wee hacks her wedding cake – white cake with berries and whipped cream frosting

wed cake 2 1117It’s official! Mr. Eats and I have officially survived our first year of marriage and, as far as I can tell, neither of us has murdered the other yet! Go us! In fact, I could even say that I like him more now than ever, but don’t tell him that. I don’t want him to get a big ego.  Continue reading

s’mores icebox cake

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Did we all enjoy our break from whipped cream and sugar?

I hope so, because it’s over.

So, so, so over.

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Because who can say no to s’mores?  Not this girl.

Especially in the summer, when you don’t even need any fire to make them.

Ok, maybe just a little fire.  After all, how can you have a s’more without a toasted marshmallow?

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You can’t.  You absolutely cannot.

So, for this cake, we keep our roasted marshmallows and layer them with graham crackers, whipped cream, and chocolate pudding.  Not just any chocolate pudding, though, HERSHEY’S chocolate pudding!  I didn’t even know Hershey’s MADE pudding… but as soon as I saw it my brain instantly went to s’mores, and my no-bake frenzy turned those s’mores into an icebox cake.

Because you can’t have s’mores without Hershey’s!

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Well, you can, but they aren’t the same.

After we layer our ingredients, we use the magic of the refrigerator to turn those crunchy grahams into soft layers of cake.  It’s magic!  For real! And those marshmallows, the whipped cream does some crazy refrigerator voodoo and makes them become one with the whipped cream.  It’s like biting into sweet, toasty little clouds in between layers of chocolate and graham.

Like I said, magic.

S’mores Ice Box Cake

Makes 1 9-by-5 inch cake

Printable Recipe

  • 2 ¼ graham sheets per layer (1 sleeve total), 1 cracker reserved for crumbling
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package chocolate pudding (I used this one)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (optional)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar, separated
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows, toasted if you’re feeling motivated; 2 Tablespoons reserved
  • 1 Hershey bar, chopped

1. Whisk pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Place in fridge to thicken up, at least another 5 minutes.

2. Make whipped cream:

Note: I added cream cheese to my whipped cream, because I read somewhere that it would help to “stabilize” the whipped cream.  I’m not sure if it works, but you can leave out the cream cheese if you like.

In a small bowl, whip cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.  In alarge bowl, whip heavy cream until thickened.  Add ¼ cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until it reaches firm peaks.  Gently fold cream cheese into whipped cream and stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Toast your marshmallows (if desired, trust me, you desire).  I used this adorable handheld torch that the BF got me for Christmas, or my birthday, or some celebratory event.  I don’t use this thing nearly enough.  It works SO WELL.  I love it.

4. When ready to assemble, layer your cake starting with graham crackers, then whipped cream, mini mallows, and chocolate. Some icebox cake recipes tell you to start with a thin layer of whipped cream (like lasagna has you start with a layer of sauce).  This is optional, but will help your bottom layer to soften faster.  I prefer to skip this step and not have my bottom layer glue itself to my serving platter, but to each his (or her) own.

A 9 by 5 cake will require each layer to have 2 1/4 sheets of graham crackers.

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Repeat your layering until you reach the top (3 layers in all, of course you could make it taller with extra grahams. There was plenty of whipped cream and pudding left over).

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Spread whipped cream over sides as well, if you would like a fully-frosted cake, or leave the sides unfrosted for a more whimsical look. Sprinkle with chopped Hershey’s, mallows, and graham crumbs.  Chill for at least 4 hours to allow grahams to magically turn into cake.

 

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reeses pieces no-bake peanut butter pie

 

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It’s no secret that I love Reese’s.  If “Reese’s” was a real man, he would need a restraining order against me.

What is a lesser-known thing about me, is that I hate Reese’s pieces.  To me, they are the bastard child of the Reese’s corporation.  It’s weird, I know, because I love peanut butter so much (along with just about every other item that Reese’s makes), but these pieces… they just don’t do it for me.  I think it’s because they lack the flavor contrast provided by the chocolate, nor do they have the saltiness that gives peanut butter such a special place in my heart.

They’re just… bland.  Or something.

I don’t know what it is but I just don’t like them.  (Give me a bag of peanut butter M&Ms, however, and I will eat it until I’m sick to my stomach)

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But the BF, he loves Reese’s pieces.  With a passion.  They are pretty much his most favorite thing ever.  Clearly if the person I love could love something so much, it can’t be all bad, right?

So, I tried to make something that would satisfy both his love of Reese’s pieces, and my love of everything else that is peanut butter in the world.

Turns out that he’s onto something, because this pie is pretty awesome.

This pie makes up for everything those poor pieces lack on their own, like chocolate.  The pieces even help the pie out a bit, too, by offering a nice crunch to complement the otherwise creamy texture.  In fact, I think that without the pieces, the pie might even be a little too creamy… if that’s really a thing?

I mean, you don’t want your mouth to get bored when you’re eating dessert.  “Too creamy” will do that.  Bore your mouth.

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A little salty, a little sweet, a little creamy and a little crunch.  Yeah, this pie has pretty much the best of everything… no boredom here.

And, if you’re not too fancy for a store-bought Oreo crust, you don’t even need to turn on the oven!  Which is going to be a popular thing around here this month, since we are battling an excruciating heat wave.

It was 119 over the weekend.

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So yeah… I’m not trying to turn the oven on anytime soon.

In fact, it’s been so hot that I’ve been thinking about testing that whole “baking cookies in your car” thing to see if it really works.  I mean, if it works, what better place to test it?  Put the cookies in my car on my lunch break, let them bake in the sun, get into a car that smells like fresh-baked cookies after work… I don’t see any way that this could possibly go wrong.

I’ve made this dessert in another way, once upon a time ago.  I’m pretty sure all the pictures were taken with my old-school cell phone a million years ago.  But this, this is a faster, easier version.  If you want to make it the hard way, feel free to make every ounce of it from scratch following the directions here.

But since it’s summer, and it’s hot, and this is all about takin’ it easy, I recommend you follow this one below:

Reese’s Pieces No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Printable Recipe

Makes 1 9-inch pie

  • 1 9-inch Oreo pie crust (homemade or store bought)

  • 1 cup chopped Reese’s Pieces, I chopped mine, but I’m sure that’s not really necessary

  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed (freshly-whipped cream works, but ya know, we’re being lazy)

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temp

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I always use Jif Creamy)

  • 2 Tbsp whole milk (I used 2% and the world did not collapse)

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 4 oz bittersweet (I used leftover semisweet mini chips) chocolate, chopped

1.  Toss chopped Reese’s Pieces, mini chocolate chips, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

2.  In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with powdered sugar. Start slow, once incorporated mix at medium speed until cream cheese is smooth. Beat in peanut butter, milk, and ¼ cup of the “crunch”.

3. Stir in ¼ of the whipped cream to lighten the mixture.  Once incorporated, stir in the rest of the “crunch” mixture (I left some aside to sprinkle on top). Then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream, being sure to scrape the bottom.

4. Pour peanut butter mixture into the crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cover with plastic wrap once the mousse firms.

5. To finish, heat heavy cream in the microwave until almost boiling (about 2 – 3 minutes).  Add the chopped chocolate (I used leftover mini chocolate chips) and stir vigorously with a fork until it’s smooth and shiny. Pour the “ganache” over the pie, and smooth (or tilt the pie) to cover the top. Sprinkle with reserved crunch (if you saved some) and place the pie back in the refrigerator to set for at least 20 minutes.

simple chocolate loaf cake

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I will admit that when I was dreaming of cake on Friday, this is not what I had in mind.

I had visions of layers of cake and buttercream, perfectly frosted, beautifully adorning a cake pedestal, filling my belly with rich, sweet, decadent chocolate.

But then, life happened, as it tends to do. Next thing I knew it was Sunday afternoon and I found myself sitting at home, surrounded by piles of laundry, short one cake pan, knowing that my layer cake wasn’t going to happen. Not today, at least. Then, I remembered this recipe that I saw about a million years ago on Smitten Kitchen. A simple loaf cake.

One bowl, one pan, one hour.

Perfect.

It’s not really the texture of  “cake”, instead it is somewhere around that of most other loaf “cakes” – lemon poppy seed and the like – not quite dense but not really light either. The rich chocolate flavor and tender crumb “hit the spot” perfectly, so to speak. Simple, sweet, potentially elegant. Adorned with freshly-whipped cream and strawberries, it might not have been the one I was dreaming of Friday afternoon, but it was perfect in its own right.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line with parchment and/or butter and lightly flour a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. (You can do this in advance, into another bowl, if you’re not in need of a “one bowl” recipe) Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

*If you only have non-Dutch cocoa,  you’ll want to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and no baking powder

praline pumpkin cake

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This is your new Thanksgiving dessert. You may not know it yet, but it is. Just try it out, just this once, you’ve got time. Two day to Thanksgiving? That’s plenty of time. Get the ingredients tonight, make the cake and whipped cream tomorrow, and assemble the day of. Like I said, plenty of time…

I made this for the first time on the last Thanksgiving I spent at home – three years ago. The following year, making something else wasn’t even an option, I think it was around September when requests for the cake started rolling in. When I mentioned that I might “try something new” last year, I was told that whatever I did, I was still required to make this cake. Required. Can you believe it? The nerve!

Then again, who could blame them?

This year, when I did try something new ( recipe coming soon ), I was sure to make this cake the very same day. Of course that meant we had two desserts for our pre-Thanksgiving meal, but who says that’s a bad thing?

I brought my boss a piece of this cake, I stuck it in the fridge with his name on it, and when I walked by at 7:30 am and he was devouring it, I was sure to make him feel the appropriate amount of shame. “Cake for breakfast?!? REALLY?!?” He confessed he couldn’t help himself. He just wanted to try “a bite”, but it was the best cake he’d ever eaten. Ever. Am I hyping it up too much? I don’t want you to be let down, but I do want you to be motivated enough to try it. Like, now.

This cake is the perfect alternative for those who aren’t into pie, or those who are into pie, but are also into cake. It just different enough from your standard pumpkin pie to be “new”, but still classic enough to not incite a Thanksgiving Day riot. Delicious layers of pumpkin cake, with praline pecan glazed tops, adorned with freshly-whipped cream. Drooling yet?

praline pumpkin cake

Yield: 1 2-layer Cake

Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • · 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • · 1/3 cup butter
  • · 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • · 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • · 4 large eggs
  • · 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • · 1 cup vegetable oil
  • · 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • · ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • · 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • · 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • · 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ( OR 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp nutmeg, pinch ( ? tsp) cloves or allspice)
  • · 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • · 1 teaspoon salt
  • Whipped topping:
  • · 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • · 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • · 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1 Cook first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour into 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with ½ cup pecans. Cool.
  2. 2 Beat eggs, sugar, and oil at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat well.
  3. 3 Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture, beating until blended. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans, starting first with the edges, and then filling the center. If you try to pour it all into the center, your praline topping will get pushed to the edge and boil over. (For this reason, it is a good idea to place your cake pans on a sheet pan, and also put a layer of foil on the rack underneath, just in case there is any spillage).
  4. 4 Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 5 minutes; remove from pans, and continue to cool on wire racks.
  5. 5 Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate, praline side up; spread evenly with Whipped cream. Top with remaining layer, praline side up, and spread with remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle cake with chopped pecans (or, if my praline boils over, I like to break up the bits and sprinkle those on top). Store in refrigerator.

Notes

- Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment, to ensure most of your praline remains on the cake (and not glued to the pans)

- Bake both cake pans on a sheet pan, and put foil on the rack below to catch any praline spillover.

- If you have spillover, keep the praline pieces and sprinkle them on top for a tasty decoration.

- You can make both items the day before, and store the cake layers, wrapped, at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Store the whipped cream in the fridge (obviously) and “frost” the cake immediately before serving. This will avoid taking up valuable refrigerator space on your special holiday.

- Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment, to ensure most of your praline remains on the cake (and not glued to the pans)

- The cake ends up so huge, I’m often tempted to make it into four, thinner layers instead of 2 giant layers... I haven’t done it yet, but if you do, let me know how it goes

http://wee-eats.com/2011/11/22/praline-pumpkin-cake/