Red Velvet Cake

I am having some mixed emotions as I write this post.  I am ashamed and excited at the same time. It started on Wednesday night this week when I was seriously in need of cake.  It was that time of the month and I was craving something sweet.  There on my kitchen table was a box of Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix and a can of cream cheese frosting that I was actually going to return (yes, I have no shame in returning things).  I had bought them when I was planning to make Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake Balls to ship to my brother but ended up going with raspberry and cream cheese brownie bites instead.  Ok, back to my need for cake.  Just this past weekend I made a layered chocolate cake for an engagement party by doctoring up a cake mix and then making my own mocha buttercream.  It was such a success that I figured I would jazz up the red velvet mix and hopefully satisfy my urgent need for cake.  Fast forward to my cooled and frosted cake…oh my goodness…it was DELICIOUS!  Granted, the frosting most definitely tastes like it comes from a can but I didn’t have any cream cheese at home to make it myself.  I took the cake to work yesterday and only told one friend the truth behind the cake.  Everyone knows I always bake from scratch so I didn’t want to reveal that I had used a cake mix even though I was sure the frosting would give me away.  I asked my friend to taste it without the frosting at first and give me her honest opinion.  She loved it and told me I could make it for her any day of the week.  That cake was gone quicker than anything else I have ever brought to work!  I got compliments yesterday on how good it was and today one co-worker even told me it was better than the red velvet cake she recently had at her friend’s wedding!  My eyes and taste buds have been opened to the world of cake mixes. They were BOGO free at Publix yesterday so I am stocked and ready to experiment!


  • 1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
  • 1 small box Jello instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 oz I think)
  • 1 cup sour cream (used Daisy’s)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Pour batter into 2 buttered and floured 9″ cake pans (or use baking spray).  Check for baking times on the cake mix box as it can vary depending on the type of pan you use.  Mine were done in about 35 mintues.

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Cake Slice Bakers: Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Have you ever heard of a cake being baked in a cold oven?  Well, if you haven’t you are not alone.  When this month’s cake was announced I was surprised to learn you do not pre-heat the oven.  This “technique” is supposed to result in a crisp crust on the pound cake.  This pound cake was delicious and not as dense as your typical pound cake.  The recipe calls for lemon zest along with fresh ginger.  I left out the ginger as I don’t like it and quite honestly why make something the baker herself won’t like? LOL  I wish I would have added more lemon zest and some lemon juice as the flavor was not as pronounced as I would have liked.  I did add a lemon glaze on top (lemon juice + powdered sugar) but it still wasn’t enough lemon flavor for me.  Granted, this wasn’t supposed to a lemon pound cake but I am a lover of lemon desserts!  As usual I shared this with my co-workers and everyone loved it.  Click here to see what my fellow bakers thought about this cake.


  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan and dust with flour.  Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
With the mixer on medium-speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla, ginger and lemon zest.  Turn the mixer to low-speed and add the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Mix batter for 30 seconds on medium-speed.
Spread the batter into the bundt pan and place the cake in a cold oven.  Turn the oven to 325 degrees F and bake without opening the oven door until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 65-80 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before slicing and serving.  Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Cakes


First Time for Everything

This adventure started with someone asking me for a favor.  The question of the day was “would you make my engagement cake?”  The anxiety started when I realized the party was for 40-50 people.  My baking supplies consist of some 8-10″ cake pans, a 9×13″ pan and a bundt cake pan so you can understand the anxiety.  I calmed down a tad when I got an update on the count…it was now down to close to 35 people.  Even with the lower amount I still did not have the resources to make one cake to feed the entire crowd.  I wanted to help out but the only way was to make to separate cakes.  The soon-to-be bride agreed so a chocolate layer cake and strawberry cheesecake it was.  I knew I would use Dorie Greenspan’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake recipe as I used it before with much success.  I am not a major fan of chocolate cake so I do not have a “go to” recipe. After some time on the internet I came across a recipe that many people claim to be the best chocolate cake recipe.  Initially I found it on Leigh Anne’s blog Your Homebased Mom but also saw it on several other blogs.  I was hesitant at first because this meant I would have to use a cake mix.  The recipe doctors up a cake mix by adding sour cream, instant chocolate pudding mix, chocolate chips, extra eggs and milk.  The verdict?  There was no reason to doubt as the cake was delicious.  I frosted it with a mocha buttercream…so good!  Now, I wish I could say the decorating process went just as smoothly.  I was quite nervous about this part as I never did much decorating other than frosting a cake in a “homely” manner.  Again I searched the internet for some tips and came across one where you use a foam paint roller to smooth the buttercream once it sets.  The problem came when time was passing me by and the frosting still needed to firm up some more.  I thought I would speed up the process by placing it in the freezer.  I left it in there much longer than I should have and the buttercream was rock solid.  I tried to let it “defrost” a bit to be able to smooth it out with the paint roller method but it would not budge.  As if this was not enough I now had to pipe directly onto the cake because my initial idea did not work.  The plan was to pipe “Congratulations Marley & Jesus” in melted chocolate onto a silpat and freeze it.  Once frozen I was planning to peel it off the silpat and put it on the cake.  My hands were shaking like a leaf but I managed to get it on there.  Even though it didn’t turn out exactly as I would have liked everyone loved it and that’s the most important part!  Besides, don’t you think the perfect (crack-free) cheesecake makes up for my lack of decorating experience?

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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Cakes


S’mores Brownies

Yesterday I was simply in the mood to bake.  Yes, I am usually in the mood but for the most part it is always something that I plan ahead to make.  That was not the case last night.  I was going for something quick that I could do while watching American Idol.  I had some marshmallow fluff and graham crackers left over from the Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cake challenge with The Cake Slice Bakers and therefore decided to go with brownies.

I used the Nestle Cocoa Chewy Brownie recipe and simply added some graham cracker pieces to the batter.  Once I spread the batter in the pan I swirled in the marshmallow fluff.  The batter is quite thick so this was not the easiest thing to do so maybe next time I will try using mini marshmallows.  I didn’t measure the graham crackers or marshmallow fluff….just added what felt right (sorry).  I took them to work today and they were very well received.

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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Bars, Brownies


Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brownie Bites

My intention was never to make brownies but rather brownie inspired truffles.  It all started because I had sent my brother some pictures of the chocolate chip stuffed cookies I made.  He then started to ask me when I was finally going to send him some goodies.  I of course promised to make him something amazing and mail it out as soon as possible.  After lots of browsing on the internet and my different cookbooks I was inspired by the different cake and cookie type truffles floating around different blogs.  My brother loves the combination of chocolate and raspberry so I knew that was the way to go.

I made a pan of brownies using the recipe on the Nestle box of cocoa powder.  Once cool I crumbled it up as best as possible….it was quite sticky.  To the brownie “crumbs”  I added 3/4 cup of raspberry preserves and 1/2 cup of some cream cheese frosting I made.  I put the mixture in the fridge to chill for about 2 hrs.  I then proceeded to roll them into small balls and then covered them with some chopped toasted walnuts. Sadly I realized these were not going to survive in shipping….way to soft and fudge like.  They were simply not what I had in mind.

I wasn’t going to give up as the flavors were definitely there and I was looking forward to being able to ship it to my brother tomorrow.  So I popped them in the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes.  So they don’t have the usual crusty edges brownies do but they are good and have all the flavors my brother loves.  I’ll just have to wait and see what he thinks about them!

You can check out the Nestle recipe here (makes a great brownie IMO).


Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Brownies


Daring Bakers: Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

I was excited about this month’s challenge because it somewhat reminded me about December’s Christmas stollen which I loved.  My fellow Daring Bakers never disappoint when it comes to creative twists on the challenges so I gave the fillings I was going to use much thought.  I decided to do one with guava and cream cheese and the other with almonds, cinnamon and brown sugar.  I ran into some problems with my guava and cream cheese coffee cake as I was a little heavy handed with the meringue.  Once I rolled my dough the filling started to come out therefore making it quite messy and difficult to seal the edges.  I kept my fingers crossed in hopes that it would not totally fall apart in the oven.  I had some leakage but overall it retained its shape and most importantly was absolutely delicious!  I used the guava paste cut up into little cubes which in retrospect I definitely should have gone with the guava preserves.  I hate when that happens….always go with your gut instinct!  For the cream cheese filling I let it come to room temperature and then beat it together with some lemon juice, milk and a little sugar.  It reminded me of the wonderful Cuban pastries we get here in south Florida….DELICIOUS!

The almond, brown sugar and cinnamon one was also yummy but the guava and cream cheese was clearly the winner for me and amongst my co-workers.  As far as the meringue quite honestly I couldn’t even tell it was there…in either coffee cake.  Many of my fellow bakers described it as adding a noughat texture or chewy feel to it but not for me.  I am guessing it helped to keep the dough from being dry but that’s about it.  Regardless this recipe is a winner!

I know my fellow bakers did incredible things with this challenge so check them out here.  The challenge recipe can be viewed and printed here.


Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Chocolate Chip or Oreo?

Thank’s to Jenny of the Picky Palate , the creator of this insane cookie, you will never be forced to pick sides ever again.  Yes, you can have your cake (or cookie) and eat it too!  I came across these cookies when looking through the amazing pictures on Foodgawker.  I saw the picture submitted by Amy of Very Culinary and I knew I had to make them.  This week my friends at my old job were complaining about me not baking for them in a long time.  I knew it had to be something over the top for them and these cookies definitely stepped up to the plate.

I think my cookie scoop was a little on the big side so these cookies were insanely big compared to Jenny’s or Amy’s.  It’s seriously like having 3 cookies at once since you sandwich the Oreo between two scoops of the chocolate chip cookie dough and then seal together to bake into one massive cookie.  So do me a favor and put aside all thoughts of the calorie count of this cookie and give it a try!  My friends loved them and you will too =)

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 10 oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag Oreo cookies, double stuffed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips just until combined.  Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on the bottom of the Oreo cookie.  Seal the edges together by pressing and cupping in your hand until the Oreo cookie is enclosed with dough.  Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake for 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.  Let cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Cookies