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Pistachio Cake

29 Dec

We made this cake for my daughter’s birthday this past May. Pretty sad that I am only just now getting the recipe posted. But…you guessed it…I lost it. 🙂 We decided to make brownies with the kids tonight, which sent me digging through my recipe box for my favorite gooey brownie recipe which I have, apparently, also lost. But, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon this random list of ingredients written on the back of a birthday card envelope, and I did a little happy dance. My pistachio cake!!! Better late than never. This cake (and frosting…they must, must be served together) is to die for. One of those ridiculous desserts that make your eyes roll back into your head after each bite. So good.

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Ingredients:

Cake-

1 white or vanilla cake mix

1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup water

1 cup club soda

1 (3.4oz) pkg pistachio pudding mix

Frosting-

1 cup powdered sugar

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese

1 (3.4oz) pkg pistachio pudding mix

1 cup milk

4 oz (about half a tub) cool whip

For cake: Preheat oven to 350^F. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Bake according to box instructions (cupcake: 21-24 min, bundt: 43-48 min, 13×9: 32-35 min, 2 9″: 28-31 min, 2 8″: 32-35 min). Allow to fully cool before frosting.

For frosting: Cream together powdered sugar and cream cheese. Add pudding, milk, and cool whip (add more milk if frosting is too thick for your liking).

 

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Lemon-Lover’s Cupcakes

10 Aug

School starts in 2 weeks. I am in denial. I’ll have two of my kiddos going this year – excited, but sad too! We are squeezing every last drop out of our summer  break and trying to cram in all the last bits of fun and freedom – including doing a little cupcake decorating. Does it count as decorating if you eat most of the toppings before they make it to the actual cupcake? If you love lemon (hence the name) you will love, love these babies. photo 1

 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized lemon

1 pkg plain yellow or vanilla cake mix

1 (3.4 oz) pkg lemon instant pudding

1 (6 oz, 3/4 cup) container lemon yogurt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

Grease and dust two 9″ round cake pans, or line cupcake cups with paper liners.

Rinse lemon and pat dry. Grate enough zest to measure 2 tsp. Set 1 tsp of zest aside for frosting. Cut lemon in half and squeeze out the juice – you will need 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp. Set 2 tsp of lemon juice aside for frosting.

Place cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, water, oil, eggs, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice in a large mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Divide the batter between cake pan, or fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350^F for 25-30 minutes for cakes or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Bake until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp lemon juice

Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and beat until creamy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 2 tsp lemon juice. Beat until will combined. Add 1 1/2 cups of the remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Continue to add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

 

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Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

10 Jul

The little man of our house turned one last month. Most of the time, I try to pick cakes that have white frosting so that I can color it for decorating. I finally got to do a chocolate cake! I had almost as much fun eating it as I did decorating it…almost.

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Ingredients:

Cake:

1 pkg chocolate cake mix with pudding

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

3 large eggs

Grease and dust two 9″ round cake pans. *Tip* Dust with cake mix instead of flour – you don’t get stuck with the white residue on the edges of your cake. Set pans aside.

Combine cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans. Place pans in the oven, side by side, and bake at 350^F for 28-32 minutes, until they spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar, a bit at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add vanilla and beat until frosting is fluffy.

 

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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

22 Apr

We had a little fun with our Easter cupcakes yesterday! You can’t go wrong with a strawberry cheesecake cupcake base; add a little surprise center, and top with a festive Peep (which I really hate, but look darn cute sitting on their little cupcake-birdie nest!). The kids had fun putting the eggs on, and I had fun eating all the of the cupcake centers that I had to scoop out to make the nest. 🙂 Win, win!!!

This recipe is really so easy – just a boxed cake mix with a make-over. But no one would guess it’s from a box! The star ingredient being real-life strawberries, which really makes the flavor fresh and Spring-y. I frosted them with Buttercream Frosting, but my neighbor has a spectacular strawberry frosting that I must steal and try with these…

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Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix

1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry gelatin

4 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup crushed fresh strawberries

3 large eggs

Filling:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350^F. Make cupcake batter by combining all ingredients and mixing until completely incorporated. Make filling by doing the same. Spoon or scoop about 1/4 cup of cupcake batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling it to 2/3 full. Spoon a generous Tbsp of the cheesecake filling over each cupcake. Place cupcake pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger – about 20-25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes or longer before frosting.

For Easter Nests:

Scoop out a tsp size hole in the middle of each cupcake and fill with sprinkles. Top with a candy egg. 

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Swirl frosting around egg, like a nest, and top with a Peep.

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Snickers Ice Cream Cake

18 Mar

I should be posting about the fabulously Irish dinner we had tonight, but I don’t have the pictures uploaded yet, so instead you get the equally fabulous ice cream cake we made for my husband’s birthday. Holy crap this is a rich cake! Very, very tasty and it gets an A++ for presentation. In all honesty, I think next time I will substitute the peanut butter ice cream for plain vanilla. Not that I didn’t like it, it’s just that I couldn’t even finish an entire slice because of the richness. I was done about half way through. A little less sweet, and I could have eaten half the cake – so maybe it’s a good thing I was forced into moderation. 🙂 But, keep the vanilla ice cream option in mind if you like to tone things down a little.

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Ingredients

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients required on box
1/4 cup milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
1 20 oz bottle chocolate sundae syrup
1 20 oz bottle caramel sundae syrup
1 11.5 oz bag mini snickers, chopped, divided into three groups

Instructions

NOTE: An 8-inch springform pan is best for this recipe so that you can easily remove the cake once it’s been assembled. If you do not have a springform pan, line your pan with clear wrap before adding your parchment paper and cake board. You can use the clear warp to lift your cake out of the pan once it’s assembled and frozen.
Brownies:
1. Make brownie dough according to instructions on back of box.
2. Grease two 8-inch pans (preferable springform pans, see above) and line the bottoms with parchment paper to allow for easy removal. Bake at temperature on box, reducing baking time to about 20 minutes (You can also bake 1 big brownie – which would cook for the normal time – and cut it in half, but cutting a brownie in half isn’t super easy).
3. When brownies are done baking, allow to completely cool.
Ice Cream:
1. Combine milk, cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer. Mix until completely combined.
2. Fold in the cool whip.
Assembling it all:
1. Line the sides of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper should stick up above the top edge of the pan, since the cake will probably be a little taller than your pan. If you want, put a cardboard cake circle in the bottom of the pan.
NOTE: You should be using the same 8-inch pan you used for the brownies. Not all 8-inch pans are exactly the same size. Your brownie needs to fit in this pan.
2. Put the first brownie layer in the bottom of your pan.
3. Spread 1/2 cup caramel sauce and 1/2 cup chocolate sauce over the brownie. Top with first group of chopped snickers.
4. Top with half of the peanut butter ice cream.
5. Add second brownie to the pan, on top of the ice cream.
6. Again cover with 1/2 cup caramel sauce and 1/2 cup chocolate sauce. Top with second group of chopped snickers.
7. Top with remaining peanut butter ice cream.
8. Allow ice cream cake to freeze completely.
9. When frozen, remove from springform pan and remove parchment paper from sides.
10. Top with additional caramel sauce and chocolate sauce, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.
11. Cover with remaining chopped snickers and a little more caramel and chocolate sauce.

 

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Original recipe: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2013/05/28/snickers-peanut-butter-brownie-ice-cream-cake/

 

 

Bakery Cake from a Boxed Mix

26 Feb

We had a birthday this month! Five years old and I wasn’t a bit surprised when she asked for a ‘Frozen’ cake! It was a mad scramble to find Anna and Elsa dolls, let me tell you! Everyone and their dog is sold out of pretty much everything ‘Frozen.’ But, a gazillion stores later, we got a hold of them both! Because the skirts are the actual cake, I couldn’t do anything too fancy with the cake flavors – no filling or good stuff like that. But I had seen a recipe floating around: “Make any boxed cake mix taste just like it came from the bakery.” So, we gave it a go! The first cake got scrapped because we discovered after the first ‘skirt,’ that the pan needed two cake mixes – it doesn’t work well if the cake only makes it to the dolls’ knees. 🙂 The second run was better, but then my mom remembered that the pan came with a metal dowel that you are supposed to put in the middle to help it cook, so we plugged that into the third. Yeah…the cake overflowed a little. And when I say a little, I really mean a lot! And a huge sink hole deflated the middle. But, I figured that just made it easier to get the doll’s legs in. 🙂 We cut off any burnt parts of the lava cake, and had to improvise a little with fondant (scary! I’ve decided I need to take a class because after my first attempt I’ve concluded that, frankly, I stink at fondant) to make it all the way up to Elsa’s waist since the cake shrunk a little, what with 1/3 of it over flowing. My mom said that now she remembers why she was so happy when all us kids grew out of dolly cakes.

All in all, I’m kind of ridiculously proud of how my cakes turned out! Even Olaf, who fell over a couple of times and required major cake rehab, turned out pretty cute. You can’t tell from the pictures too well, but Elsa’s dress has edible glitter on her skirt, so she sparkled – Olaf got a little pinch on him too. I had to close my eyes and make my husband cut into them at the party. So much work, just to hack them to pieces! But it was worth it. My daughter loved it – she told me, “Mom, I just love my cake. I’m crying!” Can you tell what I do when I’m super happy? 🙂 And it tasted great too! I liked the chocolate more than the white, but that may be because I just like chocolate cake better anyways!photo 2

 

Ingredients:

Step 1: Look at the directions on the cake mix.
Step 2: Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich).
Step 3: Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount.
Step 4: Instead of water, use whole milk.
Step 5: Mix well and bake for the time recommended on the box.

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Frosted with Buttercream Frosting

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Ice Cream Cake

30 Dec

My brother-in-law turned 40 over the Christmas holidays, so we had to make him feel just a little bit old. 🙂 I had fun with this cake, but I felt like I cheated a little…ok, a lot! The only part I actually made was the cookie layer. But it turned out so good, I think I’d cheat again, regardless of my culinary conscience.

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Ingredients:

Cookie Layer:
8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease an 8″-round springform pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar.  Add the egg, then beat until pale and slightly fluffy. Whisk in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients, until everything is incorporated. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Spread this dough into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake the cookie layer at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean. Once the cookie is done, allow it to cool completely while in the pan.

Top cookie layer with softened ice cream – flavor of choice (I used butter pecan). Place springform pan in freezer and let ice cream set. Once hardened (1-2 hours), unlatch springform edge and remove. Frost with whipped cream or whipped cream frosting.

(I used crushed chocolate filled Oreos for the ‘dirt’ and Buttercream Frosting for the lettering)

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Original recipe: http://www.mangoesandpalmtrees.com/2013/05/chocolate-chip-cookie-ice-cream-cake.html?m=1

Chocolate Eclair Cake

19 Oct

I’ve been waiting, and waiting for an excuse to make this Chocolate Eclair Cake. I finally had a get together last night – a ‘bring a treat to share’ get together, with lots of ladies making crafty things late into the night, and needing a little sugary kick to keep them going. YES. I’ve always heard that eclairs are temperamental and if you don’t have your kitchen at the right temperature, or cook the dough just right, they won’t turn out (true? or old wives tale?). Hence the reason why I’ve never made eclairs. That being said, reading through this recipe I just couldn’t find a way to mess it up. So, I took a gamble, and ended up with one tasty treat.

I did learn an important lesson in making eclairs – or eclair cakes anyways. While preparing your ingredients, if an egg rolls off of the counter and you try to stop its decent by sticking out your leg and pushing said egg against the cabinet, one of two things is going to happen. One: the egg is going to break and get all over your pants, the cabinet, and the floor. Two: the egg is going to break and get all over your pants, the cabinet, and the floor. Either way, I think you’re better off just letting the darn thing fall. You will have lost an egg and will have to live with the guilt of having done nothing to save it, but at least you won’t have to change your clothes.

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Ingredients

 

Crust:

 

    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 large eggs

 

Filling:

 

    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 large box (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
    • 3 cups milk

 

Topping:

 

  • whipped cream
  • chocolate syrup

 

Instructions

 

  1. Instructions:
  2. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9″X13″ glass baking pan.
  3. For the Eclair Crust: In a medium saucepan, melt butter in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Mix in one egg at a time, mixing completely before adding another egg. Spread mixture into pan, covering the bottom and sides evenly. Mixture will be very wet. *If the sides of your pan are too greased you won’t be able to get the mixture to stay up the sides so make sure to just lightly grease.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. You may want to check it occasionally-you don’t want to overcook the crust, it will ruin the cake! Remove from oven and let cool (don’t touch or push bubbles down).
  5. For the Filling: Whip cream cheese in a medium bowl. In separate bowl make vanilla pudding by beating the pudding mix and the milk for 3 minutes and put in the fridge until set. Make sure pudding is thick before mixing in with cream cheese. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese, mixing until there are no lumps. Let cool in fridge.When the crust is completely cooled, pour filling in. Top with layer of whipped cream, however thick you want it and serve with a drizzle chocolate syrup.

Original recipe found here: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2009/06/chocolate-eclair-cake.html

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Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

16 Sep

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. I’m no expert cake decorator, but I have a lot of fun doing my kids’ birthday cakes. I don’t do plain boxed cake mixes because birthdays are a special occasion! And when else do you have the excuse to make something fancy? But I don’t ever get too fancy – fondant scares me. I get creative and use cupcakes, rice crispies, twinkies, and my favorite – starbursts. 🙂

This year, my daughter wanted a cheesecake. I’ve never made a cheesecake before, and my favorite part of birthday cakes is coming up with a fun way to decorate – how do you decorate a cheesecake? “With a mouse,” she said. A mouse? Of course a mouse…it’s a ‘cheese’cake. 🙂 Love it.

So, I learned a few things with my first cheesecake: First, do not start making it at 10:30 pm. You won’t get to bed until 2 am. Second, after baking you have to prop open the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside – do a toothpick test to make sure it is cooked through before doing that. You may end up with an un-cooked center and not find out until your cheesecake is cooled and it’s too late to do anything about it. Third, make your cheesecake at least a day in advance. The flavor is better if you let it sit for a full 24 hours.

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Ingredients:

Crust:

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers
2 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

Crust Directions:

1. Mix all nuts and vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9 inch buttered springform pan, trying to line the sides as much as possible about 1 1/2″ up the sides of the pan, set aside.

Cheesecake Directions:

1. All the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.

2. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer set on low (keep the setting at low during the entire mixing process).

3. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

4. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.

5. Add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well.

6. Add the sour cream and beat well.

7. Pour cream cheese mixture into the springform pan.

8. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degree F preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes.

9. When time is up turn oven off, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour.

10. Remove from oven and let cool then refrigerate for 24 hours.

Original recipe found here: http://www.momswhothink.com/cheesecake-recipes/cheesecake-factory-recipe.html

Here is my final product! I added yellow food coloring to make it look more ‘cheesy,’ and the mouse is make of starburst that I colored with food coloring and warmed to make it malleable. It turned out cute!

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**The crust recipe below is for those who prefer a crust without nuts**

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted margarine

Directions:

1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix in melted margarine.

2. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper.

3. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.

4. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.