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…

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.

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.

Banana Caramel Cake

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Hello there– Made this birthday cake, of sorts, for my Mom’s big 85th birthday Open House.  You may have already heard me brag about how amazing our Mom is- Bright and Fun and a Facebook whiz!  She’s someone we really want to celebrate!  So last week we invited all her friends in and served up cake and hugs and lots of photo ops with that birthday gal!  It was a whole lot of fun!

BANANA CARAMEL CAKE

Cake:
2 bananas, mashed to a paste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup caramel sauce*

Topping:
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
1 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla instant pudding mix
3 bananas

Candied Pecans:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar

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To make the cake, smash the bananas with a fork in a mixing bowl until they are a soft paste.  Mix in the sugar, oil and eggs.  The stir in the flour baking powder and salt.  Spoon the batter into a 9″ or 10″ cake pan** and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until it’s firm to the touch and cooked through.

Take wooden spoon and use the handle to poke holes about an inch apart all over the top of the warm cake.  Then pour in the caramel sauce trying to sink it down into those little holes and covering the top of the cake (if he syrup seems too thick, microwave it for 20 seconds).

While the cake is baking you can make the candied pecans– mix the cup of pecans and 1/2 cup sugar in a small skillet.  Cook over medium heat stirring the whole time, until the sugar melts to a golden caramel and coats the pecans.  Don’t go to long.  It’s easy to burn the sugar!  Turn the candied pecans out onto a piece of foil on the counter and let them cool.

When the cake has cooled completely, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer (whisk attachment works best).  Cut the the 3 bananas into little disks and spread them in a single layer over the cake.  Top the cake and bananas with the cream and pop it into the fridge.  Add the pecans just before you’e ready to serve the cake.  Delish!

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My sis Lulu, Mom (the birthday girl) and me– with all those cakes!

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*I like Hershey’s caramel topping.
**I use a springform pan because it’s easy to take the cake out of the pan to sit on a pretty dish.

Sunshine Cake

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Hello there Sunshine– We’re on the edge of summer– and I think we’ve just launched into pot luck season here.  Bar-b-que suppers with tables full of Sue’s Three Bean Salad and Gram’s crunchy cole slaw…  John at the grill flipping burgers.  Last Friday was the  year end pot luck with the school friends (thanks Kim for having us all –and I mean all!).  And this sunny little cake was my pot luck contribution.

It tastes as bright as sunshine– with all that citrus and pineapple laced whipped cream.  It’s really pot luck worthy.

SUNSHINE CAKE
1 yellow cake mix
20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 orange
1 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix

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First grate the peel off the orange and set aside.  Then cut the orange in half and extract the juice.  Save that too.

Spoon half of the pineapple from the can into a stainer, and let the juice drain off.  Save the rest of the juice and pineapple in the can and set it aside.

To make the cake, first pour the juice from the orange into a 1 cup measuring cup.  It will probably be less than a full cup, so add water to fill the cup to exactly one cup.  Then mix up the cake with an electric mixer, using the cup of juice & water, 3 eggs and 1/2 cup canola oil.  Beat it on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Then fold in the drained pineapple to the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 3×13″ baking dish or a 10″ springform pan* that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is light browned and firm to the touch. Let the cake cool completely, before you put on the frosting.

To make the frosting, with an electric mixer, beat together the whipping cream, 1/2 cup powder sugar and vanilla pudding mix until it thickens.  Then use a spoon to fold in the pineapple left in the can (along with it’s juice) and the grate orange peel.

Spoon the frosting over the cake and let it sit int he fridge for 20 or 30 minutes for the frosting to set well.

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Strawberry Easter Cake

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Hi all– Easter’s come and gone, but I do have one more little recipe from our Easter this year.  It’s really not much of a recipe– just cake and lots of strawberries.  But the creamy filling that “glues” it all together is the secret of this sweet fruity cake.

STRAWBERRY EASTER CAKE
1 white cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. instant vanilla pudding mix*
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2  16. oz. packages of beautiful strawberries (about 4 cups)

garnish: tiny flowers/mint leaves

Make the cake according to the directions on the package. My mix called for water, 1/4 cup canola oil and 3 eggs.  Spoon it into 2 standard 9″ round cake pans.  Bake it up and let it cool in the pans.  Cut each of the 2 layers in half horizontally to have 4 thin layers.

Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer until it is stiff.  Then cut up the cream cheese into 20 or so small bits and drop it into the whipped cream. Beat it again until the cream cheese is blended with the whipped cream.  That should make it nice and sturdy to spread on the cake.

Pick out 6 or 7 of the prettiest strawberries and set the aside to decorate the top of the cake.  Cut the other berries into slices, removing the leaves.

Then set one layer of the cake onto a plate and spread 1/4 of the whipped cream mixture over it.  Cover with a layer of  sliced berries.  Do the same for the 2nd and 3rd layers.  On the 4 layer, mound up all the remaining whipped cream and put it all into the fridge until dessert time.

Just before serving, decorate the top of the cake with the reserved strawberries, flowers, mint.  Dig in!

*The instant pudding mix is a favorite trick I learned from my Sis– use it every time I whip cream to stabilize it and to give a whisper of vanilla.

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And the best part of after Easter lunch– hunting eggs with those grand-girls!!
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