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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Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Cake

Wow! It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I’m so sorry about that! I didn’t intend to take a month-long hiatus from the blogging world. I have been so ridiculously busy, that I haven’t been able to take a breath in a while. I appreciate my readers, and you all deserve to know why I haven’t posted in a while.

In April, we were racing towards Easter break in school. There were so many things going on: I was getting kids ready to write exams, I went on our Grad Retreat for the 2019 graduating class, I got baptized, Paul and I had a visit from his mother, we took day trips to Lethbridge and Calgary, and there were a few rehearsals for the play I’m directing thrown in, as if I didn’t have enough to do.

After coming back from Easter break, it’s been a sprint to two events: My play, and Graduation. We had our performances Friday and yesterday, and I am so proud of those kids!! I am so humbled and grateful to have the job I do, and every day I am reminded about how lucky I am.

Now it’s the countdown to Graduation, and I can breathe, for at least a week or two, so I figured I would update the blog after long last.

I made this ice cream cake back in April, when a dear friend came over for a girl’s night. It was an extremely belated birthday cake, and I’m so glad I attempted it!

To be completely honest, I kind-of Frankenstein-ed this cake together. I had a vision, and I figured out how to accomplish it. I made a single-layer chocolate cake, then (because I didn’t have time to make my own ice cream) used store-bought chocolate and vanilla ice cream to create the layers. No matter where I looked, I could not find pistachio ice cream (even though I know it exists, and you can easily substitute it here), so I took vanilla ice cream, and mixed in pistachio extract and green food colouring to get the pistachio vibe. It worked perfectly!

Okay. Let’s get to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the ice cream layers:

4 c. softened chocolate ice cream
4 c. softened pistachio ice cream OR 4 c. softened vanilla ice cream with 5 drops green food colouring and 1 tsp. pistachio extract

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. brewed coffee
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Use some Miracle Cake Release (a 1:1:1 ratio of flour, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil) and brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking powder. Pour in all the wet ingredients: coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Whisk together into a smooth batter, being careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before assembling.

To assemble, take cooled cake, still in pan, and spread softened pistachio ice cream in an even layer over top of cake. Transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

Once the pistachio ice cream layer has firmed up, spread softened chocolate ice cream over the pistachio layer. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water, pat dry, and slice. Serve immediately.

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!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love cookies!

Paul made a comment last week about how I never bake any “bakery style” cookies. You know, the really big, thick cookies that are so soft and gooey in the middle. He also loves chocolate.

So when I made Peanut Butter cookies last week, I knew I also had to include some Chocolate Chip cookies.

Now, the original recipe calls these double chocolate chip cookies, but there are three kinds of chocolate inside, so I only feel it fitting to have them as triple chocolate. There is cocoa in the cookie dough, melted chocolate, and chocolate chips. It’s a triple chocolate whammy.

Also, these cookies are HUGE. It says that in the original recipe. However, the recipe says to only make 9 cookies. I made each cookie a little smaller, and ended up with a dozen cookies. They are still big, but I feel like a little more manageable than cookies the size of your face. (I don’t want to know how big they would have been!)

Either way, just make these already. Cookiessssss!!!

Ingredients

Yield: 9-12 large cookies

1 c. flour
½ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, softened
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted
2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, melted chocolate, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Once combined, add in the egg and the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture, in two increments, to the wet mixture, and beat slowly to incorporate. Stop beating before all the flour is incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips to finish mixing.

Form the dough into balls with about ¼ c. dough each. You should get between 9-12 cookies. If you want smaller cookies, use less dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place cookies 3 inches apart on two baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until tops look just set.

Remove from oven, cool on pan for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies

Everyone loves a good brownie. After making last week’s knockout Olive Oil Cake with the Limoncello Mascarpone Cream, I had a bit of mascarpone cheese left over. Being that mascarpone is not cheap, I wanted to make sure it was put to good use. I was torn between these brownies, and a tiramisu panna cotta, but Paul voted for the brownies, so here we are!

These brownies are so easy to make! It’s a one-bowl recipe, which is always nice for clean up at the end. Everything is mixed into one large bowl, poured into the pan, and baked. Maybe 10 minutes of work went into these brownies.

I love easy recipes with high-yield results. It makes life so much better, knowing that there are some recipes out there specifically designed to get you dessert with minimal effort. And whoooo boy! These brownies!

Brownies are so good. I’m a center-piece lover, but you also can’t go wrong with an edge piece.

These brownies are rich and decadent, and not too sweet. They go well with a huge glass of milk. The inside is a little fudgy, but this is a winning variation on a classic brownie.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8×8 inch pan of brownies

For the brownies:

1 c. butter
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
½ c. mascarpone cheese, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt

For the ganache:

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. heavy cream
3 tbsp. butter

To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter, or parchment paper.

In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, heat the chocolate and butter on 30 second increments, stirring after each heating. Continue until both are melted and smooth.

Sift in the sugar and cocoa powder, and whisk together. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is smooth. Fold in the flour and salt.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish, smoothing out top. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the ganache, place chocolate in a small, heat-proof mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter until almost boiling, and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, then whisk together into a smooth, thick ganache.

Pour ganache over cooled brownies, allow to set up and cool, then slice and serve.