Flourless Chocolate Cake with Cream & Berries


Hey there– It really feels like summer here now.  How about where you are??  Warm days with all the windows thrown open to catch the breeze.  The maple trees are all leafed out and shading the backyard. Yesterday Mr. Wicks brought over yellow string beans from his garden and I watched the all the Johnson kids next door load up and take off for a day at the beach.

And at the market there are piles of berries.  So here’s one of the richest cakes that’s graced our table in a long time– super chocolatey and with cream and those berries pile high– really delicious on a summer evening.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CREAM & BERRIES
1/2 cup + 2 tab. butter (1 1/4 stick)
2  2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
6 eggs
1 heaping tab. of sugar
1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups mixed berries
1 tsp. sugar

Drop the butter and chocolate chips into a large glass bowl.  Microwave it all for about 90 seconds, stopping to stir it around every 30 seconds– until the chocolate is all melted into the butter.  Mix in the coffee granules.

Separate the 6 eggs, whites in a mixing bowl, yolks in a smaller container.  Then gradually stir the yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Beat the whites and heaping tablespoon of sugar with an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) until soft peaks form (it will take a few minutes!)

Stir the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture just until it is all blended.  Spoon the batter into an 8″ springform pan (or a cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Let the cake cool a bit and then set it into the fridge for a couple hours to firm it up.

When you’re ready to serve the cake beat the whipping cream, together with the powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix (it sets up the cream so it will stay firm) using an electric mixer and the whisk attachment.  When it is firm, pile it onto the top of the cake.

Mix the berries with the teaspoon of sugar and let them sit for a couple minutes until the juices from the berries liquify the sugar.  Then spoon them onto the top of the cream.  Serve right away!

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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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Mocha Ice Cream Puffs

IMG_3543Hi all– Have you made cream puffs?  It’s a little bit magical how they beat up together so quickly and and then puff up in the oven.  We filled these up with mocha fudge ice cream  (personal fave) and then topped them with a rich ganache and spoonful of whipped cream.
They made a fine end to a meal around the table with friends last week.

MOCHA ICE CREAM PUFFS

Cream Puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Ganache:
2 tab. butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 oz. chocolate chips

Whipped cream:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix*

Ice cream:
Pick your favorite flavor–
mine is always Mocha Almond Fudge!!  (or plain coffee ice cream in a pinch)

IMG_3519Beat the 4 eggs and set aside

Heat the water and butter in a saucepan  to a rolling boil.  Change heat to low and then stir in the flour until it all forms into a ball.

Take it off the stove and slowly pour in the eggs, mixing with a fork as you do until they are all absorbed into the flour mixture.  You will have a sticky dough.

Then on 2 baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray, drop about 1/4 cup dough into balls on the baking sheet– about 3 inches apart (they will grow!).  Makes about 12

Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until they are puffed and beautifully golden.  Let them cool.

While they are cooling make the ganache..  Bring the cream and butter to a simmer in a sauce pan.  Then take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, whipping it 4 or 5 minutes until it’s smooth ad shiny.

Then whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding  with an electric mixer– until it’s thick and fluffy!  Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to put the cream puffs all together.

When you’re ready for dessert, cut the cream puffs in half horizontally.  Remove the top and plop in a large scope of ice cream.  Put the top back on over the ice cream and then pour over the ganache and add a generous spoonful of whipped cream next to the puff on the plate.  So yummy!

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Cherry Cream Tart

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Hey there– Sad to say summer is closing down on us here.  The kids on the next block over started to back to school yesterday.  And I’m collecting supplies and trundling them over to my classroom getting ready for some 3rd & 4th graders myself. But there’s a few days left of lunch with friends, and long morning walks, a lazy afternoons ready and I’m trying to make the most of them.

And there are still summer fruit at the market– so many cherries this summer!  So here’s a luscious way to celebrate the end of summer– creamy and sweet.  Savoring summer for these last few days…

CHERRY CREAM TART

Crust:
1 cup flour
3 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted & cooled a bit
1 egg yolk, beaten

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. whipped cream
1 tsp. vanilla instant pudding powder*
3 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup cherry (or raspberry) jam**

To make the crust, stir together the flour, 3 tab. sugar and salt.  Then mix in the butter and the egg yolk.

Press the dough with your fingers into a 9″ tart or pie pan.  Put it into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, so that the crust comes out browned around the edges and cooked through.  Let it cool before you add the filling.

With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.

Then with the mixer, in a second bowl, whip the cream with the instant vanilla pudding powder until it is stiff.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a wooden spoon.

And it yet another bowl, stir together the cherries and the jam.

Then spoon the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust.  Layer the cherries on top.

If you are not eating it right away, set it in the fridge to keep cool.  Hope you like it!!

* The instant pudding acts as a stabilizer for the whipped cream and keeps the filling firm, even after it sits out for a while.
**I didn’t have cherry jam in the fridge, so I used raspberry and it was just fine.

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Raspberry Fruit Tarts

IMG_1588Hi all– Sad to say, some of my favorite teaching buddies are retiring this year– Actually it’s sad for me, but pretty great for them!!  They have big plans ahead– mostly involving grand-kids and traveling!

So we had a big tea party to send them off into retirement.  The best parts were all the dear things that were said and the hugs and gifts given.  But the tea sandwiches and pastries were awfully nice too. Here’s the tarts that were contributed from my kitchen:

RASPBERRY FRUIT TARTS

Pastry Crust:
1 cup flour
3 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled for a couple minutes
1 egg yolk

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. heavy whipping cream

IMG_1559To make the crust, mix together the flour, 3 tab. sugar and salt.  Then stir in the melted butter and egg yolk.

When that’s all blended press teaspoon-fulls of the mixture into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray*.   This should make 25-30 little pastry crusts.

Put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until they are nicely browned.

While they are cooling, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until it is fairly firm.
Then fold the cream cheese mixture and the whipped cream together and spoon it into the little cooled crusts.

Top them with raspberries (or whatever pretty berries you like).  Enjoy!

*This recipe would work great with mini muffin pans.  I had this little metallic muffin liners — available in SF at Kaiwen restaurant supply store– so I used them.

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Yogurt Cake with Cream & Berries

IMG_1867Hey there– Monday night we had tables full friends eating out under the maple trees.  Several brought salads (I’ll send off the best shrimp pasta salad recipe soon!) and, of course, desserts.  We took our sweet time talking and eating away out in the yard –and came in for cake, lots of cake!  Here’s the one that I came from my kitchen.  You just have to love all those berries with whipped cream.  Mmmmm.

YOGURT CAKE WITH CREAM & BERRIES

Cake:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
4 tab. oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Then mix in the eggs, yogurt, oil  milk and amaretto.  Spoon it into a 9″ to 10″ cake pan or tart pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it’s golden on top and firm to the touch.  Let the cake cool before you take it from the pan and pile on all the cream and berries.

Cream layer:
1 cup whipping cream (1/2 pint)
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Beat the whipping cream with the teaspoon of instant vanilla pudding mix (it stabilizes the cream) and set it aside.  Then with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and sugar until it’s fluffy.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Berries:
2 cups of your favorite berries
(I used strawberries, blueberries and black berries)
2 tab. sugar

If you have large strawberries cut them to nice little pieces.  Mix all the berries with the sugar and let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge for the sugar to bring out the juices.

When you’re ready to serve it up, layer the whipped cream on the cooked cake and top with the berries.  Pretty as a summer evening…  Enjoy!

IMG_1844P.S. — I used this fluted pan that has an indentation in the top so you can nestle in the cream and berries.  They’re easy to find at thrift stores.  I got mine for 25 cents.

Caramel Pumpkin Cake

Hello friends– I’m sitting here smelling this cake in the oven.  My young moms group is coming in this evening and they (like me) are fond of gooey, whip-creamy desserts.  So I’m trying out this creamy, caramely, spicy, pumpkiny, nutty cake and I have high hopes!   Here it is:

CARAMEL PUMPKIN CAKE
1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup sugar

With an electric mixer, beat up the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, pumpkin and spice.  Pour it into a large springform pan or a 9″x13″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Let me tell you the batter is the most beautiful color!!  Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until it comes out firm to the touch.  When it’s cooling poke holes in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon and pour over the caramel sauce into those holes (save a couple teaspoons of sauce to garnish the top of the cake).

Beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar and pudding mix (for stabilizer).  Mix the pecans and sugar together in a nonstick pan over medium hear stirring until the sugar melts and the pecans are coated with a brown glaze.  Spread them on a sheet of foil to cool.

When the cake is completely cooled pile on the whipped cream and top it with the pecans and little bit of caramel topping you reserved.  Viola!  It’s beautiful– to your eyes and your mouth.

P.S.– Well, the cake came out just fine.  When Christy asked if it would be on the blog, everyone started suggesting names for it– “Super Pumpkin Cake” or “Really Scrumptious Pumpkin Cake.”  I think I’ll stick with the original.  But we ate our cake and shared our stories and asked God for his help.  I love those dear girls.

Frozen Strawberry Cream Dessert

The last leftover slice just waiting for you on the plate…

Hi there–Is is summery at your house?  I know we have a month to wait, but we’re feeling the heat today and I’m glad we have some leftover Strawberry Dessert sitting in the freezer– sweet, light and summery, just waiting for me to scoop it up.

FROZEN STRAWBERRY CREAM DESSERT

CRUST:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix it all up and spread it in a large springform or a 9″x 13″ pan sprayed with Pam.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until it’s firm.  Let it cool before you add the filling.

FILLING:
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
1  cup whipping cream
Beat the egg whites, sugar and strawberries at high speed until soft peaks form (about 10 minutes).  Then separately whip the cup of the whipping cream.  Finally,  fold the whipped cream gently into the strawberry mixture and spoon it into the cooled crust. Stash it all in the freezer for 6 hours or more.

TOP IT OFF:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
another nice strawberry, or two, to plop on top
Beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla pudding powder (it stabilizes the cream).  Spoon it on top of the dessert when you take it out of the freezer to serve it up.  Top it off with a berry.  Viola!