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Daily Cravings: Holy Layer Cake

12 Feb

Photo Credit: Bakerella

Let’s talk layers. Fourteen layers to be exact.

I found this delectable delight over at Bakerella‘s sight and haven’t been able to stop staring at its beauty. Layer upon layer, this cake looks so moist with lip-smacking chocolatey goodness in between. You know, just a little something special you could whip up for your valentine.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

9 Feb

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe. The weeks sure can go by quickly, especially when most of my life feels like it’s spent dealing with my new little bladder.

Anyway, after dealing with our plumbing issues of last week, I decided we needed a yummy breakfast so we tested out a new recipe I’d bookmarked. Cinnamon French Toast Bake.

This recipe was simple (always a plus), however, not quite what I was expecting. I know the title says “french toast” but for some reason I was still expecting more of a cinnamon roll taste. It was good, not something to write home about, but certainly worth a taste.  It didn’t hit the spot for us, perhaps it will for you though! I’ll probably do a little tweaking to the recipe before making it again.

Recipe

1/4 cup melted butter
2 cans (12.4 oz each) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup maple syrup

Garnish

Icing from cinnamon rolls
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup, if desired

Directions

Melt butter and pour on ungreased 13×9 inch glass dish.

Separate cans of dough into 16 rolls reserving the icing for later use.  Cut each roll into pieces and add to buttered baking dish. Then beat eggs in medium bowl. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour over cinnamon roll pieces in pan. Drizzle 3/4 cup syrup over the top.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.

Warm icing you’ve set aside so that it’s thin enough to drizzle. Then drizzle it over the cinnamon french toast bake and you’re ready to eat!

Brainstorming for Valentine’s Day

24 Jan

Photo Credit: Oh my! Sugar High

M&M Cookie Cups. Just not sure how these could go wrong.

Photo Credit: Bakers Royale

Raspberry Mousse Cakes. YUM!! Although, I’m not the biggest raspberry fan these look delicious. I’d probably substitute strawberries.

Photo Credit: My Baking Addiction

Homemade Oreos. I’ve had homemade oreos on my list for a while. These are certainly on the top of my list (the husband loves oreos).

Photo Credit: Pastries of a Chocoholic

Red Velvet Cupcakes. Classic, simple, always delicious.

Daily Cravings: Blueberry Pancakes

20 Jan

Photo Credit: My Kitchen Moovement

Don’t these pancakes just look delicious? Of course they do!

Unfortunately, I got a call today from the doctor saying I failed my Glucose Screening from Monday. This means tomorrow at 7 a.m. I’m headed to the hospital to do a three hour test full of blood-work and boredom. If I don’t pass, all of these sweet treats will just be dreams for the next ten weeks. Let’s hope for the best.

Semi-Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

16 Jan

What more does a pregnant woman want than ice cream? Not much, that’s what.

So, for Christmas I asked for the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. Well, it finally came in this week! Even though it looks like this outside….

I’ve been planning ice cream recipes.

For my first go-around I decided on mint chocolate chip. After looking around, I found a basic recipe, nothing fancy but with good reviews and a yummy looking photo. (Yes, I do judge some recipes according to their photos as well.) Here a little tip if you’re a newbie with your ice cream maker as well: chill the ice cream mixture before putting it into the mixer.

This was yummy, but made more than I expected. It was just over two quarts worth. So with the extra batch I decided to make a pie! Nothing complicated just a quick throw together. Here’s what you need:

Recipe

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

  • 4 cups 2 percent milk
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 8 drops green food coloring
  • 2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla and peppermint until the sugar has dissolved. Let mixture chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the directions from your manufacturer. After the first 10 minutes, open the lid carefully and add the chocolate chips, then return to churning. Once the machine has stopped churning, remove the thickened ice cream and put into a freezer safe container. Freeze until hard (about 2 hours), then serve.

For the pie:

  • Chocolate pie crust
  • Oreos (crushed)
  • Chocolate sauce

Chill the pie crust before filling it with a proportional amount of your ice cream. Cover with crushed Oreos (about eight cookies was plenty). Then top with the chocolate sauce and place in the freezer.

Daily Cravings:Chocolate Chunk Nutella Cheesecake

4 Jan

Photo Credit: La Fuji Mama

I’ve had this little gem stashed in my bookmarks page for many many months. Three of my favorite things: nutella, chocolate and cheesecake. Thank you Fuji Mama!

YUM! I’ve got to make these.

Christmas Dessert Almost Didn’t Happen

3 Jan

I decided to bake a cake to bring to my Grandmother’s for Christmas. It really wasn’t needed, there would be other goodies there, but I took the opportunity to bake a little something anyway. Rather than re-tackling the Vermont Spice Cake as my hubby requested I thought I’d test out my unused bundt pan. It was a wedding gift that has sat unloved for over two years, and Tina from My Life as a Mrs. had a recipe I just couldn’t resist.

Chocolate Chip Cake. Did I mention it has chocolate ganache drenched over the top? Tell me you could say no this because I know you can’t.

Because I love you readers, I cannot lie to you, I had a few issues with this cake. Don’t get me wrong the flavor here was AMAZING! Very moist while still being sweet and the ganache (I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips) was perfection.

However, the instructions said to let the cake cool completely before flipping it to the plate. Here’s where I hit a snafu. I began this cake a little too late and just had to go to sleep before it could cool completely. I covered the cake and left it to do in the morning. Upon going to flip the cake to the platter the next morning it didn’t budge, not one centimeter.

I thought this was the end of my Chocolate Chip Cake attempt. Then, with a little help from my mom I got it out, but some of the top stuck to the pan. No worries, I pieced it back together and figured my ganache would cover the trouble spots (which it did).

My other issue with this cake is that the wonderful little chocolate chip all sunk to the bottom (er well top) of the cake. After eating a few too many pieces of this cake, I’ve decided next time I’ll only sprinkle the chocolate chip on the top of the batter once in the pan. The ganache on top was plenty sweet for the rest of the cake. I’ll either try  that, or whip my badder a little more to see if I can’t get a thicker consistency to hold the chips in place.

Like I said, even with these minuscule mess-ups this cake was a big hit and one I’ll definitely be making again.

Recipe

(Printable Version)

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (She used Duncan Heinz, as did I)
1 Large Box of Instant Vanilla Pudding
4 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Oil
2 tsps Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

For the Ganache:
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions

For the cake:

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the first 6 ingredients in a stand mixer until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula. Spray a Bundt Pan with non-stick cooking spray (don’t be afraid to be generous with the spray). Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for one hour.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Do not leave it overnight as I did. Once cool, invert to cake pan.

For the Ganache:

Once the cake is cool prepare the ganache.

Melt all ingredients over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Stir constantly until smooth then let set for 10-12 minutes. Slowly drizzle over the cake when ready, if you do it too early it will all slide off of the cake. (As you can see I could have let mine set a minute or two longer).

Once on the cake allow it to cool further then cut yourself a slice and enjoy!

Vermont Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

27 Dec

Last weekend my office held their annual Christmas party at the boss’ house. He makes a decadently delicious prime rib and all of the other dishes are divvied up. I lucked out with dessert! After the excitement settled, I realized I had to choose a recipe! With so many wonderful ones to choose from I was in a bit of a debacle.

Conferring with a friend at the office after a night of Googling, it turned out we both ended at the same recipe. It must have been fate that this Vermont Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting was to be our dessert at dinner.

This cake was no simple feat, but well worth the work. My photos of this cake do it’s taste and beauty no justice.

The cake was so yummy I wasn’t able to snag a picture of a piece before it was gone, so let’s take a look at Sing for Your Supper’s photo…(hers is prettier anyways)

Mouth watering, right? The cake has a wonderful flavor of pumpkin and cinnamon and the creamy frosting is just unspeakably good. It balances the cake perfectly. Ive got to work on the aesthetics of my cake, but the flavor needs no changing! That’s what really counts in my book, at least for a first attempt.

Recipe courtesy of Sing for Your Supper

(Printable Version)

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I used a mixture of 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves and 3/4 tsp. nutmeg)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Combine flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar and butter in a large mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment until creamy.

Add eggs one at a time; beat for 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, evaporated milk, water and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons maple extract
squeeze of lemon juice

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the maple extract and lemon juice. Mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble:
Cut each layer in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife. Frost between layers and on top of cake, leaving sides unfrosted. Garnish as desired.

Daily Cravings: Chocolate Jingle Bars

15 Dec

Photo Credit: Very Best Baking

Today has been one of those days where I would’ve taken chocolate at any point of the day. Morning, afternoon or even right now (tonight), I would love to sink my teeth into these delights.

National Gingerbread House Competition

15 Dec

One of my favorite things about the holidays isn’t just the food, but those few cities that just exude holiday cheer. Asheville, North Carolina is one of these special cities.

A couple of years ago I was doing some research as to what else there was to do in Asheville at Christmas aside from visiting the breathtaking Biltmore Estate and that is how I found this little gem- The National Gingerbread House Competition.

So, for years now I’ve wanted to see these little (and some not-so-little) exquisite houses. This was my year. Being good sports, my Dad and husband tagged along to Grove Park Inn to check it out first hand. Just as a little side note, Grove Park Inn is worth visiting whether or not you’re going to see the gingerbread houses.

Surprisingly enough some of my favorite houses weren’t even top winners. In fact, we all felt a little gipped by the Grand Prize winner because it wasn’t even a house. It was beautiful, but not a house.

Grand Prize Winner

Teen 1st Place

Youth 2nd Place

Okay, I realize I’ve been listing the “top” winners in each category, however I disagree with the judges’ choice here. In my opinion, this is much better than the 1st place winner. Just look at a close-up of these leaves that make up the roof. (excuse the photo quality, they had many of these top winners encased in glass!)

Child 1st Place

Those are the best of the best, at least in the judges eyes. For some reason this tree lot scene was my favorite house of the day.