Category Archives: Cakes

Chocolate Mug Cake

Have you ever been home by yourself and get a hankering for dessert?  Maybe something chocolatey?  You think “maybe some pudding, or a piece of chocolate cake?  But, no, you tell yourself you can’t make a whole dessert:  there’s all those ingredients, all the time to measure, mix and bake and whats more ~ the leftovers!

What if you could make a warm, chocolatey dessert made just for one?  Do you have a coffee mug?  Got some basic baking ingredients in the house?  Got a couple of minutes?  Then you’ve got a fudgey, chocolate mug cake!  You don’t even have to choose between cake and pudding when in less than 2 minutes, you could have both in the same hot dessert.

In 1 coffee mug, measure and whisk or stir together:
3 Tabl. Half and Half (or Whole Milk)
3 Tabl. Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
dash of Vanilla Extract
Whisk in:
4 Tabl. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Instant Coffee (optional, but it enhances the flavor of the chocolate)
Whisk in:
4 Tabl. Cake Flour
2 Tabl. Cocoa Powder
pinch of Baking Powder
pinch of Salt
Drop in:
1-2 Tabl. Chocolate Chips

Place the mug in your microwave.  Microwave on high for 1 minute*.  Remove from heat and stir from bottom up, just enough to mix up ingredients stuck on top.  Place back in microwave for 30 seconds.  Remove from microwave, cool for a few minutes and enjoy your own personal dessert!



* Microwave ovens cook differently.  Your microwave may cook faster than mine and cook in only 1 minute, or may need a few seconds longer than 1-1/2 minutes.  What is important to remember is:  you want some liquid in the bottom.  Be careful not to over-bake or you’ll have a very solid, dry cake. 


Pumpkin Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Perfect for any fall or Thanksgiving meal, the pumpkin roll appeals to all. Rather than serve a pumpkin pie, or maybe in addition to a pumpkin pie, this cake is soft and slightly spicy and has a creamy cream cheese filling.  The maple extract really compliments the pumpkin, but if you don’t like maple, just use the vanilla extract.

Traditionally, the recipe says to dump the cake out on to a towel while it is hot from the oven and then roll the cake lengthwise.  Did you know there is an easier way?  Use parchment on the bottom of the sheet pan.  Then allow to cool before removing – It works great and there’s no chance of getting burned on a hot pan.




In a mixer bowl, whip until light colored and fluffy and doubled in volume:      
3 Eggs, whole
1 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Pumpkin
Sift and fold into above ingredients:
¾ cup Cake Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice or ½ tsp. Cinnamon and ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves and 1/4 tsp. Ginger

Spread the mixture into a parchment lined 1” sided cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes or until it springs back when touched.

Allow the cake to cool completely, remove cake from the pan by pulling the parchment off on to the counter.  Flip over the cold cake and remove the parchment.

Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
Cream until smooth:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tabl. Butter, softened
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
½ tsp. Maple Extract
Add and beat until smooth:
1 cup powdered Sugar

Spread the filling onto the cooled cake.  Roll the cake lengthwise, rolling it tight.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Place on serving tray and cut into 1″ slices to serve.

Banana Layer Cake

Sometimes in life, we make a mistake and find out that it wasn’t a mistake after all.  Recently, I offered to bring a celebration cake to a dinner.  The Birthday celebrants were men, so I chose my go-to favorite: Banana Cake with a Browned Butter Icing.

Since we were a small group, I opted to make only half of this recipe to make a single layer cake.  In full disclosure, I mistakenly added only 1/2 as much butter as called for and I did not realize my mistake until after baking.  All of the guests were told of my “mistake” in advance and all agreed the cake was perfectly moist, and not dry as I expected.  So, if you are trying to reduce fat, feel free to make this same “mistake”, otherwise enjoy the recipe as written!

In a mixer bowl, cream with paddle attachment:
1 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Sugar
Switch to the whip attachment and add:
4 Eggs

Whip on high speed for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together:
2 cups Banana Pulp
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Buttermilk
In another small bowl sift together:
4 cups Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt

Add to the creamed mixture the dry and wet ingredients alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.


Pour the batter into 2-9″ cake pans, lined with parchment paper and greased.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 40-45 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick.  Cool completely on a rack.   Run a knife around the edge of each cake pan and remove the cake from the pans.  Fill and frost the cake with the following Browned Butter Frosting:


Browned Butter Frosting:

In a small pan, slowly brown:
6 Tabl. Butter, stirring constantly
Beat in the mixer bowl using the whip attachment:
2# Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
Browned Butter from above

While mixer is mixing, slowly add 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk to nice spreading consistency.  Ice the cake quickly as soon as the frosting is made as this is a “crusting” recipe (meaning it dries to the touch). I placed walnuts on this cake by cupping them in my hand and pressing against the sides of the cake.


Pumpkin Praline Dessert

Betty Crocker has a recipe which, while delicious, is confusing because its not quite a cake, a bar, or a pie.  Using canned pumpkin and a cake mix (I know ~ shocking!), it’s actually a combination of those and frankly, I find it better served upside down so that the soft, creamy filling is on top and the praline is on the bottom.  You can serve it any way you’d like, but you will definitely be serving this to your family and guests, preferably with a side of whipped cream!  This recipe serves 12.

For the bottom layer, combine in a bowl and whisk:
15 oz. can Pumpkin, solid (not pie mix)
12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs, whole
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Tabl. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or make your own mix with 1 tsp. each of Cinnamon, cloves and ginger)

Pour this mixture in the bottom of a greased glass 9″ X 13″ pan.  Spread 1 whole box of Yellow Cake Mix (dry) on top of this filling.

3/4 cup Butter

Pour melted butter over the top of the dry cake mix.  Sprinkle the top with 1 cup of Pecans, chopped.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.


Calvados Apple Muffins

The calendar and the weather are both telling us: Fall is here.  The beauty of fall makes up for the loss of the warmth of  summer.  We tend to find warmth and comfort in foods during these cold(er) months.

Each of us has heard of, tasted and/or made an apple cake, as they are quite popular.  I determined to make mine “better than” by replacing some of the oil with yogurt to add flavor and moisture and sauteing my apples before adding them to the batter.  A splash of Calvados or Applejack – an apple brandy, intensifies and accentuates the apples.

I made this recipe into muffins for a special brunch, but have made it in a bundt pan for years.  Just sprinkle the top of cooled cake with powdered sugar – it’s taste can stand on its own!

In a Saute pan, melt:
2 Tabl. Butter
Add to hot pan:
3 Apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 Tabl. Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Saute apples until just soft.

Toss into the saute pan:
2 Tabl. Apple Brandy (Calvados or Applejack) * Optional

Toss the brandy with apples, and allow to flame a bit (this burns off alcohol).  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together:
1-1/4 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Yogurt, plain
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients:
2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.  Add the cooled apples and stir to coat.  Place in muffin cups by scoop.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until done.


If baking in a bundt pan, bake in 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.  Cool cake and dust with powdered sugar.

Better than….Dessert

Better Than or Almost as Good as ….   With this dessert, you can fill in the blank.

This recipe has been around in many different variations for years and no one really knows who started it.  Whoever they are, they are genius!  As a pastry chef who has worked with some amazing ingredients and made some pretty “WOW” desserts, I tell you this simple dessert may be my favorite (does that ruin my credibility?)!

You may say, “it’s not very sophisticated”, and, admittedly, it’s not – but the combination of the crunchy and creamy, sweet and salty makes it better than…almost anything!  The only baking required is 15 minutes for the crust and it’s worth heating up your kitchen.  The cold, creamy layers of goodness makes it perfect for a summer dessert even on the hottest of days.

Combine in a bowl:
2/3 cup AP Flour
2/3 cup Pecans, chopped
1/3 cup Butter, melted
Press in the bottom of 6″x10″  or 9″x9″pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Cool completely.
Cream in a bowl with the paddle attachment:
8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
Spread the cool whip mixture onto the cooled crust.  Refrigerate for  15 minutes.
Prepare the pudding by whisking together:
1-1/2 cups milk
1 box (3.9 ounce size) Instant Chocolate Pudding
Spread the pudding on top of Cool Whip layer.  Refrigerate until set.
Spread the pudding layer with 1 cup of Cool Whip, thawed.  Sprinkle top with chopped pecans.  Refrigerate and allow to set for several hours before cutting and serving.


Dinosaur Themed Birthday Party

In our family it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a “simple” little party.  My oldest daughter, Liz, owns an event planning company, Liz King Events, Rachel (Joey’s mom) is a first grade school teacher with tons of creative ideas who also works for the event company, and of course, I have my own contributions – of the baked variety.

For weeks, we have been planning and crafting a Dinosaur Party.  This past Saturday, we celebrated the 2nd Birthday of our first grandson, Joey.

Instead of just a cake, we opted for the trendy “dessert table” which is really, just a small selection of a multitude of desserts.  We made mini S’mores, Strawberry Push-up Cakes, Dino Sugar Cookies, Brownie Bites, “Mud” cups, Oreo Truffles, Popcorn Balls, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, Cupcakes and of course, a Dino Cake!

The day was perfect: lots of family and friends, food and sunshine!

The Dessert Table: 

Caramel Cake

This southern favorite was a best seller at the bakery mostly because it is rich and moist and the crumb is so light and tender.  Delicious served “as is” without any glaze or maybe just dusted with powdered sugar,or even a dollop of fresh whipped cream, but it is really elevated to perfection by a quick caramel glaze.

This makes a really big 10″ bundt cake which, because of it’s richness, will serve 16 people.

Cream in mixer bowl until light colored and fluffy:
1 cup Butter, room temp.
2 cups Brown Sugar
Add to above one at a time:
4 Eggs, room temp.
Add to above:
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4-1/4 cups Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
Add alternately with flour to creamed mixture:
2 cups Buttermilk
Pour into well-greased bundt pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes and then turn over onto cooling rack, removing the pan and allow to cool completely.
Caramel Glaze:
In a pan, bring to a boil:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 stick Butter (4 ounces)
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract.  

Allow to cool, stirring occasionally, until it reaches spreading consistency.  Spread over the top of cooled cake.


Chocolate Truffle Cake

Do you LOVE chocolate…I mean, REALLY, LOVE Chocolate?  If so, this intense chocolate cake will take you over the edge!  For those with gluten allergies, it’s perfect because it has no flour.  What it does have is just 3 ingredients: Eggs, Butter and the best dark chocolate you can find.

This cake does not “rise” as traditional cakes do.  It will be shallow, approx. 1-1/4″ thick.  Because of its intensity, this 8″ cake will serve 8-10 guests.  Garnish the cake with just a dusting of powdered sugar, some fresh whipped cream or ice cream and definitely fresh fruit!

In a microwavable bowl melt on medium level of the microwave until liquid:
1/2# of Chopped Dark Chocolate (60-% cacoa or greater)
4 oz. Butter
Stir the  chocolate and butter mixture until smooth and allow to cool approx. 10 minutes.
Whip on high speed until light color and thick:
4 Eggs, whole (these MUST be ROOM TEMPERATURE)

Gently fold the chocolate into the eggs, mixing to incorporate but not enough to deflate the eggs.  Pour the batter into an 8″ pan which has a parchment circle on the bottom.



Place the 8″ pan of batter into a larger pan and fill 1/2 way up the sides with HOT water.  Bake in a pre-heated 300 degree oven for approx. 15 minutes until a thermometer tests at 145 degrees.  DO NOT Overbake.  Cool on a rack.  Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to use, place the pan on a stove burner and warm the bottom slightly and run a knife around the edges to loosen.  Place a serving plate on top of the pan and flip it over.  If warmed properly, it will release easily.  Remove the parchment paper and serve.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

For years, this was my “go to” coffee cake to bring to Easter Breakfast/Brunches.  In fact, I made this one early this morning so I can take it to our after-church Easter Brunch tomorrow.  Your family will love it and you won’t be baking it just for Easter anymore!

The sour cream in this recipe makes the cake very moist and there’s enough streusel throughout so each bite is delicious!

Easter Blessings!

Cream in mixer bowl:
1 Cup Butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups Sugar
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. Vanilla
Sift and incorporate with above:
2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
Mix together in a bowl using a fork or fingers:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tabl. Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped

Spray or grease a bundt pan.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the streusel mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Pour and smooth 1/2 of the cake batter over the streusel (batter is stiff).   Sprinkle cake batter with 1/3 of the streusel.  Pour and smooth the remaining cake batter over the streusel and top with remaining streusel.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick.  Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip over onto a cooling rack, removing the pan.  Allow the cake to continue to cool on the rack.

(first image by Manchester Library – because mine wasn’t cool enough – yet!)

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