Reese’s Cookie Cake

You know when people ask silly questions like “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

Which – sidenote – doesn’t even make sense, because if there was only one food item left in the world, you probably wouldn’t be able to choose what it is. I’m guessing it would be something like Spam. Or raw onions. Not, let’s say, a REESE’S COOKIE CAKE. But, if the world was fair, and I had a say in it, it would be this cake.

Of course, that brings up a whole different set of problems. Like, who would be baking it? And where would the ingredients come from if… ugh, nevermind. Regardless, I’d eat this chocolate peanut butter cookie cake every day forever and ever. And I think that’s the most serious commitment I’ve ever made!

When I’m asked to do something really major like decide what type of birthday cake I want, I usually can’t. There are just far too many cakes and cookies and ice creams and pies in the world to pick favorites. So, I typically strategize on how to maximize the opportunity. For instance, my cake this year was made of cookies AND candy, too. All in one. Three for one? I win.

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I was lucky enough to have my mom, brother and sisters all pitch in to make this amazing cake for my birthday. It was so much fun celebrating with Ryan and my family in Arizona. Lots of swimming, shopping, and of course, eating.

We all gave this cake two thumbs up! The dough seems like a funny consistency when you’re baking at first, but it’s just because it’s more of a peanut butter cookie base and is a little lumpier. My mom used this recipe for the cookie cake, and this recipe for the peanut butter frosting. Then, they drizzled chocolate sauce and chopped Reese’s on top. It was my best birthday cake yet!

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Watermelon Rice Krispie Cake

I can’t think of anything that screams SUMMER more than a watermelon cake.

Unless it’s a watermelon ICE CREAM cake,  I guess.

So never mind on the above exaggeration. I can think of one thing. That’s it!

Anyway, when my mom sent me the picture of the cake (below) she made for my little sisters birthday party last week, I knew I had to share it! This watermelon rice krispie cake is the cutest idea for a kid’s birthday or even just a summer BBQ. It’s super simple to put together – and you don’t even have to turn on the oven!

She went all out with the watermelon theme and decorated the party with pink and green balloons and candies, and then sent everyone home with cute labeled mason jars full of goodies.

These watermelon slice cookies would have been a great addition as well! Take a look at my Sweet Tooth board on Pinterest for more sweet summer inspiration.

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Watermelon Rice Krispie Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 10 oz bag marshmallows
  • 8 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Salt to taste
  • Food coloring: pink and green
  • Chocolate chips

Directions: 

Microwave the butter and marshmallows in a big bowl for one minute, stopping to stir. Continue with thirty second intervals until it is all melted and mixed together. Add in the vanilla and salt. Then, BEFORE adding the rice krispie cereal, divide the mixture in half, into separate bowls. Put 6 or 7 drops of green food coloring in one mixture, and 6 to 7 drops of pink food coloring into the other. Ensure that you have the right color before moving on to the next step. Add four cups of rice krispies into each bowl and mix.

Once both are the right color and consistency, press the green krispie treats into the outside area of a round spring form pan with greased hands. Leave the middle open for the pink krispie treats. Press the pink mixture into the middle, and smooth it all down with a greased spatula or parchment paper. Cool it in the fridge for a few hours so that it comes out of the pan more easily and holds its shape better. Press chocolate chips into the top to look like watermelon seeds! Cut into wedges to serve.

Lemon Bundt Cake + Three Things

Happy Cake Week!

Ok, fine – you caught me. I lied. It’s only cake week here, in this sweet little digital corner of the web. National Cake Week is actually Oct. 6 – 12.

But, in honor of summer break and sunshine, we’re celebrating this week with cake!

Every year around this time, I listen to students talking about their finals with envy. I am totally that girl who loved all aspects of school and constantly talks about it still. I joyfully holed up in the library to study hours away. I don’t think I ever missed a class (dork, I know). Of course, I loved summer break too. Is cake a good enough replacement for my lack of summer break these days?

I sure hope so. Because I have cake…but I also have work. I need that summer spirit!

I made this Lemon Bundt Cake for Mother’s Day last weekend, and it turned out to be so delicious and seasonal that I had to share! Serve it with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries and enjoy it out on a patio somewhere.

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Plus, three other cake recipes I’m dying to try:

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Cake

You’re either a frosting person, or you aren’t.

If there’s anything truly important I’ve learned in my twenty four years of life so far – it’s that. There are people who can eat any and all frosting plain, and those who wipe frosting OFF THEIR CUPCAKES like lunatics.

Can you tell which one I am? As far as I’m concerned, cake is just an accessory for frosting.

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Of course, it helps if the cake is delicious too. But, the frosting is what takes it to another level.

This peanut butter frosting is life-altering good. I can seriously say that without one ounce of exaggeration. It’s the perfect mixture of creamy and sweet.

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I was home for the weekend, and my little sister Anna – who loves photography and just bought a camera – helped me take pictures of this cake! We experimented with different shots and colors, hence the varied backgrounds and styles.

There were LOTS of fingers dipping into the frosting while it was made. Between Anna and me, my brother, youngest sister and parents… let’s just say it was a hit. I am so glad we decided to mix it up and make a cake with those brown bananas instead of the typical bread.

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Peanut Butter Banana Cake

Via Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:

For the Banana Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (to equal 1 cup)

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your pan/pans and set aside (you can do one 9×13… or, I did a 9×9 pan plus two smaller heart-shaped cakes).In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix in the mashed bananas.Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix. Spread cake batter evenly into the prepared pan.Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter on high until smooth (a mixer works best for this, but you could do it by hand). Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Add the milk and vanilla extract in between. Beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency.

Frost the banana cake and enjoy!

 

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Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

I’ve always liked other peoples birthdays better than my own. I revel in the planning and gifting and baking.

Strawberry Birthday Cake 2

It probably has something to do with the fact that my birthday is at the end of the summer, which was always right when we’d moved somewhere new. I’d have a fun birthday with my family, but I never liked making a big deal out of it. But anyone else’s birthday? I’m all about the festivities and over-the-top sparkle.

So, for Ryan’s birthday last week, I went into all-out cake research mode. I narrowed it down to three options: strawberry cake, blue moon cupcakes, or a cookie cake. I chose strawberry cake (ok, not so much my decision – he hinted at it), but I threw in ice cream for a twist.

I had just experienced one of the coldest weeks of my life, so that addition had me testing my sanity. As in, did I dare pretend it’s spring and eat ice cream and wear flats even while a blizzard raged on outside my thin walls? Save me, Mr. Groundhog.

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

I have to admit, I was a little bit afraid of ice cream cake. I’d made it before, years ago, and didn’t exactly have great results. BUT this time it was way easy!

I made the two round cakes, then froze them. After about an hour, I took out the ice cream and let it thaw for maybe 10-15 minutes, then took out the cake and spread the softer ice cream on top of one cake in the pan, until I reached the desired thickness. Then, I put the other cake layer on top and stuck it all back in the freezer until I wanted to frost it. And voila!

And, because of the extra additions that went into it, I didn’t even let myself feel guilty for using a cake mix. Homemade whipped cream frosting cancels that out, right?

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Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Cake

via Taste and Tell

  • 1 box (15.25 oz) white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) box strawberry jello
  • 1 (15-oz) container frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Ice Cream

1 carton strawberry ice cream (or flavor of your choice!)

Whipped Cream Frosting

Via Joy The Baker

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake mix and the strawberry jello powder. Add in the pureed strawberries, eggs, vegetable oil and water and mix until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared pans and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Take out of the pans to cool, then put the cake rounds back in the pans and stick in the freezer.

After about an hour, take your ice cream out of the freezer to thaw for 10-15 minutes. Then, take out the cake pans and spread the ice cream on top of one, for desired layer thickness. Place the second cake layer on top of that, then wrap in plastic wrap and put back in the freezer.

Next, make the whipped cream frosting. Mix the whipping cream and vanilla extract together, then slowly add in the powdered sugar. I did this with just a whisk, but I would highly recommend a mixer – it’s a slow process! The frosting is ready once the whipped cream once you see stiff peaks.

Frost and decorate the cake, then place back in the freezer until closer to serving time. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake & Red Wine Frosting

I’m practically drooling on my keyboard while posting this.

I mean, chocolate and red wine are my favorite things in the world. Probably even ahead of my other obsessions, like booties and babies and anything gold. So together, in a cake? Absolute perfection. It might be torture recalling how amazing this cake was, but I’ll do it for the sake of baking.

I was deciding between several chocolate cake recipes – like this one or this one – for Ryan’s parents 28th anniversary, but decided to try Jenna’s because of the frosting (and the interesting amount of buttermilk). It was definitely worth it! The cake was moist and the frosting to-die-for. Even someone who claims he doesn’t-really-like-frosting-that-much was begging to lick the bowl! The original recipe specified the Barefoot Wine brand, but I used a different Pinot Noir and it turned out just as well.

I can’t wait for another occasion worthy of this rich cake (But who am I kidding? Sometimes surviving Monday is reason enough).

PS – don’t forget that it’s required to drink a glass of the wine you are cooking with ; )

choc cake

Chocolate Cake with Pinot Noir Frosting

Via EatLiveRun, Yields one 2-layer cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp Pinot Noir wine
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9” cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine well.

In another bowl, blend together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy but be sure not to over-mix.

Divide batter between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges of the cakes have separated from the pan and the cakes are light and springy. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto parchment paper to cool. Let cakes cool for at least one hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until soft. Mix in the powdered sugar slowly, followed by the cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and Pinot Noir. Spread a layer of frosting between cake layers, then frost all over the top of the cake and the sides. I think it’s easier to frost the cake if you spread a THIN layer on first, then stick the cake in the freezer for maybe thirty minutes. Spread your final layer of frosting on top for a smooth look! I used cookie cutters to get the sprinkled numbers on top.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

I can’t lie – there was a period of a couple weeks where the grand extent of my cooking was browning ground turkey for tacos and opening a bag of pre-shredded cheese.

Now, don’t get me wrong – tacos are one of my favorite foods – but the point is that I was seriously slacking on making headway in terms of trying new recipes and expanding my culinary abilities. It was just so cold here, and work was so busy, then I was out of town… ok, ok enough with the excuses. Luckily, I’ve snapped back into action! I have quite a few recipes ready to share, from these sweet holiday cupcakes to a tasty Thai curry.

I may even dare to say that this is my best food photography yet (?) Remember, I am a total beginner when it comes to the visual side of things. I can write for days, but when it comes to taking/finding a picture to go in an article? Meltdowns have occurred.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Anyway, I made these chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream frosting for an early holiday party, and they were a big hit! After some searching on Pinterest, I decided against the super fancy, mine-will-never-look-like-this reindeer/present/elf cupcake designs. I’ve found simplicity is usually better. As always, I made mine mini cupcakes. I love tiny desserts in general, and they’re perfect for the party scene when people want to try different treats and not commit to one giant cake.

Also, I have a short-for-time secret: You could totally use a chocolate cake mix, and just make the homemade frosting to go on top (And still channel the decorating spirit of Martha Stewart). It’s typically the frosting that gives away the store-bought taste ; )

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Martha’s Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 36 to 48 cupcakes (or more mini)

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liner. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 cups warm water; whisk to combine. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups (filling each about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks, 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to racks and let cool completely. Frost with the frosting below, then sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 T vanilla extract*
  • 1 t skim milk
  • 2-4 cups of powdered sugar, depending on desired thickness
  • 6 candy canes, crushed

Mix all ingredients together, adding one cup of powdered sugar at a time. Generously sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces on top of the cupcakes after frosting.

*You can also sub peppermint extract for vanilla if you want it more minty!