Tag Archives: dessert

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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Peanut Butter Cup Spooky Spiders

Having a Halloween party? Why not make these tasty spiders for your guests?

While at the store, purchase:

  • 1 bag of Reese’s pumpkin-shaped or plain Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/8 cup cream cheese
  • 1 bag circle-shaped or twisty pretzels
  • 1 bag of Heath bits

To start, make the cream cheese frosting. This will be your adhesive for the legs and whites of the eye balls.  In a bowl whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk, adding more milk or powdered sugar for desired consistency.  Since this is going to be more of an adhesive than decoration, you want the frosting to be thick to the point where when you pull your fork out, peaks form. image

On a flat serving dish, place the unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Dab on two white dots in the center of each cup.  I found this was easiest with a toothpick.  It allowed for an even distribution and even eyeballs.  Next take the Heath bits and place one piece in the middle of each eye white.

Next, take the pretzels and either break in half if using the circle pretzels or break off the half-heart shape of the twisted pretzels.  I went ahead and used the twisty pretzels and the curve hung nicely off of the peanut butter cup’s edge.  Take the curved part and dip it into the cream cheese frosting, getting just enough on the pretzel to hold the legs on.  Place three legs on each side and place in the fridge for an hour to solidify the legs and eyeballs.  image

Serve with other spooky treats like vampire’s blood punch and dirt (gummy worms peeking out of Oreo cookie crumbs).  Anyone who loves Reese’s will be pleasantly surprised at your handiwork and craftiness.


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Pops by Kristina

I attended a very well put together 1st birthday party this weekend for a close family friend’s daughter Gianna. The food was good, but the dessert really stood out.  I highly recommend Pops by Kristina to anyone catering for a birthday, graduation or any other party in the IL area.  She put in a good deal of work which you can see on her page pictures.  I was only able to snag a picture of the cake push pop.  Everything else I tried (and yes, I tried one or more of everything) was gone too fast for me to snap a picture.




The cake push pops as you can see are layers of buttercream frosting and chocolate cake inside of a push-pop device with a little candy topper. She also had the most amazing cheesecake balls on a stick. The cheesecake was perfectly chilled and kept  cool inside the thick coating of fondant and frosting.  My mom’s absolute favorite were the mini red velvet cupcakes topped with the letter G tiered together with mini vanilla cupakes.  Just when you thought you couldn’t eat anymore sugar, there was also frosted oreo’s on a stick with star crystals, mini donuts and as a parting gift, sugar cookie’s that melted in your mouth.  It was definitely worth the sugar coma.


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Nutella Bites

I found this recipe on the main page when I signed in to WordPress and just had to make it for my cousin Eileen’s bridal shower. The Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars are from The Moonlight Baker, and I changed the recipe around a tad.

For this version you will need:

1 cup Oreo Cookie Crumbs Pie Crust Mix or I purchased vanilla with chocolate filling wafers
1 cup Graham Cracker Crumb Pie Crust Mix
1 stick of melted butter
4 boxes of Philadelphia lite cream cheese, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of Nutella
Line a greased 13 x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper, pushing it into the edges.

In a bowl, crumble the wafers to a dust and add in the graham cracker pie crust mix.


image  Pour the melted butter in the bowl and mix until coated.  Press the mixture into the base of the parchment paper lined pan.  Put in the oven at 325 degrees Farenheit for 12 minutes or until a slight crust texture.


In another bowl combine the cream cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir together with a hand mixer until smooth.  Take about 2/3 of the mixture and set aside. In the remaining 1/3 add the Nutella and mix again with the hand mixer.  When the pie crust has finished and cooled for several minutes, layer in the white cheesecake mixture.  On top of that pour the nutella cheesecake mixture on top. I marbled the two together, but they still show distinct layers when cut open.

Cook the bars for a remaining 40 minutes or until slightly jiggly but mostly cooked.  When finished and the pan is cooled, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.


Cut into bite sized bars and savor this treat.  Unlike cheesecake, it isn’t too overpoweringly sweet.  The Nutella’s chocolate hazelnut doesn’t entirely take over the flavor, but rather melds lightly with the cream cheese for an even taste.  The crust adds a little crunch with a chocolatey sweetness to complete the light dessert.


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Ellen’s All-Healing Brownies

Ellen introduced me to a version of this brownie utopia, and boy is it good.  I fudged around with it a little, but anyway you treat these chocolate-lover heaven brownies should turn out mouth-watering delights.  My original plan was to make these for a mourning friend in hopes that their all-healing power would transfer on to her, but while shopping I had to buy ingredients for two batches.

What you will need:
2 boxes of brownie mix (and the ingredients according to the directions on the box)
1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips (or heath candy, or Milky Way, or mint chocolate, or anything you wouldn’t normally eat in abundance)
desired amount of nuts
1 can of frosting

These are actually quite simple.  In a mixing bowl combine the two boxes of mix and the ingredients for one and a half of the directions. I used a box of fudgy brownie mix, a box of milk chocolate brownie mix, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup of water, and a half cup of oil.   Mix until all the powder disappears into a sea of dark brown batter.  Pour the bag of chocolate chips in.  Dark chocolate counteracts the overpoweringly chocolate flavor of these rich brownies, but for this recipe I added a bag of pre-mixed peanut-butter and milk chocolate chips.  Crush up your nuts and toss them into the mixing bowl of batter.  I used about three handfuls of walnuts.  The nuts really break up the amount of chocolate as well, and I had a non-nut lover actually state that it was better with them in this recipe.  You can use pecans, walnuts, or any other nut you have in your cabinet.  Next pour the mix into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan and toss in the oven for exactly the stated time on the box of mix.  image

It may appear slightly uncooked (If it is runny, by all means continue cooking these. Use your judgement here.) where the toothpick doesn’t come out totally clean, but they will keep cooking.  I toss them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes after this step and wait until they are cooled.  Using the whole can of frosting (here I chose to use dark chocolate since I did not throw in dark chips) and frost the top of the brownies. Throw them back in the fridge until the frosting firms up, and enjoy the chocolate lover’s dream.  Each bite will bring melting brownie with pieces of slightly harder chips and nuts creating a flavor shock.  The frosting melts nicely and when re-hardened becomes the perfect topper.  Frosting can often be too overpowering, but I believe that on these it pairs well enough to keep you from falling into a chocolate coma.  My dad and his girlfriend used to mail these treats to me for birthdays in a disposable container, and I tried really hard to share.  The trick to mailing them (though costly as they weigh a ton and a half) is to freeze them so they thaw along the way.


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McDonald’s introduced their limited time only Rolo McFlurry.  Thanks to Danielle’s sister for facebooking this announcement. I stopped by on my way home for a large.  The ingenious idea of attaching each spoon as the stirrer on the machine before sending it on with the individual treat keeps the machine from getting too messy and sticky, because that’s exactly what this was.  I dripped all over the car trying to stuff my face while driving, but it was so worth having to clean when I got home.  This mixture of ice cream and Rolo’s is fantastic for any chocolate and caramel lovers out there. The Rare soft enough that they crush and combine with the dessert leaving a congenial of colors and melding sweets. Get it before it’s too late.


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