Brown Sugar Pound Cake and $350 MightyNest Giveaway

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

There’s not a whole lot that I love more than a really awesome pound cake.  Mostly because they’re super easy to make, and when you drench them with a to-die-for brown sugar fabulous glaze…well, let’s just say that I ate more of this cake on my own than I should admit.

I have to tell you, I am sometimes weary of bundt-cake baking because I’ve had occasions when my cake didn’t come out of the pan perfectly.  Even when I spray/flour/cross my fingers and hold my nose just right…sometimes my cakes just don’t want to cooperate.  Needless to say, I’m always looking for that no-fail, make my life easy bundt pan.  So when MightyNest contacted me about participating in their Bake Your Bundts Off Giveaway, well…I couldn’t resist.  The Simax bundt pan they sent me was baking perfection – my cake slid RIGHT out of the pan, no problem.

The super-awesome, way cool thing about MightyNest is that everything from this e-company is natural, organic, and non-toxic.  Plus, anytime you order from them, they give 15% back to the school of your choice.  As a parent, I can’t tell you how much that means to our kids and our local schools.  AND everything is seriously cute and fun.  Check out what was in the box they sent me:

 

MightyNest Giveaway

  1. Simax Glass Bundt Pan.  Ohmygosh.  This pan is seriously fantastic.  I’ve always used teflon pans in the past, and they’re always super heavy and bulky.  This pan was sooooo lightweight – and I love, love, love that I could see the entire cake as it was baking.  Plus, it can handle temps in excess of 500 degrees F.
  2. Wooden Cake Box and Leather Strap.  You guys.  This Cake Box was my very favorite thing EVER.  I often have to take cupcakes for functions at my kiddo’s school, and it always causes me all sorts of anxiety because I’ve never found a great way to transport that stuff without fear of destroying the frosting/toppers/decorations.  No more!  It has two slide out trays so you can use it to transport cupcakes; or you can remove the trays and use it for a 9-inch layer cake instead.  Pure brilliance.
  3. Organic Tea Towel.  I’m a sucker for cute towels.  This one is made from 100% organic cotton and is handmade by a couple in Oregon.
  4. Glass Measuring Cups.  This set of three Anchor-Hocking glass cups comes in 1-cup, 2-cup and 4-cup sizes.  With an open handle and pour spout, these measuring cups are a must for the kitchen.  I’m sort of addicted to using the 1-cup size.  It’s perfect for all sorts of things, and I’m wondering why I never had one of these before.
  5. Chemex coffeemaker and filters.  I haven’t had a chance to try this coffeemaker yet, but it really looks like a super fun find for coffee connoisseurs. Designed by a chemist decades ago, this coffeemaker is LOVED by coffee purists for brewing coffee without any bitterness. Delicious!   If you’re not a coffee fanatic like I am, you can brew tea in it as well.
  6. Stainless measuring spoons.  These stainless steel measuring spoons are made from heavy gauge 18/8 stainless steel and are dishwasher safe.
  7. Set of 4 glass mugs.  With the holiday season fast-approaching, these 12-ounce mugs are perfect for entertaining.
  8. Set of 3 Stainless mixing bowls.  So I have to admit – I’ve never had stainless steel mixing bowls before.  And now I can’t imagine using anything else.  I’ve been using the heck out of these things; they’re sturdy and just the right size – especially if you have little helpers in the kitchen.

And here’s the super great news: MightyNest is going to give one of you a box of goodies just like I received – PLUS, they’ll donate $100 to the school of your choice!  Just click below to enter – believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this giveaway valued at $350!

So, back to this brown sugar pound cake…I needed a break from everything pumpkin for a few days, and this cake had just the right amount of  fall flavors with the combination of brown sugar and maple.  Yum!

This Brown Sugar Pound cake is dense and moist, and the combination of brown sugar and maple flavoring makes it an instant hit.  The brown sugar icing alone is out of this world!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
for the frosting:
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch bundt pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat at low speed until mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the mixing speed to medium and beat for 4 minutes. Fold in walnuts, if using.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, the remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
for the frosting:
  1. Heat brown sugar, butter and milk in a 1-quart saucepan until the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  2. In a small bowl at high speed, beat powdered sugar, maple extract and brown sugar mixture until smooth. Spoon over the top of your cooled cake.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Surprisingly easy to make and truly delicious, this Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is the ultimate in fall dessert decadence!  Believe me, you’ll want this cake on your holiday table!

Surprisingly easy to make and truly delicious, this Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is the ultimate in fall dessert decadence!  Believe me, you'll want this cake on your holiday table!

So, I’m probably the last blogger in the big, bad internet world to taste a gooey butter cake.  I’d heard of them, sure, but it was sort of like the poke cake – I didn’t quite get what all of the fuss was until I tried it.

Now I’m worried that there’s no going back; that I’m going to be trying a different flavor of gooey butter cake every week and eating my way to a gazillion pounds.  Maybe not a bad way to go, but I have some cute fall sweaters I’d like to be able to wear when the weather finally cools off here. 😉

This pumpkin-pie like cake isn’t diet-friendly, and quite frankly, I don’t know why anyone would make or even waste calories on a cake that boasted to be healthy.  Go whole-hog or go home is my motto.  And anything that boasts two sticks of butter, a block of cream cheese, and three and a half cups of powdered sugar is pretty much whole-hog.  This recipe is straight from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, and whatever your opinion of Paula, she makes a darn good cake.

Surprisingly easy to make and truly delicious, this Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is the ultimate in fall dessert decadence!  Believe me, you'll want this cake on your holiday table!

The extra great thing about this pumpkin gooey butter cake is that it is so easy to make.  Mix up your batter {just three main ingredients} and spread it in the bottom of your pan – it will be pretty thick, so you’ll need to press it down gently with the back of a spatula or a wooden spoon to make sure it reaches the corners of the pan.

Next, make your filling: just blend together a can of pumpkin and cream cheese, add in a few eggs, vanilla, {more!} butter, powdered sugar, and my favorite blend of fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes; be careful not to over-bake.  It’s called “gooey cake: for a reason! 🙂  Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream.

Surprisingly easy to make and truly delicious, this Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is the ultimate in fall dessert decadence!  Believe me, you'll want this cake on your holiday table!

This is a great cake to take for a work luncheon, pot luck, or family event – anywhere that you can make sure that other people can eat some of this cake and you’re not tempted to eat the entire thing yourself.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 1 box (18¼ ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 box (16 ounces, or approximately 3½ cups) powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • whipped cream, for serving
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. To make your cake, stir together cake mix, egg and butter with a large wooden spoon until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared cake pan, making sure it is smoothed into the corners.
  3. To make the filling, beat the pumpkin and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixture until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the melted butter and beat until combined. Add the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Next, add the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating well in between each addition.
  4. Use a spatula to spread the filling on top of the cake base. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake - when you stick a toothpick into the center of the cake, it should have a few wet crumbs stuck to it when you remove it.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Grandma’s Pumpkin Snack Cake

This Pumpkin Snack Cake is packed full of fall flavors, and topped with a easy cream cheese cinnamon-dusted frosting!

Pumpkin-Cake

Is it fall weather in your neck of the woods yet?  Here in the midwest, we’re finally getting some cooler days – while we were still in the 90’s at the beginning of the week, the high tomorrow is forecasted to be 58 degrees, with rain.  That’s perfect fall baking weather, if you ask me.  Especially when that baking involves pumpkin.

I swiped this pumpkin snack cake recipe from my grandma’s recipe box, although I think it’s a pretty standard/popular pumpkin cake recipe.  Popular because it’s super easy to make and so soft and cinnamon-spicy good.  Topped with an cream cheese frosting and dusted with just a bit more cinnamon, fall doesn’t get much better than this.

This Pumpkin Snack Cake is packed full of fall flavors, and topped with a easy cream cheese cinnamon-dusted frosting!

I always know a recipe is a winner when Doodle scarfs it down and asks for more – although who wouldn’t want more pumpkin snack cake is beyond me. 😉

Bonus?  It’s a super easy recipe that mixes up in just a few minutes – it really doesn’t take much more work than opening a box mix.  I love homemade recipes that don’t require a lot of extra elbow grease on my part.  I don’t have a lot of extra time for baking and I’d really rather be eating cake than making it.  With this recipe, I have the best of both worlds.

This Pumpkin Snack Cake is packed full of fall flavors, and topped with a easy cream cheese cinnamon-dusted frosting!

And when you spread an easy cream cheese frosting over the top of this, well…all seems right with the world. 😉

Tell me: what’s your favorite fall flavor?

Grandma’s Pumpkin Snack Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
For the Frosting:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and beat at low speed until combined and the batter is smooth.
  4. Spread batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the sugar and milk and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread over cooled bars. Dust lightly with cinnamon, if desired.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Soft-Baked M&M Cookies

These Soft-Baked M&M Cookies are super soft and chewy, and taste just like the ones you get from the bakery!

These Soft-Baked M&M Cookies are super soft and chewy, and taste just like the ones you get from the bakery!
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to see my favorite singer in concert: James Taylor (yep, apparently I’m 60 years old). This was my sixth JT concert ever and my second in just over three weeks. I told my good friend and concert buddy that my grandest wish was to follow JT around on his concert tour for the rest of the summer.

But since that’s not going to happen, I got the next best thing: to take Doodle to his first concert and introduce him to some live JT. Not only that, but we ended up with box seats, complete with a wait staff serving us concert-themed beverages while we jammed along to pretty much the best music evah.

You can imagine the crowd in Wichita, Kansas going a little crazy during a live version of Wichita Lineman. And even if you’re not a JT fan, Arnold McCuller’s feature on Shower the People will blow you away.

These Soft-Baked M&M Cookies are super soft and chewy, and taste just like the ones you get from the bakery!

Anyway, I made these cookies as a thank-you to my husband’s boss, who was kind enough to pass along the box seats when he found out that I might be the craziest, most die-hard JT fan alive. 😉

You know these have to be good when my husband, a non-dessert eater, scarfs one down in less than five seconds.

These Soft-Baked M&M Cookies are super soft and chewy, and taste just like the ones you get from the bakery!

As soon as I photographed these bad boys, they were boxed up and ready to send off with the Tall Boy to work. Thank goodness his coworker like sweet treats, or I’d be in some real trouble. My co-workers usually get the shaft on my baked goodies, since I typically do most baking on the weekend, and I work from home Mondays through Wednesdays. So…if I don’t send them out the door on Monday mornings, guess what I’m doing on my lunch breaks?

Yep, sneaking cookies.

These Soft-Baked M&M Cookies are super soft and chewy, and taste just like the ones you get from the bakery!

Soft-Baked M&M Cookies
 
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups M&Ms (I used mini, but any flavor or size will do)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together both sugars, the shortening , eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cornstarch to the butter mixture and blend well. Add in ¾ cup to 1 cup of the M&M's.
  3. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Press a few more M&Ms onto the tops of the cookies, if desired.
  4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

From AllRecipes

XO, Ashley

 

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One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Love homemade chocolate cake but hate washing dishes?  Then this One Bowl Chocolate Cake is for you!

Love homemade chocolate cake but hate washing dishes?  Then this One Bowl Chocolate Cake is for you!

So, I have a horrible confession: I hate meal planning.  I mean, really, really hate it.  Which is saying something, since I like to blog about food in my free time.

While I like preparing food, writing about food, and most definitely eating food, coming up with weeknight menus does not top my list of favorite things to do.  It’s such a chore, and just one more added thing to have to do in my busy days.  I mean, between a full-time job, karate, summer baseball {with the Tall Boy coaching}, and just everyday life, it’s a straight-up miracle I can get dinner on the table, let alone do any sort of elaborate meal planning.

So I was super excited to get my hands on this fabulous new cookbook: A Year with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 52 Menu Plans, Recipes, and Ideas to Bring Families Together

It’s seriously awesome.

And that’s saying a lot from someone who is actually planning a kitchen remodel around extra storage space for all of her cookbooks. 😉

I’ve followed Six Sisters’ Stuff forever, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the sisters in person {I had a phenomenal time in February at their Build Your Blog conference – if you’re a blogger, you need to attend this event next year!} – these gals are the real deal.  They are kind and genuine, family-focused, and cook up some pretty darn good stuff.  But the best part of this cookbook is that it does my meal planning for me.

There are 52 menu ideas included: over 150 total recipes, including main courses, side dishes, and desserts.  Another thing I love about this cookbook is that it uses basic ingredients – ones that you already have in your kitchen.  Some of the sample menus include:

Slow Cooker Creamy Spaghetti with Cheesy Artichoke Bread and Almond Joy Cookies

Honey Baked Ham with Homemade Scalloped Potatoes and Cherry Pie Bars

Slow Cooker BBQ Ranch Ribs with Slow Cooker Baked Beans and Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

and

Oven Baked Tacos with Zesty Guacamole and One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Love homemade chocolate cake but hate washing dishes?  Then this One Bowl Chocolate Cake is for you!

Okay, so I realize a One Bowl Chocolate Cake doesn’t make for a healthy dinner – but it’s definitely a fun dessert for a special meal.

At my house, we try to take extra time at dinner on Sunday evenings – we typically have more time, and aren’t so rushed for prep time {or eating time!}.  We spend quite a bit of time around the table on Sunday nights: talking about our weekend, our plans for the upcoming week, and playing board games.  It’s fun to finish off the meal with dessert – and who doesn’t like a good chocolate cake?

Especially one that can be made in one bowl!

Love homemade chocolate cake but hate washing dishes?  Then this One Bowl Chocolate Cake is for you!

If you’re pressed for time, you can use store-bought chocolate frosting to top your cake, but I’ve included my favorite chocolate frosting recipe below.  It takes only 5 minutes to whip up, and is the perfect finishing touch to this homemade cake!

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
 
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • chocolate frosting, pre-prepared, or make your own (see below)
  • sprinkles
Chocolate Frosting:
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Once the eggs are fully incorporated, pour in the hot water and mix well. The batter will be runny - don't worry!
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 33 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool, and then frost and add sprinkles.
To make the frosting:
  1. Cream butter, cocoa powder and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, adding in the milk a bit at a time if the frosting gets too thick. Once you've added in 4 cups of powdered sugar, add the remaining milk and beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy. For a stiffer frosting, add in more powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting becomes too stiff, add in more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Notes
*if you don't have buttermilk, just take 1 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice) and enough milk to make 1 cup. Stir and let sit about 5 minutes.

Love homemade chocolate cake but hate washing dishes?  Then this One Bowl Chocolate Cake is for you!

XO, Ashley

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Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake

This Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake is super simple to make, requires no baking, and is a stunning spring dessert that everyone will enjoy!

This Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake is super simple to make, requires no baking, and is a stunning spring dessert that everyone will enjoy!

Today I’m getting together with some of my best blogger friends today to host an online baby shower for our good friend Lisa. Lisa blogs over at Wine & Glue, and you probably see her cute face on my blog every week, since she’s one of my Wake Up Wednesdays co-hosts.  I got to meet Lisa last December when we baked in the Pillsbury Test Kitchen together, so I can honestly say she’s one of the sweetest, funniest, lovliest gals I’ve had the opportunity to know.

If you don’t know Lisa, you need to hop on over to her internet space and check it out for an hour or three.  And make sure to look at her recipe for Carrot Cake Fudge, because OMG I need that right now.

Anywhoo, Lisa is getting ready to have a new baby girl…and since we can’t all be there with her to celebrate in person, we’re doing the next best thing. ;-)

W&G 2

Since we’re finally into spring weather here and strawberries in my grocery store are finally nearing a reasonable price, I loaded up on a ton so I could make this Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox cake. You guys. This cake literally takes five minutes to assemble, and then you just shove it in the fridge for a few hours. Easy-peasy! And so pretty!

If you’re not into the coconut thing (like my husband), you could totally leave it out…but personally, I love these flavors mixed together.  I also love allowing my strawberries to macerate with a bit of lime juice and almond extract {macerating is the process of soaking fruit in liquid, which softens it and also often adds flavor or sweetness} – you can substitute vanilla extract for almond if you prefer, but I highly recommend you give it a try with the almond flavoring.  It’s the best!

This Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake is super simple to make, requires no baking, and is a stunning spring dessert that everyone will enjoy!

Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • juice of half of a lime
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • approximately 8 graham crackers
Method
  1. Rinse, hull and quarter your strawberries. Place them in a medium bowl and sprinkle with ¼ cup granulated sugar, the juice of half of a lime, and ½ teaspoon almond extract. Stir to combine; set aside.
  2. While the berries are macerating, make your whipped cream: combine 2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon almond extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Line a 9x5 bread pan with saran wrap. Layer one-third of the whipped cream into the bottom of the pan, spreading out evenly. Sprinkle half of the coconut on top of the whipped cream. Top with one-half of your strawberries (along with the juice). Top with a layer of graham crackers.
  4. Repeat, adding another one-third of the whipped cream, the remaining coconut, and the remaining strawberries/juice. Top with the remaining graham crackers. Cover and freeze for about 2 hours. Place the remaining one-third whipped cream into the refrigerator while the cake is freezing.
  5. After two hours, remove pan from freezer and invert onto a serving plate. Cover with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes
recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian

Please join us in celebrating a virtual baby show from Lisa of Wine and Glue. Be sure to check out all of the links below for lots of other baby shower goodies!

Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake from Back For Seconds

Strawberry Rice Krispie Treats from Chocolate, Chocolate and more

Lemon White Chocolate M&M Cookies from Something Swanky

Lemon Strawberry Cookie Cups from Beyond Frosting

Strawberry Shortcake Eclair Cake from Inside BruCrew Life

Strawberry and Jam Buttermilk Coffee Cake from French Press

Perfect Sugar Cookies from Crazy for Crust

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake In A Jar from Life, Love and Sugar

Roasted Blueberry Tart from Lemons for Lulu

White Chocolate Peeps Cookiewiches from Frugal Foodie Mama

Pistachio Dreamboat Dessert from High Heels and Grills

No-Bake Lemon Berry Cheesecake Mousse Parfait from Happy Food Healthy Life

Creamy Strawberry Pie from Julie’s Eats & Treats

Oatmeal Creme Pie Caramelitas from The Domestic Rebel

Cookie Butter S’Mores Dip from Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Baby Quiche Lorraine from Real Housemoms

Raspberry Pretzel Salad from Mom On Timeout

Berry chocolate french toast casserole from Roxana’s Home Baking

Sunrise Cupcakes from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake from Kitchen Meets Girl

Avocado and Mango Chicken Salad from The Tasty Fork

Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade from {i love} my disorganized life

Spinach Artichoke Dip Appetizer Pizza from Chef in Training

XO, Ashley

 

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Vintage Cake

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

Despite taking all of Wilton’s cake decorating classes, my frosting piping skills still leave a lot to be desired.  Cake decorating…I’m not so good at.  Cake eating…well, at that, I’m a pro.;-)

Recently, I got the opportunity to get my cake-happy hands on Amanda’s (of I am Baker and the originator of the rose cake) new book, Surprise Inside Cakes.  Based on the cover alone, I knew Amanda’s book would not disappoint – and it certainly didn’t.

Each cake is not only beautiful on the outside, but also contains a “surprise” when you slice into them.  From rainbow cakes to ombre cakes to a candle shape baked inside a Jack O’Lantern cake, Amanda expertly shows you step-by-step how to recreate these gorgeous cakes at home.  She even makes it look easy!

unnamed

As much as I wanted to start with a more complex cake, I decided to start with a cake I can handle, and work my way up…I’m hoping by Doodle’s birthday in July I can give something like this a try:

b-day cake

Amazing, right??

But for today’s post, I’m sharing this Vintage Cake…primarily because I knew I could handle swirling the cream cheese frosting on the top.  Oh, and also because the decadent layers inside really appealed to my taste buds.

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

The surprise inside this particular cake?  Sitting below two layers of the fluffiest, most-fabulous white cake I’ve ever tasted, was a layer of decadent brownies…which were layered with a slathering of chocolate sauce.

I’m not lying when I tell you eating a slice of this cake had me drooling as much as watching Adam Levine perform shirtless. 😉

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

Plus, it was super-duper easy to make!  I used Amanda’s white cake recipe – which I highly recommend: it was without a doubt, the best white cake I’ve ever eaten.  I also used her recipe for Decadent Brownies, and yes, they were truly decadent and perfect.  The coolest part about using Amanda’s white cake recipe is that she specifically designed the cakes to bake level, stable, and sturdy – making them much easier to frost.  For a novice cake decorator like me, this was a must. 😉

However, I love that Amanda also notes that you can substitute your favorite box mixes for both the cake and the brownies.  You can still have an amazing surprise inside cake, without quite as much work.  If you’re a beginning baker, this is a great way to get started with some of her amazing creations and wow your friends and family.

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

Vintage Cake
 
Ingredients
  • Amanda's white cake recipe OR 1 box white cake mix
  • Amanda's Decadent Brownies OR 1 box brownie mix
  • 2 squares (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (half of a 14-ounce can)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
Method
  1. Prepare white cake as directed on the box, and pour into two 9-inch round cake pans. Allow cakes to cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare brownies as directed, baking in a 9-inch round cake pan.
  3. To make the chocolate sauce, place the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted (about 5 minutes).
  4. While the brownies are still warm, place the brownie layer on a cake stand. Slowly pour the chocolate sauce on top, letting it soak into the brownie. Allow the sauce to soak in for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting (see below).
  5. Place a white cake layer on top of the brownies and top with approximately ¼ cup of the frosting using an offset spatula.
  6. Add the second white cake layer and cover the cake in a layer of cream cheese frosting. Since I'm not a pro at decorating, I used Amanda's tip and just swooped my spatula through the frosting in a "C" shape.
  7. Chill the cake until ready to serve.
To make the frosting:
  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time, until the frosting is light and creamy. For thicker/stiffer frosting, add more confectioner's sugar ¼ cup at a time. If the frosting is too stiff, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

And guess what?  Amanda has graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win one of her cookbooks – trust me, this is one you want sitting on your shelves!

How to enter:

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Sometimes the form takes a few minutes to load. You will need to login to the Rafflecopter form using your email address. Be sure to use an email address you check often, as that is how you will be notified if you win.

Fine Print:
You must be 18 years or older to enter. Giveaway runs through March 31, 2014. Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway and has 48 hours to respond to said email or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait??  You can find your own copy of Surprise Inside Cakes anywhere books are sold or you can order it on Amazon!

This Vintage Cake combines two layers of white cake, with a surprise brownie layer soaked in a decadent chocolate sauce. And the cream cheese frosting takes it right over the top!

XO, Ashley

 

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Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake with Peppermint Mocha Glaze

If you’re looking for a decadent, impressive dessert for your holiday table, this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake with Peppermint Mocha Glaze is it!

Chocolate Fudge liquid coffee creamer adds fudgy richness to this easy cake - and Peppermint-Mocha creamer makes a fantastic holiday glaze! #recipe #bundt #peppermint

Let’s talk about coffee for a minute, shall we? I’m of the “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had at least one cup of coffee, preferably two” camp.  I don’t function well at all in the mornings without my cup of joe, despite the fact that I’m up no later than 6:30 am, even on the weekends.

What’s up with that??

And while I prefer my coffee straight-up black, thankyouverymuch, the holidays are the exception.  Once those limited edition holiday-flavored creamers hit the dairy case, I’m all over it. I mean, really–have you seen Coffee-mate’s seasonal flavors?

    • Dark Chocolate Fudge — Rich, dark and indulgent like only chocolate fudge can be. Enjoy a cup of coffee that’s every chocolate lover’s dream come true.

 

    • Peppermint Mocha — Enjoy one of the season’s most popular flavors! Let the comfort of crisp peppermint and chocolatey mocha warm you up this holiday season.

 

    • Eggnog Latte — What would the holidays be without the flavor of Eggnog? Invite over some guests and prepare a holiday flavored latte for everyone on your list.

 

Come to mama.

Chocolate Fudge liquid coffee creamer adds fudgy richness to this easy cake - and Peppermint-Mocha creamer makes a fantastic holiday glaze! #recipe #bundt #peppermint

And even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you should totally get your hands on some of these creamers, if only to make this bundt cake.  Holy chocolate yumminess!  This cake baked up dark and rich – just like a chocolate cake should.

Adding the dark chocolate fudge creamer to the batter was key to a extra-chocolaty taste, and just an all-around good decision.

You could certainly add the dark chocolate fudge creamer to the glaze, but the holidays just scream peppermint to me, so I used the peppermint mocha flavor instead.  And adding some crushed peppermint to the top of the cake was a quick and easy garnish.  And so pretty, too!

Chocolate Fudge liquid coffee creamer adds fudgy richness to this easy cake - and Peppermint-Mocha creamer makes a fantastic holiday glaze! #recipe #bundt #peppermint

  The seasonal flavors are only available through December, so make sure to get them while you can – and then hurry and make this cake!

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake with Peppermint Mocha Glaze
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Fudge Flavor NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE Liquid Coffee Creamer
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot water
For the Peppermint-Mocha Glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons Coffee-Mate Peppermint-Mocha Creamer
  • 2 candy canes, crushed, for garnish
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 10-inch (12-cup volume) bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder, instant coffee, baking soda and salt. Beat on low speed to combine.
  3. Add the creamer, oil and eggs to the flour mixture and then beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add water. Once incorporated, beat on high speed for about 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; then invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with glaze and garnish with crushed peppermint, if desired.
To make the glaze:
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Whisk in powdered sugar, cocoa and creamer until smooth. Drizzle over cake.
Notes
recipe from Coffee-Mate
Nutrition Information
Serving size: serves 16

Want to win a really awesome prize pack from Coffee-Mate??  (hint: you do)  

It’s easy-peasy, and you have the chance to win some really fabulous stuff, including: 

3 full value Coffee-mate product coupons

1 set of Coffee-mate recipe cards

1 French press

4 glass coffee mugs

1 seasonally scented candle

How to enter:

Enter via the Promosimple form below. Sometimes the form takes a few minutes to load. You will need to login to the Promosimple form using either Facebook or your email address. Be sure to use an email address you check often, as that is how you will be notified if you win.

Fine Print: Open to U.S. residents only. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Giveaway runs through November 8, 2013. Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway and has 48 hours to respond to said email or a new winner will be chosen.

 

XO, Ashley

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

This Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake is one of the easiest cakes I’ve made in a long time.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake - adding pumpkin puree and evaporated milk is an easy way to jazz up a plain old spice cake mix!  Comes together in a flash and tastes like homemade!

Have any of you ever read Stephen King’s The Stand? In the book, nearly 99 percent of the world’s population is wiped out with the superflu.  Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’ve felt for the last week – only worse.  The good news is that I’m now back to my high school weight, so there’s that {don’t worry, it will take about 2.287436420 seconds before I gain those 5 pounds back}.

Anyway, when I finally headed back into the kitchen over the weekend, I needed recipes that were quick and easy, and um, pumpkin.  We’re still in pumpkin season, right?  ‘Cause I’m already kinda looking ahead to eggnog and peppermint, if you want to know the truth.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake - adding pumpkin puree and evaporated milk is an easy way to jazz up a plain old spice cake mix!  Comes together in a flash and tastes like homemade!

This recipe starts out with a spice cake mix – but with the addition of evaporated milk and pumpkin puree, the result is a wonderfully moist and perfectly flavored cake. It’s all of the flavors and textures of a homemade cake without all of the work – perfect for those days when you want something with a homemade feel, but don’t have the energy to do it whole hog. 😉

I jazzed up the cream cheese glaze by substituting Pumpkin Spice Creamer for the milk, which kicked up the flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg throughout.  In my book, you can never have too much cinnamon, pumpkin, or nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake - adding pumpkin puree and evaporated milk is an easy way to jazz up a plain old spice cake mix!  Comes together in a flash and tastes like homemade!

This cake was actually part of my weekly lunch menu plan from eMeals, and I’d intended to pack slices of it in Doodle’s lunch this week. But let’s be honest: who really needed this cake  more? A 6-year old with already boundless energy, or a working mom who usually needs a sugar rush to get through the late afternoon work day?

I’ll let you ponder that for a minute while I go brush the cake crumbs off my keyboard.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 18.25 oz package spice cake mix
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used fat-free)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice coffee creamer OR milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix, pumpkin, evaporated milk, oil and eggs in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30
  4. minutes. Invert onto wire rack, and cool completely.
For the glaze:
  1. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar,1 tablespoon creamer or milk and vanilla in a food
  2. processor; cover and process until well blended. Add remaining 1 tablespoon creamer or milk;
  3. process until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.


eMeals Meal Plans

XO, Ashley

*I was not compensated for this post. I am an eMeals affiliate and this post does contain my affiliate link. However, all opinions are straight-up my own, and I used eMeals even prior to my affiliate relationship. I really do love it! You can read my disclosure policy here.

 

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Pina Colada Poke Cake

Piña Colada Poke Cake.

It’s the new cake for summer. Trust me.

Pina Colada Poke Cake from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - so SIMPLE to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! #recipe #cake #pineapple #coconut

I’m probably the last blogger on the face of the planet to make a poke cake using sweetened condensed milk.   I couldn’t really understand what all of the hubbub was about – I mean, I’ve had plenty of poke cakes before…although they’ve all used Jello.  Like many of you, I grew up on cakes like those.  And they were good, certainly.  But fabulous?  Meh.

So finally, after giving in to temptation and curiosity, I decided to make one of my own.

Aaaaaaand now…I understand what it’s all about.

Pina Colada Poke Cake from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - so SIMPLE to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! #recipe #cake #pineapple #coconut

The moistness (sorry, it is, and I’m unapologetic to use a word that so aptly describes the texture of this cake), the decadence, the absolute diet-ruiner of this cake is bar none.

Let’s break it down:

Butter cake.  Sweetened condensed milk.  Cream of Coconut.  Pineapple.  Whipping Cream.  Coconut.

Are you with me?

Pina Colada Poke Cake from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - so SIMPLE to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! #recipe #cake #pineapple #coconut

I’m basically drooling again just thinking about this cake, and I have a million ideas for different versions running through my head.  I already can’t wait to make another one.

In this version, I mixed together sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, and poured it on top of my warm cake.  I was a little alarmed by how saturated the cake was at first, but don’t worry!  All that oooey goodness is going to seep into your cake as it sits in the refrigerator overnight – I promise.

Then you’ll top your cake with crushed pineapple and a homemade whipped cream flavored with coconut.  Garnish it with shredded coconut and a cherry, and one bite will transport you to a tropical flavored paradise.

Pina Colada Poke Cake from www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com - so SIMPLE to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! #recipe #cake #pineapple #coconut

Pull the elastic-waist pants out of the drawer and keep eating.

Pina Colada Poke Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 1 box butter cake mix, plus ingredients to make cake
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk) - this can usually be found in the drinks/mixers aisle of your local grocery store
  • 1 15.25-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
For the Topping:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (sweeten to your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • shredded coconut and maraschino cherries, to garnish if desired
Method
  1. Prepare and bake cake in a 9x13 pan according to package directions. While your cake is baking, mix together the reserved pineapple juice, sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut until smooth.
  2. Immediately after removing your cake from the oven, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the milk mixture over the top of the warm cake, making sure to get it down into the holes. The cake will appear very saturated, but that's okay. Evenly spread the reserved crushed pineapple all over the top. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To make the topping:
  1. Beat cream vigorously by hand with a whisk or using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer. When the cream starts to thicken, add in the powdered sugar and coconut extract. Continue beating until soft peaks form. You may also use Cool Whip if you wish. Garnish cake with shredded coconut and maraschino cherries.
  2. Keep cake covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Notes
adapted from The Country Cook

XO, Ashley

 

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