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Gingerbread plated

The story I’m currently working on features a hero who loves gingerbread. Since I always include a recipe at the back of my books, I thought it would  be fun to include one for gingerbread.

Only I don’t have a good recipe for gingerbread cake. I have one for cookies and bars, but not cake.

So after drooling over dozens of options, I gave this one a try. It was a very good decision. Moist and flavorful, it filled the house with the most fabulous spicy scent while it baked.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Start by creaming the egg and brown sugar together.

Start by creaming the butter and brown sugar together.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Mix the rest of the liquid ingredients into the batter.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Mix the rest of the liquid ingredients into the batter.

Mix the dry ingredients into the batter, one cup at a time.

Mix the dry ingredients into the batter, one cup at a time.

gingerbread batter

When well blended, pour into greased pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

When baked, you can top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, caramel sauce, whipping cream, or cream cheese frosting.

When baked, you can top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, caramel sauce, whipping cream, or cream cheese frosting.

I went with cream cheese frosting. I warmed it in the microwave for about 12 seconds until it was pourable.

I went with cream cheese frosting. I warmed it in the microwave for about 12 seconds until it was pourable.

Slice and savor the explosion of spicy bliss on your tongue!

Slice and savor the explosion of spicy bliss on your tongue!

Gingerbread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup applesauce

2 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two loaf pans, two round cake pans or a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar and butter.  Beat in egg, molasses, and applesauce.  Spray your measuring cup with a shot of non-stick spray before you pour in the molasses. It will slide right out of it without leaving a big sticky mess behind.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to batter 1 cup at a time. When it is well-blended, add the cup of hot water and stir to incorporate.

If you are using loaf pans, bake for about 50 minutes. If using cake pans, baking time will decrease to around 20-30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Top with frosting, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with caramel sauce or dollop on whipped cream. You can finish it however you like!

She Who Loves the Spicy Scent of Fall Baking

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bundt cake platedMy most wonderful mother-in-law is spending the weekend with us.

So I baked a cake.

While it was baking yesterday, I kept thinking of that catchy tune If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve a Baked a Cake.

Since I did know she was coming and I did bake a cake, I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

I love bundt cakes because they are so easy to make and always so moist. I decided to experiment a little and boy was that a tasty idea. Even Captain Cavedweller gave this a two thumbs up.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix everything together except the sweetened condensed milk.

Mix everything together except the sweetened condensed milk.

Pour the milk into a thoroughly greased bundt cake pan.

Pour the milk into a thoroughly greased bundt cake pan.

 

Top with the cake batter. Do NOT mix or stir.

Top with the cake batter. Do NOT mix or stir.

 

Place it in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for about 50 minutes.

Place it in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for about 50 minutes.

 

Until it looks like this.

Until it looks like this.

 

Let cool completely before inverting on a serving platter.

Let cool completely before inverting on a serving platter.

 

Then prepare to be dazzled as the sweetened condensed milk made the most delicious topping you can imagine.

Then prepare to be dazzled as the sweetened condensed milk made the most delicious topping you can imagine.

 

Did I mention it was delicious?

Did I mention it was delicious?

 

As in you just have to have a piece good...

As in you just have to have a piece good…

Heavenly Bundt Cake

1 vanilla cake mix

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sour cream

1 small pkg. instant cheesecake

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 and thoroughly spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add in cake mix, water, oil, sour cream and pudding. Beat on medium speed about three minutes. 

Open the sweetened condensed milk and pour into the bundt pan. Yes, the whole can.

Spoon cake batter over the milk. Do not mix or stir!

Bake for about 50 minutes, until cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Invert over a serving plate. All that deliciously yummy sweetened condensed milk has made the most glorious topping on your cake and soaked into the top layer.

If you can refrain from eating it right then, chill until ready to serve.

She Who Will Make This Again

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 strawberry cupcakes plated

We have a dessert potluck (I know – how fun is that!) to attend this weekend so I wanted to make something that would be easy for people to pick up and eat. Cupcakes are always yummy and simple to transport.

This is a new recipe I experimented with after successfully using root beer to make cupcakes a month or so ago.

The cupcakes have a surprise dollop of strawberry jam inside while the frosting – oh, my, the frosting – it has strawberry flavoring and a liberally dose of strawberry pop.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don't have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don’t have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom. Top with batter and slide into preheated oven to bake.

    While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

It will be perfectly pink and pretty. (Ha, say that 10 times in a row.)

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

1 box cake mix (can be white, vanilla, yellow)

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup jam

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup strawberry soda pop

2 tsp. strawberry flavoring

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix with eggs, oil and water until smooth.

Line the cups of a muffin pan with papers and fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.

Spoon about 1/2 tsp of jam into each cup. If you don’t get enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Pour more batter over the top and bake until a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the frosting, mix powdered sugar with softened butter, salt, flavoring and soda pop. You can add more flavoring if you want a stronger strawberry flavor. The frosting will be a pretty shade of pink.

Accent with your favorite sprinkles or fresh strawberries. If at all possible, act pathetic and pressed for time so the big manly man of your house will help put the sprinkles on.

She Who Will Be Making These Again

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Shortcake platedGrowing up, we always had an abundance of strawberries during the summer months. My mom made strawberry shortcake at least once a week.

At the end of a long, hot, hard day of working on the farm, a serving of shortcake soaking up sweet strawberry juice and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was a little bite of summer heaven.

Although I shared the recipe at the back of my recent release, Farm Girl, I thought I’d also share the recipe here today along with some photos!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Start by mixing together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Set aside. Cream butter then add egg and whip until light. Add sugar and mix well.

Start by mixing together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Set aside. Cream butter then add egg and whip until light. Add sugar and mix well.

Mix in vanilla then alternate mixing milk and flour until well blended.

Mix in vanilla then alternate mixing milk and flour until well blended.

Spoon batter into a 9x13 baking pan that has been greased and floured (or sprayed with non-stick spray). Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Spoon batter into a 9×13 baking pan that has been greased and floured (or sprayed with non-stick spray). Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Wash berries, remove stems and hulls and place in a bowl. I cut mine into pieces and chunks.

Wash berries, remove stems and hulls and place in a bowl. I cut mine into pieces and chunks.

Mash them until they are juicy, but not pulverized like you would for jam. Sprinkle on sugar, stir and let rest for at rest for about 10 minutes.

Mash them until they are juicy, but not pulverized like you would for jam. Sprinkle on sugar, stir and let rest for at rest for about 10 minutes.

Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge until ready to serve.

Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, place a piece of cake on a plate, drizzle with berries and top with ice cream. Yum!

When ready to serve, place a piece of cake on a plate, drizzle with berries and top with ice cream. Yum!

Strawberry Shortcake

¾ cup sugar

½ cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups flour

4-6 cups of strawberries

½ cup sugar

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour and baking powder, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together ¾ cup sugar and butter, then add egg and vanilla extract. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to the bowl until batter is well blended.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and bake until top is a light, golden brown.

Cool completely.

Wash and hull strawberries, placing them in a large bowl. Mom always used a potato masher to break them down a little. You don’t want to pulverize them, just mash them enough they get good and juicy and break into nice little pieces. Stir in ½ cup of sugar until sugar dissolves then let rest for at least 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, cut slices of cake then top with strawberries and a scoop of ice cream.

She Who Loves the Tastes of Summer

 

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Rootbeer Cupcakes finished

The other day I discovered a bottle of root beer in the fridge and debated drinking it or doing something fun with it.

I’m glad I went with something fun. These cupcakes (particularly the frosting) are super yummy and just scream “summertime!”

Staring with a cake mix, they are easy to make and the frosting can be whipped together in a jiffy!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Remove from pan and cool completely.

Remove from pan and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You'll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You’ll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

 

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

 

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

Root Beer Cupcakes

1 white or vanilla cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/4 cups root beer

2 tbsp. root beer concentrate

Vanilla Frosting (optional)

Root Beer Frosting

Root Beer Frosting

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter (softened)

1 tbsp. root beer concentrate

1/4 cup root beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cake mix, eggs, root beer concentrate and root beer until smooth. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake until tops bounce back when touched (about 15-18 minutes).

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Mix together the root beer frosting ingredients.

For a simple vanilla frosting, mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

If you want to give the cupcakes more of a root beer float flavor, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting together. You can also just use the root beer. If you do that, double the frosting ingredients so you’ll have enough.

Try to keep from snitching as you frost the cupcakes because the root beer frosting is amazingly delicious. Even Captain Cavedweller raved about how good it was – and that is saying something.

For an added pop of color and fun, insert a paper straw before serving.

Note – you can find root beer concentrate in the flavoring section of most grocery stores (look near the vanilla extract).

She Who Will Make These Again

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berry poke cake plated

If you’re looking for an easy, yummy, pretty dessert, this poke cake will do quite nicely.

You can make it with whatever flavor pudding you want!

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke your cake full of holes (about an inch or so apart).

Bake cake according to package directions. Let cool completely. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke your cake full of holes (about an inch or so apart).

Mix up pudding. I added a little food color to make it pink.

Mix up pudding. I added a little food color to make it pink.

 

Pour pudding over the top before it has a chance to start setting up.

Pour pudding over the top before it has a chance to start setting up.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (and you can let it go overnight). If you don't want the pudding to stick to the plastic wrap (like yours truly) give the plastic wrap a shot of non-stick cooking spray.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (and you can let it go overnight). If you don’t want the pudding to stick to the plastic wrap (like yours truly) give the plastic wrap a shot of non-stick cooking spray.

 

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with berries!

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with berries!

 

Raspberry Poke Cake

1 white or vanilla cake (prepared)

1 small box of cheesecake pudding

1 3/4 cups milk

1 cup whipping cream (whipped)

1 cup raspberries

red food coloring (if desired)

Bake cake according to package directions and cool completely.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake about an inch apart.

Mix pudding with milk and food coloring, if desired.

Pour over cake before it begins to set up. Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. When ready to serve, cut into squares and place a dollop of whipped cream on top, along with berries.

Yum!

You can use any cake and pudding combo you like and add different colors of food coloring for varied effect.

She Who Likes Poke Cakes

 

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Popcorn cake plated

One of our favorite autumn treats is popcorn cake. My first experience with the sweet, sticky confection was when I was in college. Mom mailed one for my birthday and I thought it was delicious. (Of course anything not dorm food was delicious, back then.)

It’s easy to make, is best prepared with a little help, and meant to be sticky and messy and utterly wonderful.

popcorn cake angel food cake pan

Start by greasing an angel food cake pan. Make sure you have every surface of it greased.

While you are popping the popcorn, melt marshmallows, butter and oil in the microwave. I nuke mine about 30 seconds, stir, nuke again.

While you are popping the popcorn, melt marshmallows, butter and oil in the microwave. I nuke mine about 30 seconds, stir, nuke again.

When it is melted, it will look like this.

When it is melted, it will look like this.

Due to the stickiness of the situation, I missed taking a few photos here,  but basically in a huge bowl, mix the popcorn, nuts and spice drops together then pour the melted marshmallow over the top. Grease your hands with butter and mix well because you won't get far if you try to stir it with a spoon.

Due to the stickiness of the situation, I missed taking a few photos here, but basically in a huge bowl, mix the popcorn, nuts and spice drops together then pour the melted marshmallow over the top. Grease your hands with butter and mix well because you won’t get far if you try to stir it with a spoon. And make sure you get plenty of butter on your hands or you’ll look like this.

Press down into the angel food cake pan and let sit about thirty minutes or so before turning out on a serving platter.

Press down into the angel food cake pan and let sit about thirty minutes or so before turning out on a serving platter.

Popcorn Cake

24 cups of popped popcorn*

1 cup of spiced gum drops

1 1/2 cups of peanuts

1 large bag of mini marshmallows

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup butter

Mix oil, butter and marshmallows in a large bowl. Microwave at 20-30 second increments, stirring between each set until marshmallows and melted and oil and butter are mixed in nicely. (It will still look a little oily). Mix in popped popcorn, peanuts and gum drops. Press into greased bundt or angel food cake pan. Leave standing at room temperature for an hour or so until cake is set then slice and serve. You could also press into balls and wrap individually.

* For a fun variation, use colored popcorn kernels.

She Who Likes Easy Treats, Even If They Are Messy

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