German Chocolate Cake – the semi-homemade kind

It’s been awhile since I’ve really been in a baking mood. I’ve baked a few things for work events in the last few months but haven’t really felt like my heart was in it. Then today I decided it was time to get back in the baking groove and make something delicious. So I asked the boyfriend for a request and the next thing I knew my kitchen smelled like the awesomeness that is German Chocolate cake.

Also, I googled German Chocolate Cake and you should know it does not come from Germany. So damn, I can’t make a Wiener Schnitzler joke. Black Forest cakes originated in Germany, so I’ll save the German jokes for that. German Chocolate Cake is named after an American chocolate maker Sam German. Who knew? Good ole Sam must have known what he was doing because this cake smells so good.

I used a semi-homemade recipe which uses a cake mix as a base, but it doctors up the mix and you make the frosting from scratch. Sometimes semi-homemade is just the way to go. If you have ever watched Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade show on the Food Network, you’d know how smart that lady is…mainly because every episode of her show includes cocktail time. So, it is pretty much genius.

I followed this recipe from AllRecipes.com

One of my eggs was a weird twin-yolk egg

One of my eggs was a weird twin-yolk egg

Hot from the oven

Hot from the oven

Some people in the reviews complained the frosting took too long to thicken up, mine thickened up in about ten minutes – and I added a little more pecans and coconut just because I was too lazy to measure those.

photo 4 (2)

The frosted cake looks and smells delicious. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if it tastes good because it has to travel in Indiana first.

All frosted and pretty.

All frosted and pretty.

Alright friends in blog-world, there it is German Chocolate Cake made from semi-scratch and sarcasm. Until next time, happy baking!

 

An Excuse to Eat Dessert for Breakfast

First off, I should apologize as I have been a bad, bad blogger. As everyone knows, life gets busy and summer tends to be a slower time for me when it comes to baking. Who really wants to be in a hot kitchen in the middle of August?

Good news internet friends, the weather is cooling off and now is the best season for baking. Not only is it cooler out, but usually right about now I start getting the itch to bake with apples, and pumpkin, and cinnamon, and everything else delicious and fall-y. Autumn-y? Yep, neither is actually a word but you get the idea.

So to kick off the fall/winter baking season I’m going to share what has now become a tried and true, go-to, recipe for me: my great-grandma’s favorite coffee cake. The best thing about this cake, is it pretty much is a dessert. You actually use a boxed cake mix for the base, BUT because it is a coffee cake you can totally serve it for breakfast! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like cake for breakfast? (If you don’t, well, just shhhh!)

This recipe is pretty straightforward, my grandma’s recipe calls for 1 package instant vanilla pudding – I have always used the smaller box; she didn’t specify because she came from the era of measuring in a “pinch” of this and where apparently a “package” meant something specific. (okay haha, insert requisite “package” joke here.) The recipe also calls for some Nestle’s Quik powder (like the kind you make chocolate milk with); I have made it with the Nestle’s Quik and I have made it substituting cocoa powder. Both work. Nestle’s Quik is way more fun though. Also, you should pull out the hand mixer (or use a stand mixer) to beat the batter, it really needs to get well-mixed and fluffy. I made it once without a mixer and the batter was a lot thicker than normal, it still worked but wasn’t ideal.

Here’s the recipe…

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Nestle’s Quik powder
  • 1/3 cup sugarphoto 1

Beat together the first 5 ingredients at high-speed for 7 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the nuts, cinnamon, Nestle’s Quik and sugar.

Pour 1/3 of the nut mixture into a greased pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter over the nut mixture. photo 2

Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the batter, and then cover with the remaining batter. Marble through lightly with a knife.photo 3

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. Cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. photo 4I usually serve the cake at room temperature, despite what the recipe says. Yeah, I know, I’m such a rebel.

So hopefully I will be a better blogger in the coming months, in the mean time, happy baking!

Make Ya Wanna Lick the Spoon Cake Batter Cheesecake

Growing up homemade birthday cakes were always a part of our family birthday celebrations. Our rule was you got to pick the cake on your own birthday. For as many years as I can remember my Dad always put in his request for lemon cake with lemon frosting. Every so often I’d wanna mix it up, but my standby favorite was yellow cake with chocolate frosting. My mom on the other hand, never really had a favorite cake. She liked to let me experiment, once I was the one baking her cake. One of the last cakes I remember making for her was a banana split cake. So in honor of my mom’s birthday this year I decided to sort through the latest recipes I’d found online and make something new.

Enter the Cake Batter Cheesecake. Normally for a birthday cake I’m not a fan of a cake without frosting, because frosting is sort of the best part. However, when I saw this recipe for cake batter cheesecake it looked too good to not try. 2013-03-23 08.59.13The first step to making this bad boy is creating the vanilla cookie crust. My first attempt at crushing the cookies involved a Ziplock bag and my rolling pin. Apparently vanilla wafers don’t crush easy, so I had to bust out my itty bitty food processor. 2013-03-23 09.02.54The recipe I found didn’t include instructions for the crust, so I just crushed up what looked like the right amount of cookies and added melted butter until I had the texture to be able to press the crust into the pan.

2013-03-23 09.27.39Next, came time to make the filling. So my cream cheese probably wasn’t “softened” as much as it should have been, so the batter took a little more mixing to get it to come together. Otherwise it is pretty simple to make the filling, a lot of dumping and stirring. The finishing touch on the batter was to mix in sprinkles. Of course when I got to this step I realized I didn’t have just plain rainbow sprinkles, so I had to mix my Easter and Valentine’s Day sprinkles to get my cake looking bright and colorful.

Here is the first part where I digressed from my recipe… this recipe calls for you to bake the cake “bain marie” style, which means you put the pan in another pan filled with water. It is supposed to make sure everything bakes more evenly. I’m pretty sure “bain marie” must be French for big, giant pain in my ass, so after feverishly Googling other cheesecake recipes I found many don’t require this. I would have attempted it, but outside of my GIANT turkey roasting pan, I didn’t have another pan big enough to fit my spring form pan. So into the oven my cheesecake went, without its water bath.

2013-03-23 11.52.43After baking and then letting it sit in the oven for the prescribed post-baking 60 minutes, my cheesecake was ready to cool off. It did crack a little and looked a little more brown than I expected, which the supposed “bain marie” was supposed to help avoid. Oh well. Lucky for my the recipe called for a chocolate glaze to top the whole thing and hide my over-baked top.

The chocolate glaze was really easy to make, just microwave chocolate chips and butter, then stir in heavy cream until smooth and chocolate-ly.

Here is the recipe for Cake Batter Cheesecake (as originally found on Pinterest from this site)

Ingredients

  • 1 9 inch spring form pan prepared with a vanilla cookie crust
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles
  1. Beat cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar on the lowest speed of your mixer until well blended
  2. Add the cake mix and continue beating until no lumps remain. Keep the mixer on low-speed.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition
  4. Fold in the sour cream
  5. Spoon into the crumb lined spring form
  6. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes.
  7. Turn oven off but do not open the door. Leave for 1 hour. Do not open the door during this time.
  8. Allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour.
  9. Place a paper towel over the top, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours.
  10. Glaze with a mixture of 1/2 cup heavy cream, 2 cups milk chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted together and stirred until smooth.

The whole cake put together was decent… I would maybe attempt that stupid water bath thing to see if I could make a creamier cake in the end the next time I make cheesecake.CAM04844

The best part of this recipe really is the filling. I’m not going to lie, before washing my batter bowl I had to taste a spoonful of the unbaked cheesecake filling. All I can say is holy monkey balls it was so good. I immediately filled the bowl with dishwasher to stop myself from eating anymore. I think the batter may have been better than the baked cheesecake. The chocolate glaze was also delicious by the spoonful. Just goes to show, despite the risk of eating raw eggs, it is ALWAYS worth it to lick the batter.

Country Style Coca Cola Cake

I’ve come to realize my secret obsession with all things country (okay maybe not all things country, just boys, music, and recipes….) is not so secret anymore. From the Studs & Spurs calendar I got for Christmas from one friend and the half-naked cowboy on a birthday card I received from another, it looks like the cat is outta the bag. Or maybe “the horse is outta the barn” would be the more appropriate metaphor. (Too cheesy?) Any way you want to say it, my latest life fantasy involves owning a farmhouse with a giant porch and having the ability to bake the perfect biscuits.

Unfortunately total country living isn’t in the stars for me at the moment. However last night I decided to crank up the country music, dance around my kitchen a little (or a lot…) and bake a Coca Cola cake. Now even if this recipe didn’t have southern origins, it has enough butter in it to make Paula Dean proud. I should be more in the “eating/cooking healthy” spirit of the New Year, but there was a bottle of Coke sitting in my fridge I was wanting to get rid of and dumping it down the sink sounded way less fun than baking a cake.

Coca Cola Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup coca-cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350, and grease up (I like Crisco) a 9×13 (or so) pan.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium high heat stir together butter, cocoa, Coca Cola, and buttermilk until it boils.

Now take off heat and add this mixture to the flour, mix & whisk until combined.

Then add eggs and vanilla, mix, put in pan, bake it for about 30 minutes.

Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup coca cola
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine in a saucepan and heat until it boils. Remove and slowly stir in 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar until nice and smooth. Then add in about a cup of chopped pecans, and give it a stir.

Once cake is done and out of oven (toothpick should come out clean), pour this warm glaze right over the top of the hot cake!

Let set and cool at least for a few minutes before enjoying. Can be served hot or cold.

IMG_4648I made the glaze while my cake was baking and the timing worked out perfectly. Not going to lie this cake is worth the every ounce of butter that is going to no doubt make permanent (hopefully semi-permanent if this new yoga/gym routine pans out) on my hips and thighs. Seriously though, WORTH EVERY OUNCE.

Now I’ve just got to find the perfect biscuit recipe and I’ve got this Southern cooking thing in the bag.

(Original Source: http://mayflaum.com/2011/06/08/the-chocolate-cola-cake/)

The Particular Sadness of Low-Fat Lemon Cake

So awhile ago I read a book called, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. In the book the main character discovers she can taste feelings in the food she eats, one example being a lemon cake her mother made. I was not really sad while making this cake, but it turned out kind of sad.

I’ve always liked lemon cake or other lemony baked goods. Every year my dad requested a lemon cake with lemon frosting for his birthday, so I’ve tasted plenty of different lemon cake, from the boxed variety to the made from scratch kind. I don’t want to give this cake a bad reputation, it really isn’t terrible. This cake comes out more like a pound cake, and my really my only complaint is it is kind of dry.

2012-12-05 19.36.36My favorite part of making this cake is zesting the lemons. Aside from enjoying the word “zest,” zesting made my kitchen smell all lemony and fantastic.

The recipe called for a cup of yogurt, and said you could use plain yogurt or greek yogurt. I opted to go with greek yogurt – which could be a contributor to the drier cake. Maybe switching to regular yogurt, and maybe using a little more than a cup would help. Maybe.

The recipe also suggests using 1/3 cup vegetable oil instead of 1/2 cup. I eyeballed the amount of vegetable oil as I was using a single cup measuring cup… Maybe that lazy short-cut was another mistake, but I’m pretty sure I used about 1/3 cup.

2012-12-05 19.41.48The glaze has a pretty intense lemon flavor as it all lemon juice and powdered sugar. So I would say you definitely have to like lemon to enjoy this cake. I also had never lined a cake pan with parchment paper, and I freakin’ loved peeling the paper off and having my cake come out of the pan perfectly!

I think this cake would go nicely with tea or coffee, and it really isn’t a bad recipe, but I wouldn’t use it for a special occasion. Special occasions call for full-fat cakes, so if you return to my little blog sometime in January I will make a real lemon cake.

Here is the recipe for Low-Far Lemon Yogurt Cake (found on the craving chronicles)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt also works)
1 cup sugar
1 whole large egg, 3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Measure the flour (scoop and level), baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk until combined. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly whisk together. Fold the vegetable oil into the batter until it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If the glaze is still too thick, continue adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until it’s runny enough to pour. Carefully place on the cake a baking rack over a sheet pan or a sheet of parchment paper. While the cake is still warm (but not hot!), pour the glaze over, allowing it to drip down the sides.2012-12-05 20.58.37

Happy baking! Hopefully my next baking adventure won’t be so lame!

 

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Yes. Dr. Pepper Cake to be exact. Yes, I’m going to use corny, pun-filled titles here. So I made this cake back in September for a certain bestie’s birthday, purely because she loves Dr. Pepper. It turns out you don’t really TASTE the Dr. Pepper in the cake, but what you do taste is fantastic chocolatey-goodness. Yeah… I’m also going to make up words on this blog. Anyways, the cake was such a hit I decided to make it for a book release party  last weekend to celebrate another certain someone’s newly published book.

Okay, the public relations person in me says I must insert a plug here…. Go buy The Light of the Moon by David James. Then bake this cake, and read whilst eating said cake. Do it! Alright, PR plug over.

Seriously though, this cake is pretty fantastic, and the frosting might be even better. Like eat it with a spoon and then feel guilty because it has so much damn butter in it kind of good. The recipe is pretty straight-forward…except the second time I made the cake, I made the frosting way too soon and decided I needed to refrigerate it while I waited for the cake to cool. This made the frosting really hard and thick, so then I had to wait some more for it to come back to room temperature. My recommendation is to bake the cake, and whip up the frosting (it really is easy) right before you are ready to frost.

Note, if you don’t normally stock Dr. Pepper, I was able to use one 20 oz. bottle to make both cakes (frosting and all). Also, the recipe calls to use round cake pans, or cupcakes, but I baked mine in a 13 x 9 glass pan, I think the baking time was a little longer but otherwise it turned out perfect. So here you have it… Dr. Pepper Cake (as found on The Sisters Cafe)

Cake:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup Dr Pepper
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (or 9×13 or prepare cupcake liners).  Sift (yeah I never sift… I stirred) together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa and baking soda and set aside.  Heat the Dr Pepper in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla for 2 minutes.  At lowest speed, slowly add the Dr Pepper mixture and beat for 1 additional minute.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks, lift off pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup Dr Pepper (I added an additional 1-2 Tablespoons once, and I actually liked that better.  However it did make the frosting thinner…)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  At low speed, gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa.  Add the Dr Pepper and vanilla, and turn mixer to high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.

The first time I made this treat I used red frosting to go with the Dr. Pepper theme… the second time I used blue sprinkles. Unfortunately, I forgot to document the second cake.  So I will leave you with a picture of the frosting… because who doesn’t love frosting!?