Friday, December 28, 2012

Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

This is hands down my all time favorite cake.  It has always been my favorite cookie and the cake tastes just like the cookie.  I've had these since I was probably 10 years old. There would always be one or two of them added to an assortment of cookies that my uncle would get from a local bakery.  We'd have them on Sunday afternoons after we had our weekly macaroni and meatball dinner at my grandparents home.  My cousin Bobbie and I both love them so we would be waiting anxiously for my uncle to open the box so we could make sure we got our cookie....

I made this cake especially for my middle son Brandon this Christmas.  He loves these cookies just as much as I do.  I surprised him with this cake. He thought it was just a chocolate cake and the expression on his face was priceless when I slowly cut a slice of it and pulled the slice away from the cake.  He dug right in and gave me a thumbs up sign.....said it was "great.....the best cake ever."  Did that make my Christmas? You bet it did!!!!!  I found this on Joanne's food blog and even frantically emailed her while I was making the cake. I was so nervous since I never worked with almond paste before or even much with food coloring for that matter.  The almond paste was a bit of work to grate but thankfully any larger clumps of it did bake right into the cake so there were no clumps.  Only the delicious almond flavor!  Thank you so much Joanne for a delicious cake that I know will always be my favorite!!!

          3 sticks butter, softened
              1 1/2 cups sugar    
              6 large eggs
              12 oz almond paste, grated
              1 tbsp pure almond extract
              3 cups AP flour, sifted
              3 tsp baking powder
              red, green and yellow coloring gels or liquid coloring 
              1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
              1/4 cup apricot preserves
              1 cup heavy cream
              12 oz semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)


  1. Grease three 9-inch cake pans and line with a round of parchment paper on the bottom.
  2. In the base of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat for 3 more minutes. Add the grated almond paste and almond extract and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then slowly add to the almond paste batter and mix until combined.
  4. Separate the mixture evenly into three bowls. Dye each bowl a different shade (one green, one yellow, one red).
  5. Pour each color of the mixture into individual pans making sure to smooth out the top. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, prepare the ganache by heating 1 cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan just until bubbles start to form around the edge. Turn off the heat and pour over the chocolate in a large bowl. Stir continuously until melted completely and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Start with the pink layer of the cake and spread with the raspberry jam until it nearly reaches the edges of the cake. Top with the yellow cake. Spread this with the apricot preserves. Top with the final green layer.
  8. Use a spoon to pour the ganache over the cake, using an offset spatula to even the sides and make sure the cake is completely covered. Use as much ganache as you need. Let sit at room temperature in a cool spot for 1-2 hours until completely set.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sugar Cookie and a Standby Cookie

Well I'm just about done with my Christmas cookies.  I'm baking a special cake tomorrow so I made fewer cookies this year.  I also had a cookie recipe fail....which is not good this time of year!  I've found that over the years I can always count on my sugar cookies to come out well. I've posted the recipe before and want to share it again.  It's never let me down and it's a family favorite.  Just click here for the recipe.

Now since I had a cookie fail and needed to make another cookie that was delicious yet simple and one that everyone would like I chose Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies.  You can find that recipe here. It starts with a cake mix so it is super simple.  Great for an emergency cookie too!!! I thought it would be a good idea to post a great stand by cookie for any cookie recipes that didn't turn out for anyone.  This works for me...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Orange Ricotta Pound Cake

This is another recipe that I spied on Pinterest and just had to make.  Simple and flavorful.  I used clementines instead of oranges since they are so easy to find this time of year.  The cake is nice and moist from the ricotta and just perfect with the orange flavor.
I am still trying to decide which cookies to make for Christmas this year.  I just love sugar cookies but they are such a pain to cut out.  My favorite cookies are Italian Rainbow cookies. Never made them but I am planning on making an Italian Rainbow Cake this year that I found on Joanne's food blog last year. I am going to try this and I hope it comes out looks delicious!!!! 

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups plus 1 table spoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 orange, zested (I used two clementines)
2 tablespoons amaretto (I used orange juice)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with butter (grease it very well). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.
2. Using a mixer, cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, zest and alcohol until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes (about 35 minutes for mini pans). Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Baked Ziti (Pioneer Woman)

I just made this the other night and it is without a doubt my new favorite baked ziti recipe.  I make baked ziti quite often since it's one of my favorites. Especially for goes a long way.  I have made several versions but for whatever reason I REALLY, REALLY like this one best.  It's not too cheesy. I don't like too much cheese. It can get overpowering. This one also uses a mixture of meat. Ground beef and sausage. I'm sure the sausage adds lots of extra flavor to it.  I love Pioneer Woman's recipes. They have always turned out well for me. As far as I'm concerned they are foolproof.  I mean, you not only have the recipe but you have the pictures at her site that will guide you every step of the way.  This doesn't mean I won't mess up....I mess up easily. It just means that the odds of this coming out good are with me and not against me!!!!!  I met Ree Drummond at the book signing of her first cookbook about 2 years ago.  She is one sweet lady. I'm glad she has had lots of success.  Have you ever watched her show on the Food Network?  Good show.
Anyhow, try this recipe if you are in the mood for Italian food.....this is really good if you need a tasty, easy dish to bring to a potluck or for company. Enjoy!!!!

■2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
■3 cloves Garlic, Minced
■1 whole Large Onion, Diced
■1 pound Italian Sausage
■1 pound Ground Beef
■1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
■2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
■2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
■1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
■Salt And Pepper, to taste
■16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
■1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
■1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
■1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
■1 whole Egg
■Fresh Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
(Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Frosting

This is a great recipe for this time of year.  I made these last night and they are already gone. I HAD to get them out of the house and bring them to work with me or my husband and I would have devoured them!  My son would not touch them.  Too strange for me considering he loves pumpkin pie. Go try and figure out a teenager. Impossible!!!  These come courtesy of CookingClub.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons pure grade B maple syrup*

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with baking cups.

2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt and cloves. Whisk in brown sugar. Whisk in pumpkin, eggs and oil until smooth. Fill baking cups two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until centers spring back when touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from muffin pan; cool completely on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup; beat at medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add additional maple syrup, if necessary, until frosting is of spreadable consistency. Frost each cupcake with frosting.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cinnamon and Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently came across a recipe for "guaranteed best chocolate chip cookie ever."  I believe this recipe included cornstarch in it that made them "the best ever." Yeah....I tried them and it was a major FAIL!  Really, as if Toll House cookies are not the best. Sorry, but no recipe beats them BUT this one does come in second or a tie!  This one is excellent and if you are going to try any new cookie recipe, please let it be this one.  They are soft and chewy and the best thing is that these are very forgiving....if you leave them in the oven an extra minute - don't worry.  They will still be soft and pretty and good....The flavor from the browned butter and cinnamon put them over the top.  I'm not claiming they are the best ever.....but they are up there with Toll House and just may become your new favorite. You'll never know though unless you try them.  Just be aware that this dough is made and then refrigerated for at least 12 hours.....I made mine 24 hours later.  Now go bake them and just be amazed at how good they taste!

Cinnamon and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 16-18 cookies  (mine may have been smaller because I had about 2 dozen)


16 Tablespoons (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp. and cut into 16 pieces

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking Soda

2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup tightly packed, light brown sugar (I only had dark and it worked fine)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 Tablespoons of strong, brewed coffee, cooled to room temp. (I used milk)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I added some white chocolate chips since I didn't have enough dark ones)

Place the butter into a medium-size saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the butter until melted, and browned. As the butter is cooking, use the handle of saucepan to swirl it around and prevent burning. As the butter browns, it will start to become frothy, as soon as the froth dissipates, keep a close eye on the butter. It should have a lovely nutty fragrance and the bubbles will be deep golden brown. (The browning process can take about 5-9 minutes.) As soon as the butter is ready, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon; Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (any large mixing bowl will work if you're using a hand-held), beat together the browned butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth (about 7 minutes).

Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and coffee (or milk, if using). Beat on medium speed to combine.

On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, beating just until they're incorporated into the wet.

Use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours.

When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. [You want it soft enough to scoop.] Preheat the oven to 375 F. and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure out about 1/4-cup of dough per cookie, and place them on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each mound of dough.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  I only baked mine for about 12 minutes since they were smaller.

recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine, via The Curvy Carrot

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cannellini Bean Kale Sausage Stew

This is such a great recipe that I couldn't wait to share.  It's so delicious and good for you. It's very hearty especially if you have this with some bread.  You won't need anything else to add to this meal. I was pretty full after finishing off a bowl of this.  This is cooked in a slow cooker and you can play with the ingredients or add some additional ones.  I found the recipe over at use real butter which also happens to be one of my favorite blogs.  I didn't use as many tomatoes as the original recipe calls for and added a red pepper for some extra flavor. 

We've had some great weather here the past weekend and I just wish it would last for at least a few more days but I don't think so. I'm not complaining though.  I'll take as many nice warm and sunny days as I can get!

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 lb sausage (I used sweet Italian)

1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes

2 cans (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained

1 large tomato (chopped)

1 large pepper (chopped)

2 T minced garlic

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground fennel

1 1/4 cup chicken stock

4 cups chopped kale leaves  (I used much more than this)

freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan, add sausages, with casings removed and cook until browned.

While sausage cooks, dump the two cans of cannellini beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until no more foam appears.) Let beans drain well.

Put sausage, drained beans, tomatoes with juice, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, ground fennel, and chicken stock into the slow cooker and stir gently. Let cook for about 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 hours on low.

Add kale to pot to cook for the last 1/2 hour.  Serve with some parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

The picture of this bread does not do it justice at all.  To be honest, I have been so busy eating this bread that these are the last few slices I had left so I just had to get a picture of it before it was all gone.  It was too good not to post.  As soon as I have some very ripe bananas sitting around (which should be very soon) I am making this bread again. Easy + Tasty = Success!!!!  I found the recipe over at Pam's blog For the Love of Cooking. 

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread


1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (I omitted this and used all purpose only)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (3 bananas)

2 eggs

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

Additional chocolate chips, for topping (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the sugars and oil with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the mashed banana, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla then beat until blended. Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture and mix batter until just combined.

Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds or until almost melted. Stir until smooth (cook for a few more seconds if it's not completely melted).

Add 1 cup batter to the chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, alternating between plain batter and chocolate batter. Swirl batters together using a knife. Place additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.

Bake for 70 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Apple Fritter Cake

I've made this cake twice since I discovered it on Pinterest and plan on making it many more times.  The name really intrigued me but personally I don't think it tastes like apple fritters....more of a coffee, streusel type cake.  It is sooo good.  It's very moist and it's best eaten within a day or two while it's very fresh.  It definitely reminded me of the first cake I ever  made when I must have been around 12.  That one however, came out of a box!  It had the mix in a bag, the topping in a bag and the apples in a little can.  It was so easy to make.  And good...and I made it many, many times. 

This area of Virginia managed to survive Hurricane Sandy without any extensive damage.  However,  New Jersey and New York did not. I grew up on Long Island and lived there until I was 22.  Then I lived for quite a few years in Bayonne, New Jersey.  I just hate seeing those pictures of the New Jersey shore with everything just wiped away and what's left in shambles.  It is heartbreaking.  Beautiful Seaside Heights....seeing the roller coaster in the ocean.  Whoever would have thought that could happen?  When I lived up there flooding from hurricanes never crossed anyone's mind. But now?  Very different.  As far as Manhattan and Long Island, it's just a nightmare and my heart goes out to everyone there.  I guess it proves once again, that you cannot take anything or anyone for granted.

Apple Fritter Cake

from Nerdy Baker (my changes are in parenthesis)


For Filling

1 heaping cup of sliced apples, (I used 2 heaping cups)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

small pinch freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons cornstarch (I used 1 heaping tablespoon)

2 teaspoons water (I used at least 5 tablespoons)


1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a 1/4 cup each of dark and light)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For Cake:

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup greek yogurt (you could use plain yogurt as well or sour cream)

For Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons milk


For filling: Make your filling by combining apples, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickend and the apples are a bit soft. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well combined and set aside.

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix till combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three parts alternating with the yogurt in two parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the cooled apple mixture over the batter carefully and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle 2/3 of brown sugar cinnamon mixture over apples and cover with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

For Glaze: While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until the glaze is desired consistency. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately but carefully pour onto hot cake.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn Pumpkin Chili

This is a delicious and hearty chili.  It comes from the latest issue of Simple & Delicious by Taste of Home.  To be honest however, I just can't taste the pumpkin in it!!!  I would make this again and just increase the amount of chili powder since I like my chili spicy and this is somewhat mild.  At least for my taste, that is.   I love chili with fresh cornbread and when I went to get my cornmeal out I noticed it had long since expired. I don't like to fool with anything that is old so that just went into the trash.  Instead we had Hawaiian dinner rolls since that is what I had on hand. They were so good.  They are somewhat sweet so that just balanced itself perfectly with the chili.  Amazing how you can stumble upon things you would never pair together and then they turn out to be a perfect blend!  Have you ever tried the little Hawaiian dinner rolls?  If not, try them the next time you have chili and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised. 

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
4 1/2 tsp. chili powder (I would increase this)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt (I increased this to 1/2)
1 can red kidney beans (my addition since the original recipe had no beans in it)

Saute onion and green and yellow peppers in oil in a large skillet until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Crumble turkey into skillet.  Cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.  Stir in the pumpkin, tomatoes, chili powder, beans, pepper and salt.  Cover and cook on low for 7 - 9 hours.  Serve with toppings of your choice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grape Harvest Cake

This cake comes from Mary over at One Perfect Bite and it's another winner! I have been wanting to try baking a grape cake since I had seen one a while back and this was the perfect time to try it.  It's really delicious.  My cake was a bit taller than Mary's and the grapes were not visible from the top, the cake baked over them, so it wasn't as pretty. However, I'm sure it was just as delicious.  We had this with some whipped cream over it.  You can try subsituting other fruits too.  I think that would work out fine. I am going to try this in another week or so using mango.  Should be interesting.  I love trying new recipes and find that there are very few I repeat because I'm always on search for the "next one" to try! 

We made our yearly trip up to Graves Mountain this past weekend and I have a ton of apples here.  Looking for some new recipes for them.  Hopefully I'll have lots of successes and be posting them soon!  In the meantime I highly recommend this cake!

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for buttering the pan

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cane sugar

2 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

2-1/4 cups (3/4 pound) red seedless grapes


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch metal cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter paper and then coat pan with flour.

2) In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl frequently. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in yolk, followed by olive oil.

3) Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl.

4) On low speed, beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with additions of buttermilk and scraping down sides of the bowl frequently. Stir in half the grapes and pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with remaining grapes and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

5) Bake until cake is browned on top and springs back when pressed lightly with your finger, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of pan, then invert, peel off paper and cool cake upright on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature. Yield: 12 servings.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Buttermilk Chocolate Frosting

I've have found many ways to use up buttermilk and this frosting is perfect for just that!  My favorite frosting has always been marshmallow creme.  I just don't think you can beat that on chocolate cake. But that is just my preference.  This is probably second is really good as long as you don't want a sweet frosting.  This is pure chocolate with a bit of a tang to it from the buttermilk.  I would imagine that you could use less if you wanted less of a tang or more.  You can't really taste the buttermilk only a very slight hint of it.  Here is the basic recipe for it and by all means just adjust to your own taste for thicker or sweeter frosting!  I think it's great!     Buttermilk Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter

2 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided

5 tbsp buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

In a small, microwave safe bowl, melt together butter and unsweetened chocolate. Heat in 30-45 second intervals, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth. Cool for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is close to room temperature.

Transfer butter mixture to a larger bowl. Beat in cocoa powder, 2 cups confectioners sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and salt, beating until frosting is smooth and slightly fluffy. Add additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken, if needed. Frosting should be at room temperature before using.

From BakingBites.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake

The name of this pound cake alone made me want to try it.  It's from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine.  There were several recipes in the latest issue that used buttermilk so I was able to use up the whole quart.  Many times I've bought something needed for a recipe only to have that ingredient sit there and go to waste. Not this time though. 

I highly recommend trying this pound cake.  Pound cakes are one of my favorites and relatively easy to make.  This one is no exception.  The only thing I did differently was use a 9x5 inch baking pan instead the smaller one this recipe stated.  I've made several cakes where the recipe calls for a smaller baking pan and then when I look at the batter I think "no way."  I don't know why that is since I follow the recipe.  Oh well, if you make this I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  It's not "kid friendly" here though, since my son is not a fan of coconut!

Toast coconut in a 350 F degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes and stir often and watch carefully.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, divided
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, divided
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pan (I used 9 by 5).  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, 8 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.  Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl.  With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two 1/2 cup additions buttermilk, and beat until combined.  With a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups coconut. 

Transfer batter to pan and bake until skewer inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 minutes.  Let cool in pan on wire rack for one hour.  (I removed from pan after 15 minutes and cooled on rack). 

Whisk together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.  Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with remainomg 1/4 cup coconut.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chocolate Cream Pie

This recipe comes from a cookbook titled "Mom's Best Desserts."  I found this at a thrift store and what I liked about it was that it has basic, simple desserts.  And a lot of them.  Being able to find so many great recipes online and on Pinterest I don't buy many cookbooks anymore.  But this one is a good one. 

The chocolate cream pie was a big hit here. I've made it three times already and each time it doesn't stay around very long. It's pretty simple to make too. 

With the fall season finally here I'm looking forward to making some new apple recipes.  I've become a big fan of apple cakes and hope to be making some soon.  Have a great weekend everyone!

One prebaked 9-inch single crust pie shell
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark rum (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sifted confectioners' sugar
Grated chocolate, to garnish

Prepare pie shell according to directions on package if using store bought one.  Let cool on rack before filling.
In a heavy saucepan, combine granulated sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.  Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to remove any lumps.  Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil;  continue stirring and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.
Gradually stir a few teaspoons of the chocolate mixture into the beaten yolks, mixing constantly until blended.  When you have added about 1/2 cup, pour the yolk mixture back into the pan, stirring until combined.  Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until thick and smooth.  Remove from heat.
Add the butter gradually.   Stir in 1 tablespoon of rum (if using) and the vanilla.  Pour the filling into the baked crust.  Cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap.  Let cool.
Refrigerate the pie for 3 to 4 hours, until firm.  The pie can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of rum (if using).  Beat until stiff.  Pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pinterest Shrimp Recipe

This has to be one of the simplest dishes I've made. If found this on Pinterest which is quite an addicting site.  I have to really watch how much time I spend on there when I log on to it.  I just love all the food pictures and find myself repinning one after another!!!  I had the Chipotle rice on the side with the shrimp and it was perfect!

Melt a stick of butter in the pan. Slice one lemon and layer it on top of the butter. Put down fresh shrimp, then sprinkle one pack of dried Italian seasoning. Put in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 min. Best Shrimp you will EVER taste:)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Copycat Recipe - Chipotle Rice

For about 2 years now, on Thursday nights, my son and I meet up with a girlfriend of mine and her daughters.  Our meeting place is Chipotle's.  We all LOVE Chipotle.  Especially their rice.  My son would be very happy to just have a huge bowl of it by itself.  I have been meaning for the longest time to try and make it at home and I've finally gotten around to it.

This tastes very close to the original made at Chipotle's.......I made 2 batches of it last night.  My son is snacking on the second batch of it right now.  It's super easy to make.  My only surprise came when I went to purchase the Basmati rice.....I've never bought that rice before and had no clue as to how expensive it was compared to the usual long grain rice.  Quite a bit more but worth every penny.....

1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter

2 teaspoon fresh cilantro coarsely chopped

2/3 cup white basmati rice

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt (Kosher works best)

1 Lime


In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about  20 - 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork. Before serving stir in cilantro.

Recipe courtesty of Copycat Recipes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Peaches and Cream Pie

I had just gotten some large fresh peaches at the local farmers market when I saw this recipe.  I just knew that I would use them in this pie.  Absolutely delicious.  I don't know what is going on with me lately but all I want to do is bake!  But then I have always had a sweet tooth.  I found this recipe at One Perfect Bite and it is absolutely perfect to try at this time when the peaches are at their best!


Pastry for one 9-inch pie or tart shell

4 peaches, skinned and sliced

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup heavy cream


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll pastry dough to fit a 9-inch pie or tart pan. Fit crust into pan, crimp or trim edges and place pan on a baking sheet. Set aside.

2) Whisk flour and sugar together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 of mixture over bottom of pastry shell. Add peaches and sprinkle with remaining flour-sugar mixture.

Pour heavy cream over filling. Gently stir peaches to cover them with cream.

3) Bake for 50-70 minutes, or until the middle is just set. You'll know it's not ready if you jiggle it, and the middle shakes. If the crust gets too brown, cover it with a ring of foil. Serve warm or allow to cool on a rack. Yield: 8 servings.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Duke's Mayonnaise Cake

Here is a really good basic chocolate cake recipe. I'be been wanting to give a mayonnaise cake a try for a while now and I'm so glad I did.  This is a really great dense cake.  You can use the frosting recipe that I used from the Duke's site or you can just use your own favorite.  I'm adding this cake to my list of "got to make this again!"  Enjoy!


6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

3 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups Duke's Mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

Sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, salt and sugar into a medium bowl, mix well. Combine mayonnaise, vanilla and water in an electric mixer at low speed. Once smooth, slowly add in dry mixture until just incorporated (do not over beat). Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire racks and frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.

For Icing:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cocoa with whisk attachment until smooth. Add vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar alternately with milk until icing reaches a spreadable consistency. (you may not need all 6 cups of sugar; you may need more than 6 tablespoons of milk)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vanilla Lime Pound Cake

I haven't made a pound cake in quite a while  and when I saw this one I just had to try it - within the next few was one of "those" recipes that you just have to make the first chance you get.  It does not disappoint.  Not if you are a lime lover. And I love lime.....Just be prepared that the recipe as written is heavy on lime.  You can certainly use less if you like but the flavor won't be as intense.  Just be careful when you bake this because the cake does tend to brown a bit too you may definitely want to tent it with foil as soon as you see it has browned enough...I found the original recipe here.  I made some slight changes which I will add in parenthesis.....

3 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
contents of one vanilla bean (I omitted this)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 stick butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract, vanilla beans, lime zest and lime juice. Whisk together.
In the bowl of your electric mixed, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined. Add butter and mix until batter starts to come together. Add half of the egg mixture and mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add the remaining egg mixture in two parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing on medium speed for about 30-45 seconds each.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of your loaf pan and butter it. Spray the entire loaf pan with baking spray and lay the parchment paper down, buttered side up. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. If cake gets too brown on top, lightly tent it with foil. Let cool before glazing.

Vanilla Lime Glaze
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
3/4 -1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest

Whisk all ingredients together to form a glaze. Add more liquid or sugar to get desired consistency.  Drizzle on cake!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No-Bake Nutella Cookies Recipe

These Nutella cookies were absolutely delicious!  They are really more of a candy ball though....a delicious chocolate candy ball!!!  So easy and perfect for summer.  No bake is the way to go when it's so hot out there.  These keep well in the fridge in tupperware.  I made them several days ago and just take out one or two at a time and let them get room temperature before I scarf them down!  You can find the recipe here or just scroll down below.....and enjoy!!!!  My recipe is a bit different from the original so mine is posted below with the changes.....

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella
 3 cups quick cooking oats (original recipe calls for rolled oats), if using coconut you may want to use less of the oats
1/2 cup to 1 cup sweetened coconut (my addition)

In a sauce pan over medium high heat, combine butter, milk, sugar and cocoa.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and continue to boil for 3 minutes, still stirring.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Add Nutella.

Add quick oats and coconut.

Drop quickly on to waxed paper and allow cookies to cool and set.  (I refrigerated them in a tupperware container after they cooled and set).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Strawberry Summer Cake and Fun Pics!

Just made this cake for the first time this summer and love it as much as I did last year. It's perfect for this time of year with fresh, delicious strawberries.  You can find the recipe for it here.  The picture from last year is a little different since I didn't use as many strawberries but you really can't overdo it with this cake. 

Is is really almost the middle of July already?  Have a feeling this will be another one of those summers that just fly by.......Speaking of summer, here is a picture of my youngest son with his new skateboard. He loves skateboarding and practices and practices! 

And here is a picture of my middle son who was our cook on the 4th of July!  Complete with a chef's hat and all!  Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strawberry Cake with Thick Strawberry Glaze

This cake is so good that it actually motivated me to blog again!!!  Thank you Cassie!!  Please check out her blog where you will find this along with a ton of other great recipes.  I knew I had to make this especially when I saw that strawberries were on sale.  I followed the recipe exactly as written and it made a very, very thick glaze...almost a frosting but not quite. The original recipe also uses frozen strawberries...I used fresh ones since this is the season for them around here.  If you love strawberries please try this. It is so good I can't wait to have another slice. 

Can't believe that tomorrow is my son's last day of school. Wow...did this year ever go fast. He will now be a rising 8th grader.  I can't believe that in another year he will be in high school. I have two older sons but it seems that this one is growing way more quickly. Maybe because I am older?  I don't know but when you hear that time goes fast so enjoy them while they are young, you better believe it!  It flies by!  Looking forward to hitting the beach this year big time.  I never get tired of the ocean or sun.  Also never get tired of finding good recipes!  Now go and bake this strawberry cake and enjoy!

For the cake:

1 18.25 ounce box white cake mix
1 3 ounce box strawberry flavored instant gelatin
1 15 ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

For the frosting (glaze):

1/4 cup butter, softened
8 ounce package cream cheese
1 10 ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed
7 cups confectioners's sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F..  Lightly grease and flour a 13 x 9 in baking pan.

In a large bowl combine cake mix and gelatin.  Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil and water.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream  cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Beat in the strawberries and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until desired thickness.  I kept the glaze in a separate container in the fridge and spooned some over the slices of cake.  Delicious!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Just haven't been blogging.  I have a case of the "I don't feel like food blogging."  No reason really, maybe a bit of blogging burn out?  I certainly have not given up on it, by no means. I just want to blog a recipe when I really, really want to share it and not feel like it is a chore.  And that is what it has felt like lately. So...for the time being until I get my "mojo" back, I will be checking out all your blogs and just relaxing and chillin'.  Now don't I sound cool!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

This post should come with a warning stating "eat at your own risk."  One cookie is too many and 1,000 are not enough.  If that isn't bad enough these are super easy to make. I found these over at My Inner Chick.  Kim is one fantastic writer and her blog has brought me to tears more than once.  I have made these 4 times since she posted the recipe back in March.  I made two batches with the devil's food cake mix, a third using a yellow cake mix and the fourth using a chocolate fudge mix. The devil's food was the best in my opinion but my son loved the batch made with the yellow cake mix.  I used the toffee with the devil's food mix but omitted it when I made the yellow cake mix.  Oh they just don't last!  I'm sure I will be making them again this week......

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup toffee pieces
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix together and roll into tablespoon balls.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 - 15 minutes.