness). Bake the cake in three 8″ or 9″ cake pans.  Cool them completely before adding filling or frosting!

To make the filling, whip the 2 cups of whipping cream, pudding mix and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks.  Set it into the fridge to set up firm for about 15 minutes (0r more).

To make the frosting,  pour the 1/2 cup whipping cream and butter into a saucepan.  Heat it on the stove top until it starts to simmer and the butter is melted. Take it off the heat.  Drop in the chocolate chips and whisk it all together until the chocolate chips melt.  Set it aside to cool completely.

Then take the cooled chocolate mixture (ganache) and use an electric mixer to beat it together the cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar and vanilla.

To put the cake all together– Set one of the cake layers on a pretty plate.  Top it with half of the whipped cream filling.  Add the second later and top with the rest of the filling.  Add the third cake layer and the frost the top and sides with the chocolate frosting.

Set it into the fridge until to set it all up.  Take it out about 30 minutes before you want to serve it and garnish with berries and greenery (I used mint leaves because it grows like a weed in our yard).  So pretty!!

Lemon Cream Poke Cake

Hey there– Last weekend we traveled on up to Ojai to celebrate our Micah’s birthday!!  There was cake (of course) and gifts and a little trumpet concert from Charlotte (new to the school band).  Jodi and I stopped in at the Ben Franklin Dime Store (I didn’t know that’s existed anymore!!) and there was dinner at the cool new place in town.  Such a fine full day –love those 5 to pieces!

So here’s the birthday cake–sweet and tart and creamy—

LEMON CREAM POKE CAKE

Cake:
1 lemon cake mix
canola oil
3 eggs
water

Filling layer:
3.4 oz. box lemon instant pudding mix, divided
1 cup milk
8oz. cream cheese (1 package)
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)

Cream layer:
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 tab. of the lemon instant pudding mix*
1 tab. powdered sugar

Garnish:
lemon slices, mint leaves

Make the cake according to the directions on the package– (mine used 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup water and 3 eggs).  Spoon the batter in to 9″x 13″ baking dish or a 10″ springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until it is firm to the touch.  Cool completely!

To make the filling, take 1 full tablespoon of the lemon instant pudding mix and set it aside for now.  In mixing bowl, stir together the remaining pudding mix and 1 cup of milk.  Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, lemon rind and lemon juice together with an electric mixer for a couple minutes until it resembles a smooth paste.  Add in the pudding & milk mixture and beat until it’s all blended.

With the handle of a wooden spoon poke holes into the cooled cake.  Spoon the filling mixture over the cake pressing in down into the poked holes and covering the top of the cake.

To make the cream layer, use an electric mixer (whisk attachment works best) to beat the whipping cream, tablespoon of lemon pudding mix and tablespoon of powdered sugar a few minutes until it turns into a stiff whipped cream.

Gently cover the lemon layer with the whipped cream.  Refrigerate an hour to make sure it’s all well set.  Garnish with lemon and something green just for pretty.


This cake is a new favorite– so fresh and lusciously creamy!!

*the tablespoon of pudding mix stabilizes the whipped cream.

 

Showing you my best attempt at getting a photo our our sweet girls!!  (not easy!!)  Love those three!
    

And here’s to another wonderful year ahead Micah and Jodi…

Strawberry Topped Angel Food Cake

Hello friends–  The big news around our family is two babies to arrive in November!!  Our two beautiful nieces are expecting just about a week apart– so exciting!!  So last Sunday there was a family shower, all gathered around to bring gifts for the little ones and to offer blessings  and hugs.

And of course there was cake.  This couldn’t be simpler– It involves an angel food cake mix and some thin frosting. plus a few strawberries.  It’s sweet and fruity and pink.  Just about right for celebrating new babies on the way…

STRAWBERRY TOPPED ANGEL FOOD CAKE
Cake:
1 Angel Food Cake Mix*
water

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz. butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
8 strawberries cut to tiny bits

Garnish: fresh strawberries

To make the cake, following the directions on the package.  Cool the cake completely upside down perched on a bottle before taking it from the pan and adding the frosting.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and cut strawberries with an electric mixer for a couple minutes until it blends into a creamy glaze.  Pour over the cooled cake.  Top with fresh berries!

*the only brand of Angel Food cake I can find here is Betty Crocker.  Please don’t buy an angel food cake premade– there’s a huge difference and making one from a mix takes less than 10 minutes (+baking time).

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And here’s the new Moms!  Sam with Grandma Lo and the sweet clown doll Grandma knit for the baby.  And Andrea with her Paul and a new quilted baby blanket.  Such a fun day!
     

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

Hello there– It’s Larry’s birthday today!!  I’m 3 months older than him so now he can stop teasing me about my advanced age.  Our parents are coming for dinner– chicken & rice– and we’ll top it off with this hearty cake.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!!

CARROT CAKE WITH COCONUT PECAN TOPPING

Cake:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 cups grated carrot (about 3 carrots)
2 eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter (2/3 of a stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups pecan, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Then mix in the oil, grated carrot and eggs.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  And pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool.

To make the topping, stir together the milk, 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla in a sauce pan.

Then put the pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture thickens (2 or 3 minutes).  the stir in the coconut and pecans.  Let it set a few minutes to cool and then heap it onto the cake.

P.S. This is an OLD post– Larry’s birthday is in August!!  But I saved it and the cake was lovely, so I’m passing it along.  Better late than never!!

Peaches & Cream Tart

 

Hi all– OK, OK, just one more peach recipe!!  I’ve had this one on my Pinterest board for months.  It calls for canned peaches (!), but I wanted to try it with fresh summer peaches and now’s the time!

Made it for my Monday ladies who came in the door this week.  And Larry and I split the leftover piece watching the Angel Baseball game on tv–sweet and peachy!!  Hope you still have peaches at the market so you can give it a try!

PEACHES & CREAM TART
1 white cake mix
1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick), room temperature*
2 eggs, divided
3 large yellow peaches
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)**

In a mixing bowl cut together the cake mix, butter and 1 egg with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside one cup of the mixture for later.

Take the remaining mixture in the bowl and press it into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or 12″ tart pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for just 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, peel, pit and cut the 3 peaches into 1″ chunks.  When the baked crumb layer comes out of the oven spread the peaches over the top.

With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, 1 egg, sugar and amaretto until it is  creamy (just a couple minutes).  Drizzle it over the peaches.

Then take the remaining 1 cup of crumb mixture, that you saved out earlier, and sprinkle it over the top of everything.  Return it to the 350 oven and bake for 30 minutes more until it’s slightly browned on top.  Delicious hot or cooled.

*If your retrieving the butter from the fridge (like me), pop it into the microwave for 8 to 10 seconds to soften to room temperature.
**I used amaretto because I have a big bottle on hand– keep it in place of almond extract because it’s about a tenth the price and lasts forever in the cupboard.  The original recipe called for vanilla.

Triple Chocolate Poke Cake

Hello all– I’m wondering how many cooks out there have a secret stash of chocolate hidden away in their kitchen.  I know I do.  Tucked away in the hutch drawer, just enough chocolate for a nibble now and then when I’m flagging and could use a little chocolate encouragement.

If you fall in this same category– I think you would be fond of this cake.  Chocolate cake, laden with drizzles of hot fudge, topped with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate curls. Is that enough chocolate??  Trust me.  It’s chocolatey good.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3.9 oz. pkg. instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream

Filling:
12 oz. jar of hot fudge sauce*

Topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa (dark version best)
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large chocolate bar

With an electric mixer, beat the cake ingredients– cake mix, pudding, mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and sour cream for 2 minutes until well blended and fluffy.

Spoon the batter into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or I used a 10 1/2″ round springform pan so I could remove it from the pan for serving) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch.

When you take the cake from the oven, immediately poke holes in the top with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the hot fudge sauce into the poked holes (you may need to microwave the hot fudge  for 1 or 2 minutes to make it thin enough).

Let the cake cool completely!!

To make the topping, use an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) to beat the cream, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Spoon the chocolate whipped cream over the cooled cake and set it in the fridge 30 minutes or more to set well.

Use a potato peeler to peel small shavings from the shorter end of a large chocolate bar.  And sprinkle them over the cake before you serve it.  Enjoy!!

*I like Hershey’s hot fudge sauce (but you will have to microwave it for a couple minutes to make it thin enough to drizzle onto the cake.
**I always use vanilla instant pudding mix when whipping cream.  It acts as a stabilizer to the cream will hold up fluffy and firm.

White Cake with Raspberries

Hello all– Sunday night was the best.  A few friends gathered to wish Jenon well on her new retirement!  We were like the fairy godmothers in the “Sleeping Beauty” movie, giving her the best wishes and blessings around the table for all that is ahead.  She is the dearest.

People helped bringing in parts of our meal and we ended with cake (of course!).  This sweet simple cake with summer raspberries.  I think you’d like it if you have a celebration around your house.

WHITE CAKE WITH RASPBERRIES

Cake:
1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
water
1  1/2 cup raspberries, cut in half

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1 tab. milk (optional)

Garnish:
1/3 cup raspberries
camomile flowers*
lemon geranium leaves*

Make the cake according to the directions on the box (mine used 1/3 cup oil, 3 eggs and 1 1/4 cup water).  Stir in the cut raspberries and spoon the batter into three 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake about 25 minute at 350 degrees until the cake is lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Let it cool completely before piling on the frosting!

To make the frosting use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.  (If your frosting seems too thick add a tablespoon of milk.)  Start the mixer slowly so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl!

Frost the cake layer by layer and garnish with berries, flowers and leaves.  Pretty!

*You can use any non-toxic greenery with your berries– this is just what we have in the yard.  We call the little flowers “Aunt Blanche daisies” because the we all have gotten seeds of these from Aunt Blanch years and years ago and they just sprout up unheeded all over the yard.