Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a super decadent, rich, absolutely DELICIOUS and most importantly HEALTHY chocolate cake–look no further! I can honestly say this is maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and I can only guess it has something to do with the crazy amount of avocado in it! Yes, avocado!

I just love avocado. Although you’d NEVER guess it was in this cake. All you’ll taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Oh and some strawberry. ūüėČ Avocado is so great for chocolate desserts, like this Chocolate Avocado Pudding and I’ve also seen chocolate frosting recipes that use it in place of butter although I have yet to try it myself! It really is the ultimate super food!

What makes this cake even better is the fact that it is totally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free! Enjoy a big ‘ole slice without any guilt!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Author: 
Category: Cake
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3 c. Chopped Avocado (4-5 large), pureed
  • ¬ĺ c. Xylitol
  • ¬ĺ c. Sucanat
  • ¬ľ c. Agave (optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¬Ĺ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¬Ĺ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or use another ¬Ĺ cup regular)
  • ¬Ĺ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Espresso Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks (optional)
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1, 14.5 oz. Canned Full-Fat Coconut Cream, chilled in fridge (unopened) for at least 5-8 hours or overnight
  • 2-3 T. Refined Coconut Oil, softened
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. Agave
  • 2 Packets Truvia (or use couple teaspoons of powdered stevia, etc)
Other
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • ¬Ĺ c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks, melted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, round 9x9-inch pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the avocado puree, xylitol, sucanat and agave until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans--it will be VERY thick. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  1. Place the metal bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (if you don’t have an electric mixer, a bowl and whisk should work as well).
  2. Place the thick cream part of the chilled coconut milk (you can just discard the liquid if there is any or save for smoothies, etc) into the chilled electric mixer bowl and whisk the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, agave and truvia on medium/high speed until fully combined and thick. Refrigerate or use immediately on cake.
To Assemble
  1. Remove chilled cakes from pans and peel away parchment paper. Put one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Spread ¬Ĺ of the whipped on the first cake layer.
  2. Top with the second cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped Cream
  3. Place strawberry slices around the outer edge and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

 

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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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Red Velvet Funnel Cake

My niece is a genius. ¬†Yes, she is one of the sharpest, brightest, most creative and beautiful little girls I know. ¬†But I’ve now confirmed she is a CULINARY genius as well. ¬†My sister-in-law, Rachel, had mentioned a loooong time ago that Joslyn misunderstood something she said once and mistakenly thought that she and Rachel were going to make red velvet funnel cakes, instead of cupcakes. ¬† Ummm, can you say brilliant?!? ¬†I immediately tucked the idea away in the back of my mind knowing one day I’d get around to it and I am so happy to finally announce that day has come!

Now I’ve only made funnel cakes once in my life when I was a kid and I seemed to remember it being fairly easy and so, so fun and most of all extremely YUMMY. ¬†The same can pretty much be said this time around but I must have forgotten how MESSY it was. ¬†Umm, yes, this was messy. ¬†I’m just going to be honest–get a funnel cake pitcher. ¬†There’s a reason they make these, people. ¬†Do not attempt to use a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (like I did) or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off. ¬†I basically had to hold my finger over the hole of the tip while Jeremy poured the batter into the pastry bag (it turned out to be a VERY loose batter) and then release it into the oil ¬†Don’t get me wrong…it worked. ¬†Oh it totally worked. ¬†But messy? ¬†Yes. ¬†And I HATE messy. ¬†As a matter of fact, you could probably even use an empty, clean ketchup bottle which I know a lot of people do for pancake batter, which has a very similar consistency and would be much more controllable. ¬†If only I had thought of that before…

Besides the messy factor, this red velvet funnel cake was super easy to mix up, required an absurd amount of red food dye (eek!) and was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS with a generous amount of powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream and fresh blueberries.  And if you want just a plain funnel cake but still want to be patriotic, just dye the basic recipe red or blue and voila!  I think it is such a fun dessert for the 4th of July!

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Funnel Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ⅓ c. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1¾ c. Buttermilk
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Red Food Dye (lots)
  • 1 Bottle Vegetable Oil (I used 7 cups)
  • Powdered Sugar, Ice Cream, Blueberries, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. And the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until smooth. Add the red food dye until you have the red color you desire (I used about half of a 1 oz. bottle).
  2. Pour the oil into a large skillet. Heat oil until a thermometer reaches at least 290 degrees (even though the original recipe called for 360 degrees, mine only ever got to 290 so I went with it and it worked). Release the batter into the oil while making a circular motion. Mine were pretty large, about 7-8 inches in diameter. Fry for about two minutes until it no longer looks raw. Using large tongs, grab the funnel cake in the middle (NOT the edges..they are crisp and could break) and gently turn over. Fry for one more minute and then place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up additional grease. Dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar and top with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and blueberries.
Notes
Makes 5 large funnel cakes. Note: This is NOT a sweet funnel cake, which is why I recommend topping it with a generous amount of the powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, etc...it pairs perfectly with those things.

 

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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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Pecan Pie Trifle

Ok, I’ve got one more last, LAST minute Thanksgiving day dessert! ¬†It’s a Pecan Pie Trifle–layers of chunked pecan pie, whipping cream/cream cheese mixture, fudge, caramel and toasted pecans. ¬†Doesn’t that sound like pure evil?! ¬†Well, it is! ¬†Very rich, delicious evil.

You can make the cream cheese mixture or go really simple and do just homemade (or even store bought…I suppose) whipped cream, which I think I might do next time to cut back on the richness of it. ¬†And I also did a ganache and homemade salted caramel sauce which I highly suggest doing but when your short on time a store bought, high-quality hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce will work just fine!

Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Trifle
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1, 2-lb. Frozen Pecan Pie, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ c. Chocolate Fudge Sauce (or ganache)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
Instructions
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. In a very cold mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream at high speed until it becomes thick and stiff. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in ¾ of the homemade whipped cream.
To Assemble:
  1. Place ⅓ of the pie cubes in the bottom of a large trifle dish or clear, tall glass bowl. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the pie cubes, drizzle with ⅓ of both sauces and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat two more times, leaving a couple of tablespoons of both sauces and pecans to use for decoration. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the top and drizzle with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake

My original intent for this post was that it would be a recipe for pumpkin BROWNIES (or blondies..whatever) but about a quarter of the way through whipping these up I realized that I was not going to end up with the dense, chewy, pumpkin-y brownies I was dreaming of but most likely, a cake.  And I was right.  I was definitely a little disappointed at first but got over it pretty quickly after my first bite.

It was probably one of the most moist pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had and so wonderfully spiced. ¬†It’s good enough to stand on it’s own without frosting but would most certainly be even more awesome with a layer of cream cheese frosting or a dollop of homemade whipped cream. ¬†I took it to a family function and didn’t bring any home, so that’s a good sign! ¬†So, I suppose it worked out but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin brownie recipe!

Enjoy!

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Spiced Pumpkin Cake
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and beat into wet ingredients just until combined.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Notes
Serves 18. *I also put an 11 oz. bag of butterscotch chips in these but since they weren't thick like brownies, they all sunk to the bottom half of the cake. So, it's up to you if you want to add them or not.

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St. Louis and Cheesecake

This weekend I went to the Joyce Meyer conference in St. Louis with a few other lovely ladies. ¬†I’ve been several times before and it’s always a wonderful time of awesome music and challenging teaching. ¬†It’s also a great time to sneak in some shopping and splurge on some good eating out! ¬† On Friday, our sessions were at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. so during that gap me, my sister Hannah and friend Nicole high-tailed it to the Galleria for a marathon shopping session.

One of our stops was Urban Outfitters where I found these Kitty Cat Measuring Cups.  I am a HUGE cat person, so I pretty much died when I saw them.  I still regret not getting them.

I also came across this toothpaste at Urban Outfitters. ¬†As much as I love cupcakes, I’m not sure I want to brush my teeth with them. ¬†That just seems…wrong.

After the last session on Saturday, we went back to the Galleria for the Cheesecake Factory. ¬†I know, I know it’s a chain and all but I’m sorry, I love the place. ¬†We had some awesome salads and then left.

Just kidding! ¬†Well, we did have salads but we most certainly ordered cheesecake too! ¬†And no, we didn’t share a piece, we each got our own piece. ¬†That’s right. ¬†Total gluttony. ¬†And it was sooooo worth it. ¬†Here is a picture of all three of them taken with my crappy cell phone.

And here are some beautiful stock photos of what we got.  Much better.

My sister Hannah got Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake. ¬†It. Is. So. Good. ¬†Layers of carrot cake, vanilla cheesecake, cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. ¬†Amazing.

I got the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake which consisted of Raspberry-Vanilla Cake, Creamy Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lady Fingers and Lemon Mousse. ¬†It didn’t have the lady fingers and didn’t quite look like this photo and wasn’t really my favorite, BUT it was good. ¬†Just not my favorite.

What was my favorite? ¬†My friend Nicole’s choice, the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake. ¬†OMG. ¬†I know that phrase is overused but seriously, OMG. ¬†It was so, so, so good…a yummy brownie crust with a hint of coffee in the uber-creamy cheesecake filling and some seriously rich chocolate mousse and ganache on top. ¬†I was *this close* to choosing the Kahlua cheesecake and I was KICKING myself for changing my mind at the last minute. ¬†However, Nicole couldn’t quite finish all of her piece so like the good friend I am, I volunteered to help her out.

I had such a great weekend and was so sad to see it end but I’m thankful for the girl time and most importantly, God time. ¬†And now, I’m gonna shut down my computer on this dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon and hold my husband’s hand as he rides the emotional rollercoaster that is fantasy football. ¬†Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday evening.

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Banana Splits

Today is National Banana Split Day! ¬†Woo hoo, get excited! ¬†Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of banana splits…I mean, if I’m going to have ice cream, I don’t want anything even remotely healthy going on or in it. ¬†Give me the sugary, fatty bad stuff all the way. ¬†But then I came upon these banana split inspired recipes and OMG I am drooling all over my keyboard. ¬†Talk about decadent, over-the-top, gloriously evil, sweet temptation!

Enjoy!  And try to keep the drooling to a minimum.

Banana Split Cake

Banana Split Truffles

Banana Split Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Banana Split Cupcakes

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Cherry Crumble Cake

Every time I walk into the grocery store lately, the piles upon piles of dark red, sweet Bing cherries call my name. And I ignore them. Not that I don’t like them. Oh, I love them. But they are too dang expensive! Until a couple of days ago that is. I walked in and behold, they were half the normal cost! Hello! I immediately bagged some up and high-tailed it home to bake. Naturally.

I already had a recipe in mind:¬† Cherry Crumble Cake.¬† Does that not sound divine?¬† Sweet, juicy cherries mixed into a moist cake, topped with a brown sugar and butter crumb topping…mmmm mmm mmm!¬† And it was very, very good.¬† There were cherries in every bite and their flavor really came through the mild and not overly-sweet cake.¬† Reminded me of my mom’s apple cake that I absolutely love.¬† One thing I didn’t care for was how crumbly the crumble topping was.¬† It just kind of fell off the cake whenever it was cut so next time I think I’ll do a whole stick of butter instead of a half and that should take care of it.¬† I also whipped up some almond whipped cream to go with it, but some good quality vanilla ice cream would be just as good.

If you’ve been wanting to bake with some of those beautiful cherries but not sure what to do, give this recipe a try.¬† Delicious!

(See original recipe here.)

Cherry Crumble Cake
Author: 
Category: Dessert
12-15
 
Ingredients
  • Crumble Topping
  • 1 c. AP Flour
  • 2 T. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • Cake
  • 1 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ½ c. Sour Cream, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T. Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room termperature
  • 1¼ lb. Whole Bing Cherries, stemmed, pitted and quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-inch round, springform pan (or 9-inch square).
  3. For the crumble topping, in a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or fork (or your fingers--that's what I find easiest), blend in butter until it has the consistency of crumbs. Set aside.
  4. For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
  6. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat just until combined.
  7. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold cherries into the batter.
  9. Spoon batter into the pan and smooth the top. Spread half of the crumble topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Stir pecans into remaining crumble topping and spread over the cake. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes more.
  11. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes and serve.

 

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Strawberry Daiquiri Pie

Holy heck it’s hot outside!¬† I’m interrupting this non-stop Florida dessert roundup to bring you guys a deliciously creamy, super dreamy, frozen sweet treat.¬† I¬† know there is someone out there that is dying from the heat and needs an easy dessert for supper that requires minimal oven use or none at all.¬† I have just the thing!¬† This Strawberry Daiquiri Pie has a grand total of seven ingredients (if you make everything from scratch) and the crust only bakes for 10 minutes in the oven.¬† Yay!

The original recipe here on Allrecipes.com calls for a store-bought graham cracker crust and Cool Whip so feel free to use those if you want but if I’m gonna indulge, I want the best possible ingredients!¬† Also, you could easily make this a Pina Colada pie by using a different mixer and pineapple instead of strawberry or whatever flavor suits your fancy.¬† Pina Colada honestly sounded really good but I went with strawberry…I’m a sucker for pretty pink desserts.

Stay cool and enjoy!

Strawberry Daiquiri Pie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18-20
 
Ingredients
  • 9 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (10 oz.) Can Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Mix, slightly thawed (I used Bacardi's..it was in the frozen juice section)
  • 1 c. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped, with ½ c.+2 T. Powdered Sugar and 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together in a bowl and pat down evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the strawberry daiquiri mix and sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in 3 cups of the whipped cream. Spread evenly into the pan, on top of the crust.
  4. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 6-7 hours. Remove from pan, slice and serve immediately.
  5. Garnish with strawberries and the remaining cup of whipped cream.

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Modica Market

One of my families stops in Florida is a little place called Seaside.¬† This is a richy-rich little community that we like to visit and pretend we actually live in but know good and well that we can’t afford the 500 square foot, ocean view house that is somewhere around $1.2 million.¬† But one can dream.¬† And we also like to visit all the quaint shops in the area.¬† Lots of restaurants, clothes boutiques and art galleries.

There’s also a fun little store called Modica Market that sells some of the prettiest and unique food you’ll ever see.¬† The shelves are loaded with imported oils and canned goods.¬† The deli and bakery cases hold the most mouth-watering sandwiches, seafood, cold salads, cakes and baked goods you’ll ever lay eyes on.¬† Pretty much, you want one of each. Of everything.

I, of course, chose two slices of cake, one called Sunshine Orange Cake and the other was Caramel Cake.  The caramel cake was three layers of a super dense golden vanilla cake with the most yummy caramel layered in between and all around it.  The Sunshine Orange Cake consisted of three layers of made-from-scratch orange cake, layered with orange buttercream and topped with white chocolate ganache, orange whipped cream and mini white chocolate chips.

These cakes did not disappoint and we savored every bite!¬† Good thing that place is nowhere near where I live or I’d be in trouble.¬† Next up…Tommy Bahamas!

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Homemade Whipped Cream

Did you know that before there was Cool Whip people actually made homemade whipped cream in their very own homes?¬† It’s true.¬† And although you may think that there is no reason to ever make your own homemade whipped cream when you can simply wander down an aisle in the freezer section of your grocery store, pick out a tub and purchase it for mere dollars, you are wrong my friend.¬† So very, very wrong.¬† You see, there are many things that are mass produced and sold in grocery aisles that are simply an impostor of the real thing.¬†¬† Whipped cream is one of those things. In it’s homemade form it is creamy, thick, sweet and void of all the artificial junk in Cool Whip.¬† It is simply divine and way too easy to eat buy the spoonful.

And let me tell you it is EASY to make.¬† I am not kidding.¬† I don’t know why people automatically assume things like this are hard, but they are not.¬† And once you try it, you’ll never go back to store bought.¬† Below I’ve given you my recipe for homemade whipped cream and a few suggestions for uses and how to take it to the next level, beyond vanilla.

Enjoy!

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

3 1/2 T. Powder Sugar

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions

Place your mixer bowl and whip into the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  You want it to be as cold as possible when you whip your cream.  Place the heavy whipping cream in your mixer and whip it on high until it is thick and stiff. Add sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Makes about 2 cups whipped cream.

Tips and Uses

-Feel free to add more or less sugar depending on how sweet your prefer your whipped cream.¬† Just remember, you can always add more of something but you can’t take away, so add in small increments whether sugar, flavorings, spices, etc.

-You can use homemade whipped cream in any recipe that calls for Cool Whip.  Top pies with it, use it for dipping fruit, cookies, etc.  Also makes a yummy frosting for cupcakes and cakes.

Variations

-I made a chocolate amaretto whipped cream by simply adding a bit of cocoa powder and almond extract.  SO good.

-Cinnamon, Nutmeg, other spices

-Oils and Extracts (LorAnn Oils is great–find them in craft stores or buy online)

-Lemon, Lime or Orange Zest

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Black Forest Cake

A couple of weeks ago the sun was shining, birds were singing and people were cruising around with their windows down and hair blowing in the wind.  Naturally, this kind of weather called for grilling!  So we headed over to my in-laws house to chow down on some grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  Our contribution to the meal was a cake and not just any cake but a Black Forest Cake!  My aunt Tammy used to make this cake years ago and someone mentioned it the other day which sparked the memory of cakes past and got my mouth watering.  So since I had never made one I decided it was time.  Here are a few pics of it all coming together.

Cherries

Chopped chocolate

Cherries and chocolate…these are a few of my most favorite things.

Cakes coming out of oven

All the yummy layers.

2 Layers

More 2 layers

4 layers

Attempting to frost with the whipped cream–quite the challenge.

Frosting

More frosting

And the finished product!

Finished close up

Finished

So, a few things I learned.

1. This cake requires a great deal of patience.  While not difficult, it is time consuming to make all of the components and put it all  together.

2.¬† Whipped cream doesn’t make the best frosting.¬† Don’t get me wrong it looks pretty and tastes amazing but what a pain in the butt to put on!¬† I will probably frost the sides with a dark chocolate frosting next time and leave the whipped cream for the layers and the top of the cake.

3.¬† Never throw an almost completed cake in the trash no matter how badly you want to!¬† I had just a few issues with the cake (little lopsided, some “juicing” out the bottom, difficulty frosting, etc) and I really thought it was just no good but thankfully my husband talked me off the ledge and boy am I glad he did!¬† The cake was soooo good!

I haven’t made a lot of cakes in my time (this was probably the third?) but it’s always a learning experience and the finished product is definitely worth the effort!

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients

2 1/8 c All-Purpose Flour
2 c White Sugar
3/4 c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
3/4 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Salt
3 Eggs
1 c Milk
1/2 c Vegetable Oil
1 T Pure Vanilla Extract
3, 14.5 oz Cans Pitted Sour Cherries, drained with juice reserved
1 c White Sugar
1/4 c. Cornstarch
1/4-1/2 c Kirsch

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two, 9 in. round cake pans and line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat until well blended.  Divide batter evenly into two pans and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Loosen edges and remove to racks to cool completely.

Combine 1/2 c. reserved juice, cherries, 1 c sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.  (Be patient, it will take awhile)  Stir in vanilla and cool.  Move to fridge to speed up cooling.  Stir in kirsch.

(While cake and cherries are cooling, make simple syrup, ganache and whipped cream.  See recipes below.)

Split each cake layer horizontally.  Place one cake layer on cake plate/stand.  Brush on simple syrup with a pastry brush.  Spread on thin layer of ganache.  Cover with layer of whipped cream and then cherries.  Repeat with next three layers, but instead of spreading cherries on top layer, first frost the whole cake with the whipped cream and let firm up in freezer.  Apply final frosting of whipped cream and then spread the cherries into center of the top of cake and pipe whipped cream around the edges.  Decorate sides with chopped chocolate.  Or frost sides with chocolate buttercream instead of whipped cream.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Simple Syrup

1/2 c Juice (from drained cherries)
1/2 c White Sugar
1/4 c. Kirsch

Simmer juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add kirsch after syrup has cooled.

Ganache

12 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c Heavy Whipping Cream

Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool completely.

Whipped Cream

5 c Heavy Whipping Cream
1 c Powder Sugar
3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

Chill mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and place heavy whipping cream in mixing bowl.  Whip on high speed until cream thickens.  Add powder sugar and vanilla extract.

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