Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Cheesecake

Posted on March 23, 2010. Filed under: Appetizers, Cake |

I know this is labeled ‘cake’ yet it has no sugar. Why? Because it is a savory cheeseCAKE. I didn’t think this was that revolutionary of an idea. Yes, a fantastic idea, but not THAT revolutionary. But the wine party I catered thought it was revolutionary. The guests were marveling over the idea of a cheesecake WITHOUT sugar and NOT for dessert. Skeptical at first, but they were sold within 1 bite. I am not saying that to ‘toot my own horn.’ I’m saying that because I kept getting compliment after compliment about them. I walked away from that party with a big smile on my face. Well done Julia!

Oh, and you know it is always a sign oh how good the food is when people don’t eat the fruit garnish (grapes and strawberries) and keep digging into the salty, fatty, deliciousness. Again, I was happy and had a smile on my face.

I made 3 savory cheesecakes and this is just the first post of the 3, so get excited for more to come…These would be a GREAT appetizer for Easter.

You can eat these in 2 ways:
1. cut a little slice and dig in with a fork
2. spread your slice on crackers or bread slices

The cheesecake is great as an appetizer or side dish. It is sort of like an alternative form of a dip. I love all the different varieties of dips out there: spinach and artichoke, french onion, dill, hummus, etc…But they don’t look super pretty on the table at a fancy party. Savory cheesecakes do look fancy and are very impressive.

One quick note, so you don’t get worried if this happens to you: the cheesecake with be crumbly. Because of all the toppings in it the small pieces that are sliced for appetizers crumble. However, this does not stop anyone from eating it and loving it. So don’t get worried when yours is crumbly. But if you cut the cheesecake into 12 large slices it won’t really crumble. Try using a small pie slicer/server. So it is thick enough to move the slice from the serving plate to the personal plate. And make sure the knife you are using has a sharp edge. Both of those things will help minimize the crumbles. Okay, that is the only disclaimer.

Serves 15-25 appetizers sized portions
1 1/4 cups seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced drained sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1/2 cup Chopped fresh basil
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix bread crumbs and butter until well blended. Press evenly in bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Increase heat to 400 degrees. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add whipping cream and eggs; beat until creamy. Stir in mozzarella cheese, parmesan, tomatoes, garlic and basil until well blended. Spoon evenly over crust in pan.

Bake 15 minutes at 400 minutes then lower the temp to 300 and bake for 1 hour or until center is set. Turn off the temp and crack the oven door and leave cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool completely at room temperature.

Run a knife around the edges to loosen. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours before servings. Remove side of pan.

To serve, top the cheesecake with the garnish and cut into thin wedges to spread on crackers or eat just the way it is!

If you love the idea of savory cheesecakes, but would rather buy one then make one, you can! There is a company that focuses strictly on savory cheesecakes. Wicked Kickin’ Cheesecakes has tons of flavor combinations. They are super nice too!

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Orange Almond Cake- Flourless/Gluten Free

Posted on March 10, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Chocolate, Desserts, Fruit |

I know there are traditional Easter desserts. Well, I am assuming there are. In my family we don’t really have food traditions. Except that we eat. Our holiday food traditions are to eat.Food. But what kind of food is always a surprise. Sometimes we have turkey, ham, stuffed peppers, filet, chicken. And for dessert pumpkin pie is on the Thanksgiving table. But that is really the only dessert that is consistent with a holiday. So for Easter there isn’t a particular dessert that we have been anticipating all year. A few years ago I made Banana Cream Cheesecake. Last year I made a Chocolate Heath Bar Oreo trifle. And this year, I think I am going to go with this cake…

Last night I taught a cooking class at my house and we made the Orange Almond Cake. I saw this cake on some food blogs and it sounded amazing and that’s when I decided I have to try it before I commit to making it for Easter. Perfect, cooking class students can be the guinea pigs. The theme of the class was ‘Easter Brunch.’ One of my friends is gluten free, and I wanted to make a dessert that uses seasonal produce and is gluten free but didn’t require a fancy flour (rice, soy, etc…). We can all find almonds in our grocery store which means anyone can make this cake by grinding up almonds in their food processor. I happen to be fortunate enough to live near 400 specialty grocery stores that carry almond flour so I don’t have to grind almonds, I just measure out the pre-ground almond flour. Anyway… The ‘students’ in the class went for it and made the cake. They whipped the egg yolks and threw the egg whites in the stand mixer and let it go to town creating the peaks on the whites. Then we just folded the mixtures together, poured it in the pan and plopped it in the oven. Easy. Seriously, it’s not complicated at all.

The step in this cake that really can’t be forgotten is the time for the cake to chill after it bakes. When the eggs bake they puff up a little and when you chill it is helps the eggs become dense and rich. The texture of the cake, after it chills for at least 8 hours, is almost like cheesecake. Not quite as dense because it doesn’t have the cream cheese, but similar. The orange is such a refreshing flavor. And the almond meal gives it a deep rich taste and texture. The chocolate ganache on top, well, that’s just delicious on top of anything.

I am happy to say that everyone in the class enjoyed the cake, even though it didn’t have time to chill before they dug in. And I am also excited for Easter, when this cake will be made again.


3 medium oranges or 2 large naval oranges
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup ground whole almonds
1 tsp baking powder
*optional spices: 2 tsp cardamom or 2 tsp cinnamon

Place the washed, whole and unpeeled fruit in water to cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1½ hours or until soft, adding more water when necessary. Drain the oranges, cut into quarters, discard any major pips, and puree the fruit in a food-processor, then cool to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale. Beat in the oranges, almonds, and baking powder.

Beat the egg whites until soft peak and fold gently into the mixture.

Pour into a 9″ spring form cake pan and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with foil if over-browning). Cool in the pan and chill overnight.
*The batter can be poured almost to the top of the pan, it doesn’t rise very much.

Pour chocolate ganache over the whole cake and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate firm up a little..

Chocolate Ganache

8 oz bittersweet chocolate. chopped finely
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place ingredients in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the double boiler when it is almost, but not quite, melted. Set the glaze aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth. When the glaze is smooth and shiny, pour it over the cake to cover it completely or partially. Chill the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes to set the glaze before removing it from the rack.

Laura commented on my blog abotu this cake.

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Avocado Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Posted on March 9, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Desserts |

You know when you are wandering through the grocery store and you see an item of produce on sale, that is usually much more expensive then its sale price, you grab some, maybe too many. That is me and avocados. Anytime they go on sale for 2 for $1, or 3 for $1, OR 4 FOR $1. Holy Moly. 4 avocados for $1. But I did have some self control. I did only buy 4. But don’t get me wrong, I was tempted to buy $10 worth and figure out where to store them.

We like avocados, but we don’t eat them by the spoonful like I know some people do. So I had to find a way to use avocados in ways other then for guacamole or on salads. Oh ya, I made a chocolate avocado cake a few weeks ago. I wonder if I can make a flavor other then chocolate? So I went to the same place I found the chocolate avocado cake, and low and behold, she had a recipe for exactly what I was envisioning.

Because of the avocado the cake is super moist and rich. The cornmeal gives it a texture that really satisfies your taste buds, and the lemon freshens up the flavor. The combination of the avocado, lemon nd cornmeal are incredible; something I would have never imagined, but it works SO WELL.

Recipe modified from Joy the Baker’s recipe
makes 1 loaf Cake or 12 muffins/cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup applesauce (you can use butter instead. I use applesauce to lower the fat)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. milk (I use 1%)
Juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
1 tbsp lemon zest

sour cream

Scoop out the flesh of 1 1/2 ripe avocados, just over a cup to a cup and a half of avocado, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour mini bundt pans or 1 loaf pan.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flours, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat applesauce on medium speed and add the sugar and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the avocado and beat for a minute to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after the addition of each egg. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, all of the milk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.

Divide the dough between the 12 muffin/bundt cups (of pour into the loaf pan) place in the preheated oven.

Mini Bundts/Cupcakes: Bake for 20-25 minutes
Loaf: Bake for 40-45 minutes

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

To serve these I cut up slices of grapefruit and put a dollop of sour cream on each mini bundt. If you made this into a loaf you could put the grapefruit and a dollop of sour cream on each slice. The tartness and juiciness of the grapefruit combined with the dense creaminess of the sour cream went amazingly well with the cake. I know, all of this is an interesting match but I served these to some friends at a girl’s brunch, and they were gone really quickly. So I will let that speak for how delicious they are. And they smell amazing as well!!!

I had a few mini bundts leftover, so I put them in a zip lock baggie and froze them. In a couple weeks when I am craving an avocado lemon cake, I can just pull them out of the freezer and eat them up!

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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Posted on February 25, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Chocolate, Desserts |

This post is WAY late. I made this on Valentine’s Day. We had church that night and I promised a few people a wonderful cheesecake if they came (when there is a holiday people use that as an excuse not to come to church, so bribing is the best way I have found to get them to come).

The first time I made cheesecake I was so nervous. It seemed so difficult and potentially temperamental. But I really really really enjoy cheesecake so I had to go for it. I will never forget my first cheesecake attempt/success. Oreo; oreo crust and plain cheesecake with big chunks of oreos in the cheesecake. MMMM, It was soo good. And then my second cheesecake was White Chocolate Raspberry. (I worked at the Cheesecake Factory during college, so I got first hand exposure to lots of different flavors). After those 2 I felt pretty good about my cheesecake making ability and started to experiment even more. I have made many many cheesecakes over the few years since college. But this is my first one with a chocolate ganache on top. I don’t know how I will ever be able to enjoy cheesecake without it now. It pushed this over the edge of great into freaking awesome.

Something I really like about making cheesecake is that you can use low fat ingredients. I always use low fat cream cheese and sour cream. Because you use so much sugar and eggs, you will never know you are cutting some of the fat. And I KNOW other people won’t either. Because those folks I bribed at church, they devoured this thing and had no idea!

For the crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers: 1 bag)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
32 ounces (4 blocks) low fat cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, low fat
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes (DO NOT open the oven door when you lower the temperature. Trust you oven, and KNOW that your cheesecake is not burning after 15 minutes). Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
*Lowering the temperature and letting it cook for a little longer allows it to cook all the way through without browning it or making too many cracks in the top. Turning off the oven and letting the cake sit inside with the door cracked is a great trick to continue cooking it, but it won’t brown or burn.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, heat the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat. Once the chocolate has melted and is stirred in, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool. Allow it too cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools. But you will still be able to pour it onto the cheesecake. Carefully pour the ganache into the middle of the cheesecake and spread it to the outside, leaving about 1/4 of an inch space from the edge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I cut a piece of the cheesecake for its ‘photoshoot’ about an hour before church on Valentine’s night. As I was taking pictures I thought it would be great to have a picture of a bite of the cheesecake. And then another bite, and another, and oh crap, I ate the entire slice. And then I proceeded to eat more. I literally ate about 1/8 of the entire cake by the time it was all over. It was good stuff!

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Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Chocolate, Desserts |

When I bake I try to bake something with someone in mind. I do this with the intention of giving that person what I bake. Good grief if I ate all of what I baked, my new name would be fat girl in a fat body. Granted, I have been blessed with a fast metabolism (a little too fast at times thanks to Grave’s Disease) and I also LOVE to exercise.

I like to ask my future ‘baked good receiver’ what their top 3 favorite desserts are. That way I can get an idea of what they like or what they don’t like. I don’t usually bake something exactly from that list. I modify it a tiny bit to add my own flair. For instance, my friend from childhood (we have known each other for 22 years) loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. So I took that and ran with it.

Chocolate Cake
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup applesauce
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Mascarpone Buttercream
1 stick butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp kahlua
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the butter for about 1 minute. Add the buttercream and mix for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add the kahlua and vanilla.

Chocolate Ganache
1/3 cup half and half (You can use heavy cream, and then just use a little less chocolate)
1 cup milk chocolate, chopped

Chocolate Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray non stick spray in 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.

With a whisk, mix the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into until combined and any lumps are broken up. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while whisking. Add the coffee and whisk just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

When the ganache has cooled, pour it over the top of the cake, slowly. You can speed the hardening process of the ganache by putting it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

I cut out a piece (A really large piece, since we were sharing you know) for my husband and I to enjoy. His words exactly, “This is the best chocolate cake and frosting you have ever made…(He eats another bite) This is the best frosting I have ever had.” I had to agree with him. This frosting, holy freaking cow, out of the world. For me, this frosting made the cake. Without it, it would have been just plain chocolate cake. But the mascarpone just took it to another level.

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Mini Vanilla Bundts

Posted on February 19, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Desserts |

This year I made way too many desserts on Valentine’s weekend. I mean way too many. I woke up Monday morning after V-Day and felt like I needed to be wheeled into the shower and then wheeled into work. Cakes, cheesecake, ice cream, candy…And the list goes on.

Good thing Lent started this week; I gave up dessert for 46 days. Crazy, I know. Everyone at work has been concerned that by me giving up desserts it means I won’t be making any to bring in. I reassured them that my fast doesn’t mean I making them fast from scrumptious treats. They felt so relieved, seriously.

This vanilla cake is my standard, basic vanilla cake mix. I love it. It is simple and delicious. You can do almost any flavor of frosting with it: chocolate, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla…Whatever your heart desires. A scoop of strawberry frozen yogurt is what my heart desired with my cake.

Makes 12 cupcakes/mini bundts
Vanilla Cake
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cups of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 mini bundt cups.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the oil, sugar and egg. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately. Pour into the mini bundt cups.

Bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

*The tops of the bundts will be uneven from baking, so I just cut off that part so they sit evenly on a plate or tray. And I most likely do or don’t eat the parts I cut off 🙂

White Chocolate Topping
1/2 pound white chocolate, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a pot of water). You may need to add more vegetable oil to achieve the desired consistency. It should be about the same consistency as heavy cream; thick, but thin enough to run down the sides of the cake. Top each bundt with a spoonful of the white chocolate, then sprinkle some pretty sugar crystals sprinkles on the wet chocolate.

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Vegan Chocolate Cake

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Chocolate, Desserts |

I am not a vegan, nor will I ever be. I do eat animal products often: eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt. I am not a vegetarian either, I am just not a big meat eater. It grosses me out. I primarily eat fruits and vegetables and I am always drawn to recipes that focus on them. And a baked good that has avocado in it? Freaking awesome.
Did I say Avocado in cake?
YES I DID! Keep tracking with me…
I am not a crazy avocado lover like some people. Yes, I do enjoy it, but I have friends who will slice one in half and go to town on it. I don’t do that. But I do like it on sandwiches, burgers, dips, and salads. Since I do like them and I LOVE chocolate cake, why not try a recipe that combines the 2?

A few months ago my friend Bonnie made this cake. I was pumped on it because I have such a sensitive stomach to dairy and this had no dairy!!!! That was the first reason I was excited to try the cake. Then I tried it. I know I said, “This is the best chocolate cake I have ever had.” And I am not lying, it is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It is super moist and rich, but not heavy where you can taste the oil on your lips. It is almost a tiny bit nutty. I think the fat from the avocado adds a nutty flavor. The frosting is interesting, to say the least.

Occasionally I teach cooking classes at my house. Just to a small group of people, usually about 6 people. This time some girls from my bible study came over to learn how to add fruits and vegetables into EVERY part of their meal, including dessert. As we were making the cake they were all somewhat skeptical about how it would turn out. Seriously, avocado? I just kept saying, ‘Trust me!’ The mini bundt cakes came out of the oven and they were all surprised that it rose like a normal cake and even looked like a normal chocolate cake. And then we started making the frosting. At this point they decided to call the frosting ‘guacamole butter cream.’ After you try the recipe, you will see why. They sort of all concluded that the cake was great, one girl even agreed with me that it might be the best chocolate cake she had ever had. But the guacamole butter cream was maybe a little too ‘interesting’ for their taste. It is good, but very interesting.

makes 2 8-inch rounds or 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (You can usb applesauce)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
1 cup water
1 cup raspberry juice (you can sub this for water or use any kind of berry juice)
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or cupcake tins. Set aside.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar. Set that aside too.

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado.

Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.

Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (17 minutes for cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting with avocado butter cream.

Avocado Buttercream Frosting
8 ounces of avocado meat, about 2 small to medium, very ripe avocados
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel and pit the soft avocados. It’s important to use the ripest avocados you can get your hands on. If the avocados have brown spots in the meat, avoid those spots when you scoop the meat into the bowl.

Place the avocado meat into a food processor. Add lemon juice and pulse the avocado until slightly lightened in color and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat. Add vanilla extract until combined. If your not using the frosting right away, store in the refrigerator. Don’t worry. It won’t turn brown!

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Neopolitan Cake

Posted on February 10, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Holidays |

My brain has been thinking up a creative dessert for Valentine’s Day. This particular Valentine’s Dessert will be for my bible study. So I wanted something that was portable, could be made in advance and easily served. And some pink or red in it wouldn’t be a bad touch either.

I have been craving strawberry cake lately. I don’t even know if I have ever even had strawberry cake, but lately it has sounded amazing! So for V-Day I knew I wanted to make some sort of strawberry cake. But then I thought, well shoot, I need to also have some sort of chocolate in the dessert. And then somehow a light bulb went off and I decided to do Neapolitan cake, inspired by Neapolitan ice cream. It is the trifecta: strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. It doesn’t get much better then that. Well, I guess if it somehow had peanut butter in it that would make it the ultimate cake.

There are 3 mixes to the cake, so that makes it a little time consuming. But mainly it is dish consuming. They aren’t hard recipes though and each one can be made in 1 bowl. No stand mixer or double boiler required. Just a bowl and whisk.

Makes 1 bundt cake
Strawberry Cake
1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup strawberry puree (frozen or fresh strawberries pureed in a blender)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp strawberry extract
1 tsp red food coloring (I forgot to do this which is why you can’t see the strawberry cake in the pictures. It blends in)

Vanilla Cake

1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cups of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 cups granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Strawberry Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry puree
1 tsp strawberry extract

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Spray nonstick spray into a large bundt pan.
*The directions on combining the 3 cake batters is at the end.

Strawberry Batter
Combine Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, strawberry puree, strawberry extract and food coloring. Add this mixture to the dry mixture and mix with a whisk just until incorporated.

Vanilla Batter
In a medium size bowl and shift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Combine oil and sugar, add the eggs one at a time and than the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute with a whisk and than add the milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk just until incorporated.

Chocolate Batter
In an large bowl combine buttermilk, water, oil, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add flour and cocoa powder; whisk vigorously until smooth.

Pour the batters into the cake pan starting with strawberry, then vanilla, then chocolate. You don’t need to swirl them or mix them. The baking process with give it the marbled effect. Just pour the batters into the pan and bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Strawberry Glaze
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Spoon onto the cake when the cake in completely cooled.
*The mixture should be thick. You don’t want it to easily drizzle down the sides. You want it to be thick enough to where it slowly, very slowly runs down the sides of the cake.

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: Cake, Desserts |

Yesterday I wanted comfort food. Comfort food to me can change daily. One day it is a bowl of pasta with butter and parmesan, the next day it is vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. And another day it is watermelon or naan bread and hummus. But yesterday it was carrot cake. I freaking love carrot cake. But I think most restaurants don’t have good carrot cake. It is usually a fatty, oily, crumbly mess. Why is that? Can’t they get the consistency right if they are going to charge $7 for a slice?

The timing of the cake is perfect too. Yesterday was my blogs 1 year birthday. Happy birthday Fat Girl. Wow, I have documented a lot of food in 1 year.

Have I mentioned I like to make interesting flavors of homemade ice cream? What about homemade carrot cake cheesecake ice cream? Yep, I tried it. And it is fantastic!

I understand that people who like carrot cake all have their preferences as far as fruit and nuts. Some like pineapple and raisins, others hate it. Some like coconut and pecans or walnuts, others can’t stand it. Me, I like it all. Given the choice, my perfect piece of carrot cake would have raisins and pineapple in the cake, and the nuts in the frosting. When the nuts go in the cake I think they loose their fantastic flavor and texture. But again, carrot cake people have their preferences, and this is just mine. There is no right or wrong way. At least I don’t think there is.

I didn’t have pineapple or raisins, that is the only reason they are not in this recipe. But if I would have had then, I would have added a 1/2 cup of raisins, and 1/2 cup of finely chopped pineapple and omitted 1/3 cup of regular sugar (since the fruit helps sweeten it).

Recipe Adapted from Alton Brown
makes 1, 9 inch layer cake

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Approximately 3 cups grated carrots (I just used an entire bag of baby carrots and threw them in the food processor with the grater attachment)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
6 ounces yogurt (I used low fat vanilla, but plain and/or non fat would work too)
6 ounces vegetable oil
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray Pam on 2 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Put the grated carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl and set aside. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In another bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, yogurt and vegetable oil.

Pour the wet mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes at 350. Reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cake it set and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Level the tops of the cake so when you stack them you don’t have a lopsided cake.

Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely. And sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, you may need more or less depending on the consistency you like
1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened b/c it is the only thing I had, but unsweetened would be good too)

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar and coconut in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Yield: approximately 2 cups – the perfect amount to frost your cake 🙂

I think this is my first attempt at a carrot cake. Maybe not, but the first one in a LONG time then. And man, it is on my list of recipes to make over and over again. Not all of my recipes go onto that list, but this one does, FOR SURE! Next time I might try to lower the fat and do some applesauce instead of all the oil. Maybe.

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Cupcake

Posted on December 15, 2009. Filed under: Cake, Chocolate, Desserts |

December 15th is National Cupcake Day. What a lovely day to make a lovely treat. Lovely, when did I start saying that word? Maybe today is the first, and last, time.

Last month I put up a poll to see what cupcake you would most prefer for Christmas. And Chocolate Pecan Pie won. I’m not gonna lie, I am stoked it won because that’s what I was pulling for. I stinken love pecan pie. I say it pe-cOn, not pe-cAn. Just to clarify. Because this is my Christmas cupcake, I took a picture of it in front of the Christmas tree. You can see all the pretty lights in the back. I’m still learning how to use my fun new camera, so I’m sure someone else could have really captured the Christmas tree and cupcake all in 1 shot, but, maybe by next year I will be there.

I started my research on how I can achieve the wonderfully chewy delicious pecan pie filling in a cupcake. I only found one recipe online that seemed to come close to what i was hoping for. But after I made it, it still didn’t look like what I wanted. I wanted something with a thin layer of a cupcake topped with a layer of pecan pie. Yet I still wanted to bake it all like a cupcake. I know, I was hoping for too much. Even though I was bummed about how it looked, I had to try it, you know, to give it a fair chance. In the end, these cupcakes are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I mean how can they not be with all that butter, eggs and sugar. They are rich, sweet, a tad chewy, and chocolaty, seriously yum! Yes, I will be making these again. They may have not been what I was expecting, but they turned out just perfect!

Adapted from My Little Corner
Makes 36 cupcakes (don’t try to overfill them to make less)

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 cups pecans, chopped
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

6 tbsp butter
1 lb powdered sugar
4 tbsp coco powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk (might need more then that to achieve desired consistency)

Mix all ingredients and bowl and put in a pastry bag to pipe onto cupcakes (A ziplock bag can be used as a pastry bag).

Cupcake Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add 4 egg yolks. Beat well. Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla. Mix.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well.

With clean beaters and medium-sized bowl, beat 4 egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter with a spatula.

Fold in 1 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Reserve 2/3 cup batter and set aside. Fill the cupcake liners a little less then half full with batter. Bake for 5-10 minutes (until the batter is partially baked).

Combine the reserved batter with corn syrup, 2 eggs, brown sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and the remaining 1 cup of pecans and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon the pecan topping on partially baked cupcakes.

Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Pipe chocolate frosting on each cupcake and top with a pecan half.

* So right above this I say to top each one with a pecan half. Where is the pecan half on this one? Oh, I couldn’t wait to put one on before I took a bite. When I took my first bite, the first thought that came to my mind, “Holy Cow, this is freaking insane. I can’t just eat one bite, I MUST eat this entire cupcake. Or maybe the ENTIRE batch.”

A few notes about the recipe:
*Make all 36 cupcakes. You don’t want the batter to overflow from the cupcake liner.
*Cook the first fill of batter for closer to 10 minutes, so it actually becomes partially baked and the pecan pie topping sits on top.

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