Sunday, April 6, 2014

Triple Layer Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing

I found this recipe for yellow cake on one of my favorite blogs -
She posts so many recipes and I'm not sure why this one caught my eye but I think I was just in the mood to make a yellow cake.  It's been a long time since I've tried to make one and every previous recipe I have tried has resulted in great disappointment.  This one is pretty darn good.  The recipe calls for a particular butter/vanilla McCormicks extract which I did not have so I simply used extra vanilla and then a big splash of Adams Clear Butter extract.  The recipe also mentions that you can use a combination of butter and shortening in the cake (instead of only butter) so I used the combo option.

The crumb on this cake is so fine and velvety - which is what I expect from a good cake!  I've made many a yellow cake recipes that have resulted in a coarse texture and are sometimes dry.  Some yellow cakes I've made are not sweet enough or are not yellow enough.  This one isn't a dark yellow but it's a nice butter yellow and has a wonderful sweet vanilla flavor.  I love love love the texture.  The Cookie Madness recipe as written will result in a double layer cake.  I wanted a triple layer so I made 1.5 recipes.  I can't remember exactly how long I left them in the oven but just make sure to watch the cakes closely because it's a fine line between not done & overdone.  My oven is a convection so it bakes a bit differently.  I watch my baked goods very closely when they are in the oven.

I did not use the icing recipe she lists.  I just made up a simple chocolate icing of butter, hi-ratio shortening, vanilla, a tablespoon of corn syrup, a pinch of salt, powdered sugar & whole milk.  And I whipped and whipped it till it was very light and creamy and had a good spreadable consistency.   I made sure to level the tops of my cake layers before icing the cake.  The layers did not have a big dome, just a little, bit so there was not much to cut off.

Until I find a better from scratch yellow cake recipe - this will be my go to recipe.  It's easy, it's delicious and you probably have all the ingredients in your house right now! (Well, maybe not the cake flour but I think it's VERY important in this recipe so make sure you have some available!).

Below I will list the recipe that Anna from Cookie Madness shows on her blog exactly as she has it written.  I've mentioned my changes above.

Yellow Cake
A classic American style yellow cake with chocolate frosting

  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick vanilla butter & nut extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature **or use 1 stick butter and ½ cup butter flavored shortening**
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 stick (4 oz) good quality unsalted butter
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream plus milk as needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans.
  2. Whisk the eggs, yolks, extracts and 1/4 cup of the milk in a bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attached, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add softened butter to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until butter coats flour. Add the remaining 1 cup of milk to the flour mixture and stir until thick and pasty.
  5. With the mixer, beat on medium for about two minutes. Gradually add the egg mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched.
  7. To make the chocolate frosting, mix the softened butter, salt and powdered sugar together in a bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder, sour cream and cream and beat until well mixed. Add vanilla, then continue beating with an electric mixer and adding milk as needed until icing is thick and creamy. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough for you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been awhile since I posted anything!  Today I was baking and I had some extra time to snap some photos so I thought I would post something.  I've been steadily baking all along - I've just been lazy about snapping pics & taking time to post them.  These cookies are incredibly good so I figured I'd share them with you.  I found them on a blog called Averie Cooks.  I'm not sure how I came across her blog but when I saw these cookies, I knew I had to try them. I'm always excited to try another chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I followed this recipe exactly and I left the dough in the fridge overnight.  The dough was so firm when I went to scoop it out that I really had to use a lot of muscle to get a good round scoop. But I think the firmness of the dough is what kept them from spreading alot. Therefore, the cookies are really thick. They are soft and gooey and you cannot taste the cream cheese in them but somehow it slightly changes the flavor.  I used semi sweet chips and some Guittard vanilla chips.  These cookies are really fragile when you first remove them from the oven.  I had to let them sit a good 15 minutes before I could pick one up.  At first I thought maybe I undercooked them but no, they just needed to sit awhile.  I removed them from the oven when the edges were golden brown. The middle is so thick that it was still slightly doughy when I removed them from the oven, but that's how I like my cookies!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

YIELD: about 28 medium-small cookies
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 8 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 3+ hours, for dough chilling


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don't use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made 28). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
  6. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Brown Betty's Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

This cake was kind of a disappointment.  It's the 2nd cake I made from my newest cookbook, The Brown Betty Cookbook.  The first recipe I made from this book was a sour cream poundcake and I did not care for that one either.  The cookbook received such rave reviews on Amazon so I'm not sure what to think.  But this cake is not bad, it's  The texture is definitely not a light, fluffy, chocolate layer cake.  It's very dense like a poundcake.  You can tell in my last photo that parts of the cake were downright fudgy. It was kind of difficult to tell when this cake was done.  I'm usually pretty good at removing my cake layers at exactly the right time.  Parts of this cake seemed done but the middle did not.  I even had my cake bands around the outside of my 3 pans.  It's not a dry cake, just kind of dense & crumbly texture.  Not my thing for a layer cake.  I would not make this recipe again.  Hopefully, the next recipe I choose from this book will be a success.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Funfetti Cupcakes

I have seen funfetti cupcakes posted on baking blogs for a couple of years now.  I've always wanted to make them but haven't made an effort till now.  They are simply a vanilla cupcake with lots of sprinkles mixed in.  They are pretty and lots of fun!  I just used a large handful of rainbow sprinkles but you can use any color you want.  The sprinkles that are called "jimmies" work the best and bleed the least.  The tiny little balls called non-pareils tend to bleed a lot more.  You just have to be careful to mix very slowly and for not very long after adding your sprinkles to the batter.  You will have minimal bleeding if you are gentle and brief with your mixing. The sprinkles are the very last thing to go into the batter.

My funfetti cupcakes are topped with a simple American buttercream consisting of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, butter, hi-ratio shortening, a touch of corn syrup and heavy whipping cream. And then I whip a looong time till it's nice and fluffy & smooth. I'm not including an icing recipe because I didn't really use one.  I didn't measure ingredients - I just dumped into the mixing bowl and whipped!  BUT, this icing recipe most closely follows the recipe I've linked below.  It's one of my favorites and I use it often.

You can use any white cake recipe to make these, you can even use a white cake mix. This one is completely from scratch and it's pretty darn good. The best part is, it's super easy!  

Funfetti Cupcakes

3 1/3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I used full fat sour cream)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used clear vanilla to keep my cake white)
About 1/2 cup sprinkles of your choice

Oven 350 degrees

In large bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.  Add granulated sugar to the dry ingredients & lightly mix. Add softened butter & oil and mix well (I used an electric hand mixer but you can use a stand mixer). At this point the mixture will look thick & clumpy & kind of sandy.  Add eggs & combine. Add sour cream, milk & vanilla extract.  Mix till smooth (but don't over mix). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pretty sprinkles!  Divide batter into cupcake liners (about 2/3 full) and bake till tops spring back when lightly touched. Don't over bake or your cupcakes will be dry so watch the oven carefully.  I started checking the cupcakes after 15 minutes passed. Remove from oven after they test done & cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pans to cool completely. Ice & decorate the cupcakes when they are fully cooled.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peanut butter peanut butter cup cookies

I cannot get over how delicious these cookies are!  Out of control!  If you don't like a peanut butter chocolate combination, you will not like these.  There is a lot of peanut butter and a lot of chocolate going on in these.  I found them on a blog called
Immediately when I saw her photos, I knew I had to make them and I'm sure glad I did.  Yes, these are super rich but sooo good.  They are really big and heavy cookies.  That is a full size Reeses Peanut Butter Cup on top of the cookies! There is another few cups of mini Reeses cups mixed up in the dough.  I highly recommend this recipe.  It's super easy and actually really quite quick to put together and I even made a double recipe!  I don't think a single recipe would be worth it.  I probably got about 20 - maybe not even that - out of a double recipe.  That's a perfect amount. I think the Novice Chef got 18 out of her single recipe.  I guess I made my cookies really large but they don't seem too montrous.  For the mini cups that I mixed into the dough, I purchased the bags of the really small unwrapped cups.  They are a little more expensive but the tiny size is great and it's so easy to just open the bag & pour.  No unwrapping!  These aren't exactly Christmasey looking but I'm including them in some of my baked goods that I'm giving away for gifts.
There is a note below from The Novice Chef about the baking mentions that the cookies will not appear to be done when you remove them from the oven. That is true.  I DID leave them in for 2 minutes longer because I think my oven requires that, but when I removed the cookies sheets from the oven, the cookies still looked slightly doughy. They were super soft to the touch too. They definitely firm up as they cool.


Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

From The Novice Chef blog


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used 1/2 chunky & 1/2 creamy)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) bag Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups
18 Reeses full size cups unwrapped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla.
Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed. Stir until dough forms. Then stir in Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups by hand.
Using your hands, form balls of dough with 2 heaping tablespoons of dough. Gently flatten cookie dough (to form a disk shape) and place on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes and remove from oven. Press a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup into the center of each cookie. Bake cookies for 3 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a rack to cool.

Note: Cookies will not spread much at all and will look like they are not done baking. But I promise they are! Once they finish cooling, the cookie and chocolate will become firm and you will have a magically soft and crumbly cookie!

Monday, October 15, 2012

60 Minute Cinnamon Rolls

I know these photos aren't fantastic but I really wanted to post this recipe.  With the days getting shorter, I'm having a tough time with a lighting source  for my photos. Even when it was the middle of the day, it was so gray and rainy today that it was dark all day long.
But anyway, these cinnamon rolls took a bit longer than 60 minutes but not by much. They came together really quick.  I enjoyed them a lot.  I found the recipe on the following blog:
I knew right away that I wanted to try them.  They are super delicious and extremely easy. I don't like them as well as my favorite cinnamon roll recipe but hey, they are 60 minutes!!  I usually ice my finished cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese icing but this time I simply used a vanilla glaze (powdered sugar, vanilla & milk).  I should have rolled my rolls a bit tighter because a bunch of my filling melted out & onto the parchment paper below BUT, I had made an extra amount of filling so in the end it was still a good amount inside each roll.  One good tip I got from this recipe: instead of using flour on my counter tops to roll out my dough, spray it with Pam instead.  No sticking whatsoever and you don't get too much flour into your dough!  I will use that hint from now on.  I wonder if it would work for sugar cookie dough too?  Anyone know?
I used bread flour in these cinnamon rolls but the Home Based Mom blogger says all purpose flour would be fine.  I mixed the dough all in 1 single mixing bowl that my Kitchen Aid mixture uses.  I then used my dough hook and mixed for 10 minutes.  I popped the mixed dough out onto my counter top that was coated with non stick spray, covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  It rolled out like a dream.  So easy!!
I still can't believe I can make an awesome pan of cinnamon rolls in about an hour from beginning to end! Wow!
Oh, I made one single change, I added about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the dough when it was in the liquid stage, after the yeast had bloomed.  I liked the extra flavor!

60 Minute Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3/4 C room temperature buttermilk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • 3 T regular yeast
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (my addition)
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-6 C bread flour
  • Filling
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Frosting
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • enough milk or half and half to make it spreading consistency.
  1. Mix together water, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter and yeast in a bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes..
  2. Add in salt, eggs and flour and mix for 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. While resting prepare your filling
  5. Mix together 2 Tbsp melted butter, brown sugar, sugar and cinnamo0n.
  6. Roll dough out on to greased countertop into a 12 x 16 inch square.
  7. Sprinkle with filling and roll up. Cut into 12 large rolls.
  8. Place rolls on a cookie sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper.
  9. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Mix together frosting and spread on warm rolls.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Slutty Brownies

I guess I'm a little late in the game with these brownies.  Why had I not heard of them till last week when people have been baking, eating & posting them for months?  I knew I had to make them when I finally did read about them.  The recipe below is not the EXACT recipe I used but I had looked at so many blogs that had these brownies posted that I forgot which blog I copied the recipe from and I'm sorry about not giving you credit for it!  Most of the recipes resulted in a 9x9 pan but I wanted to use a 13x9 inch pan, which the recipe below uses.
These are heavenly!  Honestly, how can you go wrong with chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies and fudgy brownies all together?  I topped it all off with some colorful sprinkles because I think sprinkles just make everything better!  These brownies are super thick but they do deflate a bit upon cooling.  The middle of the pan remained very soft & fudgy and gooey. Not underdone but just right. The sides of the pan were a bit more done with some crunchy edges which some people really love.  I prefer the fudgy center which I show you in these photos!
They may look complicated to put together but they are not.  They come together rather quickly actually but they take quite awhile to bake because they are so thick.  I did not go by the time the recipe stated, I just kept checking in on my own.
Of course if you do not have a huge sweet tooth, you will not like these.  They are rich, decadent, sweet & just plain delicious!

Slutty Brownies
For the Cookie Base:
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (10.5 oz) light brown sugar
  • 12 Tb unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies
For the Brownie Layer:
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  1. For the Cookie Base: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment or grease well. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar and melted butter together. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. Do NOT overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  3. Layer Oreo's across cookie dough as tightly as possible, breaking any extra cookies to fit empty spaces.
  4. For the Brownie Layer: Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined.
  5. Scrape batter over Oreo layer and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Zucchini Banana Bread

This is a great recipe to use up some ripe bananas that have been sitting on your counter and the zucchini that keeps appearing in your garden!  It's a super simple and completely delicious recipe.  No mixer needed. Just a big bowl & a spoon or spatula to mix it.  I actually doubled the recipe and it made 8 mini loaves.  As you can tell from my photos, I put a super crunchy crumbly topping on all of my loaves.  It's a brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon concoction. It really made the bread outstanding - I highly recommend that addition.  I'm not into nuts in my baked goods so I left those out and I just didn't think the cranberries sounded good in this flavor combination although that is what the recipe called for - so I left them out also. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and I realize that sounds like a lot, and I was hesitant to add a full tablespoon but I'm glad I did because it wasn't overpowering at all.  In fact, I think it could have used a bit more.  To make the bread a little bit healthy, I substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose. Wonderful!
I will definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire.  I love the fact that it's so simple.  I think you will enjoy it.  Be sure to watch it carefully, it goes from gooey middle to done rather quickly.  If you use mini loaf pans like I did, you will have to remove the loaves from the oven much sooner than the called for 50 minutes.  Just keep a close eye on them.  Mine were even more difficult to determine the doneness due to the huge amount of cumbly topping on them!

Zucchini Banana Bread
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
2 bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour & 2.5 cups all purpose)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries  (I didn't add)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't add)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Grease and flour two 8x4 inch bread loaf pans. (I used 4 mini loaf pans)
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light yellow and frothy. Add oil, brown sugar, white sugar, grated zucchini, bananas, and vanilla; blend together until well combined. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the cranberries and nuts. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.

At this point, I made a crumble topping to put on top of each of my mini loaves. I simply melted a stick of butter in the microwave, added some brown sugar (approx 1.5 cups) to it, some flour (approx 3/4 cup), about 1 tsp cinnamon and some old fashioned oats (approx 1 cup). Stir it  till completely mixed then sprinkled on top of each loaf before putting it in the oven.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool in the loaf pans on a wire rack before removing and serving.