14 February 2012

Chocolate Devils Food Donuts

For your Valentine's pleasure...
For Christmas my father gave me a babycakes Donut Maker. It wasn't on my radar but it was a perfect choice for me, a tried and true donut fanatic. I rarely ever turn down a donut, unless it's filled with fruit or cream. Cake, yeast, baked, fried, I'll try them all. My favorite of course is powdered donuts and I've often joked that I want Sweet Sixteen Powdered donuts eaten in my honor at my funeral...but alas, I digress.

I finally got around to taking the donut maker out of the box this past Satuday morning and since then I have been experimenting with different donut recipes. I've made a Sour Cream donut, a Pumpkin Spice donut and then this morning, after several requests from my daughter, I made a chocolate donut. 

I had a hard time finding a recipe on the internet for a baked chocolate cake donut and ended up just winging it. The recipe that came with the maker wasn't well reviewed on their website so I wanted something that would be simple, yet satisfying. Having had recent luck making just about anything with boxed cake mix I decided to grab a box of Devil's Food cake and go from there. 

4 out of 4 Taste-testers agree...yummy!
I must say these are decadent little sweets, almost more of a dessert than a breakfast but they were a big hit, especially with the pink icing in honor of Valentine's Day. The daughter was pleased most of all.

Chocolate Donuts


1 package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil's Food Cake)
1 egg
1/2 package 3.9 oz. Chocolate pudding mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil


1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Red Food coloring

1. Mix cake mix, egg, pudding, water and oil together until well combined. 
2. Pour cake mix into gallon size ziploc bag, snip ends. Cook in batches (mine cooked in the donut maker for 4 minutes a batch). 
3. Cool on wire rack. Dip in icing. Let cool completely and dip again.

09 February 2012

Honey Oatmeal Bread

I have been making this bread for almost two years now and though it takes several hours to make the outcome is well worth the effort. The kids love it and it's great with soups or just as a quick pick me up. I think it's most delicious. So delicious I couldn't stop myself from eating an entire loaf this afternoon.

Honey Oatmeal Bread


2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 -1 1/2 cup bread flour
3 cups whole wheat flour

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water, oats, 1/2 cup honey, butter and salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oat mixture. Add 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour; mix well. Stir in the remaining whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (I use bread flour). Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
  5. Preheat an oven to 375.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

09 April 2010

Devils Food with a little less sin.


I never knew just how much I loved Chocolate cake until recently when I began experimenting with devil’s food cake.  I have been playing with different cake recipes and I have enjoyed every bite of it.  I have yet to be disappointed with these heavenly desserts.  What’s ever better is that I have been working on making them a little less sinful- swapping applesauce for oil, reduced fat sour cream for original, that sort of thing, with wondrous results. 

There are two recipes that are fairly similar, the biggest differences being the sour cream and oil ratios as well as the size of dry pudding mix used.  I have baked them both within the last few weeks and found that I couldn’t really see the difference.  This cake was perhaps the moister of the two however, so I am posting it first. 

The original recipes that I found using Devils Food cake mix called for either boiling water, strong brewed coffee or coffee liquor.  With this cake I went with Irish Cream Liquor.  Why?  Well mainly because I bought a bottle at Christmas for my friends and family to partake in Irish Cream Coffee and then never got around to actually making the hot dessert beverage.  Maybe next year.  But alas, a whole bottle of Irish Cream, I thought it couldn’t hurt.  It didn’t.

When making this cake I did use a lot of reduced fat or less fat options, however those were to suite my preferences.  I have also made this cake using the ingredients in parenthesis with just as amazing results only with a little more fat.

Heavenly Chocolate Cake



1 package Devils Food cake mix

1 (5.9 oz) package Instant Chocolate pudding mix

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 cup applesauce (or oil)

1 cup eggbeaters (or 4 large eggs)

1/2 cup Irish cream liquor

2 cups (1 package) mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350* degrees.  Spray a 10 inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl (or using your electric stand mixer bowl) mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, applesauce, eggs and liquor with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Mix on medium speed for two minutes.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and pour cake mix into prepared pan.  Bake for 60 minutes.
  4. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

07 April 2010



I know what you’re thinking.  I’ve given up on the ole cookie blog already.  It would appear that as much as I love to bake, finding the time to sit down, go through pictures, write up the recipe and edit is just a near impossibility at the moment.  Spring has officially sprung and we are as busy as ever.  Between birthdays, holidays, races, training, and the overall business of everyday life I have managed to post not one single recipe in about two weeks.  But then I went and made these cookies and I just couldn’t keep them from the blogosphere any longer. 

You see, I knew that cake mix could be used as a quick substitute for cookie dough.  It’s quick and easy and what’s more, it’s delicious.  So the other day, when my sweet tooth awoke to find no snacks around worth partaking in, I was desperate.  I decided to delve into the pantry and see what I could throw together fast.  I had a box of brownie mix and a box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix. 

But what I wanted was a cookie.

So then an idea struck me, what if I made spice cookies from that old box of about to expire cake mix.  I mean, we wouldn’t want the cake mix to develop any mold spores sitting on that shelf and I knew I wouldn’t be making Spice cake until fall.  And it is so effortless to turn cake mix into cookies.  Then another light bulb went off in my head, what if I rolled said cookies in cinnamon and sugar much like Snickerdoodles but without all the trouble.

Into a bowl went the cake mix.  Followed by two eggs and a half a cup of canola oil.  Fifty strokes with a wooden spoon later, we had dough.  I then took teaspoonfuls and rolled them in a small bowl of cinnamon and sugar, heavy on the cinnamon.  From there to a cookie sheet and into an oven preheated to 350* degrees for about 9 minutes. 


The result: 

Might I, the biggest fan of Snickerdoodles you’ll possibly ever meet, tell you that these cookies are perhaps, gulp, better than Snickerdoodles. 

Let’s put it this way, the sweet tooth was more than satiated. 







1 package spice cake mix

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350* degrees. Get out cookies sheets and cooling racks. Combine cinnamon and sugar.
  2. Mix cake mix, eggs and oil in a medium bowl until combined.
  3. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough in cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 8-10 minutes.



28 March 2010

Banana Purses


A few nights ago my grandmother came for dinner.  It wasn’t really a planned evening and so I hadn’t any dessert in mind for after dinner.  But you (read: I) can’t have someone over for dinner and not serve them dessert.  Fortunately, I had all the makings for this little ditty already in the pantry and fridge and in a matter of a half hour dessert was served.  Unfortunately, sans Crème Glacee.




Banana Purses


3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 package puff pastry (2 sheets)

1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Mix bananas and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Working on a clean surface roll out a puff pastry sheet and cut in half lengthwise.  Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a 15x5 rectangle.  Cut each rectangle into three pieces. You should have twelve pieces when done.
  4. Evenly distribute the banana mixture onto the twelve pieces.  Fold the corners up and pinch to close in the center.  Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Transfer to prepared cooking sheet.
  5. Bake 15 minutes and serve warm.

These would probably be even better with ice cream. 

Maybe next time.

24 March 2010

S’mores Brownies


Every time I lose a pound I turn around and decide to make something absolutely scandalous.  So when my sister told me she had made S’mores Brownies, well I just had to try some out for myself.  Apparently, I didn’t make them the way she told me to, even though she described them to me at least three times.  I can be thick skulled I suppose.  I had the ingredients she spoke of: brownie mix, mini marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate chunks, so I thought, why the heck not.  Two days later, the scale told me why the heck not.  So my advice?  Enjoy these, either in moderation or after you throw your scale in the trash. Who needs the condescending little buggers anyways?

S’mores Brownies


1 pkg brownie mix (my favorite?  Ghirardelli Double Chocolate.  Y-u-m-m-y!)

Eggs, oil, water, etc. according to choice of brownie mix instructions

2 cups mini marshmallows

3 whole graham crackers, crushed

~ 1 cup chocolate chunks


  1. Make Brownies according to package instructions.  As they bake prepare topping (crush graham crackers).  Take the brownies out and place them on a wire rack, switch the oven from bake to broil.  Evenly distribute mini marshmallows on brownies.  Then spread graham crackers and chocolate on brownies. 
  2. Place brownies under broiler and WATCH.  In a matter of sixty seconds the marshmallows will start to brown.  As soon as they do, remove the brownies from the oven.  Let cool enough to cut, but enjoy them warm.  (Nuke leftovers for 10 seconds to get softer marshmallows.)

This is a very quick and fun way to spruce up a box of brownie mix.  Children and fans of S’mores will surely love them.

20 March 2010

Taste A Rainbow



Today is the first day of Spring, in celebration of the Sun passing over the Earth’s equator, we made Rainbow Cupcakes.  Using just a regular box of yellow cake mix and a box of food coloring we were able to turn a batch of cupcakes into a bright and colorful afternoon snack.

After making your cake mix according to the package directions separate the batter equally into 5 small bowls, then proceed with the following chart to make each color.


To make each color you will need:

Purple: 9 red drops, 6 blue drops

Blue: 12 blue drops

Green: 12 green drops

Yellow: 12 yellow drops

Red: 18 red

After you have made each color divide the batter equally into muffin pans.  You will probably get one or two less cupcakes than your package says you will get.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then…

taste a rainbow (with your favorite icing of course).

085 063 Welcome, Springtime!069 078

09 March 2010

Monkey Bread


When I was little my  mother used Bridgeford Rolls from the supermarket freezer section to make small buttery rolls nicknamed ‘Monkey Bread’.  To this day those rolls are a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner every year.  They take all afternoon and are essentially just rolls cut in half, dipped in melted butter and left to rise throughout the afternoon, but they are delicious.  Simply put: there are never any leftovers.

The Bridgeford Rolls however no longer have that simple roll on their packaging and have since replaced their original “Monkey Bread'” recipe with a Monkey Bread that is of the more traditional kind, rolls dipped in butter, rolled in cinnamon and sugar and combined in one fashion or another with butterscotch pudding.  I have tried the Bridgeford Monkey Bread but was unimpressed when all the hard work led to a sweet roll that I thought was lacking in some fundamental way.

But then a couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe that called for refrigerated biscuit dough in place of frozen rolls.  I was instantly interested, and at my next grocery excursion picked up several types and brands of biscuit dough.  You see, we don’t generally do refrigerated biscuits around here and I was unsure which to go with when presented with so many options at the local market.  I went with both the store brand original and the Pillsbury Buttermilk for variety.  Then I came home and experimented six times over the next two weeks.  I learned that with this bread, that simple was synonymous with unsurpassable.  I also, no surprise here, gained three pounds.  But now I have perfected them.  No need to thank me.  Just try them for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

This recipe is scrumptious but it also comes together in as little as 30 minutes from start to finish, which makes it even better.  To save your forearms from scrubbing duty turn the bread out onto aluminum foil immediately after baking and rinse your pan.

Monkey Bread


2 pkgs. refrigerated biscuit dough

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans.

1/3 cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray 9 inch round cake pan.  Combine sugar and cinnamon in a gallon size Ziploc bag.
  2. Open packages or biscuits and quarter them. monkeybread monkeybread1
  3. Taking about 8-10 of them at a time, drop them into the cinnamon mixture and shake vigorously to coat.  Drop them in greased pan.  Repeat until all of the biscuit dough is coated. monkeybread2
  4. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.monkeybread3
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and pour over the rolls.056
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Turn onto aluminum foil and enjoy.


03 March 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes


I have been experimenting with several different pancakes recipes lately.  I thought of doing a week of pancakes but that is too much even for a pancake fan like myself.  I am just so excited with myself for finally being able to make pancakes, for the longest time I just avoided them.  I am still the world’s worst pancake flipper, but at least they taste good.

I wanted to get these posted for National Pancake day, but then I got confused as to when exactly National Pancake Day occurred.  Then I got busy, extremely busy, and either misplaced several days of my week or rushed through them so quickly I have no recollection of them.  So here I am, a week later, finally sharing this delicious recipe.  It only makes about 8 pancakes so if you have children or significant others who might want any, you may want to double the recipe.

Oatmeal Pancakes


1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp canola oil

1 egg


  1. Mix flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in food processor until smooth.  Add buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg.
  2. Heat griddle to 350*.  Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle for each pancake.  Flip when pancakes start to have air bubbles around edges and cook on opposite side for another minute or two.

27 February 2010

Fresh Tomato Cream Sauce


I am very excited about this recipe.  It is the result of a few extra tomatoes and a bit of rummaging through the pantry, and it is delicious.

You see last week I was at the local Community Market when I happened across a couple selling big and quite beautiful tomatoes.  I, being an avid tomato fan, avariciously bought up six of the finest ones they possessed. 

I ate two of the tomatoes as slices on my daily BLT’s, another I shared with the kids as an afternoon snack, I used one to stuff peppers (recipe to follow soon), leaving two tomatoes. 

I had been perusing Vodka Sauce recipes on the Internet lately but having no Vodka in the house, was left only reading the recipes.  On a whim, though, I decided to make a sauce that would channel a good Vodka sauce sans the Vodka and also use up the last of my tomatoes. 

With a little of this and a little of that, a sauce came together quite quickly and was enjoyed over a bed of ziti pasta. 








Fresh Tomato Cream Sauce



2 large tomatoes

1 tbsp garlic

1/2 green pepper

1/2 small onion

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp basil

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp oregeno

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp butter

parmesan cheese


  1. In a food processor combine tomatoes, garlic, green pepper and onions and pulse two or three times.  You could also hand chop each if desired.  In a large sauté pan, combine olive oil, chopped/pulsed vegetables, paste, sugar and herbs.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cream and butter.  Serve over choice of pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

25 February 2010

Fluffy French Toast


This year for Valentine’s I wanted to do something sweet and romantic for my husband.  I decided on breakfast in bed.  I made a list of what I wanted to serve-fresh fruit, coffee and freshly squeezed juice and French toast.  I have a go-to French Toast that is very simple and easy but I wanted something extra special for my Valentine.  I found a recipe that while still simple, added a few sweet touches and decided to go for it. 

The night before I waited until my husband went to bed, then I spent a ridiculous amount of time designing a cheesy card on the computer.  Then I set the kitchen up so that it would be ready for me first thing Sunday morning.  I had the coffee maker ready to go.  I cleaned the fruit, cut it and wrapped it in the bowl I would be using.  I got out the tray that has only ever been used when I was on bed rest with the twins and set out the plates, silverware and napkin as well as a juice cup and coffee cup.  If my husband had come downstairs in the middle of the night he would have known what I was up to, especially with little post-it notes to help my groggy brain and the griddle all hooked up and ready to go. 

I absolutely love surprises and the anticipation almost kept me from sleeping and I was up and out of bed early the next morning squeezing Clementine's and brewing coffee.  I cut several pieces of Texas Toast with heart shaped cookie cutters-but the idea was better than the carried out plan.  Fortunately, we abide by the ‘it’s the thought that counts’ rule around here and those pieces were enjoyed no less than the more presentable, full sized pieces. 

I didn’t get to try the Toast until after I had surprised my husband (he did offer me some of his but I turned it down) and it was superb.  Absolutely delicious.  Two kids, my husband and I ate an entire loaf of French Toast that morning, it was that irresistible.  This recipe is so quick and easy that it will most definitely replace my old French Toast Recipe.

Fluffy French Toast


1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Loaf of Texas Toast


  1. Preheat griddle to 350*F. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour and milk together.  Add eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Dip toast in mixture and cook on griddle 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. Serve warm with favorite syrup or spread.

24 February 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie


Having spent a lot of the winter snowed in, I have made a few batches of cookies just experimenting with older recipes.  One recipe that I am constantly tweaking is Chocolate Chip.  albino

One thing I found while I was searching chocolate chip cookies was the suggestion of adding Cream of Tartar to give your cookies that cracked look.  I added the Cream of Tartar and the cookies did have that beautiful cracked look, however, I don’t know if that was in fact the reason.  I don’t believe the Cream of Tartar had any effect on the taste of the cookie so it could be omitted without harm to the recipe.


These cookies, like most any chocolate chip cookie, are best right off of the cookie sheet. 



Chocolate Chip Cookie


1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp hot water

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 
  2. Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and stir in vanilla.  Dissolve baking soda in hot water for several minutes;  in the meantime sift together flour, salt, and cream of tartar.  Add to creamed mixture along with baking soda mix.  Stir in chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven 9-10 minutes.  Cool one minute on sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.


Yields 4 1/2 dozen delicious cookies.

22 February 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


I have been buying a lot of bananas lately. Being that we have toddlers in the house and that we are runners we go through bananas before they are ever ripe enough to be truly warranted for a good quick bread or other baked goods. Buying more bananas than I think we need has only increased the number of banana sundae’s the spouse eats or uses for smoothies. So I started buying even more. Finally, I had three black and mushy (read: beautiful) bananas to use for a recipe. At first I was going to make more Banana Bread Cookie’s, but then I decided I wanted to try out something new. Something with a bit of chocolate in it. Chocolate Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips seemed like just the thing.

I was a bit nervous about this bread to be honest. The last few things I have made with cocoa haven’t turned out so hot. They have actually been quite bad. So bad in fact, that I haven’t even posted about the recipes because they were so bad that there was little more that needed to be said. I was so skeptical of this bread and the changes I made in the original recipe, that I kept convincing myself it was a failure before it was cool enough to try.

I had a small bite the night I made it when I snapped this picture. It was fine, not bad. However, the next day when I was whipping up some appetizers for a book group I snuck another piece. It was quite good. So I snuck another. Before I knew it I had snuck four pieces with a sizable amount of the loaf gone, making it seem a lot less sneaky and a lot more noticeable. I couldn’t help it. It’s that good.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Banana Bread


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas, mashed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

1/2 cup light sour cream

2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease one 9x5 load pan.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla; mix well. Sift in flour, baking soda and cocoa. Beat in sour cream. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. remove from pan and cool completely.

19 February 2010

Black Magic Cake


Once upon a time, for a brief moment or two, I wanted to be a cake decorator.  I even bought a kit at Michael’s and marked the date of their next decorating class on my calendar. 

Then I made a boxed cake and went to town with a simple tub of Pillsbury or Betty Crocker icing, hoping to make an aesthetic dessert for my family.  I can’t remember exactly what happened but I do recall quite a bit of cussing and possibly a bit of foot  stomping.  I switched knives and spatulas a few times.  I got icing in my hair and on my shoe.  It was a mess. 

And a learning experience.  I won’t ever be Martha Stewart. Or Bakerella.  I will however continue to make cake.  And eat it too. 

Now I have a different approach.  I aim to make so tasty a cake that it isn’t around long enough for anyone to even take notice of what it looks like. 

On Valentine’s Day every year we celebrate our Golden Retriever’s birthday.  He’s a big dumb lug that we brought home, or rather I brought home, when we were in the midst of trying to start our family.  I was desperate for something to hold and love and a particular mutt with a waggley tail (and it turns out, a fair bit of neurosis) got my attention.  The couple who gave him to me said he was six weeks old to the day.  I have a feeling they were lying about a few things, namely his purebred parents, but I went straight home and counted back six weeks.  Valentine’s Day.  Ever since we mark the silly dogs birthday on the calendar on the same day as my least favorite holiday of the year.  This year, because we have a house full of two year olds who think singing “Happy Birthday” is as much fun as going to Disney, I made a cake for the dog.  Except the dog wasn’t allowed to have any.  I hear chocolate is lethal to dogs.  I wouldn’t want to risk his life on the very day we celebrate it.

So I tested out a recipe I found on Allrecipes.  As I was measuring out the cocoa I noticed the recipe for Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake.  Turns out the only difference in the cake I was making and the one the Hershey’s company has been promoting for quite sometime was buttermilk instead of milk, coffee instead of boiling water and the swapping of half a teaspoon of baking powder for baking soda.  I use to make the “Perfectly” Chocolate Cake, it was good.  Very good in my opinion.  And then I made it one hot August for my in-laws (before they were my in-laws) and on the trip to their house for dinner it got so hot in our unconditioned car that the top layer slid away from the bottom.  It wasn’t pretty and I was scarred from ever making it again. I was already in the midst of making the cake on Sunday however, so I continued on. 

But even this cake baking experience wasn’t without a tale of it’s own.  You see I’d bought a heart shaped pan to use and I failed to read the instructions that clearly read ‘do not fill more than halfway full’.  I filled it more than half way full.  I filled it more like two thirds of the way full. And baked it for 40 minutes before finally worrying that the outer edges were going to be overdone before the center ever finished cooking.  So I removed it from the oven and watched it, and my heart, sink. 

There is a possibility I’m just not cut out for cake baking either. Probably won’t stop me from trying though.  This cake, regardless of it’s appearance, was rich and moist.  The center was a little undone but we just cut around the center.  In the future when I make a heart shaped cake I will make sure to fill it no more than halfway full.  I will just use the extra batter for a few cupcakes. 

But then again, what good would a cake be without its own story?

I can, however, whip up frosting without incident.  I topped this cake with a Butter Cream frosting that I came across when making cupcakes for the twins second birthday.  The recipe is from Wilton and it is my favorite. And even though there is little value in it nutritionally it’s mighty tasty on the top of a cake.  It makes a lot, more than you would use for 24 cupcakes or a sheet cake but it can be stored in the fridge for two weeks. If you’re like me you’ll save the frosting in Tupperware for two weeks because you won’t want to waste it before finally accepting the fact that you’re not going to make a cake just to use up the last of the frosting. 

Then, three days later, out of boredom or because the cat is turning twelve, you’ll make more cake and more frosting.

Black Magic Cake


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup brewed coffee

1 cup fat free buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pan(s).
  2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa,baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
  3. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla to dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer beat batter for two minutes on  medium speed. 
  4. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes depending on your cake pan.  After 30 minutes test cake with a toothpick.  Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack and frost with your favorite frosting.

18 February 2010

Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake


As much as I enjoy baking recipes from various cookbooks and web sites my true passion as of late is working on original recipes.  I don’t do it as much as I like because I am still learning the ins and outs of the basic building blocks of baking.  The other day for instance, after trying this recipe out, I spent over an hour reading about leavening, baking powder and baking soda. But the more I bake, the more I feel tempted to experiment with my own ideas in the kitchen.

I love a good coffee cake and I love a fair amount of cinnamon.  It is perhaps my favorite spice, though Nutmeg does give it a run for it’s money.  Yesterday, we were snowed in yet again in these parts and I thought I would do a little experimenting with a package of Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips.  I am reading The Devil In the White City which has prompted me to do a bit of reading up on the Columbian Exposition and was quite surprised to learn that had there never been a World’s Fair in 1893 that Milton Hershey might never have become engrossed in chocolate making.  What a shame that would have been. 

I did a bit of recipe studying before I got started.  I looked into sour cream coffee cakes and cakes that call for butter and more that called for oil.  I wrote them out and compared them, the fats, the leavening agents, the amount of flour and sugar called for.  I came up with a recipe to try out that included the things that I thought would make for a scrumptious coffee cake.  Namely sour cream, buttermilk and cinnamon.  A whole package of Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips to be more precise.slices

The cake itself had a wonderful flavor, especially not long after it came out of the oven when the chips were still warm.  However, the cake was dense to me, in fact too dense for me.  I made the cake in a Bundt pan but I’m not really sure what possessed me to do that and in the future I’m pretty sure I wouldn't.   I like the way the slices look coming from a Bundt cake but I think that perhaps a 13x9 pan would have cooked this particular cake more evenly and faster making this cake possibly lighter and less dense. 

I did make the batter for this cake in my KitchenAid and I thought I was careful not to over mix but perhaps in the future I will mix it by hand to ensure the batter doesn’t get over mixed.  I just replaced my baking soda and baking powder so I don’t think they had anything to do with the denseness of this cake, perhaps I should have added more baking powder or some baking soda to the recipe.  Overall, the flavor was good, but I think I will keep tweaking the recipe until it delivers a closer resemblance to the lighter coffee cakes I prefer. 


Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup applesauce

1 cup light sour cream

2 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 10 oz. package of Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips

1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray cake pan or Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream butter and sugar and add eggs and vanilla.  Stir in applesauce. 
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to cream mixture alternating with the sour cream. Stir in chips and nuts.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-50  minutes depending on the pan used.  Check for doneness with the toothpick test.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or powdered sugar glaze.

16 February 2010

Nutty Pancakes


In January, probably when we were snowed in, I made a Nut and Grain Pancake reminiscent of the delicious ones the folks at IHOP make.  Since then I have made these pancakes no less than six times.  I prefer them to any box pancake I’ve ever had but I’ve also been testing out buttermilk pancakes and I keep coming back to these.  They don’t seem to keep as well in the fridge as your run of the mill buttermilk batter but my kids love them so much that we never have any leftovers.

I have altered them a tad since first making them to include three types of nuts and Canola Oil in lieu of vegetable oil.  I also have designated several two-cup Ziploc containers for storing the different ground up nuts and oatmeal so that these are an even quicker breakfast to throw together for the kids.  Don’t let the list of ingredients deter you, these really do go together quickly and make for a hearty and delicious breakfast. 

Nutty pancakes


3/4 cup ground Oatmeal

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups fat free buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons ground pecans

2 tablespoons ground walnuts


  1. Preheat griddle to medium (roughly 350*) and spray with a cooking spray such as Pam or Baker’s Joy.  Spray between each batch of pancakes.
  2. Grind outs in food processor thoroughly.
  3. Combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl.
  4. With an electric mixer combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, egg and sugar. Stir in dry ingredients followed by ground nuts.
  5. Ladle 1/4 cup batter onto griddle and cook approximately 3 minutes on each side.
Note: You can use any combination of nuts but I wouldn’t add more than 6 tablespoons as it will dry out the batter too much making these pancakes dry and crumbly.

13 February 2010

Orange Rolls


Ever since I was a young girl I have been a Pillsbury Orange Roll fanatic. No kidding, I can finish off an entire package of those rolls by myself and the strange thing is I don’t even like oranges or orange juice. Now that we have children who also love orange rolls, one package is just not enough. That fact coupled with several snow days and a gift of Hale Oranges from my grandmother had my curiosity peaked, and I spent last Saturday night looking up Orange Rolls.

There were not as many recipes as I would have thought but I did find a recipe with stellar ratings and went for it. Many sweet rolls take so much time due to prep work and rising that I altered this recipe to include the first rising the night before and then let the second rising happen over night in the fridge.

The result? A seriously surprising sweet for Sunday morning’s breakfast. The recipe said you would get 30 rolls but I barely got 24.

I made three different icings for the rolls. One was the original icing called for in the recipe which I did not care for at all and I scrapped it after making it but before covering the rolls with it. It tasted of nothing but butter. The second icing was a confectioner’s sugar, milk and freshly squeezed orange juice icing which is what we had on the first batch that morning for breakfast. However, I whipped up an even simpler confectioner’s sugar and milk icing for the second batch that I found just as pleasing. Where as the rolls themselves were a total success I think I may keep looking for an icing that really completes these rolls. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.


Orange Rolls

(borrowed from MizzNess from this wonderful site here)


(for rolls)

1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp Rapidrise Yeast)

1/4 cup water (~110*)

1 cup warm milk (~110*)

1/4 cup shortening

1 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

~3 3/4 cup all purpose flour

(for filling)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter softened

2 tablespoons orange zest


1 cup confectioner’s sugar

4 tsp milk

2 tsp orange juice


  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in small bowl for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl combine milk, shortening, sugar, salt and egg. Add yeast.
  3. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough and knead on floured surface for 8-10 minutes or with a dough hook in an electric mixer.
  4. Grease a large bowl and place dough inside turning to cover dough with oil.
  5. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half out on a floured surface to 15x10 or there abouts.
  7. Mix filling until smooth and spread evenly on each rectangle.
  8. Roll up starting with long end and cut each into 12 rolls. Place rolls into 2 greased pans. Cover and let rise until doubled about 45 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight. If refrigerating overnight take out the next morning long enough to take the chill off the dough.
  9. Bake at 375* for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Mix glaze ingredients and spread over warm rolls.
Note : Remove these rolls from the pan almost immediately as they can stick to your pan and make clean-up more trouble than the rolls themselves.


I went to be anxious about waking up the next morning and eating these rolls. I’m crazy like that.


12 February 2010

Fudgy Brownies


I love brownies.  Too much.  I always bake at least two batches whenever I make brownies.  A batch to eat now and a batch to freeze and eat slowly over two or three days.  Ghirardelli Double Chocolate are my go to brownie and I have sort of perfected them to my liking.  Canola oil, exactly 28 minutes, 11x7 pan regardless of what the box recommends.  And of course a lot of love. 

For Valentine’s this year I was thinking it would be nice if I could take my brownie obsession one step further and actually make them from scratch.  So this brownie obsessed full spent all afternoon and Excel to compare some of the best recipes on the internet (based on user ratings).  I compared ingredients which overlapped across the board and I compared technique.  I read what worked and what didn’t work.  I planned out a recipe based on my research and got to work.  I did a little tweaking as I went a long and now, three batches later, I think I have found a most awesome from-scratch-brownie.

I will admit that Ghirardelli are a lot simpler and just as tasty but I think your Valentine would appreciate the extra time and work required by these brownies. 

Fudgy Brownies102


4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line 11x7 pans with aluminum foil.  Spray aluminum lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Microwave unsweetened baking chocolate and butter for two minutes in large microwave safe bowl.  Stir until chocolate it completely melted and mixture is smooth. 105           108
  3. Stir is sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.109112
  4. Sift flour, salt and baking powder.  Stir into chocolate mixture.Stir in chips.117
  5. Spread into prepared pan and bake 28-30 minutes.


125  I’m thinking of just asking these brownies to be my Valentine.

11 February 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins


Seven days just not enough days to try out all of the amazing muffin recipes out there. I ended up baking over eleven muffin recipes but a few were just not fit to post because they only turned out so-so and who really wants to bother with baking something that is only so-so? However, these muffins, with tons of banana and chocolate, were a big hit with toddlers and adults alike and could easily be breakfast or a snack. The recipe makes 18 regular size muffins but I made 24 mini muffins (the kids preferred these) and 6 regular muffins.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins


1 3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1/2 canola oil

1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup mashed bananas (or 3 medium)

3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray muffin pans.
  2. Wisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In seperate bowl combine egg, oil, yogurt, vanilla and bananas. Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated. Add chocolate chips. Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 minutes in preheated oven. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.

10 February 2010

Colt just lost the ‘big game’…again cookies


So what do you do when your favorite team makes it to the Superbowl?  Well, if you’re us you make a bet with your nephews involving cookies.  What happens, you might ask, when your favorite team makes it to the big game and plays horrendously?  Well, if you’re me you spend the Monday morning after the big game creating a new recipe that is (hopefully) fit for air mail. 

I was going to make something with peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips because the various websites I found about mailing cookies recommended these ingredients.  Unfortunately, I had only 1/4 cup of peanut butter in my whole house.  (Note:  We have been snowed in a lot recently.)  So I played around with a cookie that ended up having really just a hint of peanut butter than being a peanut butter cookie.  Hopefully our nephews and niece, who cheered for the Saints, will find them edible.

Colt Just Lost the ‘big game’…again Cookies


6 tbsp shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 bag mini semi sweet chocolate chips



  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In large bowl cream shortening, butter, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time and add vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture.  Add oats and chips until just combined.
  3. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 9-10 minutes.
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