A Sweet July 4th!

I can’t believe I’m already writing a Fourth of July blog post!  This last couple of  months have flown with my daughter turning two and having a baby…suffice it to say I’ve baked nothin’ in the last few weeks and don’t have any super-fabulous, totally-original July 4th recipe to share with you BUT I do have some past inspiration from my blog and others that are patriotic AND delicious!  So here are 10 gorgeous red, white and blue desserts that you can feel proud serving this Fourth of July holiday!  Enjoy!

 

Red Velvet and Blueberry Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Red-Velvet-Blueberry-Ooey-Gooey-Butter-Cake-1

Red Velvet Funnel Cake

Red-Velvet-Funnel-Cake-1

Cherry Star Turnovers

Cherry-Star-Turnover

Easy Flag Fruit Dessert

Easy-Flag-Fruit-Dessert-Family-Fresh-Meals-

Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

pinwheel-cookies-recipe

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Ice-Cream-Cone-Cupcakes-1

Firecracker Popcorn

Firecracker Popcorn

 

Easy and Healthy Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Mini Fruit Tart Cheesecakes

Mini-Fruit-Tart-Cheesecakes

 

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Nutella Buttercream Frosting

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I’m currently sitting at home typing this blog post as fast and furious as I can before my kids wake up from their naps.  That’s right I said kids…as in plural, as in I now have more than one!  Our little boy was born at home a little over a week ago on Sunday, May 17th and it’s been non-stop crazy since then.  But in a good way of course. 🙂

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So since I’m pressed for time I’m sharing a super simple, completely decadent buttercream frosting recipe with you today!  I had initially planned on blogging about the whole scrumptious cake you see above but to be honest I was a tad disappointed with how the yellow cake turned out.  Heavy, dense and slightly dry…bummer.  I still think this is the best Yellow Cake recipe I’ve found to date so I’m sticking with that one as my go-to for now.  The Nutella buttercream however was a whole different story.  Not only was it good, it was GOOD.  Forget putting it on the cake, I about made myself sick eating it with a spoon.  But it was so, so worth it.  Try it on homemade Yellow Cake, sandwiched between Chocolate Chip Cookies or even spread over Sugar Cookie Bars.

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Or….just eat it with a spoon.

Enjoy!

Nutella Buttercream Frosting
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ½ c. Crisco
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 c. Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ c. Nutella
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and Crisco together on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder on low speed until combined. Slowly add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in Nutella until frosting is well combined and smooth. Use on cupcakes, cake, cookies or eat with a spoon.
Notes
Makes enough for a round, 9-inch three-layer cake or 48 cupcakes.

 

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Rainbow Sprinkles & Confetti FIRST Birthday Party!

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I have been looking forward to my daughter’s first birthday party since the day she was born.  And let me tell you…I spent WAY too much money and time on it!  Hah!  But I can also say it was totally worth it. 🙂  I LOVE planning dessert tables so Avery’s party was my excuse to go ALL.  OUT.  But first…a theme.  Omg the freaking theme.  I cannot tell you how many Pinterest boards and Google pages I searched for the PERFECT theme.  Ya know, the one that someone hadn’t already done 50,000 times.  Yeah…not finding it.  Barbie, Paris, owls, hearts, rainbows, ladybugs, cupcakes…done, done and SO done.  I was really wanting something unique but in the end I settled on Sprinkles and Confetti!  Rainbow Sprinkles and Confetti.  I figured it would be cute and fairly simple.

Ok, would have been simple if I hadn’t made it super complicated.  I’m talented like that.  In the end we had somewhere around 100 confetti filled balloons, seven different sprinkle coated desserts and one very happy birthday girl!

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We had so much stuff dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles…Oreos, strawberry wafers, pretzel rods, strawberries, donut hole “cake” pops.  And of course we had gumballs, homemade marshmallows and a gorgeous cake with a balloon on the top!  It was fun seeing everyone enjoy all the treats but especially fun to see Avery eat her first homemade marshmallow!  She loved it. 🙂

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She also loved her second smash cake.  Think she might have preferred the bad-for-you version a little bit more than my healthy one.  Hah!

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It was the best birthday party and even though I went totally overboard and she won’t remember one single thing, I’ll treasure it forever and obviously show her all the pictures from her fabulous party!  😉

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Easter Sweets 2014

I haven’t done a recipe roundup in QUITE awhile and thought it was high time I bring you some of the best, brightest and cutest dessert ideas from around the blog world!  If only I had more time I’d make every. single. one. of these but we’re a little short on time these days so I will probably have to be satisfied with picking up some mini robin eggs at the store and eating ALL of them while I drool over these pics.  Doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea, huh?

Hope you find some inspiration for your Easter!

Down the Bunny Hole Push-Up Pop Treats

Down the Rabbit Hole Push Pops

Cadbury Egg Easter Trifle

Cadbury Egg Trifle

Funfetti Cake Balls

Funfetti Cake Balls

Speckled Egg Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Speckled Egg Cake

Carrot Cake Fudge

Carrot Cake Fudge

Krispy Easter Eggs

Krispy Eggs

Funny Bunny Cookies

Funny Bunny Cookies

Carrot Cupcakes for Easter

Easter Cupcakes

Bunny Tails

Bunny Tails

 

 

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Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Piece

Gooey butter cake again?  YES.  And this time with Nutella.  NUTELLA.  In OOEY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE.  Can your mind even comprehend?!  I’ve made all kinds of gooey butter cakes, but this one might be my favorite.  It’s rich, decadent and perfect with ice cream.  A great, chocolatey addition to any holiday spread!

Nutella

Enjoy!

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Egg, at room temperature
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Filling
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Nutella
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla and mix well. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, Nutella and vanilla. Dump in powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine is done around 40), until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Fall is in the air!  Cooler weather, leaves falling, sweaters and boots, bonfires, apple and pumpkin EVERYTHING.  I love it!  Definitely my favorite season.  So I thought I’d start things right with this recipe for Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  I saw this recipe on The Picky Apple and since it had over HALF A MILLION pins on Pinterest, I thought it might be a good one to try.  The bottom is like a yummy custard type pumpkin pie and the top is cakey and slightly crunchy from the pecans.  So good!  I topped mine with homemade cinnamon whipped cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel from Fat Toad Farm and organic dark chocolate chips.  If you’re looking for a delicious fall recipe, this is the one!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

 

Pumpkin Crunch Cake Slice

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Chips
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1, 12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Spice Cake Mix
  • 1½ c. Pecans
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • Cinnamon Whipped Cream
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Caramel Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10½ inch springform pan or 9x13 cake pan. I used a springform pan which did leak a little so I put a large, round baking pan under it.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Pour into the pan and sprinkle the cake mix on top (I only used about ¾ of the cake mix because I used a springform pan), then the pecans and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 1 hour or until the middle of the cake is firm (mine took about 1 hour and 10 minutes). Cool completely. Top with cinnamon whipped cream, caramel and dark chocolate chips.

 

 

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Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes

My love affair with ooey gooey butter cake is well-documented here, here and here.  I love it and I’m not ashamed.  And I’ll probably keep coming up with more versions as long as there’s a semi-creative bone in my body!  Hope you guys don’t mind.  Actually I know you won’t mind once you taste this Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  It. Is. Divine.  Literally like a banana split in cake form and so, so, SO good.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

 

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1, 16 oz. Box (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, mashed (not brown ripe like for banana bread and not green...just nice and yellow)
  • 1 c. Maraschino Cherries
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 8 oz. Pineapple Tidbits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in mashed bananas. Dump in the powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Beat in cherries, pecans and pineapple tidbits until just combined. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is firm in the middle.
Notes
Makes 18 pieces.

 

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Rocky Road Cake

Rocky Road Cake and Ice Cream

I wanted something dark, decadent and over-the-top chocolate for Easter Sunday dinner.  And this Rocky Road Cake TOTALLY fit the bill.  I know, I know…it’s springtime and desserts should be light and fruity.  But when is chocolate ever out of season?!  Yeah.  Never.  And judging by all the “mmmm’s” and “oh my gosh, this is so GOOD”s that I got, I think I picked the absolute perfect dessert to make.

Rocky Road Cake

I used dark unsweetened cocoa for both the cake and frosting (the recipe just called for regular unsweetened) and I loved how rich it made the cake but think next time I’ll use the regular cocoa for the frosting so it’s not quite so rich.  I also used homemade marshmallows instead of store-bought which I think makes it so good but feel free to use some from the store.  It’s definitely extra work to make you own marshmallows but SO worth it.  I was also really skeptical about the cake.  Just by reading the recipe it seemed way, waaaaaayyyy too simple to make.  However, this cake was delicious.  More like a cakey brownie, it was the perfect foundation for the gooey marshmallows and thick, fudgey frosting.

Are you sold yet??  This cake is GOOD.  So goooooooood.  Make it!  You’ll be glad you did.  Oh, and ice cream!  Ice cream is a must.  Enjoy!

Rocky Road Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1, 10.5 oz. Bag Miniature Marshmallows or 2 c. Homemade Marshmallows
Frosting
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Whole Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Whisk in cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour just until combined. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows and pecans and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt marshmallows slightly.
For the Frosting
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. Continue beating with the spoon until frosting becomes glossy and holds shape. It will take about 15 minutes but if you place the pan in a bowl of ice, it will speed things up significantly. Pour over the cake before it gets too stiff and let it cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Notes
Makes 24 pieces.

 

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Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake with Powdered Sugar

Doesn’t the title of that cake just sound divine?  I have always loved sweetened condensed milk and quite truthfully could eat it by the spoonful and have.  Healthy, I know.   So what is a sweetened condensed milk cake like?   It’s…different.  But in a good way!

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake Slice

This recipe is by one of my favorite foodie personalities, Claire Thomas, of The Kitchy Kitchen and I think she describes the cake perfectly when she says it has a sweet, eggy flavor and is like a less buttery, denser brioche.  So almost like a very dense sweet bread.  I did a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon zest but I think next time I’ll do a little orange zest in the batter and orange marmalade with homemade whipped cream to top it off.  Or do a lemon curd with it!  It’s so different and so good and just a beautiful, simple cake.  Perfect Easter Sunday dessert!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 8 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Orange/Lemon Zest
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (see link above)
  • Homemade Orange Marmalade (or lemon curd) (see link above)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until pale yellow and smooth, then pour in the melted butter, salt and vanilla and beat until blended. Whisk together the flour and baking powder and with the mixer on low, add a little at a time until just incorporated. Pour into the greased bundt pan and bake for 60-75 minutes ( mine took 60) until cake is slightly browned and a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely and remove from pan. Top with powdered sugar and citrus zest and serve with lemon/orange curd and homemade whipped cream.
Notes
Serves 20.

 

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42 Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

I started pinning things for Valentine’s Day on Pinterest and couldn’t stop.  Thus, this blog post.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make everything I was pinning so I decided to just put them all into one massive blog post and let you decide what to make!  In my opinion, anything pink, red, strawberry, raspberry, cherry or chocolate says Valentine’s Day!  And that’s pretty much what you’ll find in this post.  Lots of pretty, delicious, Valentine’s Day-perfect treats and ideas!  How to choose?!  I hate making decisions.  Especially when it comes to dessert.  They all look amazing.

Enjoy!

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

Berry Banana Smoothie

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

Frozen Cherry Limemade

 

Cherry Limemade

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

 

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

 

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

 

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

 

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

 

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

Hershey Heart Pretzels

 

Hershey Heart Pretzels

Love Potion #9 Drink

 

Love Potion #9 Drink

Mini Chocolate Cake

 

Mini Chocolate Cake

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

 

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cake

 

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

 

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Coconut Scones

 

Raspberry Coconut Scones

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

 

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Party Punch

 

Raspberry Party Punch

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Reese’s Cupcake Topper

 

Reese's Cupcake Vday Topper

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

 

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

 

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

 

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cake

 

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Cream Pie

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

 

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Strawberry Tiramisu

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

 

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

 

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

 

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

Valentine’s 5-Layer Finger Jello

 

Valentine's 5-Layer Finger Jello

Valentine’s Day Fruit Pizza

 

Valentine's Day Fruit Pizza

Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfait

 

Valentine's Day Pudding Parfait

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs

 

VDay Fruit Kabob

 

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2013 Baking Resolutions

The Baked Brownie
The Baked Brownie. One of my favorite recipes to date!

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you all had a fabulous New Year’s Eve and are, ahem, recovering from whatever merriment you may have participated in!  I had a laid back, quiet evening in with my hubby and have to say it was very, very nice.  Sometimes you just need to relax and rest!

Last year I made a few baking resolutions for myself and have to confess I am not too proud of how (un)successful I was with them.  Let’s review, shall we?

1.  Bake more international desserts.  Ummm, yeah.  Massive failure on this one.  Early in the year I actually attempted to make Brazo de Mercedes, a delicious Filipino dessert and a favorite dessert of mine, period.   It’s an airy, spongy, meringue-like cake spread with a lemon custard and rolled up.   It’s divine.   And I was doing ok until I got to the rolling part…one crack led to another and before I knew it, custard was oozing everywhere.  And that was the beginning and end of the international dessert experiments.

2.  Bake more classic desserts.  This one I actually accomplished…sort of.  I didn’t do nearly as many as I wanted but I did manage to bake a delicious Coconut Cake, a Hummingbird Cake and a Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake.  I really love cakes so I’m going to try and do a few more classics this year and probably a few not-so-classics.

Orange-Italian-Cream-Cake-Slice
Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake

3.  Bake more challenging desserts.  Hah. Hah. HAH.  I have no patience and in fact have quite a collection of one-pan, easy, no-bake desserts on my blog so that should tell you everything you need to know about that particular resolution.

4.  Bake more healthy desserts.  I’m pleased to say this resolution is one that I did accomplish.  Probably because we eat fairly healthy in our household so making these desserts meant we could actually eat them and didn’t have to send them away to my husband’s office to be devoured.  I managed to make them quite regularly for the blog and as a matter of fact the first recipe of the new year later this week will indeed be HEALTHY.  Yay!

ChocolateChip-Quinoa-Trail-Mix-Balls
Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

So what are my baking resolutions for this year???  I only have one.

1.  Make what I ENJOY baking. 

What a concept, right?!  I have realized that the resolutions from last year that I succeeded in are actually things that I truly enjoy making and eating.  Too often I think I have to push my limits and do things that require extreme skill and time.  Or I get consumed with trying to figure out what recipe will get “pinned” the most on Pinterest or trying to figure out what other people want to bake at the time, what’s trendy, what holiday it is…you get the point.  And I’ll still keep all those things in mind but I won’t let it dictate what I put on Desserted Planet.  I’ll do things that I genuinely enjoy and get pleasure from making.  I’m pretty excited about it!

So what are your resolutions, baking or otherwise?  I’d really love to hear them!

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Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake

Hey friends.  I’ve got a cake recipe for you today.  Not just any cake recipe.  Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake.  This cake…oh my goodness, where do I start?  I am such a sucker for layer cakes.  Especially ones with homemade orange marmalade in between the layers.  Such as this one.

Luckily, my friend Shawna, who happens to have this fantastic gourmet cooking club that I’m a part of, is also a lover of layer cakes.  And we happened to have cooking club this past weekend.  So when I saw this cake from Southern Living show up in my email a couple of weeks ago, I immediately knew what I’d be taking.  And I won’t lie, on our way to cooking club I was having my doubts and second guessing my choice of cake.  I kind of started thinking maybe I should have done something with chocolate and peppermint (one of my all time favorite combos) or something a little more holiday-ish.  But my doubts were all put to rest after cutting into this baby.  Everyone loved it!  I have to admit, this is a GOOD cake.  The yellow cake is so moist and delicious with coconut mixed in and the orange marmalade and pecan cream cheese frosting just make the whole thing an amazing combination of flavors and textures.

A couple of notes about the cake.  You’ll want to make it in stages since it has a few components.  It’s nothing complicated, just plan ahead.  I made the cake layers one day and froze them.  One trick I learned for cake is that after it has baked, let it cool off for about 5 minutes, wrap it tightly in a couple of layers of foil and then put it in the freezer.  It traps the moisture and makes the cake SUPER moist and it only takes a couple of hours on the kitchen counter for it to defrost.  Next day I made the orange marmalade and then a couple days later I made the glazed pecans and frosting and put the whole thing together.

All in all, this was an absolutely divine cake.  Perfect for holiday parties and festivities.  Everyone will rave!

Enjoy!

Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Shortening
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 5 Large Eggs, separated
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Whole Milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 2 T. Grated Orange Rind
Orange Marmalade
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • ¼ c. Cornstarch
  • 2 c. Fresh Orange Juice (I used 10 large oranges to get two cups of juice)
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 T. Granted Orange Rind
Glazed Pecans
  • 1½ c. Pecan Halves
  • ⅓ c. Light Corn Syrup (I used Lyle's Golden Syrup)
Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and choppped
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold
  • ¼ c. Shortening
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
Garnish
  • ⅓ c. Flaked Sweetened Coconut, toasted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 9-inch round pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until blended.
  3. Whisk together flour, soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture alternately with milk, begginging and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in one cup flaked coconut and grated orange rind.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks or remove from pans, wrap in foil and store in the freezer until ready to use.
For the Orange Marmalade
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradully whisk in fresh orange juice. Whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Bring to a boil (5 to 6 minutes) over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and grated orange rind. If the mixture ends up with pieces of cook egged in it (mine did) simply push it through a very fine mesh sieve with the back of a large spoon in to a bowl. Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on curd and chill for at least 8 hours or until ready to use.
For the Glazed Pecans
  1. Combine pecan halves and corn syrup, stirring to coat pecans. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange pecan halves in an even layer in pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Stir using a rubber spatula and bake 3 minutes more. Remove from oven and arrange in an even layer on another piece of foil and let cool completely.
For the Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream Butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed until creamy and well blended. Stir in pecans.
To Assemble
  1. Split cake layer in half horizontally. Place a layer on a plate or cake stand and spread with a thin layer of frosting and then marmalade. Top with a cake layer. Spread with another thin layer of frosting and marmalade. Top with third cake layer and spread again with frosting and marmalade. Top with final cake layer and frost sides and top of cake with the remaining pecan cream cheese frosting. Garnish with glazed pecans and toasted coconut. Serve with remaining orange marmalade.
Notes
Serves 18.

 

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Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake.  Also known in our house as “crack cake”.  Listen I don’t care what your planning on baking for Thanksgiving this week–pie, cookies, trifle, cobbler, whatever–I don’t care.  Yeah I know you’re in the middle of making your massive grocery list but whatever dessert you have on it, scratch it off.  You will likely already have all the ingredients needed for this cake and this cake is what you want to make.  Trust me on this.

I had never even heard of Cinnamon Roll Cake until my good friend Nicole (who also happens to be a FABULOUS baker) told me she had went to a recipe exchange and someone brought this cake.  When she showed me the recipe, it looked so easy I had to try it right away.  Luckily we had a bonfire we were going to this past Friday so it was the perfect excuse to make it.  I had it done in no time and was taking it out of the oven, piping hot, pouring the glaze all over it and breathing in the delicious aroma of what smelled just like yummy cinnamon rolls.  Now whoever wrote the recipe said they preferred to eat it while it was still warm, so of course we took their advice!  And it was indeed delicious.  Very much like a warm cinnamon roll in cake form.  However, after letting it cool for several hours, something magical happens after all the glaze has soaked into the dense cake and the cinnamon-brown sugar swirl has turned super gooey and decadent.  The cake itself is not overly sweet which is nice because it balances out the sweetness of the swirl and glaze perfectly.  I’m telling you, it was amazing!!!  Jeremy and I agreed that we liked it warm but LOVED it cold/room temperature and both agreed that we can never be left alone with this cake in the house.  It’s so, SO good.  Totally addicting.  Yeah, like crack.  Seriously, make this for your Thanksgiving dinner!  People will rave.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ c. Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Swirl
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softened (I just popped mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Cinnamon
Glaze
  • 2½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 5 T. Whole Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2½ T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Slowly beat in the milk, eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. With mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix for a couple of minutes on medium speed until all ingredients are well combined. Pour into pan.
For the Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Swirl
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls over cake and then swirl gently with a knife. Bake for 32-35 minutes (mine took 35), until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. While the cake is still warm, slice into pieces and drizzle the glaze (instructions below) all over the cake. Eat warm or at room temperature (which is what we prefer!).
For the Glaze
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
Notes
Serves 18.

 

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Homemade Twinkies

It’s a sad day friends.  Hostess has announced they will be closing their doors for good!  We weren’t really allowed to have many Hostess products growing up but every now and then a friend at school would share their Twinkies with me (don’t tell my mom) and I relished every single bite.  It’s sad to see such an iconic baking brand go away but thankfully there are a plethora of foodie bloggers and cooking websites out there that have tried to duplicate their sweets over the years.  For instance, this recipe from Joy the Baker for Homemade Twinkies. When it comes to baking, Joy knows what she’s doing so I’m confident this recipe in a winner!  The next time the Twinkie craving strikes, give this recipe a try!

P.S. For that classic Twinkie shape, you can buy a Twinkie pan like this one or make you own Twinkie tins as illustrated here.  Or you can do what I plan on doing–make them in a cupcake pan!  Same great taste, just a different shape!

Homemade Twinkies
 
Ingredients
Twinkie Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
Twinkie Cream
  • 2 teaspoons very hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream (one 7-ounce jar)
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
For the Twinkie Cake
  1. Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute in between each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately with the milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just incorporated.
  4. Spray prepared Twinkie tins with nonstick spray and divide the batter between the cups. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until the cakes are just slightly golden and a pick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling with marshmallow cream.
For the Twinkie Cream
  1. Combine the salt and the how water in a small bowl and mix until the salt is dissolved. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Combine the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add the salt solution to the filling and beat to combine.
  4. Scoop into a pastry bag with a small tip and pipe into cooled Twinkie cakes. Flip them over so the browned bottoms of the cakes are on top, and the filling side is on the bottom. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and give them to all your friends!
Notes
Makes 12 Twinkies.

 

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe started off as blondies but somehow turned into cake.  Not sure what I did wrong but it’s all good because this turned out to be one of the best pumpkin cakes I’ve ever made.  It’s super moist and the spices are very pronounced which I love.  On top of all that, the orange cream cheese frosting is THE PERFECT frosting to complement all the spices in the cake…it’s absolutely delicious.  I added semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cherries but if I did it again, I’d omit the chocolate chips.  The just seemed unnecessary and didn’t really add anything.  I did love the dried cherries but you could also leave those out if you prefer.

If you’re looking for a fantastic pumpkin cake recipe, try this one.  You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Ingredients
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
  • 2 sticks, plus 2 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1¾ c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1½ T. Cinnnamon
  • ½ t. Nutmeg
  • 2 t. Allspice
  • 2 t. Ginger
  • 1 t. Ground Cloves
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Dried Cherries (optional)
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Orange Zest
  • 4 T. Fresh Orange Juice
Instructions
For the Spiced Pumpkin Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla and pumpkin until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in dried cherries, if using.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely and frost with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.
For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and shortening until smooth. Add salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat in orange zest and juice. Frost cake.
Notes
Serves 18

 

 

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Sugarjones in Rockford, IL

Alright, third sweet stop on our whirlwind trip to Illinois is Sugarjones in Rockford!  Now if you’ll recall we already got our chocolate and pie fix so naturally it was time for some CUPCAKES.  Honestly I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to this place or not since we had to be at a wedding fairly early that day but lucky for us Sugarjones opened at 10 a.m. so after we got in our free out-of-towner workout on at the local YMCA, we headed over to Sugarjones to get ummmm…breakfast (I mean really, how many degrees of separation are there between a muffin and a cupcake?!  Yeah, not many.)

So we got there and the place was hoppin’!  They obviously had a ton of special orders that day…boxes were flying out the door!  The place was really cute and I loved how the kitchen was open and you could see everyone working away.  The owner herself was there and I actually got to meet her and tell her that I had a blog and would be doing a review on her place.  Fun!

The cupcakes themselves looked beautiful.  So simple and elegant.  I was sooo excited to try them.  We bought three different kinds:  Churro, Black & White and a Chocolate cupcake.  So how did they taste?   To sum it up in one word:  PHENOMENAL.  I am not joking when I say these are possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had  (aside from Red’s Cupcakes, of course!).  The cake was perfect, moist and tender and just divine.

The frosting was another thing altogether…I LOVED It.  The moment I tasted it, I was in heaven!  It was silky smooth and not at all sugary or greasy.  It reminded me of a Swiss or Italian buttercream but not quite the same.  I couldn’t put my finger on it so of course I had to ask the owner what it was!  Sure enough she said it was her version of a Swiss buttercream but without the egg whites.  So, her own recipe.  I TOTALLY wanted to ask her for it, but refrained.  But I still might.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we did rank the cupcakes.  Honestly, it was almost a three-way tie because they were all soooo good that it was hard to choose but for me, my favorite was the Churro.  It had swirls of cinnamon and sugar in the cake and a dreamy vanilla frosting…it was beyond scrumptious.   The Black & White was my second favorite and then Chocolate was third.  But like I said, ALL were excellent.  I’m only sad that they are 8 hours away.

If you are in the area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking this place out.  Or if you have already, I’d love to hear your feedback!

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Bake a Cake Inside an Orange

Did you know you could bake a cake inside an orange?!  Over a campfire, no less?!?!  I wouldn’t have believed it myself but according to this little tidbit on lifehacker.com it’s a REAL THING.  All you need is cake batter, an orange, some foil and an open flame and voila!  Cake!  I happen to love chocolate and orange combos so I will totally be trying this in the near future!  See the full instructions here.

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July 4th Cakes!

Happy July 4th!  How are you celebrating today?  We have zero plans today (except staying inside in the air conditioning!) and then we’re heading to a get-together our church is putting on with bbq, games for kids and of course, fireworks!  I will say fireworks are making me extremely nervous this year with the dry conditions and potential for fire but I’m just gonna try to relax and not freak out and tackle every little kid I see with a sparkler too near to grass.   Hopefully I’ve done enough preaching to all my friends and family on Facebook.  I’m sure they just loooooove me and my paranoid ways right now.  Oh well!

Anyway, onto a more pleasant topic:  CAKE.  I love cake…cheesecake, ice cream cake, cake-cake, cupcakes, cheesecake-cakes…you get the point.   And these patriotic cakes are perfect for July 4th, whether you’re celebrating today or this weekend.

Have a safe and fun holiday!

July 4th Bundt Cake

Berry Star Cheesecake

Hidden Flag Cake

Red, White and Blue Sprinkles Cake

Simple Star Cake

Berry Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

Flag Ice Cream Cake

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Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake

A few days ago I posted some dreamy ice cream treats, one of which happened to be a Strawberry Icebox Cake.  As I mentioned in that post, I have wanted to make an icebox cake forever and decided that now was the time!  Add in the fact that I had been OBSESSING about making something with blueberries and lemon and voila!  This delicious dessert was born.

So, was an icebox cake everything I thought it would be?  Ummm, YES.  And more.  I can see why these things were so popular with our grandma’s back in the day…super simple to make and unbelievably delicious.  Once the cake sets overnight, the layers of graham crackers get perfectly soft and the thick, whipped cream filling is almost mousse like sandwiched between everything.

In my humble opinion this is THE perfect summertime treat…simple, gorgeous and bursting with fresh blueberry and lemon flavor!  Enjoy!

Note:  If you don’t like lemon, feel free to omit it or substitute almond flavor, etc.  It’s a very versatile recipe!

Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 6 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 T. Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice (2 large lemons)
  • 4 t. Finely Grated Lemon Zest (2 large lemons)
  • 12 Whole Sheets of Graham Crackers
  • 4 c. Fresh Blueberries (reserve about ½ c. for garnishing the top of the cake)
Instructions
  1. Line a large, 6½x11x4-inch loaf pan with foil, letting the foil hang over either end of the pan to use as "handles". Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a chilled bowl of an electric mixer (I chill my bowl and my whipping beater in the freezer for at least 30 minutes), whip 3 cups of the heavy whipping cream on high speed until thick and slightly stiff. Beat in ¾ cup powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of vanilla. Beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
To Assemble
  1. Spread a layer of whipped cream in the bottom of your pan. Place 4 sheets of the graham crackers on top of the whipped cream (they may overlap a bit in the middle and that's ok). Cover the graham crackers in another layer of whipped cream and cover the whipped cream with a layer of blueberries. Gently spread a layer of whipped cream over the blueberries. Cover with 4 more sheets of graham crackers, a layer of whipped cream, blueberries, whipped cream and 4 more sheets of graham crackers. Cover with foil and let set in the fridge for 24 hours.
  2. Before inverting the cake onto a plate, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until thick and stiff. Add the remaining ¼ c. powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of vanilla. Place a large plate or platter over the top of the loaf pan and gently flip over. Carefully remove the pan and then gently and slowly peel away the foil. Quickly cover the cake with the whipped cream (see note below) and garnish with reserved blueberries. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 10. Note: I only covered the top of my cake with the fresh whipped cream because I thought all the layers were pretty and wanted them to show.

 

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Simple Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe was inspired my two things:  1.  The abundance of strawberries AND strawberry recipes right now and 2. my brand spankin’ new cupcake carrier!  That’s right, I FINALLY am the proud owner of a collapsible cupcake carrier (yes, I had to improvise for quite awhile to transport them!) all thanks to my boss.  A couple of weeks ago it was Administrative Assistant’s Day and my boss was out of town so obviously I knew I wouldn’t get anything and it wasn’t a big deal to me.  But he got back the Friday of that week and when I came back from lunch, this beauty was sitting on my desk.  Ain’t she purty?  And can I just say this thing ROCKS??  It’s both a cake and a cupcake carrier.  I was a little skeptical it would work, but it totally does and I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have one yet!

As for the recipe, do you know how hard it is to find a strawberry cake recipe that doesn’t call for strawberry Jello and a white cake mix?  It’s dang near impossible!  But a couple of years ago and did manage to find one and for the life of me I can’t remember the website I got the recipe from but all I know is it’s titled Katie’s Strawberry Cake, so whoever Katie is, thank you!!  I was so happy when I found the recipe that I made it three times within two weeks…yes, it’s that good.

The method of this cake is a little different because you beat the butter into the dry ingredients and then add the liquid but have no doubt, it totally works.  I absolutely loved these cupcakes…there were small pieces of fresh strawberry in every other bite and the chocolate cream cheese frosting was to-die-for.  The only thing I’d do different is maybe just leave the chocolate out of the frosting next time and do a plain, vanilla cream cheese frosting, as the strawberry cake is such a delicate flavor it almost overpowers it.  But it’s still delicious.

If you are looking for a true “from scratch” strawberry cake, look no further!  This one definitely fits the bill.

Simple Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Ingredients
Strawberry Cupcakes
  • 1 c. Strawberry Puree, room temperature (see below for recipe)
  • ¼ c. Whole Milk, room temperature
  • 6 Large Egg Whites, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2¼ c. Cake Flour
  • 1¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 12 T. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 1" chunks
Strawberry Puree
  • 2 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1, 8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold
  • ¼ c. Crisco
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 5 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
Instructions
For the Strawberry Puree
  1. Place strawberries and sugar in food processor or blender and puree.
For the Strawberry Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, egg, vanilla and whisk well. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk thoroughly. Beat the butter into the dry ingredients on low speed and mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
  3. Add liquids to the butter/flour mixture and beat a medium speed for about one minutes or until evenly combined. Stop mixer, scrape down sides of bowl and beat for 30 more seconds. Place three tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin.
  4. Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for a few minutes and then remove from pans and let cool completely.
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream the butter, shortening, cream cheese, salt and extracts on medium speed until combined. Beat in the powdered sugar and then the melted chocolate and beat until combined (do NOT overbeat or the cream cheese will break down). Frost cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Notes
Makes 24 cupcakes.

 

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