Tag Archives: baking

Spice Cake Drenched in Cream Cheese Frosting

I obtained this recipe, after suffering its wonderous, moist, frosted phenomenon, from old family friends.  They deserve credit for this amazing cake I continue to make at least once a year. It’s perfect for that rich, Christmas or Thanksgiving dessert you were assigned to bring to the party.

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (cream cheese substitution is okay)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 heaping tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.  Grease and flour either a 13″ x 9″, 2 round cake pans, or a bundt cake pan (these would also make excellent cupcakes). 

Beat all ingredients with a hand mixer on low for 30 seconds.image  Beat for a remaining 3 minutes on high.image

Pour batter into your pan.  imageBake for approximately 40-45 minutes for a rectangular pan or 30-35 minutes for the round pans or bundt cake.  When a toothpick comes out of the center clean, the cake is finished cooking.

While the cake is cooling, whip up the frosting.image In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla together on low-speed with a hand mixer until smooth. image In doses of about one cup, add in the powdered sugar. image Cream together until frosting is smooth and spreadable. image

Spread cream cheese frosting over cake. Enjoy.image

I doubted the fridge’s holding of unexpired sour cream, and used cream cheese in the cake instead only to find out the next day we had not one, but TWO fresh cartons of sour cream. Whoops. The only difference I noticed was the dense cake was less moist than its sour cream compromised counter-part.  It was still enticing, then again, what, covered in cream cheese frosting, wouldn’t be?

I made a mini sampler size for taste testing, just in case the cake didn’t turn out using cream cheese inside the cake. Andrew refused to touch it, so I gave it to my mom and Dave first. They all agreed it was well-prepared and delectable, despite my impatience for both the trip to the store to buy sour cream and to allow the oven to fully heat up to 300 degrees Farenheit.

The spices remind me of sipping on a gingerbread latte from Starbucks, or slurping up some Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (minus the cayenne), not to mention it makes the whole house smell like a lit Yankee Candle.  Each bite is dribbled in luscious cream-colored gobs of icing.

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Paula Deen’s Buttery Lemon Bars

Gotta love those Paula Deen goodies. This one only requires two sticks of butter and a little extra to grease the pan.  I made these once before for Rosette’s family and they have been dying for us to make them again. So, we had a cooking and crafting Sunday night with the Bears on in the background (yes, they lost).

To make the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter, and more for greasing

For the lemony center:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh lemons are best)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and greasing a 13″ x 9″ baking dish (preferably glass, the dark metal pan overcooked the crust the first time). 

Next whip together the crust flour and sugar ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  With a fork, take the room temperature butter and mash it into the flour/sugar combo until it becomes light and crumbly. 

Press the crust compound into the pre-greased baking pan, pressing up the sides about an inch or so.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (but watch it. It tends to overcook).

In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice. 

Pull the pan out of the oven and pour in the yellow hodgepodge of ingredients.

 Place back into the oven for a remaining 25 minutes. (I took  mine out early, so check it at 15 min. and again at 20 min.). 

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.


These gel-like lemon bars have a few textures. Initially, you sink your teeth into a soft, sticky gelatin that brings a rush of sweet tang .  Next your bottom pearly whites help the top ones to crunch into a semi-soft crust cradling the citrus insides in a sweet, flaky melt-in-your-mouth carbohydrate.

Rosette’s mom bugged us until we finally went upstairs to cook she was so excited to have these. They are that heavenly. Bring them to your holiday gatherings this year for dessert.

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Two-Ingredient Cookies

Danielle sent me this link to two-ingredient cooking by Oprah.com.  I just had to try it. It sounded too good to be true, and I was surprised by the half-decent outcome.

All you need is:

24 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1 egg


Rip open all of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (the hardest part of the whole recipe, or maybe just overly tedious) and toss them into your food processor.  You can purchase 3 8-packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at Target for around $1 each.  Pulse the candy to an even, decently smooth puree or until your food processor tells you it’s tired. Mine started making that slow engine sound, and I knew it was time to stop.


Next, add in your egg to the mix. And pulse, again, until it is thoroughly mixed with the chocolatey, peanut buttery mess.


Here the recipe suggests using an ice cream scooper to get an even amount of dough into the shape of a ball, but I chose to just use a spoon and create mismatched sized cookies.  The Reese’s Peanut Butter cup version worked fine just spraying the cookie sheet with a little cooking spray, but you can also use parchment paper or aluminum foil to save yourself some cleaning up turmoil.


Place the cookies in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees Farenheit for 12-15 minutes. Pull them out when they look almost exactly done (they’ll keep cooking a little bit) and place on a cookie cooling rack.  They actually stay puffed up and in a cookie shape.

I also tried this recipe with Butterfingers, as I was curious to why they chose to only make the two-ingredient cookie with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.


When I pulsed the Butterfingers, they made a light, dry crumb-like mixture.



I added in an egg, and the mixture still seemed a little too dry, so I added in another egg.  Then it seemed too wet.  So I changed up the recipe to a 3-ingredient cookie by adding in oatmeal. Can you imagine? It’s like an oatmeal cookie with that rich, buttery, chocolaty, toffee flavor of a Butterfinger.



They were still a little ooey-gooey when I placed them on the cookie sheet. The batter spread more than the Reese’s version.


When I peeked in at them in the oven, the dough had completely flattened out into almost one giant cookie.  It was sticky, and a little hard to peel off of the cookie sheet while they were still warm and fresh out of the oven. As they cooled, I literally could have taken an ice pick to the pan to get these babies off.  They did not want to leave the safe haven of the cookie sheet and be placed onto the cooling rack.  So I hack-sawed them all off, one-by-one. I even cut my finger on cookie crumbs!


They sure didn’t look like the Reese’s cookie, which came out puffed up and shaped more like a cookie than these flattened, chewy things. But overall, I’d say the Butterfinger attempt tasted better than the Reese’s cookies.  They would be oh so amazing atop an ice cream mountain.


On the left, the Reese’s cookies. To your right, the best looking Butterfinger cookies. 


The Reese’s came out shockingly like a cookie.  They had a burnt taste to them, which I still can’t tell if it was my fault or if the cookie just tastes like that because it is so subtle.  It’s mixed together with that familiar sweetened peanut butter intermingled with sweet milk chocolate.  I am quite curious what a dark chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter cup might taste like in this cookie, so that will be my next attempt tonight. 

 These would be perfect for any mother’s who think their kids shouldn’t be eating all the Halloween candy they score from neighbors.  You can attempt quite a few versions of cookie’s with the random candy your kids receive.  I think anything moist would work as a cookie (as the Butterfinger was too dry).  To name a few possibilities:  Almond Joy, Milky Way, Snickers, 100 Grand, York Peppermint Patty (maybe?), PayDay, Baby Ruth to name a few. Tip: Don’t forget to use parchment paper on your experiments, as you won’t have cookie crumb cuts on your fingers from chipping them off the pan.

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Blueberry Streusel Cake

This easy to make recipe will have your co-workers begging for more.

For the cake you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup blueberries or blackberries or any other berry

For the topping you will need:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit and grease an 8×8 baking pan.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes to throw the ingredients to be cooked together, just enough time to get the oven nice and hot.

In a mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients for the cake: flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients: oil, egg, milk and brown sugar (okay this isn’t a wet ingredient, but it is heavy and when combined with the egg and oil will diffuse into a liquid).

Gradually combine the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients adding in a tablespoon of cinnamon.  I used a fork to get a gentle whipped texture keeping the cake nice and light.  The cinnamon will incorporate with the sugar creating a sweet spice.  Stir until everything is blended.

Carefully fold in the berries to you mix.  If you are too rough, the berries will break open staining your cake.  My mom likes to freeze berries when they are cheap and in season in individual sized glad freezer wrap.  These turned out excellent for the cake because they are solid enough to not break open, but still fresh.  Pour your mixture into the 8 x 8 pan making sure it evens out and set aside. image

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Add in the softened butter and mix until they are equally incorporated and form into small crumbles.  You really want softened butter and not melted to get the correct form and texture of the topping.  Sprinkle the sugary morsels onto the top of your cake mix in the 8 x 8-inch baking pan and place in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  The cake will stop jiggling when lightly shaken from side to side when it’s ready. Stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before cutting into the sweet morning treat.


The cake holds the perfect amount of moisture so every bite holds together and melds into your taste buds.  The best part is the topping, so make sure to get some with every forkful.  It brings more of that sweet spice from the sugar and cinnamon into the cake and when you get some with a berry, your taste palate is complete.


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