Irish Whiskey Cake

This year I got a little carried away with making Irish recipes for our St Paddy’s Day dinner.  Here today, we have the meal’s finale; Irish Whiskey Cake.

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

You might be tempted to call this a “drunken cake” because of the whiskey content.  But fear not, the alcohol content evaporates with cooking, leaving behind the flavor of the whiskey.  To be really authentic, you should use Irish Whiskey, but having none in the house, I used what I had, which was an American brand of whiskey.   Can’t say I noticed a hugh difference in flavor….it’s just plain good no matter what brand you use.  Oh, and it’s very OK to adjust the amount upward if you’re so inclined.

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When you look at this cake you would not suspect what’s hidden inside.  It looks like a nice golden poundcake, unassuming and quiet-like.  But wait…..what’s that ribbon of moistness lying along the bottom of the cake?  and what IS that white, crusty, crunchiness on top?  That folks, is the whiskey glaze that slowly seeps through the cake from top to bottom carrying all the whiskey flavor throughout the cake and making it super moist.  Scattered throughout my cake are finely chopped walnuts, but you could also use pecans.   For those with nut allergies, you can leave them out and still be totally satisfied with the results.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

The recipe for this cake calls for baking it in a round tube pan or bundt pan, but I wanted to share the cake with another family, so I baked it in two loaf pans, and split the amount of glaze between the two cakes.  There was no problem in doing that, they both came out fine.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Yield:  1 round bundt cake, or 2 smaller loaf cakes (8″ x 4″)IMG_9423

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding added)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz. whiskey of choice ( or more?)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk ( skim is OK)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

For the glaze:IMG_9431

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Generously spray a bundt cake pan or 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray, and then flour well, shaking out the excess flour.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Beat well…this will be a thick mixture.

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3.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, and whiskey.  Add to cake mixture and continue to beat 3 minutes.  Lastly fold in the nuts, if using.

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4.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes.   Loaf cakes may take a little less time.  Start timing at 45 minutes and watch and test for doneness.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

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5.  While cake is baking, make glaze.  Place whiskey glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook on stove top just until it begins to bubble and boil.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is out of the oven, pour the glaze slowly over the cake while it is hot and still in the pan.  It helps to absorb more quickly if you make holes all over the top of the cake with a chop stick or other fine wooden tool.  Let cake stand in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing to a rack to finish cooling.

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7.  Once completely cooled, remove cake from pan.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 12 hours or more for flavors to permeate throughout the cake.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

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SOURCE:   The Ranting Chef

 

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Call me sentimental, folks, but I think there’s something downright romantic about the way all those bright oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes show up in the produce aisles just when we’re needing them most.  When the wind is whipping and we haven’t seen green grass since I don’t know when, who couldn’t use a little warm weather fling to reminder them of warm, sunnier times?

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No matter if stirred into a salsa, or baked under a fluffy layer of meringue, these seasonal beauties remind me of how much I long for the sunshine, and so I do my best to incorporate citrus fruits into our diet and our lives whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I would never turn away from the kiss of citrus.

This grain-free lemon cake (also known as Torta Caprese Bianca) is just perfection in my mind.  I would like to say it is “to die for”, but that phrase is so over-worked, that I won’t use it, but you get my meaning, I’m sure.

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The cake is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!  It’s yellow, like a ray of sunshine, a happy color.  Just the thing to cheer you up as this winter weather drags on endlessly.  If you love lemon, this is a dessert you will love.  There are three sources of lemon flavor;  lots of lemon zest, lemon extract, and limoncello ( or lemon juice).

After baking it may look a bit underdone in the middle, that’s what gives the cake its dense texture.  When you remove it from the oven it will be puffed up, but slowly sinks as it cools. It that doesn’t suit you, you can bake it a tad longer.  I loved the edges of the cake–kind of crispy and kind of chewy!   The texture reminds me of marzipan, but with the flavor of lemon.   We loved this cake so much, Mr. D. is asking when I’m going to make it again (his favorite flavor is lemon.)

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 ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE

Yield:   Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 320 Gm (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour, or blanched almonds ground into flour
  • 200 Gm ( a little over a cup) white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate chips)IMG_9198
  • 2 Tbsp. cream or milk
  • 180 Gm butter, softened     1 stick + 4.5 Tbsp.
  • 130 Gm granulated sugar    about 1 cup
  • zest of 2-3 lemons,  2 Tbsp.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 40 Gm (about 2 Tbsp.) limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for garnish

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 10-inch round pan ( a spring-form pan is good) and line it with parchment paper.

2.  Combine the white chocolate and cream/milk in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 100 Gm sugar (3/4 cup) until fluffy.

4.  Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

5.  Add almond flour and melted chocolate.  Add limoncello and beat to combine.

6.  In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks,  slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup (30 Gm) sugar.  Fold into almond batter and combine gently.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

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A toothpick is not a reliable test for doneness, as the center may still be moist.  The cake should be golden brown, puffed, and spring back when touched.  As it cools it will sink in the center a bit.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

7.  When cool, invert onto a cake plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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Note:  This recipe can be halved easily.  What you see here in my photos is half a recipe.  To bake the smaller volume, use a 7-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately I do not have a 7-inch round pan, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, thus my cake is thinner than it should be.  A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cake.

P.S.  I will love this cake in any size 🙂

SOURCE:  Texanerin Baking

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

This cake, oh man, did it turn out well!  What started out as a plain, but exceptionally good, pumpkin cake morphed into a gigantic cinnamon roll.

The cake is fine textured and velvety smooth.  It just melts in your mouth.  As if that weren’t enough before baking it I swirled some cinnamon roll filling into the top which got all gooey and caramelized as it baked.  Once out of the oven and still warm, I finished it off with a buttery cinnamon glaze that creeps into all the crevices, making this the best darn cake if I do say so myself.

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This would be fabulous for Christmas morning, or an addition to a holiday buffet or brunch, but it can certainly hold its own as an after dinner dessert as well.  The cake recipe is one that I use often, it’s my favorite pumpkin cake.  You could bake it in the form of cupcakes, a loaf cake, or whatever.  You won’t be sorry with this cake recipe.  I particularly like that it makes a small cake, perfect for two or a small family.  Double all ingredients if you want to go bigger, it can handle it!

If you know someone who is obsessed with anything pumpkin, make this cake for them and watch them swoon 🙂

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PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLL CAKE

Yield:  1  8 – 9-inch round cake

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/8 cup light brown sugar (I measure 1/2 cup, but don’t pack it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 tsp. milk, if needed

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease or spray an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar for 2 – 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add the oil and pumpkin, beating until smooth.

4.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with milk,  starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Don’t over-mix.

5.  Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula or knife.

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6.  Stir together the filling ingredients. Carefully pour filling into a piping bag, or use a glass measuring cup with a spout.  Swirl the filling onto the top of the cake.

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7.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until baked through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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For Glaze:

8.  Whisk together the melted  butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  (Start with 3 T. of sugar and add the 4th if it seems too runny.  Stir in the cinnamon and add milk if needed.  You want the glaze to easily spill off the spoon and not be too thick.

9.  Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and serve while warm.

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SOURCE:   The cake recipe was adapted from Food and Wine

 

Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel

Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel.

Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel.

It’s official:  Winter is here.    Snow has fallen, plows have been out, fender benders happened, walks and driveways have been shoveled.  Black Friday took place, and we are barreling straight ahead to Christmas.  It’s time to make my list of cookies that I plan to bake, and get in the necessary ingredients.

There are quite a few apples remaining that I picked at the orchard, so let’s see what I can do to use them up during this last weekend of November.

I know that I will make applesauce and I may even make baked apples and eat them for breakfast. We like them with a little granola sprinkled on top,  or a dollop of yogurt, or both.

Baked apples filled with dried fruits.

Baked apples filled with dried fruits.

Feeling a little “out-of-sorts”, (probably because I have too many projects going right now), I decided to use some of my apples and make this upside down cake.   The recipe is an adaptation of one featured on the Food Network that used summer stone fruits, but with salted caramel in the picture I was certain that making it with apples would be just fine.  And it was.

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This recipe was a good choice as the white cake is light and mildly seasoned with vanilla and has a fine texture that I attribute to the buttermilk.  Apples with caramel and sea salt are the perfect topping, made that much better with a little ice cream on the side when you serve it.  It’s baked in a 9-inch square pan, so you will get 8 generous servings or several more if cut smaller.

It only gets better with a little ice cream on the side.

It only gets better with a little ice cream on the side.

The problem I had with this cake was getting it out of the pan intact.  The recipe suggests waiting 15 minutes after removing from the oven before turning it upside down onto a serving plate.  I did that, and still the cake broke on one corner, and stuck to the sides of the pan.  I patched it up as best I could using some of the sticky caramel for “glue”.   (note photo)   I realized I might have prevented this by running a knife around the edges of the cake before attempting to turn it out of the pan, so I suggest you do that if you make this cake.

See that broken corner?

See that broken corner?

The bright side is that it tastes so good, even when broken, that I’m happy to share my “disaster” photo with you.  We all have an occasional disaster, and there’s no shame in that.

APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE WITH SALTED CARAMEL

Yield:   Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Beautiful crisp apples, waiting to become a cake!

Beautiful crisp apples, waiting to become a cake!

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 2-3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  and coat a 9-inch-square cake pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1  1/2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand.  Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until light amber, about 5 minutes.   Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared cake pan.  ( The caramel hardens quickly.)  Arrange the apple wedges over the caramel in 4 rows;  set the pan aside.

Lay rows of sliced apples on top of the caramel in the pan,

Lay rows of sliced apples on top of the caramel in the pan,

3.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just incorporated.  Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.

4.  Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  ( Mine took 45 minutes.)  Cover the cake loosely with foil it is browning too quickly.   Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter and let cool completely.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

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SOURCE:   adapted from The Food Network Magazine

 

 

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

 

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October may be over, but anything pumpkin seems to still be a popular item.  Especially with Thanksgiving coming up.  If pumpkin pie is not your thing, or you would like something other than pie for your holiday dessert table, these dessert squares will surely fit the bill.

Recipes featuring the great orange squash are still popping up everywhere.   I have a whole board devoted to pumpkin on Pinterest….it’s called “Pumpkin Anything” and so many  pictures from that board get repinned.  Today’s recipe is one that I found on Pinterest, one of those quick and easy baked items that use a cake mix for convenience.  You’re gonna love this one 🙂

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This dessert is fabulous,  tasting like pumpkin pie, but rather cake-like,  a cross between cake and a creamy dessert square.  The pecans on top give it some crunch, so you have a nice contrast between the creamy pumpkin layer, the cake layer and the topping.   Oh, and be sure to dollop each serving with some whipped cream.   This makes a 13″ x 9″ pan, so there will be plenty of servings, about 20 – 24.

PUMPKIN CRUNCH CAKE

Yield:    Makes 20 – 24 servingsIMG_8134

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1  12-0z. can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box Yellow Cake mix
  • 1/2 – 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 sticks butter, melted ( I used 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil with good results.)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Pour into the prepared baking pan.

3.  Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the pumpkin layer.   If the mix is very lumpy, run it through a sifter before sprinkling it on.

4.  Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of cake mix.

5.  Drizzle butter over all.    Bake at 350*F. for 50 – 55 minutes or until golden brown.    Cool.

Golden brown from the oven.

Golden brown from the oven.

 

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

This is sooo good!

This is sooo good!

 

SOURCE:   Itty Bitty Homestead

 

Coconut Cream Poke Cake

Coconut Cream Poke Cake

Coconut Cream Poke Cake

 

For the time being can we just put aside the kale and zucchini?  We don’t need them.  We’re also going to set aside any twinges of guilt.  What we are going to do is make a white coconut cake that’s gooey with Cream of Coconut, fluffy whipped topping and lots of flaked coconut.  There! I said it and I’m not sorry in the least.  In fact I feel really good about it and I hope you do too.

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This is a very easy cake to make as most “poke” cakes are.  It is so moist and has such a great  creamy, coconut flavor that I think even folks who are not coconut lovers will fall in love with this one!  It’s a surprisingly light and fluffy cake in spite of being soaked with the cream of coconut.

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Coconut Cream Poke Cake:

Yield:  20 -24 servings:

Just a few ingredients.

Just a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1  (18-oz.) box white cake mix
  • ingredients needed to make cake ( eggs, oil and water)
  • 1 (15-oz,) can Cream of Coconut**
  • 1 (8-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (8-oz.) package sweetened flaked coconut

** Be sure to use Cream of Coconut–not coconut milk.  Cream of Coconut can usually be found where alcohol supplies and mixers are in your grocery store.   It tends to be near the margarita mixes.  You will need to shake the can well or stir well when you open it, because the cream part tends to separate from the liquid.

Directions:

1.  Prepare and bake the white cake as the package directions specify.  Bake in a 9 x 13″ pan that has been well greased.

2.  Remove cake from oven, and while still hot, poke holes all over the top of the cake using a large fork.

Poke hole all over the top with a fork.

Poke hole all over the top with a fork.

3.  Open the can of Cream of Coconut –making sure to stir it well –and pour over warm cake.  Make sure you evenly coat the whole cake and spread it around so it will soak in.

Pour Cream of Coconut all over the top and let it soak in.

Pour Cream of Coconut all over the top and let it soak in.

4,  Let cake cool completely then frost with whipped topping.

Frost with whipped topping.

Frost with whipped topping.

5.  Top with flaked coconut.  If you like you can toast your coconut first but I prefer it un-toasted.

Top with flaked coconut.

Top with flaked coconut.

Keep cake refrigerated.   The cake will taste best after it has cooled for at least a couple of hours.  This gives it time for the coconut flavors to really soak in.

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Poke cakes are so easy to make, but give the impression  that you spent a lot of time on them.  If left in the baking pan and covered securely, they can be transported safely to an outing or picnic.  This one is no exception.  We all loved it!!

 

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SOURCE:  The Country Cook

 

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Upside-down cakes were something that we had often when I was growing up.  A one layer cake that had its own topping, therefore there was no need for frosting.  The only kind my mom made was with pineapple;  I never considered that there was any other kind.  That may be true for many of you too, because it is only recently that I’ve been seeing recipes that use other kinds of fruits for the topping.

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When my Spring edition of the Baking Sheet arrived last week it contained this recipe for Banana Upside-down Cake.  And what a happy coincidence,  I had two bananas just at that ready to use stage of ripeness.  In addition to the bananas the topping also includes raisins or cranberries, and chopped nuts.  Playing on the banana/tropical theme some spiced rum is included in the topping and in the cake.  There is no alcohol content left after baking, but the rum does lend its flavor to the cake in a subtle way.

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It’s absolutely best to serve this cake while it is still warm, with a whipped cream topping or ice cream on the side if you’re feeling indulgent.  This was a nice change from the usual pineapple upside-down cake, and we enjoyed it very much.

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BANANA UPSIDE-DOWN  CAKE

Topping ingredients

Topping ingredients

 

Yield:    8 servings

Ingredients:

 Topping:

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 Cake:

  • 1  1/2 cups Unbleached Cake Flour

    Cake ingredients

    Cake ingredients

  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum

Directions:

1.    Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan that is at least 2″ deep.  If you don’t have one, use a 9″ pan.

2.  For the topping:  Melt the butter.  Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and rum and stir until well combined.  Pour into the bottom of the pan and pat even.  Arrange bananas, raisins (or cranberries) and nuts over this and pat down gently.

Arrange bananas and remaining ingredients in bottom of cake pan.

Arrange bananas and remaining ingredients in bottom of cake pan.

3.  For the cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Cream butter, oil and sugar thoroughly.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Add the flour mixture alternately with milk and rum to the creamed mixture, stirring and blending after each addition.  Gently pour the batter over the banana topping.

4.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake just begins to pull from the side of the pan.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning upside down on a serving plate.

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Turn out onto serving plate.

Turn out onto serving plate.

 

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Serve warm and enjoy.  YUM!

Serve warm and enjoy. YUM!

 

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet,  King Arthur Flour

Turtle Fudge Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Turtle Fudge Cake

Turtle Fudge Cake

Just hearing the word “fudge” brings tears of joy to most chocolate-lovers’ eyes.  After all, what other dessert conjures up images so rich and chocolaty?  It’s mind-boggling to consider how long fudge has been popular.  Did you know that fudge was adored back in the 19th century and is still popular today?

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According to John Mariani in the The Dictionary of American Food and Drink,  fudge as a candy first appeared as a written recipe in 1896.  Today fudge is more than just a candy–it’s used to enhance cakes, brownies, cookies, ice creams and frostings.

Most of us particularly love fudge cakes as they tend to be moister, richer and often more rewarding than regular chocolate cakes.  We celebrated family birthdays occurring in January and February just recently and I was the official cake-baker.  There were three “birthday girls” ranging in age from five years old, to mid-twenties, to her eighties.

The "birthday girls".

The “birthday girls”.

When asked what kind of cake they would like , all agreed on  chocolate cake, especially with white frosting.  So that sent me on a hunt for an outstanding chocolate cake that would meet all my requirements;  be moist and fudgy, and provide a large number of servings.  This one relies on a good quality cake mix as the basis with some additions that really raise it to a level that I call outstanding.

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One of the additions is caramel candies.  You will notice in the directions that half-way through the baking process, caramels are gently pressed into the top crust of the cake.  As the cake bakes they melt into a tunnel of caramel running through the center of the cake.  Since most little girls like lots of “do-dahs” on their cake, I used chocolate covered caramels in the cake, and then melted more of them with a little cream, to create an uncomplicated, delicious topping that’s drizzled over the top and down the sides of the cake.  To incorporate white frosting, I made a plain white frosting from butter, confectioner’s sugar and milk and kept it thin so it would run down the sides of the cake.  I applied that first and after it firmed up, I then drizzled the caramel topping over it.

Drizzle chocolate caramel over the top in a random pattern.

Drizzle chocolate caramel over the top in a random pattern.

TURTLE FUDGE CAKE WITH CARAMEL DRIZZLE

Yield:  12 – 14 servings

Ingredients:

For fudge cake:IMG_0166

  • 1  (18.25 oz.) box  Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker)
  • 1 (3.9-oz.) box Jell-O Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped ( I needed to omit the nuts, because of allergies)
  • 25 caramels, such as Hershey’s Classic Caramels ( or chocolate covered caramels)
I used chocolate-covered caramels.

I used chocolate-covered caramels.

For Caramel Drizzle:

  • 15 caramels
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly spray a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Put all the ingredients into one  bowl and mix up.

Put all the ingredients into one bowl and mix up.

2.  Place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs and sour cream in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until ingredients are just combined, about 1 1/2 minutes, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in pecans with a spatula, mixing just until nuts are thoroughly distributed.  Batter will be thick.

Batter will be thick going into the pan,

Batter will be thick going into the pan,

3.  Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing and leveling top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove cake from oven and place caramels on top of cake in a ring, pressing them down gently just into top crust of cake.

Place the caramels in a ring over the top of the partially baked cake.

Place the caramels in a ring over the top of the partially baked cake.

Do not push them entirely into cake.  Place cake back in the oven and bake for another 25 – 30 minutes (total of 50-55 minutes), or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

This cake rises nice and high. Not all of the caramels sunk into the cake.

This cake rises nice and high. Not all of the caramels sunk into the cake.

4.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn cake out of pan onto wire rack and let cool completely.

5.  Make caramel drizzle:  In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt caramels and heavy cream together until completely smooth.  (You can melt them in the microwave also.) Place a sheet of waxed paper under wire rack holding cake and pour caramel over top of cake, allowing it to drizzle down sides and center.  Note:  I placed the cake on it’s serving plate, then slid strips of wax paper under the edges to catch any drips of frosting or caramel.  These can be easily pulled out before serving–much easier than trying to maneuver a frosted cake onto a cake dish!!

To make your cake look like mine:  After step 4,  mix up a small amount of frosting using about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tbsp. soft butter and enough cream (start with 1 Tbsp. and add as necessary) to make a spreading consistency.

Powdered sugar, butter and a little cream make the frosting.

Powdered sugar, butter and a little cream make the frosting.

Pour over the cake and allow it to drip down the sides and center.

Pour over the cake and let it run down the sides and middle.

Pour over the cake and let it run down the sides and center.

After it has hardened, proceed with step 5, making the caramel drizzle and dripping it over the white frosting so some of the white shows through.

Make the caramel a thin drizzling consistency.

Make the caramel a thin drizzling consistency.

Drizzle chocolate caramel over the top in a random pattern.

Drizzle chocolate caramel over the top in a random pattern.

Final decorations in place.  Let's party!!

Final decorations in place. Let’s party!!

This would be lovely for Valentine's Day also.

This would be lovely for Valentine’s Day also.

This cake more than lived up to its promise!  It was moist and fudgy, giving all the flavors of Turtle candies (minus the pecans).  Definitely a calorie splurge, but for a Birthday cake it was definitely worth it.  😀

SOURCE:  Major-ly adapted from Chocolatier Magazine

There’s What in the Cake?

Bettcha can’t guess what’s in this cake!  A secret ingredient that provides that extra moisture.  Hint:  Theme Thursday?  Tomatoes?

A moist and flavorful apice cake.

A moist and flavorful spice cake.

Some of you may have guessed it by now, but maybe some of you have never heard of  this  recipe for Tomato Soup Cake that dates back quite a few years.  It was popular when my Mom and Dad were young, and my mother used to make it when I was growing up.  She got the recipe from my Dad’s mother.  She made it about once a year, since it was my favorite cake and I always wanted it for my birthday.  I loved it with walnuts and raisins in it and lots of cream cheese frosting.

The recipe got lost after a while, and when my children were young I wanted to make it for them, but couldn’t find the recipe.  I was thrilled to find it on a web site called Heritage Recipes.  We had a family birthday get-together last weekend, and I made this cake.  The flavor and spiciness are just as I remember.  It was like meeting an old friend again.    If you are somewhat put off by using tomato soup in a cake, I promise you will never know its there.  It just tastes like a wonderful spice cake.  You must try it.

Tomato Soup Spice Cake

Tomato Soup Spice Cake

After having written the above introduction to this recipe I found another version of it using a spice cake mix, tomato soup, eggs and water.  So that is the one I actually made since it was quick, but I am including both recipes here because I really want to save the original so it doesn’t get lost again.   You can take your pick about which one to make, the quick version was also very moist and intensely spice flavored.

TOMATO SOUP SPICE CAKE

Yield:

Ingredients:IMG_5199

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ( 10.75 ounce ) can tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch cake pan.

2.  Cream the shortening with the sugar using an electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Stir baking soda into the tomato soup and add to shortening/sugar mixture.

3.  Whisk together dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.  Beat to blend well.

4.  Stir in raisins and nuts.

4.  Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350*F for 45-50 minutes, testing with a cake tester or toothpick for doneness.

5.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Quick Version:IMG_5181

  • 1 ( 18.25 oz.) box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 ( 10.75 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease 2  8″  or 9″-round cake pans, or a 13 X 9″ cake pan.

Mix cake mix, soup, water and eggs as per package directions.

Mix all 4 ingredients together at medium speed.

Mix all 4 ingredients together at medium speed.

Pour into prepared pan(s), and—-

Bake  for 30 -35 minutes till it tests done with a toothpick.

IMG_5183

Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

IMG_5194

IMG_5195

SOURCES:  Heritage Recipes,  and CampbellSoup.com

Chocolate Plum Cake

Chocolate Plum Cake

Chocolate Plum Cake

The last day of summer has come and gone and we are now officially into the fall season.  However stone fruits are still widely available at the farm stands in my area and in the supermarkets.  All these fruits reach their peak of ripeness in the summer sun, and they are delicious and appealing when you cook with them.   They lend themselves to every kind of preparation:  poaching, sautéing, roasting, grilling, and baking.  So you can work them into your early fall dessert recipes.IMG_5126

In this recipe for Chocolate Plum Cake you can interchange the fruits, and perhaps use nectarines instead of plums.  I decided to make it with plums because I have always enjoyed chocolate with wine; port wine or other dessert wine goes best with chocolate.  Since purple plums have a sweet, wine-like flavor they pair beautifully with chocolate in this moist, single-layer cake.  Another stone fruit that would work well here is the pluot–a cross between apricots and plums.  They are now sold in many supermarkets in the summer.

I loved making the batter for this cake.  There is only 1/4 cup flour (whole wheat) in it.  The rest of the dry ingredients consist of  ground almond flour, with baking powder and a little salt.   This makes the texture of the cake very fine and a little crumbly.  Almond is not noticeable in the taste, instead you’re bombarded with dense chocolate.  The recipe calls for chocolate that is at least 64% cocoa, but I had a bar that was 70% cocoa, so I used that.  With baking, the plums become tender and retain their juiciness.  Oh, boy, this is good!

Tender and moist cake, juicy plums.

Tender and moist cake, juicy plums.

CHOCOLATE PLUM CAKE

Yield:    8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick softened butter, divided  (7 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon.)

    Beautiful black plums and chocolate. Yum-yum!!

    Beautiful black plums and chocolate. Yum-yum!!

  • 4 black or purple plums
  • 1 Tablespoon, plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal**
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat or whole-wheat flour##
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate ( around 64% cocoa content), melted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish:  confectioners’ sugar

**  Almond meal – also called almond flour–is sold in the health-food aisle of many supermarkets.  The brand I used is by Bob’s Red Mill.  You can substitute other nut meals, or make your own by pulsing blanched almonds in a food processor until finely ground but not yet nut butter.

##  Substitute a gluten-free baking mix for the flour and this can be a gluten-free dessert.

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Butter a 9 – inch round cake pan; then line the bottom with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  In a frying pan, melt 1 Tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Add the plums, cut side down, and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar.  Cook 2 minutes and flip onto the other side.  Continue to cook 2 minutes more.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Sauté the plums in butter and sugar.

Sauté the plums in butter and sugar.

3.  In the bowl of your mixer beat the remaining 7 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup sugar until pale in color.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as you go.  Stir in the melted chocolate and then the heavy cream.

Mix melted chocolate into the batter.

Mix melted chocolate and cream into the batter.

4.  Add the dry ingredients, and stir until the batter is smooth.

Almond flour as oart of the dry ingredients.

Almond flour as part of the dry ingredients.

Pour into the prepared pan and arrange the sautéed plums on top, cut side up.

Pour into a round baking pan.

Pour into a round baking pan.

Top with plums

Arrange plums on top.

Drizzle any pan juices over the plums.

5.   Bake until the blade of a sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.  Let the cake cool 5 minutes before removing it from the pan,   Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

IMG_5127

Each wedge gets a half plum.

Each wedge gets a half plum.

SOURCE:   slightly modified from Yankee Magazine