Triple Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Hello all– Chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce with fresh cherries and cream.  That about sums it up.  Loved this rich and creamy cake and I’m hoping you will too, while cherries are at the market bright and juicy.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BLACK FOREST CAKE
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping*
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, chopped
2 tab. almond kirsch or amaretto
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. powdered sugar
2 tab. vanilla instant pudding powder**
garnish: fresh stemmed cherries

With an electric mixer, make the cake according to the directions on the box (mine called for 1/2 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup water & 3 eggs).  Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or a 10″ spring form cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake according the directions on the box.  Out of the oven let the cake cool completely.  Then poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the ice cream topping over the cake and into the holes.  (If the topping is too thick to drizzle, put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds).

Chop the pitted cherries and mix them in a bowl with the kirsch or amaretto.  Then spoon them evenly over the top of the cake.

Whip the cream with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until it is well set.  Beat in the powdered sugar and pudding mix.  Then spoon the thickened cream over the cake and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to make sure the cream is firm.

Garnish with the stemmed cherries and then serve it up to friends…

*I used Smuckers Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Topping
**The pudding mix thickens and stabilizes the cream.

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Caramel Pear Cake

 

Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

CARAMEL PEAR CAKE
2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Hello ya’ll–  We lived in Texas for a few years when we were first married and the chocolate version of this sweet cake was a staple of friends there.  And it made it’s way into our own cake rotation.

So when I ran across this white reiteration of the old favorite, I wanted to give it a try.  Swap out cinnamon and pecans for almond flavoring and walnuts– and of course, hold the chocolate!  Love the simple, homey little cake.  Just right for a weeknight meal or a picnic with friends.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE
Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto*

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or more if you love nuts like I do!!)

In a mixing bowl, stir up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a saucepan, bring the 1 cup butter and water to  simmer (be sure all the butter is melted).  Them stir it completely into the flour mixture.

In a mug, whisk together the eggs, sour cram and 1 tsp. amaretto with a fork.  Then blend it into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees of 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

While that’s baking make the frosting.  Bring the 1/2 cup butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and then stir in the powered sugar, amaretto and walnuts.  Smooth it over the cake– delicious warm or cooled!

*I use Amaretto in place of almond extract because it it so much less expensive!  And a big bottle will last forever…
**In place of the large baking sheet, I used two 10″ inch tart pans– prettier to serve from.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Hello there–  This fruity cake is a bundt cake made by someone who’s kitchen is without a bundt pan.
So it’s a little plain, no nice rounded bumps and ruffles– but just as delicious.  Now and then I think I should buy a bundt pan– but my kitchen cupboards are full, really full.  I think I’ve hit my cake pan limit.
This is a tender, super moist cake, spiked with sweet berries and covered with a sweet glaze.  I think you’d love it while the berries are fresh and sweet right now.

FRESH STRAWBERRY  YOGURT BUNDT CAKE

3 cups strawberries, cut into chunks (about 16 oz.)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tab. milk

Clean and cut the strawberries into little chunks. Pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally beat in the yogurt.  Then stir in the strawberries with a wooden spoon until they are spread all through the stiff batter.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan (or tube pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the cake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake sit in the pan and cool for about an hour before you turn it out onto a plate.

With a fork whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.  If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.  Drizzle over the cake– and it’s beautiful and ready to eat!

Happy Birthday Stu!! (and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake)

Hi Friends!! — starting off here like a blogger should never start– apologizing for the wonky photos.  But this post isn’t really about beautiful food picutres– it’s about celebrating Stu’s 90th birthday!!  He’s the best father-in-law a girls could have– and all his kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids would say the same!!  (Plus I did want to add this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe– because it was so delish!).

   


Photos:  Stu about to blow out those candles, With Helen (his wife of 68 years!) and Kathi– the party thrower!!  Plus The collection of all Stu’s local kids, grand-kids and those little greats!!  We all love you Stu!

And just in case you love chocolate and peanut butter thrown together as much as I do, here’s the cake recipe:

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs

Peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
7 to 8 tab. milk

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
8 oz. chocolate chips (1  1/3 cup)

Garnish:
chopped peanut butter cups
birthday candles!!!

Make the cake according to the directions on the box ( mine used 1/2 cup oil,  1 1/4 cup water and 3 eggs). Spoon the batter into three 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before you add the frosting!!

Make the ganache while the cake it cooking and let it cool.  In a sauce pan, bring the milk and butter to a simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until ti’s smooth and shiny.  Let it cool.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla.  Then beat in the powdered sugar and chopped peanuts.  Finally addd the milk one tablespoon full at a time until it is the right consistency–  careful–it’s easy to add too much and have runny frosting!!

To put the cake together– Frost the cake using the peanut butter frosting between, on top and around the 3 layers.  Drizzle the cooled ganache over the top and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups– and candles (!!!) if you have a birthday in the family!

Strawberry Cream Cake

Hi there– It’s birthday season in our family.  Three birthdays together at the start of May and three more at the end.  So I’ve got birthday cakes on my mind.  This will probably show up at a birthday party or two!!

The biggest bash is for my father-in-law Stu.  He’s turning 90!  –and is so beloved by everyone who knows him.  You’ve never met a kinder more gracious man.  Family is coming from far and wide to celebrate with our “Grandpa Stu”.

Hope you have some happy family birthdays on your horizon.  And that they include cake, lots of cake.

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

Cake:
1 cup strawberries, cut to small bits
1 strawberry  cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

Topping:
2 cups strawberries, cut to small bits
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 big pretty strawberry for garnish

To make the cake, cut the strawberries fine.  If they are still damp from cleaning, pat them dry.

Make the strawberry cake according to the directions on the box. (mine used 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup water & 3 eggs).  Pour it into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (or a 10″ springform pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it is lightly browned and comes out firm to the touch.  Let the cake cool completely before adding the topping!

To make the topping, cut the strawberries to small bits.  Set them aside.  Whip together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer until it is stiff (the whisk attachment works best for this).

Stir in the strawberries and then pile it all onto the cooled cake.  You can serve it right away, but it’s better to set the cake in the fridge for an hour or more to let the topping completely set.  Enjoy!!

Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake

Hi all– It was a perfect match.  I saw this Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake on Pinterest and the next week got a big bag of lemons from a friend who was smart enough to plant a row of citrus trees in her yard.

And you don’t have to serve this for breakfast. you know.  We had it with a group of friends who came in last Wednesday night for our weekly time to pass around hugs and laugh and talk and pray together.  It’s fresh and bright– just a nice little piece of cake on a plate to go with your mug of tea.

LEMON CRUMBLE BREAKFAST CAKE

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup (4 oz.) butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tab. lemon juice

Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cps flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
garnish: powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl, make the streusel by mixing together the 1/3 cup sugar sugar and melted butter with a fork. Then stir in the 3/4 cup flour flour, lemon rind and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Set it aside.

For the cake, stir together the 3/4 cup sugar, grated rind of 2 lemons, oil, egg vanilla and buttermilk.  Then mix in the 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.

Scoop the thick batter into a 8″ or 9″ spring form pan (or deep cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  With your fingers, crumble the streusel into little bits over the cake batter.

Pop it into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake dust the top with powdered sugar through a sieve.  Enjoy!

*In place of buttermilk, you can use a tablespoon of cider vinegar and milk to make 1/2 cup.

recipe adapted from Pinterest

Simple Mocha Cake

Hi all– I’m afraid this isn’t much of a recipe– more like just a tip about putting instant coffee into your cake mix & frosting to give it a rich mocha flavor.  But I promise if you try this simple cake, you’ll have a hard time not licking your plate.  It’s crazy delicious!

SIMPLE MOCHA CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)
1/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1-2 tab, water if needed
garnish:  stemmed cherry!!

 

With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix according to the directions on the package–mine used 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Them mix in the 2 tsp. instant coffee.

Spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in the microwave and then mix in the cocoa and instant coffee.  Then with a mixer beat in the cream cheese vanilla and powdered sugar.  Begin mixing on the lowest setting until the sugar has started in incorporate (or you will have sugar flying everywhere!).  Up the speed of the mixer to blend thoroughly.

If the frosting seems too dry, add 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of water (be careful it’s easy to add to much water and end up with running frosting!)

Frost the bottom layer.   Add to top layer and frost away the top and sides.  Add cherry and it ‘s done!

 

Pina Colada Cake with Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hi there–  I have to say when we pull out a cake fro friends after a big long meal, most people say– “oh oh, just the tiniest slice” or they might even skip dessert.  But this cake almost disappeared!  People took big slabs and then asked for more!  I had one ragged piece left to send you off a picture a slice.  They liked it! I think you would too…

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PINA COLADA CAKE WITH RUM CREAM CHEEE FROSTING

Cake:
1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 tab. rum
1 cup shredded coconut

Toasted Coconut:
2 cups shredded coconut

Pineapple Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. conrstarch
14 oz. can crushed pineapple

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box powdered sugar (3  3/4 cups)
2 tab. rum
garnish: stemmed cherry!

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Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the package (mine used 1 cup water, 1/2 cup oil & 3 eggs).  Then stir in the rum and 1 cup shredded coconut.

Spoon the batter into three 8″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until it is firm to the touch.   Let the cake layers cool completely before you frost them.

While the cake is baking, spread the 2 cups of coconut on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil (for easy clean up) and put it in the oven along with the cake.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes until half of the coconut has started to brown (be careful, it’s easy to burn coconut!)

To make the pineapple filling,  combine the sugar and cornstarch in the small sauce pan.  Stir them together until there are no cornstarch lumps.  Then dump in the crushed pineapple and stir on medium heat until it simmer for a 1 or 2 minutes and thickens.   Set aside to cool.

To make the frosting, Put the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and rum into a mixing bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy.  If it seems too dry, add another tablespoon of water.  (Be careful, it’s easy to add too much water and it turns to mush!)

To put it all together, set one cake layer on a plate and top with half of the pineapple filling.  Add the second layer and pile on the rest of the filling. Next set on the 3rd layer.

Then frost the cake top and sides with the cream cheese frosting.  Pat the toasted coconut around the sides of the cake (this is a little trickier than it sounds– be persistent!)  And pop the cherry on top.  It’s ready to serve!!

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Chocolate Samoa Cake

 

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Hey friends– This cake gets it’s name from those Girl Scout cookies– the ones with the coconut & caramel & chocolate.  Know what I mean??  Delish!

I made it for our young adults group that comes in on Thursdays.  And I liked it so much, that I made it again on Saturday for dinner with friends!  (so I’ve been nibbling on leftovers all week…)   I think you would like it too…

CHOCOLATE SAMOA CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup caramel sauce*

Toppings:
2  1/2 cups coconut
1/2 cup caramel sauce*
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil

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Mix the cake mix up according to the instructions on the package.  Mine called for water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Pour the batter into a 3″ x13″ baking dish –or a large 10″ cake pan.**  Bake the cake 25 to 30 minutes until it is firm to the touch.

While the cake is cooking, line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean up) and sprinkle the 2 1/2 cups coconut evenly over the foil.  Put it in the oven with the cake and let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes, taking it out and stirring the coconut every 3 or 4 minutes so it does not burn.  (be careful, this coconut can burn easily!) When half of the coconut is still white, but crispy and the other half is light brown, it’s ready.

Let the cake cool and then with the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.

Mix together the frosting ingredients– the melted butter, 1/4 cup milk, powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/4 cup caramel sauce.  Pour them carefully over the cake, smoothing it with a spatula to get the frosting partially down into the holes in the cake.

Then spread the coconut over the top of the frosting.  Put the chocolate chips and oil in a glass bowl and microwave them about 120 seconds, until the chocolate chips are soft enough to stir into a smooth melty mess.  Alternately drizzle the chocolate and 1/2 cup caramel sauce over the coconut layer.  Done.

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I use store bought
**I like to use my largest spring form pan -about 10  1/2″- because it’s easy to get the cake out onto a pretty plate to serve it.

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Blackberry Up Side Down Cake

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Hello Cake Lovers–  We have blackberry vines on the side of the house, out the kitchen door.  But they are far from yielding any fruit this year. So when I saw boxes of blackberries on sale, piled high at the market, I had to bring some home, anticipating summer berries yet to come.

I love this old fashioned cake.  Simple to slip into the oven and the juicy fruit and tender cake served up still warm are the best!  There are crispy sugared edges and with a scoop of ice cream, you can pretend it’s summer outside.  I hope you try it!

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BLACKBERRY UP SIDE DOWN CAKE
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 oz. blackberries (about 3 cups)
1  1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

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Spray a 9″ or 10″ cake pan with cooking spray.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour evenly to cover the bottom of the cake pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar to cover the butter.  And then place the blackberries evenly over the brown sugar.  Set that all aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the milk, oil, egg and vanilla.  Pour this in the baking dish to cover all the blackberries.

Pop the cake into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

While the cake it still hot from the oven, invert it on to a plate large enough to hold the cake.  If some of the topping/berries stick in the baking dish, scrape them out onto the hot cake.

Here’s the cake hot from the oven, waiting to be flipped upside down onto a plate.
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Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

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Hello all– Spent last weekend up in the mountains at Big Bear, 18 of us from the young adult group (We’re the old folks involved!), –for a couple days of talking, laughing, planning and praying.  The weather was glorious, snowy and crisp and the cabin was cozy.  A few of us were the cooks, mixing salads and turning breakfast bacon for a crowd.   And this was dessert on Saturday night…

CARAMEL APPLE BUNDT CAKE
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped to small bits
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts chopped
garnish: caramel sauce* & chopped walnuts

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Prepare the apples bits and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs for 2 or 3 minutes until they are creamy and fluffy.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

With a spoon mix in the chopped apple and cup of walnuts.  The batter will be stiff so mix them in well.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it into a 350 degree oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then remove it to a platter.  When you are ready to eat it, drizzle on the caramel and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans or walnuts.  Pretty and ready to serve!

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I just picked up Smuckers salted caramel sauce at the market with the ice cream toppings.

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Down on Boulder Bay by the lake–sunshine and snow…

 

Chocolate Cranberry “Fruit Cake”

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Hello all– We all know that people have definite opinions about fruit cake.  My dad loved it.  But the rest of us were not so sure.

So this cake is my compromise.  It sort of looks fruit cake-esque.  Little bits of dried cranberries and chocolate bits (I know, not a fruit!).  And then, cream cheese frosting which nothing like a fruit cake.  oh well.

And we ate it after Christmas Eve lunch with the grandparents– such a sweet time with them. There’s just one slice  left on the kitchen counter.  I’m pretty sure it will be someone’s midnight snack.

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CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY “FRUIT CAKE”

Cake:
1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped to bits*
1 cup mini chocolate chips**

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

Garnish:
1 cup cranberries
3 to 4  tab. sugar
greenery

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Mix up the cake according to the directions on the package. Mine called for 3 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil and 1 cup water. Gently fold in the chopped cranberries and mini chocolate chips.  And scoop the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake layers 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees until they ae lightly browned and are firm to the touch. Let the cake layers cool.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and if it seems a bit stiff still, add the 3rd tablespoon of milk.  Frost the cake layers.

Put the cranberries and sugar into a small zip loc bag and shake until the berries are coated with sugar.  Arrange them on the frosted cake with a bit of greenery ( I used bits of pine from the the back of the Christmas tree!)  Enjoy!

*I like to mince the dried cranberries so they just give a touch of sweetness, but don’t seem gummy.
** Use mini chocolate chips– they won’t sink to the bottom of the cake like the standard chips do.

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Sweet Jobay & Jodi– ending up our Christmas Eve lunch and ready to open gifts with the Great Grandparents.

 

Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cake

 

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Merry Christmas! — If you’ve read this blog much, you must think all we do around here is sit and eat cake!  It’s kind of true.  Especially at Christmas–so many excuses to pull a good cake out of the oven.

This one is chocolatey and cranberry tart and creamy– all around delicious.  And just about the right way to end a Christmas meal.*

CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY POKE CAKE

Cake Layer:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
water
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Toppings:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 heaping cups of cranberries
3 to 4 tab. chocolate ice cream syrup
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
leaves for garnish

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Make the cake according to the directions on the package (mine used 3 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil & water).  Mix in the chocolate chips.  Then spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans and bake according the directions.

While the cakes are baking, make the cranberry sauce.  In a saucepan stir together the sugar and cornstarch until there are no cornstarch lumps.  Then mix in the 1/2 cup water and cranberries.  Cook the mixture over medium high heat until it simmers for 2 to 3 minutes while all the cranberries “pop” and the liquid turns a deep red.

With a slotted spoon, lift the cranberries to a heat proof bowl to cool.  Leave the sauce in the pan.

When the cakes and and sauce are cooled, poke holes all over the cakes with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Then drizzle the chocolate sauce into the holes. Next drizzle the cranberry sauce (not the cooked cranberries, just the sauce) into the holes.

Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer, adding in the powdered sugar and the instant pudding mix.

Heap the whipped cream onto the cake and top with the cooked cranberries and garnish with a few (non poisonous!) leaves from your yard (these are rose geranium leaves).  So pretty!

**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream so it stays whipped even after a couple hours out on the table.

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*I made this recipe into two smaller cakes (8″ cake pans) because sometimes just a small liver of cake is a good way to cap off a meal.

*The cake mix makes two layers of cake.  I did two individual one layer cakes, because sometimes a small little piece of cake is just enough after a big meal.
**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream, so it will hold up out of the fridge for hours.

White Truffle Cake

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Merry Christmas!!  Did you have a favorite celebration so far this year? I think mine could be our evening at Susan’s last week.  All the Wednesday night ladies came and we munched on salty snacks and Christmas desserts.  Susan made a fire in the fireplace and we sat around her family room and talked together about Mary and the annunciation of the Angel.  We prayed and laughed and passed around Christmas hugs.  Such a memorable evening.

Here’s what I brought to set on the table– so rich and smooth, and pretty on the plate.  It just looks like Christmas.

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WHITE TRUFFLE CAKE

Cake layer:
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt

Truffle layer:
1  1/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz. good white chocolate*
8 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese

Garnish:
white sprinkles
greenery

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To make the cake, use an electric mixer and beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for about 3 minutes until it is foamy and increases in volume.  Gently fold in the flour and salt with a rubber scraper.

Then scrape the batter into a 8″ springform pan (or deep cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it into a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until it is lightly browned and firm to the touch.

While the cake is cooking,  bring the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan.  Drop in the white chocolate and turn off the heat.  Stir until the chocolate completely melts.

Then let the cake cook and the chocolate/cream mixture cool completely.

When the cream is at room temperature, cut the mascarpone (or cream cheese) into cubes and drop into the cream mixture.  Beat with an electric mixture until it is blended and smooth.

Pour the truffle white chocolate mixture over the cooled cake and refrigerate for a least 2 hours (overnight is best).

Decorate with white sprinkles and a touch of green (snipped from your tree??)  Voila!

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recipe adapted from vikalinka2.be-ites.com

Caramel Toffee Pecan Cake

 

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Hi all– Thanksgiving gone– was yours a good one?  We had the day with our daughter and all her husband’s dear family up here in San Francisco.  Good times talking around the table, passing babies from lap to lap and sampling Brian’s mom’s incredible pecan pie.  It was a sweet day all around.

And here is another pecan dessert– a little simpler than pie and large enough to feed a crowd.  There’s all those nutty pecans and sweet bits of toffee to give a little texture to this tender cake.  I think it would finish out a Christmas dinner ahead just fine.

CARAMEL TOFFEE PECAN CAKE
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
5 eggs
3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
8 oz. bag toffee bits
1  1/2 cups pecans, chopped (save out a few to top the cake)
1 cup caramel sauce*

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, and eggs with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally use the mixer to blend in the milk and continue to blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in the toffee bits (save out a couple spoonfuls to sprinkle on top the cake) and the chopped pecans (save a few of those for on top too).

Spoon the mixture into a bundt pan or tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for 80 to 90 minutes (long time!)– until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, drizzle on the caramel sauce and sprinkle toffee bits and pecans on top.

*The recipe I worked from told how to make your own caramel sauce from scratch.  You can mix up your own favorite1 — but I’m happy with store bought caramel- just easier!

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Simple Snacking Pumpkin Cake

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Hello all– Pumpkin pie, it’s OK. I can kind of take it or leave it.  I’d really prefer my pumpkin baked into a batch of muffins or a cake– this little cake especially.  It’s surprisingly moist and tender– and slathered with cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon– it’s festive enough for your Thanksgiving supper.

But the nice thing about this simple cake it that it’s so quick & easy– at a time when your culinary energies need to go into basting a turkey or whisking gravy.  You might just love it to round out your Thanksgiving meal…

SIMPLE SNACKING PUMPKIN CAKE
Cake:
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 bock)
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tab. milk
cinnamon to sprinkle on top (optional)

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With an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil.  Then add in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

Spoon the batter into a 9″ square or round cake pan* that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.  Let the cake cool completely before adding the frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk with an electric mixer until it’s creamy and smooth.  Spread on the cooled cake– and if you wish dust the top with a little cinnamon.  Simple. Done.

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Everyday Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

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Hello Fall Friends– I wish I could say it was nippy 65 degrees today– but walking this morning at 7:00 was a hot one!  And it’s predicted to be up around 100 degrees by this afternoon!  But what the heck, the calendar says it’s fall and I’m not waiting any longer for pumpkin desserts to set in.

I love this little everyday cake.  Not fancy.  You can put it together and into the oven in about 7 minutes!  It you really want to make it simple, just dust the top with powdered sugar when you’re ready to eat it and you’re done.  But I think cream cheese frosting makes it pretty irresistible.  I’ll try that next time…

EVERYDAY CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN CAKE

Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips*
garnish:  powdered sugar, whipped cream**

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In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Finally fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until a small knife stuck in the cake comes out clean.

After the cake cools, dust it with powdered sugar through a sieve.  Just a friendly easy little cake to share with friends.

*Use mini chips instead of normal chocolate chips, so that they won’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
**Use 8 oz. whipping cream alone with 1 tsp. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix (to stabilize the cream)– whipped together with and electric mixer.
*** I like to use a a springform pan so it’s easy to remove the cake to a plate for serving.img_1810

Chocolate Orange Cake

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Hey there– We happen to eat a lot chocolate cake at our house– chocolate layer cake, chocolate poke cake, chocolate oatmeal cake, German chocolate cake…  You get it.   But we now officially have a new favorite chocolate cake– this tender, moist citrusy tube cake.  Add chocolate ganache glaze on top and it may be your new favorite too!

Thanks for the recipe from Kirsten at her beautiful baking blog, Cookie, Cakes and Pie, Oh My!

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CHOCOLATE ORANGE CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding (3.9 oz.)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
3 tab. grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
12 oz. package chocolate chips (2 cups)

Glaze:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips

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With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs, orange juice and orange zest.  Beat for 4 minutes on medium speed.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into a bundt or tube pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop the cake into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake is cooked through.

Let the cake cool in the pan, before inverting it on to a pretty plate.

To make the glaze, bring the cream and butter to a low simmer until all the butter has melted.  Stir in the chocolate until it’s thoroughly blended.  Take off the heat and beat with a wooden spoon for 3 or 4 minutes.
Drizzle the glaze over the cake.  yumm!

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Apple Cream Cake

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Hello all– When the calendar flips over the autumn, my heart turns to apple cake.   I grew up on my mom’s cake– chock full of apples and walnuts.  (It’s the best Mom!!)**–   So when I saw this new apple cake version– layers of stacked apple slices in a custardy creamy filling, I couldn’t wait to try it.  It’s mildly sweet and delicate– and with a scoop on whipped cream on the side and an ample mug of tea, it’s just right for a fall day.

APPLE CREAM CAKE
3 large apples
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream*
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
powdered sugar to dust the top

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Core and peel the apples and cut them into thin slices with a mandolin or a good knife.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer (whisk attachment works best), beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for two minutes until it thickens a bit.  Turn the speed down to medium and beat in the whipping cream, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt.  Fold in the apples with a spoon until they are all coated with the batter.

Spoon the apple mixture into a 8″ or 9″ springform pan (or cake pan) and put it into the oven at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, until it’s nicely browned on top and cooked through when you test it by sticking in a small knife to see if it comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely to remove it from the pan.  Dust with powdered sugar through a sieve and serve with a nice little pile of whipped cream.   Luscious!

*I bought the pint size carton of whipping cream– used 3/4 cup for the recipe.  And the rest I beat with and mixture adding 1 tsp. powdered sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla instant pudding mix to sweeten and set it up well.
**Hi Mom!!  (I know my dear Mom always checks in here!  xox)img_1704