Caramel Cake – My New Favorite Cake!

how to make a caramel cake

 

I am absolutely swooning over this cake.  It is 5 star all the way.  And easy….so easy.  Once you make it I guarantee you’ll make it over and over again.

This recipe was mentioned in an Oprah magazine as the best caramel cake ever and I certainly agree.  The recipe comes from Danielle’s Desserts in Washington D.C.  The only thing I changed is I swapped out the whole milk originally called for in the cake recipe with buttermilk.  I almost always do that – it makes a much moister and flavorful cake.

Heavenly Hummingbird Cake

spring cake ideas

One of my favorite spring cakes is a Hummingbird Cake.  After trying several recipes – my favorite is the one from Southern Living magazine.  Not surprising, it is one of their most requested cakes of all time.  Moist, flavorful and decked out with a delicious cream cheese frosting – heavenly!

Oh…did I mention that it is extremely easy to make?

Recipe & photo courtesy of Southern Living Magazine.

 

 

Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Bars

mint desserts

Here’s another fabulous recipe from my friend Liz at ThatSkinnyChickCanBake Blog.  Looking for mint desserts recipes?  You’ll only need this one!  Isn’t it a beauty?

Homemade Salted Caramel – So Good!

how to make salted caramel

My friend Danielle over at Hugs&KissXOXO blog is an *amazing* dessert maker/creator.  And she has shared her never-fail method of how to make salted caramel.  As most of you probably know, salted caramel is very in now.  VERY.  And now you can get in on the trend; this liquid gold is delicious over ice cream, brownies, apple pie, spice cake – you name it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate Glaze

chocolate glaze recipe

I made this recipe for my little sister’s birthday celebration and everyone loved it!  The recipe is from Martha Stewart and I almost followed it completely.  However, the crust called for chocolate wafer cookies and I can’t find them where I live so I subbed chocolate fudge striped cookies.  The crust was amazing – a treat in itself!

Also – I tend to skip the water bath (see step 5) and yes, sometimes the top of the cheesecakes crack because of skipping that step.  But it’s fine with me since I typically top a cheesecake with a glaze or fruit.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Heavenly Milky Way Brownies

milky way bars

Oh my – this recipe from my friend Liz at ThatSkinnyChickCanBake blog is so divine!  Why are these called Milky Way Brownies?  Because of the chocolate fluff and caramel layers!  Liz’s recipe below calls for brownies made from scratch but you should feel free to substitute your favorite brownie mix if you’d like!

S’Mores Brownies – Delicious Any Time of Year!

marshmallow brownies

These s’mores brownies are so rich, so decadent and *SO* delicious that you’ll find yourself making them throughout the year.  Although there are several steps to making them, each is easy and takes only minutes to do.  Add these to your holiday dessert trays and see them disappear fast!

Here are some tips to help with preparation and serving:

  • brownies are best a little undercooked and fudgy.  Start checking for doneness at least 10 minutes before the brownie mix directions tell you too.  Take them out of the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs on it.
  • These chocolate ganache topped marshmallow brownies are best kept refrigerated until serving.  The picture above was taken 20 minutes after the brownie was cut – that’s when the marshmallow begins to ooze a bit which makes for a dramatic presentation.

Best Christmas Cake

 

christmas cake ideas

To say that your guests will love this cake is an understatement.  I served it and gave it as gifts throughout the 2012 holiday season and I’m already getting requests for it again this year!  For the cake layers I used my recipe for the Best Dark Chocolate but you should feel free to use any cake, from scratch or from a box, as the foundation of this terrific Christmas dessert recipe.

To create the crushed candy canes, I unwrapped a box of them (typically they have 8 to 10 to a box for under $2) and put them in a ziploc bag and used my meat pounder to crush them.  However, you can also use the bottom of a heavy pan, a rolling pin or a food processor.

I used less than 1 bag of Hershey’s® Candy Cane Kisses® to decorate the top of the cake.

Peppermint Candy Christmas Cake

  • 2 or 3 cake layers* (Diva Entertains Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe, if you’d like)
  • white buttercream frosting, recipe below or prepared frosting
  • 8-10 candy canes, crushed
  • 1 bag of Hershey’s® Candy Cane Kisses® (you will not use the entire bag), unwrapped
  • Wax paper strip

White Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 (32 oz.) package of powdered sugar (2 lbs)
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6-7 Tbsp. of milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Put powdered sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use handheld electric beaters).  Start on low speed and beat sugar and butter together for 1 minute.  Add  vanilla extract and 4 Tbsp. of milk or heavy cream and turn mixer up to medium high for one minute.  Continue adding liquid, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until you achieve the frosting consistency that you desire (I like mine a bit on the thick and heavy side).

To Assemble and Decorate Cake:

Place one cake layer on plate or cake pedestal.  Place several dollops of frosting on layer and then spread to have a even layer (about 1/4″ thick).  If frosting is difficult to spread, run frosting spreader or knife under hot water and then flick to remove dripping water, then try frosting again.  The heat from the spreader will make the frosting much easier to spread.

Place second layer on top and proceed to frost top and sides with remaining frosting.

Once frosted, take a strip of wax paper (half the width of the side of the cake) and press it against the sides from the middle of the cake to the top so that the top half of the cake is covered.

Using your hands, press the crush candy canes against the lower half of the frosted cake.  When pieces fall on the plate/pedestal below the side, use your frosting spatula to lift and press into cake.

Place Hershey Kisses on the top of the cake in any pattern you’d like.  Press down gently to adhere Kisses to top of cake.

*I like to freeze my cake layers prior to frosting them as it makes them much easier to frost (barely any crumbs).  Once you have put on the desired  amount, remove the wax paper strip. You made need to smooth out the frosting that was hidden. To do so run frosting spreader or knife under hot water and then flick to remove dripping water, then smooth frosting.  The heat from the spreader will create a smooth finish.

 

 

Best Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies!

chocolate mint cookie recipe from scratch

Introducing what I think are the best chocolate mint chip cookies. It’s another great recipe out of my favorite cookie cookbook, Milk & Cookies: 89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk  Cookie Bakery.  Every recipe I’ve tried  from this book has been absolutely *delicious*!

But now let’s talk about these mint chip cookies surrounded by a rich chocolate base.  Everything up to the chocolate chips is part of a ‘dark chocolate base dough’ to which your choice of ingredients can be added.  In this case, I added a 12 oz. bag of mint chips and a bit of peppermint extract.  My next go at it will be with peanut butter chips!

chocolate cookies with mint

Nutella Brownies with Dark Chocolate Chips – Wonderfully Easy and Delicious!

nutella dessert recipes

Although I’m very much a ‘from-scratch’ kind of gal; there are some times when you just can’t beat using a boxed brownie mix.  This Nutella brownies recipe is one such time!  It takes only minutes to put together  (no equipment needed) and bakes up incredibly rich and moist.  Be careful not to over bake – that’s a recipe for dry brownies.