Archive for Cakes

Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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I love blueberry muffins, but I absolutely hate the packaged blueberry muffin mix which turns the batter a bluish-purple after you add canned (and tiny) blueberries.

Blueberries are my favorite when it comes to fruit muffins, but you can easily make this into a loaded berry muffin by mixing you favorite berries — a combination of raspberries, cranberries, and of course, blueberries are delicious too.

I use frozen berries for this recipe. While fresh berries are delicious, frozen sweet berries are always available and “in season.”

I also top these muffins with a sweet mixture of lemon zest and sugar. The perfumy, aromatic oils in the lemon zest gives these muffins a hint of lemon flavor that compliments the berries so well.

This recipe makes a little more than a dozen muffins. You’ll have just a bit of batter leftover after filing the muffin tin. Make mini loaves or use a second muffin tin to use up the extra batter.

Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients for the Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry Buttermilk Powder (you can find this in the baking section of your grocery store)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries plus 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
  • The zest of one large lemon plus 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Directions:

Make the toppings:

1. Make a blueberry sauce by placing 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1 teaspoon sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the berries to a simmer. As the berries begin to soften, use the back of a cooking spoon to slightly mash the berries. Cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

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2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and 1/2 cup sugar together. Set aside.

When you zest the lemon, make sure to get only the yellow lemon rind, not the white pith. After zesting the lemon, chop the zest into smaller pieces then mix with the sugar.

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Mix the batter:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or non-stick (butter flavored) cooking spray. Or, line each cup with a muffin liner.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, buttermilk powder).

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3. In another mixing bowl, place the eggs and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. Mix in the butter, oil, water and vanilla extract.

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4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mixing only until the batter is moistened (a few lumps are okay). Do not overmix.

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5. Fold in the blueberries.

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6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. These muffins really rise high, so don’t overfill each muffin cup.

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7. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the blueberry sauce on top of the batter in each muffin cup.

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8. Using the handle of a spoon (a chopstick works really well here), swirl the blueberry sauce into the batter.

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9. Evenly sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

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10. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick is okay). Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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If you have a mini loaf pan, you can make mini loaves with the extra muffin batter. You should have enough batter left (after filling the muffin tin) to make 3 mini loaves. I doubled this recipe so I made 6 mini loaves with the extra batter (after filling 2 muffin tins).

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Serve and ENJOY!

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Loaded Carrot Cake with a Kick

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Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. I like it plain with no frosting–this cake is that good–but it’s really delicious with a rich cream cheese frosting, or, try it Chamorro-style and top it with Latiya (find my recipe here).

I call this “loaded carrot cake” because it’s chock full of raisins, walnuts and crushed pineapples (which makes it so moist). The raisins and walnuts are optional, but this cake tastes so delicious if you add them, especially if you add that “kick.” I’ll tell you about that later. ;)

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. :)

Loaded Carrot Cake with a Kick

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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots (about 4 medium or 3 large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins plus 1/2 cup water (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Latiya:

  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces water
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • Cinnamon, for dusting

Directions:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

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2. Place the raisins into a small bowl and cover it with water. Soak the raisins in the water while you make the batter. To give this cake a “kick,” soak the raisins in rum instead of water. ;)

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3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

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4. In a separate and larger mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.

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5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a half cup at a time. Using a large mixing spoon or spatula, gently stir the mixture until the dry and wet ingredients combine (do not over mix; a few lumps are okay).

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6. Stir in the crushed pineapple and grated carrots.

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7. Drain out any liquid remaining in the bowl of raisins, then fold the raisins into the batter.

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8. Fold the walnuts into the batter.

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9. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a butter knife around the sides to loosen it. Invert the cake onto a serving dish or cooling rack to let it finish cooling completely.

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Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until fluffy.

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2. Add the cinnamon and half of the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining powdered sugar; mix until creamy.

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3. After the cake is completely cooled, top with cream cheese frosting (or latiya).

Serve and ENJOY!

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Latiya:

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1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, place the milk, butter, vanilla extract and sugar.  Whisk the ingredients together until the butter melts.

2. Mix the water and corn starch together.  Once the butter melts, pour the corn starch mixture into the pan.  Continuously whisk the mixture until it comes to a boil.

3. Cook the mixture for another minute after it comes to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.

4.  Pour the hot mixture over slices of carrot cake.  Sprinkle the top of the latiya with cinnamon.  Let the mixture cool at room temperature to allow the latiya to set.

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Serve and ENJOY!

Easy Guava Cake

Guava Cake

Guava Cake is a delicious Hawaiian dessert that is quickly becoming popular nationwide.  It’s traditionally made with chiffon cake, but my quick and easy recipe uses boxed cake mix.

I like using strawberry cake mix for my recipe–it amps up the guava flavor in my opinion.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you like it. :)

Easy Guava Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-oz can frozen concentrated guava nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 tablespoons water

Directions:

1.  Prepare the Guava Juice.

Empty the contents of the frozen concentrated guava nectar into a small bowl or measuring cup.

Remove 2 teaspoons of the concentrated nectar and place into a small mixing bowl.  Set this aside for now (you will use this when you make the frosting).

Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the remaining frozen concentrated nectar.  Stir until the frozen nectar completely dissolves/melts and combines with the water.  You should have about 3 cups of juice.  Set aside.

2.  Make the frosting.

Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl with the reserved 2 teaspoons frozen concentrated guava nectar.

Note:  I had a jar of guava jam in the fridge; I also added a teaspoon of jam to the bowl, but this is totally optional.  If you don’t have any guava jam, don’t worry about it.  I just like to add it to the frosting to give it a guava flavor.

Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and guava nectar until creamy.

Add the Cool Whip to the mixing bowl.

Mix until creamy.  Place the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3.  Bake the cake.

Empty the contents of the cake mix into a mixing bowl.

Into the bowl add the eggs, vegetable oil, and 1 cup of the guava juice (set the remaining juice aside–it will be used later to make the guava sauce).

Using a whisk or mixing spoon, mix the ingredients together.  Don’t over-mix the batter; mix only until the large lumps disappear.

 Split the batter between two small pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let the cake cool completely (I inverted it onto a plate to finish cooling).

4.  Make the guava sauce.

Place the remaining 2 cups of guava juice into a small saucepan.  Turn the heat to medium high.

Mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of water.  Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan, mixing with a whisk.

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Continue whisking the mixture over medium high heat, cooking until the sauce begins to thicken.

The sauce will thicken only after it comes to a boil.  Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium low; continue cooking for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat.

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Pour the sauce into a small bowl or measuring cup.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: Let the sauce cool completely before pouring onto the cake.

5.  Assemble the cake.

Place one of the cake layers onto a serving plate.

Spread a thin layer of frosting onto the cake.

Spread some of the guava sauce on top of the frosting, staying about one inch from the edge.

Place the second layer of cake on top of the first layer.

Frost the cake (top and sides) with the remaining frosting.

Pour the remaining sauce on top of the cake.  If you have room in your fridge, refrigerate the cake until the sauce and frosting sets completely.  If you have a cake decorating bag and tips, you can be fancy and pipe a border around the edge to keep the sauce nice and pretty in the middle of the cake.

I,  on the other hand, couldn’t stop there.  I’m a sauce kind of girl, so I just HAD to pour MORE sauce over the cake, letting it drip down the sides (yum!). ;)

Slice, serve, and ENJOY!

I couldn’t wait for the sauce to set, so I cut into this cake IMMEDIATELY.  Ahh…it’s all good.  DELICIOUS in fact. :D

If you have any sauce left, pour some over the cake–man oh man–I want some more cake (I ate 3–yes 3–pieces).

ENJOY!

I also made some guava cupcakes. You can place some guava sauce in the middle (cut a piece of cake out of the top), top it with frosting, then drizzle more sauce on top.

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Chocolate Cake Donuts

Chocolate Cake Donuts

Moist chocolate cake…chocolate chips…chocolate ganache…enough said. :)

Seriously, though. If you are like me, you LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate! Take a moist chocolate cake batter load it with chocolate chips, bake it into a donut, then dredge it in a rich, creamy chocolate ganache and you’ll be in Heaven!!

Give my recipe a try. I know you’ll love it! :)

Chocolate Cake Donuts

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INGREDIENTS:

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Dry Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, or instant coffee granules

3 tablespoons buttermilk powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs

3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate icing:

2 cups chocolate chips

8 tablespoons heavy cream

 Toppings (Optional):

 Sweetened coconut flakes

Toffee bits

Mini chocolate chips

Chocolate cookie bits

Multi-colored sprinkles

 

 DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your donut maker.  Mine has an orange light and green light.  The green light turns on when the donut maker is heated to the right temperature. 

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In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

Place the flour into the bowl.

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Add the cocoa powder.  It isn’t necessary to sift the cocoa powder; just dump it in the bowl.

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Add the brown sugar.

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Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder (or instant coffee granules).  You can omit the espresso powder if you’d like.  However, I find that the coffee enhances the flavor of the cocoa, making the donuts taste so much more rich and decadent. 

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Add the buttermilk powder. 

If you can’t find buttermilk powder in your grocery store, use 3/4 cup of liquid buttermilk INSTEAD OF the buttermilk powder and 3/4 cup water.  Add the buttermilk with the wet ingredients as described below.

Another easy substitution for buttermilk is to place 1 teaspoon of either white vinegar or lemon juce in a cup.  Mix in enough regular milk to make 3/4 cup of total liquid (milk plus vinegar).  Stir to combine, then let the mixture sit for a minute or so (it will thicken a bit).  Again, you’d omit the buttermilk powder and 3/4 cup of water if you did it this way.  Add the milk-vinegar mixture with the wet ingredients as described below.

I personally prefer to use buttermilk powder.  I don’t use buttermilk that often in my cooking (aside from the occasional pancake breakfast, and these delicious donuts, of course), so the powdered buttermilk works well.  Keep in mind that the powdered buttermilk must be refrigerated after you break open the sealed container.

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Add the chocolate chips.  I guess I should have named these Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Donuts, huh? :)

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Use a whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients together.  Or, you can use a fork.

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In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients:

Place the eggs, water, vanilla extract, and melted butter into the bowl; stir to combine.  Note: after melting the butter, let it sit for a minute or so to cool slightly.  You don’t want scorching hot butter when you mix it with the eggs or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.  That’s no bueno for these yummy donuts.

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Stir in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Mix only until a batter forms; it’s okay if you have a few lumps.  I used a rubber spatula to stir the batter (so that the chocolate chips didn’t get stick in between the whisk wires).

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Spoon the batter into the wells of your pre-heated donut maker, filling according to manufacturer’s instructions.  I use a small cookie scoop to fill my donut maker with about 2 tablespoons of batter. My donut maker has a non-stick surface; if yours is not non-stick, spray each donut well with butter-flavored cooking spray.

I own a Sunbeam donut maker.  I’m pretty satisfied with this brand.  The only thing I’d like better is one that made more than five donuts at a time.  Otherwise, it’s a great machine.  You can find it (and other brands) at Target, WalMart, K-Mart, or your military Exchange.

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Bake per your donut maker’s instructions, or until the donuts feel slightly firm to the touch. My donut maker has a light that turns green when the donuts are done.

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Remove the donuts from the donut maker. These can get very hot, so be careful when taking the donuts out of the donut maker. I find it very easy to use two chopsticks (stick one chopstick through the donut hole and use the other chopstick to nudge the donut out of the donut well). 

You don’t have chopsticks, you say?  Use the ends of wooden cooking spoons instead, or the handles of forks or spoons.

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Place the donuts on a wire wrack to cool. Ensure the donuts cool completely before icing.

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To make the chocolate icing: Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl.

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Heat for 45 seconds then remove from the microwave and stir with a fork (or use a whisk), mixing until the icing is shiny, smooth and creamy.

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If the chocolate chips aren’t melted enough after stirring (you still see chunks of chocolate), heat for another 10-15 seconds then stir again.

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After the donuts are cool, dip the top of each one in the warm icing.

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Place the iced donuts back on the wire wrack to allow the frosting to set (or you can just devour them at this point!). :)

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Optional:  Sprinkle your favorite toppings on top of the donuts immediately after dipping in the warm icing.

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This is what the donuts look like in the inside — moist and chocolaty, with the added bonus of chocolate chips.  imageServe with a tall glass of milk or a cup of your favorite coffe and ENJOY!

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Pumpkin-Carrot Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, not just because of the beautiful fall colors and cooling temperatures, but because I love the smell of the house when I bake up a batch of pumpkin anything.  I say anything because my family loves most everything made with pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Turnovers (Pastit or Buchi Buchi), and one of our favorites — Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake.

This recipe is my take on the popular Pumpkin Crunch Cake that you must have seen making its rounds on the internet.

I make mine differently.  One thing I do differently is instead of sprinkling dry cake mix over the pumpkin filling, I make a cake and nut layer by mixing together melted butter, chopped nuts and the cake mix, then spreading it onto the bottom of a pan, making a delightful crust of sorts.

My pumpkin filling is essentially a custard, forming a rich and creamy layer on top of the cake and nut crust.

And finally, the top layer is not just plain old Cool Whip Whipped Topping, but a thicker version made so by adding sweet vanilla pudding to it.

My version also uses carrot cake instead of regular yellow cake mix, although yellow cake is perfectly fine if that’s what you prefer.  We love carrot cake in our house, so I incorporated two favorites into one, and voila, there you have my Pumpkin Carrot Crunch Cake!

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  :)

PUMPKIN CARROT CRUNCH CAKE

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INGREDIENTS:

Pumpkin Filling:
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cake & Pecan Crust:
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 box super moist carrot cake mix
Whipped Topping:
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding & pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling (pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt). Set aside.

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3.  Finely chop the nuts using a food chopper or processor.

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4.  In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Cake & Pecan Crust (melted butter, chopped nuts, and cake mix).  Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 cake pan with cooking spray (butter flavored, or the one for baking that has flour in it).  Spread the cake mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

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5.  Pour the pumpkin filling over the cake and pecan mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to an hour.  The cake is done when the sides are set (the pumpkin filling will look firm and dry from the edge of the pan inward about two inches) but the middle will still be jiggly.  When you take the cake out of the oven, it will continue to cook as it cools.  Allow the cake to completely cool on the countertop.  Top with Whipped Topping when the cake is completely cooled.

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6.  To make the whipped topping, place the Cool Whip into a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the dry pudding mix over the Cool Whip.  Add the milk.  Using an electric mixer, mix until all the ingredients are combined.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to set.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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7.  After the cake has cooled, top with the whipped topping mixture.

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8.  Serve and enjoy!

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