S’mores Cake

Happy Belated Birthday to Paul!

As usual, he challenged me to make something new for him. Lately, he has been migrating away from the chocolate peanut butter classic combination he loves so much, and has been delving into the world of s’mores. I’m okay with it – it’s just as good, and classic, a combo!

Last week, I did a lot of talking about why I was missing from the blogosphere for a while. This week, I just want to get to the cake. If you like s’mores, and if you like cake, you will love this cake!

I found the original recipe here, and didn’t really change a thing. This is the perfect cake to welcome in summer!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch cake

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1 c. softened butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
½ c. buttermilk
½ c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla

For the crumble:

4 graham crackers, roughly crumbled
4 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
¼ tsp. allspice

For the chocolate buttercream:

1½ c. softened butter
1½ pounds (3-4 c.) icing sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the marshmallow fluff:

1 c. sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 3 6-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and sour cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and add the sugars. Mix until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and the egg white one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before assembling the cake.
To make the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add in 1-2 tsp. milk if needed for consistency.

Drizzle in melted chocolate, and mix until well combined. Add more milk or sugar to adjust consistency as needed. Set aside.

To make the marshmallow fluff, add 2/3 c. sugar and the corn syrup to a small saucepot and head on medium high. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. The sugar mixture must reach 240°F, and not more!

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, make sure there is NO grease. Wipe down with vinegar to be sure. Start beating the egg whites on low, and gradually increase speed to medium-high. Add in 1/3 c. of the sugar while the egg whites are stiffening.

Once the egg whites hit the soft peak stage, slowly drizzle in the 240°F sugar syrup, and beat on medium-high to high for about 10 minutes, to allow the fluff to cool and thicken.

For the crumble, preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together well. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool, then crumble the mixture, allowing some larger pieces to remain.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand. Pipe a ring of the chocolate buttercream on the layer of cake, and fill with marshmallow fluff. Sprinkle a small amount of the graham cracker crumble, and top with the next layer of cake.

Repeat the ring of chocolate buttercream, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumble, then top with the last layer of cake. Spread a small amount of the frosting around the outside of the cake as a crumb coat. (I don’t usually do this, but I did here, and I’m glad. It helped everything stick together a little better. Maybe I’ve been converted!) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set up.

Take out the cake, and spread the remaining chocolate buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with an offset spatula, and press the graham cracker crumble around the bottom third of the cake.

Pipe the marshmallow fluff on top of the cake, and torch. Slice, and serve!

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Frozen Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie

Happy Pi(e) Day!!

Yes, this post is a few days late, but I knew that I wanted to make something interesting for Pi(e) Day. I have so many great pie pins on my Pinterest board, I couldn’t decide. I originally thought about making lemon meringue pie, as I don’t have a recipe for that on the blog yet (trust me, one is coming!), but I handed the reins over to Paul, and asked him to pick a pie for me.

He listed off about twenty different pies that he said he would like, before coming upon this recipe. He immediately stopped, and told me that he saw the picture and read the title and immediately started salivating. Well, I guess it was fate to make this pie!

I found the original recipe here, and I wish I had used my really deep pie dish, because I used my regular glass pie dish and it was almost overflowing. I have a beautiful ceramic pie dish that is nice and deep, and it would have been perfect here.

Making this pie didn’t take long. It’s the waiting part that takes the longest, as it has to set up in the freezer for about 2 hours. I told Paul that, and I had started it a little late in the evening, so he asked me if he could cut into it when it was done. I woke up in the morning, and sure enough, a big slice was missing because Paul had cut into it during the night because he just couldn’t wait any longer.

This pie is rich and decadent, and best served with a glass of cold milk. Still, make it! It’s incredible. Hope your Pi(e) Day was as awesome as ours was!

Ingredients

For the crust:

1¼ c. chocolate cookie crumbs
½ c. pretzel crumbs
6 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1¼ c. smooth peanut butter
¾ c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 c. heavy cream

For the topping:

1½ c. chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but you can use a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate if prefered.)
½ c. heavy cream
1/3 c. chopped pretzels
½ c. peanut butter cups

To make the pie, preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, mix together all crust ingredients until well combined. Press into a deep dish 9-inch pie plate. Freeze for 10 minutes, then bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter filling, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla, and mix again.

In a separate mixing bowl, using either a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it reaches soft peaks. Using a spatula, fold in half of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until well-incorporated. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream, taking care not to beat too much air out of the mixture.

Pour into cooled crust, and spread into an even layer. Keep in the refrigerator while you make the topping.

Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat at 30-second intervals, stir, and repeat. I only had to heat my mixture for 1 minute total. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Let stand about 5-7 minutes (in the refrigerator if you want) to thicken up a bit. Spread or pour the ganache over the peanut butter filling, and sprinkle with peanut butter cups and pretzels.

Chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving, and slice with a knife ran under hot water. Enjoy!

Olive Oil Cake with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream

I have to be honest. I didn’t come up with this combination.

I was visiting a friend of mine in Lethbridge, and we went on a dinner date to a new Italian restaurant in town. We split one of their desserts: an olive oil cake with a limoncello mascarpone cream sauce. It was absolutely heavenly.

Well, my friend Jericka told me I HAD to try and recreate the cake at home, and I was up for the challenge. I mean, it was just an olive oil cake. The cream part was a little more complicated. I wasn’t sure about all of the meshing of the flavours, but then sure enough, Jericka found a recipe for just the cream we were looking for.

The original recipe for the cake was found here, and the recipe for the cream was here. Not going to lie, I made a few changes that I have reflected below in the recipe. Looking at the comments for the cake, I reduced the amount of olive oil ever so slightly, and switched out the orange flavourings for lemon. For the cream, I just used the cream part of the recipe, and whipped it by hand for about 5 minutes. I didn’t want a full-on whipped cream, so I stopped when it was thicker, at just barely soft peaks.

The cake and the cream paired perfectly together, and reminded me exactly of the cake I was attempting to recreate. I call that a success!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch round cake or 1 10 inch Bundt with cream

For the cake:

2 c. flour
1¾ c. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 c. olive oil
1¼ c. milk
3 eggs
1½ tbsp. grated lemon zest (or ½ tsp. lemon extract)
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. limoncello liqueur

For the cream:

¾ c. chilled whipping cream
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. limoncello liqueur

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 9 inch cake pan that is at least two inches tall. If you don’t have a pan that tall, use a springform pan or a Bundt pan. Make sure every corner is sprayed down with oil. If using a circular pan, line the bottom with parchment. If using a Bundt pan, use A LOT of oil to make sure that the cake comes out. (Mine stuck a bit… just warning you.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest (or extract), and limoncello. Add in the dry ingredients, and whisk together until just combined.

Transfer batter to cake pan, and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and cool in pan for 30 minutes. Remove from cake pan, and allow to cool completely.

To make the limoncello cream, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, limoncello, and cheese. Whisk vigorously until mixture thickens to soft peaks, about 5-7 minutes.

To serve, slice cake, and top with cream.

Champagne Pound Cake

Happy New Year!

It’s officially 2019, and what’s a better way to ring in the New Year than with a dessert that involves champagne! (And by champagne, I mean sparkling wine, because real champagne is expensive!)

Paul and I had a few people for New Years, and the next day, we found ourselves with two full bottles of leftover champagne. I decided that the best way to use this leftover champagne was with baking, and boy, was I right!

I found a bunch of recipes for champagne cakes and cupcakes, but the day I made this, I really didn’t want something too complicated. This recipe was perfect. Everything mixes up in the bowl of a mixer, it’s easy, doesn’t have too many ingredients, and cleanup was minimal. Win-win!

The only thing I changed was to reduce the rest of the champagne with a little bit of sugar to make a potent champagne reduction to use as a soaking syrup. Trust me, this recipe seems like a lot of ingredients, but it’s totally worth it.

Pop a bottle, celebrate the New Year, and eat cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch Bundt cake

For the cake:

1¼ c. butter, softened
2½ c. sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
3¼ c. flour
1 c. champagne

For the champagne soaking syrup:

1½ c. champagne
1/3 c. sugar

For the icing:

¼ c. champagne
1-2 c. icing sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan generously.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter 1-2 minutes, until light and creamy. With the mixer on the slowest speed, slowly add in the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition so that each egg is fully incorporated before you add the next one.

Add in the flour, a cup at a time, and the salt, beating until just combined.

Take off of mixer, and add in the champagne, and fold in with a rubber spatula until batter is smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours, until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Start checking at 45 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

As the cake is baking, combine the champagne and sugar for the soaking syrup in a small saucepan, and reduce on medium heat until about a quarter of the mixture remains.

Brush the syrup over the warm cake, top and bottom, to help it absorb.

When cake is cool, whisk together the champagne and the icing sugar to a thick, yet pourable consistency and drizzle over top of cake.

Marshmallow Squares

Welcome to my last post of 2018!

I took a little bit of a break from the blogging world for the past few weeks for a few reasons. One was my own sanity. I have been extremely busy the past four months, and that will not stop when January starts again.

As for the end of our 2018, we hosted a bit of a party, and I made two desserts. I made my Lemon Squares, and these. So good!

Next month, we are finishing up the first semester of this school year, my grade 12’s are writing diploma exams, I go to Edmonton to mark exams, and then we get right into the second semester. The life of a teacher is never boring!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas holidays! Ours was busy. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day driving around Southern Alberta, and are in the throes of planning a New Year’s Party that is about to get into full swing in a few minutes.

For Christmas, my mom gave me a cookbook full of a bunch of desserts. I spent a few hours looking through the cookbook, and this was one of the recipes that stuck out to me. It looked simple, and I had everything in my pantry. The perfect dessert.

This recipe came from the Company’s Coming 150 Delicious Squares book in the Company’s Coming Sweet Treats 2-in-1 Cookbook. It was extremely simple to make, the perfect kind of dessert.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 pan of squares

For the crust layer:

1½ c. flour
¾ c. butter, softened
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed

For the marshmallow layer:

1 envelope (¼ oz.) unflavoured gelatin
¾ c. cold water
¾ c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ c. icing sugar
½ tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. (6-8 drops) red food colouring (or any colour)

Line a square 9×9 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, butter, and sugar for the crust layer until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack completely before filling with the marshmallow layer.

To make the marshmallow layer, in a small saucepan combine the cold water and gelatin, and let sit for 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt, and heat the saucepan on low until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the icing sugar, and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Chill the large bowl, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until very thick. Mine took about 25 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and beat in a mixer with the whisk attachment until foamy. Add in the almond extract, vanilla, and the food colouring, and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until mixture is thick and soft peaks form. Spread evenly over the cooled bottom layer.

Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight, and cut into squares and serve.