Milk Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing

Milk Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing

On Labor Day some friends of our came over for dinner and I made a Milk Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing for dessert. Growing up this icing was paired with a chocolate cake on my father’s birthday, only then we called it German Chocolate. I’m not quite sure why it was called that, given German Chocolate cakes normally have coconut added into the mix and the icing is a bit different, but it was something we did every year and my mom still does for my dad now most years.

When I moved out into the world I started making this cake more often than just once a year. No matter who I’ve served it to, it’s normally a hit. I’ve adapted it slightly as time has passed and I no longer use a cake mix, but make a cake from scratch now too. This definitely is a crowd pleaser. It’s sweet, rich and oh so sinful, but sometimes you just need a little sin on a plate!

What You’ll Need for the Cake:
1 – 11.5 ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
1 stick of butter
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 cup of organic cane sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 3/4 cup of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a glass bowl in the microwave melt chocolate and butter together until smooth. (Note: My microwave has a chocolate melting setting. If yours does not, you can use a double boiler or you can melt the chocolate on medium power in your microwave at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.) Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large glass bowl stir together flour, sea salt, baking powder and sugar until well mixed. (Note: If you want to go to the trouble of sifting this you can, but I have a strict don’t sift unless you just have to rule and for a cake you really don’t have to! ;oP) Once the dry mixture is mixed add eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and melted chocolate and stir until completely incorporated.

Now is the fun part…What shape cake do you want to make? You can make a 13 X 9 inch sheet cake, you can make a round cake, you can make a square cake or you can even make cupcakes! I chose to make a square cake and used 2 – 8 inch square pans.

Spray your pan(s) generously with non-stick spray and pour the batter evenly into your pan(s). If you are using two pans then make sure the batter is spread evenly between the two pans…If you are making cupcakes fill each hole no more than 2/3 of the way full. Place your pan(s) into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until cake sticks done and remove from oven. (Note: Cupcakes would take roughly 20-30 minutes.)

Let cakes cool in the pan(s) for roughly 10 minutes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Cool completely and then ice or frost.

Notes: You can use any kind of chocolate that you like. I had milk chocolate on hand, but semi or dark will work fine too.

What You’ll Need for the Caramel Icing:
2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups of natural brown sugar
1 cup of half and half or heavy cream
4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted (Note: If your powdered sugar isn’t lumpy then you can skip this step…As I mentioned above I’m about the not sifting unless you just have to! ;))
1 tablespoon of vanilla (optional)

Note: This mixture has to be cooled before you make the icing so you can make it well before you bake the cake or while you’re baking the cake. But it must be completely cooled before the icing is made.)

In a medium sized pot melt butter and sugar with half and half or heavy cream until completely melted. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla if desired. Set aside and let cool completely to room temperature.

Once mixture is cooled, add to the bowl of a mixer or using a hand mixer, add powdered sugar and beat until thick and spreadable. Use icing to ice the cooled Milk Chocolate Cake.

Notes: Given the base of this icing is butter on a hot day it can not want to cooperate. Store in the fridge if you have the room to keep it from running. If you can’t get it to set up then add more powdered sugar 1/4 of a cup at a time until it gets thick.

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Sunday we’re having some friends and their son over for lunch and a play date. They are bringing some fruit with them so I thought it would be nice to have something to go along with that. I thought about making an angel food cake, but then decided pound cake was more wintery. I’m not sure why I think that, but I do.

This pound cake is lemony and tender. The sour cream gives it just the right moistness, while the cake flour makes it light and airy, yet still substantial. Top it with some fruit and whipped cream and you’ve got the perfect dessert! This makes two pound cakes so one will be for tomorrow and the other will go in the freezer for another time.

What You’ll Need:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
The zest of one lemon
The juice of one lemon
4 eggs
1 cup of sour cream
3 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add lemon zest and lemon juice to butter/sugar mixture and mix until combined well combined. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Next add sour cream and mix until combined. Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix until creamy.

Pour batter into two loaf pans that have been buttered and floured or sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until loaves stick done. Make sure not to over bake.

Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes and then turn out and let cool the rest of the way on a wire wrack.

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Notes: You can add in poppy seeds for a lemon poppy seed variation. You can leave out the lemon and add in vanilla for a Vanilla Pound Cake. Another variation would be substituting 1/2 cup of cocoa powder for 1/2 cup of cake flour for a Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Jamison loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting and as today is his birthday Alexis and I made him a cake for a surprise when he got home from work last night . This is the ultimate comfort food. Cake, chocolate…What’s not to like?

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in the microwave in a large bowl. Dump the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix well, but not too much or the cake will be tough. Pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish or two round or square cake pans for a layer cake that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake sticks clean when poked with a toothpick. Let cool completely and then cover with frosting.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

What You’ll Need For The Frosting:
4 sticks butter, softened
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add cream, salt and vanilla to the creamed butter until mixed well. Add cocoa to butter mixture and mix on low speed until completely mixed. Slowly add sugar until completely incorporated and frosting forms. Spread over cooled cake.

Notes: You could always add in mini chocolate chips into the frosting for an extra treat. Or if you wanted to do a German Chocolate type deal you could add chopped pecans and coconut into the frosting and top a chocolate cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache And Cherries

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache And Cherries

When we got Guinness for Saint Patrick’s Day cooking we had to buy a 6-pack since they wouldn’t let you buy just one. We’re not really stout drinkers (or beer either) so I still have 5 bottles in my fridge. My sister sent me a link to a Chocolate Stout Cake made by Smitten Kitchen and I thought it looked like something I might want to play with and I did just that. I tweaked the ingredients a little, added some cherries and voila…Yummy Chocolate Guinness goodness! Seriously this cake is scrumptious! You must try it!

Now I’ve got 4 bottles of Guinness left…I wonder what Guinness Hush Puppies or battered fish would taste like? And I also want to try Murphys Brown Bread and Guinness Ice Cream recipe, but I may just have to go try it in person too when we’re there in October/November. That takes care of two more bottles. Maybe I’ll just have to make a few of the recipes twice! 😉

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1 cup of Guinness
2 sticks of butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of dark brown natural sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt Guinness, butter and cocoa over medium heat. Bring to a slow boil and cook until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally to ensure no scorching. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a large bowl mix flour, sugars, baking powder and sea salt and set aside.

In a small bowl beat together sour cream and eggs. Slowly add cooled chocolate mix to sour cream mixture stirring constantly to ensure that the eggs do not curdle and the mixture is mixed thoroughly. Add to flour mixture and stir until just mixed. Pour batter into a Bundt pan that has been sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning cake out onto a large plate. Let cake cool completely.

What You’ll Need For the Ganache:
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of half and half
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

Melt chocolate chips and sugar in half and half until smooth. Pour over the top of the cooled Chocolate Guinness Cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Ganache

Note: I would have liked to have served fresh or frozen cherries with this cake, but for some reason I didn’t have any in the fridge or freezer, which is totally unlike me. I did however have a can of light cherry pie filling that was still in date, which was totally unlike me, though I don’t remember buying any, so I used that instead. If you wanted to make a cherry topping you could cook 2 cups of cherries with 1/4 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to thicken a bit. You could also top the cake with fresh whipped cream, but I didn’t have any of that on hand yesterday either. Not a stellar fridge or freezer day for me yesterday to say the least! 😉

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcake

Every year for Easter I make a bunny cake. This tradition has become even more fun now that Alexis is here and can help out. This year I decided to make bunny cupcakes after seeing the idea on the Betty Crocker website instead of a big cake. I however made cupcakes from scratch and also my own icing and tweaked their idea more than a little. The resulting creation turned out to be adorable and delicious! What more can you ask for?

Bunny Cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Measure oil in to a large bowl. Dump the yogurt/sour cream, sugar, vanilla, eggs and buttermilk in to the bowl and mix well. Stir in baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. Pour batter into a muffin pan that has been lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cupcakes stick done.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes depending on how big you like your cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Icing:
(This is my variation of Wilton’s classic decorating icing.)
2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Buy a variety that is trans-fat free such as Spectrum.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of pure almond extract
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons water (Optional)
Food coloring for tinting (Optional)

Cream together shortening, vanilla and almond. Slowly add sugar and beat until smooth. If needed add water to smooth out the icing. To tint icing add food coloring one drop at a time and mix thoroughly until desired color is reached. For this recipe remove some white icing before you tint the remaining batch so you will have it for your bunny faces.

What You’ll Need For Decorations:
Chocolate chips
Licorice
Candy dots
Chocolate jimmies
Colored jimmies
Marshmallows
Sugar sprinkles
Etc.

Bunny Cupcake

After the cupcakes have cooled coat each cake with a base coat of icing in the color of your choice. Alexis wanted to do purple, and it was purple when we tinted it, but it turned blue as the icing set. After you have each cupcake covered then using a large decorating tip pipe a white area of icing to be the bunnies face. Take large marshmallows and cut into three circles with a pair of scissors. Cut each circle into half and then press into the colored sugar of your choice and affix into the white icing at the top to make ears. Use two chocolate chips for eyes, a candy dot for a nose, jimmies or licorice for whiskers and colored jimmies for the mouth. Voila! Easter bunny cupcakes!

Kerry Apple Cake With Caramel Irish Cream Sauce And Whipped Cream

Kerry Apple Cake With Caramel Irish Cream Sauce And Whipped Cream

Here is another one of the Irish recipes I made to try yesterday. The cake itself is an Irish recipe I found a while back (with a few tweaks as always! ;o)) and I came up with the sauce myself. The cake is good warm or cooled and it has a wonderful cinnamon kick!

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1 and 3/4 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
4 eggs
The zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 apples, chopped into small cubes

Kerry Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest until creamy. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour and stir until just mixed. Stir in apples and mix until incorporated throughout the batter.

Pour into a Bundt pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until cake is golden brown and sticks clean with a toothpick.

Turn cake out onto a plate as soon as you bring it out of the oven.

Let cool or eat warm, it’s good either way!

Kerry Apple Cake

What You’ll Need For The Sauce:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons of natural brown sugar
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel (or regular Bailey’s is fine too!)

In a medium sauce pan add ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and let cool before serving.

Drizzle over each slice of cake and top with whipped cream.

Pineapple “Pudding” Cake

Pineapple "Pudding" Cake

This cake was one my mom made often when my sister and I were children and I loved it! She took it to a lot of church pot lucks and things of that nature. I never really understood why it had pudding in the title since there is no actual pudding in the cake, thus the quotes. This is my take on yet another of my Mom’s classics. It’s moist, fruity and delicious!

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple packed in juice, undrained (If you don’t have crushed pineapple or tidbits, you can take a 20 ounce can of chunk pineapple and process it in your food processor.)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt until incorporated. Dump in remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

What You’ll Need For The “Icing”:
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

While the cake is baking add sugar, butter and cream to a sauce pot. Melt butter and then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let sit until cake comes out of the oven.

When you remove the cake from the oven pour “icing” mixture over cake immediately.

You can serve this cake warm or cooled. It’s delicious either way!

Pineapple "Pudding" Cake

Hot Fudge Cake

Hot Fudge Cake

Most people will agree that an ooey, gooey chocolate dessert is exactly where the money is! Growing up my mom was somewhat famous amongst friends and family for her Hot Fudge Cake, which is an ooey, gooey, warm chocolate sensation. Several of my friends would specially request that she make her Hot Fudge Cake whenever they came over! My mom, being the wonderful person that she is, usually obliged.

My mom always used a chocolate cake mix, though sometimes the ice cream was homemade and sometimes it wasn’t. The hot fudge sauce was always made from scratch to bubbling perfection! But regardless of the make up it was delicious!

The olive oil, yogurt and chocolate make this chocolate cake moist, spongy and oh so chocolatey, while the hot fudge sauce gives it an even bigger chocolate punch. These two chocolate elements, paired with the vanilla ice cream, meld together to make the perfect chocolate delight and any chocolate lovers dream!

As I’ve gotten older I’ve moved away from box mixes, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop making something all together. This is my take on my Mom’s classic. It’s oh so good and oh so sinful! After all isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for in a dessert? 😉

What You’ll Need For The Ice Cream:
1/2 a quart of half and half
1 small carton of light cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of sugar
2-4 teaspoons of vanilla (Note: More if you like it really vanilla, less if you don’t)

Note: This recipe is designed to fill this ice cream maker, but you could easily double or triple it to fill a larger model.

Mix together and pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to your model’s directions. For harder ice cream after making it put in an air tight container and store in the freezer until completely firm.

What You’ll Need For The Chocolate Cake:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa (Note: I recommend Ghirardelli or Green and Black’s)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of light olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together flour through baking powder in a large bowl. Add sugar, yogurt eggs and olive oil and stir until mixed and pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake sticks done.

What You’ll Need For The Hot Fudge Sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 squares of baker’s chocolate (Note: Again I recommend Ghirardelli or Green and Black’s)
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Over medium heat melt butter and chocolate with sugar and half and half. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes stirring to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To Assemble Hot Fudge Cake:

Cut cake into squares. For each person take a piece of cake and top with a scoop of ice cream. Top ice cream with a ladle of hot chocolate sauce and serve.

ote: If you’re a chocolate lover than you could easily make this Hot Fudge Cake with chocolate ice cream for a triple chocolate punch! You could even use chocolate yogurt in place of the plain in the cake if you were just really feeling chocolatey! ;o) This cake doesn’t really need it, but you could add whipped cream and some strawberries or cherries if you wanted. You could even go crazy and add a little chocolate whipped cream! 😉